Sunday, September 27, 2009
"New Marxian Times," Seventh Annual Conference, Rethinking Marxism, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, November 5-8, 2009.
Update: The programme is here: http://pervegalit.files.wordpress.com/2009/09/rethinking-marxism-program.pdf. Original Post (August 17, 2009): 'New Marxian Times' is dedicated to exploring the possibilities and challenges of Marxism for understanding and engaging with the contemporary world. Neoliberal capitalism, long criticized by Marxists and others on the Left, is now going through its own long-term economic and social crises. What new possibilities do these crises create for Marxist and other progressive ideas and visions? How does Marxism, and left-wing thought more generally, need to be rethought to respond to these challenges? Decades of declining real wages with rising levels of exploitation and economic inequality, increasingly unaffordable energy costs, and a loss of the illusion of middle-class status characterize large parts of the world, in the North as well as the South. Declining state support for social welfare programs, privatization and deregulation, record levels of migration of people, growing urban slums, and increasingly authoritarian state interventions in the lives of ordinary citizens have become the norm in the past two decades. Concurrently, multiple environmental crises (from climate change and global warming to increasing food insecurity, water shortages and health challenges) have been receiving increased attention. From the anti-elite sentiments expressed in response to the bailout of the financial industries to emerging anti-immigrant and nationalist efforts and ethnic and religious-based movements, average people are feeling both angrier and more insecure in response to current conditions. And the elites have few if any answers to the economic and social crises that beset the existing national and international orders. Perhaps coalescing in the financial crisis acknowledged in the autumn of 2008, these dynamics represent both a significant crisis for currently constituted capitalism and modes of governance as well as a set of challenges and possibilities for all of us concerned with working towards a non-exploitative and more equitable world. In that light, we are seeking intellectual, political, and cultural works that address the possible contributions that Marxist ideas and forms of analysis can make in responding to the challenges of these new times. Human rights, democracy, environmental concerns, new organizing movements in South America and elsewhere throughout the globe, the growth of social activisms represented as anarchist, anti-imperialist, or in response to globalization, workers subjectivities and movements, contradictions within emerging and transitional economies, emergent nationalisms, and debt and the credit crises all represent possible areas for contributions to new thinking about the role of Marxist theories, cultures, and politics in today’s world. We strongly encourage papers that address these topics in relation to the global south. Of course, we also understand the vital importance of analyzing history in order to help us to understand and respond to contemporary conditions. To understand the new, we must reflect upon and learn from the old. In that light, we are also interested in panels and papers that emphasize historical analysis such as the history of Marxism(s), labor history, historical analysis of academia, histories of social movements and political practices, the historical development of Marxist/Socialist feminism, imperialisms, and the historical relationships between class and race- based movements. Visit the conference webpage here: http://rethinkingmarxism.org/conf/index.php/gala/NewMarxianTimes.