Marxism 2017 – Day 3: Outline

An outline of day 3 at Marxism 2017, setting the stage for two further posts.

INTRODUCTION

Wel come to this latest post in my series about Marxism 2017. The Saturday at Marxism is always the busiest day of the festival. For this reason I am doing three posts about the day, this one, one that covers the two disability themed meetings I attended and one which will also cover a meeting from Sunday devoted to Ian Angus’ two talks, “Facing the Anthropocene” and “A Redder Shade oif Green”. 

THE TIMETABLE

Here to show you the scale of the event is the timetable for thia day:

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IS A ROBOT AFTER YOUR JOB? MARTIN UPCHURCH – FRIENDS MEETING HOUSE

For the Saturday we were using venues at three locations, Student Central, The Institute of Education and Friends Meeting House. This meeting took place in the Hilda Clark room, which is on the first floor of Friends Meeting House. The answer to the question in the meeting title is “probably not”. As yet robots still require humans to watch them to ensure gthat they function as they are supposed to, and that is likely to remain the case for some time. Here are some photographs:

The Hilda Clark room (FMH)big screenFMH PRProductivity and microshipsPlatformProductivity did not grow with microchipBooksBar Chart 1Bar Chart 2Chair introduces meetingThe chairSpeakerIs a robot after your jobTechnology since 1900Robots, AI and singularitiesWorld Robot DensityChinese labour costs and robotsTuring;s two testsTentativbe conclusions2Clock

It was announced during this meeting that the main lift had failed in Student Central and gthat as yet the engineer had been unable to fix it. Therefore the panel meeting on disability was moved to a ground-floor location because the backup lifts only went up to the first and second floors (duh!). Barring a brief period at lunchtime this main lift did not work again during the rest of the event. 

DISABILITY AND RESISTANCE

I will be dealing with this meeting and the last one of the day in a separate post. For the moment here are a picture from the first and a couple of lunchtime pics:

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The woman in front of the banner is Paula Peters of Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC).
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The Norwich & East Anglia picnic. A small donation buys you a meal – the guide prices are £3 waged and £1 unwaged, and as someone who is employed part-time I split the difference with £2.
Canary
The canary is the symbol of Norwich City FC, and this specimen can be seen at a fair distance.

HOW THE MEDIA LOST ON JUNE 8TH – IAN TAYLOR (STUDENT CENTRAL)

The mainstream media were virtually unanimous in predicting (and in most cases making it obvious that they wanted) a Tory landslide in the June 8th General Election. The fact that the Tories ended up without a majority at all, and that Labour increased their presence by 30MPs was one in the eye for MSM. Newspapers are losing readers at a vast rate, and readers are increasingly not taking their papers on trust.  Since this meeting happened we have seen Theresa May begging for policy ideas (“here is a copy of our manifesto!”), and a Prime Ministers Questions where both leaders were absent, and Emily Thornberry starred for Labour while Damien Green for the Tories managed the less than challenging feat of doing a better job than Theresa would have done. Here are some pictures:

Media MeetingThe chair introduces the meetingIan Taylor starts his talkIan Taylor

FACING THE ANTHROPOCENE – IAN ANGUS – INSTITUTE OF EDUCATION

I am covering this meeting and Ian Angus’ other meeting which took place a day later in a separate post. For the moment here are a few of the pictures from this one:

Geological timescale updated
The first seven pictures in this section provide the facts that show us tgo be in the Anthropocene.

Ice age to HoloceneIce age to Holocene 2Global Carbon Cycle800,000 years of CO2Earth ssystem trends 29 of 12 indicators beyond bounds of Holocene variability

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150 years on this remains an excellent summary of our responsibilities tro our planet – and one that has been neglected shamefully.

HOW CAN DISABLED PEOPLE WIN LIBERATION? – RODDY SLORACH – SC

My final meeting of the day was back at Student Central, and as with the earlier panel meeting had been relocated due to the faulty lift and the fact that the backup only went as far up as the second floor. As I will be covering this meeting in more detail in another post, suffice to say that it was an inspirational end to the day. Here to end this post is the chair advertising Roddy’s book:

Chair plugging Roddy's book

Marxism 2: Friday

An account of the second day of Marxism 2016, with plenty of photos.

