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Daily Archives: November 29th, 2011




University of Amsterdam, May 10-13th, 2012

The aim of this conference is twofold: on the one hand, to analyse the role of the aesthetic in the writings of Marx and, on the other, to examine works of art and literature which are based on, or have been directly inspired by, Marx’s writings. At the core of this conference, then, is an attempt to think the immanent relation between the aesthetic and emancipatory conceptions of politics.

Previous attempts to make sense of Marx and Engels in terms of aesthetics have either been Marxist in a very broad sense – writing as productive force, aesthetic autonomy as critique of the commodity form, the critique of aesthetic ideologies etc. – or Marxological in a naïve sense i.e., merely assembling in one volume the stray comments on art and literature that pepper Marx’s and Engels’ writings. The problem with the first attempt is that it simply assumes that there is a prominent lacuna with respect to the aesthetic in Marx himself and that, therefore, Marxian grammar and vocabulary were in need of radical transformation. The failure of the second approach (although these attempts call for reconsideration in their own right, since they are now all about 40 years old) was that it restricted the understanding of “aesthetics” to statements dealing explicitly with art and literature.

Recent debates concerning the aesthetic (to be distinguished from aesthetics as a discipline), however, have allowed for a different understanding of the field. The aesthetic crosses disciplinary boundaries and cannot be restricted to specific subjects. The aesthetic is a form of thought in which a whole host of complex and interrelated issues are at stake: the orders of mind and matter, the disruptive dynamics of sense perception, expression and of metaphor, the logics of innovation and of “the event,” the indeterminate character of semiotic systems and so on. Aesthetics cannot, therefore, be restricted to art alone and does not even necessarily coincide with it. In other words, the aesthetic is in a constant state of “migration.” Authors like Nancy, Lacoue-Labarthe and Rancière, among others, have pointed out the way in which all radical attempts to theorize the political are profoundly dependent on figures of the aesthetic. The “aesthetico-political” has become a name for all aesthetic dynamics that cross (and confound) the hegemonic orders of reason and the established channels of perception.

Against this backdrop, the entire history of radical political thought must be reconsidered. Socio-philosophical and strategically political claims, which were never originally considered as aesthetic, e.g. Sohn-Rethel’s notion that “Communism is the overcoming of the separation between intellectual and manual labor,” now appear in a new light. 
The texts of Marx himself have not yet been sufficiently interpreted and reconstructed in these terms. And yet in these writings innumerable figures of the aesthetic are, so to speak, at work. From notions of an “aesthetics of production” to the “poetry of the future”, from the radical modernism of bourgeois development to the very idea of “free association,” from references to Shakespeare and Dante in the original texts as well as in important translations, to the idea that bourgeois politics is nothing but a theatrical stage, the aesthetic has an undeniably prominent place in Marx’s thought.

Conversely, Marx’s work has also become extremely rich “raw material” for artistic production. From theatre works on Capital to the Chinese attempt to stage this text as an opera, from Sergej Eisenstein’s and Alexander Kluge’s attempts to make a film of Capital to Rainer Ganahl’s reading seminars, from the work of Zachary Formwalt and Milena Bonilla to that of Phil Collins: these artists are producing Marx as an “aesthetic event.”

In short, in Marx the aesthetic and the political are immanently related: this conference aims to explore how.

Possible topics include, but are by no means limited to the following:

– Aesthetic Production in the Early Writings

– Marx and Engels as Historians of Literature

– Modernism in the Manifesto

– Aesthetico-Political Associationism

– Aesthetic Form and Commodity Form

– Marx’s Method and the “Aesthetic Regime of Art”

– Revolutionary Shakespeare

– Monsters and Ghosts

– Eisenstein, Kluge and the Cinematography of Capital

– Staging Capital (Opera, Theatre)

– Brecht’s Communist Manifesto

– Images of Marx in Painting and Sculpture

– The Beauty of Communism

Confirmed Speakers

Keynote: Boris Groys (NYU)

Keynote: Terrell Carver (University of Bristol)

Keynote: Jochen Hörisch (Universität Mannheim)

Keynote: Kristin Ross (NYU)

Ruth Sonderegger (Akademe der Bildenden Künste, Wien)

Sven Lütticken (Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam)

Kati Röttger (Universiteit van Amsterdam)

Josef Früchtl (Universiteit van Amsterdam)

Helmar Schramm (Freie Universität, Berlin)

Clint Burnham (Simon Fraser University,Vancouver)

Gary Teeple (Simon Fraser University,Vancouver)

Confirmed Artists:

Rainer Ganahl

Phil Collins

Zachary Formwalt

Milena Bonilla


‘I believe in the afterlife.

