Facing the Anthropocene

We are facing a planetary emergency – this was one of the alarming conclusions Ian Angus drew from his research on the Anthropocene. How to face this new geological epoch was the topic of his talk at a joint seminar of the EIS department and the Contemporary Marxist Theory Seminar Series. 

By Camilla Royle, PhD Candidate, Department of Geography

Ian Angus defining the anthropocene. photo: Pradella

Ian Angus defining the Anthropocene. photo: Pradella

It is one of the currently most discussed concepts in the social sciences – and not only there: the Anthropocene, the idea that human influence created a new geological epoch. Ian Angus, a writer and ecosocialist activist based in Canada, spoke at King’s about the approach: Angus’s new book, Facing the Anthropocene, is a contribution from a Marxist perspective to current environmental debates. As he pointed out at the start of his talk in a seminar co-organised by the Department of European and International Studies and the Contemporary Marxist Theory Seminar Series, Marx and Engels themselves took an interest in the natural sciences, both corresponded with scientists and took part in the scientific debates of their day. Their socialism was not abstract but aimed at a “concrete materialist understanding of how our world works and how it is changing”. Continue reading

The UK government cannot reconcile austerity measures with human rights

UK governments have claimed austerity measures are necessary while ignoring the disproportionate adverse effects on marginalized groups. A contribution to the openGlobalRights debate on economic and social rights.

By Koldo Casla (KCL), Jamie Burton (Just Fair), and Alice Donald (Just Fair, University of Essex)

A Cardiff homeless man moving his belongings. photo: Ben Salter (Flickr, CC BY 2.0)

A Cardiff homeless man moving his belongings. photo: Ben Salter (Flickr, CC BY 2.0)

A UN Committee of independent experts recently issued a harshly worded report on the extent to which public authorities have been complying with international law on socio-economic rights. The Committee monitors states compliance with the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, which the UK has voluntarily ratified along with 163 other countries. Adherence to the Covenant is a matter of rule of law. However, after months of engagement with government officials and evidence gathering from civil society groups (including Just Fair), the Committee’s report could hardly have been more damning. Continue reading

Erik Olin Wright at the Contemporary Marxist seminar

Erik Olin Wright speaks at the Contemporary Marxist Seminar at King's College London -photo: Pradella

Erik Olin Wright speaks at the Contemporary Marxist Seminar at King’s College London -photo: Pradella

How to be an anti-capitalist for the 21st century – the title Erik Olin Wright gave his talk at the Contemporary Marxist Theory seminar promised some value of benefit to his audience. Indeed, the room was filled to capacity-a number of people even had to make do with a seat on the floor.

In his talk, Professor Wright, who is based at the Department of Sociology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, presented different anti-capitalist strategies, analysed their strengths and weaknesses, and introduced his concept of the erosion of capitalism: a combination of the three different anti-capitalist approaches resistance, taming, and escaping.

An overflowing speaker’s list

After his lecture, Professor Wright answered numerous questions from the audience, taking a stance on Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party, explaining why he did not choose a Hegelian approach to his concept of erosion, or how the Occupy movement enabled Bernie Sander’s campaign in the United States.

Filled to capacity and beyond: Hugh attendance outcome at Professor Wright's talk - photo: Pradella

Filled to capacity and beyond: Hugh attendance outcome at Professor Wright’s talk – photo: Pradella

The list of speakers grew and grew, and at some point more than 14 different members of the audience were waiting for their possibility to ask the speaker. Unfortunately, not all of them could do so within the seminar as the time ran out – but, following a tried and tested tradition, the conversation went on as the lecture theatre was exchanged in favour of a pub in London’s centre.

We would like to thank Professor Wright for his presentation and the many seminar participants for their attendance and questions!

EIS in the media – Archive

The expertise of EIS academics is much-valued in the media. Here you can find an overview of their latest comments, interviews, and guest contributions.

Angelos Chryssogelos took part in the Working Group ‘The Global Rise of Populism’ at the ISA annual conference in Baltimore.

Emmy Eklundh and Paolo Gerbaudo have been interviewed by The Guardian on how social media and populism are coupling in new and powerful ways and changing our lives in the process. The interview is part of the Guardian’s Chips with Everything tech podcast series.

