You can read 19 more articles this month
JOHN McDONNELL declared Marxism a “force for change today” as he addressed the closing session of a conference marking Karl Marx’s 200th birthday yesterday.
The shadow chancellor received stormy applause for a speech in which he paid tribute to the revolutionary thinker and noted that public interest in his ideas had soared since the bankers’ crash of 2008.
The event at the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies was organised by the Marx Memorial Library and saw a day of discussions on Marxist approaches to everything from neoliberalism and public services through the rise of the Indian far right under Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the nature of Latin American socialism, forms of oppression and exploitation based on class and race to “being a Marxist artist under capitalism” and whether artificial intelligence and new technology had “eclipsed” Marx’s relevance.
Mr McDonnell said that the revival of the left under Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn had seen “a significant revival of the question: who really owns our society?”
Marx’s economic analysis offered important insights into understanding the “crisis-ridden capitalism” of modern Britain, he said.
“Ten years after the banking crash, interest in Marxism hasn’t declined, it has increased.
“This has led Labour to discuss how it can develop the co-operative sector and take back into public ownership rail and water and the post office,” he said to cheers.
Mr McDonnell asked the audience to picture the reaction from his press team when he told them he planned to address a conference about Marx – but noted that even Bank of England governor Mark Carney had recently predicted a resurgence of Marxism.
Refusing to “self-censor,” he said openly debating Marx would undermine the “culture of fear” promoted by the Establishment in a bid to silence critical voices.
His address prompted a furious attack piece in the Daily Mail, which noted that his attendance had been “swiftly condemned by Simply Red singer Mick Hucknall.”
Mr Hucknall said the Hayes and Harlington MP “does not belong in the Labour Party.”
Images accompanying the article slammed Mr McDonnell as a “self-confessed socialist” and accused him of support for the Morning Star, picturing him visiting the paper’s stall at the conference.
You can’t buy a revolution, but you can help the only daily paper in Britain that’s fighting for one by joining the 501 club.
Just £5 a month gives you the opportunity to win one of 17 prizes, from £25 to the £501 jackpot.
By becoming a 501 Club member you are helping the Morning Star cover its printing, distribution and staff costs — help keep our paper thriving by joining!
You can’t buy a revolution, but you can help the only daily paper in Britain that’s fighting for one by become a member of the People’s Printing Press Society.
The Morning Star is a readers’ co-operative, which means you can become an owner of the paper too by buying shares in the society.
Shares are £1 each — though unlike capitalist firms, each shareholder has an equal say. Money from shares contributes directly to keep our paper thriving.
Some union branches have taken out shares of over £500 and individuals over £100.
You can’t buy a revolution, but you can help the only daily paper in Britain that’s fighting for one by donating to the Fighting Fund.
The Morning Star is unique, as a lone socialist voice in a sea of corporate media. We offer a platform for those who would otherwise never be listened to, coverage of stories that would otherwise be buried.
The rich don’t like us, and they don’t advertise with us, so we rely on you, our readers and friends. With a regular donation to our monthly Fighting Fund, we can continue to thumb our noses at the fat cats and tell truth to power.
Donate today and make a regular contribution.