Platypus panel at the Left Forum 2010 in New York City, Pace University, March 20, 2010.
The 2003 U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq was, like the 1990-91 Gulf War, a turning point for the international Left, though few recognized this. While the Iraq war has been a rallying point for anti-hegemonic and anti-“imperialist” sentiments around the world, it did not provide for either theoretical or practical convergence for reinvigorating the Left, but rather revealed its fragmented and confused state. Though activism has been largely united in opposing the war, it failed to articulate a greater vision for how opposition to the war contributes to a greater program of social emancipation for the Left internationally. Indeed, the Iraq war tends to figure only in terms of particular U.S. policy. Many in mainstream U.S. politics -- the Democratic Party -- argued against the war as a foolhardy project of trying to bring democracy to Iraq. Some on the Left, in recognition of this problem, supported the U.S. militarily overthrowing Saddam Hussein’s Baathist state in Iraq. But which position was in fact more conservative, that is, Right-wing? This panel is organized around the question, how has the Left responded to the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq? Why has the Iraq war proven such a stumbling block for the Left developing an adequate response? Who is capable of standing up for the Iraqis now? For what the Left owes to Iraq is the same as it owes to any “nation” -- freedom.
Laura Lee Schmidt (Chair) – Platypus Affiliated Society; History, Theory and Criticism of Art and Architecture, MIT
Issam Shukri – Worker-Communist Party of Iran (WPI)
Ashley Smith - International Socialist Organization
Christopher Cutrone – Platypus Affiliated Society; University of Chicago
On February 23th, 2010, Platypus hosted an event entitled Which Way Forward for Palestinian Liberation? in which Joel Kovel, author of Overcoming Zionism and frequent commentator on the Israel-Palestine conflict, and Hussein Ibish, political analyst and senior fellow at The American Task Force on Palestine, answered questions posed by Richard Rubin of Platypus.
Hussein Ibish is a senior fellow at the American Task Force on Palestine and is the executive director of the Hala Salaam Maksoud Foundation for Arab- American Leadership. From 1998-2004, he was Communications Director for the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), the largest Arab-American membership organization in the United States, with which he authored, along with Ali Abunimah, the issue-paper The Palestinian Right of Return. Ibish will discuss his recent book, What’s Wrong with the One State Agenda? Why Ending the Occupation and Peace with Israel is Still the Palestinian National Goal.
Joel Kovel is professor emeritus of social studies at Bard College, editor in chief of Capitalism, Nature, Socialism and the author of several books, including White Racism: A Psychohistory, A Complete Guide to Therapy, The Age of Desire: Case Histories of a Radical Psychoanalyst, The Radical Spirit, and The Enemy of Nature: The End of Capitalism or The End of the World. In 1998, he was the Green Party candidate for U.S. Senator from New York. He will be discussing his most recent book, Overcoming Zionism: Creating a Single Democratic State in Israel/Palestine.
Panel held on December 6th, 2009, at the University of Chicago.
A moderated panel discussion and audience Q&A bringing together three leading figures of the Pakistani labor movement to talk about workers rights, women’s rights, the struggle to organize in the shadow of the Taliban, and the impact of the ongoing war in Afghanistan on the workers of Pakistan. These topics will be explored in light of the increasingly pressing need to reconstitute an international Left.
President, Working Women Organization; and Chair, All Pakistan Trade Union Federation
Platypus Affiliated Society; and PhD candidate in History at the University of Chicago
Introduced and moderated by Spencer Leonard, Platypus Affiliated Society; Editor-in-Chief, The Platypus Review; and Collegiate Assistant Professor in the Social Sciences, University of Chicago
At the 1st annual international convention of the Platypus Affiliated Society, in Chicago, June 12-14, 2009, the concluding plenary event, a discussion on Platypus's theoretical stance, its raison d'etre, and where the project will be going.
Richard Rubin speaks on "Four Types of Ambiguity;" Chris Cutrone speaks on "History, Theory;" and Ian Morrison speaks on "What is to be Done?" Audience question-and-answer discussion follows. Held on June 14th, 2009 at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
Transcript can be found on our website (Click below):
The Platypus Affiliated Society presents a moderated panel discussion and audience Q&A addressing issues of global capital, trade unions, workers rights, international solidarity, and immigration, in light of recent economic and political change. Held on Thursday April 23, 2009, at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
Abraham Mwaura, United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America, organizer at the Republic Windows & Doors Factory.
Chuck Hendricks, Unite Here organizer
Aaron Hughes, representative at the International Labor Conference Erbil Iraq, and member of Iraq Veterans Against the War
James Thindwa, executive director of Chicago Jobs with Justice