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February 7, 2020
On February 7, 2020, at Boston College, the Platypus Affiliated Society hosted a panel titled "Freedom in the Anthropocene". Description: The Dutch atmospheric chemist Paul Crutzen recently characterized the period marked by the start of the industrial revolution in the 18th Century to the present as a new geological epoch, the Anthropocene. This periodization is meant to capture a change in the history of the planet, namely that for the first time in history its course will be determined by the question of what humanity will become.
January 30, 2020
A teach-in held by the Platypus Affiliated Society Manchester on the 30th of January 2020, explaining in basic terms what is meant by 'the dialectic', through Theodor W. Adorno's An Introduction to Dialectics.
January 29, 2020
A moderated panel discussion held January 29, 2020 at London School of Economics in the wake of the 2019 UK general election. Description: The movement around Jeremy Corbyn has been the centre of the British Left since 2015. A generation of activists have thrown themselves into the Labour party, some abandoning former organisations or anti-party (anarchist) political perspectives. But in the wake of the landslide victory of the Conservative Party in 2019, the goals of the Left seem unclear. It feels like we’ve been here before. How did we get to this point? How has the election changed the political arena? How should the Left relate to the Labour party going forward? Is the Left transforming Labour or is Labour transforming the Left? Is the goal of the Left socialism in the 21st century? If so, what is socialism and how can we achieve it? After the election, what's Left?
January 16, 2020
With the ousting of Morales in Bolivia, political repression in Hong Kong, and rising tensions with Iran, the question of Imperialism has posted itself with particular force in the last couple months. Nevertheless, while all three have received much attention from the left, the commonality is not at all clear. What exactly is imperialism? And what constitutes (if at all) effective resistance to it? Finally how has the Left historically understood imperialism and has that understanding been lost? This panel seeks to address these questions and more by bringing together both activists and academics. Q&A will follow the discussion.
January 16, 2020
The Dutch atmospheric chemist Paul Crutzen recently characterized the period marked by the start of the industrial revolution in the 18th Century to the present as a new geological epoch, the Anthropocene. This periodization is meant to capture a change in the history of the planet, namely that for the first time in history its course will be determined by the question of what humanity will become; the question of freedom.
January 13, 2020
On September 27, 2019, at the Democracy Center in Cambridge, MA, the Platypus Affiliated Society hosted a teach-in led by Platypus members Divya M. and Soren W. on capital in history. What is the development of freedom in human history from the Platypus perspective? In the mid-19th century, Marx and Engels famously observed that a "specter was haunting Europe: the specter of Communism". 170 years later, it is Marxism itself that haunts us, while capitalism remains. What does it mean that Marx and Marxism still appeal, while political movements for socialism are weak or non-existent? What were Marxism's original points concerning radical possibilities for freedom that might still speak to the present? Does Marxism even matter?
January 12, 2020
On September 27, 2019, at the Democracy Center in Cambridge, MA, the Platypus Affiliated Society hosted a teach-in led by Platypus members Divya M. and Soren W. on capital in history. What is the development of freedom in human history from the Platypus perspective? In the mid-19th century, Marx and Engels famously observed that a "specter was haunting Europe: the specter of Communism". 170 years later, it is Marxism itself that haunts us, while capitalism remains. What does it mean that Marx and Marxism still appeal, while political movements for socialism are weak or non-existent? What were Marxism's original points concerning radical possibilities for freedom that might still speak to the present? Does Marxism even matter?
December 5, 2019
Teach-in by Efraim Carlebach of the Platypus Affiliated Society at the LSE SU Platypus Society on 5 December 2019, on the history of the Labour party and its relationship to the Left, and the December 2019 UK general election.
