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March 6, 2011

Pizza and Revolution

by Andy Lamas

For several years, Masterman High School in Philadelphia, PA, has invited me to teach a weekly course during the March-May term.   In 2011, sixty-six (66) students enrolled in the elective course, which took place during the Third Period lunch break.   Here is a summary description of the course:

Philosophy, Politics, and Economics: The Thought of Karl Marx and Albert Einstein

Only eleven mourners stood at the grave of Karl Marx at Highgate Cemetery in London, England, on March 17, 1883. “His name and work,” predicted Marx’s life-long friend and collaborator, Friedrich Engels, “will endure through the ages.” It seemed an unlikely boast, but he was right.  (ST)

To celebrate the year 2000, BBC News conducted a poll to find “the greatest thinker of the millennium,” and Karl Marx was the first-place winner by a wide margin.  (Here are the other winners:   2. Albert Einstein,    3. Sir Isaac Newton, 4. Charles Darwin, 5. St. Thomas Aquinas, 6. Stephen Hawking, 7. Immanuel Kant,   8. Rene Descartes, 9. James Clerk Maxwell, and 10. Friedrich Nietzsche.)

In May, 1949, in the first issue of the journal Monthly Review, Albert Einstein wrote the lead article, entitled “Why Socialism?”  The opening lines of the article are: “Is it advisable for one who is not an expert on economic and social issues to express views on the subject of socialism? I believe for a number of reasons that it is.”

In this MG course, we will examine the historical importance and the contemporary relevance of the philosophical, political, and economic thought of Karl Marx and Albert Einstein.  This course is only for students who are (or who are interested in becoming) serious intellectuals and critical thinkers … and who like pizza.

Mondays, Third Period (during lunch)

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