Thursday, November 01, 2012

Weighs Like a Nightmare - Historical Materialism - 9th annual conference

Has Marx been reanimated once again? From mainstream media to academia, this question hangs in the air. The old ghosts of revolution appear to be shaking off their shackles and getting agitated. What is this spirit?

Who are the militants haunting this ramshackle capitalism? Are these new spectres – stalking the streets of Syria, Tunisia and Egypt, Greece, Spain and Wall Street and beyond – direct descendants of socialist and communist ones? How does the past haunt the present? How might the present spook the future?

Whatever answers crop up, the old questions refuse to go away: What type of organisation is needed to sharpen the conflicts, if any? Who is the agent of history and change? Is the scope of political action national or international? What is the political value of alliances and fronts? Does history cunningly work a progressive path through and around the contingencies of struggle? Are the same mistakes to be made, the same failures repeated?

The ninth HM annual conference focuses on the returns and the persistence of political forms and theoretical problems, on the uses and abuses of the history of Marxism in this turbulent present and on the ways and forms in which an inheritance of various Marxist traditions can help us to organise and to act in this turbulent present.

The conference is organised around two plenary sessions (the Deutscher lecture by Jairus Banaji and the launch of the Socialist Register 2013), an HM plenary and panels in parallel sessions dedicated to specific themes and debates. The conference is self-funded and we will depend on voluntary donations by attendants and participants to support the organisation and running of the event. The suggested donation on the door is £75 for waged and £35 for unwaged.

For logistical and other support, Historical Materialism would like to thank the School of Oriental and African Studies. For their collaboration, thanks to the Faculty of Law and Social Sciences at SOAS, Brill Academic Publishers, the Deutscher Memorial Prize committee and Socialist Register.