Montreal, 17-20 may 2018

After years of revolt and mobilization following the economic crisis of 2008, from Occupy Wall Street to Bernie Sanders, from the Maple Spring through Nuit Debout to the complex evolution of the Pink Tide in Latin America and the democratic socialism of Rojava, the domination of the capitalist economy has been questioned on numerous occasions. In order to pass from multiple resistances to a convergent offensive, it seems imperative to elaborate a real project of transition out of capitalism, building on the critical knowledge produced both at the university and in social movements. For the conference The Great Transition: Setting the Stage for a Post-Capitalist Society we invite anyone — whether they are activists, trade unionists, active members of political parties, students, researchers or professors — to reflect on this question along one of our three general lines of inquiry: critiques of capitalism, anti-capitalist transition strategies and post-capitalist models.

This gathering will strengthen ties between academics and anti-capitalist activists, bridging Francophone and Anglophone milieus. It will also be a space for those who are less familiar with anti-capitalist ideas, but who are curious to discover them. Finally, this event will be an opportunity to nourish and strengthen activist networks and their struggles.



In the first module, we will discuss the kind of knowledge that favors a critical grasp of capitalism, by asking among other things: What exactly is capitalism? What are its origins and the major stages of its history? What have been its recent transformations following the crisis in 2008? But we will also need to talk in detail about how it interacts with society and our natural habitat: How do we understand the intersection between gender, race and class issues? What specific and irreducible forms of oppression do we face? What are the instances in which forms of domination align themselves with power? What are the levers of imperialistic and colonial power today? What are, within the mechanisms of capitalist production, the profound causes of the ecological crisis? Can capitalism really become “green”? Finally, we must approach critical discourses in a reflexive fashion: What are the contemporary critical philosophies that can help us fight against capitalism and its logic? We invite submissions addressing, but not limited to, these questions that will animate the first day of exchange.



The second module of the conference focuses on tactics and strategies that allow the anti-capitalist Left to gain power. How can we carry out effective struggles and assert ourselves against our neoliberal and reactionary populist opponents? How do we get the economic sector and political institutions to invest in and to accept our principles? What role can political parties play in stimulating and bringing together social mobilizations and linking them to a political program of anti-capitalist transition? How can parties and movements create spaces for strategic reflection on our struggles? How do we map economic alternatives? What role should social movements and popular education play in increasing our capacity to spread our ideas and act? We invite submissions addressing, but not limited to, these questions which are addressed in the five themes that compose this module.



The third module focuses on attempts to overcome capitalism by developing a historical perspective as much as a critical outlook on the paths of the future. We here draw conclusions from the pivotal moments of the last two centuries: What lessons can we learn from the first socialist utopias, the councilist struggles, the Soviet episode, and self-management experiments in the wake of May 1968? What do past and present indigenous struggles and struggles of decolonization have to teach us? But we will also reflect on utopias and models that are currently seeking to break with capitalist logic. In this context we ask: How can we reconcile the improvement of living conditions and the limits of the Earth? How do we balance democracy and freedom with planning and the market? Do commons represent a path of broad-based emancipation? How can participatory experiences and eco-feminism inspire our reflections on an emancipated society? Could cities be the pivot of a radical social transformation? How do we overcome the global division of labor? How do we include indigenous struggles and anticolonial activism in the socialist project across the globe?


The editorial policy defines the criteria that guide the Editorial Committee in the planning of the conference’s content and the selection of paper proposals submitted to the group.

The Editorial Committee reserves the following rights :

  1. To solicit, accept or decline proposals based on the criteria mentioned below. In the case of a refusal, the authors of the proposals will receive an email specifying briefly the reasons for declining the paper;
  2. If we receive too many papers corresponding to our criteria, the Editorial Committee reserves the right to reject certain proposals based on the goals and priorities of the colloquium;
  3. To merge together similar proposals, in collaboration with the concerned persons;
  4. Suggest to the authors a reorientation of the proposed content;
  5. Fix the schedule and location of the activities.

Goals of the conference :
The planning of the content will take into consideration the three main goals of the conference :

  1. Promote anticapitalist ideas in Quebec;
  2. Strengthen the links between popular movements and the anticapitalist militant network in North America;
  3. Strengthen the links between academics and activist from the francophone and anglophones circles in North America.

Criteria for selecting the proposals submitted by the participants :
Every person interested in submitting a proposal is invited to select the module and theme for their intervention or their panel. There are three possible forms of participation that can be submitted to the Editorial Committee:

  1. Propose a complete panel that corresponds to a sub-theme identified by the editorial committee.
  2. Propose an individual presentation that falls within a sub-theme identified by the editorial committee.
  3. Propose a new activity (individual presentation or a full panel) that is related to a theme, but not necessarily to a sub-theme.

In the case of a new activity, the proposal should specify the theme and module that correspond to the new activity, as well as the name of the new activity. Individual proposals should comprise between 150 to 300 words and complete panels between 300 and 600 words, while specifying the nature of the intervention for each participant. They should also follow those criteria:

  1. The proposal must be submitted before the deadline with all required information;
  2. The proposal should address one or several issues raised in the description of one of the three modules (criticism, strategy, post-capitalism);
  3. The proposal is general enough to be of interest to a large public (around 30 people approximately, coming from both academic and non-academic circles);
  4. The proposal’s content is not already covered by another panel. In this case, the editors might suggest a fusion of similar panels;
  5. The proposal encourages gender parity in the participation of the main panelists (a panel of two presenters must include at least one woman);
  6. Proposals related to contemporary political debates, with a strategic importance for the current context, will be favoured;
  7. Proposals that integrate activists related to the issue will be favoured.

Constitution of the schedule :
While completing the schedule, the Editorial Committee will make sure that:

  1. A substantial portion of the overall content of the conference is accessible to a unilingual francophone public, to favour the achievement of the conference’s goal of popular education.
  2. The overall conference has an adequate representation of visible minorities;
  3. The conference aims for gender parity.




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