Auf der dritten jährlichen Convention, die in der School of the Art Institute of Chicago zwischen dem 29. April und 01. Mai 2011 stattfand, organisierte Platypus ein Gespräch über „Art, Culture, and Politics: Marxist Approaches“. Die Platypus-Mitglieder Omair Hussain, Lucy Parker, Pac Pobric und Bret Schneider sollten die folgende Frage diskutieren: „“What might the problems of aesthetics and culture have to do with the political project of the self-education of the Left?“.
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.
Whenever approaching any phenomenon, Adorno’s procedure is one of immanent dialectical critique. The phenomenon is treated as not accidental or arbitrary but as a necessary form of appearance that points beyond itself, indicating conditions of possibility for change. It is a phenomenon of the necessity for change. The conditions of possibility for change indicated by the phenomenon in question are explored immanently, from within. The possibility for change is indicated by a phenomenon’s self-contradictions, which unfold from within itself, from its own movement, and develop from within its historical moment.
From which psychological preconditions is it possible to come to a “rational” view of society—a society which, in its current mode of rationality, is arguably less than 200 years old? If such a view is putatively or provisionally achieved, to what extent are contributing psychogenetic factors overcome and left behind, and to what extent do they remain latent or dormant?
Two years before AP appeared in print, Adorno wrote what was intended to be the last chapter of the volume, “Remarks on the Authoritarian Personality.” For reasons that are unclear, the draft never made it past the editing phase. More curiously, his typescript remains unpublished until this day. Thus, for this special issue of the Platypus Review, we will publicly circulate “Remarks” for the first time.
Our probing into prejudice is devoted to subjective aspects. We are not analyzing objective social forces which produce and reproduce bigotry, such as economic and historical determinants. Even short-term factors like propaganda do not enter the picture per se, though a number of major hypotheses stem from propaganda analyses carried out by the Institute of Social Research. All the stimuli enhancing prejudice, and even the entire cultural climate—imbued with minority stereotypes as it is—are regarded as presuppositions. Their effect upon our subjects is not followed up; we remain, so to say, in the realm of “reactions,” not of stimuli.
The short article "Why not Trump?" by Chris Cutrone in Platypus Review #89 is both brilliant and deeply flawed. It is brilliant in its provocative polemic, starting with the title, forcing us to engage with the question in a fresh way. This undeniably is what Cutrone intended, a challenge starting with and finally culminating in "the obvious question that is avoided but must be asked by anyone not too frightened to think." Yes, we must ask the question. Yes, we need to think about it clearly. Cutrone is not just right; he is persuasive.