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You are here: The Platypus Affiliated Society/Opening Plenary: 50 Years of 1968 - Platypus 2018 International Convention

Opening Plenary: 50 Years of 1968 - Platypus 2018 International Convention

Held at the University of Chicago on April 6, 2018 as part of the 10th annual international convention of the Platypus Affiliated Society.

An edited transcript of the event was published in The Platypus Review.


Abdul Alkalimat (Professor of African-American Studies at UIC; author of Malcolm X for Beginners)
Mitchell Cohen (Author of An American in Revolutionary Nicaragua and Listen, Bookchin!)
Johnny Mercer (Socialist Party of Great Britain)
Joseph Estes (Platypus Affiliated Society)


For half a century, 1968 has represented a high-water mark of social and political transformation, a year of social upheaval that spanned the entire globe. Ushered in by a New Left that sought to distinguish itself from the Old Left that emerged in the 20s and 30s, the monumental events of 1968 set the tone for everything from protest politics to academic leftism.

Today, with the U.S. entangled in a seemingly endless war in Asia and people calling for the impeachment of an unpopular president, with activists fighting in the streets and calling for liberation along the lines of race, gender, and sexuality, the Left’s every attempt to discover new methods and new ideas seems to invoke a memory of the political horizons of 1968. We can perhaps more than ever feel the urgency of the question: what lessons are to be drawn from the New Left as another generation undertakes the project of building a Left for the 21st century?