On March 3, 2017, Jensen Suther interviewed Jay Bernstein, who teaches philosophy at the New School. Bernstein is the author of a number of books on art, ethics, and Critical Theory, which include The Fate of Art: Aesthetic Alienation from Kant to Derrida and Adorno (1992), Adorno: Disenchantment and Ethics (2006), Against Voluptuous Bodies: Adorno’s Late Modernism and the Meaning of Painting (2007), and most recently, Torture and Dignity: An Essay on Moral Injury (2016). What follows is an edited version of the interview.
On February 17, 2017, as part of its Third European Conference, the Platypus Affiliated Society organized a panel, “The Politics of Critical Theory.” Held at the University of Vienna, the event brought together the following speakers: Chris Cutrone, President of the Platypus Affiliated Society; Martin Suchanek of Workers Power, an international organization fighting to build a Fifth International; and Haziran Zeller of Humboldt University, in Berlin. What follows is an edited transcript of their discussion.
In contrast to what the liberal doxa would like us to believe, Donald Trump’s victory should not be underestimated on account of the billionaire’s failure to win the popular vote. Trump’s victory should not be thought a surprise, either. It reflects a "structural" tendency of growing political polarization within Western societies over the past four decades. The extremes have been, on the one hand, the multi-cultural or "identity" liberalism/leftism with its origins in the social movements of the 60s, and, on the other hand, right-wing populism’s embrace of irrationality as a response to the excesses of the former.
On January 23, two days after his inauguration, President Trump issued a draft order for visa reform proposing to regulate the H-1B visa, which among other things, allows CEOs in Silicon Valley to hire high-skilled foreign-national engineers who work for less in exchange for visas. This reform could increase wages down the line;
On November 7, 2016, the eve of the U.S. presidential election, the Platypus Affiliated Society hosted a panel discussion entitled “Immigration and the Left” at the University of Illinois at Chicago [UIC]. Moderated by Joseph Estes of Platypus, the event posed three questions to the panelists: How has the Left approached the question of immigration historically? What opportunities exist in the immigrants’ rights movement today for a renewed emancipatory politics? What role can left-wing civil and political organizations play in immigration politics? Three speakers addressed these questions: Jorge Mujica, seasoned activist and the Strategic Campaigns Organizer for Arise Chicago; Ralph Cintron, professor of English and Latino and Latin American Studies at UIC; and Jacqueline Stevens, professor of Political Science at Northwestern University. What follows is an edited transcript of their discussion.
On October 23, 2016, the Platypus Affiliated Society hosted a panel discussion entitled “Immigration and the Left” at the University of Houston. Moderated by Danny Jacobs of Platypus, the event posed three questions to the panelists: How has the Left approached the question of immigration historically? What opportunities for a renewed emancipatory politics exist in the immigrants’ rights movement today? What role can left-wing civil and political organizations play in immigration politics? Three speakers addressed these questions: Alvaro Rodriguez, from the Communist Party, USA; Henry Cooper, from Proyecto Latino Americano; and Liam Wright, a veteran of Occupy Seattle and other social movements. What follows is an edited transcript of their discussion.
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.