The Communist Party’s 21st Century Marxism Festival will be held this Saturday and Sunday (July 21-22) at the Bishopsgate Institute in London.

The battle for real democracy in class divided Britain is a big theme at the Communist Party’s “21st Century Marxism” this coming weekend.Dr John Callow of the Marx Memorial Library will put the question directly in “British Democracy – reality or a good idea?”, while Mick Brooks, of the Left Economic Advisory Panel, and economist and columnist Jerry Jones explore “The Bankers’ Takeover”. .. providing the context for UCU Executive member Martin Levy and Gawain Little, NUT Executive member sessions on the “State and Revolution” and “Taking Office or Taking Power?”.
The illegitimacy and undemocratic nature of the ConDem government, even in capitalist terms, will no doubt be explored by NUT Deputy General Secretary, Kevin Courtney, SERTUC’s Megan Dobney and Communist Party Trade Union organiser Anita Halpin in “Can the Labour Movement Defeat the ConDems?”.Of course democracy – and the lack of it – is a much wider issue than capitalist apologists allow. Richard Bagley, the Morning Star’s new editor will lead a session on the “Media Monopolies” who decide what it is appropriate for us to know… and not know.And all discussions of democracy take us back to the class nature of capitalism. Both Ben Stevenson and Liz Payne from the Communist Party Executive are leading sessions on this, while Liz – the Party’s Women’s Organiser – also asks, “Why Marxism?” Dr Mary Davis, well known for her work with the Charter For Women, leads two sessions. One on the exploitative nature of capitalism, the other, together with Wilf Sullivan, TUC Race Equality Officer,  exploring  the class nature of the struggle for equality, “Women, Race & Class”.
The very basis of the capitalist portrayal of democracy – the private ownership of the means of production, distribution and exchange – now elevated to a “human right”! – is challenged in “Britain Needs Public Ownership” with Neil Clarke of the Campaign For Public Ownership, Andrew Fisher of the Labour Representation Committee and Communist Party General Secretary Robert Griffiths.
“21st Century Marxism” will also confront some difficult questions about the development of Socialism in the world – with Marxist writers and essayists John Green and Roger Fletcher asking “Has Socialism Failed”.  Dr David Lane of Cambridge University and Jean Turner of the Society for Russian and Soviet Studies will examine “The New Russia” and Jenny Clegg and Ben Chako will ask “Which Way For China”… while Carlos Alfaro from the Cuban Embassy looking at developments in Cuban Socialism.
In order to understand where we are, where we need to go and how to get there we need to “Reclaim Our History” – a topic led by author Louise Raw, Terry McCarthy, former Director of the National Museum of Labour, and Graham Stevenson of the Communist Party History Group. Whatever Socialism in a future Britain will look like, there is an urgent need to put forward a radical alternative to neoliberalism right now. Bill Greenshields, Communist Party Chair and Trade Union Officer of The People’s Charter, and Peter Ainsley from the Campaign against Climate Change put forward “Our Economic Alternative”.This alternative needs to be reflected in broadening the narrow economic struggles of the trade unions into a real movement of resistance, recognising the necessity to bring down the ConDem Coalition. This is the subject of “Broadening The Battlelines” with a speaker from PCS and Moz Greenshields of UNISON, together with Anita Halpin for the Communist Party.
As the resistance grows, we need to be determined not to simply protest but get “Organised To Win” – the title of the session to be run by Erkan Ersoy of UNITE.  We couldn’t end with a better message that needs to ring throughout the movement.