The Delhi HM Conference “New Cultures of the Left”, the first South Asian Historical Materialism Conference, will be held at the Conference Centre, Delhi University, on 3-4 April 2013. The conference occurs against several backgrounds that make the revival of the left and the reemergence of Marxist and other forms of radical theory and politics imperative. These ‘backgrounds’ include the massive convulsions in the world economy from the financial crash of 2008 onwards; the great uprisings in the Arab world that dominated the whole of 2011 with their remarkable mass-based struggles for democracy; the emergence in the West of spontaneous forms of resistance to Austerity politics and its fierce attacks on the lives of millions of people both in and out of employment.
The background to the Conference also includes the consolidation of powerful capitalist interests in countries like India where big business now shapes public policy without the shackles of ‘socialism’, and government and business have jointly undermined the unions, massively casualised labour markets and accelerated the dispossession of whole communities. The consolidation, likewise, of deeply authoritarian tendencies, both secular and religious, that stand for the eradication of existing constitutional democracies and the rights they offer to the mass of citizens in favour of stronger, more repressive states or states reconstructed on non-secular ‘fundamentalist’ lines. And last but not least, the deep crisis of the Party-controlled left and its inability to debate issues in open, democratic and politically creative ways, much less to attract a new generation of workers and youth to the cause of a radical left politics and culture.