Abstract 2018
 
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Abstracts are listed in alphabetic order of author. When we have the full paper it will be linked to the abstract title.
 
Martin Adekoya Adesewo:  The application of Marx’s utopian ideal as a therapy to Nigeria’s deteriorating society

 Oluwadamilola Ajayi:  The impacts of the plantation system on the family structure of Jamaican society

 John Ayotunde (Tunde) Isola Bewaji:  Unholy Alliance – Africa and Marxism

 Ed Brandon:  Keith Graham's refutation of Marx

 George C. Brathwaite:  Looming demise of labour unionism in Barbados: A Marxian perspective

 Richard Clarke:  Is Fanon, Ironically, a Western Marxist?

 Herbert De Vries:  Not a man of solid principles. Edgar Bauer’s polemical portrait of Karl Marx in his 1843 novel, 
Es leben feste Grundsätze!

 Kerri Howard:  The Value and Limits of Marxian Analysis in Mass Protests

 Tennyson S.D. Joseph:  Beyond the Vanguard: C.L.R. James and Revolutionary Organisation in the 21st Century Caribbean

 Kahiudi C Mabana:  Marxism in Francophone African and Caribbean Literary Thought

 Ángel L. Martínez:  Reviving the Puerto Rican National Question: When Disasters Force It

 Paul Reynolds:  Marxism and Sexuality: Retrieving and Extending Marxist Critique

 Martin J. Schade:  Dialectical Materialism: A “condition of the possibility” of Incarnation

 Mark K. Setton:  Zhuangzi, Happiness and Alienation Theory 

 Nicholas Smith:  Black radical Marxism and the jouissance of ignorance

 Samuel Soyer:  The (Ir)relevance of Marxism in the Caribbean: Answers in Selected 21st Century Anglophone Caribbean Poets

 Somogy Varga:  Exploitation and Market-Driven Governance

 
 
 Martin Adekoya Adesewo  The application of Marx’s utopian ideal as a therapy to Nigeria’s deteriorating society
 
Karl Marx, the grandfather of political economists, whose damning critique of capitalism’s inadequacies has played an outsized role in world history since his death in 1883. Today, all over the world with particular allusion to Nigeria, Marx’s theory of increasing misery and the polarity of society as defined by wealth and poverty is the unblemished. Nigeria is a bourgeois democracy, where those who control the levers of power automatically control the mode of production and ensure its supremacy. The bourgeois in Nigeria therefore make laws to ensure and guarantee their perpetual dominance over the proletariat. In Nigeria today, the law enforcement agencies are in the hands of the bourgeois class and they are in the forefront of repression and cohesion over the poor. Socio-economic and political alienations are in vogue, while religious alienation is used to dupe the masses to obedience. Gross marginalization; exploitation; large scale bribery and corruption; oppression; poverty, misery, mass unemployment are very conspicuous in all spheres of the nation’s life.

Presently in Nigeria, the masses are grumbling and dissatisfied with the vagaries and vicissitudes of life. The masses are distressed by the growing incidences of general worsening of living standards that have become the order of the day. The masses are most perturbed by these unfortunate developments, as they threaten the very fabric of the stability, security, and survival of society. These events have assumed the dimension of hurricanes with devastating effects on the nation.

Fifty-Eight years after independence, Nigeria is still in dire need of genuine and selfless leadership because to date Nigeria is in the hands of political opportunists; mediocre leaders, rogues who intentionally deprive the people of healthy life through agony of hunger, poverty and subjection to misfortune inhuman treatment. The Nigerian economy needs a surgical operation and only the infusion of masses into the socio-political and economic scenes can recapture the sundry missed opportunities and regain momentum. The political system is crying for a revolution- root and branch.

This paper therefore recommends the application of Marx’s Utopia Ideal as a strategy at rescuing Nigerian society through a revolutionary praxis, which will attack all evils –alienations, the structural evils in Nigeria, dividing people into economic classes, rich and poor, pervasive exploitation and discrimination at their roots. This paper calls for equality, in a class-less society, where every Nigerian will be liberated from all the shackles of oppression, exploitation, domination, class-antagonism, class-struggle and marginalization. Finally this paper calls for a preferential option for the poor in their struggle against the entrenched capitalistic regime in which a privileged few monopolize the economy.
 
