Twelfth Annual Conference

Austerity and Socialist Strategy

5th Nov 2015 6:00 - 9th Nov 2015 3:00

SOAS, Russel Square

Call for Papers

The Old is Dying and the New Cannot Be Born: States, Strategies, Socialisms


Twelfth Annual Historical Materialism Conference School of Oriental and African Studies, Central London, 5-8 November 2015



As austerity tightens its grip around the throats of the peoples of Europe, but also rears its ugly head in Brazil and elsewhere, we are forced to recognize that it is not the mere byproduct of the « economic crisis » but a political project in its own right, one whose aim is to deepen and consolidate the most uncompromising forms of neoliberal capitalism. It cannot be said that this project has hitherto been met with passivity, even if social movements of resistance have been mostly far from strong enough to halt its advance. Yet something is perhaps beginning to change, namely the emergence of counter-austerity projects that have pitched themselves at a political – even electoral or governmental – level. With all their weaknesses, hesitations and contradictions, the chinks of light in Southern Europe, amongst others, should compel Marxists to pose a whole series of ‘old’ strategic and theoretical problems in new garbs and new configurations, ​but perhaps also to retire some of our dear fetishes and shibboleths, and to experiment with forms and strategies adequate to our present. Among the themes that have returned to the agenda are: the relationship of movements and parties of the radical Left to states and governments; the need for a political response to how class power is enmeshed with forms of domination that have gender, race, imperialism or sexuality as their axes; possible « socialist » futures and the « transitional » mediations implied by them; the guiding dichotomies of left thought: reform and revolution, revolution and revolt, state and movement, parties classes and masses; the link between the limits to capital and the limits of politics.


At this year’s Historical Materialism Annual Conference in London, 5-8 November 2015, we would like to encourage papers on these and other topics, with a particular focus on Greece, Spain and Latin America as laboratories for these experiences and debates. Among the themes we would like to explore are:

  • Dual Power and Socialist Transition
  • Communisation, Accelerationism and their limits
  • Transitional Programme Redivivus?
  • The European Union as a Class Project
  • Greece and Spain as Laboratories of Change
  • Latin America – What Follows the Pink Wave?
  • Cultural and Aesthetic Representations of Crisis
  • What Is Populism?
  • The Reformist Hypothesis
  • Right-wing Strategies in the Crisis

Other themes we would like to see are:

  • Nietzsche and Marxism (to celebrate the publication of Domenico Losurdo’s book on Nietzsche in the HM Book Series)
  • History and Actuality of the first four congresses of the Communist International
  • Social Reproduction
  • Race and Capitalism
  • Capitalism, Logistics and the Sea
  • The Legacy of Nicos Poulantzas and Left Eurocommunism
  • Capitalism and Global Inequality: Keynes or Marx?
  • Marxist Thought in the Arab World
  • China: Is the Miracle About to Crash?
  • « Leninism » and its Discontents
  • Strategies of Counter-Revolution
  • Culture and State Building
  • Rebuilding Communities and the Battles around Housing.
  • Technologies and Culture

(This is a non-exclusive list – other subjects are of course welcome too. Preconstituted panels are welcome but we reserve the right to disaggregate them and create new panels with some of the speakers proposed.)


Separate call for papers go also for the following streams:

  1. Deepening Marxist Feminism: Contemporary Issues and Theories
  2. Greece and Spain as laboratories of hope
  3. Imperialism in the crisis – the crisis of imperialism
  4. Marxist Geographies in an Austerity Landscape

N.B. Given the complexity of organising a conference of this size, we cannot guarantee that speakers will be able to speak on a certain day or at a certain time. Last minute changes to the conference programme may be necessary due to cancellations, and we ask for speakers’ understanding should a paper or session need to be moved. Finally, please do not propose a paper unless there are realistic prospects that you will be able to attend – « no shows » cause endless knock-on problems of organisation and stress.

Separate CFPs for streams during the conference, such as on Marxism and Feminism, will be circulated soon.

Deadline for registration of abstracts: 1st June 2015

Register Online

Online registration is now closed. You can come and register directly on the door.
Suggested contributions for registration on the door will be £25 for unwaged and £75 for waged participants. Unwaged participants wishing to attend for a single day are invited to discuss a contribution on the door also.

Registration desk is at SOAS, Russell Square.

  • Thursday at 12:00
  • Friday at 9.00
  • Saturday at 9.00
  • Sunday at 9.00

All those who cannot afford the suggested unwaged contribution rate, or who only wish to attend a few sessions, should come to registration to discuss a fair contribution.


Accomodation Info

The venue is in Russell Square this year (as it has been every year but the previous one). You can find here a range of accommodation options.