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A book talk by James Heartfield on his book, 'An Unpatriotic History of the Second World War', held at the Inaugural European Conference of the Platypus Affiliated Society on Saturday, July 19th, 2014 at Goldsmiths College, London.

Powerpoint slides used in presentation: UnpatrioticHistoryoftheSecondWorldWar

JAMES HEARTFIELD’S REVIEW of Ian Birchall’s biography of Tony Cliff, founder of the British Socialist Workers Party (SWP) and therefore of the International Socialist Tendency, is a curious affair. Heartfield fails his readers by declining to situate himself in the story, as a champion of the changing perspectives of the late British Revolutionary Communist Party (RCP), unique among British left groups in having evolved from Trotskyism first to a neither-left-nor-right iconoclasm and then to a pro-market libertarianism
A response to James Heartfield’s review of The Failure of Capitalist Production. By Andrew Kliman.
There is a fair ammout one could take issue with in James Heartfield’s review of Andrew Kliman’s The Failure of Capitalist Production—not least the redundant polemical sideswipes that generate heat but do not shed light. But rather than arbitrating between Kliman and Heartfield,
Tony Cliff's recognition in his own moment of a certain kind of impasse within Trotskyism and his attempt to overcome it require full consideration and appreciation both in terms of the merits of its potential and a consciousness of its limits. A panel on the legacy of Tony Cliff opened the discussion at the Sixth Annual Platypus International Convention held in Chicago on April 4th, 2014. What follows are the opening remarks by English journalist and author James Heartfield.
A response to David Harvey and James Heartfield Ian Morrison THE LAST FORTY YEARS have been conceptually be­wildering for the Left. The withering of working class movements and the rise of the new social movements have coincided with a global shift away from national state-centric (or "Fordist") modes of accumulation towards a more "global," neo-liberal capitalism.
On October 14, 2017, Efraim Carlebach interviewed Ian Birchall at Birchall’s home in Edmonton, north London. In 1962, Birchall joined the International Socialists, a tendency led by Tony Cliff and the organizational forerunner of the extant Socialist Workers Party (UK), founded in 1977. Though he is no longer a member of the Socialist Workers Party, Birchall has remained a leading figure of the International Socialist tendency for over half a century. He is the author of numerous publications including the 2011 biography, Tony Cliff: A Marxist For His Time[i]. What follows is an edited transcript of the interview.

7:00pm / 30 November 2016
London School of Economics

Speakers (in order):

Adam Booth (writer and activist with Socialist Appeal and the International Marxist Tendency)
James Heartfield (Sp!ked / Author of 'An Unpatriotic History of the Second World War')
Patrick Neveling (SOAS Development Studies, Utrecht University Cultural Anthropology)
Paul Demarty (Weekly Worker / CPGB)

Panel description:

The Left has for over a generation – for more than 40 years, since the crisis of 1973 – placed its hopes in the Democratic and Labour Parties to reverse or slow neoliberal capitalism – the move to trans-national trade agreements, the movement of capital and labor, and austerity. The post-2008 crisis ofneoliberalism, despite phenomena such as SYRIZA, Occupy Wall Street, the Arab Spring and anti-austerity protests more generally, Bernie Sanders's candidacy, and Jeremy Corbyn's Labour leadership, has found expression on the avowed Right, through UKIP, Brexit, the U.K. Conservatives' move to "Red Toryism" and now Donald Trump's election. The old neoliberal consensus is falling apart, and change is palpably in the air. Margaret Thatcher's infamous phrase "There Is No Alternative" has been proven wrong. What can the Left do to advance the struggle for socialism under such circumstances?

Some background:

In the 1960s the Left faced political and social crises in an era of full employment and economic growth. Departing from official Communism, which had largely supported the development of the welfare state in industrialized capitalist countries, many on the Left challenged the existing political order, of Keynesian-Fordism, through community organising on the principle of expanding individual and collective freedom from the state. Against Keynesian economic demands, many of these Leftists supported the Rights efforts, to integrate formerly oppressed identity groups into the corporate professional-managerial class. Since the 1970s, the significance of the fact that all these aims were taken up, politically, by the Right, in the name of ‘freedom’, in the form of neo-liberalism is still ambiguous today.

Some on the Left have understood this phase of ‘neo-liberalism’ to be continuous with the post-war Fordist state, for example in Ernest Mandel’s conception of “late capitalism” and David Harvey’s idea of “post-Fordism”. The movement of labor and capital was still administered by the Fordist state. Distinctively, others on the Left have opposed neo-liberalism for over a generation through a defence of the post-war welfare state, through appeals to anti-austerity and anti-globalisation.

How does this distinction within the Left between the defense of the welfare state and the defense of individual freedom affect the Left’s response to the crisis of neo-liberalism? Why has the Left recently supported attempts to politically manage the economic crisis post-2008, against attempts at political change? How can the Left struggle for political power, with the aim of overcoming capitalism and achieving socialism, when the political expression of the crisis of neo-liberalism has largely come from the Right, and Trump won the election in November?