Stathis Kouvelakis has been interviewed by Révolution Permanente on the recent French publication of his 2003 book Philosophy and Revolution: from Kant to MarxAn English version of the interview has been published by Verso Books.

Ramon Pacheco Pardo has been interviewed by twice by Newsweek, and also by the Daily Telegraph, , Al Jazeera English, JoongAng Ilbo, Monocle 24, Radio Ciudad Buenos Aires, O’Globo, and People’s Daily in the past week on Korean, Chinese and Asian affairs.

Anand Menon has been awarded the King’s Award for the Most Significant Contribution to Public Engagement. Also, he won the Political Studies Communicator award for evidence-based information on the EU referendum at the Political Studies Association’s annual awards ceremony in Westminster last night. Congratulations, Professor Menon!
The UK in a Changing Europe, directed by Anand Menon, won a further award in November: It was awarded Prospect’s ‘UK One to Watch’ award 2016, which the team collected from Prospect editor Tom Clark at the Speaker’s House in the House of Commons. The Prospect awards are given in recognition of the work carried out by think tanks across the globe and recognise the most original, influential and rigorous work on the most pressing challenges facing us today.

Arnaud Hoyois published in contributed to the Financial Times’ The Future of Britain Project and published his text on the ability of a European Bill of Rights to change the negative nature of the public debate. He also contributed to the LSE’s Brexit Blog arguing that ‘A “Soft Brexit” is the only viable strategy in a post-liberal world’.

Lucia Pradella was interviewed by James Butler at Novara FM in a programme called ‘Italy after the Referendum: Insurgents, Constitutions, Volatility‘.

Jim Wolfreys has published two pieces in Prospect Magazine, looking at French politics: In one, he analyses Marine Le Pen’s chances in the upcoming elections. In another text, he approaches the question, whether or not François Fillon will be France’s next president.

Russell Foster is now the Brexit Editor for E-International Relations and he is looking for multidisciplinary 500-1000 word contributions on Brexit and the wider European context for E-IR symposia.

Anand Menon, as the Director of the UK in a Changing Europe in cooperation with the Political Studies Association, wrote the research paper ‘Brexit and Beyond: How the United Kingdom Might Leave the European Union’. He also wrote and presented a BBC Radio 4 analysis programme in which he travelled other EU countries to research how political forces in other countries will shape any future UK-EU deal. The programme was also featured in The Guardian. An analysis of his on Brexit and the European Common Security and Defence Policy can be found in the European Leadership Network.

Emmy Eklundh discussed the new Spanish government on CNBC’s “Squawk box”. See the clip here.

Koldo Casla presented a  paper written for the human rights group Just Fair on the European Commission’s consultation on a European Pillar of Social Rights at Liverpool Hope University in a workshop organised bRe-Invest, a network of 19 partners from twelve countries researching and advocating solidarity and social inclusion across Europe.

Lucia Pradella will give a keynote speech at the International Conference of Contemporary Marxist ThoughtMarx2016, in Stockholm on the 16th of October. The conference is organized by ABF Stockholm, the Centre for Marxist Social Studies (CMS), Clarté, Fronesis, IMER Association, and Tidsignal.

On the 17th of October, she will give a talk at the conference ‘Connected Histories of Neoliberalisation’, organized by the Goldsmiths Latin American Hub at Goldsmith University.

Emmy Eklundh discusses the possibilities and challenges of electoral politics in Spain on Radio France International. Listen to the full programme here.

Russell Foster, who recently became a member of the Parliamentary Group on Freedom of Movement, was interviewed by RT on Brexit and the future of the EU.

Stathis Kouvelakis discusses the notion of ‘de-globalization’ and the cleavage between ‘globalists’ and ‘supporters of sovereignty’ on the French public radio France Culture. The podcast of the programme is available here.

Anand Menon has written about possible security implications of Brexit here.

Christoph Meyer’s article in the Telegraph on Brexit and the security consequences for the UK can be read here. He has also written a blog post about democracy in the EU, which is available here.