“Socialists are involved in the same project all over the world – whether in Iraq, Australia or the US. Those who fight for revolution are tied together across borders and across time – both those who came before us and those who will come afterwards. Today is our time to carry the banner of socialism proudly. Here’s to revolution in our lifetime!”
With these words, US African-American activist and socialist Khury Petersen-Smith brought the Marxism 2015 conference to a close on Sunday night. The conference offered four days of inspiring talks, debates, songs, art exhibitions and movie screenings.
More than 900 people attended Australia’s premier left wing conference, held this year for the first time at the Victorian College of Arts.
Speakers and attendees came from around the world – from the Philippines and Indonesia, from the US and Russia, from Ireland and Palestine – and from around the country. Many brought stories of their involvement in struggles, some over the last few months and some over a lifetime.
Aboriginal activists Marjorie Thorpe, Gary Foley, Noel Tovey, Meriki Onus and Sam Watson told packed meetings about the struggle for Aboriginal rights. Marjorie Thorpe spoke about growing up in a strong union town in Victoria’s Latrobe Valley before joining the fight for black rights in Fitzroy in the 1970s. Gary Foley was back for the 5th year to speak to a sold-out audience about his involvement in promoting Aboriginal issues and identity through art, film and television.
The Marxism 2015 conference got off to a great start last night at the Victorian College of the Arts in Melbourne. Four hundred and fifty people packed into the theatre at the VCA to listen to voices of resistance from around the world.
First off was Khury Petersen-Smith, an anti-racist activist and socialist from Boston. Khury told the audience about the explosive #BlackLivesMatter protests that have swept the United States since the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, last August.
Marxism 2015 kicks off Thursday 2 April with our exciting Opening Night panel, 'Voices of Resistance' featuring international and local guests. Come hear from these inspiring activists who will be telling about struggles from around the world.
Join us at the Red Flag Bar afterwards to meet other activists who want to fight for a better world.
ALL Marxism 2015 ticketholders can attend, including those with One Day tickets (One Day tickets get you into Opening Night PLUS one full day of your choice of the conference).
Last year, the murder of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri sparked a nation-wide protests against the institutionalised and violent racism of the American state. Ever since, in city after city, protesters have taken to the streets not only for justice for Michael Brown but against the growing reports of American cops murdering unarmed African Americans with immunity. From Eric Garner, who repeated 'I can't breathe' 11 times as a cop choked him to death, to 19-year-old Tony Robinson killed in Madison, Wisconsin, the world is watching while these protests spread like wildfire.
Don't miss Khury Petersen-Smith, African-American activist from Boston, speak at Marxism about the growing Black Lives Matter protests.
Big news: Long time Electrical Trades Union militant Dave "Strawbs" Hayes will be leading our discussion of organising Fly In Fly Out workers (4pm on the Friday of the Marxism conference). Strawbs has a lot of experience in the special challenges of organising remote resource projects.
It's now standard practice for giant companies to save costs, and attempt to atomise and deunionise their workforces, through FIFO arrangements:
"True story: if you live in the town of Moranbah 17 kilometres away from BHP’s Caval Ridge mine, or even 170 kilometres away in Mackay, you can’t apply for a job there. You have to live 1000 kilometres away."
“Art is shit.” So proclaimed the Berlin Dadaists, an avant-garde art movement, in 1919. The Dadaists were reacting against art that viewed itself as above the fray of a society being torn apart in bitter class struggle.
Join Red Flag designer James Plested for this discussion of 'Dada: Art as anti establishment practice' on Friday at 7pm
Join special guest, Russian Revolutionary Ilya Matveev at Marxism 2015, for a discussion of Russian politics today, from the Ukraine to the movement for democracy inside the country. ‘From Putin to Pussy Riot: Russian politics today’ Saturday 4 April at 4pm.