October 25, 2019
Teach-in at Aarhus by Platypus member Victor Cova. Description:The contemporary left seems weaker than ever. Compared to the uprisings of the 1960s, to say nothing of the world revolution of the 1920s, the events that followed the 2008 crisis (#Occupy, Arab revolutions, Movement of the Squares, Black Lives Matter...) were nothing short of disappointing. Marxism had inspired many of these earlier revolutionary attempts, but now seems hopelessly obscure. Where left-wing movements continue to talk about "capitalism", "class", and "revolution", it is rarely clear what they mean by these words. What is capitalism? What is capital? Why did Marx write a critique of political economy? How did this contribute to a world revolutionary movement? What has the failure of this world revolution meant for the Left? Is Marxism about revealing relations of domination that are concealed by ideology?
October 17, 2019
Panelists:Sarah Henderson - Author of Building Democracy in Contemporary RussiaAdam Lunceford - Heart of the Valley Democratic Socialists of AmericaGL Morrison - Oregon Communist PartyWilliam Smaldone - Author of European Socialism: A Concise History Description: 1989 is largely remembered as a decisive close to the Cold War contest between communism and capitalism—with the victory of the latter casting a seemingly damning verdict against Marxism as a form of politics. The planned economies based on collectivized property of these states were indicted as failures, and their totalitarian regimes called into question the very notion of working class rule. The fall of communism thus profoundly affected the Left’s ability to imagine the overcoming of capitalism, and the possibility of a classless society beyond it. But in passing into history, the meaning of 1989 can also be reconsidered. The panel will use this anniversary to reassess the question of how 1989 weighs on the present. What is the significance of 1989 in its historical context, and what is its relevance for Left politics today?
October 11, 2019
Teach-in, veranstaltet von der Platypus Affiliated Society im Café C.I. - Club International in Wien am 11. Oktober 2019. „In den 1980er Jahren verabschiedete sich eine ganze Generation Intellektueller im Zeichen der Postmoderne von jeglicher Utopie. Doch bereits zuvor war die Neue Linke in den 60er und 70er Jahren mit ihrer Rückkehr zu Marx gescheitert. Aus Sicht von Althusser inszenierten die Studenten weltweit 1968 eine „ideologische Revolte“. Sie revolutionierten den kulturellen Überbau, aber nicht die sozialen und politischen Verhältnisse. Er bemerkte damit das Ende der Neuen Linken, die sich dafür entschied, Politik gegen Protest einzutauschen. Das politische Scheitern der Neuen Linken 1968 ebnete sowohl der Post-Moderne als auch dem Post-Marxismus den Weg. Ihre historischen und intellektuellen Ursprünge kreuzen sich.“
June 30, 2019
On June 30, 2019 at the Left Forum at Long Island University Brooklyn in New York City, the Platypus Affiliated Society hosted a panel titled "The New Deal and American Socialism". Description: The New Deal is widely associated with socialism. This association holds true not only within the popular imagination shared across many sections of American society, but also within the historical imagination of the contemporary Left. This panel will consider the New Deal as it appeared to organized political tendencies that struggled for socialism during and after the 1930s. It will ask whether and how the New Deal -- its life, its legacy, its crisis, its memory, and its potential revival -- has advanced the struggle for socialism in America and beyond. We ask the panelists to consider the following questions: How did socialists of various tendencies -- the Communist Party USA, the Socialist Party of America, Trotskyists, and anarchists -- relate to the New Deal during the 1930s? How, in their respective views, did the New Deal (considered both as policy and as politics) present obstacles to and/or opportunities for advancing the struggle for socialism? The liberal political coalition forged in part through New Deal policies subsequently prosecuted first the anti-fascist Second World War and then the anti-Communist Cold War; it also administered the American-led reconstitution of global capitalism beginning in 1945 that oversaw the creation of the European welfare state. Considering how the New Deal helped usher in a new era of global capitalism: What is the New Deal's relationship to socialism? What is its relationship to capitalism? Panelists: Marc Kagan - PhD candidate, CUNY Graduate Center; former officer in Transport Workers Union, Local 100 (New York)Jason Wright - International Bolshevik Tendency Jack Devine - PhD candidate, CUNY Graduate Center; Democratic Socialists of America; host of Revolutions Per Minute (WBAI 99.5 FM)Jack Ross - Author of The Socialist Party of America: A Complete History
