In the University of York’s The Yorker, Alec Burt shares his thoughts on his experience as a layman at the annual Marxism Festival:
The far left in this country and all over the world now faces its best opportunity in decades to make its voice, ideas and alternatives heard. Not only is capitalism facing one of the most acute crisis in its recent history, there is growing atmosphere of scepticism and anger directed toward governments, orthodoxies and the economic system that has been in existence over recent years. There has been more revolutionary and radical political activity over the past year, from the Arab Spring to the occupy movement, than in the last twenty. So how are the traditional organs of the far left responding? I went to Marxism Festival 2012, an event run by the Socialist Workers’ Party, to find out.
My initial impressions were that the event felt and looked like one would imagine a Marxist festival should. Indeed, as I settled down for my first lecture I began to fear the whole thing would be nothing but a cliché. People were selling pictures of Vladimir Lenin and Leo Trotsky, everyone called each other ‘comrade’ without a hint of irony, posters of clenched fists bearing revolutionary slogans adorned the walls, and there was a healthy plethora of aged bearded men.
However, it quickly became apparent that whole event went far beyond the clichéd trappings of romantic anti-capitalism that is so familiar in Western culture. The vast majority of speakers were articulate and presented interesting and nuanced arguments. Several things struck me about the whole event.
Full article here.