Marxism

Description/Abstract of your Event: 

The midterm elections and the Mueller report have not (yet) succeeding in removing Donald Trump from the White House, much less in quashing the racist, xenophobic, misogynist, and authoritarian phenomenon known as Trumpism. Much of the organized “left,” busy pushing its own agenda, sits by as he destroys people and planet. What do we have to do now? In this session, panelists will provide Marxist-Humanist perspectives on the threats coming from Trumpism and from “leftists” who accommodate to it. Adam Plante, a young education activist, will argue that vigorous defense of liberal democracy, as well as a perspective to transcend it, are necessary preconditions for a freer and more just society. Brendan Cooney of Kapitalism101 (http://kapitalism101.wordpress.com) will challenge the view that economic populism is worthy of the title “Left,”as well as the claim that this populism can defeat Trumpism. Anne Jaclard, feminist and Marxist-Humanist, will contrast Karl Marx’s advocacy of social-economic revolution, brought about by rank-and-file workers and grassroots movements, to the “Left First” perspective of those who desire power for themselves and their organizations. By stifling the Resistance and other progressive movements they cannot control, the latter turn socialism into an unattainable abstraction. Andrew Kliman, a Pace University economist, will draw on Marx’s writings and activity around Irish independence and the US Civil War to argue that our first task is to crush Trumpism. Its humiliating defeat will help his “base” to free itself from the grip of reaction and to turn to independent, emancipatory self-activity. The speakers represent a diversity of age and gender. There will be ample time for dialogue among speakers and with the audience.

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Book launch: Presentation followed by discussion. The book being presented is Occult Features of Anarchism - With Attention to the Conspiracy of Kings and the Conspiracy of the Peoples: In the nineteenth century anarchists were accused of conspiracy by governments afraid of revolution, but in the current century various “conspiracy theories” suggest that anarchists are controlled by government itself. The Illuminati were a network of intellectuals who argued for self-government and against private property, yet the public is now often told that they were (and are) the very group that controls governments and defends private property around the world. Intervening in such misinformation, Lagalisse works with primary and secondary sources in multiple languages to set straight the history of the Left and illustrate the actual relationship between revolutionism, pantheistic occult philosophy, and the clandestine fraternity. Exploring hidden correspondences between anarchism, Renaissance magic, and New Age movements, Lagalisse also advances critical scholarship regarding leftist attachments to secular politics. Inspired by anthropological fieldwork within today’s anarchist movements, her essay challenges anarchist atheism insofar as it poses practical challenges for coalition politics in today’s world. Studying anarchism as a historical object, Occult Features of Anarchism also shows how the development of leftist theory and practice within clandestine masculine public spheres continues to inform contemporary anarchist understandings of the “political,” in which men’s oppression by the state becomes the prototype for power in general. Readers behold how gender and religion become privatized in radical counterculture, a historical process intimately linked to the privatization of gender and religion by the modern nation-state.

Location: 
NYC
Description/Abstract of your Event: 

Race, Class, Gender, and the University: Struggles within and beyond the Campus Walls The university under capitalism is a site of political unevenness and contradiction. While academia promotes an image of impartiality and liberality in terms of viewpoints, scholarship, and diversity, those who don’t adhere to the restricted parameters of institutionalized “neutrality” are often marginalized, slandered, and sometimes dismissed. Indeed, as Steven Salaita argues, “disinterest and objectivity” are more often aligned with ruling powers both within and outside the walls of the academy. While identitarian positioning is often encouraged, solidarity that challenges systems of racial and gendered oppression or that exposes the symbiotic relationships between academic knowledge-production and imperialism are systematically repressed. At this same time, the university--perhaps especially our austerity-prone public universities, which often serve 'majority minority' and working-class students-- still can provide fertile ground for radical thinking and new social connections with the potential to resist hegemonic capitalist regimes of 'divide and rule.' Accordingly, this panel seeks to discuss the intersections of race, class, and gender struggles that challenge the status-quo politics within the university, or that use the base of the university to challenge capitalism and imperialism beyond the campus walls. While we intend to address some of the limits of critique offered by institutionalized identity politics, primarily this panel will offer first-hand accounts and theorization of alternative models for radical social justice organizing within the university space, with a view towards building resistance beyond the confines of campus-oriented politics.

