Dialectical Materialist Book Group

Photo by Neil Scott

A record of the Dialectical Materialist Book Group (DiaMat)’s reading, proposing and hosting.

2012 (5)

  • 10 July 2012: Introduction to ‘Less than Nothing’ by Slavoj Zizek – members: Ian, Neil, Laura (host) and Stephen. Ian and Laura proposed the text.
  • 17 August 2012: ‘The Enigma of Capital’ by David Harvey – members: Ian, Neil, Laura and Stephen (host). Ian proposed the text.
  • 20 September 2012: ’18th Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte’ and ‘The Communist Manifesto’ by Karl Marx (and Friedrich Engels) – members: Ian (host), Neil, Laura and Stephen (not in attendance). Ian and Neil proposed the text.
  • 25 October 2012: ‘Occupying a Non-place’ by Ewan Morrison, ‘One year after Occupy’ by Mark Fisher (proposed by Neil); ‘Postmodernism and Consumer Culture’ by Frederic Jameson (proposed by Stephen); ‘The Power of Madness’ by Bruce Cohen (proposed by Laura) – members: Ian, Neil (host), Laura and Stephen.
  • 29 November 2012: ‘The Wisdom of Life’ by Arthur Schopenhauer – members: Ian, Neil, Laura (host) and Stephen (not in attendance). Neil proposed the text.

2013 (10)

  • 11 January 2013: Chapter 1 of ‘Artificial Hells by Claire Bishop – members: Ian, Neil, and Laura (host). Laura proposed the text.
  • 28 February 2013: ‘The Battle of Orgreave’ and ‘Real Time’ films as part of the CCA ‘Economy’ Exhibition – members: Ian, Neil, Laura and Ellie (hosted at CCA). Neil proposed the films.
  • 09 April 2013: ‘One Way Street’ (essay) and ‘The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction’ – members: Ian (host), Neil, Laura, Stephen (not in attendance) and Ellie (not in attendance). Ian and Stephen proposed the texts.
  • 3 June 2013: ‘Towards a Socialist Alternative’ by Erik Olin-Wright – members: Ian, Neil (host), Laura, Stephen (not in attendance) and Ellie. Ian proposed the text.
  • 08 July 2013: ‘Dilemmas in a General Theory of Planning’ – members: Ian (not in attendance), Neil, Laura and Ellie (hosted at CCA). Neil proposed the text.
  • 07 August 2013: ’21 hours’ by New Economic Foundation and ‘Manifesto for Maintenance Art’ by Mierle Laderman Ukele – members: Ian, Neil, Laura and Ellie (host and proposer).
  • 19 September 2013: ‘Women on the Market’ by Luce Irigaray – members: Ian, Neil, Laura (host and proposer) and Ellie.
  • 14 November 2013: ‘Freedom and Fetishism’ by Marshall Berman – members: Ian (host and proposer), Neil, Laura and Ellie.
  • 08 December 2013: Diamat Christmas Special at Sapporo Teppanyaki in Glasgow. Topic: Scottish independence (with White Paper to consult). Outcome: yes – members: Ian, Neil, Laura and Ellie (not in attendance).
  • 20 December 2013: Russell Brand in The Guardian 05.11.13 and New Statesman 24.10.13; Exiting the Vampire Castle by Mark Fisher in The North Star – members: Ian, Neil (host and proposer), Laura, Ellie and Anna.

2014 (7)


2015 (8)


2016 (6)

  • 21 January 2016: ’24/7′ by Jonathan Crary – members: Ian, Neil, Laura (host and proposer), Ellie and Chris.
  • 17 March 2016: ‘Communal Luxury: The Political Imaginary of the Paris Commune’ by Kristin Ross – members: Ian, Neil, Laura, Ellie (not in attendance) and Chris (host and proposer).
  • 21 April 2016: SPECIAL DIAMAT: EU REFERENDUM DISCUSSION – members: Ian (host), Neil, Laura, Ellie (not in attendance) and Chris.
  • 11 June 2016: ‘This Changes Everything’ by Naomi Klein – members: Ian, Neil, Laura (not in attendance), Ellie (host and proposer) and Chris (not in attendance). Ian’s review: ‘Worst DiaMat ever’.
  • 24 September 2016: ‘Crowds and Party’ by Jodi Dean – members: Ian (proposer), Neil, Laura (host), Ellie and Chris.
  • 06 November 2016: ‘Sapiens. A brief history of Humankind’ by Yoval Noah Harari – members: Ian, Neil (host and proposer), Laura, Ellie and Chris.

