Call for Papers - Anarchism and Marxism in the Contemporary Global Left

9th Nov, 2016

We seek original articles for a projected 2018 special issue of Globalizations on the ways in which anarchism(s) and Marxism(s) are articulated and practiced across the contemporary global left. Anarchism and Marxism are two of the long-standing intellectual frameworks through which anti-capitalism is articulated and practiced. Often seen in tension or polar opposites, two recent collections of essays has shown this to be historically misleading (Prichard et al 2012), and equally problematic in terms of contemporary philosophical debate and practice (Prichard and Worth 2016). More needs to be said about the complexities of current practices and movements, the collaborations and compromises that animate the contemporary global left.

We see practices, ideas, and emancipatory strategies, as mutually constitutive. Ideological frameworks emerge from movements, are complex and contested and morphological (Freeden 1996). It is possible to identify (inter alia) different meanings of freedom, accounts of the workings of capital or domination, all articulated in different ways in different social democratic, counter-cultural, revolutionary and anti-parliamentary tendencies. These ideas animate different groups, often different elements within the same movements, which give the practices of these cross cutting social movements their dynamism and complexity, and often a contradictory character. Can these be untangled, and in so doing, can we identify any identifiably anarchist and Marxist tendencies in this dynamic process across the global left?

It has been widely remarked that an anarchist sub-culture pervades large parts of the contemporary left, from shaping modes of participation, to decision making, and rationalising disengagement from mainstream politics, any yet most mass social movements are not self-identifying as anarchist. While anarchistic groups have been central to Occupy and 15M, so too have the plural Marxist tendencies, explaining their plural strategies and wide appeal. The successes and the failures of Podemos, Bernie Sanders and Syriza, also invites further reflection on the relative merits of anarchist and Marxist accounts of the appropriate strategies of emancipatory social, political and economic change.

More stories are yet to be told about the place of anarchism and Marxism in black and minority ethnic struggles in the west, in Black Lives Matter for example. What place does anarchism or Marxism have in the violent labour disputes in South Africa, or in the aftermath of the factory recuperations in Argentina, or far left movements in India, Nepal, and elsewhere? Likewise, radical LGBTQ and feminist movements are adopting organisational strategies and campaigning forms that have moved beyond the traditional anti/parliamentary left. Are conceptions of hegemony and counter-hegemony that have been current since the 1990s sill salient here? The 'democratic confederalists' in the Rojava region of Kurdistan, the Zapatistas in Mexico, and the global La Via Campesina movement, can each be said to exhibit tendencies of a broad left convergence, adopting formal organisational structures while dissociating from the state. Are these hybrid ideological forms of left wing politics?  What are their contours, their constitutive practices and aims? Where are the compromises, the innovations, and what can we learn from this for the future of the left?

Papers in this special issue will explore the conjuncture between anarchism(s) and Marxism(s) in actually existing social movements, to tell us something new about the nature of left praxis today. We do not expect our authors to speak for these movements. Rather where possible prospective authors should speak from them, recounting from experience the tensions and compromise, messiness and the morphology of the contemporary left. Questions that might guide reflections include: Where do we see this convergence and compromise taking place, what are its main features and contours? What lessons are to be learned from this convergence? What can this analysis tell us about the future of the left? Wherever there are untold stories about the attempted convergence of anarchism(s) and Marxism(s), we would like to hear about it.

Timeline:

We will publish 8 selected articles in a prospective special issue of Globalizations in 2018. To meet this publication date, we require abstracts of up to 300 words by December the 16th, 2016. Successful authors will be notified in January 2017, and encouraged to present their draft papers at a major international conference or smaller colloquium in 2017 (t.b.c.). Papers will be double blind peer reviewed and submitted to Globalizations in January 2018.

Please submit your abstract, by no later than the 16th of December, to Owen Worth at the following email address: Owen.Worth@ul.ie

Should you wish to discuss your potential contribution in more detail, please contact Alex Prichard at the following email address: a.prichard@exeter.ac.uk