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

Held April 4th, 2019 at the University of Chicago, as part of the 11th Annual International Conference of the Platypus Affiliated Society.


  • John Abbott, Professor of History, University of Illinois at Chicago
  • Robert Bird, Professor of Slavic Languages and Literature, University of Chicago
  • John Bachtell, Chairman of the Communist Party USA
  • Patrick M. Quinn, founding member of Solidarity
  • Earl Silbar, Students for a Democratic Society (Chicago 1968), member of Fox Valley Citizens for Peace and Justice


1989 is largely remembered as a decisive close to the Cold War contest between communism and capitalism—with the victory of the latter casting a seemingly damning verdict against Marxism as a form of politics. The planned economies based on collectivized property of these states wereindicted as failures, and their totalitarian regimes called into question the very notion of working class rule. The fall of communism thus profoundly affected the Left’s ability to imagine the overcoming of capitalism, and the possibility of a classless society beyond it. But in passing into history, the meaning of 1989 can also be reconsidered. The Platypus Affiliated Society wants to use this anniversary to reassess the question of how 1989 weighs on the present. What is the significance of 1989 in its historical context, and what is its relevance for Left politics today?

Held April 1, 2019, at the University of Houston. Moderated by Danny Jacobs.


David Barsamian (Alternative Radio)
Secunda Joseph (Host of Imagine A World on All Real Radio + Smart Media Director)
Egberto Willies (Politics Done Right)
Michael Woodson (LivingArt)


"Fake news" and "alternative facts" became popular terms during the 2016 press. Snopes and PolitiFact notwithstanding, 2016 was not the first time in history that the news media has been criticized for playing a part in distracting, distorting, and misdirecting public political opinion. The Left has historically played a role in both agitating for political change and educating the oppressed classes about the ideology of dominant classes. The danger, however, is that in in opposing the current state of affairs, the Left may serve as an ideological screen for the next stage of capitalism.


  1. What is the role of agitation and propaganda for the Left today? How does it differ from the historical Left's use of agitation and propaganda?
  2. How should the Left approach free speech? How, if at all, does this differ from past Leftists?
  3. How has the Left's understanding of social responsibility and individual liberty been clarified or distorted?
  4. What new social media models, if any, hold promise for educating the Left and its movement at large, and how can these forms be seen as better and/or worse than forms found in the legacy media (newsprint, radio, and TV).

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


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)


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.”

16.12.18 - Frankfurt am Main


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?

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 (
Michael Genner, langjähriger Aktivist und Organisator von politischem Wiederstand. Aktiv bei „Asyl in Not”
Gáspár Miklós Tamás, Philosoph, vielseitiges politisches Engagement in Ungarn

Sebastian Vetter, Platypus Affiliated Society

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

Wann? 29.10.2018, 19:00


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