Histomat: Adventures in Historical Materialism

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

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Austerity and Socialist Strategy: Historical Materialism London conference 2015

As well as Marxism 2015, coming up in July, I may as well circulate this call for papers for Historical Materialism conference in London from 5-8 November.

The Old is Dying and the New Cannot Be Born: States, Strategies, Socialisms Twelfth Annual Historical Materialism Conference School of Oriental and African Studies, Central London, 5-8 November 2015

As austerity tightens its grip around the throats of the peoples of Europe, but also rears its ugly head in Brazil and elsewhere, we are forced to recognize that it is not the mere byproduct of the « economic crisis » but a political project in its own right, one whose aim is to deepen and consolidate the most uncompromising forms of neoliberal capitalism. It cannot be said that this project has hitherto been met with passivity, even if social movements of resistance have been mostly far from strong enough to halt its advance. Yet something is perhaps beginning to change, namely the emergence of counter-austerity projects that have pitched themselves at a political - even electoral or governmental - level. With all their weaknesses, hesitations and contradictions, the chinks of light in Southern Europe, amongst others, should compel Marxists to pose a whole series of 'old' strategic and theoretical problems in new garbs and new configurations, ​but perhaps also to retire some of our dear fetishes and shibboleths, and to experiment with forms and strategies adequate to our present. Among the themes that have returned to the agenda are: the relationship of movements and parties of the radical Left to states and governments; the need for a political response to how class power is enmeshed with forms of domination that have gender, race, imperialism or sexuality as their axes; possible « socialist » futures and the « transitional » mediations implied by them; the guiding dichotomies of left thought: reform and revolution, revolution and revolt, state and movement, parties classes and masses; the link between the limits to capital and the limits of politics.
At this year’s Historical Materialism Annual Conference in London, 5-8 November 2015, we would like to encourage papers on these and other topics, with a particular focus on Greece, Spain and Latin America as laboratories for these experiences and debates. Among the themes we would like to explore are:
  • Dual Power and Socialist Transition
  • Communisation, Accelerationism and their limits
  • Transitional Programme Redivivus?
  • The European Union as a Class Project
  • Greece and Spain as Laboratories of Change
  • Latin America - What Follows the Pink Wave?
  • Cultural and Aesthetic Representations of Crisis
  • What Is Populism?
  • The Reformist Hypothesis
  • Right-wing Strategies in the Crisis 
Other themes we would like to see are:
  • Nietzsche and Marxism (to celebrate the publication of Domenico Losurdo’s book on Nietzsche in the HM Book Series)
  • History and Actuality of the first four congresses of the Communist International
  • Social Reproduction
  • Race and Capitalism
  • Capitalism, Logistics and the Sea
  • The Legacy of Nicos Poulantzas and Left Eurocommunism
  • Capitalism and Global Inequality: Keynes or Marx?
  • Marxist Thought in the Arab World
  • China: Is the Miracle About to Crash?
  • « Leninism » and its Discontents
  • Strategies of Counter-Revolution
  • Culture and State Building
  • Rebuilding Communities and the Battles around Housing.
  • Technologies and Culture



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