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You are here: The Platypus Affiliated Society/Archive for category 2016

Vortrag und Diskussion mit der Platypus Affiliated Society, veranstaltet am 01.12.16 in Bielefeld.

In Kooperation mit der Antifa AG an der Uni Bielefeld.

Viele Interpreten unterstellen der Kritischen Theorie der Frankfurter Schule eine Abkehr vom Marxismus, weil sie sich der politischen Praxis enthalten habe. Wo Adorno nicht gleich ganz von der Tradition Marxens gelöst wird, packt man ihn in Abgrenzung zu Lenin und dem orthodoxen Marxismus in die Schubladen des „Westlichen“ oder des „Neo“-Marxismus.
In einem Gespräch mit Max Horkheimer von 1956, das unter dem Namen „Diskussion über Theorie und Praxis“ bekannt wurde, bemerkte Adorno jedoch: „Ich wollte immer […] eine Theorie entwickeln, die Marx, Engels und Lenin die Treue hält, aber auch andererseits nicht hinter die fortgeschrittenste Kultur zurückfällt“. Adorno, so scheint es, war ein Leninist. Wie aber genau wollte Adorno Marx, Engels und Lenin die „Treue“ halten? Welche Politik erscheint Adorno möglich und notwendig in einer Zeit, in der weder eine revolutionäre Partei noch eine selbstbewusste Arbeiterbewegung besteht? Welche Verbindungen zur Praxis bestehen bei Adornos Theorie? Adornos Kritik wurde von der Neuen Linken ignoriert und ist insofern von der Geschichte übergangen worden. Nicht, weil die Kritik ein Ende von Praxis überhaupt forderte, sondern im Gegenteil, weil sie, wie Adorno in den „Marginalien zu Theorie und Praxis“ kurz vor seinem Tod schrieb, „zu praktisch“ für die Aktivisten gewesen ist. Ist das Projekt der Kritischen Theorie gescheitert? Was würde es bedeuten die berühmte „Flaschenpost“ zu entkorken?

 

7pm Wednesday, November 30
London School of Economics
Room 2.05
Clement House
99 Aldwych
WC2B 4JF
The building is open to the public without swipecard access
 
Panellists
Adam Booth (writer and activist with Socialist Appeal and the International Marxist Tendency)
Paul Demarty (Weekly Worker/ CPGB)
James Heartfield (Sp!ked, author of An Unpatriotic History of the Second World War)
Patrick Neveling (SOAS Development Studies & Utrecht University Anthropology)

Panel description: 

The Left has for over a generation – for more than 40 years, since the crisis of 1973 – placed its hopes in the Democratic and Labour Parties to reverse or slow neoliberal capitalism – the move to trans-national trade agreements, the movement of capital and labor, and austerity. The post-2008 crisis ofneoliberalism, despite phenomena such as SYRIZA, Occupy Wall Street, the Arab Spring and anti-austerity protests more generally, Bernie Sanders's candidacy, and Jeremy Corbyn's Labour leadership, has found expression on the avowed Right, through UKIP, Brexit, the U.K. Conservatives' move to "Red Toryism" and now Donald Trump's election. The old neoliberal consensus is falling apart, and change is palpably in the air. Margaret Thatcher's infamous phrase "There Is No Alternative" has been proven wrong. What can the Left do to advance the struggle for socialism under such circumstances?

Some background: 

In the 1960s the Left faced political and social crises in an era of full employment and economic growth. Departing from official Communism, which had largely supported the development of the welfare state in industrialized capitalist countries, many on the Left challenged the existing political order, of Keynesian-Fordism, through community organising on the principle of expanding individual and collective freedom from the state. Against Keynesian economic demands, many of these Leftists supported the Rights efforts, to integrate formerly oppressed identity groups into the corporate professional-managerial class. Since the 1970s, the significance of the fact that all these aims were taken up, politically, by the Right, in the name of ‘freedom’, in the form of neo-liberalism is still ambiguous today.

Some on the Left have understood this phase of ‘neo-liberalism’ to be continuous with the post-war Fordist state, for example in Ernest Mandel’s conception of “late capitalism” and David Harvey’s idea of “post-Fordism”. The movement of labor and capital was still administered by the Fordist state. Distinctively, others on the Left have opposed neo-liberalism for over a generation through a defence of the post-war welfare state, through appeals to anti-austerity and anti-globalisation.

