Histomat: Adventures in Historical Materialism

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

Friday, May 24, 2013

Marxism 2013 timetable now online

The timetable for the Marxism 2013 Festival (11-15 July, central London) is now online -

'Whether it is arguing against the racist backlash, fighting for strikes against austerity, or explaining why the economy is still flatlining, Marxism Festival will be at the heart of these debates and you will find something relevant in the timetable' - there is also a discount for booking in advance.

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At 11:45 am, Anonymous Boxer said...

So Callinicos mocks Owen Jones for being in the Labour Party, then you get Peter Hain in to speak? Farcical!

At 12:56 pm, Blogger Snowball said...

Boxer - I don't quite understand your point I'm afraid.

Callinicos didn't 'mock' Jones for being in the Labour Party - he questioned Jones's Labourism as a political strategy that can defeat austerity and overcome capitalism. The SWP have always politically challenged Labourism as a political current - there is absolutely nothing new here.

However, because this is a key debate - perhaps the key debate - in the labour movement right now, we invited Jones to speak at Marxism this year - just as we always invite speakers from the Labour Party to speak. That a few of the regular Labour Party people that usually speak at Marxism this year like Jones seem to have decided not to (their choice, they were invited), doesn't mean that our position on Labour has somehow suddenly changed or it is 'farcical' that some people from the Labour Party (like Hain) are speaking this year.

Hain himself may not be on the Labour Left like Jones - but as an individual it should be remembered his relationship with the SWP goes back to not simply the anti-apartheid struggle, but also the Anti-Nazi League.

At 11:11 am, Blogger Adam Marks said...

Well, Alex Callinicos did rather shabbily refer to "Owen Jones an his like" in his batty defence of the SWP, misrepresenting Jones as a Labour shill. But, more recently, Socialist Worker described him as dancing to UKIP's tune by calling for a referendum on Britain's EU membership


which is odd, as it means he agrees with the SWP on that count


The main reason for the hostility toward Jones is he doesn't pay obeisance to the SWP's pretensions as a party, whereas Hain will.

At 2:49 pm, Blogger Snowball said...

Talk about attempts at petty point-scoring - is this where the ISN is headed?

Your argument doesn't even stand up - the SWP in recent times have always had the position of opposing the EU as a neo-liberal bosses project and saying if there was a referendum we would argue for a 'No' vote (ie to leave the EU). However, there is a difference in having this position in party policy - as the SWP does - and going out of your way to make this an issue in British politics by actually calling for a referendum (as Owen Jones has done recently). We think the EU is not the central issue in British politics - resisting austerity is.

UKIP etc want us all to forget about austerity and just lie back and think about England. All Socialist Worker pointed out is that by actually calling for a referendum is playing into the hands of the nationalist, racist Right. Surely you can see this difference?

Callinicos in fact has gone out of his way to praise Owen Jones, for example see this piece from Socialist Worker in April:

'Totally marginalised under Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, the Labour left has been one of the driving forces behind the swelling protest movement against the bedroom tax. Owen Jones has gained a prominence as a speaker and a writer that we haven’t seen since Tony Benn’s heyday in the early 1980s...'

We will continue to work with Owen Jones in all sorts of campaigns - eg UAF, Unite the Resistance etc - however where there seems to be a difference between the SWP and the ISN is that we are also prepared to be open about our disagreements with him and his politics as well in a fraternal manner - rather than risk giving people the illusion that his project of 'reclaiming Labour' for the Left is one that can work in the fight against austerity.

At 4:25 pm, Blogger Adam Marks said...

The SWP is opposed to the EU would call for people to vote to leave if there was a vote but would not call for a vote because THAT would play into the hands of the right...? It's not up to me to make you coherent. Perhaps it's dialectical. Who knows?

"We will continue to work with Owen Jones in all sorts of campaigns..."

Oh no you won't... And all this is beside the point. The SWP currently maintains a prickly, hostile attitude toward Owen Jones while rolling out the red carpet for Peter Hain, that is the truth.

At 6:07 pm, Blogger Snowball said...

Roobin - in the very post above this one, I highlighted a UAF meeting in central London on 3 June that had Owen Jones speaking at it - so it is perhaps just a little ridiculous to say we are no longer working alongside him...

At 12:54 pm, Blogger Adam Marks said...

There's nothing in the post above or below, but, anyway, you lot be nice to the anti-Leninist.


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