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A panel on the politics of work held at the University of Houston, December 4, 2016 by Platypus Houston.

Panelists:

Dylan Daney - UNITE HERE!
David Michael Smith - Houston Socialist Movement
Duy Lap Nguyen - Professor of World Cultures and Literatures, University of Houston

"Capital is not a book about politics, and not even a book about labour: it is a book about unemployment." - Fredric Jameson, Representing Capital: A Reading of Volume One

"...the misery of being exploited by capitalists is nothing compared to the misery of not being exploited at all." - Joan Robinson

"The error consists in believing that labor, by which I mean heteronomous, salaried labor, can and must remain the essential matter. It's just not so. According to American projections, within twenty years labor time will be less than half that of leisure time. I see the task of the left as directing and promoting this process of abolition of labor in a way that will not result in a mass of unemployed on one side, and aristocracy of labor on the other and between them a proletariat which carries out the most distasteful jobs for forty-five hours a week. Instead, let everyone work much less for his salary and thus be free to act in a much more autonomous manner...Today "communism" is a real possibility and even a realistic proposition, for the abolition of salaried labor through automation saps both capitalist logic and the market economy." - Andre Gorz

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 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 the contemporary problems faced by the Left in its struggles to construct a politics adequate to the self-emancipation of the working class.

Gespräch mit Hans-Gerd Öfinger ( "Der Funke", deutsche Sektion der "International Marxist Tendency"), der über die Schwierigkeiten der Kräfte des Trotzkismus in den 1930er, 1940er und 1950er Jahren bei der Erfassung der neuen Weltlage und Verteidigung der grundlegenden Ideen, zu den Ursachen von Spaltungen und den unterschiedlichen Einschätzungen hierzu, darüber hinaus über Ted Grant als "Pionier des britischen Trotzkismus" und die historische Basis, auf die sich die IMT stützt, einen kleinen Votrag halten wird. Im Anschluss besteht die Möglichkeit für Anmerkungen, Rückfragen und eine Diskussion.

Veranstaltet von der Platypus Affiliated Society Frankfurt, Dezember 22, 2016.

Gespräch vom 15.12.16 mit Hans-Gerd Öfinger ( "Der Funke", deutsche Sektion der "International Marxist Tendency"), der über die Schwierigkeiten der Kräfte des Trotzkismus in den 1930er, 1940er und 1950er Jahren bei der Erfassung der neuen Weltlage und Verteidigung der grundlegenden Ideen, zu den Ursachen von Spaltungen und den unterschiedlichen Einschätzungen hierzu, darüber hinaus über Ted Grant als "Pionier des britischen Trotzkismus" und die historische Basis, auf die sich die IMT stützt, einen kleinen Votrag halten wird. Im Anschluss besteht die Möglichkeit für Anmerkungen, Rückfragen und eine Diskussion.

On October 11, 2016, Platypus hosted a forum entitled “Art and the Commodity Form” at Goldsmiths, University of London. The panel brought together Rex Dunn, independent Marxist and writer; Zhoe Granger, a director of the gallery, project space, and art publisher, Arcadia Missa; and Peter Osborne, editor of the journal Radical Philosophy and professor of Modern European Philosophy at Kingston University. Sophia Freeman of Platypus moderated the panel. What follows is an edited transcript of the event.
The election of Donald J. Trump to the office of president opens a number of opportunities for the Left. However, the outcome of the election resists satisfactory explanation, so recognizing and seizing these opportunities will be difficult. Diverse news sources pose numerous different rationales for choosing Trump over Hillary Clinton: dissatisfaction with urban elite liberalism, with Clinton, with current economic conditions, and with shifts in the racial makeup of the country. None of these factors, products of a widening division in political rhetoric engendering widely different ideological inferences, appear particularly opportune for the Left. Understanding this division allows the Left to seize the opportunities presented by this divisive election while, insofar as it is possible, undertaking damage control for the consequences of a unified Republican government.