Histomat: Adventures in Historical Materialism

'Historical materialism is the theory of the proletarian revolution.' Georg Lukács

Monday, July 21, 2014

National Demonstration: Stop the massacre in Gaza - free Palestine!

As if the people of Gaza have not suffered enough, Israel has escalated its brutal assault on Gaza.
Solidarity with Palestine

National demonstration: Stop the Massacre in Gaza - Free Palestine!

Last Saturday a fantastic 100,000 marched to the Israeli embassy - this Saturday's demonstration is even more important.

Check for details as they emerge on the Stop the War web site. We will email further details later in the week.

National Demonstration: Saturday 26th July. 
Meet 12 noon at Israeli Embassy. Nearest tube: High Street Kensington. March to Parliament.
Organised by Stop the War, PSC, Friends of Al-Aqsa, CND, BMI, MAB and Palestine Forum in Britain.

Edited to add:
Read Israel: The Hijack State: America's Watchdog in the Middle East by John Rose for historical background on contemporary Israeli military aggression


Saturday, July 19, 2014

Tens of thousands in London say no to Israeli barbarism

Some of my photos from this magnificent demo - up to 100,000 rallied A Cry for Gaza fills the streets of London


Friday, July 18, 2014

On Victor Serge

Richard Greeman and Ian Birchall reflect on the life and work of a great revolutionary writer

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Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Palestine Solidarity national demonstration

National Demonstration for Gaza: 
Stop the Bombing  Free Palestine!

Saturday 19 July 2014 • Assemble 12 Noon
Downing Street • London
March to Israeli Embassy

Demonstration called by: Stop the War Coalition, Palestine Solidarity Campaign, CND, Friends of Al Aqsa, British Muslim Initiative, Muslim Association of Britain. Supported by War on Want, Islamic Forum of Europe and Palestinian Forum in Britain.

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Saturday, July 05, 2014

Remembering Paul Foot - writer and revolutionary

Ten years after his death, investigative journalist Paul Foot will be remembered at a special memorial meeting next Saturday.
Foot was a tireless fighter against injustice, winning several awards for his campaigning journalism on behalf of people who had been wrongly jailed.
A lifelong socialist, as well as editing Socialist Worker for a period, Foot spent 14 years writing an investigative column at the Daily Mirror, enjoyed three lengthy stints at Private Eye and in the final years of his life also wrote a column for The Guardian.
He died in July 2004 of a heart attack, aged 66, and is buried in London's Highgate cemetery, quite close to the tomb of Karl Marx and next to Chris Harman.
The speakers at the memorial meeting will be four people he admired and who admired him in turn. They are journalist John Pilger, civil liberties campaigner Darcus Howe, lawyer Gareth Pierce and Matt Foot, one of Paul's sons, who is also a lawyer.
The meeting is part of the five-day Marxism Festival organised by the Socialist Workers Party. It takes place on Saturday 12 July at Logan Hall, Institute of Education, starting at 3.45pm.
Tickets are £10 (£5 if unwaged), and should be booked in advance here: marxismfestival.org.uk/booking/details


International Socialism # 143 out now

Cover of issue 143
The latest issue of the Socialist Workers Party's quarterly journal International Socialism is now available.

 Issue 143 appears as the official celebrations of the outbreak of the First World War reach their peak. Megan Trudell traces the process through which, in both the academy and the larger political establishment, class antagonism has been written out of the history of this slaughter. Paul Blackledge shows how the differences over political strategy that had been developing in the international socialist movement before 1914 crystallised thanks to the war into the great division between revolutionaries and reformists.

Andy Jones analyses UKIP's breakthrough in the European elections against the background of an increasingly toxic mainstream debate on immigration. Alex Callinicos discusses the complexities of the radical left, Donny Gluckstein looks at classical Marxism's response to reformism and John Rose recalls the tangled political struggles in Ukraine in the aftermath of the October Revolution.

Analysis examines the situation in Iraq, the political upheaval in Scotland with the forthcoming independence referendum and the complexities of Venezuela a year after the death of Hugo Chávez.

