The Awami Workers Party (AWP) held a series of public lectures relating to the field of contemporary politics including discussions on digital media, feminism and the political economy here on Sunday.
The lectures analyzed the changing political landscape of the 21st century and laid out a strategy for organizing progressive forces to build a socialist society that is in harmony with nature and free of all exploitation and material deprivation. AWP’s Fahad Desmukh Initiated proceedings with a lecture on political parties in the digital age and discussed how political parties around the world have adopted and adapted to the emergence of digital technologies. In particular, he described the emergence of a number of new “digital parties” and formations in Europe that sought to address questions of internal party democracy and transparency through the use of new technologies, based on the work Italian sociologist Paolo Gerbaudo
He traced the evolution of political parties from mass parties during the industrial era to “television parties” in the neoliberal era, to what can be described as “digital parties” in the digital era. “These parties, such as the Pirate Parties, the Five Star Movement in Italy and Podemos in Spain have sought to use custom made internet based technological platforms to allow rank and file members to participate in the party’s decision making process to a much greater degree,” Fahad Desmukh said.
“However, as Gerbaudo has pointed out, this has not necessarily lead to an actual greater degree of democracy within these parties, but have merely restructured the existing hierarchies”, he added.
Desmukh ended by discussing the lessons that could be learned from the example of these digital parties by parties in Pakistan and the Third World.
AWP leader and Gender Studies lecturer Alia Amirali conducted a detailed and enlightening lecture on feminism and socialist politics. “Women’s empowerment is a term that is part of the state’s developmentalist discourse- a cooptation of feminist struggles and victories- and therefore antithetical to the feminist political project because it is primarily concerned with ‘integrating women’ into a system of capitalist expansion/development, which inherently reproduces and strengthens relations and systems of exploitation, subordination and inequality.