Histomat: Adventures in Historical Materialism

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

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Rachel Holmes to speak on Eleanor Marx at Marxism 2014

From the Marxism 2014 office:

Marxism 2014 starts in just over two weeks time . . . don't miss out - make sure you book your ticket if you have not already done so!
New speaker for Marxism 2014
We are very pleased to announce that Rachel Holmes, author of the new book “Eleanor Marx, a Life”, will be speaking at Marxism 2014.
The daughter of Karl Marx, Eleanor Marx was exceptional in her own right. She was a socialist organiser and campaigner, massively involved in the explosion of strikes and militancy known as “New Unionism”. The Great Dock Strike in 1889 signalled a massive expansion of the trade union movement among thousands of previously unorganised, unskilled workers.
Eleanor was a highly experienced agitator. She was one of the key speakers at the 100,000-strong mass rally in Hyde Park, during the third week of Great Dock Strike. She formed the first women’s branch of the National Union of Gasworkers and General Labourers.
Rachel Holmes will explore these aspects of her life and others in her meeting at Marxism.
Eleanor Marx: A Life will take place at Marxism 2014 on Friday 11th July at 2pm.
Day and session tickets are available. Booking in advance is cheaper and will save you queuing at the Box Office. All tickets booked before Friday 4th July will be sent out in the post.
For the full provisional timetable for Marxism 2014 go to www.marxismfestival.org.uk
You can book on line or call 020 7819 1190
Please note that the deadline for the creche is this Friday 27th June. If you need accommodation and have specific needs please let us know by Friday 4th July. Any accommodation requested after this date will be in a community centre.
Hope to see you at Marxism 2014!

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Saturday, June 21, 2014

Euro-fascism - what it is and how to fight it

The latest issue of Socialist Review has among other things a good analysis of the Euro-elections, one very worrying feature of which was the rise of Euro-fascist parties such as the Front National in France, but also others such as the German neo-Nazi NPD, Golden Dawn in Greece and Jobbik in Hungary amidst the continuing economic crisis.   After the last European elections in 2009, I raised the question of whether it was time to dust off the old slogan about whether it was the 1930s in slow motion.  Given classical fascism turned Europe into a dark continent within the living memory of many people, the fact that a fascist party got the majority of votes in the European elections in France while in Germany, a member of the neo-Nazi NPD was elected to the European parliament means the left cannot afford to be complacent about the danger posed here.  Given this, it is perhaps timely that Chris Bambery's 1993 article from International Socialism on Euro-fascism: the lessons of the past and current tasks is now available online at the Marxists Internet Archive. Though obviously twenty years old and written at a time when Euro-fascism was just emerging as a political current - and though the author's own politics have shifted - some would say degenerated - somewhat since writing this article in 1993, the piece still repays reading and provides a useful introductory historical overview of how the left and trade union movement tragically failed to stop classical fascist formations coming to power in the inter-war period through a combination of sectarianism, ultra-leftism, and liberalism - and why the method of the united front and mass activity against the Nazis as articulated by Leon Trotsky (and put into practice in formations such as the Anti-Nazi League in the 1970s in Britain and its successor Unite Against Fascism today) - remains a critical weapon if the left across Europe are going to block their rise today.

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Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Stand Up to UKIP launch statement

Stand Up to Ukip launch statement

The 2014 European Elections mark a watershed in British politics. UKIP is a right wing, racist, populist party which won over 27 percent of the vote; a staggering 4,352,051 people voted for them and they beat the three mainstream parties.

Ukip presents itself as an anti-establishment party and its leader, Nigel Farage, claims to be “a man of the people”. This is a lie. Ukip wants to introduce a flat rate of income tax of 31 per cent that means those on the starting and basic rate, will face huge tax increases. Ukip's deputy leader called for the privatisation of the NHS.

It has built up its electoral base by both presenting itself as a party opposed to the European Union, but more importantly by spreading poisonous lies and hatred towards migrants and Muslims.

We believe UKIP is a racist party. This may be something Farage and the party’s leadership is quick to deny. But in the run up to the European elections Ukip’s mask slipped. Ukip presents the anti-racist movement with a major problem—dragging British politics to the right.

Ukip is also a party of bigots, sexists, Islamophobes and homophobes.

The rise of Ukip has parallels with other far right and fascist parties, which are growing across Europe. In France the fascist Front National gained the biggest overall vote in the French European Elections. The PVV in the Netherlands, another racist populist party, came third and in Hungary the fascist Jobbik party came second.

Ukip received disproportionate media coverage prior to the elections and any party that received this level of coverage would have benefited at the polls. Although UKIP received a high vote, 65 percent of the population did not vote. The mainstream political parties must do more to engage these people and not chase the Ukip vote to avoid the danger of racism being normalised in British society.

Now is the time to make a stand against Ukip.

The lesson of history is that we need unity against the far right and racism. Stand up to Ukip is an umbrella organisation which believes women, trade unions, anti-racists, black, Muslim, Jewish, Christian, Hindu, Sikh, other faith communities, LBGT, young people, students and all good people,
must unite and stand up to Ukip, racism and bigotry.

Please join us.

Diane Abbott MP
Len McCluskey, Unite the Union General Secretary
Ken Livingstone, Mayor of London - 2000-2008
Owen Jones, Writer and Journalist
Sally Hunt, UCU General Secretary
Manuel Cortes, TSSA General Secretary
Ava Vidal, Comedian
Gerry Gable, Editor/ Publisher Searchlight Magazine
Hugh Lanning, Unite Against Fascism vice chair
Lindsey German, Convenor Stop the War Coalition
Leon Silver, president of the East London Central synagogue and steering group member, Tower Hamlets interfaith forum
Jo Cardwell, We Are Waltham Forest
Denis Fernando, Rainbow coalition against racism
Sean Hoyle, President Wessex Region RMT
Lisa Fletcher, Branch Chair Unite Community Portsmouth and District
Jon Woods, President Portsmouth TUC and Chair of Unison Portsmouth City Branch

To add your name to this statement, see here - cheers:

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