An account of the three meetings at Marxism 2017 that focussed exclusively on climate change.
Welcome to this latest post in my series about Marxism 2017. This post deals with three meetings from the event and also features some external links as well. This post features green body text because of the subject matter – headings still in red. This post features pictures in ’tiled mosaic’ form – to view them at full size left-click/ single finger push an image to open the gallery, and if you right-click/ two finger push you get a drop down menu that enables you to open a single image.
MEETING 1: FACING THE ANTHROPOCENE – JEFFREY HALL, SATURDAY – IAN ANGUS
The Jeffrey Hall is the second largest venue in the Institute of Education, with a seating capacity of 500. It was pleasingly full for Ian Angus’ talk about Facing the Anthropocene. This talk was accompanied by numerous slides. Here are the first few pictures:
Due to the size of the venue a speaker slip system in operation, and Martin (crouched) was assisting the chair to decide what order speakers should be called in.
From this start the speaker went on to define the anthropocene:
This what the Anthropocene is NOT
Note – current CO2 Levels are at 409-10ppm, with almost no one reckoning they can be stabilised below 450ppm and some talking in terms of 560ppm.
Before the Anthropocene the earth had seen five mass extinction events, and all evidence points to the fact that a sixth is upon us. Here are a few links to recent articles about this:
MEETING 2, SUNDA: A REDDER SHADE OF GREEN – MALET SUITE – IAN ANGUS
This was conducted in an informal style. Martin, chairing, asked Ian questions about his latest book (it is a good read btw) and Ian answered. After about half an hour questions were taken from the floor, and they were mainly excellent contributions. At the end of the meeting Ian signed copies of his book for those who were interested. Here are some photos:
PART 3: BUILDING THE MOVEMENT AGAINST CLIMATE CHANGE AFTER TRUMP WITHDRAWS FROM PARIS – SUZANNE JEFFERY
This meeting was in the session immediately after the second Ian Angus meeting, and before the closing rally. This was a really excellent meeting, with many people speaking from the floor about campaigns they were involved in, and the mood generally confident. Here are some photos:
This post being about climate change and by extension nature I have decided to end with some links courtesy of Anna who has produced some excellent stuff about nature:
An outline of day 3 at Marxism 2017, setting the stage for two further posts.
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”.
Here to show you the scale of the event is the timetable for thia day:
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:
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:
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:
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:
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:
Ian Rappel and Sarah Ensor’s meeting on biodiversity and species extinction covered in detail. #Marxism2017
Welcome to this post in my series about Marxism 2017. The meeting covered in this post was the second that I attended on day 1 of the festival. Most of the rest of this post will be photographs from that meeting, but before getting to the main meat I have one small thing to do relating to my previous post…
In the first published version of my post about day 1 I labelled a logo as being from the front of a TEAM t-shirt. It was not, and I have corrected the original post, but I refuse to do the blogging equivalent of sneaking out a correction in 6pt type in the middle of page 27, so here is a picture showing the a TEAM t-shirt:
BIODIVERSITY AND SPECIES EXTINCTION
Of our two speakers, Ian Rappel is a conservation biologist and was looking at the overall picture, while Sarah Ensor, author the blog Herring and Class Struggle, focused on the oceans.
Here are the photos from before the main talks:
PART 1: IAN RAPPEL
PART 2: SARAH ENSOR
This was an important meeting, and I welcome the higher profile that nature and ecology are enjoying at this year’s Marxism (I have been to three meetings on the topic already, with another three scheduled for this final day). I cannot say that I enjoyed it, but I am glad that I attended and was glad to note that there were few empty seats.
A post created from my experiences at the Marxism and Nature day school which took place at Student Central, Malet Street, London on Saturday.
This post is based on a day school organised by the International Socialism Journal titled Marxism and Nature which took place on Saturday. To set the scene, here is the timetable for the day:
The travel should have been straightforward, since Malet Street is walkable from King’s Cross, but engineering works intervened. The first effect of the engineering works was that I had to get the 6:54AM rather than 7:54AM train from Lynn. After getting the replacement bus service from Ely to Cambridge the next train to London turned out to be a stopper, so reckoning on saving a bit of time overall, I alighted at Finsbury Park and took the Piccadilly line line to Russell Square. Having a little time to spare, I avoided the most crowded route, opting for a slightly circuitous walk which had the bonus of taking in this splendid commemorative plate:
This post will be followed by several on http://www.londontu.be focussing specifically on the public transport elements of the day.
THE EVENT: PHOTOGRAPHIC OVERVIEW
Here before getting to the real meat of the post are some photos taken at the event. The event took place at Student Central, formerly known as the University of London Union (ULU). The opening and closing plenaries were in the Upper Hall, which when I first visited the building was known as the Badminton Court (although these are both beaten in the changeability stakes by The Venue, which was Manning Hall when i first visited, and then became Room 101).
THE ANTHROPOCENE IN SLIDES
The pictures produced below come from all across the day…
THE WORKSHOP SESSION
I have included some of Ian Rappel’s slides above, so this section will focus mainly on the other speaker at the workshop, Sarah Ensor, who is researching the history of class struggle in Iceland and whose blog can be found here.
MORE ON THE CLOSING PLENARY
The closing plenary featured Ian Angus, many of whose slides I have already shown, and Camilla Royle, deputy editor of International Socialism Journal, who had played a key role in organising the event. The event ended with a show of solidarity with antu-fracking campaigner Tina Rothery.
