The May Day School is an annual workshop organised by the Workers’ and Punks’ University (WPU). The WPU is a collective of students, researchers and activists who organise series of public lectures, workshops and seminars on issues that are both theoretically crucial and politically urgent.
Capitalism reveals itself in the time of crisis. As Marx and Engels have stressed in The Communist Manifesto, a crisis would seem, from the standpoint of earlier epochs, an utter absurdity. A capitalist crisis is an epidemic of over-production that entails social devastation, destruction of living conditions and overall immiseration of the working masses; precisely this is underway in Europe right now. Record-high unemployment, particularly in the peripheral countries and among the young, severe and uncompromising austerity measures dictated by the infamous troika, and massive class struggles are among central features of the Great Recession in which we live. In order to save itself and become profitable once again, capitalism must continue with the massive destruction of productive forces and living conditions of the working class. What the ruling class is trying to achieve could be characterised as a reprise of primitive accumulation. In The Workers and Punks’ University we are devoting this year’s May Day School precisely to these issues.
Under the title Transition, Austerity and Primitive Accumulation – Left Answers we will discuss both theoretical and political aspects of primitive accumulation. We will try to grasp its theoretical relevance as it has unfolded in the history of Marxism, while also addressing specific historical periods in which it has become most visible. Thus, the panels will be devoted to the relationship between the commons and primitive accumulation, primitive accumulation in the post-socialist transition and primitive accumulation as the factor in fiscal sustainability policies. We will also discuss alternatives to the current situation, both a long-term socialist alternative and immediate strategies that can be undertaken by leftist parties in the Balkans and elsewhere in Europe. Apart from local representatives from the WPU, joining us for these round tables will be members of Syriza, Die Linke, Front de Gauche as well as many others.
The third aspect of this year’s May Day School will be a historical link to the partisan struggles that took place in Slovenia during the Second World War. We will examine the Liberation Front of the Slovenian Nation, focusing on its revolutionary and antifascist dimension, and the general place of the Liberation Front of Yugoslavia in the history of class struggles. During the May Day School we will also visit a partisan stronghold in which the partisans managed to create an entire social subsystem, a state within a state that operated during the Nazi occupation.
The event is supported by Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung.
18.00-20.00: Lecture by Michael Perelman
22.00: Concert of the Kombinat female choir
11.00-12.30: Lecture by Lev Centrih on the socialist, revolutionary and antifascist dimension of the Liberation Front in Yugoslavia and its place in the history of class struggle
13.00-14.30: Panel discussion “Primitive Accumulation as a Concept”
18.00-20.00: Lecture by Andrew Kliman
11.00-12.30: Panel discussion “The Commons: From Primitive Accumulation to Communism”
13.00-14.30: Panel discussion “Primitive Accumulation in the Post-Socialist Transition and the EU Accession Period”
18.00-20.00: Lecture by Werner Bonefeld
9.00-14.00: Guided tour, with Miklavž Komelj, of the political HQ of the Liberation Front
18.00-20.00: Lecture by David McNally
11.00-12.30: Panel discussion “Primitive Accumulation as a Factor in Fiscal Sustainability Policies”
13.00-14.30: Panel discussion “A Socialist Alternative”
18.00-20.15: Lecture by Michael Lebowitz
11.00-13.00: Round table “Building a New Left in the Balkans”
18.00-20.00: Round table “Towards a European Left Strategy of Building a Socialist Alternative”