Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Here's a little bit of an early bird call for those of you who are academics or academics-at-heart. Next September the Institute for Anarchist Studies in Britain will be holding a conference on 'Anarchism and Marxism'. Molly has to say that she has little interest in such things. Her opinions on the matter have only changed since the 1970s insofar as Marxism is no longer anything like a serious contender for power as it was then and is now very much a joke or an antiquarian curiosity. But I'll hold myself back for now before I travel down the road of lengthy denunciations of something that becomes more like the Flat Earth Society every day.. Here's the callout.

Conference On Marxism and Anarchism:
Is Black and Red Dead?
- Conference, University of Nottingham, 7-8/09/09
An academic conference organized and supported by the PSA Anarchist Studies Network, the PSA Marxism Specialist Group, Anarchist Studies, Capital & Class, Critique-Journal of Socialist Theory and Historical Materialism.(I can't help it. Here comes my hairball...gack,gack,gack- Molly)
Hosted By:
The Centre for the Study of Social and Global Justice
University of Nottingham
What is the political relevance of the ideological labels "anarchist" and "Marxist" in the contemporary geo-political climate? Despite recurrent crisis, the costs typically borne by the people, neoliberal capitalism continues to colonize the globe in a never-ending quest for profit and new enclosures. Meanwhile, an effective political response from the left to the wars, ecological destruction, financial collapse and social problems created by capital and state has so far failed to garner the widespread support and influence it needs. Indeed, the sectarianism of the left may well have contributed to this failure.(or maybe mindless sympathy and refusal to criticize anything that is fashionably "left" has ??????-Molly)
Still, despite fracture, there have always been borrowings across the left. Most recently, post-'68 radicalisms have contributed to a blurring of the divisions between the anarchist and Marxist traditions. Traditionally regarded as hostile and irreconcilable, many of these ideas find expression in the "newest social movements", taking inspiration from the Situationists, left communists, and social anarchist traditions. The anti-statist, libertarian currents within the socialist movement have repeatedly emerged during periods of acute political and economic crisis, from the council communists to revolutionary anarchism. Is this one such historical juncture in which dynamic reconciliation is not only welcomed but vital?
To rephrase the question, what can we learn from 150 years of anti-statist, anti-capitalist social movements, and how might this history inform the formulation of a new social and political current, consciously combining the insights of plural currents of anarchism and Marxism in novel historical junctures? Indeed, to what extent have these traditional fault lines been constitutive of the political imagination? The modern feminist, queer, ecological, anti-racist and postcolonial struggles have all been inspired by and developed out of critiques of the traditional parameters of the old debates, and many preceded them. So, to what extent do capital and the state remain the key sites of struggle?
We welcome papers that engage critically with both the anarchist and the Marxist traditions in a spirit of reconciliation. We welcome historical papers that deal with themes and concepts, movements or individuals. We also welcome theoretical papers with demonstrable historical or political importance. Our criteria for the acceptance of papers will be mutual respect, the usual critical scholarly standards and demonstrable engagement with both traditions of thought.
Please send 350 word abstracts (as word documents), including full contact details, to:Dr Alex Prichard (ESML, University of Bath):
Closing date for receipt of abstracts: 1st May, 2009
Dr David Berry,
Department of Politics, International Relations & European Studies, Loughborough University, LE113TU, GB
+44-(0)1509- 222988
Co-ordinator, Postgraduate Research
University & College Union, Loughborough University Branch
Association des Amis de Daniel Guérin
Reviews Editor, Anarchist Studies
Anarchist Studies Network

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