Tuesday, 4 November 2008


Is Black and Red Dead?

September 7th and 8th, 2009
Centre for the Study of Social and Global Justice
University of Nottingham

Crowned heads, wealth and privilege may well tremble should ever again the Black and Red unite!
(Otto Von Bismark, upon hearing of the split in the First International)

The anti-statist, libertarian currents within the labour movement have repeatedly emerged during periods of acute political and economic crisis, from the council communists to revolutionary anarchism. Is this one such historical juncture in which dynamic reconciliation is not only welcomed but vital? To rephrase the question, what can we learn from 150 years of anti-statist, anti-capitalist social movements, and how might this history inform the formulation of a new social and political current, consciously combining the insights of plural currents of anarchism and Marxism? The modern feminist, queer, ecological, anti-racist and postcolonial struggles have all been inspired by and developed out of critiques of the traditional parameters of the old debates, and many preceded them. Possible themes may include (but are not limited to):

• What is the political relevance of the ideological labels "anarchist" and "Marxist" in the contemporary geo-political climate?
• Has the sectarianism of the left contributed to this failure and can its present make-up contribute anything more to radical social transformation than navel gazing and ultimately political irrelevance?
• To what extent are these fault lines still constitutive of the political imagination?
• To what extent do capital and the state remain the key sites of struggle?
• Has the current market crisis provided an opportunity for a renewed and united left as a coherent alternative?
• What are the historical points of divergence and convergence between the two traditions?

We welcome papers that engage critically with both the anarchist and the Marxist traditions in a spirit of reconciliation. We welcome historical papers that deal with themes and concepts, movements or individuals. We also welcome theoretical papers with demonstrable historical or political importance. Our criteria for the acceptance of papers will be mutual respect, the usual critical scholarly standards and demonstrable engagement with both traditions of thought.

Please send 350 word abstracts, including full contact details, (no later than May 1, 2009) to:

Dr Alex Prichard (ESML, University of Bath): a.prichard@bath.ac.uk

For further details and conference updates please visit our website

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