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:

P1030214

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:

Banner3
The woman in front of the banner is Paula Peters of Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC).
Picnic
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

Marx quote
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 2017: Day 2

An account of Day 2 at Marxism 2017.

INTRODUCTION

Welcome to the next post in my series about Marxism 2017. The event finished with the Closing Rally last night, after which I travelled back to King’s Lynn. I have quite a few more posts to do before this series finishes however. 

DAY 2

I was staying in a room in a University hall of residence about a 15 minute walk from the event, which suited me very well. I set off at about 9:20AM (the first meeting session started at 10AM, and I wanted to be early because the meeting I had chosen was likely to be very well attended. I arrived at Student Central at about 9:30 and took the stairs to the third floor as the meeting was scheduled for the Upper Hall (I am old enough to have attended meetings there when it was still called the Badminton Court). 

FAKE NEWS: MEDIA, TRUTH AND POWER – SIMON BASKETTER

This was a splendid way to start the day. There was some very entertaining stuff, with serious purpose. The events of June 8th showed everyone who was not already aware that there are limitations to the power of the media – our mass media were universal in predicting (and in most cases wanting) a huge majority for Theresa May and the SelfConservatives and of course she ended up with no majority, dickering with the foul bigots of the DUP to hang on to the power. Of course she is now so desperate that she is asking Labour for ideas (Jeremy Corbyn’s response: “I’ll give you a copy of our manifesto”). Here are some photographs to help tell the story:

UCL building
This building caught my eye as I walked past on my way to the event.
Posters1
Posters on the way up.

Posters2

Upper Hall
The Upper Hall at 9:30AM

Posters3Posters4Posters5Posters6Posters7Posters8

Throughthewindow1
The view through one of the the Upper Hall windows
Food stand
A food stall (London prices are beyond my means – I was not a cjustomer)
Rose window
Rose window

big screen, UHBasketter

Sarah Ensor + Simon Basketter
Chair Sarah (one of the speakers at the meeting on Biodiversity and Species Extinction) and speaker Simon Basketter.
Sarah Ensor opens the meeting
Sarah introduces the meeting
Simon Basketter starts his talk
Simon speaking, careful not obstruct the screen.

FN1FN2Basketter at the micGraph1Graph2Broken NewsGraph3TrustGraph4Rogers + HammersteinLukacs

MARXISM AND MENTAL HEALTH – BETH GREENHILL

I will be giving this meeting a full post to itself in due course – it deserves it, and I have asked the speaker to email me all her slides, including those she did not get to use because of the importance I attach to this subject. For the moment here are a few pictures:

Display1
A display on the main staircase at Student Central.

Tomas Tengely-Evans and Beth Greenhill (speaker)Four humoursBimaristansBeth GreenhillMarx at the asylumVygotskyAusterity Ailments

service maps

'Bildung'

MARXISM, NATURE AND SOCIETY – MARTIN EMPSON

Following the lunch break (picnics are something of a tradition at Marxism festivals, and I participated in the Norwich and East Anglia picnic) I headed to room 3E for this meeting. I would have preferred this talk to have been assigned a bigger room because the topic is so important. It was well attended, as it should have been. There were many outstanding contributions, including from those fighting against fracking (a particularly destructive method of extracting fossil fuels from shale). A woman who was born in Australia and whose father works in mining talked about her arguments with him and how she explains that she does not want people in mining to be jobless – she wants them to have jobs helping the environment, such as developing renewable energy sources etc. Here are some pictures:

PlatformBook displayRent controls now!big screen

IRELAND AND THE RISE OF THE RADICAL LEFT – GERRY CARROLL

Gerry Carroll is one of two members of People Before Profit elected to the Stormont Assembly in the days when that body still functioned. The other was Eamonn McCann. One of Stormont’s less charming features is a register that requires you to state whether you are Nationalist or Unionist – McCann and Carroll both wrote the single word Socialist in this space. People Before Profit are a cross-border organisation and they also boast three members of the Dail (the Irish Republic’s parliament), two of whom, Richard Boyd Barrett and Brid Smith were also at Marxism 2017. Gerry Carroll won his seat in West Belfast – Gerry Adams’ stamping ground. For an avowed non-sectarian to win in the very heartland of Sinn Fein is particularly remarkable. Carroll talked about both his success and that in the Republic. In the Republic much of the radicalism developed around the attempted imposition of water charges (yes – in Europe’s wettest country), but also of course the Republic became the first country in the world to vote in favour of equal marriage. 

After Carroll finished his inspiring speech various people in the audience talked further about some of the points he raised, filling out the picture. Here are some pictures…

Jasmine (chair)Capital 150Jasmine and GerryChair and speakerJasmine at the micGerry giving his opening speech

DID LENIN LEAD TO STALIN? – PADDY NIELSEN

After the second long break of the day it was back up to floor 3, this time room 3B for me. This meeting dealt with one of the more persistent accusations flung at the left (note, until the mid 1990s Socialist Worker retained its masthead stating “Neither Washington nor Moscow but International Socialism”). Nielsen set out the counter arguments excellently. Stalinism was a product of the isolation of the Russian Revolution – it did not spread elsewhere as the revolutionaries hoped, and it was separated from the revolutionary movement by a river of blood. Most of the old Bolshevik leadership who were alive when Stalin took power died at his hands. Here are some pictures:

Paddy Nielsen ready for his talkPlatformBook displayChair introduces meetingPaddy speakingPaddy in action