INTRODUCTION

This is my second post about the wonderful event that was Marxism 2016. This time I will be covering the events of Friday.

GETTING THERE

Although the first post in this series featured a shot of Walthamstow Central station the quickest way to get from the house at which I was staying to the event was by bus to Blackhorse Road station and then tube to Euston. Making my usual allowances for unforeseen (but eminently foreseeable) public transport issues I was treated to a very smooth journey, and it was barely even after nine o’clock (for a ten o’clock start) that I arrived at the Institute of Education building.

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Art at the top of the escalator shaft at Blackhorse Road station
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TFL advertising, Blackhorse Road
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The tiled logo at platform level (the victoria line is famous for having this feature at all of its stations)
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The timetable for Friday with my selections marked.

MEETING 1: AFTER THE PANAMA PAPERS – HOW THE RICH HIDE THEIR MONEY

Both of my first two meetings of the day were to take place at Nunn Hall on Level Four of the Institute of Education (the IOE has nine levels in total, with exits from the building on Levels three (street only) and four (street and back). Nunn Hall has one commanding feature – this painting, here shown flanked by posters:

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The “JOIN THE SWP” poster closest to the painting as A2 size to give you an idea of the scale of the painting.

This meeting, with journalist Simon Basketter as main speaker featured powerpoint slides, some of which I have photos of. A killer stat first: 44% of global economic output is reckoned to be hidden via tax havens.

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This is a real picture from 21st century London and that ferrari is gold-plated!

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This is a penthouse dining suite in one of London’s newer blocks – the developers claim that it caters to all income levels, but the cheapest apartments have a price tag of £715,000 – even further removed from affordable than the Gidiot’s version.

Moving on from the third picture above, many of London’s grander properties these days are actually not really dwelling places at all but ostentatious safety deposit boxes for the super-rich.

MEETING TWO: POLITICS OF THE MIND: MARXISM AND MENTAL HEALTH

This meeting, with main speaker Beth Greenhill was excellent, and her presentation featured one of the best logos I have ever seen. I have a few photos. During the discussion which folowed the main presentation lots of stories both good and bad were told.

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LUNCH TIME

Lunch time features what has become a Marxism tradition – the district picnic. London food prices being what they are, these communal picnics reduce individual expenditure quite considerably. Food and water duly consumed it was time for the afternoon sessions. I have no pictures of the food itself, but here is the symbol that denotes the presence of Norwich and East Anglia:

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MEETING THREE: SHOULD WE BE IN FAVOUR OF FREE SPEECH?

After making it clear that we should be and are in favour of free speech, speaker Esme Choonara went on to talk about some recent controversies and then to talk about two particular things that have been much misused recently – the No Platform policy and the concept of a safe space.

The No Platform policy, first established in the 1970s was originally intended specifically to target fascism in the form of first the National Front, and later the BNP. It was never seen originally as being a way to deal with general disagreement.

Likewise, the concept of a safe space was developed for a specific purpose. This dates from the Vietnam War and the idea was to have places where people would not be exposed to recruiters. Again this concept should not be used to ban contrary ideas.

We favour the maximum amount of free speech possible – restricting freedom of speech is a measure of last resort.

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Speaker Esme Choonara (left as you look) and chair Kambiz Boomla before the meeting
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Esme giving her talk.

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MEETING FOUR

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The verdict on this one was that it could be either.

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Speaker Michael and chair Sarah before the meeting.
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Michael giving his talk.

THE SECOND MEAL BREAK

For the first time at Marxism, the Norwich and Eats Anglia district picnic was happening twice a day, so I got some more cheap food. I also had a look around bookmarks (for the record, I bought two new and one second-hand book there over the five days).

MEETING FIVE: FIGHTING SEXISM TODAY: MARXISM AND WOMEN’S LIBERATION

This was a splendid way to finish the day. I did not stay on that long after the end of this final meeting of the day because I was already tired, and considered it sensible to get some sleep.

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Judith Orr (on the left as you look) and chair Despina immediately before the final meeting of the day.
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A topiary roundel near Euston station.

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Bus routes in the part of London where I was staying
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Blackhorse Road Station just before the bus arrived.