Anne Alexander reviews two important Marxist studies of the Arab revolutions and Tomáš Tengely-Evans takes on Thomas Piketty's Capital in the Twenty-First Century. Other books reviewed this quarter concern George Orwell, genocide, women and war, anti-fascism, early learning, education in China, social media and the redoubtable black activist Darcus Howe.

 If you don't subscribe to the journal and would like to you can do so at www.isj.org.uk or contact us at isj@swp.org.uk or 0207 819 1177. You can also get the latest issue plus various back issues at the Marxism 2014 festival www.marxismfestival.org.uk

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The first strike in space

Marxist sci-fi fans might be interested in SF Forward,  an attractively designed blog which has varied and erudite discussions of all manner of material relating to science fiction and utopianism - recent posts for example include discussions of JG Ballard and William Gibson, 'Structures of Soviet Science Fiction', 'Red Star Gazing and the Inevitability of Full Space Communism' and even a discussion of the first strike in space

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Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Rachel Holmes to speak on Eleanor Marx at Marxism 2014

From the Marxism 2014 office:

Marxism 2014 starts in just over two weeks time . . . don't miss out - make sure you book your ticket if you have not already done so!
New speaker for Marxism 2014
We are very pleased to announce that Rachel Holmes, author of the new book “Eleanor Marx, a Life”, will be speaking at Marxism 2014.
The daughter of Karl Marx, Eleanor Marx was exceptional in her own right. She was a socialist organiser and campaigner, massively involved in the explosion of strikes and militancy known as “New Unionism”. The Great Dock Strike in 1889 signalled a massive expansion of the trade union movement among thousands of previously unorganised, unskilled workers.
Eleanor was a highly experienced agitator. She was one of the key speakers at the 100,000-strong mass rally in Hyde Park, during the third week of Great Dock Strike. She formed the first women’s branch of the National Union of Gasworkers and General Labourers.
Rachel Holmes will explore these aspects of her life and others in her meeting at Marxism.
Eleanor Marx: A Life will take place at Marxism 2014 on Friday 11th July at 2pm.
Day and session tickets are available. Booking in advance is cheaper and will save you queuing at the Box Office. All tickets booked before Friday 4th July will be sent out in the post.
For the full provisional timetable for Marxism 2014 go to www.marxismfestival.org.uk
You can book on line or call 020 7819 1190
Please note that the deadline for the creche is this Friday 27th June. If you need accommodation and have specific needs please let us know by Friday 4th July. Any accommodation requested after this date will be in a community centre.
Hope to see you at Marxism 2014!

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Saturday, June 21, 2014

Euro-fascism - what it is and how to fight it

The latest issue of Socialist Review has among other things a good analysis of the Euro-elections, one very worrying feature of which was the rise of Euro-fascist parties such as the Front National in France, but also others such as the German neo-Nazi NPD, Golden Dawn in Greece and Jobbik in Hungary amidst the continuing economic crisis.   After the last European elections in 2009, I raised the question of whether it was time to dust off the old slogan about whether it was the 1930s in slow motion.  Given classical fascism turned Europe into a dark continent within the living memory of many people, the fact that a fascist party got the majority of votes in the European elections in France while in Germany, a member of the neo-Nazi NPD was elected to the European parliament means the left cannot afford to be complacent about the danger posed here.  Given this, it is perhaps timely that Chris Bambery's 1993 article from International Socialism on Euro-fascism: the lessons of the past and current tasks is now available online at the Marxists Internet Archive. Though obviously twenty years old and written at a time when Euro-fascism was just emerging as a political current - and though the author's own politics have shifted - some would say degenerated - somewhat since writing this article in 1993, the piece still repays reading and provides a useful introductory historical overview of how the left and trade union movement tragically failed to stop classical fascist formations coming to power in the inter-war period through a combination of sectarianism, ultra-leftism, and liberalism - and why the method of the united front and mass activity against the Nazis as articulated by Leon Trotsky (and put into practice in formations such as the Anti-Nazi League in the 1970s in Britain and its successor Unite Against Fascism today) - remains a critical weapon if the left across Europe are going to block their rise today.

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