The two previous Marx Conferences in Stockholm 2013 and 2016 were huge successes with more than 2 000 participants and contributors, such as John Bellamy Foster and Michael Heinrich. The conferences centred on how Marxist theories can help our understanding of the contemporary era as well as how to conceive the future.
With this invitation to the 2019 Marx conference, we will further elaborate on strategies to move beyond the current social property relations, with a special focus on how to overcome the march towards climate apocalypse, which is fuelled by the present capitalist system. The Marxist perspective aims to achieve political change, and it is therefore more important than ever, since a climate disaster can only be avoided by a thorough paradigm shift in all conceptions of society. Therefore, the banner and theme of the Marx Conference in 2019 will be: The Battle of Climate change and the Death of Capitalism – “Because there is no alternative!”
With this call for papers, we invite everyone to suggest sessions, workshops or other forms of collective arrangements that can contribute to our understandings of contemporary capitalism and ways to overcome both this exploitative system and climate disaster. We propose the following main themes:
Geographies of inequality
Here we welcome research on climate and environmental change, linked to an overall system-critical social analysis. Despite talk about innovation and green growth, dominant politics underpin the ideology of capitalism as an unsustainable society. It goes hand in hand with increasing the social and economic class divisions and social inequalities. How do we plan and build for a socialist sustainable society? How can we organize communications and infrastructure in a progressive way?
The relationships between city and country
The entire world is undergoing increasingly rapid urbanization as a result of the continuous expansion of capital. At the same time, we see escalating social and political divisions between rural and sparsely populated areas, on the one hand, and the city, on the other. Whereas smaller towns are presented as antiquated and reactionary, larger cities are seen as the given hubs of the middle class, where concentrated resources are available and where anonymity and diversity contribute to tolerance as well as development. The United States, Turkey, Sweden, India and Nigeria are just a few examples of this trend. At the same time, there are many examples that tell a different story. In recent years, Sweden has witnessed how social struggles, such as the occupation of a maternity ward threatened with closure in Sollefteå, as well as the solidarity and asylum rights network “Vi står inte ut” (“we can’t stand this”) transcend urban and rural borders. How do we bridge this social, political, economic but also imagined divide between city and country?
The political economy of emission
How do the drastic greenhouse gas emissions affect us globally? Here, we are looking for analyses of the political and economic processes that enable industries and transport sectors to continue the emission of greenhouse gas, as well as escalating the use of fossil fuels. Today, the capitalist economy is in favour of the continued use of fossil fuels and lacks the ability to value nature for anything but its potential economic gain. What does the political economy of emission mean for us today?
Environmental crisis, migration and the fall of the nation state
As a result of the climate crisis, increasing numbers of people are forced to flee their homes and countries. This situation actualizes and provokes the territorial and imaginary borders of the nation state, as well as threatens to bolster nationalist and racist tendencies. The solutions to climate related problems, as well as solidarity in itself, must be based on internationalism. Is it possible to find examples of such solutions, historically and in our contemporary world? How do we fight against the racist geopolitics of global capital?
Feminism, ecology and social reproduction
How do class divisions affect and maintain oppression based on gender and sexuality? What does the creation of communities mean today, as an ecologically sustainable alternative to both state and private ownership? Women have historically been the primary subjects in reproductive work. Today, we see how social reproductive work is changing and becoming increasingly commercialized. Reproductive work is communicated through the commodity form of labour, while domestic unpaid labour still remains divided in an unequal way. How can the creation of commons and radical feminist practices provide us with new political opportunities and tools?
The ideological and institutional cornerstones
Here we call for analyses of the ideologies that support climate-destructive capitalism. With capital’s increased penetration of society, not only direct production is submitted to a quantified value-advancing logic. Even institutions expected to recreate the conditions for capitalist production – such as schools, healthcare, universities and education – are transformed according to the same pattern. Furthermore, we ask for analyses of more comprehensive ideologies that sustain the reproduction of growth society, where short-term exhaustion of natural resources is regarded as a given. Car dependence, air travel and meat consumption are for example seen as self-evident everyday practices.
Because there is no alternative – organization and class struggle for our common future
Here we ask for discussions and analyses of the conditions for successful political propagation to meet and combat capitalism and climate changes. How can strategies for dealing with climate and environmental issues be combined with the struggle against current power relations, where the contradiction between labour and capital is partly founded in terms of gender, nationality, race, sexual orientation, and more? As pointed out above: it is meaningless to fight for socialism if the earth is becoming uninhabitable. The climate change is the ultimate proof of capitalism’s impossibility. A system based on constant growth cannot lead to anything but the end of our existence.
SUBMIT A CONTRIBUTION!
Marx 2019 is meant to be a meeting place for everyone inspired by Marx or taking Marxist theories as a point of departure in their research, authorship, political thinking and activism. Contributions can however communicate with other theoretical, political and organisational traditions than the Marxist as well.
Proposals can be sent to us as collective arrangements, typically of minimum three involved individual contributors. You are free to suggest the form and content of the arrangement, that should last for 60–120 minutes. One possible form is an academic-style session, based on papers and individual presentations, followed by general discussion. It could also be organised as a workshop, a panel discussion, a round table, or any other form you find suitable. You will take the full responsibility to organise the arrangement, including recruitment and contacts with participants, as well as the actual implementation of the arrangement if the suggestion is accepted.
We ask you to send an abstract of 300–500 words, where the following should be included: title, suggestion for format, length, language (a Scandinavian language or English), as well as a general descriptive summary of content and theme: theoretical context and description of participants with brief description of their (if relevant) individual contributions.
Please send your abstracts no later than April 30th 2019 to: email@example.com