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Battle of Ideas Festival, an annual event organised by the Institute of Ideas and taking place at the Royal College of Art, London on October 30-31. Over the course of a weekend over 2,000 people will be taking part in over 75 different debates involving hundreds of incisive and thought-provoking speakers.

Hilton reading Postone


This year’s festival includes strands of debates on medical ethics, social policy, scientific evidence and the battle for the past, and keynote debates on trust in an age of cynicism, whether the public is engaged or imagined, the economic and cultural future of the West, the promise and risks of engineering the future, the rights and wrongs of social justice, and what it means to be a liberal today, as well as many more discussions on current themes in the arts, science, health, parenting, education, design, fashion, international relations, religion and secularism, sport and everyday life.

Speakers include: David Aaronovitch columnist; Sarah Churchwell academic; Frank Furedi professor of sociology, University of Kent, Canterbury; Anil Gupta professor, Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad; John Harris professor of bioethics; Bettany Hughes broadcaster; Virginia Ironside agony aunt; Wendy Kaminer US-based writer on liberty; Irma Kurtz writer; Norman Lebrecht cultural commentator; Paul Mason broadcaster; Gáspár Miklos Tamás Hungarian philosopher and dissident; Brendan O’Neill editor, spiked; Tim Parks novelist; Fred Pearce author; Anthony Seldon author and master, Wellington College; Roger Scruton philosopher; Dr Richard Smith author; Tarun J Tejpal Indian journalist and novelist; Professor Sir Mark Walport director of the Wellcome Trust; David Willetts MP Science Minister; David Yelland former editor, The Sun; Peter York cultural commentator; and many more. Click here for a full list.

Martin Wolf, chief economics commentator at the Financial Times, said the Battle of Ideas is: ‘a unique opportunity to learn from vigorous exchanges among some of the world’s best-informed and most provocative people’ and the neuroscientist Professor Colin Blakemore called his experience, ‘adrenaline for the mind. A chance for intellectual fisticuffs with some of the best-known and most stimulating thinkers in the world.’

Visit: to view this year’s entire festival programme, including an expanded programme of national and international Satellite events, as well as carefully selected readings for each session, specially commissioned Battle in Print essays on selected themes, and videos of previous years’ sessions. The festival brochure can also be downloaded as a PDF document.

** School students aged 16-18 are able to attend a day of the festival for free (the second day costing only £10). There are also a limited number of HALF PRICE Student Champion tickets, allowing university students full access to the weekend festival for just £25. Click here to purchase discounted tickets.**

Tickets are available through online booking, or by phone: 0207 269 9220.

If you know anyone who you think would be interested in this, please do forward this email on to friends and colleagues.

Best wishes



Claire Fox: Director, Institute of Ideas, Signet House, 49-51 Farringdon Road, London EC1M 3JP, 020 7269 9220, 020 7269 9223 (direct):;;


‘I believe in the afterlife.

It starts tomorrow,

When I go to work’

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

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King’s College London Reading Capital Society

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1) Next session: ‘Money’

Following a fascinating session discussing the fetishism of commodities, the Reading Capital group asks…

What is money? Where does it come from? What makes certain commodities suitable as money? Could we live without it?

Joseph Choonara, former deputy-editor of International Socialism Journal ( uk), will introduce a discussion on:

‘Money or the Circulation of Commodities’.

Monday 23rd November ’09 (NOTE CHANGE OF DATE): 6pm F-WB Room 2.43, Waterloo Campus, King’s College London

“It is not money that renders commodities commensurable. Just the contrary. It is because all commodities, as values, are realised human labour, and therefore commensurable, that their values can be measured by one and the same special commodity, and the latter be converted into the common measure of their values, i.e., into money. Money as a measure of value, is the phenomenal form that must of necessity be assumed by that measure of value which is immanent in commodities: labour-time.” (Marx)

All welcome – whether you have been reading Capital or just want to drop in for the talk – we aim to be accessible to all.

(Those wishing to read in advance should make their way to Chapter 3!)

