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In spite of many different political currents and tendencies, perhaps the most significant question informing the "Left" today is the issue of "political party.”

Tuesday, October 14 at 6:30pm
Shatford Room, University of King’s College
co-sponsored by NSPIRGDal/King's Platypus presents a workshop on the German Marxist group GegenStandpunkt by a visiting member of the group to Halifax.
http://www.gegenstandpunkt.com/The Platypus “Differing Perspectives on the Left” workshop series asks speakers from various perspectives are to bring their experience of the Left’s recent history to bear on today’s political possibilities and challenges. For recordings of other events in this series visit:
/differing-perspectives-on-the-left/

Presented by the Dalhousie/King's Platypus Affiliated Society
Co-sponsored by Carbon Arc Independent Cinema, NSCAD University, the King's Student Union and the Dalhousie Student Union Sustainability Office 
 
Please join us for two events that explore the concept of working-class culture, its history and what it might mean today.
 
 //OCT 17 (fri) @ 7pm - Leviathan (2012, 87 min, Lucien Castaing-Taylor and Véréna Paravel), Film Screening and Discussion
Carbon Arc Independent Cinema, 1747 Summer Street, Halifax
An experimental documentary on the North American commercial fishing industry. Leviathan captures the collaborative clash of people, nature and machine. Shot on a dozen cameras - tossed and tethered, passed from fisherman to filmmaker - it is an stunning and unusual portrait of contemporary work.
“visually ravishing. leviathan is in every way sensational.” – j. hoberman, artinfotrailer link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U2wNiJt-I6U
//OCT 20 (mon) @ 6:30pm - Can there be a working class culture and experience? Panel discussion
panelists:
Room D500, NSCAD University Fountain Campus, 5163 Duke Street, Halifax
Bruce Barber (Media Arts Faculty at NSCAD University),
Sebastien Labelle (SEIU, Mayworks Festival Organizer), and
Chris Mansour (Platypus Member and independent writer).
Description: Throughout the 20th century, there was a powerful idea that there could be a homogeneous experience which would culminate into a revolutionary 'working class culture.' Whether represented through the USSR's Prolekult during the 1920s, the Mexican muralists and American Artist Union in the 1930s, or by the artists associated with the Art Workers Coalition in the 1960s-70s, each movement sought to create artworks which would transcend the decadent forms characteristic of bourgeois culture. However, since the variety of revolutionary aspirations of all these groups ultimately failed to transform society in an emancipatory direction, the merits and potentiality of a coherent working-class culture have been thrown into question. This panel seeks to explore the concept of working-class culture, its history, and what it might mean today.
February 1, 2:00 PM - 4:00 PM, University of King’s College, Archibald Room, 6350 Coburg Road, Halifax, Nova Scotia B3H 2A1
October 9, 7 PM, Wilson Common Room, New Academic Building, University of King's College

Live broadcast: www.livestream.com/platypus1917

Saturday, December 17, 2011
9AM U.S./Canada PST / 10AM MST / 11AM CST / 12PM EST;
and 17:00 London / 18:00 Frankfurt and Berlin /
19:00 Thessaloniki / 22:30 Delhi / 02:00 Seoul

If you are in Chicago:
Saturday, 11am | 17 December 2011 |School of the Art Institute of Chicago, 112 S. Michigan Ave. room 919

Please join Platypus for a brief introduction to and discussion about the relevance of Lenin today, in anticipation of our Winter-Spring 2012 primary Marxist reading group, on the history of revolutionary Marxism, centered on the writings of Lenin, Luxemburg, Trotsky, and Adorno.

The Encyclopedia Britannica's entry on Lenin states that,

"If the Bolshevik Revolution is -- as some people have called it -- the most significant political event of the 20th century, then Lenin must for good or ill be considered the century's most significant political leader. Not only in the scholarly circles of the former Soviet Union, but even among many non-Communist scholars, he has been regarded as both the greatest revolutionary leader and revolutionary statesman in history, as well as the greatest revolutionary thinker since Marx."

Lenin is the most controversial figure in the history of Marxism, and perhaps one of the most controversial figures in all of history. As such, he is an impossible figure for sober consideration, without polemic. Nevertheless, it has become impossible, also, after Lenin, to consider Marxism without reference to him. Broadly, Marxism is divided into avowedly "Leninist" and "anti-Leninist" tendencies. In what ways was Lenin either an advance or a calamity for Marxism? But there is another way of approaching Lenin, which is as an expression of the historical crisis of Marxism. In other words, Lenin as a historical figure is unavoidably significant as manifesting a crisis of Marxism. The question is how Lenin provided the basis for advancing that crisis, how the polarization around Lenin could provide the basis for advancing the potential transformation of Marxism, in terms of resolving certain problems.

The Frankfurt School Critical Theorist Theodor Adorno, in his 1966 book Negative Dialectics, wrote of the degeneration of Marxism due to "dogmatization and thought-taboos." There is no other figure in the history of Marxism who has been subject to such "dogmatization and thought-taboos" as much as Lenin.

It is important to note as well that Adorno himself sought to remain, as he put it, "faithful to Marx, Engels and Lenin, while keeping up with culture at its most advanced," to which his colleague Max Horkheimer replied, simply, "Who would not subscribe to that?"

Today, such a proposition seems especially implausible, in many ways. Yet perhaps the memory of Lenin haunts us still, however obscurely.

The discussion will be broadcast live on the web. Additionally, a recording will be made available after the event.

Recommended background readings:

"1917"
/2009/11/18/the-decline-of-the-left-in-the-20th-century-1917/

"Lenin's liberalism"
/2011/06/01/lenin%E2%80%99s-liberalism/

"Lenin's politics"
/2011/09/25/lenins-politics/