[OPE-L] Colloquium on Economy, Society and Nature, 2-28-3-4-06 (Durban)

From: glevy@PRATT.EDU
Date: Fri Dec 16 2005 - 09:17:14 EST

---------------------------- Original Message ------------------------

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      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: bondp@ukzn.ac.za .

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