THE PLATYPUS AFFILIATED SOCIETY'S project is to think through the impact of defeat and decline on the revolutionary Left’s theory and praxis. Although both my political and philosophical opinions differ profoundly from those of Platypus, I find great value in engaging with their viewpoint on the relationship between philosophy and politics. I hope that this essay will contribute to a productive discussion.
IN A RECENT ARTICLE on the transgender liberation movement, David Faes mobilizes a critique of the electoral strategies of the homo/transnormative political struggle. Faes’s critique reprimands the methods of LGBTQ+ activists on the Left for pursuing social change through “existing civic institutions and the Democratic Party.” While I in no way support the primacy of electoral politics as an emancipatory strategy, I cannot help but disagree with this perspective for ignoring the fact that people suffering from oppression inevitably need to aim for reform in some cases in order to alleviate the pains of marginalization.
A SENIOR TEACHING COLLEAGUE of mine at the University of Chicago revised the college core syllabus, which he said needed to be “brought into the 21st century.” What he really meant by this was brought into the 20th century — specifically, the late 20th century. But the 20th century was determined by the 19th century. There was very little that was new, and most of it was bad.
“THE REVOLUTION MAROONED,” published in the Platypus Review #114, contains valuable observations on the heroism and tragedy of the Cuban revolution. It also demonstrates how Trotskyist methodology has lost the ability to explain the present convincingly. An examination of how Trotskyists responded to the Cuban revolution reveals degenerative weaknesses in their interpretation, most notably an equivocal conception of Stalinism.