Guide to Marxism 2010

Harry’s Place gets seriously snarky about the upcoming Marxism 2010 conference in London sponsored by the Socialist Workers Party UK (who AFAIK aren’t speaking to the US Socialist Workers Party, which certainly demonstrates one of the points Harry’s Place is making)

If you’re planning on going to Marxism 2010, and trying to decide which meetings to attend, perhaps this will help you narrow the choices.

Who was Karl Marx?
A great man who, if he were brought back to life, would surely support the agenda of the Socialist Workers Party.

What makes you working class?
Don’t worry, even if you come from a rich family, attended top schools and get a relatively high-paying job in academia or media, you can still consider yourself working class.

The crisis – over or just beginning?
Just beginning, as it has been for the past 100 years or so.

Is fascism possible in the 21st century?
Yes, but only in Western or pro-Western countries.

Does the media control our minds?
Not our minds, of course, but everyone else’s minds.

Will theorizing about what dead communists wrote inexorably lead to the destruction of capitalism?
No, but it may lead to the formation of yet another exciting splinter group.

Ok, I made up that last one…

Seriously though, if you look at Marxism 2010 schedule, there is a decided absence of anything to do with the current economic crisis or, more specifically, how to organize to help workers keep their homes and find jobs. Shouldn’t that be a priority for the left? Start there, then move on to issues like imperialism, civil liberties, and Zionism once you’ve helped them and they trust you. But the left too often starts with those issues, which are remote to most people, and then wonders why no one appears to be listening outside of their little group.

  • Dave Riley

    The US local Marxists also include the ISO who run a well respected conference each year. One that should be mentioned in the light of this snide misrepresentation of these events:Socialism 2010.
    As for a Marxist take on the economy, try this excellent 10 minute video — RSA Animate – Crises of Capitalism — which features the Marxist geographer, David Harvey. In regard to workers and their jobs and houses, the largest of the left groups in the UK do have a reasonable level of activists in the trade unions there, so it is disingenuous to suggest that they are indifferent to such bread and butter issues or that they are without traction in that milieu. Working in trade unions or among un-unionised workers is a hard task in the light of what is probably the sway in the US of the Democrats and in the UK of the Labour Party.Here in Australia I have first hand experience of that so I know how shallow and inane are Bob’s whinges here.
    Here we are involved in a solar energy project under coop and workers control lines as a show piece for what could be done. We have also initiated a range of union run environment campaigns and member networks. We are also active in a wide range of unions and hold leadership positions in several of them.Other Marxist run a new union for the unorganised as indeed has our UNITE comrades in New Zealand who have been busting McDonalds balls for years.
    In Scotland, my friends there in the SSP do a lot campaigning for community housing and organise in the “projects” as standard approach to their work.
    The situation in the UK and here in Australia is different form the US as we do have a welfare state — still , but only just — and the projection of what should impact on working people does not replicate the US experience. So if I was going to be honest and run down the Marxist left, I’d do it closer to home and draw from my own direct experience rather than jumping up and down on the (albeit easy) target of the far off SWP and using red baiting a the means.
    The question of the economy is best monitored, I think, with a subscription to a US publication — Monthly Review — and if one wanted to consider the economy, reading the works of its editor — John Bellamy Foster — is a good beginning. .

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