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While the feminist movement began in 1848, never before in American history, have women splayed such a critical role in the political, especially the large numbers of young women, that now embrace socialism. This is been especially evident in the midterm elections and we would go so far as to say the extent to which women, especially younger women mobilize politically will be the deciding factor in the Democratic nominee and perhaps the election. As Marxists, how do we understand the role of women thaat was frist examing by Marx and Engels and how feminisim has changed over tiime to where it has become a significant factor impelling the progress toward a postcapitalist society. This panel will explore Marxist, and neo-Marxist perspectives on feminism from a variety of perspectives, such as political economy, intersectionality and female subjectivity

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This roundtable explores the relationships between religion and socialisms in the past two hundred years, around the world, from the perspectives of history, theology and activist practice. In the 19th century Socialists and marxists across the United States and Europe were utopian Christians, Jews and pagans, who saw their socialism and religious beliefs as united. Later, in the twentieth century, socialism continued to inform the radical politics of Muslims, Buddhists and other traditions across Asia, Latin America and Africa. Across the world, socialism and religions have transformed one another. Most scholarly attention has been lavished upon secular socialist traditions. Yet, the historically significantly more popular and influential religiously inclined socialisms have not received a proportionate level of interest. Our panel remedies this gap, by exploring the multiplicities of religions and socialisms, asking: are religious socialisms really socialism? Are they really religion? Our panel suggests that while important, secular socialism has been the exception, not the rule. Historically, religious socialisms were the norm. Our panel recovers religious socialism as a living tradition that can and should inform our politics and ways of life.

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The German revolution of 1918-19 attempted to overthrow capitalism and establish a Socialist Republic. Unlike the Russian revolution a year earlier the German uprising ended in defeat. Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht, leading members of the young Communist Party of Germany, were murdered by reactionaries. What can we learn from this defeat in our struggle against capitalism? Come and discuss the way forward!

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What defines the capitalism system? How can we explain the dynamics of this global system and its enormous destructiveness - both of people's lives and the very ecology upon which we depend? Are workers still the potential gravediggers of the capitalist system? These are burning questions for our age. No wonder, then, that Marx's Capital, which takes up these issues, continues to excite debate and controversy 150 years after its publication. Joseph Choonara's guide, which aims to make Capital accessible to a new audience interested in socialist ideas, was first published to in the UK in 2017. Now, Haymarket books have made this work available to a US audience through a new edition of the book published this year. Join the author for a discussion of the contemporary relevance of Marx's greatest work.

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W.A.R Stories: Walter Anthony Rodney is a 2010 documentary film by Clairmont Chung which is a political and personal biography of the Guyanese revolutionary Walter Rodney who was assassinated in 1980. Cornell University's Africana studies dept gives this apt summary of the film: "It’s a story of a man who dedicated his life, and ultimately, gave his life in the struggle for equal rights and justice. He did so through his considerable intellectual gifts and actual grassroots involvement everywhere he went. The people who knew him weave a tale of how they related to him and him them. In the process we see the growth of their friend, brother, father, husband, his ideology and how that changed over the years from his coming of age in racially divided Guyana through the cold war, the Black Power Movement, Pan-Africanism, Caribbean independence, and the idea of self emancipation. " After the screening (1hr 27 mins), a brief discussion will be held on the implications of the film for contemporary Guyana and the wider Caribbean with the director Clairmont Chung, Robert Cuffy of the Socialist Workers Alliance of Guyana and Twinkle Paul of Guyana Trans United.

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Has America always been capitalist? Today, the US sees itself as the heartland of the international capitalist system, its society and politics intertwined deeply with its economic system. This book panel and discussion looks at the history of North America from the founding of the colonies to debunk the myth that America is 'naturally' capitalist. From the first white-settler colonies, capitalist economic elements were apparent, but far from dominant, and did not drive the early colonial advance into the West. Society, too, was far from homogeneous - as the role of the state fluctuated. Racial identities took time to imprint, and slavery, whilst at the heart of American imperialism, took both capitalist and less-capitalist forms. Additionally, gender categories and relations were highly complex, as standards of ‘manhood’ and ‘womanhood’ shifted over time to accommodate capitalism, and as there were always some people challenging this binary. In this context, this panel will discuss these themes in the context of the publication of the recent book: How America Became Capitalist: Imperial Expansion and the Conquest of the West.

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Today, many on the left salute Bernie Sanders, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and others seeking to revitalize and rebrand U.S. imperialism’s Democratic Party. Against this, those seeking to end capitalism’s many-sided oppression must reject the blind alley of tailing capitalist politicians. Only by fighting for the political independence of the working class can we chart a way forward. This International Women’s Day, three groups came together in a fusion that represents a step forging a nationwide revolutionary Trotskyist youth group for the first time in three decades. The Spokane (Washington) Marxist Group and the leadership of the Marxist Student Union at Central Connecticut State University fused with the Revolutionary Internationalist Youth, youth section of the Internationalist Group/ League for the Fourth International. This panel will focus on the role of Trotskyist youth and students in the fight for a revolutionary workers party to lead socialist revolution here and around the world, and reflect our work building support for union organizing drives by immigrant workers, solidarity with Ayotzinapa and the Mexican teachers strike, struggles against racist repression and fascist provocations, opposing the militarization of the universities, and on many other fronts.