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  • Sixth Annual Platypus International Convention

    April 4th-6th, 2014, at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Registration open now!
  • Platypus Review #65 is out!

    Radical ideologies today: Marxism and anarchism | The Leninist protests too much | In defense of anarchism | What is Cliffism worth?
  • The Politics of Work: Amherst | Halifax | Chicago | London | Toronto

    An international panel series with thinkers, activists and political figures focused on contemporary problems faced by the Left in its struggles to construct a politics adequate to the self-emancipation of the working class.
  • Platypus Primary Marxist Reading Group: Spring 2014

    Reading groups conducted internationally in Boston, Chicago, Frankfurt, London, New York, and Toronto
  • Freedom in the Anthropocene: Chicago | London | Halifax | Toronto | Boston

    This panel series will consider the relationship between the history of capital and the Left—and thus the issue of history and freedom - and how it may be linked to our present inability to render environmental threats and degradation visible and comprehensible, and by extension, subject to its conscious and free overcoming by society.
  • Marxism and Anarchism | Chicago | Frankfurt | London | New York | Thessaloniki | Halifax

    It seems that there are still only two radical ideologies: Anarchism and Marxism. They emerged out of the same crucible - the Industrial Revolution, the unsuccessful revolutions of 1848 and 1871, a weak liberalism, the centralization of state power,
The Platypus Affiliated Society, established in December 2006, organizes reading groups, public fora, research and journalism focused on problems and tasks inherited from the “Old” (1920s-30s), “New” (1960s-70s) and post-political (1980s-90s) Left for the possibilities of emancipatory politics today.
Statement of Purpose
In the face of the catastrophic past and present, the first task for the reconstitution of a Marxian Left as an emancipatory force is to recognize the reasons for the historical failure of Marxism and to clarify the necessity of a Marxian Left for the present and future. — If the Left is to change the world, it must first transform itself!
What is a Platypus?
A story is told about Karl Marx’s collaborator and friend Friedrich Engels, who, in his youth, as a good Hegelian Idealist, sure about the purposeful, rational evolution of nature and of the place of human reason in it, became indignant when reading about a platypus, which he supposed to be a fraud perpetrated by English taxidermists. For Engels, the platypus made no sense in natural history.
A Short History of the Left
An emancipated world in which the freedom of each would be a precondition for the freedom of all, achieved through social solidarity that provides “from each according to his ability, to each according to his need," whose vision motivated the historical Left, seems scarcely conceivable today.
The Left is Dead! Long Live the Left!
Platypus is concerned with exploring the improbable but not impossible tasks and project of the reemergence of a critical Left with emancipatory social intent. We look forward to making a critical but vital contribution towards a possible “return to Marx” for the potential reinvigoration of the Left in coming years. We invite and welcome those who wish to share in and contribute to this project.

The Platypus Review: Issue #65

International Events

This Spring, The Platypus Affiliated Society hosted a series panels on “Radical ideologies today: Marxism and anarchism” in New York, Frankfurt, Halifax, Thessaloniki, and Chicago. The panel description reads: “It seems that there are still only two radical ideologies: Marxism and anarchism. They emerged out of the same crucible—the Industrial Revolution, the unsuccessful revolutions of 1848 and 1871, a weak liberalism, the centralization of state power, the rise of the workers movement, and the promise of socialism. They are the revolutionary heritage, and all significant radical upsurges of the last 150 years have returned to mine their meaning for the current situation. In this respect, our moment seems no different.
Herb Gamberg’s article “Anarchism through Bakunin: A Marxist Assessment” opens by claiming that anarchist theory has had little to no historical development since the 19th century, and that, apparently, “anarchism possesses no really developed theory in the first place”. ((Herb Gamberg, “Anarchism through Bakunin: A Marxist Assessment,” Platypus Review 64 (March 2014). So what is anarchism, then?
Through Bakunin: A Marxist Assesment,” Platypus Review #64 (March 2014), is not meant to be a balanced discussion of Michael Bakunin’s strengths and weaknesses, nor is it a comparison of the strengths and weaknesses of anarchism and Marxism. It is a direct, full-throated attack on anarchism, using Bakunin as his focus in the name of Marxism.
JAMES HEARTFIELD’S REVIEW of Ian Birchall’s biography of Tony Cliff, founder of the British Socialist Workers Party (SWP) and therefore of the International Socialist Tendency, is a curious affair. Heartfield fails his readers by declining to situate himself in the story, as a champion of the changing perspectives of the late British Revolutionary Communist Party (RCP), unique among British left groups in having evolved from Trotskyism first to a neither-left-nor-right iconoclasm and then to a pro-market libertarianism

The Platypus Review hopes to create and sustain a space for interrogating and clarifying positions and orientations currently represented on the Left, a space in which questions may be raised and discussions pursued that would not otherwise take place. As long as submissions exhibit a genuine commitment to this project, all kinds of content will be considered for publication.