This protester knows where it is at...
I should probably reassure older readers of Histomat that my use of the phrase 'Marxism today' as the title of this blog post is not in any way a reference to the ubiquitous Martin Jacques, former editor of the long defunct journal of that name, who after helping to wind down the old Communist Party of Britain because well, Marxism had become rather unfashionable, is now busy popping up everywhere to patronisingly deign to inform the rest of us that, er, actually, 'if the recession turns into a depression, Marx will once again become required reading'. This post is actually just a plug (and yes, sorry for just plugging stuff of late - I promise to write stuff again on this blog at some point)for three timely Marxist conferences coming up this year for those who want to take the old chap a little more seriously than the likes of Jacques ever did. All of them are in London.
1. Economic Crisis, Imperialism and Revolution: A day school on Marxism, Sunday 10 May.
2. Marxism 2009: A festival of resistance, 2-6 July. Highlights include: Alex Callinicos vs Slavoj Zizek – a debate on “What does it mean to be a revolutionary today?”, David Harvey on Marx’s Capital and debating Chris Harman on “The crisis of neoliberalism”, Tariq Ali on Pakistan’s deepening crisis, Terry Eagleton on “Socialism and culture”, Sheila Rowbotham on pioneering gay rights campaigner Edward Carpenter, Gary Younge on Obama’s rise to power, Ghada Karmi participates on Palestinian liberation, Michael Billington and Sam West remember Harold Pinter, Bernadette McAliskey speaks 40 years on from her election to parliament and the Battle of the Bogside and John Bellamy Foster on “Marx and Darwin” and Marxist ecology. Other participants include: Tony Benn, Paul Gilroy, Eamonn McCann, Mark Serwotka, Sally Hunt, Jeremy Corbyn MP, Nick Broomfield, Michael Rosen, Istvan Meszaros, Roy Bailey and David Ferrard, Pat Devine, Danny Dorling, Zoe Williams, David Edgar, Haifa Zangana, Steven Rose, Ambalavaner Sivanandan, Ben Fine, Ron Oppenheim and Natalie Adler, Jeremy Dear, Ludi Simpson, Leo Zeilig, Graham Turner, Chris Searle, Adam Tooze, Costas Lapavitsas, Omar Puente and many more.
3. Historical Materialism's Sixth Annual Conference, 27-29 November 2009: 'Another World is Necessary: Crisis, Struggle and Political Alternatives'. They have put out a call for papers:
'The world economy is traversing a sweeping crisis whose outcomes are still uncertain, but whose scope is undeniable. The name of Marx is now occasionally, if nervously, invoked in the financial press. The neo-liberal project is being reconfigured, and some have even rushed to pronounce it dead. Imperial strategies are being redrawn, while ecological and food crises deepen on a global scale. This situation of instability and uncertainty unquestionably lends itself to incisive analyses drawing upon and critically innovating the traditions of historical materialism. Critical Marxist theorists have already shed considerable light on the mechanisms and tendencies underlying the current crises and emphasised the conflicts and contradictions that are emerging as they develop. Following upon previous annual conferences which worked towards a recomposition of an international Marxist intellectual sphere, this year’s Historical Materialism conference hopes to serve as a forum for papers and debates that will gauge the capacity of contemporary Marxism to confront this critical conjuncture and its multiple facets, both analytically and politically. We hope that the conference will serve not only as a collective investigation into the numerous global scenarios of capitalist crisis, but also as the opportunity to inquire – drawing on the political and conceptual reservoir of many Marxist traditions – into the class formations, political forces and organisational forms capable of responding combatively and inventively to the current situation. While the hegemony of a one-dimensional neo- liberalism demanded the affirmation that other worlds were possible, the current crises require arguments to demonstrate how we might achieve the other world that is now more than ever necessary. In keeping with the multi-disciplinary and exploratory character of the journal, we welcome abstracts on any matter of relevance to critical Marxist theory, but will especially welcome papers responding directly to the call, or dealing with some of the following issues • Theories of crisis, and their history• Neo-liberalism in retreat?• Histories of class struggle, crisis, and revolution• Socialist Feminist Responses to Crisis• The future of the new imperialism• ‘Neo-Keynesian’ responses to the crisis• Environmental crisis and eco-socialism• Left interventions in the crisis• Utopian and non-utopian Marxisms• Political agency and subjectivity• Theories of political organisation• Political economy and labour in contemporary cultural theory• Class struggle and class composition today• The geography and urbanisation of contemporary capitalism• Non-Marxist traditions on the Left• Marxist perspectives contemporary art, art history and visual culture• Displacing crisis onto the Global South• War, militarism, insecurity, and violence• Immigration, migrant labour, and anti-racism• Socialism in the Twenty-First Century.