The old is dying and the new cannot be born: states, strategies, socialisms

12th Annual Historical Materialism Conference

School of Oriental & African Studies
University of London
Thornhaugh Street,
Russell Square,
London

Thursday 5 to Sunday 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 by product 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.

Project Category
curated programme