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

Video will be forthcoming!

A panel event held in Chicago at the University of Chicago on May 6, 2013.

Transcripted in Platypus Review #57 (Click on banner to see):
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The reelection of Obama presented a problem for the American left. Lost was the hopeful rhetoric of transforming society for the better, and as it became clear that Obama’s administration had returned to “politics-as-usual,” the left began to cynically appraise the purported gains made in his first term. Not the least of these was the claim that we live in a “post-racial” society. From Abolitionism to the Civil Rights Movement, the issue of racism was and is a defining one for the American left. As social life in the United States has reproduced itself through various social and ideological transformations, racism seemed always to reproduce itself in and through those transformations. And, surely not without merit is the contemporary left’s skepticism regarding America’s supposed achievement of a “post-racial society.” Yet, any talk of race in the current age must account for the fact that America’s first black president was twice elected by substantial margins. If anti-Black racism subsists, it clearly does not have the same relationship it once did to capitalism and society in general. This panel will investigate the how the left understands the concept of race in contemporary politics, and how this concept can, should, or will maintain of political significance for a future renascent left.

Michael Dawson
Cedric Johnson

Chicago, New York

Saturdays 1–4PM CST

School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC)
112 S. Michigan Ave. room 920

Sundays 2–5PM EST

New School University
Eugene Lang College
65 W. 11th St. room 258

Summer 2013

Late capitalism

required / + recommended reading

Week 1. | Jun. 22–23, 2013

• Moishe Postone, "Contemporary historical transformations: Mandel and Bell" (1999)
• Daniel Bell, "Modernism and capitalism" (Foreword to The Cultural Contradictions of Capitalism, 1978)
+ Postone, "Theorizing the contemporary world: Brenner, Arrighi, Harvey" (2006)

Week 2. | Jun. 29–30, 2013

• Ernest Mandel, Late Capitalism (1972) pp. 8-183

Week 3. | Jul. 6–7, 2013

Mandel, Late Capitalism pp. 184-342

Week 4. | Jul. 13–14, 2013

Mandel, Late Capitalism pp. 343-473

Week 5. | Jul. 20–21, 2013

Mandel, Late Capitalism pp. 474-590

Platypus presents:

“White-Skin Privilege”?


Join Platypus in a discussion of the possible significance of the black question for the reconstitution of an American Left. As a prelude to a wider panel discussion, Mel Rothenberg will address the theoretical underpinnings of the white-skin privilege thesis originally formulated in the 1970s by the Chicago-based Sojourner Truth Organization, of which Rothenberg was a member.

Mel Rothenberg is the author ofThe Myth of Capitalism Reborn: A Marxist Critique of Theories of Capitalist Restoration in the USSR.


Friday, May 2nd at 4:30 PM

Wilder House | 5811 S Kenwood Ave


Recommended reading:

White Blind Spot

Interview of Mel Rothenberg conducted by Platypus on Radical Minds (WHPK–FM Chicago)


Image shown in header is from Aaron Douglass’s “Aspriation” (1936)



Last autumn, chapters of the Platypus Affiliated Society in New York, London, and Chicago hosted similar events on the theme of “Radical Interpretations of the Present Crisis.” The speakers participating in New York included Loren Goldner, David Harvey, Andrew Kliman, and Paul Mattick. The transcript of the event in London appeared in Platypus Review 55 (April 2013). What follows is an edited transcript of the conversation that PAS-NYC hosted on November 14, 2012 at the New School.

Transkript in Platypus Review #63 (Englisch)

Seit der Machtergreifung der Nationalsozialisten vor achtzig Jahren, gehört der Antifaschismus zu einem Kernelement linker Politik. Der Kampf gegen Faschisten und Nazis ist eine moralische Selbstverständlichkeit und so scheint auch das Konzept von Antifaschismus als Politik einen selbstevidenten Charakter zu haben.

Doch in den verschiedenen Phasen war der Kontext antifaschistischer Politik ein völlig anderer, ebenso wie die Vorstellung dessen, was Antifaschismus im Hinblick auf eine linke Politik beizutragen habe. Dennoch lässt sich über die ständige Referenz und dem antikapitalistischen Anspruch eine gewisse Kontinuität feststellen. Doch woher kommt diese? Was war der Antifaschismus und wie hat er sich geändert? Inwiefern hilft der Begriff bzw. das Konzept des Antifaschismus bei dem Verständnis der historischen und gegenwärtigen Realitäten? Was bedeutet eine antifaschistische Politik heute – in der Abwesenheit des Faschismus als politischer Massenbewegung? Die Podiumsdiskussion möchte die unterschiedlichen historisch-politischen Implikationen antifaschistischer Politik thematisieren um somit grundlegende Fragen und Probleme linker Politik in der Gegenwart aufzuwerfen.

- Jan Gerber (Buchautor bei Ca-Ira, Halle)
- Manuel Kellner (ISL, Köln)
- Henning Mächerle (VVN-BdA, Gießen)
- Wolf Wetzel (ehem. autonome L.U.P.U.S.-Gruppe)