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One November 7th, 2015, at its Second Annual European Conference in Frankfurt, Germany, the Platypus Affiliated Society hosted a panel addressing the topic “What is the European Union and should we be against it?” The discussion was moderated by Thodoris Velissaris and included the following panelists: Juan Roch, a member of the Spanish political party Podemos; Jens Wissel, a founding member of the Assoziation für Kritische Gesellschaftsforschung and author of Staatsprojekt EUropa: Grundzüge einer materialistischen Theorie der Europäischen Union; Nikos Nikisianis, a member of DIKTYO (Network for Political and Social Rights) in Greece, an affiliate of SYRIZA until July 2015; and Martin Suchanek, a member of Gruppe Arbeitermacht, the German section of the League for the Fifth International, and the editor of its theoretical journal Revolutionärer Marxismus. What follows is an edited transcript of their conversation.

The U.S. Democratic Party Convention in Philadelphia ended with a big schism that divides not only the supporters of Hillary Clinton from her opponents, but also Bernie Sanders from the movement he led until not very long ago.

The senator from Vermont who attracted thousands across America to his rallies and ignited them with his speeches looked helpless—even ridiculous—in Philadelphia. In a matter of seconds, his speech endorsing Hillary turned a charismatic leader who embodied the hopes of millions into a pathetic old man who does not understand what is happening around him.

If one blows all the smoke away, one is left with the obvious question: Why not Trump? Trump is opposed by virtually the entire mainstream political establishment, Republican and Democrat, and by the entire mainstream news media, conservative and liberal alike. And yet he could win. That says something. It says that there is something there.

On April 1st, 2016, during its eighth international convention in Chicago, Illinois, the Platypus Affiliated Society hosted a panel discussion entitled, “What is socialism? International social democracy.” The panelists were Bernard Sampson, a member of the CPUSA and a precinct chair in Houston, Texas, for the Democratic Party; Karl Belin, a socialist worker, writer, and member of the Pittsburgh Socialist Organizing Committee; Jack Ross, a freelance editor and historian, and author of The Socialist Party of America: A Complete History (2015); and Chris Cutrone, president of the Platypus Affiliated Society.

Against the backdrop of the numerous discussions of the political agenda, appearance, and vocabulary of the candidates running in the American presidential election, there is almost no demand for one subject: What is the class nature and mass social base of each politician?

In April, the Platypus Affiliated Society held its Eighth Annual International Convention, based on the question, “What is socialism?” On April 2, 2016, Platypus held the convention’s closing plenary, “The Death of Social Democracy,” a discussion and Q&A moderated by Pam Nogales of Platypus, with the following panelists: Jason Schulman of the Democratic Socialists of America; Christoph Lichtenberg of the International Bolshevik Tendency; Brian Tokar, former director and current board member of the Institute for Social Ecology; and William Pelz, director of the Institute of Working Class History. What follows is an edited transcript of this event.

Bruce E. Parry

The role of revolutionaries is to lead the working class. To follow the ruling class is not to lead but to tail after its leaders. Through this strategy, the CPUSA has discouraged and prevented the political independence of the working class since the 1980s.

On June 8, the London chapter of the Platypus Affiliated Society hosted a panel on the topic“Left Exit or No Brexit?” at the London School of Economics. The panel brought together Neil Davenport , Mike Macnair, and Gerry Downing , and was moderated by Ninad Pandit of the Platypus Affiliated Society.

Das Verhältnis der Kritischen Theorie zur historischen sozialistischen Bewegung war schon für die Gründungsgeneration von zunehmender Distanzierung geprägt. Die beiden Nachfolgegenerationen haben den Abstand noch einmal vergrößert. Sie sind dabei in den Verdacht geraten, die Paradoxien kapitalistischer Vergesellschaftung zwar aufklären zu können, doch letztlich für unauflöslich zu halten. In den Grenzen einer „ideen-“ bzw. „metapolitischen“, d.h. sich vom unmittelbaren Praxisbezug freihaltenden Intervention versucht Axel Honneths jüngstes Buch hier eine Klarstellung: Kritische Theorie bleibt auch in ihrer kommunikations-, anerkennungs- und folglich freiheitstheoretischen Prägung eine Theorie des immer noch möglichen Übergangs zu einer sozialistischen Gesellschaft.