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

Teach-in given by Danny Jacobs on the German Revolution at the University of Houston, March 28, 2019.

Discussion about the significance of democracy for the Left, held at the University of Pennsylvania on March 21, 2019. The discussion was moderated by Austin Carder.

An edited transcript of the event was published in the Platypus Review Issue #117.


Adolph Reed (Professor of Political Science, UPenn)
Jon Bekken (Editor of the Anarcho-Syndicalist Review)
Warren Breckman (Professor of History, UPenn)
Erin Hagood (Platypus Affiliated Society, NYC)


What is the history informing the demands for greater democracy today, and how does the Left adequately promote—or not—the cause of popular empowerment? What does democracy mean for the Left? What are the potential futures for “democratic” revolution, especially as understood by the Left?

Questions for panelists:

  1. What is the relationship between democracy and the working class today? Do you consider historical struggles for democracy by workers as the medium by which they got “assimilated” to the system, or the only path to emancipation that they couldn’t avoid trying to take?
  2. Do you consider it as necessary to eschew established forms of mass politics in favour of new forms in order to build a democratic movement? Or are current mass form of politics adequate for a democratic society?
  3. Why has democracy emerged as the primary demand of spontaneous forms of discontent? Do you also consider it necessary, or adequate, to deal with the pathologies of our era?
  4. Engels wrote that “A revolution is certainly the most authoritarian thing there is”. Do you agree? Can this conception be compatible with the struggle for democracy?
  5. Is democracy oppressive, or can it be such? How would you judge Lenin’s formulation that: “…democracy is also a state and that, consequently, democracy will also disappear when the state disappears.”

We run down some of the Democratic presidential candidates for 2020 and sit down with our London member Efraim Carlebach to discuss the recent crack up in British politics and the split from the Labour Party this month. We talk about the emerging new center in British politics and the response by the left to the split.

From the Platypus Review archives:
The unchanging core of Marxism: An interview with Ian Birchall
by Efraim Carlebach…ew-ian-birchall/

Feel free to send us questions, comments & suggestions at


On this episode of Sh*t Platypus Says, we have a report on the yellow vest protests with our members Ciat and Teo, both currently in Paris. They share their reflections on the mass demonstrations, the on-going crisis of neoliberalism and the confused responses by the left. After, your hosts, Laurie, Suzy and Pam talk about the memory of the 2008 financial crisis in popular culture and discuss some of the changes they foresee for labor & capital relations in the coming years. Finally, if you still don't know what happened in 2008, let our resident financial genius, Wentai, break it down for you at the end of our episode.

Questions, suggestions and smart-ass commentary always welcome! E-mail us at

We recommend, from the Platypus Review archives:
"A cry of protest before accommodation? The dialectic of emancipation and domination" by Chris Cutrone, from Platypus Review 42 (December 2011 – January 2012)…e-accommodation/

Hosted by Pamela Nogales, Laurie Rojas & Suzy V.

We say goodbye to 2018 by discussing The Young Karl Marx (Le Jeune Marx), Raoul Peck’s film commemorating 200 years of Karl Marx’s birth. We unpack the lame (so-called) film critiques by those on the left. In the main segment, we take up the question “What is Socialism?”, featuring responses by members of Platypus, listeners of the podcast, fellow travelers and some dude... including, Chris Cutrone, Erin Hagood, Ben Waite, Raul Cajias, & Sammy Medina. Throughout, Rosa Luxemburg, Leon Trotsky, Vladimir Lenin & Karl Marx, help us with the heavy lifting.

Send us your questions, comments and requests for SPS in the new year! E-mail us at:

Platypus Review article referenced:
- The birth of a revolution? An interview with Mary Gabriel on Love and Capital, by Spencer Leonard…of-a-revolution/
On February 28, 2012, the radio program Radical Minds on WHPK-FM Chicago broadcast an interview with Mary Gabriel, the author of Love and Capital: Karl and Jenny Marx and the Birth of a Revolution (New York: Little, Brown and Company, 2011). The interview was conducted by Spencer A. Leonard of the Platypus Affiliated Society. What follows is an edited transcript of their conversation. Original recording from Radical Minds interview can be found here:

Hosted by Pamela Nogales, Laurie Rojas​ and Suzy V​.