2017 (7)

  • 12 January 2017: Diamat Christmas Review of 2016 at David Bann in Edinburgh. Hero: Michelle Obama; villain: David Cameron; Cultural highlight: Blackstar by David Bowie; Cultural lowlight: Brexit culture; DiaMat favourite text: Communal Luxury; 2016 prediction winners: Neil and Chris– members: Ian, Neil, Laura, Ellie, Chris, Sally (invited), Kathryn (invited).
  • 26 January 2017: ‘Bhagavad Gita’, translated by Eknath Easwaran – members: Ian, Neil, Laura (host and proposer), Ellie and Chris.
  • 12 April 2017: ‘Molecular Red’ by Mackenzie Wark – members: Ian, Neil, Laura, Ellie (not in attendance) and Chris (host and proposer).
  • 22 May 2017: SPECIAL DIAMAT: UK GENERAL ELECTION at Stereo in Glasgow — members: Ian, Neil, Laura, Ellie (not in attendance) and Chris.
  • 10 July 2017: ‘The Origins of Capitalism’ by Ellen Meiksins Wood – members: Ian (host and proposer), Neil, Laura, Ellie (not in attendance) and Chris.
  • 05 September 2017: ‘The Russian Revolution’ by S.A. Smith – members: Ian, Neil (host and proposer), Laura, Ellie (not in attendance) and Chris.
  • 25 November 2017: ‘Kill all Normies’ by Angela Nagle – members: Ian, Neil, Laura (host and proposer), Chris and Ellie. ‘Fidling with the genitals while the world burns’ / ‘I could not be more culturally Marxist if I tried. And I try!’

2018 (7)

  • 05 January 2018: Diamat Christmas Review of 2017 at Hug and Pint in Glasgow. Hero: Jeremy Corbyn; villain: Donald Trump; wally: Theresa May; Political Highlight: UK General election; Political lowlight: Grenfell; Cultural highlight: #grime4corbyn; Cultural lowlight: Death of Mark Fisher; DiaMat favourite text: The Russian Revolution; 2017 prediction winners: Neil and Ian– members: Ian, Neil, Laura, Ellie, Chris, Kathryn (invited).
  • 03 February 2018: ‘Pedagogy of the Oppressed’ by Paolo Freire – members: Ian, Neil, Laura, Ellie (host and proposer) and Chris.
  • 29 March 2018: ‘The Prince’ by Niccolo Machiavelli (Tim Park’s translation) – members: Ian, Neil, Laura (not in attendance), Ellie and Chris (host and proposer).
  • 13 May 2018: ‘Psychopolitics: Neoliberalism and New Technologies of Power’ by Byung-Chul Han – members: Ian (host and proposer), Neil, Laura, Ellie and Chris. ‘Loki is the Scottish Jordan Petterson.
  • 13 July 2018: Meditations on Moloch by Slate Star Codex– members: Ian, Neil (host and proposer), Laura, Ellie and Chris.
  • 21 October 2018: Duty Free Art by Hito Steyerl– members: Ian, Neil, Laura (host and proposer), Ellie and Chris.
  • 08 December 2018: Small is Beautiful by E. F. Schumacher– members: Ian, Neil, Laura, Ellie (host and proposer) and Chris.