June 30, 2019
On June 30, 2019 at the Left Forum at Long Island University Brooklyn in New York City, the Platypus Affiliated Society hosted a panel titled "Beyond Sect or Movement: What is a Political Center?" Description: In his 1973 essay, "Anatomy of the Micro-Sect," Hal Draper gives a definition of a party as opposed to a ‘movement’ or the ‘sects’ that seemed to dominate the Left of his time: A sect presents itself as the embodiment of the socialist movement, though it is a membership organization whose boundary is set more or less rigidly by the points in its political program rather than by its relation to the social struggle. In contrast, a working-class party is not simply an electoral organization but rather, whether electorally engaged or not, an organization which really is the political arm of decisive sectors of the working class, which politically reflects (or refracts) the working class in motion as it is. A “socialist movement” sums up the mass manifestations of a socialist working class in various fields, not only the political, usually around a mass socialist party.”  Against both the “sect” and merely building a “movement,” Draper argues for the formation of a “political center,” which would be different from a unification of sects, as a first step towards the goal of building a socialist party. How is our present moment similar to or different from that of Draper? What is a socialist party and what are the greatest obstacles today to its realization and how can those obstacles be met? Hal Draper was deeply influenced by his study of Marx and Marxism when he wrote this essay. What can we learn from Hal Draper’s Marxism today?   Panelists: Spencer A. Leonard - Platypus Affiliated SocietyJim Creegan - ex-SDS, ex-International Bolshevik Tendency, ex-Spartacist League Michael Hirsch - New Politics Magazine, Portside News Service, DSA
June 18, 2019
Note: there is a silent gap in the first 7 minutes of the audio.Former president of Platypus Chris Cutrone is interviewed on the Symptomatic Redness podcast with host Derick Varn, and guest host Lexi Kay of Swampside Chats. Chris took on a variety of relatively hostile questions for a few hours. This is part three and is available to the public. Derick Varn is a former member of the Platypus Affiliated Society.
June 11, 2019
Former president of Platypus Chris Cutrone is interviewed on the Symptomatic Redness podcast with host Derick Varn, and guest host Lexi Kay of Swampside Chats. Chris took on a variety of relatively hostile questions for a few hours and this is second part of the conversation. It is available in full for Zero Books Patrons only. Derick Varn is a former member of the Platypus Affiliated Society.
June 4, 2019
A teach-in on trans liberation held by David Faes at Northwestern University on June 4th, 2019. Description The socialist Left, which historically stood for increasing the scope of freedom, has historically shifted positions on issues of gender and sexuality. Recently, there has been some conflict over the trans identity, how it should be taken up by the Left if at all. What do such controversies tell us about the politics of sexual freedom and the history of the Left, moving forward? How did the historical socialist Left relate the struggle for sexual freedom to the broader struggle for freedom in greater society? What exactly do contemporary socialists mean today when they speak of sexual liberation, and what does it have to do with the broader task of the Left, of increasing the scope of human freedom?
June 2, 2019
Chris Cutrone is interviewed on the Symptomatic Redness podcast with host Derick Varn, and guest host Lexi Kay of Swampside Chats. Chris took on a variety of relatively hostile questions for a few hours. This is part one and is available to the public. Derick Varn is a former member of the Platypus Affiliated Society.
June 1, 2019
Richard Rubin of the Platypus Affiliated Society hosts a teach-in on Materialism and Philosophy in Athens, June 1, 2019. Please note that the introduction is in Greek, but the lecture proceeds in English.
June 1, 2019
A teach-in on the New Deal by Clint Montgomery, reflecting on the recent European elections and the rise of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in the U.S. As the present crisis of neoliberalism sees calls from the left for a "Green New Deal" and a return to the post war welfare-state, what was the New Deal and why is its specter returning now?
June 1, 2019
A teach-in on democracy hosted by Richard Rubin of the Platypus Affiliated Society in Athens, Greece on June 1, 2019.
June 1, 2019
Jensen Suther of the Platypus Affiliated Society hosts a teach-in on Hegel's Materialism in Athens. 1 June 2019
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