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Capitalist Crisis

CAPITALIST CRISIS – LONDON CONFERENCE

Fundamentals of Political Economy – Weekend School, January 21-22

11am-5pm. Room 2b, University of London Union, Malet Street, London.  
£10 waged, £5 concessions.

Lots of time for questions and debate! All welcome!

MEETINGS INCLUDE:

Labour theory of value – Moshe Machover

Political economy and the state – Werner Bonefeld

Money and finance – Hillel Ticktin

Against Keynesianism – Mike Macnair

In 2008 the banks crashed. States round the world bailed them out by borrowing money. Inevitably, this did not get rid of the crisis but rather gradually transmuted it into a crisis of the creditworthiness of individual states: today the crisis of Eurozone state creditworthiness threatens a new bank melt-down (which may already have happened by the time of this weekend school).

The ‘solution’ demanded by governments and the media is austerity. Creditors – ‘savers’ – must not be made to accept the losses: the working class, both in and out of paid work, must do so. Predictably, the result is an economic downward spiral – as seen in Greece, but coming now to the rest of Europe.

The ‘Occupy’ movement has represented a cry of rage but not put forward a clear alternative. The broad left, including the far left, has committed itself to Keynesian ideas – that states should borrow more and spend more and hope by doing so to grow ‘their way out’ of the crisis.

Understanding the unfolding crisis and proposing real alternatives requires us to grasp Karl Marx’s critique of political economy. But while education in the basics of Marx’s ideas was commonplace on the far left in the 1970s, today it has withered away: there are academics and theorists who ‘do’ political economy, while left activists and groups ‘do’ only campaigns.

The Weekend School aims in a small way to contribute to beginning to overcome this gap in the education of the left. We are therefore seeking to address fundamentals rather than to tackle the analysis of the crisis directly.

This conference has been organized by the CPGB/‘Weekly Worker’ but it’s wide range of speakers makes it very interesting to anyone who wants to understand capitalism’s present crisis.

Go here for the full timetable: http://www.cpgb.org.uk/

**END**

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SOUTH AFRICA TODAY: HOW DO WE CHARACTERISE THE SOCIAL FORMATION?

The 2011 ILRIG April Conference
Community House, Salt River, Cape Town
29 and 30 April 2011

Since 2007 ILRIG has been hosting an annual conference in April, either on behalf of, or in partnership with, the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation. It is our intention to continue this tradition of conferences in April as an interface between critical analysts showcasing their work and activists in the labour and social movements debating the nature of the current juncture and strategic challenges facing our movements. In 2010 we looked at the causes and consequences of the global capitalist crisis and the possibilities for developing anti-capitalist alternatives.

In 2011 we have decided to call for papers and to invite participants on the question: how do we characterise the Social African social formation today?

2011 is the 17th year of the achievement of democracy in SA. But in that time, instead of the mass struggles of the 1970s; 1980s and early 1990s leading to radical transformation we have seen a decline in the extent and depth of those struggles and the triumph of a neo-liberal order. South Africa has joined the BRICS as an aspiring power, South African corporations have become global players, the composition of the ruling class is still overwhelmingly white and we are now the most unequal society in the world. At the same time we have an ex-liberation movement in government, carried there by the struggles of a black working class majority and with a ruling Alliance which includes the biggest trade union federation and a long standing Communist Party. More recently we have seen the rise of movements and community-based activists who have waged struggles quite relentlessly for some 5-10 years – serving as a source of optimism and renewal on the left and yet not galvanising into a social force capable of speaking in its own name, let alone challenging the neo-liberal order. We have also seen a readiness of some organised workers to strike and test the limits of the partnership that comprises the ruling tripartite Alliance.

Part of the many challenges facing activists today is characterising what the nature of the new order is in South Africa today – unlike in the apartheid period where the nature of that order was starkly apparent. This means that activists battle with the tension between the legitimacy of their cause and the legitimacy of the liberation credentials of the current government and its associated democratic institutions in the state.

On the left, in the broadest sense, this tension has been variously characterised as “a society carrying out transformation against residual apartheid forces”; a victim of global forces imposing neo-liberalism “from the North”; a developmental state; a natural consequence of a nationalist or a social democratic project triumphing over a more radical alternative; and even the triumph of neo-apartheid.

How do we characterise this social formation? What configuration of social forces led to this conjuncture and what are the strategic, programmatic and organisational consequences of taking one characterisation over another? How does one’s choice/s inform how one sees international solidarity in Africa and the wider world today?

The conference will consist of two components:
1. Inputs by speakers on the basis of draft papers submitted by interested activists and analysts – South African and international, and
2. Workshopped and parallel sessions in which ILRIG facilitators engage the issues raised
at facilitated sessions using educational methodologies

Themes:
1. The recent evolution of the capitalist class in SA, its relations to other capitals globally, its “racial” and gendered make-up; its mode of accumulation and its relation to the state
2. The recent evolution of the ANC, the changing social composition of its cadre, its relations to the state and to the capitalist class, and to the dominated classes.
3. The working class of SA today and its changing “racial” and gendered nature as well its re-composition across both the sphere of production and reproduction; its consciousness and struggles and how do these impact, or otherwise, on various organisations today.

