Democracy, Socialism and Dissidence

A day at the Museo Casa León Trotsky

I spent the day at the ‘Democracia, socialismo y disidencias’ conference at the Instituto del Derecho de Asilo-Museo Casa de León Trotsky. It was the first of three days of events to mark the 70th Anniversary of Trotsky’s assassination, and one of the most moving aspects of the day was the presence of Trotsky’s grandson, Esteban Volkov.

There were many interesting talks today, beginning with a discussion of dissent in the Israel-Palestine conflict (via Skype) by Dani Filc of Ben-Gurion University. He highlighted the increasing political pressure on universities, especially social science departments, in the current climate dominated by the twin pillars of ‘security and order’. He also noted the profound crisis of the Israeli left despite the basic continuity of the right and sharply increasing inequality in Israel. He thinks a one-state solution is a non-starter, though he felt there may be hope for a future confederation of two sub-states. Alan Benjamin, one of the founders of Socialist Organizer, then spoke largely about the dissident trends on the U.S. right, most prominently the Tea Party movement (which he believes is ‘proto-Fascist’).

Afternoon Panel

In the afternoon, there were two panels: one on Trotsky with talks from Olivia Gall (on the Dewey Commission) and Gabriel Garcia Higueras (on dissident socialism in Eastern Europe), and one on Victor Serge, where biographer Suzi Weissman and Claudio Albertani (UACM) spoke on the life, legacy and relevance of the author. All were fascinating, exploring a wide range of issues including exile and asylum, dissidence in the face of both democracy and totalitarianism, and some meandering personal political journeys.

Published in: on August 19, 2010 at 8:27 pm  Leave a Comment  

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