Histomat: Adventures in Historical Materialism

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

Friday, April 25, 2014

Turning Rebellion into Money

Please lobby publisher Lawrence and Wishart asking them to revoke their decision to remove Marx and Engels's Collected Works from the Marxist Internet Archive


Historical Materialism London Conference 2014

 As well as Marxism in July, Histomat readers near London might also be interested in this call for papers:

How Capitalism Survives
Eleventh Annual Historical Materialism London Conference
6-9 November 2014
Vernon Square, Central London

This year marks the first of a series of centennial commemorations and anniversaries, starting with that of the first worldwide inter-imperialist conflict. Centuries of colonialism and imperialism served as a preparatory phase for the catastrophe. Indeed, while the main parties of the Second International trampled the revolutionary socialist tradition in trench-mud, the First World War destroyed the illusion that imperialist violence could be wreaked on the colonies while leaving Europe untouched. If capital came into the world ‘dripping from head to toe, from every pore, with blood and dirt’, Marx’s analysis of ‘primitive accumulation’ has certainly not been confined to a pre-history of capital.

And yet, contrary to all expectations, despite these tremors and shocks, despite the terrifying glances into the abyss of destruction, capitalism has survived. Not only has capital muddled through; it has mutated, adapted and, by some criteria, emerged stronger than before. At the same time, however, new contradictions and crises have appeared, expanding the spaces of critique to the ecological and the ideological terrains and opening up new possibilities of revolutionary breakthrough.

In recent years, the crisis and the movements emerging in response have re-opened an opportunity to envision, and fight for, substantive alternatives. But these movements have remained fragmented and have faced increasing state repression and imperialist aggression. And the on-going crisis is now raising the stakes. It is clear that this crisis is indeed global, leading to deepening austerity in the North and undermining the conditions for sustained growth in the South. If, in the North, the ‘war on terror’ manifests itself in intensified state racism and Islamophobia, the crisis is also intensifying and bringing to the surface underlying international rivalries. The winds of war from the South are reaching Europe once again. But from the South, movements worldwide also bear witness to countless examples of struggle and resistance.

At this year's conference, we want to explore capital's capacity to survive in order to explore, first and foremost, how it can be overcome. We are interested in investigating contemporary geographical reconfigurations of accumulation and interrogating theories of imperialism, hegemonic succession, and capital’s tendencies towards increasing inter-state rivalries. On the other hand, we want to delve into theories and practices of class struggles, social movements and resistance which create possible alternatives to neoliberalism, crisis and war by constantly challenging the smooth reproduction of capitalism in its gendered, social, economic, political, racial, ecological, cultural and ideological dimensions. In doing so, we also want to enrich our understanding of a Marxian analysis of ‘core’ and ‘periphery’ with an analysis of current developments of Marxism in the South in general and in the BRICS economies in particular. We also hope to continue the theme on Race and Capital inaugurated last year.

We welcome abstract proposals of 200 words on these themes or any others, in all disciplines, from all continents and from all perspectives within Marxism. The deadline for proposals is 15th May 2014.

Please register your abstracts here: http://www.historicalmaterialism.org/conferences/annual11/submit

Separate calls go out for the following streams: Marxism and Feminism, and Ecology and Climate Change.

* Please note that this year the conference will not be taking place at the main SOAS buildings at Thornhaugh Square

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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Mike Gonzalez on his new biography of Hugo Chavez

Friday, April 18, 2014

International Socialism #142 online

Cover of issue 142

If bestselling books are a guide to popular mood, the existence of two books attacking inequality and defending the relevance of social class in some form or other -  Capital in the 21st century (by French economist Thomas Piketty)  and also one entitled The People: The Rise and Fall of the Working Class, 1910-2010 by British social historian Selina Todd are certainly worth registering - and their popularity has certainly annoyed many on the ideological Right - even if Piketty rejects Marxism and Todd's subtitle unfortunately suggests she at least partly believes the working class is now powerless to change society.  

Fortunately, the latest issue of International Socialism is now online, with articles defending the relevance of Marxist economics and also theorising British working class struggle both past and present on the 30th anniversary of the Great Miners Strike by Dave Hayes, labour historian Ralph Darlington and Mark O'Brien, who writes on the one day mass strike in the public sector on N30 in 2011.  There are also timely articles on many other issues, from  privilege theory, Stuart Hall's Marxism, the Ukraine, to discussions of bourgeois revolution, counter-revolution in Egypt, and reviews of recent works including environmentalism.

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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

John Pilger to speak at Marxism 2014

From the Marxism 2014 team

There will be some important and very special meetings at Marxism 2014, in central London from 10-14 July.  These include:

·        Ten years on: Remembering Paul Foot
Paul Foot was not only the finest campaigning journalist of his generation but a brilliant socialist writer, speaker and tireless campaigner against injustice. His death ten years ago was mourned by those fighting for a better world.
This special memorial meeting at Marxism 2014 will celebrate his life and politics.
John PilgerDarcus Howe and Gareth Peirce join Matt Foot to discuss and pay tribute to Paul Foot.
Sat 12 July, 3.45pm, Logan Hall, Institute of Education

·        No Justice, No Peace
Police racism and corruption has come to the fore this year. Winston Silcott, one of the Tottenham Three wrongly convicted and imprisoned in a terrible miscarriage of justice for the murder of PC Blakelock, will join Janet Alder of the Justice for Christopher Alder Campaign, Brian Richardson and others to discuss their courageous and inspiring fights for justice
Sat 12 July, 7pm Jeffery Hall, Institute of Education

·        After Marikana and the death of Mandela: where now for South Africa
Veteran anti-apartheid campaigner and Labour MP Peter Hain will ask where now for South Africa in one of the opening meetings at Marxism 2014.
Thu 10 July, 3.45pm, Jeffery Hall, Institute of Education

Book online at www.marxismfestival.org.uk or call 020 7819 1190
Edited to add:  The provisional timetable for the event is now online