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The New Deal and American Socialism (Left Forum 2019)

On June 30, 2019 at the Left Forum at Long Island University Brooklyn in New York City, the Platypus Affiliated Society hosted a panel titled "The New Deal and American Socialism".

Description:

The New Deal is widely associated with socialism. This association holds true not only within the popular imagination shared across many sections of American society, but also within the historical imagination of the contemporary Left. This panel will consider the New Deal as it appeared to organized political tendencies that struggled for socialism during and after the 1930s. It will ask whether and how the New Deal -- its life, its legacy, its crisis, its memory, and its potential revival -- has advanced the struggle for socialism in America and beyond.

We ask the panelists to consider the following questions:

  1. How did socialists of various tendencies -- the Communist Party USA, the Socialist Party of America, Trotskyists, and anarchists -- relate to the New Deal during the 1930s?
  2. How, in their respective views, did the New Deal (considered both as policy and as politics) present obstacles to and/or opportunities for advancing the struggle for socialism?
  3. The liberal political coalition forged in part through New Deal policies subsequently prosecuted first the anti-fascist Second World War and then the anti-Communist Cold War; it also administered the American-led reconstitution of global capitalism beginning in 1945 that oversaw the creation of the European welfare state. Considering how the New Deal helped usher in a new era of global capitalism: What is the New Deal's relationship to socialism? What is its relationship to capitalism?

Panelists:

Marc Kagan - PhD candidate, CUNY Graduate Center; former officer in Transport Workers Union, Local 100 (New York)
Jason Wright - International Bolshevik Tendency
Jack Devine - PhD candidate, CUNY Graduate Center; Democratic Socialists of America; host of Revolutions Per Minute (WBAI 99.5 FM)
Jack Ross - Author of The Socialist Party of America: A Complete History

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