2019 (7)

  • 04 January 2019: Diamat Christmas Review of 2018 at Harmonium in Edinburgh. Hero: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez; villain: Mohammad Bin Salman; wally: Elon Musk; Political Highlight: Extinction Rebellion; Political lowlight: Windrush; Cultural highlight: Explosion of Veganism in the UK; Cultural lowlight: Artschool fire; DiaMat favourite text: Psychopolitics; 2018 prediction winners: Kathryn and Laura– members: Ian, Sally (invited), Neil, Laura, Ellie, Chris, Kathryn (invited).
  • 08 February 2019: Chapters 1 and 2 of ‘Deceit, Desire and the Novel’ by René Girard – members: Ian, Neil, Laura, Ellie, Chris (host and proposer) and Kathryn (invited and cooking!). ‘Ellie Harrison, c’est moi’ / ‘Jordan Peterson is living rent-free in Ian’s head’
  • 23 March 2019: New Faces of Fascism by Enzo Traverso – members: Ian (host and proposer), Neil, Laura, Ellie. ‘No one knows about your seedy European past’
  • 08 May 2019: The Uninhabitable Earth by David Wallace-Wells – members: Ian, Neil (host and proposer), Laura, Ellie and Chris.
  • 01 August 2019: Civilisation and its Discontents by Sigmund Freud  – members: Ian, Neil, Laura (host and proposer), Ellie and Chris.
  • 10 October 2019: England, Your England (first 5 essays) by George Orwell – members: Ian, Neil, Laura, Ellie (host and proposer) and Chris. Ian gave credit to Maggie Thatcher for being a green ahead of her time.
  • 14 December 2019: Ecology of Freedom by Murray Bookchin – members: Ian, Neil, Laura, Ellie, Chris (host and proposer) and Kathryn.

2020 (7)

  • 10 January 2020: Diamat Review of 2019/decade at Swadish in Glasgow. 2019 Hero: Greta Thunberg; villain: Jair Bolsonaro; Political Highlight: Labour Manifesto; Political lowlight: Invasion of Rojava; Cultural highlight: Richard Dawson 2020; Cultural lowlight: Death of David Berman; Wally: Jo Swinson; DiaMat favourite text: Civilisation and its Discontents by Sigmund Freud; 2019 prediction winners: Chris, Kathryn, and Neil – Decade: Hero: Jeremy Corbyn; villain: ISIS; Political Highlight: Extinction Rebellion; Political lowlight: Failure to deal with climate change due to hyper normalisation; Cultural highlight: Explosion of Veganism in the UK; Cultural lowlight: Twitter culture; Wally: Elon Musk; DiaMat favourite text ever: Communal Luxury by Kristin Ross – members: Ian, Neil, Laura, Ellie, Chris, Kathryn (invited).
  • 22 February 2020: On Living in an Old Country: The National Past in Contemporary Britain by Patrick Wright – members: Ian (host and proposer), Neil, Laura, Ellie, Chris, Sally (invited).
  • 19 April 2020: Rasputin 2.0 by Dominic Cummings ONLINE – members: Neil (Jitsi host and proposer), Ian, Ellie, Laura, Chris.
  • 22 May 2020: Four Futures by Pete Frase ONLINE – members: Laura (Jitsi host and proposer), Ian, Ellie, Chris, Neil.
  • 6 August 2020: Hope in the Dark by Rebecca Solnit ONLINE – members: Ellie (Jitsi host and proposer), Neil, Ian, Laura, and Chris.
  • 26 September 2020: The Need for Roots by Simone Weil ONLINE: – members: Chris (Jitsi host and proposer), Neil, Ian, Laura, and Ellie.
  • 28 November 2020: The Long 20th Century by Giovanni Arrighi ONLINE: – members: Chris, Neil, Ian (Jitsi host and proposer), Laura, and Ellie.

2021 (7)