 
 Oluwadamilola Ajayi  The impacts of the plantation system on the family structure of Jamaican society
This essay is concerned with how plantation lifestyle has affected and has been affecting the Jamaican family. It seeks to show that there has always been an intrinsic connection between the procreation style in the plantation and in the present day Jamaican family.
 
The main feature of the plantation lifestyle about the family is the act of separation of the family members. That is, separating the father, mother and children. It also encouraged the use of adult males as studs, rather than acting as the responsible fathers in their households. The methodology employed in the paper is that of textual analysis of the existing literature on the plantation system and its impacts on the family structure in Jamaica.
 
This paper holds that an ideal family is the one in which parents and children share love, care, resources, and achieve set goals together. With this in place, family as the foundation and an important unit in the society contributes to the development of the society. However, the plantation lifestyle has undermined and has been undermining the notion and existence of an ideal family.
 
An ideal family is basically a family, consisting the father, mother and children. The family values they exhibit are discipline, responsibility, honesty and trust. It is clear and reasonable enough to know that these family values are necessary for positive and productive social relations within the family and in the society. Thus, this paper advocates proper and continual sensitization of adults, regarding the advantages living with their families and being responsible parents.
 
The paper suggested that the “Maintenance Act 2005” and the “Status of Children Act” should be reviewed by the Jamaican government. The former should mandate the delinquent parent to pay more, as this could serve as deterrence to parents who may want to indulge in act of delinquency towards their responsibility and relationships. The latter should mete out harsh penalties for false paternity claim declarations by women. This will serve as deterrence to women who may want to engage in the act. It will also make them to be more responsible in their relationships.
 
 
 John Ayotunde (Tunde) Isola Bewaji  Unholy Alliance – Africa and Marxism
 
There have been many ways in which progressive, liberal, populist or socially sensitive ideologies have been described, to link these ideologies with a humanist and humane approaches to socio-economic organization of society. Some of these tortuously fangled nomenclatures are communism, socialism, Marxism, welfarism, communitarianism or leftism. But what I have found is that many of these labels are misnomers and incongruous appellations clouding transparency of understanding and transferring ideas from disparate socio- cultural historiographic circumstances to confound proper annotation of understanding in Africana traditions of governance and social engineering.

In this essay, I suggest that the search by Africana intellectuals for levers for founding discourses that will be sensitive to the welfare of the masses of the people have floundered on the alter of intellectual laziness. The laziness has engendered the unholly alliance between Africa and Marxism, such that the historicity of human struggles which led Marx to Das Kapital and The Communist Manifesto have been uniformized, universalized and transfixed on Africana societies without sensitivity to the incommensurabilities of European and Africana traditions that the scholars have sought to understand. To show these weaknesses in the theory and practice of leftism in global Africa, I examine two critical elements of any socio-economic and cultural analysis of the ontologies of being in indigenous Africa before the misadventure of Europe in the modern times: land and labour. I conclude that the unholly alliance between Africa and Marxism has been responsible for the failure of communist/socialist/Marxist ideologies, orientations and intellectualism in Africana societies.
 
 
 Ed Brandon  Keith Graham's refutation of Marx
 

Keith Graham, after many years arguing for Marx's relevance to the 20th, if not the 21st century, published what he has described as a "refutation of Marx" in a somewhat obscure source. This paper seeks to bring this refutation to a wider audience, and to comment on its distinctiveness and persuasiveness.

Graham's paper was designed for a commentary on Fukuyama's 'end of history' thesis. In that context Graham first distanced his Marx from the Leninist aberrations that have used his name and then summarized Marx's distinctive account of human history, with its prediction of capitalism's eventual overthrow.

While acknowledging many apparently utopian element sin Marx's vision, Graham argues that its major failure derives from an ambiguity in the nature of the "fettering" of the productive forces that is said to spur revolutionary transformations of society. Before capitalism, fettering is a matter of the failure to use productive resources. But capitalism is characterized by constant expansion of such forces, so in its supersession fettering is more a matter of a recognition of the irrational use of resources, not their disuse.

Graham concludes that because of this difference there can be no inductive support for Marx's predictions of capitalism's overthrow.

I challenge this conclusion by appeal (1) to an unclarity about earlier fetterings, as Graham describes them, and (2) to a redescription of the very general thinking that he supposes underlies and brings about the patterns Marx has uncovered.

