LEEDS TAKING SOUNDINGS PRESENTS:
CRISIS, AUSTERITY AND RESISTANCE: A PANEL DISCUSSION
BPAG10, Broadcasting Place (this is part of Leeds Beckett University, opposite the Fenton pub on Woodhouse Street) , 6PM Monday Feb 23rd
Despite recession, ‘secular’ stagnation and deflation the capitalist system continues to exhibit a remarkable staying power. And in terms of the social costs the living standards for millions have fallen whilst the commitment to full employment and the welfare state have long been abandoned. Globally governments pursue neoliberal economic objectives that have resulted in the most grotesque inequalities combined with diminishing civil liberties and the virtual abandonment of representative democracy.
Yet with the results of the elections in Greece we might be seeing the stirrings of a mass rejection of austerity politics and with a coming general election in the UK against a shattered and discredited political system it is possible that opportunities for change are at last in sight. And to help socialists in Leeds to consider both the pitfalls and possibilities confronting us, two distinguished Marxist theorists will be proposing explanations of the crisis and examples for resistance in the coming period.
Jim Kincaid is an economist who devoted much of his time to the issues of poverty, welfare and social policy, but has been more recently grappling with Marxist political economy, especially its application in a financialised global economy. Most recently he raised eyebrows at a Historical Materialism conference where he drew attention to the persistence of puzzlingly high rates of corporate profits throughout a period of economic stagnation and recession. Jim is a member of Left Unity.
Colin Barker is a political theorist and activist who has devoted much of his life to the study (and promotion) of radical and revolutionary movements of resistance and mass democracy. Among a large body of distinguished work is a recent collection on Marxism and Social Movements (available as a Haymarket paperback). Until recently Colin was a member of the editorial board of theInternational Socialism journal but since June 2014 he has begun to fulfil the same role for the Revolution in the 21st century magazine. Colin is a member of rs21.
As founder members of the International Socialists in the 1960s Jim and Colin are old mates and it is in the spirit of fraternity that they will be offering their ideas from their respective perspectives.
We are looking forward to a relaxed and open debate which will allow us to think about the relevance of Marxist approaches to understanding the world today.