To this end ILRIG is inviting papers from any interested person.

! Final papers must be submitted by 21 April 2011 Where possible, ILRIG will provide travel and accommodation for successful candidates. All communication must be directed to Russell Dudley ilrigaprilconference@gmail.com or 084-915 9709

Publication
After the Conference the papers will be published in an annual journal to be edited, published and distributed by the conference hosts.

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Eric Hobsbawm

ERIS HOBSBAWM ON HOW TO CHANGE THE WORLD

Professor Eric Hobsbawm in discussion on his latest book:

How to Change the World: Tales of Marx and Marxism.
7pm, Friday 25th February 2011.
Venue: Bishopsgate Institute, Liverpool Street.

In his major new work, Eric Hobsbawm addresses the history of Marxism in the 162 years since the publication of Marx’s Capital and assesses its continuing relevance as a challenge to capitalism.

This event is free but places are strictly limited. As we anticipate high demand we ask that you send your details to Stefan Dickers to confirm your place: Stefan.dickers@bishopsgate.org.uk

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Althusser

DÉCALAGES: AN ALTHUSSER STUDIES JOURNAL

http://scholar.oxy.edu/decalages/

I am pleased to announce the first issue of Décalages, an online peer-reviewed journal devoted to the work of Althusser and his circle: http://www.decalages.net  

montag@oxy.edu

About the Journal

Since the publication in 1965 of For Marx and Reading Capital, the work of Althusser has continued to provoke discussion, debate and controversy throughout the world. The posthumous publication of thousands of pages of texts and correspondence has not only led to an increased interest in the work of Althusser, it has altered our sense of both the scope and meaning(s) of his work. In addition to the late writings, the mass of material from the sixties and seventies gathered in the Fonds Althusser at the Institut Mémoire de l’Édition Contemporaine has deprived much—but not all—of the commentary of the seventies and eighties of its relevance and interest. At this point, the known Althusser is dwarfed by the unknown.  We feel that the time for a reconsideration of Althusser, free from the often sterile debates of the past, has come. It is possible and necessary to read Althusser, a different Althusser with a different oeuvre, in a new way.

At the same time we recognize that while it is standard practice to refer to Althusser in many disciplines, from film studies to sociology, there are few places to publish studies of Althusser’s texts themselves. It is for this reason that a very diverse group of scholars from different countries and disciplines came together to establish Décalages, an online peer-reviewed journal in which work focused on Althusser in the broadest sense—readings of his texts, as well as the texts of those who worked with him, comparative analyses, applications of his theory—would appear, thus encouraging debate and discussion. We would also provide space in every issue for reviews of the latest scholarship on Althusser. Finally we will include an archives section in which we will publish previously unpublished texts by Althusser.

Aims and scope

Our objective is to establish a global community of those working on Althusser. Every essay submitted will be carefully peer-reviewed not with the aim of imposing a single interpretation of Althusser, but precisely to strengthen the diversity of views and encourage discussion and debate.

For the present we seek articles in French, Spanish, Italian and English. We will also consider translating texts published in one of these languages into another language to make it accessible to a new audience. Anyone wishing to submit an article to be published in a language other than the four named above, should contact the editor prior to submission. In addition to receiving online submissions of articles, we are always interested in reviewing proposals for translations, reviews and special issues. Please contact the editor: montag@oxy.edu

Editor:
Warren Montag, Occidental College

Current Issue: Volume 1, Issue 1 (2010)

Review of Louis Althusser and the traditions of French Marxism
Matt Bonal

Recension à Jean-Claude Bourdin (coord.), Althusser : une lecture de Marx
Andrea Cavazzini

On the Cultural Revolution
Anonymous tr. Jason E. Smith [Attributed to Louis Althusser]

Sur la révolution culturelle
Anonyme [Attribué à Louis Althusser]

El Materialismo Tardío de Althusser y el Corte Epistememológico
Giorgos Fourtounis Tr. Aurelio Sainz Pezonaga

Escatologia à la cantonade. Althusser oltre Derrida
Vittorio Morfino

On the Emptiness of an Encounter: Althusser’s Reading of Machiavelli
Filippo Del Luchesse tr. Warren Montag

Il riconoscimento delle maschere. Soggettività e intersoggettività in 
Leggere «Il Capitale»
Cristian Loiacono

Zizek y Althusser. Vida o muerte de la lectura sintomática.
Mariana de Gainza

El Althusser Tardío: ¿Materialismo del Encuentro o Filosofía de la Nada?
Warren Montag tr. Aurelio Sainz Pezonaga

Mil Fisuras. Arte y Ruptura a partir de Althusser
Aurelio Sainz Pezonaga

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