On November 7, 2016, the eve of the U.S. presidential election, the Platypus Affiliated Society hosted a panel discussion entitled “Immigration and the Left” at the University of Illinois at Chicago [UIC]. Moderated by Joseph Estes of Platypus, the event posed three questions to the panelists: How has the Left approached the question of immigration historically? What opportunities exist in the immigrants’ rights movement today for a renewed emancipatory politics? What role can left-wing civil and political organizations play in immigration politics? Three speakers addressed these questions: Jorge Mujica, seasoned activist and the Strategic Campaigns Organizer for Arise Chicago; Ralph Cintron, professor of English and Latino and Latin American Studies at UIC; and Jacqueline Stevens, professor of Political Science at Northwestern University. What follows is an edited transcript of their discussion.
On October 23, 2016, the Platypus Affiliated Society hosted a panel discussion entitled “Immigration and the Left” at the University of Houston. Moderated by Danny Jacobs of Platypus, the event posed three questions to the panelists: How has the Left approached the question of immigration historically? What opportunities for a renewed emancipatory politics exist in the immigrants’ rights movement today? What role can left-wing civil and political organizations play in immigration politics? Three speakers addressed these questions: Alvaro Rodriguez, from the Communist Party, USA; Henry Cooper, from Proyecto Latino Americano; and Liam Wright, a veteran of Occupy Seattle and other social movements. What follows is an edited transcript of their discussion.
On October 11, 2016, Platypus hosted a forum entitled “Art and the Commodity Form” at Goldsmiths, University of London. The panel brought together Rex Dunn, independent Marxist and writer; Zhoe Granger, a director of the gallery, project space, and art publisher, Arcadia Missa; and Peter Osborne, editor of the journal Radical Philosophy and professor of Modern European Philosophy at Kingston University. Sophia Freeman of Platypus moderated the panel. What follows is an edited transcript of the event.
The election of Donald J. Trump to the office of president opens a number of opportunities for the Left. However, the outcome of the election resists satisfactory explanation, so recognizing and seizing these opportunities will be difficult. Diverse news sources pose numerous different rationales for choosing Trump over Hillary Clinton: dissatisfaction with urban elite liberalism, with Clinton, with current economic conditions, and with shifts in the racial makeup of the country. None of these factors, products of a widening division in political rhetoric engendering widely different ideological inferences, appear particularly opportune for the Left. Understanding this division allows the Left to seize the opportunities presented by this divisive election while, insofar as it is possible, undertaking damage control for the consequences of a unified Republican government.
This essay attempts to place these results within an historical context and suggest how New Labour’s vapidity and the Financial Crisis facilitated this upset. As a recalcitrant Corbynista, I will offer my thoughts on how he can energize his leadership. In particular, I believe it is essential for him to move beyond the anti-austerity that catapulted him into the leadership, to form a more comprehensive programme for economic reform, one that we should articulate using aggressively populist rhetoric.