Socialist Futures: Past and Present Debates over Post-Capitalist Governance
23–24 May 2022
EUI campus, Fiesole
Organizing Committee at the EUI:
Catherine Lefèvre, Marius S. Ostrowski, Troy Vettese, Morshed Mannan, Giacomo Vagni, Anna Dobrowolska.
If crises in recent years have again cast into doubt the compatibility of capitalism with democracy and environmental stability, what is the socialist alternative? Now, some thirty years after the demise of the Soviet Union, how do contemporary socialist theorists imagine a socialist future? What is socialist democracy? What mechanisms would guide socialist investment, production, and distribution? How would a socialist society overcome the environmental crisis? These are the questions that animate this workshop on the latest developments in socialist theory. Devising new frameworks demands an interdisciplinary approach to incorporate lessons from the historical experience of actually existing socialist societies with the insights available from contemporary ecology, economics, psychology, and computer science. This means recovering a usable past from a wide array of traditions, from planning in Kerala and Bangladesh, theoretical debates among Soviet cybernetics, the practical use of Chile’s Cybersyn or French indicative planning, and the crisis of the Cuban ‘Special Period’. This workshop is meant to encompass a broad Left from anarchism to state-socialism to Keynesian social democracy. Rather than dismissing utopian theorizing as mere recipes for the ‘cook-shops of the future’, we recognize that such intellectual work is a necessary part of radical politics.
Participants will disseminate their papers (c. 8000 words) in early May so everyone can read each other’s work beforehand. There will be no presentations. Instead, two discussants will be assigned to each paper, who will speak for five to ten minutes each. This allows each participant to receive a thorough critique. The author will then have a chance to respond before the floor is opened to questions from other workshop participants and observers. Each paper will be allocated 45 minutes. We expect to have between 9–12 papers, and thus, the conference will take a day and a half. We hope the papers will provide the basis for a special issue on contemporary socialist theory.
Please submit a 300-word abstract and your CV to firstname.lastname@example.org by 31 January 2022.
We have limited funds, but should be able to subsidize the travel for a few participants. Please let us know in your email whether you will need financial assistance or not.