Marxism 2010: What's on at the conference

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More people around the world are questioning the logic of a system that puts corporate profits ahead of everything else -- including the very survival of the planet.

Achieving meaningful reforms under capitalism is increasingly difficult. And sometimes the sheer magnitude of the problems facing the world can make us feel small, isolated and beyond the capacity to make a difference.

But nothing could be further from the truth, and that's why this year's annual Marxism conference in Toronto -- with the theme "A planet to save, a world to win" -- is so important. Organized by the International Socialists, we hope the conference can be a place where we link struggles and share ideas. With over 40 talks in three days this coming Friday, Saturday and Sunday, the Marxism 2010 covers a wide range of issues.

The conference theme reflects two broad topics. The first, a planet to save, covers everything that currently threatens the survival of the planet and all its inhabitants: rapidly accelerating climate change; widespread environmental destruction; wars of aggression in the Middle East, Central Asia and around the world; a worsening global economic crisis; neoliberal measures that attack workers and their standard of living; racism, sexism, homophobia and all other forms of oppression that create divisions among ordinary people; and anti-democratic governments that attempt to silence their opposition.

The second, a world to win, covers everything we can do to fight back, and to build a world without capitalism and war. Wherever there has been oppression, there has always been resistance. That's why it's not enough to discuss in detail all the problems in the world today; we must also discuss how to fight back, build stronger movements, and begin developing a vision for a world that belongs to all of us.

The talks at Marxism 2010 attempt to do these two things: engage all the movements and struggles for climate and social justice, peace, indigenous sovereignty, self-determination, and human liberation; and develop strategies for resistance and for building another world.

The talks will cover topics related to anti-capitalism, anti-imperialism, anti-oppression, climate justice, democracy, Palestine solidarity, political economy, radicals and rebels, and workers' resistance.

The struggle for all human liberation will be led, and has always been led, by ordinary people themselves. The scale of the struggles facing us on all fronts means that we urgently need to build a united movement that links one struggle to another, and that allows us to learn from past movements as we build a movement for a better world.

And the stakes couldn't be higher. We're not just fighting to save jobs and pensions, or to bring the troops home now. Faced with the growing threat of climate change, we're fighting for the future and survival of the planet.

We hope that you'll join us at the conference, and share your struggles, ideas and experiences: after all, we have a planet to save, and a world to win!

A sample of the talks is included below. For the full program, visit the conference online.

- Ellen Gabriel, Mohawk activist and president of Quebec Native Women, will look at the fight for indigenous sovereignty, 20 years after Oka.

- Clayton Thomas Muller of the Indigenous Environmental Network leads a discussion on the fight for climate justice, after Copenhagen and Cochabamba.

- Kostas Katarachias, a leading Greek trade unionist, reports from the frontlines of workers' resistance in Greece.

- Carolyn Egan, president of the Steelworkers' Toronto Area Council, and John Cartwright, president of Toronto and York Region Labour Council, assess the state of the workers' movement in Canada.

 - Virginia Rodino, US-based socialist and anti-war activist, assesses Obama's first year in power.

- Anti-war activist Sid Lacombe leads a discussion on co-ops, communes and collectives: can we build socialism before a revolution?

- Judith Orr and Salmaan Khan talk about Afghanistan and Pakistan: imperialism's new fault line.

- Palestine solidarity activists Rafeef Ziadah, Khaled Mouammar, Diana Ralph and Tim McCAskell discuss the new McCarthyism: Harper's attack on Palestine solidarity.
Anti-apartheid activists Clare O'Connor and Joe Kelly examine histories of apartheid from South Africa to Israel.

- Gilary Massa and Sedef Arat-Koç discuss feminism, secularism and Islam.

- Benoit Renaud and Monique Moisan, editor of À bâbord !, talk about building a bigger left: lessons from Québec solidaire.

- Abdi Dirshe, of the Somali-Canadian Diaspora Alliance, and Ali Awali discuss the new ‘scramble for Africa'.

- Paul Kellogg looks at revolutions and coups, the struggle for liberation in Latin America today.

- Security certificate detainee Mohamad Harkat, Amnesty International campaigner Shanaaz Gokool and Canadian Peace Alliance co-chair Christine Jones talk about Canada's ‘war on terror' -- from secret trials to torture.

- Michelle Robidoux reviews the radical history of Canada's working class, from picket lines to protest signs.

- Steve Craig, of the Cadillac-Fairview 61, and Pam Johnson discuss building solidarity across struggles.

- US Iraq War resister Jeremy Hinzman joins Nadine MacKinnon, Kim Koyama and John Bell in a tribute to Howard Zinn.

MARXISM 2010. A planet to save. A World to win.
28 to 30 May 2010 | Ryerson Student Centre, 55 Gould Street, Toronto

James Clark is an anti-war and civil liberties activist, and a member of the International Socialists in Toronto. He is helping organize this year's Marxism conference. You can follow him on Twitter.


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