It starts tomorrow,

When I go to work’

Cold Hands & Quarter Moon, ‘Human Herbs’ at: (recording) and (live)

‘Maximum levels of boredom

Disguised as maximum fun’

Cold Hands & Quarter Moon, ‘Stagnant’ at: (recording) and (live, at the Belle View pub, Bangor, north Wales)  

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Frances Fox Piven


“Occupy Together” with Frances Fox Piven

Haymarket Books, the Brooklyn College / CUNY Graduate Center for Worker Education, and WorkingUSA present a Haymarket Forum with Frances Fox Piven, Saturday, December 3 at 2 pm, just blocks from Occupy Wall Street at 25 Broadway on the 7th Floor — just opposite the Wall Street bull. 
Train: 4,5 to Bowling Green; J,Z to Broad; R to Rector; 1 to Rector

This event is free and open to the public. ID required to enter building.

Piven will discuss the war on the poor, the history of protest movements, and the new possibilities of the Occupy movement.

For more information:

Frances Fox Piven’s work reflects a preoccupation with the uses of political science to promote democratic reform.  Piven is a scholar-citizen, equally at home in the university and in the world of politics.

Her Regulating the Poor, co-authored with Richard Cloward, is a landmark historical and theoretical analysis of the role of welfare policy in the economic and political control of the poor and working class.  First published in 1972 and updated in 1993, it is widely acknowledged as a social science classic. She also co-authored Poor Peoples’ Movements (1977) which analyzes the political dynamics through which insurgent social movements  sometimes compel significant policy reforms.  Piven and Cloward’s The New Class War (1982, updated 1985), The Mean Season (1987), and The Breaking of the American Social Compact (1997) traced the historica l and political underpinnings of the contemporary attack on social and regulatory policy.  In Why Americans Don’t Vote (1988; updated as Why Americans Still Don’t Vote in 2000) they analyzed the role of electoral laws and practices in disenfranchising large numbers of working class and poor citizens, and the impact of disenfranchisement on party development. And in 1992, Piven edited Labor Parties in Postindustrial Societies.  In The War at Home, Piven examines the domestic causes and consequences of the foreign wars launched by the Bush administration.  Most recently, in Challenging Authority (2006), she develops a theoretical perspective on the interplay of social movements and electoral politics in American political development. In 2009, she published Keeping the Black Vote: Race and the Demobilization of American Voters, an examination of voter suppression in American politics, with her co-authors Lorraine C. Minnite and Margaret Groarke.

Piven’s accomplishments as a scholar are intertwined with her political reform efforts.  She collaborated with the late George A. Wiley, the leader of the 1960s welfare rights movement in the United States, and developed the strategy that led to a liberalization of welfare in the 1960s.  These reforms resulted in a major reduction in extreme poverty, and also precipitated the current furor in the U.S. over “welfare reform.”  She was a founder in 1983 of Human SERVE, an organization that promoted the idea that if citizens were allowed to register to vote when they apply for aid from government programs or for drivers licenses, historic administrative encumbrances on the right to vote could be overcome.  Human SERVE’s approach was incorporated in the National Voter Registration Act of 1993, popularly known as the “motor voter bill.”

Piven was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters at Adelphi University in l985, annd at St. Rose College in 2000; a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1973 and of a Council of Learned Societies Fellowship in 1982.  She has held visiting professorships in various European countries, including a Fulbright Distinguished Lectureship at the University of Bologna in 1990.  She has been both Co-chairperson of the Annual Program and Vice-president of the American Political Science Association, as well as Vice-president and President of the Society for the Study of Social Problems.  She chairs the Editorial Committee of the Board of the New Press. She was the 2007 President of the Ameri can Sociological Association.

