Barcelona 02-03 July 2021 | Nau Bostik

Reclaiming life. Existing and resisting in times of capitalist pandemic.


Crisis has become the new normal. A civilisational crisis typical of an era of multiple catastrophes. The pandemic of the coronavirus and its improvised management has made evident the situations of inequality and social polarisation typical of the current neoliberal era and has brought to the surface, at the same time, many of the realities hidden by the consumerist fog and the oppressive routines of our daily lives.

The current crisis has revealed itself as a real crisis of social reproduction. The importance of care work and our condition as interdependent beings has become as clear as our unhealthy relationship with the ecosystem and a planet on the brink. In times of pandemic, the essential nature of those jobs that make life and public services sustainable has become as evident as the destructive logic of neoliberal globalisation and the voracity of the new logistical giants and platform capitalism.

It is well known that crises are turning points where threats and opportunities open up. Moments of lack of legitimacy of the established powers, but also of new attacks on rights and freedoms. Faced with the capitalist “pandemic”, now is the time to practice, demand and think about a politics of life, to prevent the changes to come to further consolidate the privileges of the minority.

In the first edition of the Historical Materialism Conference in Barcelona in 2019, nearly 700 researchers and activists from all over the world took part, making the meeting a transversal and pluralist space for critical and emancipatory reflection. A space dedicated to lively and dynamic debate, far from the daily rush, which broke down the walls between activism and academia and crossed the borders between areas of knowledge and social and natural sciences.

Unfortunately, health conditions do not allow us to organise a second edition on the scale of the first, nor in the format of open presentation of papers. However, given the changes we have experienced over the last year and the urgency of analysing the forms, mechanisms and devices through which capitalism is being transformed to adapt and deepen a new reality of more exploitation and misery, we have decided to hold a new edition of the Conference which, although in a smaller format, will allow us to bring together, from different fields of study and practices, the possibilities of carrying out new collective struggles and, ultimately, to propose a scenario of rupture and the creation of alternatives in political, social and economic terms.


Friday, 2 July

17.00-18.45 h. Room 1: Ecofeminist Perspectives for the Sustainability of Life


  • Stefania Barca (Universidade de Coimbra)
  • Marina Di Masso (Universitat de Vic)
  • Laia Forné Aguirre (La Hidra Cooperativa)
  • Blanca Bayas Fernández (Observatori del Deute en la Globalització and Acció Ecofeminista)

Chair: Jaume Franquesa (University of Buffalo)

17.00-18.45 h. Room 2: Racial Capitalism and Everyday Frontiers


  • Ainhoa Nadia Douhaibi Arrazola (researcher)
  • Pastora Filigrana (lawyer and Human Righst activist)
  • Mostafà Shaimi (Universitat de Girona, Espai Antiracista Salt-Girona).

Chair: Martin Lundsteen (Observatori de l’Antropologia del Conflicte Urbà)

17.00-18.45 h. Room 3: Essential Workers, Pandemics and the Sustainability of Society


  • Estrella Santos (cleaning worker and trade unionist)
  • Angel Fraile (retail worker and trade unionist)
  • Oriol Barranco (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona).
  • Oriol Arechinolaza (labour lawyer, Col·lectiu Ronda)

Chair: Arantxa Tirado (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona)

Saturday, 3 July

09.45-11.45 h. Room 1: Agroecological Transitions in a Pandemic Context


  • Paula Escribano Castaño (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona)
  • Marta G. Rivera-Ferre (INGENIO CSIC-UPV, Universitat de Vic)
  • Martina Marcet Fuentes (

Chair: Pati Homs (Universitat de Barcelona y L’Aresta Cooperativa)

09.45-11.45 h. Room 2: Nation, class or gender: autonomy or intersection: which collective subject for which revolution?


  • Joan Tafalla (Historian, Associació d’Estudis Gramscians de Catalunya)
  • Maria Rodó (Universitat de Barcelona, feminist activist)
  • Laura Vega Fernández (waitress and militant of the Izquierda Indepenentista)
  • Albert Botran (Historian)

Chair: Ignasi Bernat (University of Winchester).

12.00-14.00 h. Room 1: Moving towards a new productive model.


  • Antoni Soy (economist)
  • Sergi Cutillas (economist, Ekona)
  • Miren Etxezarreta (economist).
  • Ivan Miró (sociologist, La Ciutat Invisible).

Chair: Elena Idoate Ibáñez (economist, Seminari d’Economia Crítica Taifa).

12.00-14.00 h. Room 2: Updating the Revolution: what should we understand today by Revolution and how is it done?


  • Manuel Delgado (Universitat de Barcelona)
  • Jule Goikoetxea (Universitat del País Basc)
  • Albert Noguera (Universitat de València)
  • Josep Maria Antentas (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona)

Chair: TBC

16.30-18.30h. Room 1: Digital Capitalism: Technological Sovereignty and Knowledge Production


  • Eurídice Cabañes (philosopher, codirector of ArsGames)
  • Javier de Rivera (Universidad Complutense de Madrid)
  • Carla Barrio (Universidad Complutense de Madrid)
  • Ekaitz Cancela (Universidad del País Vasco)

Chair: Aitor Jiménez (University of Melbourne)

16.30-18.30h. Room 2: Struggles, Alternatives and Emancipatory Strategies: Lessons from the Paris Commune on its 150th Anniversary


  • Montserrat Galcerán (Fundación de los Comunes)
  • Jaime Pastor (Viento Sur)
  • Jeanne Moisand (Universitat Pompeu Fabra)

Chair: Laia Altarriba (Tigre de Paper)

16.30-18.30h. Room 3: Sovereignty, self-determination and repression: the Spanish state against the peoples


  • Floren Aoiz (Fundació Iratzar)
  • Benet Salellas (lawyer)
  • Gabriela Serra (teacher and activist)

Chair: Clara Camps (Universitat de Barcelona)

18.45-20.45 h. Room 1: “Domestic Work, Capital and Life” in the midst of the Covid-19 crisis


  • Isabel Benítez (Seminari d’Economia Crítica Taifa).
  • Xavier Garcia Font (Seminari d’Economia Crítica Taifa).
  • Elena Idoate Ibáñez (economist, Seminari d’Economia Crítica Taifa).

Chair: Laia Jubany (Seminari d’Economia Crítica Taifa).

18.45-20.45 h. Room 2: In defence of life and the dignity of living: the need for the promotion of public health and the reversal of privatisations


  • Joan Benach (Universitat Pompeu Fabra).
  • Mireia Moret (Health care activist, Rebel·lió atenció primària).
  • Xavier Milian (Historian and journalist. Co-author of “Sortim de l’UCI. Proposta per una sanitat pública”).

Chair: Isabel Chacón (Health care activist, Sanitàries En Lluita y Plataforma en defensa dels serveis públics)

18.45-20.45 h. Room 3: Guaranteeing survival: universal basic income, guaranteed work and the right to decent housing


  • Vidal Aragonés (labour lawyer, col.lectiu Ronda, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona)
  • David Casassas (Universitat de Barcelona)
  • Marta Ill Raga (spokenperson of Sindicat de Llogaters)
  • Irene Escorihuela (Observatori DESC)

Chair: Xavier Granell (political scientist)