England are now 2-0 to the good in the Ashes contest and given the lack of appetite for the fight thus far displayed by Australia, Sir Ian Botham’s 5-0, 5-0 forecast for these two back to back series is starting to look less outrageous than it initially did. Joe Root with 180 and two second innings wickets was a clear cut man of the match.
Day two of Marxism 2013 got off to a slightly dodgy start for me because three of us set off from our accommodation near Stoke Newington at 9:00, and discovered that we had under-estimated the effect of morning traffic on journey times. By the time our bus turned on to Euston Road the traffic was so heavy that would obviously be quicker to walk, so we got off opposite St Pancras station. A check on the time revealed that we were in severe danger of being late, but I did just about get to my meeting (John Molyneux on Trotsky & trotskyism today) before it started, making a mental note to myself to set off earlier on future days.
Trotskyism is NOT equal to treating every word Trotsky wrote as gospel. What Trotskyism is about is looking at the guiding fundamental principles of his life and applying them appropriately to the present day. As an example, Trotsky was the first theorist of the united front, which today is exemplified by Unite Against Fascism, whose continued success is one reason that this country does not have a major fascist organisation.
After this first meeting (at ULU room 3C/D) I headed to the Drama Studio (IE), for “Freedom now! The struggle for Civil Rights”, which was billed to have Yuri Prasad as the main speaker, but in the event featured Ken Olende as Yuri was ill. This meeting featured footage from the civil rights era, projected on to a large screen, including excerpts from Martin Luther King’s famous speech of 50 years ago “I have a dream”. After partaking of the Norwich picnic (a sensible way to ensure that expenditure on food is not unmanageable) I next headed back to ULU 3C/D for Beth Greenhill’s meeting on Mental Health. After this meeting I headed two floors down to The Venue (originally Manning Hall, then Room 101 – the name has changed more than the appearance of the room) for Mark L Thomas (Editor of Socialist Review, not to be confused with the increasingly unfunny comedian Mark Thomas) on “Can the Left Reclaim the Labour Party?” The short answer by the way is: No and we don’t want to. Along the way a couple of good points were made – the myth of a Golden Age of the Labour Party is (like most such myths) almost as old as the Labour Party. Also the point was made in passing that socialist MPs should not take more than a worker’s wage in payment, which self-restraint is practiced by Richard Boyd Barrett (A TD – the Irish equivalent of an MP).
After the long break for supper I made my third visit of the day to ULU 3C/D, for “After gay marriage are we all liberated now?” with Julie Bremner (a friend at whose house I often stay when attending meetings in Norwich). This meeting, Julie’s first as a main speaker at this event, went exceedingly well, and the Norwich comrades went out for drinks afterwards. There was a minor mishap in communications between me and Trevor (who was one of those who had a key for our accommodation) but we managed to meet up at the bus stop outside Euston station and got back at about midnight, which is not late for Marxism.
As usual I have some photos…