A panel discussion held at Left Forum 2013, at Pace University, on June 9, 2013.
This panel was transcripted in Platypus Review #61 (Click on banner below to see):
Bourgeois society came into full recognition with Rousseau, who in the Discourse on the Origin of Inequality and On the Social Contract, opened its radical critique. Hegel wrote: "The principle of freedom dawned on the world in Rousseau." Marx quoted Rousseau favorably that "Whoever dares undertake to establish a people’s institutions must feel himself capable of changing, as it were, human nature... to take from man his own powers, and give him in exchange alien powers which he cannot employ without the help of other men." Rousseau posed the question of society, which Adorno wrote is a "concept of the Third Estate." Marx recognized the crisis of bourgeois society in the Industrial Revolution and workers' call for socialism. But proletarian socialism is no longer the rising force it was in Marx's time. So what remains of thinking the unrealized radicalism of bourgeois society without Marx? Kant stated that if the potential of bourgeois society was not fully achieved as the “mid-point” of freedom then Rousseau may have been right to prefer savagery against civilization’s “glittering misery.” Nietzsche warned that we might continue to be "living at the expense of the future:" "Perhaps more comfortably, less dangerously, but at the same time in a meaner style, more basely." How have thinkers of the revolutionary epoch after Rousseau, Adam Smith, Kant, Hegel, Benjamin Constant, and Nietzsche himself, contributed to the possibility of emancipation in a world after Marxism?
A panel discussion event held on May 28th, 2010, at the 2010 Platypus International Convention held at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
To many on the Left today, opposition to imperialism has become a political litmus test of sorts, but historically anti-imperialism was by no means an exclusively leftist political projectâwhether we are speaking of right-wing anti-colonialism in the metropole or in the colonies. In light of these confusions, this panel seeks to clarify the character of the imperialism question on the Left from the Second International to the contemporary anti-war movement, in three interrelated papers. The first will begin at the end of this trajectory by examining anti-anti-imperialist discourse on the Left from the debate Bill Warrenâs Imperialism through Bosnian solidarity in the 1990s and the writings of anti-anti-imperialist leftists such as Fred Halliday, Christopher Hitchens, and Moishe Postone after 9/11. It will address centrally the question of the status and strategic significance of left anti-imperialism in the context of a moribund world revolution as well as in light of the 19th century Marxist legacy respecting the National Question. The second paper will revisit the foundational debates on "imperialism" in the Second International and the early Comintern. By returning to this locus classicus the aim is to examine the impetus given to the âcolonial questionâ by the Bolshevik Revolution and the formation of the Third International. The interconnection for Lenin and Third International radicals between the national and the colonial questions with world revolutionary strategy came to be unhinged for later apologists of Third World nationalism. The third will consist a close consideration of the Stalinization of the imperialism question with special reference to the Communist parties of India and Pakistan from 1928-1968. This is a particularly appropriate test case given the centrality of the subcontinentâs centrality in the history of decolonization and the fact that the Marxist Left in India emerged only after the Stalinization of the international Left.