The ongoing proliferation of violent conflicts and antagonisms has once again brought the question of warfare to the forefront. Unfortunately, the dominant discourse that has accompanied these antagonisms is simplistic moralism; war as a matter of good and evil. Relatedly, anti-war movements in the United States and beyond have waned, the fight against 'evil' overcoming all else. The startling lack of critical perspectives on and mass social movements against these recent and ongoing wars (from Afghanistan, Syria, Ukraine, Gaza and the West Bank, to Yemen, Sudan, and beyond) as well as increasingly possible future wars (China, Russia) is a direct consequence of the Manichean perspective that has dominated the understanding of the many (including some on the left). Equally worryingly, the broader disruptions and impact of these wars, from rising poverty in the global south to the displacement of tens of millions of people, has not been adequately understood as one of the consequences of these ongoing antagonisms.

It is against this backdrop that a return to a more analytical and rigorous understanding of conflict and war is needed. More precisely, a class analysis of conflict and antagonism is necessary for understanding the complexity of these conflicts and the social conditions that engender them. The analysis of class is always concurrently an analysis of movement and struggle, there is no class without war and there is no war without class. Thus, a class analysis of war also makes visible the deeper social agencies and stakes of these conflicts, highlighting the importance of anti-war movements as well as the necessity of class struggles from below.  Similarly, a class analysis shows which conflicts extend and deepen the control and interests of the capitalist classes and which conflicts combat capitalism and benefit the working and other subaltern classes.

As in the past, the conference ethos is strictly egalitarian. This means everyone is invited to contribute in a comradely spirit, the conference is open to all currents of critical Marxist theory and we expect all presenters to attend the entire conference, not just their own session (with no ‘cameo appearances’). We also expect all speakers to make themselves available for the whole period of the conference for their sessions (with only completely immutable circumstances constituting exceptions), as tailoring a conference of this size around individuals’ preferences and desires is not feasible or desirable. The conference is an important part of the broader Historical Materialism project – including the journal, the book series, and the global network of HM conferences – and we want to encourage all conference participants to get involved with these different elements, for example by subscribing to the journal and submitting their conference paper to us for consideration. The Institute for the Radical Imagination is based in New York City and sponsors various seminars and classes through the year, including a yearly Marxist Summer School. It also publishes the journal Situations.

In line with the central theme of this year’s conference, we particularly want to invite contributions on the following non-exclusive questions:

1. Refugees, migration, and the violence of borders

2. The paradox of the pro-war left

3. Accumulation by dispossession

4. Libidinal displacement and violence

5. The violence of economic sanctions

6. Sabotaging the war machine

7. War and spectacle

8. Ecological destruction as class war

9. Religion, liberalism, and the dangers of just war theory

10. Labor, the general intellect, and the automation of war

11. Orientalism, feminism, racism, and imperialism

12. Opportunities for international solidarity in a multipolar world

Deadline for submissions: March 1

Decisions on early submissions will be available for those who need extra time for arranging their travel or for applying for institutional support.

The organizational committee of Historical Materialism New York 2024 can be reached at:

Please note that individual papers and panels should include:

1. Names of participants with e-mails and affiliations, and clear indication of a corresponding author where there is more than one participant.

2. Title of paper or panel – In the case of a paper an abstract of no longer than 300 words. In the case of panels, an overarching description of 300 words and as relevant, abstracts for individual papers.

Conference Fees:

Institutionally Supported:               $150

Full Waged:                                   $100

Students/Low Waged:                     $50