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On February 16, 2018, as part of its Fourth European Conference, the Platypus Affiliated Society organized a panel discussion, “50 Years of 1968,” at Goldsmiths University. Moderated by David Faes of Platypus, the event brought together the following speakers: Robert Borba, supporter of the Revolutionary Communist Party (RCP USA); Judith Shapiro, professor at the London School of Economics, former member of the Spartacist League, and adviser to the Russian Ministry of Finance; Jack Conrad, of the Communist Party of Great Britain (CPGB) and the Weekly Worker; and Hillel Ticktin, honorary Senior Research Fellow at Glasgow University. What follows is an edited transcript of their 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.
On November 2, 2017, Chris Mansour interviewed Brendan O’Neill, editor of Spiked! and a panelist on a conversation that took place the night before entitled Is the Left Eating Itself?, part of an international discussion linked to Spiked!’s Unsafe Space Tour, which aimed to tackle issues such as campus culture, free speech, and Title IX. A recording of the conversation can be found at . What follows is an edited transcript of the interview.
THE EVENTS OF OCTOBER 2017 and the subsequent election held on December 21st have done little to resolve the issue of Catalan independence, which has now escalated into a regional and national crisis marked by political gridlock and polarization among the Catalan people. This polarization has taken a particular toll on the Catalan left as well as on the region’s labor movement, allowing the bourgeoisie to remain in power and further its own agenda by exploiting the issue while the Left remains fractionalized and at odds about the way forward.

EVENTS IN CATALONIA in the last two months represent the biggest challenge ever faced by the Spanish regime since its establishment in 1978. The explosion of the masses on to the scene has acquired at points insurrectionary features. Where does this movement come from? What is its character and how can it move forward in the face of Spanish state repression?

The account of history is the theory of the present: How did we get here; and what tasks remain from the past — that however appear to be “new” today? As Adorno put it, “the new is the old in distress.” This is true of capitalism and its crisis now.

On October 14, 2017, Efraim Carlebach interviewed Ian Birchall at Birchall’s home in Edmonton, north London. In 1962, Birchall joined the International Socialists, a tendency led by Tony Cliff and the organizational forerunner of the extant Socialist Workers Party (UK), founded in 1977. Though he is no longer a member of the Socialist Workers Party, Birchall has remained a leading figure of the International Socialist tendency for over half a century. He is the author of numerous publications including the 2011 biography, Tony Cliff: A Marxist For His Time[i]. What follows is an edited transcript of the interview.