How does this distinction within the Left between the defense of the welfare state and the defense of individual freedom affect the Left’s response to the crisis of neo-liberalism? Why has the Left recently supported attempts to politically manage the economic crisis post-2008, against attempts at political change? How can the Left struggle for political power, with the aim of overcoming capitalism and achieving socialism, when the political expression of the crisis of neo-liberalism has largely come from the Right, and Trump won the election in November?

This essay attempts to place these results within an historical context and suggest how New Labour’s vapidity and the Financial Crisis facilitated this upset. As a recalcitrant Corbynista, I will offer my thoughts on how he can energize his leadership. In particular, I believe it is essential for him to move beyond the anti-austerity that catapulted him into the leadership, to form a more comprehensive programme for economic reform, one that we should articulate using aggressively populist rhetoric.

Donnerstag, 17.11.2017, 19:30 Uhr
Gußhausstraße 14/3, 1040 Wien

trumpism

Audio recording of the event


Trump and the American Left

The accusations against Donald Trump of racism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia and even fascism have been front and center for Republicans, liberals and leftists alike, while at the same time it is recognized that it was millions of former Obama voters who put him over the edge.

Many of the policies Trump called for already existed. For instance, surveillance and increased scrutiny of Muslim immigrants in the “War on Terror,” the war against ISIS, the wall on the border with Mexico, the mass deportations of “illegal” immigrants, and proposals for a super-exploitative guest-worker immigration program. Since the election, many of his strongly worded rhetoric has been removed from his platform entirely. Leaders of the Democratic Party such as Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders have conceded support for Trump on his policies meant to help American workers and to "drain the swamp" by getting finance out of politics. Meanwhile, many on the Left call for the dismantling of the Democratic Party, as a corporate fundraising machine that doesn’t speak to the needs of working people, to start anew. However what this means for them is the reinvigoration of the Democratic Party, which, based on the statements of Warren and Sanders, will now be led by President Trump.

During the campaign season itself the far left was divided between a strong anti-Trump, lesser evil endorsement of the Democrat establishment candidate and those who, too aware of what that neoliberal, imperialist establishment politics meant for people in America and around the world, could only stand helpless before the absence of anything outside the reality of Trump versus Clinton.

What is clear is that there is now no opposition to the status quo from the Left in America with power independent of the Democrat Party. In light of this fact, any future Left must keep firmly in view that its diagnosis of the Trump phenomenon--whether it is whitelash, proto-fascism, or neoliberal discontent--is at once its answer to what it represents. What sort of answers could the Left offer to oppose the establishment from the Left?"

The event will be led by Platypus members Clint Montgomery and Nunzia Faes. There will be a co-presentation followed by an open discussion. All are welcome.


The Platypus Affiliated Society, established in December 2006, organizes reading groups, public fora, research and journalism focused on problems and tasks inherited from the “Old” (1920s-30s), “New” (1960s-70s) and post-political (1980s-90s) Left for the possibilities of emancipatory politics today.

Teach-in on anti-Trump-ism and its implications for the left, held by Platypus members Nunzia Faes and Clint Montgomery in Frankfurt, Germany on November 11, 2016.

The accusations against Donald Trump of racism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia and even fascism have been front and center for Republicans, liberals and leftists alike, while at the same time it is recognized that it was millions of former Obama voters who put him over the edge.

Many of the policies Trump called for already existed. For instance, surveillance and increased scrutiny of Muslim immigrants in the “War on Terror,” the war against ISIS, the wall on the border with Mexico, the mass deportations of “illegal” immigrants, and proposals for a super-exploitative guest-worker immigration program. Since the election, many of his strongly worded rhetoric has been removed from his platform entirely. Leaders of the Democratic Party such as Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders have conceded support for Trump on his policies meant to help American workers and to "drain the swamp" by getting finance out of politics. Meanwhile, many on the Left call for the dismantling of the Democratic Party, as a corporate fundraising machine that doesn’t speak to the needs of working people, to start anew. However what this means for them is the reinvigoration of the Democratic Party, which, based on the statements of Warren and Sanders, will now be led by President Trump.

During the campaign season itself the far left was divided between a strong anti-Trump, lesser evil endorsement of the Democrat establishment candidate and those who, too aware of what that neoliberal, imperialist establishment politics meant for people in America and around the world, could only stand helpless before the absence of anything outside the reality of Trump versus Clinton.

What is clear is that there is now no opposition to the status quo from the Left in America with power independent of the Democrat Party. In light of this fact, any future Left must keep firmly in view that its diagnosis of the Trump phenomenon--whether it is whitelash, proto-fascism, or neoliberal discontent--is at once its answer to what it represents. What sort of answers could the Left offer to oppose the establishment from the Left?"