On February 17, 2018, the white-nationalist Traditionalist Workers’ Party (TWP) held a rally on the campus of the University of Tennessee. The rally was led by Matthew Heimbach, a central organizer of the Unite the Right rally held in Charlottesville, Virginia in August 2017 in opposition to the planned removal of a public statue of Confederate general Robert E. Lee. The TWP’s February 2018 rally on the University of Tennessee (UT) campus drew about 45 white nationalists, about 250 protesters, and about 200 law enforcement officers. In light of these events, the Platypus Affiliated Society hosted a conversation about the Left’s relation to racism and fascism on campus and in society at large. Speakers included Jordan Rogers, President of the UT chapter of the Young Democratic Socialists of America (YDSA); Dr. Raja Swamy, Assistant Professor of Anthropology at UT; and Chris Irwin of the Appalachian Anti-Racist Action Tea Party.
On October 17, 2017, the Platypus Affiliated Society hosted a panel discussion entitled "Anti-fascism in the Age of Trump” at Berkeley City College. The event’s speakers were Eugene Ruyle of Peace and Freedom (Democratic Socialists of America), Luma Nichol of Freedom Socialist Party, Victoria Fierce of East Bay for Everyone (Democratic Socialists of America), and Ramsey Kanaan of PM Press and founder of AK Press. The event was moderated by William Lushbough of Platypus. What follows is an edited transcript of the discussion.
Detlev Claussen is Professor Emeritus at Leibniz University in Germany and author of Theodor W. Adorno: One Last Genius. He defends Critical Theory’s political relevance against both academic co-optation and the charge of retreat into the academic ivory tower. His writings investigate, among other things, Lenin’s influence on Adorno’s thought. Jan Schroeder is a member of Platypus. The following interview was conducted in German on March 21, 2017. What follows is Clara Picker’s translation of the transcript of that interview.
Recently, I came across a 1938 article by the “Left communist” Paul Mattick, Sr., titled “Karl Kautsky: From Marx to Hitler.” In it, Mattick asserted that the reformist social democracy that Kautsky ended up embracing was the harbinger of fascism — of Nazism. There is a certain affinity to Friedrich Hayek’s book on The Road to Serfdom (1944), in which a similar argument is made about the affinity of socialism and fascism. If Marxism (e.g. Kautsky) led to Hitler, as Hayek and Mattick aver, then this is because the counterrevolution was in the revolutionary tradition.
On February 17, 2018 the Platypus Affiliated Society hosted a discussion at its Fourth Annual European Conference at Goldsmith’s University on the subject of “Marxism and Feminism.” The event’s speakers were Roxanne Baker of the International Bolshevik Tendency; Judith Shapiro, Undergraduate Tutor at the London School of Economics; and Sarah McDonald of the Communist Party of Great Britain. The event was moderated by Erin Hagood of Platypus. What follows is an edited transcript of the translated discussion
THE FUTURE OF SOCIALISM is the future of capitalism—the future of capitalism is the future of socialism. Socialism is an illness of capitalism. Socialism is the prognosis of capitalism. In this respect, it is a certain diagnosis of capitalism. It is a symptom of capitalism. It is capitalism’s pathology. It recurs, returning and repeating. So long as there is capitalism there will be demands for socialism. But capitalism has changed throughout its history, and thus become conditioned by the demands for socialism.
“WE CAN DISAGREE AND STILL LOVE EACH OTHER, unless your disagreement is rooted in my oppression and denial of my humanity and right to exist,” Linda Sarsour proudly announces on her Twitter account. Sarsour is a self-proclaimed human rights activist and supporter of the anti-Semitic Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement. She and her Women’s March (WM) colleagues were named Women of The Year 2017 by Glamour magazine. However, for Sarsour, Trump’s so-called “white supremacy” seems to be the only phenomenon deserving of the term “oppression.”
On November 6, 2017, the Platypus Affiliated Society held a panel discussion at the University of Illinois at Chicago on the 100th anniversary of the October Revolution. The speakers were Jonathan W. Daly (Professor of History at UIC and author of The Watchful State: Security Police and Opposition in Russia, 1906-1917), Franklin Dimitryev (News & Letters), Greg Lucero (Socialist Party USA), and Sam Brown (Black Rose/Rosa Negra). The speakers were asked to respond to the following questions: What were the aims of the 1917 Russian Revolution? What was the self-understanding of its Marxist leadership? How has the memory of 1917 changed in the course of the 20th century? Why does the legacy of 1917 appear arrayed in oppositions? Are we still tasked by the memory of 1917 today and, if so, how? The discussion was moderated by Gregor Baszak of Platypus.
Gayle McLaughlin served two four-year terms as the mayor of Richmond, California, first elected in 2006 and then reelected in 2010. She was first elected to city council in 2004 as a member of the Green Party and was again elected to the council in 2014 after finishing her second term as mayor. She is a co-founder of the Richmond Progressive Alliance, which enjoys a majority on the Richmond City Council. In 2017, Gayle announced her candidacy for Lieutenant Governor of California. The election will be held on November 6, 2018. What follows is an edited transcript of the interview conducted with McLaughlin by William Lushbough of the Platypus Affiliated Society on December 2, 2017, at her home in Richmond.