Socialist Worker

Marxism 2013 - thirst for socialist ideas shows potential to build a new world

Thousands of people took part in debates on Marxist theory, the working class, how to fight oppression and how to beat the Tories at the Marxism 2013 festival in London last weekend

Issue No. 2362

More than 3,000 people took part in the debates at Marxism 2013

More than 3,000 people took part in the debates at Marxism 2013 (Pic: Guy Smallman)

More than 3,000 people gathered for the Marxism 2013 festival in London last weekend. The event, organised by the Socialist Workers Party (SWP), saw hundreds of debates.

These ranged from the state of the working class today to Darwin and the evolution of modern humans.

The opening rally on Thursday of last week drew more than 900 people. They gave a standing ovation to Marion Nisbet from the All-Scotland Anti Bedroom Tax Federation.

She said it is vital to reach isolated people on estates. “I have been that woman sitting alone,” she said. “But I am not that woman any more.”

Several meetings during the festival opened up discussions about Marxist theory.

One series asked why oppression exists, who benefits from it and how we can end it. Other meetings discussed the fight against fascism.

Leading SWP member Alex Callinicos and author Paul le Blanc’s meetings on Lenin saw lively debate on how revolutionaries should organise.

Author and science journalist Fred Pearce busted the toxic myth of overpopulation in one of a series of meetings on the environment. 

Sheila Coleman from the Hillsborough Justice Campaign and lawyer Gareth Peirce spoke at a meeting on police cover-ups.

Revolutionaries from across the world described their struggles to win a better world.


Revolutionary socialists from Egypt and Syria spoke in a powerful session on revolution in the Middle East. 

Syrian socialist Ghayath Naisse said that revolutionaries must stay with the masses and build revolutionary parties.

Sameh Naguib from Egypt said Egypt’s revolution was part of a regional revolt that would have to confront the monarchy in Saudi Arabia.

Meetings on France, Spain and Greece saw activists discuss the different ways crisis is affecting different countries and what that means for revolutionary strategy.

Mahanya, a striking South African miner, talked about workers’ campaign for a national miners’ strike.

Socialist lawyer Jim Nichol and Labour MP Peter Hain spoke about the Marikana massacre, where police killed 34 miners last August.

Journalist and campaigner Eamonn McCann addressed the closing rally along with Maria Stylou, a socialist from Greece.

The event brought together older activists with new people who are coming into the struggle.

Yasmin, a benefits justice activist from Rochdale, was there for the first time. 

She told Socialist Worker, “I’d never thought of myself as a political person, but I’ve come here hungry for ideas.

“I thought politics was for educated people. But we have to get politicised.”


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Tue 16 Jul 2013, 17:51 BST
Issue No. 2362
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