Knowing that a non-stop train to Cambridge would be leaving Kings Cross at 17:44 I headed that way in no great hurry, and was comfortably aboard the train. Here are some final photographs…
An account of the Saturday at Marxism, with lots of pictures.
First the big news – I am writing this on my own computer. Second, for this post, the third in my series on Marxism 2016 (see here and here) I will not be writing about all the meetings I attended on the Saturday, but rather setting out a brief framework of the day before concentrating on two meetings in particular.
GETTING THERE AND THE PLAN
I had my usual smooth journey in. Here is my plan for the day:
Thus, my selected meetings were: Engels and the origins of women’s oppression (Celia Hutchinson) in room 728, Precarity: minority condition or majority experience? (Kevin Doogan) in the Elvin Hall, The Anthropocene and the global economic crisis (John Bellamy Foster) in the Galleon Suite room A Royal National Hotel), After the elections: Ireland’s new politics? (Brid Smith and Richard Boyd Barrett), in the Galleon Suite room C Royal National Hotel) and The gene editing revolution – its promise and potential perils (John Parrington), Room 728.
It so happened that the two meetings in the above list that were in the Royal national Hotel were the only two that I attended there and were back to back. Regular readers will recall that the entrances to the Institute of Education building are on levels 3 and 4. Room 728 as its name suggests is on level 7, while the Elvin Hall is on level 1. There are lifts, but I am not keen on lifts and I also recognized that there were others at the event whose need for lift access is greater than my own, so this program involved a lot of stairs.
The first two meetings featured one late change – Kevin Doogan had to withdraw and was replaced as speaker by Joseph Choonara. Here are some photographs…
After the usual picnic lunch it was time for…
A VISIT TO THE ROYAL NATIONAL HOTEL
The Royal National Hotel is separated from the Institute of Education by the width of a street (albeit a central London street with all that that entails). Observation of the timetable will lead you to note that Galleon A and Galleon C but no Galleon B. This is because the Galleon Suite is divided by means of temporary partitions which are not soundproof (I have been attending incarnations of this festival since 1995, and can attest to this, as it was not always taken account of), so Galleon B (the middle of a three way partition) was used as a kind of anteroom to the other two parts of the suite, simultaneously serving as a sound-break between them. My first port of call in this building was Galleon C for…
THE ANTHROPOCENE AND THE GLOBAL ECOLOGICAL CRISIS
The basic thesis behind this talk is that the scale of human impact on our climate has already been such that we are no longer in the Holocene, the period which began about 10,000 years ago, but in the Anthropocene, the start of which is still not agreed on, with estimates of the exact point spanning the 19th century.
The term Anthropocene is not as new as you might think, having been used in the 1920s by Alexei Pavlov. What this terminology implies is that human influence (anthropo- is a Greek prefix meaning human) on the earth has become so great that human history is now driving geological history.
The speaker (and we were lucky enough to have noted author John Bellamy Foster in that role) presented a huge amount of data explaining the thinking, and left himself without enough time to explain what we should be doing about this situation. While I found this meeting interesting and sobering I was somewhat disappointed by this aspect of it.
PICTURES FROM GALLEON B IN BETWEEN MEETINGS
IRELAND’S NEW POLITICS?
I had been looking forward to this one since hearing Brid Smith speak at the opening rally (I already knew how good Richard Boyd Barrett was from previous years) and I was not to be disappointed. Richard Boyd Barrett (now in his second term as TD for Dun Laoghaire) and Brid Smith are both members of the Irish Dail as part of the People Not Profits coalition.
Before looking at Ireland’s new politics, a brief summary of Ireland’s old politics. For virtually the whole history of the Republic of Ireland the government of the country had swung between two right-wing conservative parties, Fianna Fail and Fine Gael, depending on which of them the Labour Party in that country chose to prop up.
So what is different now? Well both of the main parties have suffered heavy electoral losses, and one election after its best ever showing the Labour party is down to seven seats. People Before Profit has six seats, and four others are held by socialists who are not members of that coalition (this would be equivalent to having 40-50 radical left MPs at Westminster).
Ireland was forced by the EU to bail out toxic banks at a cost of 68 billion, which was clawed back by inflicting cuts on the weakest in society. Then, the EU decided it had not gone far enough in immiserating Ireland and demanded that the Irish government levy a water charge. This provoked a huge backlash, including a 250,000 strong demonstration in Dublin (equivalent, given the two countries populations to 4-5 million in London), and there is simply no way that the water charge will be made to stick.
It is not just in the Republic that things are changing rapidly (the Irish Socialist Workers Party is a cross-border organisation). There are now two People Before Profit coalition members sitting in the Stormont Parliament (Eamonn McCann and Gerry Carroll), the first two people in Stormont not be signed up as either nationalist or loyalist but as socialists pure and simple,and as part of the campaigning that brought this about they managed to have a meeting in the Shankill Road, attended by 50 people – even the most entrenched sectarianism can be broken through.
BACK TO THE INSTITUTE
After the evening picnic it was time for the final meeting of the day. John Parrington gave an excellent introduction after which there was a variety of contributions from the floor. I was pleased to see Steve Silberman’s book Neurotribes (surely destined to become the standard work on autism) on display at this meeting. The homeward journey was uneventful as expected.