Marxism 2018 Day 2

An account of Day 2 at Marxism 2018 (now a week ago).

INTRODUCTION

There has been a hiatus in my coverage of Marxism 2018 because I had no opportunity to blog on Sunday, due to the tight meetings schedule and my subsequent journey home, was working on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday and travelling virtually all day yesterday (getting from northwest Norfolk to southeast Cornwall by public transport takes a long time). I have plans for several more posts about Marxism 2018, a batch of posts about Cornwall, and at least one work-related post in the near future. 

FIRST MEETING: JAN NIELSEN ON THE POLITICS OF FOOD

This was a good though very disturbing start to the day. Some of the things that the speaker revealed about what is done to our food were quite shocking. There was an excellent discussion.

PostersDisplay BoardPlatformThe speaker and booksJan gives her talk

MEETING 2: WHY DOES CAPITALISM LOVE PLASTIC?

I will be covering this meeting in a later post along with several other environment related meetings. For the moment here is a photograph from the room:

Plastics meeting just before start

MEETING 3: MARXISM AND RELIGION

The thrust of this meeting was that we are always willing to work with people no matter what their religion, or indeed whether they have one or not. Most people at this event are not religious themselves but would always consider arguig against religion to be a waste of time.

The Religion MeetingSpeaker and chair, religion meetingPostersBooksMaxine giving her talk

DEMOLITIONS TO SOCIAL CLEANSING – THE CLASS WAR ON HOUSING

This meeting, excellently chaired by Moyra from the Justice for Grenfell campaign, began with a small disappointment. One of the scheduled speakers, Emma Dent Coad MP, was unable to get away from parliament to make her contribution and sent her apologies. The other two speakers were housing campaigner Eileen Short and London Assembly member and housing expert Sian Berry from the Green Party. I was particularly pleased to finally get to here Ms Berry (have a look at my coverage of the 2016 London Mayoral Election and my “Fantasy Cabinet” post for more about my opinions of Ms Berry).

She made an excellent speech, searing criticism of current housing policy and some good suggestions of her own. 

Eileen Short was also excellent, and there were some great stories in the discussion. 

Housing meeting - chairSian Berry and Eileen ShortMoyra opens the meetingMoyra introducing the meetingMoyra hands over to the first speaker...

Sian Berry
The first of a number of shots I got of Sian Berry in action.

Sian Berry speakingSian Berry speaking IISian Berry IISian Berry Close Up

Eileen Short speaking
Eileen Short

Eileen ShortThe scene as Eileen addresses the meetingA contribution from the floorSian Berry summing up ISian Berry summing up II

Outisde student central
Outside the building after the meeting.

Student Central Main Entrance

INJUSTICE AND THE BRITISH STATE

This meeting, which took place at The Venue (in it’s third incarnation, having started life as Manning Hall and then had a few years as Room 101), featured Sheila Coleman from the Hillsborough Campaign, Brian Richardson and Gareth Peirce. It was a superb ending to the day.

The Venue before the big meeting on injusticeThe Venue looking towards The Gallery BarThe Venue looking towards the front rightPostersBrian Richardson ready for his part in the meetingPosters IIChurch frontagePosters IIIChurch ViewBooksGareth, Sheila and BrianSpeakers and ChairSpeakers and chair II

Almost showtime.
Jill from South Yorkshire chairing the meeting.
Gareth Peirce speaking
Gareth Peirce spoke first
Sheila Speaking
Followed by Sheila Coleman
Brian Richardson speaking
Brian Richardson was third to speak.

Marxism 2015 5: The Middle Part of Saturday

INTRODUCTION

Welcome to the latest installment in my series of posts on Marxism 2015, the five-day politcal festival in central London organized by the Socialist Workers Party. Previous posts in the series can be viewed here.

RODDY SLORACH ON DISABILITY

In my last post I gave an account of the first meeting I attended on Saturday, in Nunn Hall. My second meeting was in the same venue, and the title was “Has There Always Been Disabaility?”

Two books on display at the front of the room.
Two books on display at the front of the room.
Speaker Roddy and chair Gabby before the meeting.
Speaker Roddy and chair Gabby before the meeting.

After this meeting, it was time for lunch, and I attended the Norwich SWP picnic (London food prices being well beyond my reach!).

WHERE WILL WE LIVE?

After lunch, my first port of call was the Drama Studio for a meeting on housing…

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Speaker and chair before the meeting.
Speaker and chair before the meeting.

The speaker’s main focus was on the US, which he had recently visited, and where the housing situation is worse than in this country because there is even less social housing available. The meeting was structured around a slide presentation. I have experienced a large number of such presentations but only a very few good presentations – of which this was one. I will settle for displaying those of the slides I was able to capture…

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Yes - even the USA genuinely radical cnadidates can get elected (she did).
Yes – even the USA genuinely radical candidates can get elected (she did).

A lively discussion followed. Having had an English born speaker talk at length about the USA we had a contribution from the floor from an American born Londoner talking about England…

Emma, who chaired the opening rally contributing to the floor at the meeting on housing (she is the American born Londoner referred to in the body text)
Emma, who chaired the opening rally contributing to the floor at the meeting on housing (she is the American born Londoner referred to in the body text)

HOW SHOULD SOCIALISTS VOTE IN THE EU REFERENDUM?

This meeting took place in Galleon room A in the Royal National Hotel (the suite which can be one, two or three rooms according to choice was divided into three, with rooms A and C being used for meetings and room B for entry and exit to prevent the two meetings from impinging on each other).

This was one of the most interesting meetings I attended. The debate on the EU referendum as currently framed is between two groups of right wing b**t**ds, one of whom want to stay in and the other whom want to leave for entirely nationalistic reasons. The task for socialists is to change to the terms of the debate by building a left wing campaign for a vote to leave the EU, offering no support to the racists of UKIP. A vote to stay in will leave an even bigger, even smugger smile on the face of David Cameron. A vote in favour of the EU would also be a vote in favour of what is being done to Greece and a vote in favour of desperate people being left to drown in the Mediterrenean.

To finish this post, my second of an eventual three about the Saturday, here are some more pictures…

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Francesca, chair for this meeting, introduces main speaker Paul McGarr
Francesca, chair for this meeting, introduces main speaker Paul McGarr
Paul McGarr during his opening speech.
Paul McGarr during his opening speech.
Speaker slips were used for this meeting, in spite of which the discussion at one point resembled a Hackney branch meeting, so many speakers from that area contributing.
Speaker slips were used for this meeting, in spite of which the discussion at one point resembled a Hackney branch meeting, so many speakers from that area contributing.