Winner of the 1972 C. Wright Mills Award of the Society for the Study of Social Problems, Piven also received the Eugene V. Debs Foundation Prize in 1986 for “published work which evidences social vision and commitment to social justice.”  In 1991, she was the recipient of the Lee/Founders Award of the Society for the Study of Social Problems for “distinguished career-long contributions to the solution of social problems;” in 1993, she received the President’s Award of the American Public Health Association; in 1994, for her work in the field of voter registration reform, she received the 1994 Annual Award of the National Association of Secretaries of State, and a year later the Tides Foundation Award for Excellence in Public A dvocacy. In 1995 she was the first recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award of the Political Sociology Section of the American Sociological Association; in 1998 she received the Mary Lepper Award from the Womens’ Caucus of the American Political Science Association. In 2000 she received the American Sociological Association’s Distinguished Career Award for the Practice of Sociology; in 2001 she was the recipient of the Distinguished Career Award of the Council on Social Work Education; in 2003 she was awarded the American Sociological Associations Award for the Public Understanding of Sociology; and in 2004 she received the Charles E. McCoy Lifetime Achievement Award from the New Political Science Section of the American Political Science Association.


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Battle in Seattle


This is the second call for papers for the 2012 Midwest Labor and Working-Class History (MLWCH) Graduate Student Colloquium, to be held in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on February 17 and 18, 2012.

Paper proposals are due by December 1, 2011; completed papers are due by January 9, 2012.

Many thanks
Dawson Barrett
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

***Call for Papers***

* *

*Power & Struggle:  An Interdisciplinary Graduate Student Colloquium*

* *

*2012 Midwest Labor and Working-Class History (MLWCH) Graduate Student

*University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee*

*February 17 & 18, 2012*

(Paper Proposals by December 1, 2011, and Completed Papers by January 9, 2012)

From the occupation of the Wisconsin State Capitol in February and March to Occupy Wall Street and a general strike in Oakland, California, 2011 has been a break-through year for American protest movements.  These events demand a new look at “histories from below,” particularly struggles against neo-liberalism and global capitalism in its various forms.

Organizers of the 2012 Midwest Labor and Working-Class History Graduate Student Colloquium (MLWCH) are soliciting papers of approximately twenty-five pages broadly related to the following themes: the study of work and working people, labor history, rank-and-file workers, direct action, nonviolence, grassroots organizing, alternative and industrial unionism, labor law, movements for social justice, radicalism, anti-racism, liberation theology and the prison industrial complex.  We also welcome papers that explore innovative approaches to the practice of working-class history.

* *

Of particular interest are papers that critique, and suggest new directions for, various sub-disciplines related to working-class history, labor scholarship, or historiographies of peoples’ struggles; papers that draw upon historical or contemporary movements that have challenged neoliberal labor policies and practices; those that examine transnational workers’ or peoples’ struggles against global capitalism in its various forms; those that draw upon culturally specific or coded understandings (gender, race, ethnicity, etc.) of interactions with capital; and those that analyze working-class artistic expressions (visual art, music, etc.).

All events, including a keynote panel on political struggles in Wisconsin and beyond, will be open to the public, and we encourage attendance from a wide array of scholars, activists, teachers, citizens, and students.

Please direct paper proposals, CVs, and questions regarding the conference, travel, and lodging accommodations to:


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World Tensions/Tensôes Mundiais/Tensiones Mundiales Journal

CALL FOR PAPERS: The Political Economy of Natural Disasters

The history of our planet has been punctuated by disasters such as tsunamis, hurricanes, earthquakes, flooding and nuclear incidents. Corporate media deal with these phenomena through sensationalism, attributing to nature the tragic consequences of what is often the result of human action: the villain is nature. Such a perspective avoids consideration of capitalist development in shaping natural disasters. The takeover of ancestral lands and displacement/removal of indigenous peoples to make way for hydroelectric plants in the Americas or Africa rarely gain the  attention and scrutiny of global news outlets.

This recent “decade of disaster” has given rise to a new scholarly literature on the effects of environmental crisis and catastrophe; how they are represented through the global media, neoliberal political and economic structures; and a growing consensus on the reality of climate change. In other words, these events bring into sharp relief the relationships between economic and ecological crisis, social and environmental injustice, and questions of how we are to live amidst uncertainty and ecological change.

Understanding the political economy of natural disasters draws attention to two pressing realities. The first is the need to resituate environmental “disaster” not as a series of external events or “shocks” as Naomi Klein (2007) calls them, but as part of a continuous and ongoing crisis. This idea is informed by Klein’s notion of disaster capitalism: a predatory scheme that “uses the destruction and fear created by catastrophe to engage in radical social and economic engineering.” The broad insight from Klein’s “shock doctrine” is that natural disasters can be mobilised to generate “superprofits” that perpetuate ongoing displacement and situated vulnerabilities for communities that are in harm’s way. The second reality is the need to think critically about what is “natural” about natural disasters. Historical materialist perspectives emphasise historically entrenched social and economic vulnerabilities that are often hidden in the spectacle of extreme “acts of nature” (Davis 1999). The political economy of natural disasters focuses on the relationship between uneven development and social disinvestment, neoliberal economic policies, environmental pollution and destruction, how these amplify social and ecological crises in particular places and how they impact upon livelihoods, ways of life and the biosphere.

