Histomat: Adventures in Historical Materialism

'Historical materialism is the theory of the proletarian revolution.' Georg Lukács

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Justice for Mike Brown - US Embassy Emergency Protest

Justice for Mike Brown – US Embassy Emergency Protest 
5.30pm Wed 26 Nov
called by Stand up to racism 

Wed 26 November 5.30pm 24 Grosvenor Square, London W1A 2LQ

 We condemn the decision of the Grand Jury not to indict Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson for killing 18-year-old Michael Brown in St Louis. This comes on the same day that Tamir Rice, a 12 year old boy, was shot dead by the police after carrying a toy gun. We call on all those who oppose this injustice to join us at the US Embassy tomorrow for an emergency protest.

 Speakers will include Carol Duggan, aunt of Mark Duggan and Marcia Rigg of the Sean Rigg Justice and Change campaign, anti-racist campaigners and others.

 Diane Abbott MP said:
 “My deepest sympathies go out to the family of Mike Brown. Not only have they lost a loved one but following the Grand Jury’s decision they no doubt feel the strongest sense of injustice, which can only make their pain worse. The anger and disruption that has already followed this decision extends beyond the killing of Mike right to the root of long standing issues with the criminal justice system. Just as in Britain, the Black community in the US has a fraught history with the police. It is one of the reasons I have always been against the arming of police. A recent report has shown that in recent years young black males in the US were 21 times more likely to be shot dead by police than their white counterparts. This is shocking, but inequality in policing is not a new phenomenon. Therefore how can it ever be reasonable to allow police to use deadly force against an unarmed young man? And just this week-end A 12-year-old boy has been shot dead by police in the US as he played with a fake gun in a park. And time and time again no one is held accountable. When yet another unarmed young black man is killed and it is “lawful”, it can be no surprise that black people are questioning how much value these same laws place on their lives"

 Carol Duggan, aunt of Mark Duggan who will be speaking at the event said:
 “Murder is not legitimate. No one should lose their child. Michael Brown has not got justice and neither has Mark Duggan. The Police are there to protect, not to kill our children”

 Marcia Rigg of the Sean Rigg Justice and Change campaign said:
 “My heart goes out to Michael Brown’s family and the community in Ferguson. No Justice No Peace.”

 Zita Holbourne National Co-Chair BARAC UK said:
 "Until there is a balance of powers there will be no balance of the scales of justice. Oppression, institutional racism, inequality, poverty & injustice occur because of a division of rights where black people are treated like third class citizens. As Martin Luther King said, a riot is the voice of the unheard. When will the powers that contribute to injustice be prepared to hear?"

 Aaron Kiely NUS NEC said:
 "We join the family of Mike Brown in calling for an indictment of the officer who shot their son dead. We currently live in a world where young black people can be shot dead on the street with impunity. This has got to stop. No justice, no peace."

 Sabby Dhalu for Stand up to racism said:
 “We fully support the family of Mike Brown. Having seen at first hand the pain of his family in Ferguson. We fully support the family’s call for the indictment. This comes within a day of Tamir Rice, a 12 year old boy, being shot dead by US police carrying a toy gun. The cheapness of black lives in the US is a reflection of racism that black communities face at the hands of the police that must be stopped.”

 Weyman Bennett of Stand up to racism said:
 “I went to Ferguson and met Mike Brown’s family. They have our full support justice must be served.”

 for more information contact info@standuptoracism.org.uk https://www.facebook.com/events/742965182457535/

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Sunday, November 02, 2014

1640: The First English Revolution



John Lilburne - calling for a spiritual revolution in England about 350 years before Russell Brand...

Russell Brand may have played his part in helping the word 'revolution' return to a degree of fashionability recently, but even in sleepy England revolutionary ideas have not simply been widely circulated long before him, but have actually been put into practice.   That Norah Carlin's pamphlet on 1640, The First English Revolution (1983) is now online is therefore most timely - for those wanting more on the historiography of revolution in England, see her earlier analysis of Marxism and the English Civil War.

