Marxism and populism.

Room: 
Room A, City Hall
Time Slot: 
Monday 26th March 14:15 - 15:45
Panel Chair: 
  • Dr Robin Jervis (University of Brighton)
Panel Discussant: 
  • Professor Terrell Carver (University of Bristol)
Panel Members: 
  • Awaiting details of this person
  • Awaiting details of this person
  • Dr David Bates (Canterbury Christ Church University)

This session is part of the new Studies in Marxism ‘interventions’ series which aims to draw on the critical resources of Marxism to understand key developments in contemporary politics and social life. This series encourages contributions from those operating broadly within a Marxist ‘tradition’ or in some way influenced by that tradition. ‘Interventions’ is a direct response to a type of ‘retreat’ of Marxism scholarship over the last 25 plus years into theoretical exegesis. Whilst theoretical exegesis remains a concern of the Marxism Specialist Group (and the journal Studies in Marxism) this session will link theory directly – and critically - with intervention in a range of concrete debates - from Brexit to the emergence of Donald Trump.

 

Session 1: Marxism and populism.

This session is part of the new Studies in Marxism ‘interventions’ series which aims to draw on the critical resources of Marxism to understand key developments in contemporary politics and social life. This series encourages contributions from those operating broadly within a Marxist ‘tradition’ or in some way influenced by that tradition.  ‘Interventions’ is a direct response to a type of ‘retreat’ of Marxism scholarship over the last 25 plus years into theoretical exegesis. Whilst theoretical exegesis remains a concern of the Marxism Specialist Group (and the journal Studies in Marxism) this session will link theory directly – and critically - with intervention in a range of concrete debates - from Brexit to the emergence of Donald Trump.

 

 

Ling Fei Xia Institute of Marxist Philosophy and Chinese Modernization, Department of Philosophy and Research Center of Practical Philosophy, Sun Yat-sen University  

 

 

Trumpism and its Influence on American Values

 

Abstract: Trump's election has triggered a political earthquake in the United States and the world. Since his presidential bid, Trumpism has become an important topic of great interest. It is a concentration of the values reflected in Trump’s speeches and policies, which manifests itself as "white preference" at home, advocating a special conservatism in a complex domestic and overseas environment and showing racist shades and which asserts "America First" with nationalism and realism as the value guideline. Under the influence of Trumpism, the pursuit of universal values by the American will be reduced to modest and realistic goals that are more oriented to personal and national interests.

 

Keywords: White Preference  America First  Special Conservatism  Racist Shades  Nationalism  Realism

 

Valeria Vegh Weis: University of Buenos Aires: The History of Criminal  Selectivity                                                                        

In my dissertation, The History of Criminal                                                                             Selectivity: A Reading from Marx, Engels, and                                                                           Contemporary Marxist Thought, I assess the                                                                             historical and social-economic conditions that                                                                             underpin the unequal legal treatment and selective                                                                              prosecution of people based upon class, race,                                                                            gender, and age. I identify particular patterns of                                                                              “criminal selectivity.” I consider this phenomenon                                                                              from the rise of capitalism to today, throughout                                                                              Europe and the United States.

My work unites ideas and concepts derived from Marx and Engels and theories derived from various schools of criminology.  It considers a series of historical periods, and in each considers the over criminalisation of those at the lower end of society, and the under criminalisation of those at the top.  I argue that my approach to these issues provides a broadly Marxist approach to criminology which improves on previous attempts in this area.

 

 

 

Dr David Bates (Canterbury Christ Church University)

david.bates@canterbury.ac.uk 

‘Populism, Brexit and Abjection: A Marxist Reading’

 

Abstract:

 

The debate over Brexit has opened up a form of political debate in which it has become acceptable for people to assert views which are at their basis deeply erroneous. With those supporting Brexit, we are all familiar with claims about ‘getting our sovereignty back’, ‘recovering £350 million for the NHS’ etc. Yet among the ‘progressively minded’, ‘well educated’ remainers, we see some deeply pernicious views. Those voting for Brexit are considered to be ‘poorly educated’ even ‘racist’. Indeed, some have used the term ‘estate vote’ to conjure the image of a margnalised and feral Brexit-supporting underclass. 

Supplementing Marxist analysis with aspects of social-psychology and psycho-analysis, this paper will explore how marginalised and exploited communities have been reproduced as abject subjects, and as social ‘others’. Through this process, a range of political mobilisations have become possible.  The Eurosceptic right-wing media have attempted to re-interpolate class relations – particularly via modes of demonization and sensationalism (think of programme titles such as ‘On Benefits and Proud’) - in order to justify benefit cuts etc. But attention needs to be given to more subtle processes of through which so-called progressives have tried to interpolate the marginalised as so uninformed regarding political matters that their vote regarding Brexit ought not to count. The paper will argue that an effective and egalitarian leftist politics of remain must take seriously why some of the most exploited and marginaised aspects of our society apparently supported Brexit – possibly against their direct interests. The paper will conclude with a form of ‘Left-In’ but Euro-critical argument which refuses the neo-liberalism and neo-colonialism of the European project. The world of Brexit of course, does not represent an escape from the neo-liberal nightmare, but rather a more terrifying nightmare. Britain will replace an internationalist neo-liberalism with a pernicious and regressive form of economic nationalism, a world of trade wars with Europe, China and the US, and the exacerbation of inequality as we race to the bottom.