Socialist Worker

Marxism 2021 online event debates where next for the left

by Sophie Squire
Issue No. 2754

The Kill The Bill protests are an example of the importance of struggle on the streets

The Kill The Bill protests are an example of the importance of struggle on the streets (Pic: Guy Smallman)


The Marxism 2021 event of meetings and discussions kicked off online on Saturday with 900 people logging in for talks and debates on a wide range of topics.  

In the first session of the day, attendees joined meetings on whether Marxism is eurocentric, Marxism and trans resistance and whether the working class is still relevant. 

At the same time in a session entitled “Hate Johnson, don’t trust Starmer: what strategy for socialists in Britain?” activists from the Labour Party and the Socialist Workers Party (SWP) spoke about how to move forward.

Former Labour parliamentary candidate Jane Aitchison, PCS union general secretary Mark Serwotka and editor of Socialist Worker Charlie Kimber debated where next for the left. 

Jane Aitchison argued that it was important for socialists to organise within the Labour Party and pull it to the left. And Mark Serwotka argued that the central task is for socialists to be involved in strikes and movements whether they are in Labour or not.

But Charlie Kimber argued that the issue of political organisation could not be postponed or avoided and that while uniting in the struggle it is time to leave Labour.

Opposition

Rahman told the meeting that he believed that many people feel a lot of apathy towards voting as Labour is failing to provide any opposition to the Tories.

Other contributors spoke about how leaving the Labour Party was “liberating” as it allowed them to speak up on subjects like Palestine. 

The second session of the day saw meetings on institutional racism after the Sewell report, the legacy of Irish partition and a guide to Marxism in the 21st century. 

In a popular session activists gathered to discuss whether the ideas of billionaire Bill Gates could solve the climate crisis. 

Activist, academic and author Ashley Dawson spoke from the US about Gates' ventures into agriculture in Africa describing many of his supposedly philanthropic attempts as “broken promises”.

Corporations

Gyekye Tanoh who is a socialist activist in Ghana argued that it was vital that farming and working class communities in Africa unite to fight back against multinational corporations. 

Contributors to the discussion debated the impossibility of billionaires being able to fix the climate crisis and that the technological solutions put forward by politicians and the rich won’t stop global warming. 

Others stated how important it was to build mobilisations for the COP26 climate talks in November. 

In the final session of the day, activists discussed Marxism and sexual liberation and art vs capitalism. 

Over 500 joined a discussion on the rise of the far right. 

Making a Marx on history—celebrating 200 years since Karl Marxs birth
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The meeting was joined by author and journalist Paul Mason, German MP and anti-fascist Christine Buchholz and leading SWP member Alex Callinicos. 

The speakers debated whether more state powers could beat back fascism as well as what kind of anti-fascist movement it is important to build. 

Contributors shared how they are organising against fascism and racism in places from Wales to the United States. 

Alex Callinicos argued that it was possible to build large united fronts against fascism and to involve the power of organised workers.

Virginia from Marx21 in the US highlighted the rise in hate crimes against those of Asian descent and argued the Black Lives Matter movement has forced deeper discussion about racism. 

Paul Mason said it was essential to engage state forces against fascism. But Gabi from Germany argued that their experience of organising against racists and fascists showed that the police are never on the side of anti-fascists. 

The first day of Marxism 2021, organised by the SWP, was able to draw a large audience of people in Britain and from across the world. 

The event continues on Sunday for meetings on a range of subjects, including whether Britain is becoming a police state and how to fight for socialism in the age of catastrophe. 

For details and to register go to bit.ly/Marx21

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