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Rajni Lallah attends Historical Materialism Conference in London

26.11.2008


LALIT member, Rajni Lallah, attended a Conference at the School of Oriental and African Studies, the University of London, on "Historical Materialism" earlier this month. She has given LALIT reports on three aspects that she found most interesting of the sessions she attended.

First, there were discussions and papers on the recent world financial crisis during which Marxist economists, in particular, presented different analyses of the kind of crisis that is taking place. She said it was very "academic" in its content, but very interesting for an activist, like herself, as the kind of demands that a political party on the Left formulates and mobilizes on depends on an analysis of the present crisis.

Second, was a session and discussion on racism, where one of the main speakers situated anti-Irish racism as a key factor in determining the nature of racism in Britain in the 1960's and 70's.

Third was another session on how the concept of "political economy" that was used to explain reality under capitalist reign was deliberately attacked and undermined to the extent that now, in the formal education and tertiary system, only bourgeois economics is used to analyze what is happening in the economy. The present financial crisis is demonstrating once again how "bourgeois economics" on its own is incapable of explaining this crisis nor can it provide solutions.

A new book "From Political Economy to Economics : Method, the social and the historical in the evolution of economic theory" will soon be out, Rajni Lallah reported, that will be perhaps difficult for the non-economists amongst us, but which will be very interesting. It follows the history since the massive influence of Marx of the splintering in Universities in the West of "philosophy" into increasingly hermetic, increasingly narrow, different subject areas.