In this issue of TM, we wish to examine the relationship nature-society, establishing the close ties between these “natural disasters” and the multifaceted processes of the construction of nationalities. Nations are consolidated through struggle and occupation of territory. In this sense, clinging to the “homeland” is one of the formative elements of national sentiment, cultivated in the hymns that exalt natural wealth, the beauty of the country, or the greatness of the territory, however small and devoid of resources it may be. The construction of nationalities is therefore often predicated on colonial and capitalist understandings of nature that view it as an economic (or aesthetic) resource.  The political economy of natural disasters lies at the heart of conflicts over resources within nation states and within the increasingly problematic terrain of environmental crises that transcend national borders. We aim to open up the discourse of disaster to critical analysis and debate.

Therefore we seek theoretically informed and historically situated papers that explore the practices of power and resistance that emerge out of (and against) the contingencies associated with “natural” disasters. We welcome contributions that approach the topics from a variety of disciplines. Areas of interest may include:

  • The political economy of disaster capitalism
  • The neoliberalisation of nature: resource conflicts, mining
  • Indigenous knowledge and land rights
  • Indigenous resistance to capitalist expansion
  • Urban planning and demography under capitalism and natural disasters
  • What is natural about natural disasters?
  • Environmental and climate justice in cities and regions
  • Political economy, natural disasters and the media
  • Environmental crisis, risk and vulnerability
  • Living in the aftermath of environmental disasters
  • Continuous crisis: rethinking the discourses and politics of environmental disaster
  • Political ecologies of disaster: poverty, environmental transformation and uneven development
  • Alternative knowledges and practices: resisting the contingencies of disaster capitalism
  • Legislation, international agreements and environmental policies

Articles and book reviews can be submitted using the guidelines available at

For a PDF copy of the CFP, or further information, please contact one of the issue editors in the language indicated:

Taeli Gómez (for Spanish)

Sandy Grande (for English)

Francisco Amaro Gomes (for Portuguese)

Para la convocatoria en castellano, favor comunicarse con Taeli Gómez 


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Rosa Luxemburg


2:00-4:00 PM
Westside Pavilion, Community Room A
Corner of Pico and Westwood Boulevards, Los Angeles
Community Room A is on 3rd floor, behind food court
Free parking – first 3 hours


Mansoor M., Iranian cultural worker

Greg Burris, radical film critic just returned from the Middle East

Kevin Anderson, author of Marx at the Margins

The Arab revolutions of 2011 have helped to touch off a global upheaval against neoliberal capitalism and for democracy. This meeting will reflect upon the events of the past year and prospects for the future of the burgeoning anti-capitalist movement.

Sponsored by West Coast Marxist-Humanists, an affiliate of the International Marxist-Humanist Organization

More information:




“‘Occupy Wall Street’ Goes Global”
November 7, 2011

Greg Burris, “Between Barbarisms: The Arab Spring, Marx, and the Idea 
of Revolution”

October 28, 2011
Richard Abernethy, “Red Rosa and the Arab Spring”

October 23, 2011
Dyne Suh, “Until We Are All Abolitionists: Marx on Slavery, Race, and Class”

October 22, 2011
Kevin Anderson, “On the Dialectics of Race and Class: Marx’s Civil War Writings, 150 Years Later”

October 21, 2011
Sam F., “Occupy Wall Street: The October 5 Demonstration”

October 9, 2011
Kevin Anderson, “Persian Translation of ‘Arab Revolutions at the Crossroads’”

October 8, 2011
Sam Friedman, “Two Poems on Occupy Wall Street”

October 7, 2011
International Marxist-Humanist Organization, “Greetings to the Iranian Left Alliance Abroad”

September 30, 2011
Peter Hudis, Jacqueline Rose, Chris Cutrone, and David Black,  “Did Rosa Luxemburg Take Back Her Critique of the Russian Revolution? — A Debate”

September 10, 2011
Yassin Ali Haj Saleh, “The Syrian ‘Common’: The Uprising of the Working Society

