RSS FeedRSS FeedLivestreamLivestreamVimeoVimeoTwitterTwitterFacebook GroupFacebook Group
You are here: Platypus /Archive for category SVA Media

A panel discussion organized by the Platypus Affiliated Society held on March 19, 2011, at Left Forum, Pace University.

Panel Abstract: What was Trotsky's contribution to revolutionary Marxism? At one level, the answer is clear. Above even his significance as organizer of the October insurrection and leader of the Red Army during the Russian Civil War, what makes Trotsky a major figure in the history of Marxism is his status as the leader of the Left Opposition and, later, his founding of the Fourth International. But this panel asks whether stating this fact is sufficient for understanding Trotsky's Marxism, or whether this might not in fact merely beg the question. The issue remains what was it in Trotsky's evolution from the period of 1905 through the Russian Revolution of 1917, that allowed him to become the leader of the left opposition and the great Marxist critic of Stalinism in the 1920s and 1930s? What of Trotsky, rather than Trotsky-ism?

Ian Morrison - Platypus Affiliated Society; University of Chicago
Jason Wright - International Bolshevik Tendency (IBT)
Spencer Leonard - Platypus Affiliated Society; University of Chicago
Susan Williams - Freedom Socialist Party

Transcript of Jason Wright's remarks in Platypus Review #35 (Click below):

Transcript of Ian Morrison's remarks in Platypus Review #37 (Click below):

A panel organized by the Platypus Affiliated Society, held on March 19, 2011, at Left Forum, Pace University.

Panel Abstract:

Over 90 years ago, Rosa Luxemburg was killed in the failed German Revolution of 1918-19. Yet the controversy surrounding the politics of her final years still smolders. Was she a critic of the Bolsheviks in the Russian Revolution, democratic advocate of spontaneity âfrom below?â Or, was she an orthodox Marxist, proponent of revolution through the determined political leadership of labor and other social-reform movements? Perhaps it's time that the matter is reposed. If Luxemburg still speaks to us, it is not in abstract lessons torn from history, but, as Walter Benjamin put it, by her struggle in and âagainst the grainâ of history. Luxemburg wrote that âSocialism is the first popular movement in world history that has set itself the goal of bringing human consciousness, and thereby free will, into play in the social actions of mankind.â How might we yet learn from Luxemburg's example? Why must we remember her attempt to realize socialism; what might be the consequences of forgetting?

Panelists
Ben Shepard - Platypus Affiliated Society
Greg Gabrellas - University of Chicago
Stephen Eric Bronner - Rutgers University

A version of Greg Gabrellas' remarks are transcripted in Platypus Review #38 (Click below):

A panel discussion organized by the Platypus Affiliated Society, held on March 19, 2011 at Left Forum, Pace University.

Panel Abstract: What was distinctive about Vladimir Lenin's Marxism? What was its relationship to the other forms of Marxism and Marxists of his era? Was Lenin orthodox or heterodox? Was there a "unity" to Lenin's political thought, as Georg Lukacs argued, or do his major works -- What is to Be Done? (1902), Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism (1916), The State and Revolution (1917), "Left-Wing Communism": An Infantile Disorder? (1920) -- express distinctive and even contradictory phases in Lenin's political development? How did Lenin's Marxism overcome -- or not -- other competing forms of Marxism? How should we understand Lenin's historical contribution to Marxism, today?

Panelists
Chris Cutrone - The School of the Art Institute of Chicago
Ian Morrison - Platypus Affiliated Society
Lars T Lih - Independent Researcher
Paul Le Blanc - LaRoche College

Transcript of Paul Le Blanc's remarks in Platypus Review #35 (Click below):

Transcript of Chris Cutrone's remarks in Platypus Review #36 (Click below):

Transcript of Lars Lih's remarks in Platypus Review #37 (Click below):

A panel discussion organized by the Platypus Affiliated Society, held on March 19, 2011, at Left Forum, Pace University.

Alain Badiou's writings promoting what he calls the "communist hypothesis" have sparked growing interest and debate. In 2009, the journal Demarcations published a polemic against Badiou's political philosophy, arguing that this was a politics locked within the confines of the existing social order. In 2010, Chris Cutrone of Platypus authored a critique of the Demarcations polemic and of Badiou, raising the issue of the relationship between Marxism and communism. Bruno Bosteels, author of the forthcoming Badiou and Politics, brings yet another critical perspective to bear on key elements of Badiouâs âcommunist hypothesis. This panel will carry forward the debate: *Are communism's horizons defined by the struggle for equality? *Does Badiou's reading of the Cultural Revolution square with its actual aims and legacy? *Does Badiou's "politics at a distance from the state" provide compass points for the challenges of making revolution in a highly globalized capitalist world?

Panelists
Bruno Bosteels - Cornell University
Chris Cutrone - School of the Art Institute of Chicago
Nayi Duniya - Demarcations Journal
Saul Thomas - University of Chicago, student

A panel discussion organized by the Platypus Affiliated Society, held on March 19, 2011, at Left Forum, Pace University.

The "bourgeois revolutions" from the 16th through the 19th centuries-- extending into the 20th--conformed humanity to modern city life, ending traditional, pastoral, religious custom in favor of social relations of the exchange of labor. Abbe Sieyes wrote in 1789 that, in contradistinction to the clerical 1st Estate who "prayed" and the aristocratic 2nd Estate who "fought," the commoner 3rd Estate "worked:" "What has the 3rd Estate been? Nothing." "What is it? Everything." Kant warned that universal bourgeois society would be the mere midpoint in humanity's achievement of freedom. After the last bourgeois revolutions in Europe of 1848 failed, Marx wrote of the "constitution of capital," the ambivalent, indeed self-contradictory character of "free wage labor." In the late 20th century, the majority of humanity abandoned agriculture in favor of urban life--however in "slum cities." How does the bourgeois revolution appear from a Marxian point of view?

Panelists
James Vaughn - University of Texas at Austin, Platypus Affiliated Society
Jeremy Cohan - New York University
Richard Rubin - Platypus Affiliated Society
Spencer Leonard - University of Chicago, Platypus Affiliated Society