Sessions and themes


Simon Assaf, Lebanese revolutionary socialist based in London, will open the festival speaking on Palestine, resistance and revolution. He reported on the 2006 Israeli war in Lebanon for Socialist Worker, writes regularly on the Middle East and is on the editorial board of The Public Source (Lebanon).

Theories of settler colonialism will discuss different settler colonial states from Israel and its theft of Palestinian land to Indigenous dispossession in Australia, North America and South Africa to examine the different forms of settler colonialism and resistance to it.

Israel’s government has moved dramatically to the right, with extreme racist figures like Itamar Ben-Gvir, who openly supports genocidal pogroms in both the West Bank and Gaza, in powerful positions. Israel: Is Zionism in crisis? will discuss what this means for the future of the Zionist state and whether its racist ethno-nationalist project can survive.

From Arab nationalism and decolonisation to the Arab revolutions of 2011, the Middle East has seen successive waves of working class revolt. A history of revolution in the Middle East will look at the lessons from the past and how revolution across the region holds the key to Palestinian liberation.

Eyewitness to genocide: Why Palestine is right to resist will feature Sameh Naser, who was displaced from Gaza City as Israel’s bombs rained down.


Another major war continues in Ukraine, with Putin’s Russia now on the front foot after the failure of the Western-backed counter-offensive. Imperialism and Ukraine: Has the US lost? will explain why the war is essentially a contest between Russian and US imperialism, and why more Western arms and aid are only increasing the bloodshed.

The Albanese government is pouring billions into nuclear submarines, missiles and military hardware as part of the US-led confrontation with China. Imperialism and the Pacific: No US bases, no war on China will look at the tensions in the region and how we can oppose the drive to war.

As war and imperialist conflict surge across the globe, How capitalism breeds war will look at how capitalism continually leads to brutal and destructive wars, and how to put an end to them.


karlmarx2Other session highlights include Beyond the binaries: Marxism, sex and gender, discussing the war on trans people and the myth of the gender binary, as well as the way transphobia, homophobia and sexism are all perpetuated by the capitalist system in the interests of the rich and powerful.

After COP28: Fossil fuels and the future of capitalism will look at the climate emergency and why capitalism’s efforts to go green won’t be enough to save the planet. Trump, Trumpism and the crisis of US politics will discuss the horrifying possibility of Donald Trump again winning this year’s presidential election due to the disillusionment with Joe Biden, and what the alternative is to the dysfunctional mainstream political system in the US.

Since the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody issued its final report in 1991, there have been 562 Indigenous deaths in custody, yet only a handful of charges against police or prison guards have ever resulted. Latoya Aroha Rule (Wiradjuri and Maori researcher) will speak on Injustice, inquests and Black deaths in custody.

A number of sessions will explore topics in Marxist theory including Alienation and the misery of capitalism on Marx’s ideas on alienated labour and the position of workers under capitalism, why the German revolution after the First World War failed to see workers take power in The missing party: Rosa Luxemberg and the German revolution, as well as Marxism 101 sessions on Is international revolution possible? and How capitalism breeds war.

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