Date: Fri Dec 16 2005 - 09:17:14 EST
---------------------------- Original Message ------------------------ (please forward to appropriate listserves) ANNOUNCEMENT - FIRST PUBLIC NOTIFICATION (15 December) THE UKZN CENTRE FOR CIVIL SOCIETY and PARTNERS PRESENT: A COLLOQUIUM ON THE ECONOMY, SOCIETY AND NATURE With tributes to Harold Wolpe and Guy Mhone, and the Rosa Luxemburg Political Education Seminar 2006 28 February - 4 March 2006 University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa In cooperation with partners who have indictated in-principle support - The Harold Wolpe Memorial Trust, The Open Society Initiative of Southern Africa, The Rosa Luxemburg Foundation and the journal Capitalism Nature Socialism - CCS will be opening thematic research projects on 'Economic Justice' in 2006. We are anxious to launch this theme by reviewing some of the finest traditions of national, regional and international political-economic theory and contemporary analysis, and invite you to join us. We seek inputs from individuals and organisations who would like to participate. We are mainly concerned with market-nonmarket interactions and new forms of 'primitive accumulation'. Ideas about a supposed 'dual economy' in South Africa (and indeed the region and world) are now being debated at the highest political/policy levels. This is an opportune time to discuss whether formal markets and the informal economy plus other aspects of society and nature are really as divorced as is often argued. Three scholar-activists - Harold Wolpe in South Africa, Guy Mhone in Southern Africa and Rosa Luxemburg in Europe - developed consistent arguments about the way markets systematically exploit 'nonmarket' opportunities, in other modes of production, in society (especially women's unpaid labour) and in the natural environment. At three scales of analysis, we want to pick up their stories, review past and contemporary contributions on their legacies, and assess whether current and future political-economic scenarios require new insights: * SOUTH AFRICA is a crucial site to explore how the apartheid economic system evolved into a still racialised, highly gendered, increasingly unequal and ecologically disastrous system of capital accumulation. For Harold Wolpe, these relations could be understood partly as the 'articulation of modes of production'. Wolpe died in 1996; a decade later, the intellectual memorial on 28 February is one of several major events devoted to recalling his contributions, with its focus on Wolpe's political-economic writings. (Another conference sponsored by the Wolpe Memorial Trust will be held in September.) From the 1960-80s debates about apartheid and capitalism, we have much to learn about the current conjuncture. * SOUTHERN AFRICA faces increasing polarisation, both within and between the countries of the region. For Guy Mhone, this represented a problem of 'enclavity', by which economic linkages were truncated and state policies distorted, to meet the needs of global and regional business interests, not the majority. Mhone passed away on 1 March 2005, so a year later, the Open Society Initiative of Southern Africa will assist us in remembering his exceptionally fruitful career. Experts from other regions - including Latin America and South Asia - will also join us, for comparative purposes and to build intellectual solidarity required at a time India-Brazil-South Africa connections are deepening. * THE GLOBAL SCALE is characterised by a system based not upon the inter-imperial rivalry of a century ago, but instead in part upon vast new forms by which the 'North' loots the 'Global South' and the world environment. By arguing - in her 1913 book The Accumulation of Capital - that this process was not accidental but a necessary outcome of economic processes, and by showing how the theory applied to 19th century South Africa, to German colonialism in Namibia and to Belgian control of the Congo, Rosa Luxemburg gave hints about how to understand the subsequent imperialist project. The Southern African Regional Office of the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation is assisting so that on 2 March, not only the strengths but also the weaknesses of her approach are discussed, at a time of international revival of interest in her work. Many local/regional - and several international - social scientists will be addressing the problems associated with market exploitation of nonmarket (society and nature) from 28 February through 2 March, in an event open to the public. From 2-4 March, activists from across KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa and the region are especially invited to help move from analysis to praxis, with open discussions and strategy debates in the framework of the Rosa Luxemburg Political Education Seminar. National, regional and international internet-based streaming and participation from other centres are also being explored. To get involved, or for more information, please contact Patrick Bond: email@example.com .
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