Moshé Machover was a founder of the Israeli Socialist Organisation in 1962, better known by the title of its journal, Matzpen (meaning “Compass” in Hebrew). The journal became known for its anti-Zionism and anti-nationalism from a Marxist perspective. Machover was interviewed on 17 September 2015 by Platypus members Thomas Willis and Richard Rubin. What follows is an edited transcript of their discussion, focussing on its potential lessons learned for the present.
LOOKING THROUGH THE REGISTER of names in the writings and letters of the circle of friends around Max Horkheimer we find only rare references to Leon Trotsky. Theodor Adorno, for instance, who claims in his Aesthetic Theory (1969) that the ambitious art has been bourgeois art, remarks approvingly that Trotsky also had said in his book...
SYRIZA MAY JUST HAVE BEEN SUFFERING FROM AN EARLY BIRTH: Everywhere, it seems, anti-austerity policies and politicians are on the rise. With Jeremy Corbyn, British Labour has decided upon a course radically dissimilar to its previous “me too” endorsement of austerity. Spain's Podemos, despite insistence that the country's situation is not Greece's, cannot escape...
A SPECTER IS HAUNTING THE LEFT lately: the specter of national sovereignty. If the ghosts of dominant powers in the past were expressing existing social trends—such as the “ghost of communism” over Europe—the ghosts of the Left, instead, seem to ignore these trends. The specter of communism was a real historical force, whereas the specter of national sovereignty appears irrelevant and obsolete.
On April 11, 2015, at the closing plenary of the 7th annual Platypus Affiliated Society international convention in Chicago, Chris Cutrone of Platypus, Mike Macnair of the Communist Party of Great Britain (CPGB), Adolph Reed, Jr. (University of Pennsylvania), and Tom Riley of the Internationalist Bolshevik Tendency (IBT) spoke on the topic “What is a political party for the Left?”
On April 11, 2015, The Platypus Affiliated Society hosted a panel discussion on democracy and the Left at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago as part of the seventh annual Platypus International Convention. In conversation were Mike Macnair, member of the Provisional Central Committee of the Communist Party of Great Britain, and author of numerous works including Revolutionary Strategy (2008); August Nimtz, author of numerous works including Marx and Engels: Their Contribution to the Democratic Breakthrough (2000); Aaron Smeaton, a member of the International Communist Tendency and a contributor to leftcom.org; and Peter Staudenmaier, teacher at the Institute for Social Ecology, and veteran of anarchist, environmentalist, and anti-capitalist movements.
On February 6, 2015 the Platypus Affiliated Society hosted a discussion at the Goethe-University in Frankfurt am Main on the subject of 1989 and its significance for the Left. The event’s speakers were Gerd Bedszent, a former member of the East German [GDR] opposition group Initiative für eine Vereinigte Linke [United Left] and presently of the Exit! group; Patrick Köbele, chairman of the German Communist Party; and Stefan Bollinger, author of 1989—Eine Abgebrochene Revolution (1999) and a member of Die Linke’s Historical Commission.
On April 10, 2015, the Platypus Affiliated Society hosted a discussion on neoliberalism and the Left featuring Walter Benn Michaels, author of The Trouble with Diversity: How We Learned to Love Identity and Ignore Inequality; Toby Chow, an organizer with Southsiders Organized for Unity and Liberation (SOUL) and The People’s Lobby; Margaret Power, author of Right-Wing Women in Chile: Feminine Power and the Struggle Against Allende, 1964–1973; and Donald Parkinson, a founding member of the Communist League of Tampa. The discussion was introduced and moderated by Pamela Nogales of the Platypus Affiliated Society.