On March 9, 2023, Platypus Affiliated Society member Will Stratford interviewed German public intellectual and labor activist Wolfgang Streeck, former professor of sociology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the University of Cologne, author of several books on the political economy of capitalism, and current emeritus director of the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies in Cologne. They discussed a variety of issues confronting the German Left, including neoliberalism, the Aufstehen (“Stand Up”) movement, the German Left’s alienation of AfD voters, the war in Ukraine, and both the degeneration and prospects of Leftist politics today. An edited transcript follows.
LABOR HISTORY HAS SHOWN ITSELF to be a patently counterrevolutionary field of study, despite its radical bona fides. How one understands the field’s object, labor, is largely determined by one’s understanding of capitalism. Increasingly, however, labor historians conceptualize capitalism in a frivolous manner.