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You are here: The Platypus Affiliated Society/Archive for category 2013

Zum Beginn der Semesterferien möchten wir zu drei Extrasitzungen unseres Lesekreises einladen, die einen spezifischen Blick auf die Frage des Imperialismus und seiner Relevanz heute werfen. An drei Terminen werden wir die Möglichkeit haben die Frage aufzuwerfen, wie das Konzept von Lenin entwickelt wurde, welche Wirkung es hatte und werden es auf seine Relevanz für ein Verständnis des Kapitalismus heute befragen können.

Alle Sitzungen jeweils um 16 Uhr.

• vorausgesetzte / + empfohlene Texte/Audios

1. Sitzung: Freitag, 26.07.2013 /Neue Mensa (Campus Bockenheim) NM 118.

• Panel: Kevin Anderson, Chris Cutrone, Nick Kreitman, Danny Postel, and Adam Turl –Imperialism: What is it, why should we be against it? (2007)

• Audio: Larry Everest, Joseph Green, James Turley – What is Imperialism? (What Now?) (2013)

• Audio: Atiya Khan, Spencer Leonard, Sunit Singh – The Imperialism Question and the Twentieth Century (2010)

+ Chris Cutrone – Platypus “position” on “imperialism” (letter to the Weekly Worker) (2013)
+ Video des PanelsImperialism: What is it, why should we be against it?

2. Sitzung: Mittwoch, 31. 07.2013 / 16 Uhr, voraussichtlich Studierendenhaus Bockenheim.

• Wladimir Iljitsch Lenin – Der Imperialismus als höchstes Stadium des Kapitalismus(1916)

+ Chris Cutrone, Ian Morrison, Lars T Lih, Paul Le Blanc – Lenin’s Marxism (2011)

3. Sitzung: Mittwoch, 07.08.2013 / 16 Uhr, voraussichtlich Studierendenhaus Bockenheim.

 Friedrich Pollock – Staatskapitalismus (1941)

 Max Horkheimer, Autoritärer Staat” (1940/42)

Im Anschluss an diese Sitzung werden wir ab 19 Uhr ins Cafe Albatros gehen und laden auch Personen herzlich ein, die nicht an der Textbesprechung teilnehmen!

Our weekly Coffee Breaks are a great way to meet Platypus members and fellow travelers, and to get to know the Platypus project. It’s an opportunity to discuss issues raised in the latest issue of the Platypus Review, consider the state of the Left, and just hang out with people who have similar political interests.


Fall 2013 Coffee Breaks

Sundays | 4:15 pm
The London Particular, 399 New Cross Road, SE14 6LA

Last spring, in response to Paul Mason's article “Does Occupy Signal the Death of Contemporary Art?,” the Platypus Affiliated Society hosted an event on the “death of art.” Speakers included Julieta Aranda who was represented by Anton Vidokle, Gregg Horowitz, Paul Mattick, and Yates McKee. The discussion was moderated by Chris Mansour and was held at the New School in New York on February 23, 2013. What follows is an edited transcript of the conversation.

A panel discussion organized by the Platypus Affiliated Society, held on June 13, 2013, at the Labour Center of Thessaloniki in Thessaloniki, Greece.

Recently, following a steady pace, a new series of social struggles has emerged in Greece: struggles based on direct democracy and horizontal organizational forms. These struggles share an aversion to the traditional left politics, while on the same time they are considered as social movements opposing state administration and neoliberalism. Square occupations, local assemblies, cooperatives against the privatization of the water, producers-consumers movements, factories occupation under workers control have come to light while the crisis is going deeper. Even if these struggles affect only a handful of the "victims" of the crisis, those involved in them want to fulfill their needs and at the same time overcome old forms of politics by creating new ones. Have new types of struggles really appeared? If yes, is it desirable to replace the previous ones? Do these struggles have an anticapitalistic content? How people involved imagine the escalation and continuation of these struggles? How is the Left related to and influence them? Can solidarity fill in the gap between politics "from above" and politics "from below"?

1) Kostas Nikolaou, member of PROSKALO (initiative for social and solidarity economy) and of Initiative 136 (union of Non-Profit Water Cooperatives of the Municipalities of the Thessaloniki:

2) Christos Manoukas, member of KEHA (movement for workers' emancipation and self-management) and of solidarity committee of Vio.Me. factory.

3) Dimitris, worker of Vio.Me. self-managed factory (

4) Iraklis Christoforidis, member of OKDE (greek section of the 4th International,

1) Which is the role, in your opinion, of the political organizations in relation to social struggles? Is there a difference between political and social struggles according to their conception and the way they are being conducted?

2) Is the politicization of these struggles a desirable goal? How can this goal be achieved?

3) How do you conceive solidarity as a political goal for social initiatives? Is solidarity always radical or can it be conservative as well? Is there a "tension" between solidarity and critical political consciousness?

4) Some social struggles, especially under tough economic and social circumstances, may express the interests of a group of people at the expense of general social interests. How can this relationship between the part and the whole be expressed in a fertile way? What does it mean to characterize a struggle with limited participation as radical?

5) Do the social struggles that have emerged share a new form and a new content? Do these struggles continue past struggles in Greece or abroad? Are they part of a broader national or international movement, and if yes, which is it?

6) Can there be a common basis on which all these struggles be united and radicalized? If yes, how can this common basis be combined with the obvious local characteristics of the struggles? Is there an antagonistic relationship between local and broader scale of the struggles?

7) Who is the real enemy of these struggles? Do they have explicitly or implicitly anticapitalistic goal? How can these goals be achieved in a local or a national level in the midst of an international economy?

8) Do these struggles have a prefigurative character (do they partly substantiate some of the aspects of a free future society)? Is this character compatible with the necessity for fulfilling the basic needs of those involved in social struggles?

9) Do the alternative economic initiatives wish to compete and replace the existing dominant economy (with its massive industrial and technological forms or financial forms etc.)? Is this a conscious choice of departing from past movement whose ambition was to socialize the existing economy?

A panel discussion held at Left Forum 2013, at Pace University, on June 9, 2013.

This panel was transcripted in Platypus Review #61 (Click on banner below to see):


Bourgeois society came into full recognition with Rousseau, who in the Discourse on the Origin of Inequality and On the Social Contract, opened its radical critique. Hegel wrote: "The principle of freedom dawned on the world in Rousseau." Marx quoted Rousseau favorably that "Whoever dares undertake to establish a people’s institutions must feel himself capable of changing, as it were, human nature... to take from man his own powers, and give him in exchange alien powers which he cannot employ without the help of other men." Rousseau posed the question of society, which Adorno wrote is a "concept of the Third Estate." Marx recognized the crisis of bourgeois society in the Industrial Revolution and workers' call for socialism. But proletarian socialism is no longer the rising force it was in Marx's time. So what remains of thinking the unrealized radicalism of bourgeois society without Marx? Kant stated that if the potential of bourgeois society was not fully achieved as the “mid-point” of freedom then Rousseau may have been right to prefer savagery against civilization’s “glittering misery.” Nietzsche warned that we might continue to be "living at the expense of the future:" "Perhaps more comfortably, less dangerously, but at the same time in a meaner style, more basely." How have thinkers of the revolutionary epoch after Rousseau, Adam Smith, Kant, Hegel, Benjamin Constant, and Nietzsche himself, contributed to the possibility of emancipation in a world after Marxism?

Chris Cutrone
Spencer Leonard
Sunit Singh