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The Platypus Affiliated Society presents a moderated panel discussion and audience Q&A addressing issues of global capital, trade unions, workers rights, international solidarity, and immigration, in light of recent economic and political change. Held on Thursday April 23, 2009, at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Speakers:

Abraham Mwaura, United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America, organizer at the Republic Windows & Doors Factory.
Chuck Hendricks, Unite Here organizer
Aaron Hughes, representative at the International Labor Conference Erbil Iraq, and member of Iraq Veterans Against the War
James Thindwa, executive director of Chicago Jobs with Justice

Transcript in Platypus Review #13:

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TOUT VA B!EN (1972)
A Film by Jean-Luc Godard and Jean-Pierre Gorin
Running Time: 96 minutes (In French w/ English Subtitles)
Thursday, April 16th, 2009
8:00 p.m.
435 Grand Ave # 2F
Brooklyn, NY

To change the world, we need a movement. This movement must be made up of millions of people and thousands of organizations. These organizations must build and push the movement forward. How do we get to this point? We have to start with leadership.
For the “Left” that is critical of him, the most common comparison made of Obama is to Bill Clinton. This critique of Obama, as of Clinton, denounces his “Centrism,” the trajectory he appears to continue from the “new” Democratic Party of the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC) expressed by Clinton and Gore’s election in 1992. Clinton’s election was seen as part of the triumph of “Third Way” politics that contemporaneously found expression in Tony Blair’s “New” Labour Party in Britain.
I just turned thirty. Fifteen years on the Left—that’s half my lifetime now and what it means to me has changed consistently over the years: from punk rock kid with a mohawk and tattoos on my ribs and shoulders to a union leader with a mortgage and kid and the responsibility of thousands of workers on my shoulders. I often find myself thinking back to when my politics were just forming and how simple those days and those politics were. Things were clear: America was bad, veganism was good, pacifism was good, hierarchy was bad, jobs were for suckers and school was for sellouts, squats were a pure form of existence and love was meant to be free.
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A teach-in, panel discussion, and moderated audience Q-and-A on the failure of the Left in Pakistan, held on February 2nd, 2008, at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Panelists

-Ayesha Siddiqa (author of Military Inc, Inside Pakistan’s Military Economy) on “Pakistan’s Military Economy”
-Manan Ahmed (University of Chicago) on “The Populism of the Bhuttos”
-Atiya Khan (Platypus, University of Chicago) on “The Vicissitudes of Leftist Politics in Pakistan”

Related reading can be found in the Platypus Review #2 (Click below):

In the spring of 2006, after years of activity on the Left, I joined the IWW. I joined because it cared little for Leftism. And because it began every meeting with a song.
Confronting the confusion and fragmentation that wrought progressive politics in recent decades, Ernesto Laclau’s work attempts to theorize the path to the construction of a radical democratic politics. Drawing on Gramsci’s concept of hegemony to devise his own theory by that name, Laclau describes the processes of social articulation that creates popular political identities.