Edited to add: The John Lilburne 400 anniversary conference

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The Bassem Chit Internet Archive

Friends of the late Lebanese Marxist Bassem Chit (1979-2014) might be interested to know that his selected writings are slowly being compiled online at the Marxists Internet Archive - here: http://marxists.org/history/etol/writers/chit/index.htm

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Saturday, November 01, 2014

How poppies and patriotism muffle the truth about the First World War

The only point which matters about the First World War and its sequels is that they must not be allowed to happen again. Honouring and worshipping those who died in them, praising them for their patriotic sacrifice and wearing poppies as symbols of their blood on the ground where they fell serves only to glamorise the atrocity and pave the way to the next one.
Paul Foot, Galmorising an atrocity, 1989.  

It does not matter now, a century after it started, how sad we are about those the first world war killed. Our soulfulness won’t bring back a single slaughtered soldier. What can make a difference is our historical understanding of the Great War, its causes and consequence. History is worth far more than the illusion of memory, when none of us today actually have a memory of being soldiers in 1914-18...
 Out of the millions who died, this installation is very specific about who it mourns. It does not include the French, who lost a tenth of their young men, or Russia, where the war precipitated revolution, civil war and famine. And of course it does not include a single German. Instead it is accumulating 888,246 ceramic poppies each of which – explains the Tower of London website – “represents a British military fatality during the war.”
If we can only picture the Great War as a British tragedy we have not learned very much about it. Yet some historians today glibly encourage that blinkered vision. It sells books. Popular history has been invaded by revisionists who tell us that far from being lions led by donkeys in a futile bloodbath, the British soldiers who fought from 1914-18 were fighting, as the propaganda at the time claimed, to defend democracy from militarist authoritarian Germany...In so explicitly recording only the British dead of world war one, this work of art in its tasteful way confirms the illusion that we are an island of heroes with no debt to anyone else, no fraternity for anyone else...
Jonathan JonesHistory and all its grisly facts are worth more than the illusion of memory, 2014.

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Friday, October 24, 2014

How Capitalism Survives: Historical Materialism Conference 2014 in London

Conference Poster
How Capitalism Survives - Eleventh Annual Historical Materialism London Conference - 6-9 November 2014 - Vernon Square, Central London provisional programme available and registration open.

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In Our Time - The Haitian Revolution

Discussion of the Haitian Revolution on BBC Radio 4

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Copycat Crime - A UKIP Calypso response by Alexander D Great

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Friday, October 17, 2014

International Socialism # 144 out now

Cover of issue 144

The latest issue of International Socialism journal, a quarterly journal of Marxist theory, is out now - highlights include critical discussions of Lahs Lih's work on Lenin, Lise Vogel's work on women's liberation, Vivek Chibber's work on the Subaltern Studies school, plus articles on Scotland, South Africa, Ukraine, imperialism and global warming.  There is also an online only article on 'The birth of a new generation under tear gas: the umbrella movement in Hong Kong' by Vincent Sung, which is most timely and brings out the tensions and how that movement is at something of a crossroads.  To subscribe to the ISJ, see here.



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Tuesday, October 14, 2014

New Book: Deciphering Capital

Book Launch and Discussion
Deciphering Capital: Marx’s Capital and its Destiny
By Alex Callinicos
Discussants: Christopher Arthur and Michael Roberts
Chair: Gilbert Achcar 

Monday, 10 November 2014, 7pm, Khalili Lecture Theatre (KLT) at SOAS

Alex Callinicos’s new book deals extensively with the question of Marx’s method and its relationship to Hegel’s Science of Logic. It emphasizes Marx’s understanding of capital as a set of relations constituted by two separations – that of workers from the means of production, giving rise to the exploitation of wage labour, and that between capitals, from which arises their competitive struggle. This understanding also informs the book’s presentation of Marx’s multi-dimensional conception of crises. Marx strove to make Capital a study of capitalism as a global system, and not merely a portrait of the mid-Victorian British economy: the cycle of financial bubble and panic that he investigated has come in the neoliberal era to regulate the world economy, with the devastating effects witnessed in the 2007-8 crash.

