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You are here: Platypus /Archive for category Neoliberalism and its Discontents

Held April 5th at the University of Chicago, as part of the 11th Annual Platypus International Convention.

Speakers:

Victor Cova, Aarhus University (Aarhus)
Andreas Wintersperger, University of Vienna (Vienna)
Jan Schroeder, Goethe University (Frankfurt)
Panos Didachos, Panteion University (Athens)
Padraig Maguire, Goldsmiths University (London)

Description:

What is the mean 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? How can the Left address the current crisis of the EU, with the aim of overcoming capitalism and achieving socialism, when the political expression of its crisis has largely come from the Right? The clarification of the EU’s nature and appropriate responses seem to be one of the most pressing issues for the Left on the continent and beyond.

A pre-convention panel put on Thursday, April 6, 2017 at UIC, from 6-8 pm. Moderated by Gregor Baszak.

Speakers

Catherine Liu (University of California, Irvine)
Pam Nogales (PhD. Candidate of American History, NYU; Platypus)
Danny Jacobs (PhD. Candidate of Economics, University of Houston; Platypus)
Dan Rudin (PhD. Candidate of Journalism and Media Studies, UCSC; Platypus)
Reid Kotlas (Socialist Party USA; Platypus)

Description

Leftists today lament the strength of neoliberal hegemony. The use of “hegemony” underlines the ideological dimension of the neoliberal order; it suggests that mass ideological legitimacy — and not the triumph of pure force or of back-door machinations — has made neoliberalism politically possible. What were the ideological shifts in political and social consciousness that provided the grounds for neoliberal hegemony? What role did the Left play in this historical transformation of mass consciousness?

Freedom, the rallying cry of socialism, has now served for decades as the stated ideology of the upward redistribution of wealth. These past decades have seen stagnating wages and a widening income disparity—although women, LGBT people, people of color, and others who once faced legally enforced, identity-based social exclusion now appear to be more “free” than they were during the pre-neoliberal period of high Fordism. These two aspects of neoliberalism, its identitarian inclusiveness and its anti-working class agenda, appear to go hand-in-hand. Despite the dubious, partial success of the politics of the New Left, we are probably as far as ever from the goal of global socialism.

In light of this history, how can we imagine a future for the Left, especially in the Age of Trump? How could the Left move beyond organizing the expression of frustrated expectations within neoliberalism — beyond organizing the left wing of neoliberalism itself — to generate the kind of theory and practice required to politically overcome capitalism? And are we already in the process of overcoming neoliberalism in the wake of Trump’s recent political mandate for change? Has the Left become the agent of the status quo, seeking to preserve neoliberalism from uncertain changes that the Trump phenomenon implies?

A discussion on the crisis of neoliberalism, held on February 18, 2017 at the University of Vienna, as part of the third annual Platypus European Conference.

An edited transcript of the event was published in The Platypus Review Issue #96.

Speakers (in order):

Chris Cutrone -  Platypus Affiliated Society; School of the Art Institute (Chicago)
John Milios - former Chief economic advisor of SYRIZA (Athens)
Emmanuel Tomaselli - Funke Redaktion; International Marxist Tendency (Vienna)
Boris Kargalitzky - Institute of Globalisation Studies and Social Movements (Moscow)

Description:

The Left has for over a generation – for more than 40 years, since the crisis of 1973 – placed its hopes in the Democratic and Labour Parties to reverse or slow neoliberal capitalism – the move to trans-national trade agreements, the movement of capital and labor, and austerity. The post-2008 crisis of neoliberalism, despite phenomena such as SYRIZA, Occupy Wall Street, the Arab Spring and anti-austerity protests more generally, Bernie Sanders's candidacy, and Jeremy Corbyn's Labour leadership, has found expression on the avowed Right, through UKIP, Brexit, the U.K. Conservatives' move to "Red Toryism" and now Donald Trump's election. The old neoliberal consensus is falling apart, and change is palpably in the air. Margaret Thatcher's infamous phrase "There Is No Alternative" has been proven wrong. What can the Left do to advance the struggle for socialism under such circumstances?

