ABCs of Capitalism: Capitalism and the State

Start: Monday, August 03, 2020 7:00 PM Eastern Daylight Time (US & Canada) (GMT-04:00)

End: Monday, August 03, 2020 9:00 PM Eastern Daylight Time (US & Canada) (GMT-04:00)

Robyn H

How can it be that in a society with enormous resources and wealth a thin layer at the top owns nearly everything, while billions upon billions struggle to survive? What role does the government and the state play in maintaining this system? How should socialists organize to win rights and dignity for workers?

In the ABCs of Capitalism, sociologist Vivek Chibber walks us through the basic concepts and questions of how our capitalist economic system works and reproduces itself over time. In pamphlet B, Dr. Chibber explains how and why it is that "When the poor have policy preferences that conflict with those of the rich, the chances that the policies of the poor are passed go down to around zero." We'll be thinking through questions like:
- Is the state a politically neutral entity?
- Are capitalism and democracy at odds?
- What are lobbyists? How is social policy made?
- How is the state 'structurally dependent' on capital and capitalists?

These discussions will be reading groups led by a facilitator and the pamphlets are about 30 pages each. They are meant to be at an introductory level but are open to all. And, whether you’re new to Left or still retain vivid memories of arguing with Michael Harrington, anyone who has mastered a subject will tell you that it’s always helpful to return to the basics. The pamphlets are available for free from Jacobin: (

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