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

A panel event held on November 5th, 2013, at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

It is generally assumed that Marxists and other Leftists have the political responsibility to support reforms for the improvement of the welfare of workers. Yet, leading figures from the Marxist tradition-- such as Lenin, Luxemburg, and Trotsky-- also understood that such reforms would broaden the crisis of capitalism and potentially intensify contradictions that could adversely impact the immediate conditions of the workers. For instance, full employment, while being a natural demand from the standpoint of all workers' interests, also threatens the conditions of capitalist production [which rely on a surplus of available labor], thereby potentially jeopardizing the system of employment altogether. In light of such apparent paradoxes, this panel seeks to investigate the politics of work from Leftist perspectives. It will attempt to provoke reflection on and discussion of the ambiguities and dilemmas of the politics of work by including speakers from divergent perspectives, some of whom seek after the immediate abolition of labor and others of whom seek to increase the availability of employment opportunities. It is hoped that this conversation will deepen the understanding of contemporary problems faced by the Left in its struggles to construct a politics adequate to the self-emancipation of the working class.

Speakers:

Bill Barclay
Democratic Socialists of America/Chicago Political Economy Group

Lenny Brody
Justice Party/Network for Revolutionary Change

Leon Fink
Professor of labor history, University of Illinois at Chicago

11.11.13, 20 Uhr, Antiquariat am Ballplatz Mainz, Am Ballplatz 5b, 55116 Mainz, Germany

A moderated panel discussion hosted by the Platypus Affiliated Society on the interrelation of capital, history and ecology.

Loyola University (Lake Shore Campus)

Tuesday, November 19th, 7:00 PM
Bremner Lounge, CFSU Building
1125 W. Loyola Avenue

Sponsored by the Loyola Student Activity Fund and Greek Affairs
Panelists:

- Fred Magdoff (University of Vermont) author of What Every Environmentalist Needs to Know About Capitalism
- Steven Vogel (Denison University) author of Against Nature: The Concept of Nature in Critical Theory

Description:
The Dutch atmospheric chemist Paul Crutzen recently characterized the period marked by the start of the industrial revolution in the 18th Century to the present as a new geological epoch, the Anthropocene. This periodization is meant to capture a change in the history of the planet, namely that for the first time in history its course will be determined by the question of what humanity will become.

This panel will focus on different interpretations of why the Left has failed to deal with the deepening crisis of the Anthropocene through the 19th and 20th Centuries and how and if this problem is interrelated with the growing problems associated with ecological systems across the earth. While Karl Marx would note that the problem of freedom shifted with the industrial revolution and the emergence of the working class - the crisis of bourgeois society that Marx would term capital - the idea of freedom seemed not to survive the collapse of Marxist politics in the 20th Century. We seem to live in a world in which the fate of ecological systems seem foreclosed, where attempts at eco-modernization seem to emerge many steps behind the rate of ecological degradation. For many, degradation of the environment appears a permanent feature of modern society, something which can only be resisted but never transformed.

This panel will consider the relationship between the history of capital and the Left—and thus the issue of history and freedom - and how it may be linked to our present inability to render environmental threats and degradation visible and comprehensible, and by extension, subject to its conscious and free overcoming by society.

Goldsmiths College, Richard Hoggart Bldg, Rm356,
London Borough of Lewisham, London SE14, UK

London Platypus Facebook invitation: http://www.facebook.com/events/148283905314897/


1st Floor Leroy Neiman Center (Sharp Building)

Description:
It is generally assumed that Marxists and other Leftists have the political responsibility to support reforms for the improvement of the welfare of workers. Yet, leading figures from the Marxist tradition-- such as Lenin, Luxemburg, and Trotsky-- also understood that such reforms would broaden the crisis of capitalism and potentially intensify contradictions that could adversely impact the immediate conditions of the workers. For instance, full employment, while being a natural demand from the standpoint of all workers' interests, also threatens the conditions of capitalist production [which rely on a surplus of available labor], thereby potentially jeopardizing the system of employment altogether. In light of such apparent paradoxes, this panel seeks to investigate the politics of work from Leftist perspectives. It will attempt to provoke reflection on and discussion of the ambiguities and dilemmas of the politics of work by including speakers from divergent perspectives, some of whom seek after the immediate abolition of labor and others of whom seek to increase the availability of employment opportunities. It is hoped that this conversation will deepen the understanding of contemporary problems faced by the Left in its struggles to construct a politics adequate to the self-emancipation of the working class.

Speakers:

Bill Barclay
DSA/Chicago Political Economy Group

Lenny Brody
Justice Party/Network for Revolutionary Change

Leon Fink
labor history, UIC