What follows is an edited transcript of a panel hosted on December 14, 2020 by the Northwestern University chapter of the Platypus Affiliated Society, with Platypus member Clay Mills moderating.
IF I WERE TO ASK a room of leftists in the 2010s what distinguishes them from the Democrats, I would get many responses. One leftist may say: “Well, I am not a Democrat — I only use their facilities or spread socialism amongst the base, over which the leadership does not have any control.”
OCCUPY ERUPTED IN 2011 after the revolt of the Tea Party, a populist expression of discontent from the Right which provoked a renewal among the Republican Party base. In the shadow of the economic downturn, amidst global austerity protests, the Zuccotti Park occupiers looked to the rebellions in Cairo, Tunis, Athens and London.
During the 2000s I participated in the student movement that fought against the privatization of higher institutions. Youth militancy culminated in the 2008 uprising, when massive demos and nationwide riots followed the murder of a teenager by the Greek police. Radical direct democracy demands were promulgated and local assemblies sprouted all over the country. Although the uprising soon came to an end, it became obvious that the Greek Left was going through serious ideological and political transformations.
On Saturday, September 5, 2020, the Platypus Affiliated Society hosted a virtual panel discussion with Adam J. Sacks (professor of history at the University of Hong Kong and contributor to Jacobin), Ben Lewis (member of the Communist Party of Great Britain), Jason Wright (member of the Bolshevik Tendency) and Chris Cutrone (founding member of the Platypus Affiliated Society and professor of art history at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago). What follows is an edited transcript of the event.