 
 George C. Brathwaite  Looming demise of labour unionism in Barbados: A Marxian perspective
 

Marxism offers a way of engaging and transforming social reality. This inquiry takes a philosophical journey on the back of Karl Marx to provide an interpretative analysis on the looming demise of labour unionism in Barbados. Increasingly in the 21st century, there is ample evidence to suggest that living standards for the many are declining, public assets are being gifted to private interests, public services provision has become badly mangled, a small minority are being enriched at the expense of the wider society, and the hard-won gains of working people – adequate wages, social security, rights in the workplace - are being stripped away by the callousness of the Barbados government to the exploitation of the masses. Moreover, the grip and/or greed of private capital over the workers has impeded worker empowerment and is rupturing workers’ struggles, splintering representation, while alienating the masses. In our era, neoliberal capitalism continues to be an ideology that strives on competition and private ownership. Contrastingly, a socialist contour advocates either public or direct workers’ ownership or administration of the means of production and allocation of resources. Yet, it is the growing discord that eventuates from those fissures in Barbados’ political economy that has penetrated unionism and is tearing apart representative solidarity. Drawing on elite interviews, official documents, and reports, the investigation further reveals elements of class struggles and contradictions wherein the consequential conditions and contradictions render the activism of trade unionism futile. Therefore, the key aim in this inquiry is to investigate through the lenses of Marxism how the fate of working class people coupled with the potency of trade unionism are being upended by social, political and economic forces. The findings identify avenues for critical change that prioritise ownership relations, empowerment of the working class, and the creation of efficiencies while indicating a route towards dismantling existent systemic inequalities which have thwarted national productivity and development in Barbados.

 
 
 Richard Clarke  ?
 
Using Frantz Fanon’s The Wretched of the Earth as a test-case of sorts, my contention is that the structure of colonial society theorised in the first chapter, “Concerning Violence,” especially is in effect a ‘translation’ of Marx’s theory of the social formation, not least the ‘base-superstructure model’ with which his name is famously associated, as well as selected aspects of the work of selected so-called ‘Hegelian’ or ‘Western’ Marxists like Georg Lukacs and Antonio Gramsci. Drawing on George Steiner’s classic of translation studies, After Babel, and, in particular, his seminal theory of the so-called ‘hermeneutic motion,’ I argue that, through a process of give and take, Fanon’s translation of Marx results in a new hybrid discourse that is indebted to even as it expands in immeasurable ways the original.
 
 
 Herbert De Vries  Not a man of solid principles. Edgar Bauer’s polemical portrait of Karl Marx in his 1843 novel, Es leben feste Grundsätze!
In the 1843 novel by Edgar Bauer entitled Es leben feste Grundsätze! – a rare and hard to find book that has remained conspicuously absent in academic literature on Young Hegelianism – the protagonist is a young intellectual who bears the name ‘Karl’. Taking the details of the protagonist’s personal and social life into consideration, there is no doubt that Bauer’s novel is a polemical character study of Karl Marx. More specifically,the rather demeaning picture of ‘Herr Karl’ belongs to the heat of controversy between Marx and die Freien, the Berlin Young Hegelians, after the end of their participation in the Rheinische Zeitung in late autumn 1842. So far, Bauer’s novel has never been used as a potential source to shed light on the deeper causes of animosity between Marx and die Freien, and this even in spite of an explicit reference to the novel in Die Heilige FamilieThis paper is an attempt to make up for this lack of scholarly attention. It will argue that Edgar Bauer’s novel helps underline the importance of the issue of ‘principledness’ within the Young Hegelian movement, both in the sense of intellectual integrity and in the sense of steadfast allegiance to the good cause. More specifically, it will show that Bauer’s novel provides significant clues to understand how Marx and the Berlin Young Hegelians were taking completely different positions on this issue in late autumn 1842, and why Marx’s position on this issue could be perceived in the circles of Berlin Young Hegelianism as a sudden and strategic change of perspective, boiling down to nothing less than perfidy. In view of that, this paper aims to contribute to gaining a better understanding of the young Marx’s theoretical and ideological development in the early 1840s, and to shed a fresh light on his character and personality as well.
 
 
 
 Kerri Howard  The Value and Limits of Marxian Analysis in Mass Protests
 
Within the last forty years there has been a significant academic movement to reconstruct the understanding of Barbadian labour protests in the colonial period. These researchers, overtly or otherwise, largely employed the conceptual framework of classical  Marxism and located the reasons for mass protests in material deprivation, inequality and  labour grievances, which in turn supported a class-based analysis and structurally-determined identities. This revisionist movement is limited to the immediate post-emancipation period, after which, many societal changes occurred, including: the nature of labour protests, a change in composition of protest agents, and the centralization and later, de-centralization of the social movement process. 

