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A discussion on Democracy and the Left held at Goldsmiths, University of London, on March 28, 2019.

Speakers:

Benjamin Studebaker (Cambridge University, What's Left podcast)
Marjorie Mayo (Emeritus Professor, Goldsmiths University)
James Heartfield (Independent author, Spiked!)
Adam Buick (Socialist Party of Great Britain)

Description

Corbyn, Sanders, Trump, Brexit, and the gilet jaunes among others have all claimed the mantle of democracy, but what does it mean for the Left? Our panel will be held on the eve of the planned (at the moment!) date for the UK to leave the EU.

This panel will be part of an international series put on by Platypus on the same theme, addressing the democratic movements which have been taken up by both the left and right in recent years.

Questions for panelists:

  1. What is the relationship between democracy and the working class today? Do you consider historical struggles for democracy by workers as the medium by which they got “assimilated” to the system, or the only path to emancipation that they couldn’t avoid trying to take?
  2. Do you consider it as necessary to eschew established forms of mass politics in favour of new forms in order to build a democratic movement? Or are current mass form of politics adequate for a democratic society?
  3. Why has democracy emerged as the primary demand of spontaneous forms of discontent? Do you also consider it necessary, or adequate, to deal with the pathologies of our era?
  4. Engels wrote that “A revolution is certainly the most authoritarian thing there is”. Do you agree? Can this conception be compatible with the struggle for democracy?
  5. Is democracy oppressive, or can it be such? How would you judge Lenin’s formulation that: “…democracy is also a state and that, consequently, democracy will also disappear when the state disappears.”

Discussion about the significance of democracy for the Left, held at the University of Pennsylvania on March 21, 2019. The discussion was moderated by Austin Carder.

An edited transcript of the event was published in the Platypus Review Issue #117.

Speakers:

Adolph Reed (Professor of Political Science, UPenn)
Jon Bekken (Editor of the Anarcho-Syndicalist Review)
Warren Breckman (Professor of History, UPenn)
Erin Hagood (Platypus Affiliated Society, NYC)

Description:

What is the history informing the demands for greater democracy today, and how does the Left adequately promote—or not—the cause of popular empowerment? What does democracy mean for the Left? What are the potential futures for “democratic” revolution, especially as understood by the Left?

Questions for panelists:

  1. What is the relationship between democracy and the working class today? Do you consider historical struggles for democracy by workers as the medium by which they got “assimilated” to the system, or the only path to emancipation that they couldn’t avoid trying to take?
  2. Do you consider it as necessary to eschew established forms of mass politics in favour of new forms in order to build a democratic movement? Or are current mass form of politics adequate for a democratic society?
  3. Why has democracy emerged as the primary demand of spontaneous forms of discontent? Do you also consider it necessary, or adequate, to deal with the pathologies of our era?
  4. Engels wrote that “A revolution is certainly the most authoritarian thing there is”. Do you agree? Can this conception be compatible with the struggle for democracy?
  5. Is democracy oppressive, or can it be such? How would you judge Lenin’s formulation that: “…democracy is also a state and that, consequently, democracy will also disappear when the state disappears.”

16.12.18 - Frankfurt am Main

Sprecher: 

Florian (Kritik & Praxis)
Manuel Kellner (ISO)
Lino Leudesdorff (Jusos Frankfurt)

Im Jahr 1918, vier Jahre nach Beginn des ersten Weltkriegs und ein Jahr nach der russischen Revolution, brach die deutsche Revolution aus. Was bedeutet diese Revolution in der Geschichte des Kampfes für den Sozialismus? War sie eine Niederlage oder ein Erfolg? Wie ist sie im Hinblick auf das 19. Jahrhundert einzuordnen und wie hat sie das 20. Jahrhundert geprägt?

Held October 20th, 2018, at the Univesity of Chicago. Hosted by the Platypus Affiliated Society; funded, in part, by the University of Chicago Student Government.

This teach-in by Dr Abdul Alkalimat—UIUC professor of African American Studies emeritus and noted civil rights activist—took place on October 20th, 2018, and began with an account his involvement in the campaign of Harold Washington, Chicago's first black mayor. Additional topics discussed included the movement for black liberation, the relationship of radical and mainstream politics, and the possible implications of this history for us today. 

Seit einem halben Jahrhundert kennzeichnet 1968 einen Meilenstein sozialer und politischer Umbrüche – ein Jahr sozialer Aufstände, die die ganze Welt umspannten. Eingeleitet von einer Neuen Linken, welche sich von der Alten Linken der 20er und 30er abzugrenzen suchte, legten die Ereignisse von 1968 den Grundstein für alles Folgende: von Protestpolitik bis hin zur akademischen Linken.

Heute, da die Vereinigten Staaten in einem scheinbar endlosen Krieg in Asien verwickelt sind, der Aufruf zur Amtsenthebung eines unbeliebten Präsidenten laut wird, und sich auf den Straßen Aktivisten um Forderungen nach Befreiung hinsichtlich Herkunft, Gender und Sexualität zum Kampf erheben, treten Ansprüche, in denen sich der politische Horizont von 1968 widerspiegelt, in Erinnerung. Mit möglicherweise nie dagewesener Dringlichkeit müssen wir die Frage stellen: Welche Lehren sind aus der Neuen Linken zu ziehen, wenn eine andere Generation an den Aufbau einer Linken des 21. Jahrhunderts herantreten soll?

Es diskutieren:
Helmut Dahmer, Soziologe und Publizist (https://platypus1917.org/2015/10/12/trotsky-frankfurt-school)
Michael Genner, langjähriger Aktivist und Organisator von politischem Wiederstand. Aktiv bei „Asyl in Not”
Gáspár Miklós Tamás, Philosoph, vielseitiges politisches Engagement in Ungarn

Moderation:
Sebastian Vetter, Platypus Affiliated Society

Wo?
Gußhausstraße 14, 1040 Wien, Österreich
Wir danken der KPÖ herzlich für die Bereitstellung der Räume.

Wann? 29.10.2018, 19:00

Facebook-Veranstaltung: https://www.facebook.com/events/338195926740181/?active_tab=discussion

Es wird einen breiten Rahmen für Publikumsfragen geben. Die Veranstaltung wird aufgezeichnet und später online gestellt.