Events & Appeals
May Day School 2013
The Workers and Punks’ University May Day School
Transition, Austerity and Primitive Accumulation-Left Answers
26 April–1 May, 2013
Ljubljana, Slovenia, Stara mestna elektrarna – Elektro Ljubljana
Capitalism reveals itself in the time of crisis. As Marx and Engels have stressed in The Communist Manifesto, a crisis would seem, from the standpoint of earlier epochs, an utter absurdity. A capitalist crisis is an epidemic of over-production that entails social devastation, destruction of living conditions and overall immiseration of the working masses; precisely this is underway in Europe right now. Record-high unemployment, particularly in the peripheral countries and among the young, severe and uncompromising austerity measures dictated by the infamous troika, and massive class struggles are among central features of the Great Recession in which we live. In order to save itself and become profitable once again, capitalism must continue with the massive destruction of productive forces and living conditions of the working class. What the ruling class is trying to achieve could be characterised as a reprise of primitive accumulation. In The Workers and Punks’ University we are devoting this year’s May Day School precisely to these issues.
Under the title Transition, Austerity and Primitive Accumulation – Left Answers we will discuss both theoretical and political aspects of primitive accumulation. We will try to grasp its theoretical relevance as it has unfolded in the history of Marxism, while also addressing specific historical periods in which it has become most visible. Thus, the panels will be devoted to the relationship between the commons and primitive accumulation, primitive accumulation in the post-socialist transition and primitive accumulation as the factor in fiscal sustainability policies. We will also discuss alternatives to the current situation, both a long-term socialist alternative and immediate strategies that can be undertaken by leftist parties in the Balkans and elsewhere in Europe. Apart from local representatives from the WPU, joining us for these round tables will be members of Syriza, Die Linke, Front de Gauche as well as many others.
The third aspect of this year’s May Day School will be a historical link to the partisan struggles that took place in Slovenia during the Second World War. We will examine the Liberation Front of the Slovenian Nation, focusing on its revolutionary and antifascist dimension, and the general place of the Liberation Front of Yugoslavia in the history of class struggles. During the May Day School we will also visit a partisan stronghold in which the partisans managed to create an entire social subsystem, a state within a state that operated during the Nazi occupation.
Joining us in these discussions will be Walter Baier, Joachim Becker, Branko Bembič, Henry Bernstein, Werner Bonefeld, Lev Centrih, Massimo De Angelis, Sašo Furlan, Elisabeth Gauthier, Srećko Horvat, Christina Kaindl, Boris Kanzleiter, Andrew Kliman, Rok Kogej, Miklavž Komelj, Anej Korsika, Primož Krašovec, Marko Kržan, Marko Kostanić, Michael Lebowitz, Tomislav Medak, Luka Mesec, David McNally, Goran Musić, Michael Perelman, Jernej Prodnik, Toni Prug, Gabriel Sakellaridis, Erik Swyngedouw, Jan Toporowski, Darko Vesić, Mislav Žitko and many others!
This event is supported by Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung.
PUBLIC MEETING via telephone conferencing
Wednesday, January 23rd, 2013
7:00 pm – 9:00 pm U.S. EST
This meeting will address the relationship between organization and the ongoing development of ideas, a relationship that is crucial to movements for social change. Time and again, we’ve seen the insufficiency of political organization that lacks what Raya Dunayevskaya called the needed “organization of thought.”
Many on the left, correctly concerned that individuals not be subordinated to an organization, are fearful of organization as such. As Theodor Adorno said disapprovingly, “The ego must abolish itself so that it may be blessed with the grace of being chosen by the collective.” Others with similar concerns embrace organization but seek to preserve the autonomy of the individuals within them by treating ideas as a private––not an organizational––matter, such that their organizations become one-sidedly focused on action bereft of critical thought. (This was a prevalent tendency in the Occupy movement.) Both sets of attitudes to organization and the development of thought have contributed to the impasse of Leftist movements that face real theoretical challenges to overcoming capitalism. In contrast, MHI holds that the ideas necessary for an emancipatory alternative to capitalism must proceed along a dialectic of self-development that is only possible through a collective of individuals that constantly subject each others’ arguments to the scrutiny of others. We think the time is now to make clear that development of emancipatory ideas needs to take place in an organized and collective manner.
To participate in this meeting, contact Marxist-Humanist Initiative at [email protected] for further details.
MHI’S ANNUAL CONFERENCE
MHI’s Annual Conference will take place Sat. Nov. 17 in New York City. Members, Supporters, and invited friends will discuss Marxist-Humanist activity, organization, and thought. Any friend who wishes to attend should write to mhi@marxisthumanistinitiative to inquire.
FILM ABOUT DUNAYEVSKAYA’S IDEAS
Tues. Nov. 20, 7:00 p.m.
“Raya Dunayevskaya: Biography of an Idea”
Film Screening at Bluestockings Bookstore, Fair Trade Café, Activist Center
172 Allen St. (between Stanton and Rivington Sts., Lower East Side)
New York, NY 10002
Marxist-Humanist Initiative will show and discuss a new documentary by Alex Fletcher about the ideas of the philosopher, activist, and feminist who developed Marxist-Humanism over much of the last century. The film’s title and content follow from Dunayevskaya’s declaration that her biography is “the biography of an idea.” A review of the film appears in “With Sober Senses.”
DISCUSSION ON THE PRESENT CRISIS
Wed. November 14, 2012
8:00 – 10:30 p.m.
Platypus Affiliated Society presents a panel discussion on
“Radical Interpretations of the Present Crisis”
Speakers: Loren Goldner, David Harvey, Andrew Kliman, Paul Mattick
The New School, Wollman Hall
Eugene Lang building, 6th floor, 65 W. 11th Street
New York, NY 10011\
Platypus’ announcement of the event, including its view of the crisis, is at http://newyork.platypus1917.org/11-14-2012-radical-interpretations-of-the-present-crisis/
Workshop/Classes on Current Events & the Dialectical Method
Marxist-Humanist Initiative is proud to announce a series of five workshop/classes, beginning August 9th, that seek to bring the dialectical method to bear on current events. The primary goal of the series is to further develop ourselves as practicing dialecticians, rather than to host a public discussion. The series is therefore intended especially for Members and Supporters of Marxist-Humanist Initiative. However, we would also like to invite others who wish to participate in these working sessions.