This paper, firstly demonstrates the value and limits of using classical Marxism to explain contemporary mass protests in Barbados and secondly, offers new lines of inquiry and analysis through the use of post-modern Social Movement theories and Post-Colonial Political perspectives which in some cases are post-Marxist in orientation. Finally, it provides a framework for understanding the construction/re-construction of identities in the participation of mass protests. The central argument is that a politically-motivated socio-cultural transition is taking place via mass protests in the Barbadian landscape, which though rooted in inequality at some levels, is not simply class-based but transcends many different identities and creates opportunities for critical academic debates and analyses.
 
 
 Tennyson S.D. Joseph  Beyond the Vanguard: C.L.R. James and Revolutionary Organisation in the 21st Century Caribbean
 
Caribbean intellectual C.L.R. James has made a distinct contribution to global Marxist thought through his insightful analysis of the organisational imperatives for revolutionary change beyond the Vanguard Party model offered by V.I. Lenin. In presenting his arguments, James built upon an earlier critique by Polish-German intellectual Rosa Luxemburg in which a direct link was made between the nature of revolutionary organisation, the level of development of the productive forces and the consciousness of the working class. James theorised that Lenin’s model corresponded to a definite stage of development of the working class. Similarly he held that Stalinism represented the state-capitalist stage of labour-capital relations resulting in higher expressions of exploitation of the working class. Asserting that this model of state-capitalism would result in new forms of proletarian organisation, James advanced that “free creative” activity rooted in the abolition of necessity of organisational control and direction of “backward” workers by an intellectual vanguard would be the new form of proletarian struggle. This paper examines the relevance of James’s perspective for the current expression of revolutionary struggle in the Caribbean. Specifically, it explores the question of whether James’s views on the transcendence of Leninism were meant largely for the advanced capitalist countries of Europe and hold little relevance for the Caribbean. Finally, the paper will identify specific features of contemporary political struggle which can be identified as presenting outlines of the post-Leninist and post-Stalinist models of revolutionary struggle which James was seeking to identify.
 
 
 Kahiudi C Mabana  Marxism in Francophone African and Caribbean Literary Thought
 
The present paper is about the use and development of Marxism in Francophone African and Caribbean literature. Since the topic is vast, I will mainly rely on some selected writers and thinkers – mainly Jacques Roumain, Léopold Sedar Senghor, Frantz Fanon, and V.Y. Mudimbe.

Jacques Roumain, in his Gouverneurs de la Rosée / Masters of the Dew, presents a hero Manuel who comes back to Haiti after spending fifteen years in Cuba where he worked in American plantations. His experience is full of Marxist statements and slogans.

Senghor wrote important reflections on Marxism and Socialism, it is interesting to characterize his social thought with respect to Marxism. He coined a concept of African Socialism, which would be based on African values and specific to the African cultural and social situation.

Frantz Fanon’s Marxism is known as praxis for the liberation of mind from the complex of inferiority. The colonized corresponds to the proletarian worker in Marxism, as the Black Man is shaped according to the White Man’s image imposed upon him. As J. Crowell states: “Marx argues that this is constituted by the conflict between the "compartments" of the capitalist and the worker, whereas the tension between the colonizer and colonized native replace this class struggle within Fanon's colonial context” (J. Crowell) Mudimbe’s Pierre Lumbi, the protagonist of Entre les eaux, is a former priest who opts for a Marxist Revolution to free his people from colonialism and all forms of injustice. His training of philosophy and theology does not empower him to address his people’s hopes; he therefore decides to join a Guerrilla group that fights against the Government.

This paper seeks to draw general reflections on the impact of Marxism in the Africa and Caribbean thoughts as shown in the novels of Roumain and Mudimbe, and the essays of Senghor and Fanon. These writers and thinkers used Marxism for the purpose of their personal activism and what can be called littérature engagée.
 
 
 Ángel L. Martínez  Reviving the Puerto Rican National Question: When Disasters Force It
 
What can or does Marxism say about Puerto Rico, a territory that is currently experiencing exacerbated colonialism under the unelected, corporate-led PROMESA board of austerity as it is faces the brunt of shock capitalism the aftermath of Hurricane María? Does this relevance stay in Puerto Rico itself, or does it extend everywhere that Puerto Ricans have migrated as they maintain deep social and economic bonds with home? Can or must Marxism have Caribeño flavour in order to address the multiple oppressions of working-class Puerto Rican at home and, quite possibly, abroad? Is it time to revisit the Puerto Rican National Question? These are questions worth considering as the twin crises of PROMESA and María have devastated Puerto Rico and its inhabitants and, very significantly, its diaspora.