Ilya Matveev is currently a PhD student at the European University in Saint-Petersburg and a lecturer at the Department of Political Studies NWIM. After obtaining his Candidate of Sciences degree in Moscow he moved to Saint-Petersburg to pursue his research on the Russian state and the conundrum of neo-patrimonial elites and neo-liberal reforms.
Matveev works with other young researchers at the Laboratory for Public Sociology, a group of sociologists and political scientists committed to providing rigorous yet politically engaged analysis of the Russian protest movement. As a student, he organized a Marxist workshop at the Moscow State University. He has been active in far-left politics ever since.
Currently he is a member of the Russian Socialist Movement and an editor of Openleft.ru, a website providing analysis and insight into Russian politics, economy and culture from an anticapitalist perspective. He has also long worked with independent trade unions and now has ties with the union University Solidarity.
Curious about Marxism? Want to explore some of the fundamental ideas with like minded left wing people? Come to Marxism and attend the 'Concepts of Marxism' stream.
These sessions include...
Modern working class
New middle class
International ruling class
Socialism and revolution
The Russian Revolution
Did Lenin lead to Stalin?
Why you should be a socialist?
Gender and sexual oppression
REGISTRATIONS NOW OPEN FOR KIDS PROGRAM AT MARXISM
Head over to our page on the brand-spanking-new Marxism Conference website: http://marxismconference.org/index.php/information/kids-program.html
We are looking forward to seeing you there!
BREAKING NEWS: Dougal McNeill to launch his latest contribution to Marxist literary analysis and theory at Marxism 2015 on Saturday night over dinner.
Charles Ferrall and Dougal McNeill's book analyses the vast literary response to the 1926 General Strike . The Strike not only drew writers into political action but inspired literature that served to shape twentieth-century British views of class, culture and politics. While major figures active at the time wrote on or responded to this crucial moment, this is the first volume to address their respective works. Ferrall and McNeill show how novels then in progress, such as Virginia Woolf's To the Lighthouse and D.H. Lawrence's Lady Chatterley's Lover, were affected by the Strike as well as the ways in which it has been remembered from the 1930s to the present. Their study sheds new light on the relationship between politics and literature of the modernist era.
Join us for a reading and if you are lucky you might be able to persuade the man himself to sign your very own copy.
Dr Robert Bollard takes on the mainstream history of "World War 1 and the ANZAC hysteria" in this talk from Marxism 2014.
For more hidden and radical Australian history, join us at Marxism 2015.
Bloody Sunday is one of the most notorious events of the struggle against British occupation in Northern Ireland. Fourteen people were killed after British soldiers opened fire on a peaceful march in Derry on 30 January 1972. The protest, organised by the Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association, was against the newly introduced policy of internment without trial.
After decades of campaigning by families of the victims, a British government inquiry finally concluded in 2010: “The firing by soldiers … on Bloody Sunday caused the deaths of 13 people [John Johnston, the 14th person, also died from his injuries four and a half months after being shot] and injury to a similar number, none of whom was posing a threat of causing death or serious injury.” Still the families are fighting for justice.
Eamonn McCann was a leader of the civil rights movement and an organiser of the 1972 march. This is an extract from his recent pamphlet ‘Go on the paras…!’ Bloody Sunday and the continuing search for justice. McCann will be speaking at the Marxism 2015 conference in Melbourne, 2-5 April.
"Flags in the UK and Australia were flown at half-mast last week to commemorate the death of Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah. The ABC described him as a man with “reforming zeal”. The liberal New York Times valorised his attempts to “nudge” society forward. The managing director of the IMF, Christine Lagarde, suggested he was a staunch advocate for women’s rights. Barack Obama mourned a double loss – of Abdullah’s political perspective and his “genuine and warm friendship”.
The only thing missing is the hashtag, #JeSuisKingAbdullah.
The truth is that King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz was a vicious and cruel leader who used very few carrots and a whole bunch of sticks, whips and torture chambers to crush democratic impulses at home and throughout the Arab world. He was despised throughout the Middle East as a symbol of wealth, corruption and the brutal authoritarianism of the old order."
