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.