Reviving the Puerto Rican National Question is a possible point for facilitating understanding of how to address the conditions the flow from these twin crises. It is possibly a way to better answer other questions I have raised here. The timing is critical. PROMESA has become the clearest indication so far of what capitalism has brought upon Puerto Rico and Puerto Ricans. The government of the United States’ response to María is in line with how the capitalist state deals with its own colonial subjects. These crises arose amid last year’s centenary of the Jones Act (1917), which imposed U.S. citizenship and weighs heavily on any discourse about Puerto Ricans at home, in migration, and in the diaspora.

I propose that a revival of the Puerto Rican National Question, as exemplified by early Puerto Rican Marxists such as Jesús Colón and Bernardo Vega, can be a way to reconsider both the colony and its people through a working class lens to make decolonization possible, Caribeñista style, that is imagining democracy and self- determination for Puerto Rico, and a democratic voice for Puerto Ricans at home and abroad, away from U.S. control and toward a society oriented toward Caribbean and global solidarity.
 
 Paul Reynolds  Marxism and Sexuality: Retrieving and Extending Marxist Critique
 
The 'New Sexuality Studies' (Fischer and Seidman 2016) that emerged from Foucauldian, constructionist, micro-sociological, feminist and identarian positions in the 1980's has tended to be regarded as reflecting post-Marxist or anti-Marxist orientations. Generally, there is a sense that Marxism has said little to extend critical analyses of the development of critiques of heteronormativity, hetero-patriarchy, genitocentrism and sexual pathology in hierarchical forms that privilege monogamy, sexual conservativism and naturalistic and normalising discourses of what is legitimate in respect of sexual orientations, identities, relations, practices and behaviours. At the same time, there has been a concern that Marxist analyses would crowd out subjective and queer autonomies and deconstructionism with class and capitalist determinations. 

This conventional view, however, is in error in two respects. First it fails to acknowledge a strong critical tradition of Marxist analyses stretching from Engels and Bernstein (in a limited sense) and Kollontai, through the freudo-marxism of Reich and Marcuse, to Red Collective, Reimut Reiche and left contributions to the emergence of sexual politics in the 1960s, through the the present day. Reynolds (2003) has summarising the tradition and emphasises how Marxist political economy and critiques of commodification, alienation and class in sexual politics make a cohent framework for analysis.

Second, contemporary Marxist anlyses, taking seriously feminist and sexuality studies, provide leading critical engagements with sexual theory and politics, notable with Drucker (2015) and Hennessy (2000) advancing Marxist political economy, Field (1995) and Wolf (2009) advancing a Marxist sexual politics, Floyd (2009) and Lewis (2016) extending Marxist analyses into the reification of desire and the location of its politics in intersections with other radicalisms. 

This paper will provide a critical survey of these terrains, and will highlight and explore the current strands of Marxist critique that offer a potent bases for addressing the impasse and contradictions of contemporary sexual politics.

 
 
 Martin J. Schade  Dialectical Materialism: A “condition of the possibility” of Incarnation
 
Karl Marx’s Dialectical Materialism rejects G.W. Hegel’s Dialectical Idealism and claims that the dialectic of Hegel is “standing on its head. It must be turned right side up again”. He acknowledges Hegel’s system of logic as being of great service in constructing his own economic theory. He even praises Hegel as “the last word of all philosophy”. Marx’s primary critique of Hegel is Hegel’s “mysticism.”

Both Hegel and Marx use the dialectical method that was defined by Johann Fichte which understands the dialectic as a process involving the triad of thesis, antithesis and synthesis. When the synthesis is made, it becomes a new thesis, to which there is then a new antithesis, and so on. With the Dialectical Method understood as such, Hegel’s idealism would be the thesis; Marx’s materialism would be the antitheses. The philosophy of Dialectical Incarnation is the synthesis, i.e., the triadic, methodological understanding that all of reality is comprised of the condition of the possibility of being idea, spirit and transcendence and that all of reality is comprised of the condition of the possibility of being body, matter and immanence. For Hegel and Marx, both philosophies are lopsided on either side. Consequently, a true synthesis is needed.

