Thousands of activists will be heading to central London this July for Marxism 2006, five days of debate and discussion about radical politics today. Socialist Worker spoke to the event’s organisers about what’s new for this year.
“This year Marxism is going to be like a festival,” says Hannah Dee. “We want people to come to celebrate the movement’s achievements and have a serious debate about how we take it forward.”
Around 200 forums will be held, together with film showings, exhibitions of art and photographs, music performances and other entertainment.
“We’re planning to put up a marquee,” says Hannah. “This will be a great space for people to gather and continue the discussions.
“Every movement throws up new ways of seeing, and we want to reflect this at Marxism 2006.
“One of our biggest highlights is going to be Gillo Pontecorvo, director of the legendary film Battle Of Algiers, who is coming over to talk about radical cinema. This will kick off a retrospective of his work and a series of other film showings.
“We also want to address what’s happening in the arts. Theatre over the last couple of years has seen a series of anti-war plays. We’re going to have a panel debating the impact of the anti-war movement on theatre and looking at the work of radical playwrights like Henrik Ibsen and Arthur Miller.
“Marxism won’t just be a conference – we also want to use culture to bring to life current debates and struggles as well as past movements.
“There will be a course on the US’s history of struggle that will include meetings on Billie Holiday and the novels of John Dos Passos as well as the Wobblies, the Teamster rebellion and the 1960s.
“The meeting on 1948 and the establishment of Israel will include visual images taken from a library archive of Palestinian life pre-1948. When you think about how Palestinian history has been systematically erased, these images can play a powerful role in the struggle for justice.
“The event will be a unique place for people to assess events after May’s elections and talk about how we take the fight forward.”
There will also be a strong international element to the event, says Hannah. “We’ll bring together activists from Iraq, the Middle East and the US, as well as people building a new left in Europe.
“The mass movements across Latin America have been at the forefront of taking on neo-liberalism. Revolution is on the agenda. Roland Denis is a Venezuelan activist and former minister in Hugo Chavez’s government. He will be giving an eyewitness account of the ‘revolution within the revolution’.
“Last year’s Marxism took place just after the Make Poverty History protests. This year we will host forums about what’s happening in Africa today.
“Marxism is about understanding the world in order to change it.
“So we want to try and address questions including: Why is multiculturalism under attack? What is the new working class? Can we change the world without taking power? And what kind of world are we fighting for?”
6-10 July, Central London
Speakers include – George Galloway MP, Tariq Ali, Tony Benn, Victoria Brittain, Rose Gentle, Ghada Karmi, Adrian Mitchell, Eamonn McCann, Trevor Ngwane, Mark Serwotka, Michael Rosen
Prices £45 waged l £32 unwaged l £25 higher education l £15 under 18/school/FE
Phone 020 7819 1190 l web www.marxism2006.org.uk Hosted by the SWP