Saturday, November 16, 2013

Marxism 2013 - a festival of ideas ?

The Socialist Workers Party are currently hosting the "Marxism 2013 - a festival of ideas" in the Teachers Club, 36 Parnell Square West, Dublin. The event runs from 15 - 17 of November.

This is the lineup:

Clare Daly TD, Ailbhe Smith, on Abortion Rights,
Michael Taft, Kieran Allen on Challenging Capital,
David Norris, Ailbhe Smith on LGBT struggle,
Richard Boyd Barrett TD on a Different Ireland,
Eamonn McCann on the Catholic Church,
Cllr. Brid Smith, Jimmy Kelly, Alan Lawes on Reclaiming our unions,
Terry Eagleton on Oscar Wilde,
Harry Browne on Bono,
Peadar OʼGrady on Marx, Freud and mental illness,
Trevor Hogan on Capitalism and sport,
Sinead Kennedy on the War on Women,
Brian OʼBoyle on Capitalist Crisis (With speakers from Egypt and Greece)

I'm quite sympathetic to socialism in general. In my opinion the country needs a strong, even radical, socialist opposition party to rein in the worst excesses of free market capitalism. Furthermore I am of the opinion that relative recent improvements in working conditions partly arose from fear of communist revolutions spreading to the West. Nothing can scare our political and financial overlords more than the prospect of revolutionary mobs rising up against them. Note, I don't actually want such groups in power. I want them in the background and in opposition as a check and a balance.

So I'm reasonably sympathetic as I said. But this lineup? We have three speakers on feminism and equality ("the war on women, "abortion rights" and "the LGBT struggle"), one speaker on what will presumably be catholic bashing and two speakers on aesthetics (" Oscar Wilde" and "Bono").

This is cultural Marxism, an annoying remnant of when faith in Marxism was crushed under soviet tanks rolling into Prague during the mid 60s. What I care about is actual economics, not social engineering through culture. So of the headline speakers, the only two of interest are Michael Taft and Kieran Allen on Challenging Capital, and Brian OʼBoyle on Capitalist Crisis. It's not exactly a compelling reason to sit through two days of speakers.

And their web site? Man, oh man, it's appalling:
www.marxismfestival.net

The background clashes with the main text and that stupid twitter icon floating around distracts me from actually reading. Very unimpressed.

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