Dialectical Incarnation is a philosophy that identifies a unity found in the infinite and diverse Karl Marx’s Dialectical Materialism rejects G.W. Hegel’s Dialectical Idealism and claims that the dialectic of Hegel is “standing on its head. It must be turned right side up again”. He acknowledges Hegel’s system of logic as being of great service in constructing his own economic theory. He even praises Hegel as “the last word of all philosophy”. Marx’s primary critique of Hegel is Hegel’s “mysticism.”

Both Hegel and Marx use the dialectical method that was defined by Johann Fichte which understands the dialectic as a process involving the triad of thesis, antithesis and synthesis. When the synthesis is made, it becomes a new thesis, to which there is then a new antithesis, and so on. With the Dialectical Method understood as such, Hegel’s idealism would be the thesis; Marx’s materialism would be the antitheses. The philosophy of Dialectical Incarnation is the synthesis, i.e., the triadic, methodological understanding that all of reality is comprised of the condition of the possibility of being idea, spirit and transcendence and that all of reality is comprised of the condition of the possibility of being body, matter and immanence. For Hegel and Marx, both philosophies are lopsided on either side. Consequently, a true synthesis is needed.

Dialectical Incarnation is a philosophy that identifies a unity found in the infinite and diverse particularities of both the “spiritual” and the “material” elements of the universe, i.e., the totality of reality. Dialectical Incarnation breaks down dualisms by indicating that such separation is merely an illusion and that all reality can now be understood as a synthesis of bi-polar concepts. All of reality is a single dialectical entity, and this single dialectical entity is incarnation. To state that opposing entities can be “distinct but not separate” is what Aristotle had in mind when he stated that one cannot separate matter from form and form from matter. Incarnation is parallel to Aristotelian substance which is both form and matter, distinct as conditions, as “concepts,” but never separate in reality.

The objective of Dialectical Incarnation is to identify and define the synthesis of incarnate love in its infinite expressions throughout all of reality. This constant synthesis is primarily through the human person, who is the resolution of the mind/body problem in it’s very Self. The Self is not a single individual but rather a person as a subject and object unified as one. A dialectical and incarnational perspective of reality allows all to be one, which leads to the philosophy of Ubuntu. “I am because we are.” Humanity is coming to realize that the dualism of Western philosophy is not the paradigm to which one can now adhere. This new “philosophy of the heart” must express itself in the totality of reality so that our world will find its perfection.particularities of both the “spiritual” and the “material” elements of the universe, i.e., the totality of reality. Dialectical Incarnation breaks down dualisms by indicating that such separation is merely an illusion and that all reality can now be understood as a synthesis of bi-polar concepts. All of reality is a single dialectical entity, and this single dialectical entity is incarnation. To state that opposing entities can be “distinct but not separate” is what Aristotle had in mind when he stated that one cannot separate matter from form and form from matter. Incarnation is parallel to Aristotelian substance which is both form and matter, distinct as conditions, as “concepts,” but never separate in reality.

The objective of Dialectical Incarnation is to identify and define the synthesis of incarnate love in its infinite expressions throughout all of reality. This constant synthesis is primarily through the human person, who is the resolution of the mind/body problem in it’s very Self. The Self is not a single individual but rather a person as a subject and object unified as one. A dialectical and incarnational perspective of reality allows all to be one, which leads to the philosophy of Ubuntu. “I am because we are.” Humanity is coming to realize that the dualism of Western philosophy is not the paradigm to which one can now adhere. This new “philosophy of the heart” must express itself in the totality of reality so that our world will find its perfection.

 
 
 Mark K. Setton  Zhuangzi, Happiness and Alienation Theory 
 
Some remarkable resonances exist between the philosophy of the Chinese Taoist thinker Zhuangzi, who was contemporaneous with Aristotle, and Marx's ideas about alienation. These ideas would appear especially relevant today, an age in which the conditions and status of blue collar workers in semi and highly industrialized nations would seem to closely reflect the various forms of alienation that Marx had warned against. These forms of alienation run directly counter to the ideals reflected in Zhuangzi's account of Ding, the happy meat carver. 

Zhuangzi argued that a key to human happiness was the practice of Wuwei, which literally means "no contrived action." Wuwei is about cultivating an inner sensitivity to the natural flow of things, or not going against the grain, in terms of cultivating both sensitivity to one's inner nature and an awareness of the natural order of things.