  • 08 January 2021: The Gospels ONLINE: – members: Chris, Neil (Jitsi host and proposer), Ian, and Laura. Ellie refused.
  • 29 January 2021: Diamat Review of 2020 ONLINE: – members: Ian, Sally (invited), Neil, Laura, Ellie, Chris, Kathryn (invited). 2020 Hero: Jacinda Ardern; Villain: Boris Johnson; Political highlight: Lockdown; Political lowlight: Corona-yism (i.e. corruption, nepotism and profiteering during the pandemic); Cultural highlight: Tofish supper by Ian; Cultural lowlight: Dark days (i.e. no live culture); Wally: Dominic Cummings; Text: The Long Twentieth Century; Prediction winners: Chris and Laura
  • 26 February 2021: Post-Capitalist Desire by Mark Fisher ONLINE: – members: Chris, Neil, Ian, Laura (Zoom host and proposer), and Ellie.
  • 02 April 2021: I Can’t Get You Out of My Head by Adam Curtis [6 episode series] ONLINE:– members: Chris, Neil, Ian, Laura, and Ellie (Jitsy host and proposer).
  • 12 June 2021: State of Exception by Giorgio Agamben – members: Ian, Neil, Laura, Ellie, Chris (host and proposer) and Kathryn (invited and cooking!).
  • 18 September 2021: The Break-up of Britain by Tom Nairn – members: Ian (host and proposer), Chris, Neil, Laura, and Ellie.
  • 14 November 2021: Culture of Narcissism by Christopher Lasch– members: Chris, Neil (host and proposer), Ian, Laura, and Ellie.

2022 (4)

  • 21 January 2022: Diamat ROTY2021 at Hanoi Bike Shop: – members: Ian, Neil, Laura, Ellie, Chris, Kathryn (invited). 2021 Hero: Gilherme Boulos; Villain: Boris Johnson; Political highlight: COP26 Fringe; Political lowlight: Official COP26; Cultural highlight: I Can’t Get You Out of My Head by Adam Curtis; Cultural lowlight: Terrible resurfacing of 1980s-90s films (Matrix, Ghostbusters, Coming to America, Bond); Wally: Humza Yousaf⁩; Text: Post-Capitalist Desire by Mark Fisher; Prediction winners: Chris and Ellie
  • 25 February 2022: An Autobiography: The Story of My Experiments with Truth by Mahatma Gandhi – members: Chris, Neil, Ian, Laura (host and proposer), and Ellie.
  • 14 May 2022: Emancipation After Hegel: Achieving a Contradictory Revolution by Todd McGowan – members: Chris (host and proposer), Neil, Ian, Laura, and Ellie.
  • 04 September 2022: The Social Distance Between Us: How Remote Politics Wrecked Britain by Darren McGarvey – members: Neil, Ian, Laura, and Ellie (host and proposer).
  • 26 November 2022: Disorder: Hard Times in the 21st Century by Helen Thompson
    – members: Chris, Neil, Ian (host and proposer), Laura, and Ellie.

2023 (4)

  • 21 January 2023: Diamat ROTY2022 at Madras Cafe: – members: Ian, Neil, Laura, Ellie, Chris, Kathryn (invited). 2022 Hero: Mick Lynch; Villain: Vladimir Putin; Political highlight: Strikes; Political lowlight: War in Ukraine; Cultural highlight: Aftersun [film]; Cultural lowlight: Attack on Salman Rushdie; Wally: Liz Truss; Text: Disorder: Hard Times in the 21st Century by Helen Thompson; Prediction winners: Laura, Neil and Sally
  • 11 February 2023: The Gossip Trap by Eric Hoel – members: Chris, Neil (host and proposer), Ian, Laura, and Ellie.
  • 06 May 2023: Marx on Money by Suzanne de Brunhoff – members: Chris, Neil, Ian, Laura (host and proposer), and Ellie.
  • 1 September 2023: Tools for Conviviality by Ivan Illich – members: Neil, Ian, Laura, and Ellie (host and proposer).
  • 24 November 2023: Stone Voices by Neal Ascherson – members: Chris (host and proposer), Neil, Ian, Laura, and Ellie.

2024

  • 19 January 2024: Diamat ROTY2023 via What’sApp – members: Ian, Neil, Laura, Ellie, Chris. 2023 Hero: Les Soulèvements de la Terre / Villain: Benjamin Netanyahu / Political Highlight: the Ecuadorian referendum / Political Lowlight: the war on Gaza / Cultural Highlight: Barbie / Cultural Lowlight: AI-sthetics / The Elon Musk Award for Wally of the Year: Elon Musk / Best text: Tools for Conviviality/ new RoTY 2023 lifetime achievement award for Antonio Negri / Prediction winners: Kath, Ian and Laura.
  • 03 February: ‘Persecution and the Art of Writing’ by Leo Strauss – members: Chris, Neil (host and proposer), Laura, and Ellie.

