Wednesday, May 24, 2006
Marxism 2006: A Festival of Resistance
Talking of going to big-name big-rhetoric events it's time to decide on going to Marxism 2006: A Festival of Resistance. It's on from Thursday, July 6th to Monday, July 10th - a timing to test the resolve of the more devoted football enthusiasts. Marxism used to run from Friday to Friday and last year's event made the shift to the long-weekend, justified in terms of its proximity to the Make Poverty History events in Edinburgh and the Gleneagles summit. Cynics suggested that there weren't going to be enough people around to keep it going through the week, and it certainly seemed a lot smaller than the Marxisms of just a few years ago. It was of course also a bit disrupted by the bombings of July 7th.
This year certainly has an attractive roster of big-name or interesting speakers. The opening rally line-up includes a former minister from Venezuela. Ken Loach will be introducing a showing of Land and Freedom. Gillo Pontecorvo will be introducing Battle of Algiers (reminds me of how good Martin Smith's talk about the film was a few years back) at the same time as Ken MacLeod is talking about Science Fiction, but that's a reminder that over the last few years the highpoint of Marxism have been the talks by the incredibly cool China Mieville, who just doesn't seem to be present this year - boo hoo.
Tony Benn is talking about planning, followed by George Galloway and John Rees doing a big Logan Hall forum on 'What Next for Respect' (always good to get the word), followed by Bernadette McAliskey and Michael Rosen among others talking about the 1960s. For us sad academics noted theorist Paul Gilroy is on with Weyman Bennett talking aabout multiculturalism, Terry Eagleton talking about his autobiographical memoir and Istvan Meszaros on alienation. So there's lots of goodies and I haven't even mentioned Tariq Ali or Hassan Jumaa yet, or the guaranteed scandal and controversy that will accompany Gilad Atzmon.
Is there a downside? Well there'll be a lot of hackier meetings and there'll be a lot of annoying shallow rhetoric and the efforts at recruitment will be aggravating, so I'm not denying a certain level of pain and masochism about being there, but it still looks good and maybe with time and good therapy I will recover again. And, you know, the SWP do attract a lot of people to a well-organised event that at its best does have a buzz about it. See you there?