August 14, 2011
The Letters of Rosa Luxemburg, edited by Annelies Laschitza, George Adler, and Peter Hudis – Links to reviews in Jewish Review of Books and elsewhere

Marx at the Margins: On Nationalism, Ethnicity, and Non-Western Societies, by Kevin Anderson – Links to reviews in Political Studies Review and elsewhere

U.S. MARXIST-HUMANISTS IS PART OF THE INTERNATIONAL MARXIST-HUMANIST ORGANIZATION. The IMHO seeks to work out a unity of theory and practice, worker and intellectual, and philosophy and organization. We aim to develop and project a viable vision of a truly new, human society that can give direction to today’s many freedom struggles. We ground our ideas in the totality of Marx’s Marxism and Raya Dunayevskaya’s body of ideas and upon the unique philosophic contributions that have guided Marxist-Humanism since its founding in the 1950s.


U.S. Marxist-Humanists –

The Hobgoblin Collective, UK –


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The London Conference in Critical Thought

Birkbeck College, London

June 29th and 30th, 2012

In collaboration with the Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities, the London Conference in Critical Thought (LCCT) is designed to create a space for an interdisciplinary exchange of ideas for scholars who work with “critical” traditions and concerns. We welcome work from the humanities and social sciences, including but not limited to papers drawing upon continental philosophy, critical legal theory, critical geography and the Frankfurt School. The LCCT aims to provide an opportunity for those who frequently find themselves at the margins of their department or discipline to engage with other scholars who share theoretical approaches and interests. Interdisciplinary and inter-institutional, the conference hopes to foster emergent critical thought and provide new avenues for critically orientated scholarship and collaboration.

Scholars working in philosophy, literature, geography, law, art, and politics departments have already proposed panels and/or streams for the conference. These address issues as diverse as animality, sovereignty, human rights, cosmopolitanism, the city, and the relationship between text and space. Through these streams participants are encouraged to engage with a variety of thinkers including Kant, Deleuze, Marx, Lacan, Foucault, Spinoza and Derrida, to name a few.

If you would like to present a paper as part of an existing stream/panel, propose a new stream/panel or contribute to the general stream please see our website for details. The deadline for stream proposals is the 15th of January, 2012, and the deadline for paper proposals is the 19th of February, 2012. The conference will be open for registration as of April 2012 and is free for participants.

The London Conference in Critical Thought is co-hosted by the Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities for the inaugural year of 2012.




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Second Annual Radical Democracy Conference

Call for Papers

New York City

Co-hosted by Columbia University and the New School for Social Research

April 5-6, 2012, New York, NY

Paper Abstracts and Panel Proposal Submission Deadline: January 20

Notification Date: February 10

Full Papers Deadline: March 19

The Department of Politics at The New School for Social Research, in collaboration with the Institute of Comparative Literature and Society at Columbia University, is sponsoring a two-day graduate student conference interrogating the concept, history, practices and implications of radical democracy. We strive to assess its legacy from antiquity to contemporary radical democratic theory, as well as explore the work of contemporary theorists such as Abensour, Arendt, Castoriadis, Mouffe, Negri, Rancière, and Wolin.

We invite you to submit abstracts on any theme pertaining to the history, meaning, development and application, or critique of the concept of “radical democracy;” we also encourage discussions about methodology and the study of radical democratic movements.  

We look for paper submissions that touch upon any of the themes listed below. In addition, we strongly encourage complete panel proposals with up to four papers; as well as papers exploring other relevant and related topics.

-Indigenous Democratic Movements

-Promises, limits and critiques of the concept of radical democracy

-Philosophical foundations of radical democracy 

-Technology and the mediums of (radical) democracy

-Consensus building/agonistic democracy

-Engendering radical democracy: race, ethnicity, gender and sexuality

-Philosophy of community

-Contemporary radical social struggles

-Comparative approaches to democracy

-Radical democracy and anarchism/Communism

-Radical Democracy and neo-republicanism

-Exploring the relationship between radical democracy and key concepts in political theory such as: participatory/direct democracy; agency and autonomy; state and nation; capitalism; imperialism; anarchy and authority, dictatorship and tyranny; sacrifice and violence; revolution and reform

Interested participants should submit a one-page abstract (maximum 300 words) that includes institutional affiliation, academic level, and contact information by Monday, January 20.

You will receive a notification of our decision by Friday, February 10. Full conference papers will be due by Monday, March 19.

Please submit your abstract at

For more information about the conference, please visit our Web site at


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