RSS FeedRSS FeedYouTubeYouTubeTwitterTwitterFacebook GroupFacebook Group
You are here: The Platypus Affiliated Society/Archive for category Featured

Gespräch vom 15.12.16 mit Hans-Gerd Öfinger ( "Der Funke", deutsche Sektion der "International Marxist Tendency"), der über die Schwierigkeiten der Kräfte des Trotzkismus in den 1930er, 1940er und 1950er Jahren bei der Erfassung der neuen Weltlage und Verteidigung der grundlegenden Ideen, zu den Ursachen von Spaltungen und den unterschiedlichen Einschätzungen hierzu, darüber hinaus über Ted Grant als "Pionier des britischen Trotzkismus" und die historische Basis, auf die sich die IMT stützt, einen kleinen Votrag halten wird. Im Anschluss besteht die Möglichkeit für Anmerkungen, Rückfragen und eine Diskussion.

Vortrag und Diskussion mit der Platypus Affiliated Society, veranstaltet am 01.12.16 in Bielefeld.

In Kooperation mit der Antifa AG an der Uni Bielefeld.

Viele Interpreten unterstellen der Kritischen Theorie der Frankfurter Schule eine Abkehr vom Marxismus, weil sie sich der politischen Praxis enthalten habe. Wo Adorno nicht gleich ganz von der Tradition Marxens gelöst wird, packt man ihn in Abgrenzung zu Lenin und dem orthodoxen Marxismus in die Schubladen des „Westlichen“ oder des „Neo“-Marxismus.
In einem Gespräch mit Max Horkheimer von 1956, das unter dem Namen „Diskussion über Theorie und Praxis“ bekannt wurde, bemerkte Adorno jedoch: „Ich wollte immer […] eine Theorie entwickeln, die Marx, Engels und Lenin die Treue hält, aber auch andererseits nicht hinter die fortgeschrittenste Kultur zurückfällt“. Adorno, so scheint es, war ein Leninist. Wie aber genau wollte Adorno Marx, Engels und Lenin die „Treue“ halten? Welche Politik erscheint Adorno möglich und notwendig in einer Zeit, in der weder eine revolutionäre Partei noch eine selbstbewusste Arbeiterbewegung besteht? Welche Verbindungen zur Praxis bestehen bei Adornos Theorie? Adornos Kritik wurde von der Neuen Linken ignoriert und ist insofern von der Geschichte übergangen worden. Nicht, weil die Kritik ein Ende von Praxis überhaupt forderte, sondern im Gegenteil, weil sie, wie Adorno in den „Marginalien zu Theorie und Praxis“ kurz vor seinem Tod schrieb, „zu praktisch“ für die Aktivisten gewesen ist. Ist das Projekt der Kritischen Theorie gescheitert? Was würde es bedeuten die berühmte „Flaschenpost“ zu entkorken?


Hosted By Platypus Affiliated Society at the University of Houston

Alvaro Rodriguez - Communist Party, USA
Henry Cooper - Proyecto Latino Americano
Liam Wright - student, veteran of Occupy Seattle and other social movements

Moderated by Danny Jacobs

Panel Description:

Neo-liberalism, as the current organization of capitalism, promised to overcome the crisis of the Keynesian-Fordist states through the attainment of a free, cosmopolitan society. Yet, the weight of national borders continues to be felt.
While capital can easily move to a home where it is profitable, workers find their movement more stifled. From Brexit to the US presidential elections, immigration has become unavoidable in political discourse: some politicians have promised comprehensive immigration reform, while others have considered the undocumented culpable for the decline of the nation's economy and sovereignty. In each case, a crisis of Neo-liberalism is registered - but what is the meaning of the question to the Left and its attempts to change the world?

Famously, the Communist Manifesto says "the working men have no country." The incessant drive to realize profit sends capital all over the world, uprooting established relations and dynamizing the global economy. Workers are forced to consider themselves internationally in the fight against capital. Further, immigration might even centralize the gravediggers of capitalism.