Alex Callinicos is Professor of European Studies at King’s College London and editor of International Socialism. His recent books include Imperialism and Global Political Economy, Bonfire of Illusions, and most recently Deciphering Capital (Bookmarks, 2014)*.

Christopher Arthur taught philosophy at the University of Sussex. His books include Dialectics of Labour and Marx’s Capital and the New Dialectic.

 Michael Roberts is a Marxist economist who blogs at: http://thenextrecession.wordpress.com/

 * £14.99 - £10 special offer for book launch

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March against Tory Austerity this Saturday

Support the strikes over pay this week in the NHS and Civil Service and join the National TUC demonstration against Tory Austerity and low pay this Saturday 18 October in London and Glasgow - show that there is a different Britain to that represented by the narrow and backward looking racist populism of UKIP - one about the values of solidarity, trade unionism, workers' unity, social justice, people not profit, welcoming migrant workers and defending the NHS - a politics of hope over the politics of despair #18Oct

Thursday, October 09, 2014

Marxism in Scotland

After the Referendum - which way forward for the Left?
Saturday 11 October - Glasgow

On the 18th September, 1.6 million people (45% of voters) in Scotland voted yes to independence. It was a truly historic referendum result with 97% of eligable voters registered and an 85% turnout, breaking all existing voting records in British history.

Although the referendum result narrowly rejected independence by 55 percent to 45 percent. Scottish voters gave the British ruling class the fright of its life—and politics in Scotland will never be the same again.

The genie is out of the bottle! There is a new movement that has emerged from the independence campaign. A movement with a positive vision for the future and the ideas, the creativity and the potential to transform Scotland.

Last year over 250 socialists, campaigners and activists attended Marxism in Scotland.

This year's event takes place just 3 weeks after the independence referendum result and one week before the major anti-austerity demonstrations in both Glasgow and London.

Come along and be part of a fantastic day for sharing experiences, political discussions, debates, strategy and tactics with local, national and international speakers on how we can take the struggle for a better world forward.

Speaking at Marxism in Scotland...

Kevin McKenna, Observer Scottish columnist

Bob Thomson, former Scottish Labour Party Chairman and leading supporter of Labour for Independence

Cheryl Gedling PCS Union NEC member, President Scottish Government Group (personal capacity)

Professor Greg Philo, research director of Glasgow University Media Unit. Co-author of Bad News from Israel (2004), More Bad News from Israel (2011) and Bad News For Refugees, written with Emma Briant and Pauline Donald

Amal Azzudin, community worker and one of the Glasgow Girls whose struggle against the deportations of asylum seekers from Glasgow has since been turned into a play and television drama/documentary.

Ian Hodson, president, Bakers, Food and Allied Workers Union)

Alex Callincos, author of Imperialism and the World Economy

Weyman Bennet, Unite against Fascism National Joint Secretary, recently returned from Ferguson, Missouri

Keir McKecknie. author of top selling 'Independence Yes, Nationalism No' pamphlet

Full programme coming soon with speaker details of the opening rally, the closing plenary and workshops on...

How can Palestine be Free?
Understanding Imperialism Today - Iraq, Syria and Ukraine
The Struggle for Womens Liberation
Fighting Racism and Fascism Today
The Assault on Welfare
Fighting Austerity in the Workplace.

Registration: 10 - 11am
Tickets: £5 waged, £3 unwaged (£10 solidarity price).

There is a free creche for Marxism in Scotland. Please private message or email swpscotland@gmail.com before 2pm Friday 10th to book places.

Book online: https://www.swp.org.uk/event/marxism-scotland (at bottom of page)

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