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

Held October 20th, 2018, at the Univesity of Chicago. Hosted by the Platypus Affiliated Society; funded, in part, by the University of Chicago Student Government.

This teach-in by Dr Abdul Alkalimat—UIUC professor of African American Studies emeritus and noted civil rights activist—took place on October 20th, 2018, and began with an account his involvement in the campaign of Harold Washington, Chicago's first black mayor. Additional topics discussed included the movement for black liberation, the relationship of radical and mainstream politics, and the possible implications of this history for us today. 

On April 6, 2018, the Platypus Affiliated Society hosted a panel discussion, Fifty Years of 1968, as the opening plenary of its 10th International Convention, 1918–2018: A Century of Counterrevolution, held in Chicago. Speaking at the event were Abdul Alkalimat, professor of African-American studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champagne, and author of numerous books, including Malcolm X for Beginners; Joseph Estes, a member of Platypus and of the Campaign for a Socialist Party; Johnny Mercer, a member of the Socialist Party of Great Britain and an artist working in Chicago; and Mitchel Cohen, pamphleteer, poet, and founder of the Red Balloon Collective at SUNY Stony Brook in 1969. What follows is an edited transcript of their conversation.

Held at the University of Chicago on April 6, 2018 as part of the 10th annual international convention of the Platypus Affiliated Society.

An edited transcript of the event was published in The Platypus Review.


Abdul Alkalimat (Professor of African-American Studies at UIC; author of Malcolm X for Beginners)
Mitchell Cohen (Author of An American in Revolutionary Nicaragua and Listen, Bookchin!)
Johnny Mercer (Socialist Party of Great Britain)
Joseph Estes (Platypus Affiliated Society)


For half a century, 1968 has represented a high-water mark of social and political transformation, a year of social upheaval that spanned the entire globe. Ushered in by a New Left that sought to distinguish itself from the Old Left that emerged in the 20s and 30s, the monumental events of 1968 set the tone for everything from protest politics to academic leftism.

Today, with the U.S. entangled in a seemingly endless war in Asia and people calling for the impeachment of an unpopular president, with activists fighting in the streets and calling for liberation along the lines of race, gender, and sexuality, the Left’s every attempt to discover new methods and new ideas seems to invoke a memory of the political horizons of 1968. We can perhaps more than ever feel the urgency of the question: what lessons are to be drawn from the New Left as another generation undertakes the project of building a Left for the 21st century?