Analysis

Chosen texts

Ian

Laura

Neil

Ellie (2013 – present)

  • ’21 hours’ by New Economic Foundation and ‘Manifesto for Maintenance Art’ by Mierle Laderman Ukele
  • ‘A Genealogy of Participatory Art’ by Boris Groys
  • ‘Yes: the Radical Case for Scottish Independence’ by James Foley and Peter Ramand
  • ‘Part II: Can Capitalism Survive?’ in Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy by Joseph A. Schumpeter
  • ‘This Changes Everything’ by Naomi Klein
  • ‘Pedagogy of the Oppressed’ by Paolo Freire
  • Small is Beautiful by E. F. Schumacher
  • England, Your England (first 5 essays) by George Orwell
  • Hope in the Dark by Rebecca Solnit
  • I Can’t Get You Out of My Head by Adam Curtis [6 episode series]
  • The Social Distance Between Us: How Remote Politics Wrecked Britain by Darren McGarvey
  • Tools for Conviviality by Ivan Illich

Chris (2015 – present)

Stephen (2012-2013)

  • ‘Postmodernism and Consumer Culture’ by Frederic Jameson
  • ‘One Way Street’ (essay) and ‘The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction’

Dialectical Materialist Book Group ROTY (2014 – present)

Venues: Pomegranate in Edinburgh / Stereo in Glasgow / David Bann in Edinburgh / Hug and Pint in Glasgow / Harmonium in Edinburgh / Swadish in Glasgow / Hanoi Bike Shop in Glasgow / Madras Cafe in Glasgow

  • Heroes: Pepe Mújica / Jeremy Corbyn / Michelle Obama / Jeremy Corbyn / Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez / Greta Thunberg / Jacinda Ardern / Gilherme Boulos / Mick Lynch
  • Villains: Nigel Farage / Isis / David Cameron / Donald Trump / Mohammad Bin Salman / Jair Bolsonaro / Boris Johnson / Boris Johnson / Vladimir Putin
  • Political Highlight: Oxi / UK General election / Extinction Rebellion / Labour Manifesto / Lockdown / COP26 Fringe / Strikes
  • Political Lowlight: decision to go to war in Syria and Yemen / Grenfell / Windrush / Invasion of Rojava / Corona-yism (i.e. corruption, nepotism and profiteering during the pandemic) / Official COP26 / War in Ukraine
  • Cultural highlight: EIF director for ‘The Magic Flute’ / Blackstar by David Bowie / #grime4corbyn / Explosion of Veganism in the UK / Richard Dawson 2020 / Tofish supper by Ian / I Can’t Get You Out of My Headby Adam Curtis / Aftersun [film]
  • Cultural lowlight: Closure of the Arches / Brexit culture / Death of Mark Fisher / Artschool fire / Death of David Berman / Dark days (i.e. no live culture) / Terrible resurfacing of 1980s-90s films (Matrix, Ghostbusters, Coming to America, Bond) / Attack on Salman Rushdie
  • DiaMat favourite text: Communal Luxury / The Russian Revolution / Psychopolitics / Civilisation and its Discontents by Sigmund Freud / The Long Twentieth Century / Post-Capitalist Desire by Mark Fisher / Disorder: Hard Times in the 21st Century by Helen Thompson
  • Wally: Theresa May / Elon Musk / Jo Swinson / Dominic Cummings / Humza Yousaf⁩ / Liz Truss
  • Prediction winners: Neil (4/7), Chris (4/7), Kathryn (2/7), Laura (3/7), Ian (1/7), Ellie (1/7), Sally (1/7)

Decade (2010–2020): Hero: Jeremy Corbyn; villain: ISIS; Political Highlight: Extinction Rebellion; Political lowlight: Failure to deal with climate change due to hyper normalisation; Cultural highlight: Explosion of Veganism in the UK; Cultural lowlight: Twitter culture; Wally: Elon Musk; DiaMat favourite text ever: Communal Luxury by Kristin Ross