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A panel discussion organized by the Platypus Affiliated Society on November 22nd, 2013, at the University of Pittsburgh

The Platypus Affiliated Society cordially invites you to attend a discussion about the history of Trotskyism, on Pitt campus next Friday. The discussion will aim to explain the history of Trotskyism to a general audience, & discuss its political relevance in the present--no specialized knowledge will be presumed, & anyone with an interest in the history of Marxism & the Left is welcome. The event will have 15-20 minutes for each speaker, followed by a 15 minute response section, & a 45 minute audience Q&A.

Speakers:
Andrew Wagner (WIL, IMT)
Andrew R. (Member of the ISO who is speaking for himself and does not represent the organization)
Thomas Willis (Platypus)

Moderator:
Richard Rubin (Platypus)

This year’s Platypus International Convention concluded with the plenary “Program and Utopia,” held on June 6 at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. This closing plenary brought together Roger Rashi, founding member of Québec Solidaire; Aaron B., of the Endnotes collective; Stephen Eric Bronner, a professor at Rutgers University, scholar of modernism and the history of socialism, and member of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA); Sam Gindin, author, and director of the Greater Toronto Workers’ Assembly; and Richard Rubin, of Platypus. What follows is an edited transcript of the conversation that night.
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A plenary presentation by Chris Cutrone, Spencer Leonard, and Richard Rubin, delivered on April 7th, 2012 as part of the 2013 Platypus Affiliated International Convention held at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, upon the trajectories of their personal political development that led to Platypus.

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Richard Rubin
Lecture 7:
1953-1963

Part of the Summer 2012 Platypus Affiliated Society Primary Reading Group Lecture Series: Trotsky and Trotskyism

• recommended / + supplemental reading

Week 7 Readings:

+ Cornelius Castoriadis, “The workers and organization” (1959)
• Cliff Slaughter, “What is revolutionary leadership?” (1960)
• Revolutionary Tendency of the Socialist Workers Party/U.S., “In defense of a revolutionary perspective” (1962)
+ Tony Cliff, “The coming Russian revolution” (final chapter of Russia: A Marxist Analysis, 1964)
+ Hal Draper, “The two souls of socialism” (1966)
+ Isaac Deutscher, “Marxism in our time” (1965)
+ Murray Bookchin, “Listen, Marxist!” (1969)
• Spartacist League, “Genesis of Pabloism” (1972)

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Richard Rubin
Lecture 6
1940-1953

Part of the Summer 2012 Platypus Affiliated Society Primary Reading Group Lecture Series: Trotsky and Trotskyism

• recommended / + supplemental reading

Week Six Readings:
+ James Cannon, “The coming American revolution” (1946)
+ C.L.R. James, Raya Dunayevskaya, et al., “Program of the minority tendency of the Workers Party/U.S.” (1946)
+ C.L.R. James, “Dialectical materialism and the fate of humanity” (1947)
+ Herbert Marcuse, “33 Theses” (1947)
+ Earl Browder and Max Shachtman with C. Wright Mills, “Is Russia a socialist community?” (1950)
+ Ernest Mandel, “The theory of ‘state capitalism’” (1951)
+ Michel Pablo, “On the duration and the nature of the period of transition from capitalism to socialism” (1951)
+ Pablo, “Where are we going?” (1953)

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Richard Rubin
Lecture 5:
1933-1940

Part of the Summer 2012 Platypus Affiliated Society Primary Reading Group Lecture Series: Trotsky and Trotskyism

• recommended / + supplemental reading

Week 5 Readings:

• Trotsky, “Stalinism and Bolshevism” (1937)
• Trotsky, The Death Agony of Capitalism and the Tasks of the Fourth International (1938)
+ Trotsky, “Trade unions in the epoch of imperialist decay” (1940)
+ Trotsky, The Revolution Betrayed (1936)
+ Trotsky, In Defense of Marxism (1939/40), especially “Letter to James Cannon” (September 12, 1939)
+ Trotsky, “Art and politics on our epoch” (1938)
+ Mary McCarthy, “My Confession” (1954)

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Richard Rubin
Lecture 3:
1917-1923

Part of the Summer 2012 Platypus Affiliated Society Primary Reading Group Lecture Series: Trotsky and Trotskyism

Recorded on 6.30.12
The New School

• recommended / + supplemental reading

Week 3 Readings:
• Trotsky, Terrorism and Communism (1920)
• Trotsky, The Lessons of October (1924) [PDF] + Trotsky, Literature and Revolution (1924)
+ Bret Schneider, “Trotsky’s theory of art” (2011)

Full Syllabus and Readings

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Richard Rubin
Lecture 2:
1905-1917

Part of the Summer 2012 Platypus Affiliated Society Primary Reading Group Lecture Series: Trotsky and Trotskyism

Recorded on 6.23.12
The New School

• recommended / + supplemental reading

Recommended preliminary readings:

Week 2 Readings:
+ Trotsky, 1905 (1907)
• Trotsky, The Lessons of October (1924) [PDF]

Full Syllabus and Readings

Please Note: Due to technical problems, the video recording glitches after ~32:00. The audio recording is without glitches, however.

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Richard Rubin
Lecture 1: Overview of Trotskyism and its significance for Platypus
1879-1905

Part of the Summer 2012 Platypus Affiliated Society Primary Reading Group Lecture Series: Trotsky and Trotskyism

Recorded on 6.16.12
The New School

• recommended / + supplemental reading

Week 1 Readings:
• Tariq Ali and Phil Evans, Introducing Trotsky and Marxism / Trotsky for Beginners (1980)
• Leon Trotsky, Results and Prospects (1906)

Full Syllabus and Readings

RICHARD RUBIN ARGUES that “the 1930s were a decade of defeat for the Left.” His essay, “1933,” in the Platypus Review issue on The Decline of the Left in the 20th Century, is an idealist abstraction from real historical events, one founded on an uncritical acceptance of Trotsky as a significant historical thinker and actor and a corresponding Trotskyist caricature of the Soviet Union, Stalin, and Chinese Communism. Consequently, the real history of the Left in the 20th century is absent.