However, if this process is not grasped by the workers, it offers an opportunity for the capitalists to secure their reign. The precarity of immigrants can be exploited by the ruling class to split the proletariat and contain their political struggle - that is, unless there is a Left to lead.

We ask the panelists to consider the following questions:

How has the Left approached the question of immigration historically? What opportunities exist in the immigrant rights movement today for an emancipatory politics?

How has immigration related to other demands made by the Left?

What role can Left organizations - civil and/or political - play in immigration politics?

This panel discussion was hosted by the Platypus Affiliated Society at the School of the Art Institute at Chicago on October 3, 2016.


Lenny Brody, Justice Party
Bill Pelz, director of the Institute of Working Class History
Mimi Soltysik, Socialist Party USA

Panel Description

Electoral politics are a longstanding problem for the U.S. left. In recent decades, a number of parties have formed as an alternative to the Democratic Party: the Labor Party, the Green Party, and now, the Justice Party. However, these parties risk becoming little more than networks of activists or pressure groups on the Democratic Party, and it still remains unclear whether a serious electoral challenge to the Democratic Party is possible. Many progressives blame the “first-past-the-post” structure of U.S. elections, contra labour-friendly parliamentary systems; yet others insist that this procedural focus is misplaced. Leninists charge some quarters of the Left with misunderstanding the proper relationship of the party to the state; but for many, it remains unclear how State and Revolution bears upon the present. Most activists grant the desirability of a viable party to the left of the Democrats, but why exactly such a party is desirable-- to win reforms? to spread emancipatory consciousness?-- is contested as well. These are old questions for the American left-- as old as Henry George, Daniel De Leon, and the 1930s American Labor Party, perhaps the high point of independent electoral politics in the U.S. This panel will investigate several contemporary approaches to electoral politics to draw out the theories that motivate Leftist third parties; it will also ask how the historical achievements and failures of third parties bear upon the present.


How does the present election represent an opportunity for the development of a third party? In what ways have Bernie Sanders, Donald Trump, Jill Stein, and Gary Johnson each helped develop a window of opportunity for a third party? In what ways might these figures be responsible for miseducating, depoliticizing, or simply misdirecting potential allies?

What conditions would a Clinton or Trump administration produce for the left? How would each represent a challenge to the Left?

How might a third party avoid simply becoming either an instrument for pressuring the Democratic Party to the Left or a mere recruiting tool for activist and sectarian organizations? In other words: what are the practical and theoretical obstacles to the development of the Left beyond the default form of activity that have characterized it since the mid-20th century?

While we take for granted that a third party would have to distinguish itself from the two major parties, how could a third party attempt to draw from voters from both the Democrats and the Republicans?

The rise of progressivism and socialism in the late 19th/early 20th century defined every attempt at the development of a third party in the 20th century. How are progressive and socialist politics distinct and/or related? What role would each play in the development of a mass third party for the 21st century?

With Speakers (in order): 

Rex Dunn (Writer)
Zhoe Granger (Director, Arcadia Missa) 
Peter Osborne (Professor Of Modern European Philosophy, Kingston University) 

Panel description: 

If it is true that the 'commodity-structure' (Lukács) is the defining feature of modern capitalism down through the present, then it stands to reason that it has no less impacted the way art is produced, consumed, circulated, and exchanged. This shift in art's character happened both objectively (e.g., as in an article produced for exchange on the market), and subjectively (i.e., as a kind of experience and form of expression for the social and individual body). However, art's relationship to its status as a commodity is an ambivalent one: Art has become at once more free from past forms of domination, but its freedom is constrained when subject to the dynamics of capital. Art as a commodity is both its cure and poison, and has evolved into a social problem for its practice. Since becoming aware of this problem, artists, philosophers, curators, and critics have taken various approaches in seeking to overcome it.

How has art under a capitalist society changed from its pre-capitalist practices? What is the commodity form, and what is art's relationship to its logic? Must art seek emancipation from the commodity form, or is it at home in it? In what sense does art take part in the Left and emancipatory politics, if at all? By asking these questions, this panel seeks to reinvestigate art's relationship to the commodity form, and make intelligible how this problematic relationship still sticks with us today.