Scholars of Marxism tackle big questions at conference today

Will capitalism destroy the environment? Will China overtake the United States? Will Latin America blaze a new path to socialism? These are some of the questions an international gathering of radical scholars will debate during the Historical Materialism conference at York today.

The conference will run until Saturday, April 26 and is sponsored by York’s Department of Political Science and Founders College on behalf of Historical Materialism, a journal of critical Marxist research. It is the first time the journal, based in London, England, has brought its conference to North America.

There will be more than 50 sessions during the conference. "Land, Food, ‘Fair Trade’ and the Agrarian Question", on today at 9:30am, will include discussion by York Professor Emeritus Rob Albritton about a starvation epidemic and failure in capitalist food provision.

Saint Mary’s University Professor Henry Veltmeyer, who has written extensively about Latin America, globalization and multinationals, will discuss "Resistance and Revolt in Latin America" at 11:15am, while Colgate University visiting Professor Nayna Jhaveri, who has written about US oil interests and the Gulf War, and Iraqi-born York Professor Sabbah Alnasseri, will explore "Iraq and the Political Economy of Empire" at 3:15pm.

"China and the Imperial Order," with University of Utah Professor Minqi Li, who was a political prisoner in China from 1990 to 1992, and York Professor Leo Panitch, Canada Research Chair in Comparative Political Economy, will start at 5:30pm.

The plenary session "Marxism, Ecology and the Third World", with Bard College Professor, author and activist Joel Kovel, Michelle Mawhinney of York University and Pritam Singh, a professor at Oxford University in Britain, will run on Saturday at 3:45pm.

For more information and a complete program listing, visit the Historical Materialism conference website.