Read more from Red Flag http://redflag.org.au/article/what%E2%80%99s-few-beheadings-between-friends
AND THEN COME ALONG TO HEAR from Omar Hassan at Marxism 2015 on the rotten history of the House of Saud.
If the sight of ex Provisional Irish Republican Army leader Martin McGuinness having a grand old time with arch reactionary Protestant Unionist (and now thankfully dead) Ian Paisley turns your stomach, then come along to Marxism 2015 to discuss the politics of the failed 'peace process' in Northern Ireland with socialist Goretti Horgan.
MEETING: 7pm Saturday 4th 'Sinn Fein and the failure of the 'peace process' in Northern Ireland'
The history of an era often seems defined by a particular commodity. The 18th century certainly belonged to sugar. The race to cultivate it in the West Indies was, in the words of the French Enlightenment writer Guillaume-Thomas de Raynal, “the principal cause of the rapid movement which stirs the Universe.” In the 20th century and beyond, the commodity has been oil: determining events from the Allied partitioning of the Middle East after World War I to Hitler’s drive for Balkan and Caspian wells to the forging of our own fateful ties to the regimes of the Persian Gulf. In the19th century what most stirred the universe was cotton.
Join us for a new stream at Marxism 'The political history of things' and more specifically for a discussion of 'Cotton'.Read more here: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/04/books/review/empire-of-cotton-by-sven-beckert.html?mabReward=RI%3A16&action=click&pgtype=Homepage®ion=CColumn&module=Recommendation&src=rechp&WT.nav=RecEngine&_r=4
Join Marxism 2015's Spotlight on Asia for a discussion of the history of 'Rebellion in the Philippines: from Marcos to today' with academic Ben Reid.
Photo features one of the major student actions during the First Quarter Storm. This was the series of protest mass actions, which began on January 25, 1970 and continued up to March of 1970.
At the beginning, ten thousand students, urban poor youth, workers and peasants massed in front of Congress in order to protest against the Marcos regime. Their peaceful demonstration was brutally attacked by the police with truncheon and gunfire upon the signal of Marcos himself after delivering his “state of the nation address”. The demonstrators fought back for several hours with bare fists, wooden handles of placards and stones.
Join the 'Organising Workers' stream at Marxism for an important discussion on 'Fifo (fly in/ fly out) workers and the new frontiers of organising'.
Ever increasing sections of the Australian working class now fall under the category of Fly In and Fly Out workers. These workers fly in and out of remote places, are largely un-unionised and are forced to live an alienated existence - far from loved ones and a full community. Organising such workers is a major new challenge for the union movement.
For more detail about the struggles of particular Fifo workers read here: http://redflag.org.au/article/fly-fly-out-workers-want-more-time-home
Join veteran socialist Allen Myers for a discussion of political rebellions in the armed and naval forces.
Hierarchy and discipline in the military is often reflective of class relations in the rest of society and uprisings by the 'lower orders' have always been part of challenging such relations. 'Lower the flag: A history of mutinies' is bound to be full of rollicking tales of insubordination and revolution.
Marxism 2015 guest Amira Hass speaks in this Democracy Now interview about her mother's experience as a resistance fighter in the Bergen Belsen concentration camp. This is a must watch. So moving and inspiring!
Chris Graham will be speaking at Marxism 2015 on the topic of 'Taking on the Murdochracy: Independent media in the 21st century'.
Check out an interview with Chris Graham by the Guardian Australia here.
Join Marxism 2015 for a new stream: Spotlight on Latin America. Sessions include The colonisation of the Americas with Sergio Monsalve-Tobon, Class formation and politics at the beginning of the 20th century with Roberto Jorquera, The debate on guerrilla warfare after the Cuban revolution with Rebecca Barrigos and Class party and strategy after the crisis of the left with Jorge Jorquera.