The idea of sensitivity to one's inner nature, especially in terms of cultivating natural skills, seems to closely parallel Marx's idea of identification with one's species being. An awareness of the natural order of things is cultivated through a familiarity with the object of one's artisanship, and this parallels Marx's emphasis on the craftsman's close identification with the tools and products of a trade. 

The most famous exemplar of Wuwei in the works of Zhuangzi is meat carver Ding, which is remarkable, as Ding's profession was ascribed to the lowest class of ancient Chinese society. Zhuangzi' account appears to be intentionally subversive. He is essentially holding up Ding as a "blue collar sage" worthy of emulation, in spite of the fact that, over the 2,500 years of Chinese civilization prior to Mao, the most sagely exemplars of Chinese culture came from the lofty ranks of the scholar bureaucrats, or at least were acquainted with the symbols of high culture such as poetry, music and calligraphy.

Meat carver Ding, happily and deftly chopping away at ox carcasses, would seem to provide a powerful example of someone who had not become prey to at least three forms of alienation that paradoxically seem rampant in post Mao quasi capitlist Chinese society, that is, alienation from one species being, and alienation from the tools and products of one's trade.
 
 
 Nicholas Smith  Black radical Marxism and the jouissance of ignorance
 
Marx recognized the impact of colonialist brutality for capitalist production in Capital I. However, from a decolonial perspective, traditional Marxism – from Marx to Rosa Luxemburg and onwards – can be seen as a line of critique that although it has a proven revolutionary potential, still takes part in the occidentalist cover-up of the colonial-racist-sexist paradigm established around the 16th century. With the insights from thinkers such as DuBois from the US, and Caribbean thinkers such as C.L.R. James, Eric Williams and George Padmore, things began to change; thus the revision of Marxism into a critique of capital that would not look away from anti-black racism, or what Cedric Robinson called a Black radical tradition. Yet also here there was a remarkable disregard of the thinking and experiences of black women such as Ida Wells, Claudia Jones and others. Based on this, my paper investigates the illegitimate and thus repressed pleasure that stems from the dual disavowal of race and gender in class-oriented, revised Marxist thought. What is the enjoyment produced for (and thus constitutive of) a certain class of subjects in these traditions, and how should it be understood? My analysis will move between Fanon and Mbembe to Sylvia Wynter and María Lugones as two different kinds of response to this question. 
 
 
 Samuel Soyer  The (Ir)relevance of Marxism in the Caribbean: Answers in Selected 21st Century Anglophone Caribbean Poets
 
English poet Percy Bysshe Shelley may have been right when he called poets the unacknowledged legislators of the world. Whatever the fate of Marxism as a political system, diverse Anglophone Caribbean poets depict and/or denounce a plethora of continuing contemporary concerns central to Marxist thinking. Some offer a nightmarish vision of commodification distended to pandemic proportions. Some highlight the metamorphosing manifestations of imperialism and colonialism from whose clutches liberation appears impossible. Some show the haunting effect these “isms” have on consciousness and consequently creativity. They affirm too the power of modern media to manacle young minds and so stunt futures. Consistent with the Marxist perspective, an implicit goal of these artists is to open the awareness of the oppressed. Especially noteworthy are poems which claim that descendants of those history testifies were once the exploited have now become indistinguishable from the oppressors. These are incisive echoes of the end of George Orwell’s Animal Farm and its dystopian portrayal of an abortive bid for liberation.

Drawing on the power of allusion, irony, and satire, the poets evoke thought and feeling, and mix revelation and mirth. Their voices ethnicity, race, religions, ages, and appearances vary. So do the forms of their art. But these actualities deepen the significance of their warnings for they represent the cohesiveness of caring amidst the pervasiveness of problems. Like Marxism, they hold out hope that the real revolution can still come from among the people, at least in theory. 

 
 
 Somogy Varga  Exploitation and Market-Driven Governance
 
In recent decades, the widespread acceptance of neoliberal ideas gave rise to forms of market-driven governance, which have, among other measures, increasingly given corporations responsibility for central government activities like disaster management and recovery aid. While such an analysis righty laments the decline of solidarity and the creation of new classes of poverty, only little effort was devoted to rethinking central aspects of this development in terms of exploitation – a concept that has since Marx been traditionally used to critique aspects of capitalist development. In this talk, I provide an analysis of such developments in North- and South America and argue that they can be described as instances of exploitation.
 
   
 
 
 

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