A Channel 4 News interview with the Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Žižek circulated on the internet during November 2016, just days before the U.S. presidential election. In the video, the leftist philosopher appears in his usual manner—twitchy, repeatedly rubbing his nose—as he answers the question as to who would win his vote if he were American. Without hesitation, Žižek belts out, “Trump!” Then he elaborates: Trump is not the better candidate, or even likable, but Clinton poses the threat of absolute inertia.
On April 8, 2017, for the closing plenary of its 9th Annual International Convention, the Platypus Affiliated Society organized a panel discussion, 1917–2017, at the School of the Art Institute in Chicago. Tasked with reflecting on the historical significance of 1917 for the Left, the panel brought together Bryan Palmer, Chair of the Canadian Studies Department at Trent University and author of numerous histories of the Left; Leo Panitch, Professor of Political Science at York University, author, and co-editor of the Socialist Register; and Chris Cutrone, President of the Platypus Affiliated Society. Pamela Nogales, of Platypus, moderated. What follows is an edited transcript of their discussion.