In the 1960s the Left faced political and social crises in an era of full employment and economic growth. Departing from official Communism, which had largely supported the development of the welfare state in industrialized capitalist countries, many on the Left challenged the existing political order, of Keynesian-Fordism, through community organising on the principle of expanding individual and collective freedom from the state. Against Keynesian economic demands, many of these Leftists supported the Rights efforts, to integrate formerly oppressed identity groups into the corporate professional-managerial class. Since the 1970s, the significance of the fact that all these aims were taken up, politically, by the Right, in
the name of ‘freedom’, in the form of neo-liberalism is still ambiguous today.

Some on the Left have understood this phase of ‘neo-liberalism’ to be continuous with the post-war Fordist state, for example in Ernest Mandel’s conception of “late capitalism” and David Harvey’s idea of “post-Fordism”. The movement of labor and capital was still administered by the Fordist state. Distinctively, others on the Left have opposed neo-liberalism for over a generation through a defence of the post-war welfare state, through appeals to anti-austerity and anti-globalisation.

How does this distinction within the Left between the defense of the welfare state and the defense of individual freedom affect the Left’s response to the crisis of neo-liberalism? Why has the Left recently supported attempts to politically manage the economic crisis post-2008, against attempts at political change? How can the Left struggle for political power, with the aim of overcoming capitalism and achieving socialism, when the political expression of the crisis of neoliberalism has largely come from the Right, and Trump won the election in November?

7:00pm / 30 November 2016
London School of Economics

Speakers (in order):

Adam Booth (writer and activist with Socialist Appeal and the International Marxist Tendency)
James Heartfield (Sp!ked / Author of 'An Unpatriotic History of the Second World War')
Patrick Neveling (SOAS Development Studies, Utrecht University Cultural Anthropology)
Paul Demarty (Weekly Worker / CPGB)

Panel description:

The Left has for over a generation – for more than 40 years, since the crisis of 1973 – placed its hopes in the Democratic and Labour Parties to reverse or slow neoliberal capitalism – the move to trans-national trade agreements, the movement of capital and labor, and austerity. The post-2008 crisis ofneoliberalism, despite phenomena such as SYRIZA, Occupy Wall Street, the Arab Spring and anti-austerity protests more generally, Bernie Sanders's candidacy, and Jeremy Corbyn's Labour leadership, has found expression on the avowed Right, through UKIP, Brexit, the U.K. Conservatives' move to "Red Toryism" and now Donald Trump's election. The old neoliberal consensus is falling apart, and change is palpably in the air. Margaret Thatcher's infamous phrase "There Is No Alternative" has been proven wrong. What can the Left do to advance the struggle for socialism under such circumstances?

Some background:

In the 1960s the Left faced political and social crises in an era of full employment and economic growth. Departing from official Communism, which had largely supported the development of the welfare state in industrialized capitalist countries, many on the Left challenged the existing political order, of Keynesian-Fordism, through community organising on the principle of expanding individual and collective freedom from the state. Against Keynesian economic demands, many of these Leftists supported the Rights efforts, to integrate formerly oppressed identity groups into the corporate professional-managerial class. Since the 1970s, the significance of the fact that all these aims were taken up, politically, by the Right, in the name of ‘freedom’, in the form of neo-liberalism is still ambiguous today.

Some on the Left have understood this phase of ‘neo-liberalism’ to be continuous with the post-war Fordist state, for example in Ernest Mandel’s conception of “late capitalism” and David Harvey’s idea of “post-Fordism”. The movement of labor and capital was still administered by the Fordist state. Distinctively, others on the Left have opposed neo-liberalism for over a generation through a defence of the post-war welfare state, through appeals to anti-austerity and anti-globalisation.

How does this distinction within the Left between the defense of the welfare state and the defense of individual freedom affect the Left’s response to the crisis of neo-liberalism? Why has the Left recently supported attempts to politically manage the economic crisis post-2008, against attempts at political change? How can the Left struggle for political power, with the aim of overcoming capitalism and achieving socialism, when the political expression of the crisis of neo-liberalism has largely come from the Right, and Trump won the election in November?