The revolutionary tradition has a long history, and revolutionaries have inspired subsequent generations in fighting for a world free of exploitation, oppression and class distinctions. This panel discusses historical and contemporary debates between reformists, who have sought to discover a principle of harmony in social relations under capitalism, bypassing the question of revolutionary politics, and revolutionaries, who have argued for working-class hegemony and the struggle for political and economic democracy. It examines the classical bourgeois revolutions, and particularly the English Revolution and the formation of the Levellers, who became central figures in the history of democracy. It also discusses the legacy of some of the great revolutionaries, the contributions they made to the canon of revolutionary socialist thought, and the obstacles they faced in their lives as revolutionaries. But revolution is not a thing of the past. As capitalist crisis deepens, inequality reaches dizzying levels and war remains firmly on the agenda, the panel asks what lessons we should draw from the revolutionary tradition.
Stathis Kouvelakis is Reader in Political Theory at King’s College London. He is author and editor of many books, including La France en révolte. Luttes sociales et cycles politiques (Textuel, 2007), Critical Companion to Contemporary Marxism (Haymarket, 2009) and Lenin Reloaded: Toward a Politics of Truth (co-edited with Sebastian Budgen and Slavoj Zizek, Duke University Press, 2007), a book translated in German, Italian, Spanish and Turkish.
Kate Evans is a cartoonist, artist, and activist. She is the author of numerous books and zines including Bump: How to Make, Grow and Birth a Baby and Funny Weather: Everything You Didn’t Want to Know about Climate Change but Probably Should Find Out. She was awarded the John C. Laurence Award in 2016.
John Rees is an historian, broadcaster and campaigner. He is co-author of A People’s History of London and author of The Leveller Revolution and Timelines: A Political History of the Modern World, among other titles. He is a Visiting Research Fellow at Goldsmiths, University of London and a National Officer of the Stop the War Coalition.
All welcome, no need to book but please do arrive early to be sure of a seat. Details of all events in the seminar series are provided below. We look forward to seeing you there.
On behalf of the seminar organising committee,
Feyzi Ismail, Alfredo Saad-Filho, Nithya Natarajan, Jai Bhatia, Patrick Norberg, and Jo Tomkinson