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2) Martin Wolf & Alex Callinicos Debate:

If you haven’t already, you can watch the event:

Alex Callinicos: com/watch? v=k6CZAQvAMaY

Martin Wolf: com/watch? v=AXKqqgwAIeI

Questions & Answers: com/watch? v=hYpHLnlUrFg

or download the audio from:
http://rapidshare. com/files/ 302959451/ Wolf_Callinicos_ Full_Audio. wav
and a Palantypist’ s transcript:
http://rapidshare. com/files/ 305646664/ CallinicosWolf02 1009wholedebate. rtf

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3) Chris Harman – 1942-2009

The Reading Group was deeply saddened to learn of the death of Chris Harman. Only two weeks ago, Chris gave a brilliantly accessible introduction to the first chapter of Capital for the Reading Group. That he was able to make the most abstract and difficult part of Capital so unfailingly concrete is a testament to the power and clarity of his thought. He will be greatly missed. 2009/nov/ 09/chris- harman-obituary

http://www.socialis uk/art.php?

Chris’s session for the Reading Group:
http://rapidshare. com/files/ 299965681/ Chris_Harman_ 27Oct2009. mp3

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KCL Reading Capital

Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

The Flow of Ideas:

Capitalist Crisis

Capitalist Crisis



The Future of Capitalism: Alex Callinicos & Martin Wolf Debate

Around 300 people attended the debate between Alex Callinicos & Martin Wolf on Monday 2nd November.

The Great Hall was absolutely full, and many more watched via a video to an overflow lecture room.

If you missed out, you can watch the event:

Alex Callinicos:

Martin Wolf:

Questions & Answers:

Or download the audio from:

Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

The Flow of Ideas:







King’s College London Reading Capital Society
September 29th 2009

What are the origins of the current economic crisis? What is the future for capitalism? Mainstream neo-liberal economics presents us with very few satisfactory answers to these questions. For this reason many people are now looking again at the works of Karl Marx and his critique of capitalism.

The Reading Capital Movement is a fortnightly seminar organised by students discussing the main issues & themes raised in Karl Marx’s work Das Kapital.

It brings together students from across a range of disciplines and intellectual backgrounds to introduce and debate ideas about the work.

The group is open to anyone with an interest in finding out more about Marx’s work.

So welcome to all those who’ve just joined us and welcome back to those who were involved last year. We had a very successful launch last January of over 60 people and a group of about 20 of us began reading and discussing throughout the second semester.

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1) Re-launch with Ben Fine:

This year the group is very lucky to be re-launching with a talk by Professor Ben Fine from SOAS (co-author of “Marx’s ‘Capital'”) on:

Why read Capital? Marx in the 21st Century

Tuesday October 13th 2009, 6pm, Room 2.42, F-WB Building, Waterloo Campus, King’s College London

All welcome – no matter whether you are simply interested in Marx or have some tough questions about Marxist economics.

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2) Join Reading Capital @ KCLSU:

Also please join the society officially at:

This will enable us to keep booking meetings, getting great speakers and to develop a lending library that will be a fantastic resource for the group.

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3) The Future of Capitalism:

We are very pleased to be able to announce that Reading Capital will be co-hosting a debate on the Future of Capitalism with the KCL Business Club.

Martin Wolf (chief economic commentator, Financial Times) will be debating Alex Callinicos (author of ‘Revolutionary ideas of Karl Marx’ & Professor of European Studies at KCL) about the roots of the current economic crisis and the prospects for capitalism as a whole.

Put the details in your diary now:
The Future of Capitalism
A Public Debate
Alex Callinicos & Martin Wolf

Monday 2nd November, 6:30pm, Great Hall, King’s College, London

We will send out more details closer to the event.

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And finally …

The KCL Reading Capital group was inspired by a Reading Group initiated by the Marxist geographer David Harvey at CUNY (New York) – videos of these seminars can be seen online at:

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The Future of Capitalism 


The Financial Times today has a special magazine on The Future of Capitalism. Leading economic analysts, journalists and academics discuss this question in light of the current crisis of capitalism.


Contributors include:

Lionel Barber, Gary Becker, Larry Fink, Chrystia Freeland, Alan Greenspan, Francesco Guerrera, Paul Kennedy, Nigel Lawson, Kishore Mahbubani, Kevin Murphy, Edmund Phelps, Amartya Sen, Robert Shiller, Sir Martin Sorrell, Joseph Stiglitz, and Martin Wolf.


The Financial Times also has a web site on ‘The Future of Capitalism’, at:



Glenn Rikowski

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The Ockress: