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You are here: The Platypus Affiliated Society/Archive for category Panels

Mittwoch 11. Juni 2014, 19 Uhr
Campus Westend (Raum TBA)



Unter der „Neuen Linken“ werden gemeinhin verschiedene Strömungen der Linken in den 1960er/1970er Jahren in der BRD gefasst, die sich ausdrücklich von der „orthodoxen“, „traditionellen“ bzw. „alten“ Linken (sowohl vom Stalinismus im Osten wie auch von der reformistischen Sozialdemokratie im Westen) abgegrenzt haben. Die Abgrenzung von Organisations- und Aktionsformen der „alten“ Linken bestimmt seitdem maßgeblich die theoretische wie auch praktische Ausrichtung großer Teile dessen, was heute unter dem Begriff „Linke“ subsumiert wird.
Ungefähr zehn Jahre später gaben gerade diese Veränderungen, in den 1970er-Jahren in Deutschland, den Anstoß für zahlreiche, gescheiterte Versuche, eine neue Kommunistische Partei aufzubauen: die Zeit der sogenannten „K-Gruppen“. Der globalen Reorganisierung des Kapitals hin zum Postfordismus gegenüberstehend, waren diese Jahre sowohl in der Theorie wie auch in der Praxis von den Bemühungen geprägt, proletarische Klassenpolitik und marxistische Ansätze zu reetablieren. Gleichzeitig entstanden aus dem zerfallenden SDS verschiedene „Neue Soziale Bewegungen“, die sich spezifischeren Problemen annahmen und die klassischen marxistischen Kategorien und Praxisformen für unzureichend hielten, der neuen Situation gerecht zu werden.

Mehr als 45 Jahre nach dem weltweiten „Phänomen von '68“ stellt sich die Frage, was die Gemeinsamkeiten und vor allem, was die Unterschiede der „alten“ und „neuen“ Linken waren.

Inwiefern konnte die Neue Linke ihren Ansprüchen gerecht werden und inwieweit steht sie, verbunden durch ein Fortbestehen des Kapitalismus, in einer Traditionslinie mit jener „alten“ Linken, die im Nationalsozialismus größtenteils zerschlagen wurde? Welche Bedeutung für die westdeutsche Linke hatte der Umstand, dass Parallel zur Entwicklung in der BRD in der DDR gerade jene „alte Linke“ an der Macht war? Aber auch: Welche Verbindungen hat die heutige Linke zu jener Neuen Linken und welche Fragen, die vielleicht überwunden schienen, stellen sich heute erneut? Was war neu an der Neuen Linken und was ist ihre Erbe, nachdem die Mission, eine revolutionäre, emanzipatorische Umwälzung der Gesellschaft zu gestalten, heute nicht mehr in Aussicht zu stehen scheint? Wie aktuell sind die Fragen und Probleme, denen sich die Neue Linke gegenüber sah, heute?

In dieser Podiumsdiskussion sollen einerseits die Gründe für die scheinbare oder tatsächliche Niederlage der 1960er Jahre untersucht werden, andererseits aber auch die vernachlässigte Bedeutung des Erbes der 1970er Jahre für eine antikapitalistische und emanzipatorische Politik diskutiert werden.

One of four panels held by the Platypus Affiliated Society at Left Forum 2014, from May 30th to June 1st, 2014.

Much has taken place over the last 50 – 60 years in the realm of sexual liberation. The new left of the 1960s and 70s sparked a progression of women's liberation and gay rights by challenging both legislation and cultural norms. In the 1980s and 90s a sexually constricting society was further challenged through sex-positive activism in art and politics and on the street. Today, trans-identified individuals are more prominent in the media, non-heteronormative sexual identifications are more widely accepted, and the binary of gender is challenged through queer theory and supportive communities more widely accessible through the internet. Despite apparent gains in the project of sexual liberation, human sexuality remains subject to daily constraints: structural sexism persists, sex-work remains criminalized, the bourgeois family is the social norm, and impotence and fear of intimacy are among the many rampant inhibitions to sexual experience. What orientation should a movement for sexual liberation take toward sexuality? How can we today reflect on the efficacy or inefficacy of past movements. What are the limitations of politics today to address sexuality? Also, what is sexual repression and how does it function in society? Did past movements for sexual liberation undermine themselves? How were they successful and how did they fail?

Chair: Tana Forrester (Platypus)

Speakers: Cornelia Möser
Lonely Christopher (Kristiania Collective)
Jamie Keesling (Platypus)


One of four panels held by the Platypus Affiliated Society at Left Forum 2014, from May 30th to June 1st, 2014.

Although the art world seemed mostly unscathed by the 2008 financial crisis and the Occupy movement, a notable focus on the art market and the power structures of the art world has emerged in the past few years. This trend has been visible in gallery and museum shows, which have taken on a more introspective, historical character and largely shied away from the overblown spectacle of years past, and in numerous articles in various media outlets, from niche blogs to the New York Times. Moreover, the language of the art world, from gallery or museum press releases and catalogs to reviews to lengthy theoretical articles, has long been steeped in Marxist cultural critique, although this influence mostly remains implicit, unstated, and perhaps unconscious. Ben Davis’s recent book, 9.5 Theses on Art and Class, arrived as something of an anomaly in this atmosphere. A welcome anomaly, though, and one worth exploring further. What does a Marxist approach to contemporary art look like, separate from merely a critique of the art market or a preference for overtly “political” art? Davis and others have suggested that art’s true power lies in the utopian image of the figure of the artist, who embodies personally fulfilling labor, rather than art as such. This begs the fundamental question: what is the role of art itself in the contemporary landscape, and can this be separated from the structures (institutional and financial) in which it is embedded?

Robin Treadwell

Bret Schneider (Platypus)
Saul Ostrow (Critical Practices Inc.)
Mike Pepi
Oxana Timofeeva (Chto delat?/What is to be done?)

One of four panels held by the Platypus Affiliated Society at Left Forum 2014, from May 30th to June 1st, 2014.

We generally assume that Marxists and other Leftists have the political responsibility to support reforms for the improvement of the welfare of workers. Yet, leading figures from the Marxist tradition– such as Lenin, Luxemburg and Trotsky– also understood that such reforms would broaden the crisis of capitalism and potentially intensify contradictions that could adversely impact the immediate conditions of workers. For instance, full employment, while being a natural demand from the standpoint of all workers’ interests, also threatens the conditions of capitalist production (which rely on a surplus of available labor), thereby potentially jeopardizing the current system of employment altogether. In light of such apparent paradoxes, this panel seeks to investigate the politics of work from Leftist perspectives. It will attempt to provoke reflection on and discussion of the ambiguities and dilemmas of the politics of work by including speakers from divergent perspectives, some of whom seek after the immediate abolition of labor and others of whom seek to increase the availability of employment opportunities. We hope that this conversation will deepen the understanding of the contemporary problems faced by the Left in its struggles to construct a politics adequate to the self-emancipation of the working class.

Jon Bekken
Alan Milchman
James Livingston

A panel discussion held at Loyola University on April 3rd, 2014.

Tarek Shalaby (Revolutionary Socialists) 
Quentin Cyr (Quebec Student Strike) 
Glauk Tahiri (VETEVENDOSJE! movement) 

Respondent: Samir Gandesha 

Moderator: Nathan Smith

Panel Description: 
From massive demonstrations by students in the UK and Canada, to square occupations and general strikes in Greece, to the reemergence of Left political currents in Kosovo in response to waves of privatization and austerity, responses to the economic downturn were international in character. While the crisis has stabilized, conditions for many remain desperate. The fate of these new political movements in light of changed conditions is uncertain.

These new developments require coordination across global networks and it is why Platypus at Loyola is organizing a series of international panels that we hope can take place in Universities across the world where Platypus student members have been able to forge connections.

We hope that this panel will be an opportunity to report on activity and form new connections across international efforts. Panelists will report on the state of the Left in their respected regions and reflect on their experience as organizers while helping formulate what the next steps in organizing and planning could look like in the months and years ahead.