Marxism 2015 is immensely honoured to host Emory Douglas, radical artist and prominent Black Panther from San Francisco. His artwork continues to be some of the most iconic images of revolution and struggle in the 20th century.
After studying commercial art at City College of San Francisco, Douglas became politically active with the Black Panther Party as the Minister of Culture from 1967 until the early ‘80s. Douglas’s art and design concepts were always seen on the front and back pages of the Black Panther Newspaper, reflecting the politics of the BPP and the concerns of the community.
Offering a retrospective look at artwork created in the Black Panther Party, Douglas’s work has been displayed across the world. In 2007, a comprehensive collection of Douglas’ work was published, entitled Black Panther: The Revolutionary Art of Emory Douglas. Marxism 2015 will be hosting a number of these legendary images at the conference itself.
Hear him speak on 'Revolution, Art and Power' Friday 3 April at 2pm.
And don’t miss a special exhibit of Douglas’ iconic artwork ‘Freedom: The art of Black liberation’ also featuring prominent radical Aboriginal artist Richard Bell. The exhibit will held at the VCA Arts Gallery throughout the conference.
Marxism 2015 is excited to announce the participation of two heroes of the Civil Rights struggle in Ireland, Eamonn McCann and Goretti Horgan.
McCann has been campaigning for social justice in Derry (Ireland) for more than 40 years. As a young man he was a key activist in the Derry Housing Action Committee, a radical campaign group focusing on access to social housing. DHAC organised, in conjunction with the Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association (NICRA) the 2nd civil rights march in Northern Ireland. This march, in 1968, is generally seen as the birth date of the civil rights movement in the north of Ireland. McCann would go on to become one of the most prominent civil rights activists.
Goretti Horgan is a lecturer in Social Policy at the University of Ulster. She is also a director and former chair of the Northern Ireland Anti Poverty Network. A socialist, feminist and trade unionist, she has been active in the pro-choice movement and a member of the Socialist Workers Party in Ireland for over 30 years; a member of the first Women’s Right to Choose Group in Dublin, she was National Organiser of the Campaign against the anti-abortion amendment to the Irish Constitution, 1981-83. Since moving to Northern Ireland in 1986, she has been working to extend the 1967 Abortion Act to the region and is a founder Alliance for Choice (NI).
Marxism 2015 is lucky to host world-renowned journalist Amira Hass, pro-Palestinian journalist and author from Israel.
Hass lives in Ramallah in the West Bank, where she covers Palestinian affairs for the Israeli daily newspaper Ha’aretz, making her the only Jewish Israeli correspondent on Palestinian affairs to live among the people about whom she reports. Hass writes insightful columns about the daily lives and hardships of Palestinians.
The child of Holocaust survivors, Hass was born in Jerusalem in 1956 and studied history in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. After working as a teacher, she started her career in journalism in 1989 as a staff editor at Ha’aretz and began writing about the Palestinian Territories in 1991, undaunted by danger and criticism from both Israelis and Palestinians. She moved to Gaza in December 1993 after the signing of the Israeli-Palestinian agreements and settled in Ramallah in the West Bank in 1997.
She is the author of Drinking the Sea at Gaza: Days and Nights in a Land Under Siege and Reporting From Ramallah: An Israeli Journalist in an Occupied Land.
Marxism 2015 is thrilled to announce the participation of Noel C Tovey AM in this year's conference. Noel is an Aboriginal and LGBTI activist of many years. He is also a world renowned dancer and choreographer.
He will be performing the introduction to his play 'Little Black Bastard', an autobiographical tale of Noel's experience as a young Aboriginal boy on the streets on inner city Melbourne; years that were scarred with poverty, abuse and racism, but also built his fighting spirit.
He will be speaking on Saturday 4th April at 4pm 'Noel C Tovey AM: Young, gay and black in 1950s Australia'
This is sure to be a popular sessions - get your tickets to the conference early: marxismconference.org/index.php/tickets.html
Listen to more about his amazing life here: