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Richard Rubin
Lecture 2:
1905-1917

Part of the Summer 2012 Platypus Affiliated Society Primary Reading Group Lecture Series: Trotsky and Trotskyism

Recorded on 6.23.12
The New School

• recommended / + supplemental reading

Recommended preliminary readings:

Week 2 Readings:
+ Trotsky, 1905 (1907)
• Trotsky, The Lessons of October (1924) [PDF]

Full Syllabus and Readings

Please Note: Due to technical problems, the video recording glitches after ~32:00. The audio recording is without glitches, however.

Richard Rubin
Lecture 1: Overview of Trotskyism and its significance for Platypus
1879-1905

Part of the Summer 2012 Platypus Affiliated Society Primary Reading Group Lecture Series: Trotsky and Trotskyism

Recorded on 6.16.12
The New School

• recommended / + supplemental reading

Week 1 Readings:
• Tariq Ali and Phil Evans, Introducing Trotsky and Marxism / Trotsky for Beginners (1980)
• Leon Trotsky, Results and Prospects (1906)

Full Syllabus and Readings

One of the plenary sessions held at the third annual Platypus Affiliated Society international convention, hosted by the School of the Art Institute of Chicago between April 29–May 1, 2011, set about exploring the legacy of Trotsky’s Marxism.

Transcript in Platypus Review #38 (Click below):

Speakers Mike Macnair of the Communist Party of Great Britain, Bryan Palmer of Trent University, Richard Rubin of Platypus, and Jason Wright of the International Bolshevik Tendency were asked to consider:

“What is the relevance of Trotskyism for the Left today? On the one hand, there is a simple answer: The mantle of Trotskyism is claimed by many of today’s most prominent and numerous leftist parties in America and Europe (and beyond). The International Socialist Organization in America, the Socialist Workers Party in Britain, and the Nouveau Parti Anticapitaliste in France all have their origins in Trotskyism. Evidently, the collapse of Stalinism in 1989 left Trotskyism’s bona fides, as anti-Stalinist Marxism, intact. On the other hand, Trotskyism has been infamously associated on the Left with sectarianism. Certainly, the ISO, SWP and NPA long ago made their peace in crucial ways with the politics of the post-Marxist New Left — a revisionism that their sectarian brethren (for instance, Trotskyism’s bête noire, the Spartacist League) have proudly and doggedly opposed. However, despite their differences, all varieties of Trotskyism today evince the conditions of the New Left’s ‘return to Marxism’ in the 1970s, for which the legacy of Trotsky provided one significant vehicle (the other being Maoism). For instance Trotsky’s biographer, Isaac Deutscher, strongly influenced the journal New Left Review. And yet there is something peculiar about this legacy. As one Platypus writer has suggested, Trotsky is as out of place in the post-World War II world as Voltaire or Rousseau would have been in the world after the French Revolution. Trotsky, unlike Trotskyism, exemplifies the classical Marxism of the early 20th century, and that tradition certainly died with him. Thus, before we can understand how Trotskyism’s legacy has influenced the Marxism of our time, we must first answer the question: What has Trotskyism made of Trotsky’s Marxism?”

Panelists:
Mike Macnair, Communist Party of Great Britain (Oxford Univ. St. Hugh College)
Bryan Palmer (Trent University)
Richard Rubin, Platypus
Jason Wright, representative of the International Bolshevik Tendency
Representative of the International Socialist Organization (Declined to attend)

A panel discussion organized by the Platypus Affiliated Society, held on March 20, 2011 at Left Forum, Pace University.

Panel Abstract:

Marx and Engels were not the preeminent socialists but rather socialism's greatest critics, distinguishing their "communism" from "reactionary," "bourgeois" and "democratic" socialism. Lately, Marx is taken for his theoretical analysis of capitalism more than his and Engels's revolutionary politics, discredited after the 20th century's spectacular failures of "Marxism." So what is Marx and Engels's political legacy? What Marx wrote after the failed "social-democratic" revolutions of 1848 still resonates: "Every demand of the simplest bourgeois financial reform, of the most ordinary liberalism, of the most formal republicanism, of the most insipid democracy, is simultaneously castigated as an 'attempt on society' and stigmatized as 'socialism'." How does Marx and Engels's politics of "communism," that is, socialism aware of its historical vocation, task us today?

Benjamin Blumberg - University of Chicago
Nathan Smith - The Platypus Affiated Society
Pam Nogales - New York University
Richard Rubin - Platypus
Tana Forrester - The Platypus Affiliated Society

A panel discussion reflecting upon three generation of membership in Platypus. Held on May 30th, 2010 at the 2010 Platypus International Convention at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Panelists:
Richard Rubin
Pam C. Nogales C.
Ashley Weger