Discussion on the crisis of neoliberalism and the state of the Left in the EU, held April 7, 2017 as part of the 9th annual Platypus international conference.
A united and peaceful Europe seemed to be a distant dream for a generation which went through the experience of war and destruction. Today, this hope gained shape in the new realities of the European Union. Despite its official proclamation of peace, social well-being and an “alternative to capitalism and communism” the project finds itself in a prolonged crisis with uncertain expectations. The Euro-crisis, massive austerity and the increasing interference into democratic principles, a growing division between powerful and weak economies, Germany's new hegemony and the growing influence of financial capital appear in stark contrast to the official slogans of “European values and solidarity”.
The desperate struggle of SYRIZA demonstrated the necessity and seeming impossibility of the Left across Europe to answer with a politics that would be truly international and go beyond “resisting austerity.” Despite growing social unrest, the deep ambivalence towards the EU expresses itself in the inability of the Left to formulate a coherent vision of a political alternative. At the same time, the rejection of the EU is ceded to a growing Right. What is the EU for the Left today? Does the Left believe the EU should be overcome on the basis of the EU itself, or against the EU? The clarification of its nature and appropriate responses seem to be one of the most pressing issues for the Left on the continent and beyond.
Presentation by Platypus Affiliated Society member Thodoris Velissaris at the Finanskriseseminar conference in Karlsøya, Norway, on August 10, 2012.
A panel discussion with audience Q&A on the problematic forms of anti-capitalism today, held on May 30th at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (AUTH).
Transcribed in Platypus Review #53
“After the failure of the 1960s New Left, the underlying despair with regard to the real efficacy of political will, of political agency, in a historical situation of heightened helplessness, became a self-constitution as outsider, as other, rather than an instrument of transformation. Focused on the bureaucratic stasis of the Fordist, late 20th Century world, the Left echoed the destruction of that world by the dynamics of capital: neoliberalism and globalization.
The idea of a fundamental transformation became bracketed and, instead, was replaced by the more ambiguous notion of ‘resistance.’ The notion of resistance, however, says little about the nature of that which is being resisted, or of the politics of the resistance involved.
‘Resistance’ is rarely based on a reflexive analysis of possibilities for fundamental change that are both generated and suppressed by the dynamic heteronomous order of capital. ‘Resistance’ is an undialectical category that does not grasp its own conditions of possibility; it fails to grasp the dynamic historical context of capital and its reconstitution of possibilities for both domination and emancipation, of which the ‘resisters’ do not recognize that that they are a part.”
— Moishe Postone, “History and Helplessness: Mass Mobilization and Contemporary Forms of Anticapitalism” (Public Culture¸ 18.1: 2006)
Reform, revolution, resistance: what kind of weight do these categories hold for the Left today? How are they used, to where do they point, and what is their history? Join the Platypus Affiliated Society for a discussion concerning a question that has renewed immediacy in light of the #Occupy movement.
1) Nikolas Sevastakis, associate professor at the School of Political Science of Aristotle University of Thessaloniki
2) Thodoris Karyotis, member of direct democracy and cooperative movements
3) Aris Tsioumas, member of KEHA (Kinisi Ergatikis Hirafetisis kai Autoorganosis, i.e. Movement for Labour Emancipation and Selforganisation)
4) Costas Gousis, member of NAR, component of the anticapitalist coalition ANTARSYA
"Why I joined Platypus" was the Sunday Plenary panel at the Platypus Affiliated Society's 4th Annual International Convention, held at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, March 30 to April 1, 2012. In this panel four members reflect on why they joined Platypus, and what this decision has meant for them. This panel took place on April 1st, 2012, at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
A public forum with students, activists and organizers from across the globe held on April 2nd, 2012.
Transcript in Platypus Review #48 (Click below):
From teach-ins in the UK, occupations in Austria and Germany and protests in the Netherlands and Greece, responses to the economic downturn are international in character. These new developments require coordination across global networks and it is why Platypus at U. Chicago is organizing a series of international panels that we hope can take place in Universities across the world where Platypus student members havebeen able to forge connections.
We hope that this panel will be an opportunity to report on activity and form new connections across international efforts. Panelists will report on the state of the Left in their respected regions and reflect on their experience as organizers while helping formulate what the next steps in organizing and planning could look like in the months ahead.
Moderated by Pam C. Nogales C. (Platypus)