On October 14, 2017, Efraim Carlebach interviewed Ian Birchall at Birchall’s home in Edmonton, north London. In 1962, Birchall joined the International Socialists, a tendency led by Tony Cliff and the organizational forerunner of the extant Socialist Workers Party (UK), founded in 1977. Though he is no longer a member of the Socialist Workers Party, Birchall has remained a leading figure of the International Socialist tendency for over half a century. He is the author of numerous publications including the 2011 biography, Tony Cliff: A Marxist For His Time[i]. What follows is an edited transcript of the interview.
On May 11, 2017, Stefan Hain and Sebastian Vogel of the Platypus Affiliated Society conducted an interview with Sascha Staničić of the Sozialistische Alternative [SAV] and author of Anti-Sarrazin: Argumente Gegen Rassismus, Islamfeindlichkeit und Sozialdarwinismus (2011). What follows is a translation of the edited transcript of their conversation as published in the sixth issue of Die Platypus Review.
In an interview he gave to discuss his new book, October, China Mieville observed that to his surprise, there has been comparatively little published on the centenary of the Russian Revolution. This means that public commentary and reflection on the revolution is inevitably poorer as a result, and that more expectation is piled onto those books that have come out. Unfortunately neither Mieville’s October nor Tariq Ali’s The Dilemmas of Lenin: Terrorism, War, Empire, Love, Revolution are politically or intellectually sufficient to occupy even a small part of that gaping expanse resulting from the absence of wider discussion.
No act during the Bolshevik Revolution is more controversial than the decision to suppress the Constituent Assembly in January 1918. A century later, no question is politically more relevant.
On October 12, 2017, Erin Hagood interviewed Mark Bray, a participant in the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations, lecturer at Dartmouth and author of Antifa: The Anti-Fascist Handbook, to discuss the relationship of the anti-fascist movement to the Left and the challenges it faces in the age of Trump. The interview was aired during an episode of “Radical Minds” on WHPK-FM 88.5 Chicago. What follows is an edited transcript of the interview.
IN HIS LATEST BOOK Continuity and Rupture (2016), professor of philosophy at York University Josh Moufawad-Paul argues that the science of revolution has undergone a qualitative change in its epistemological foundation. What was taken as truth in the theory of Marxism-Leninism needs to be reconsidered in the light of the continual unfolding of history. The contradictions of Leninism can no longer be ignored, both in the light of the wealth of 20th century Marxist philosophy as well as the concrete experiences of class struggle.
WHEN PRESIDENT TRUMP ANNOUNCED the withdrawal of the United States from the Paris Climate Accord on June 1, 2017, for many liberals it meant that doom was upon us, that the earth was surely soon to be uninhabitable. Yet, if the Paris Accord was the best shot that our civilization had at survival, we were perhaps doomed from the start. NASA scientist James Hansen, at least, one of the earliest voices to raise the alarms about the effects of climate change, had deemed the Accord to be thoroughly inadequate to begin with.
On September 15, 2017 at the University of Houston the Platypus Affiliated Society organized a panel discussion, Anti-fascism in the Age of Trump. Participating on the panel were Gloria Rubac of the Workers World Party; Gus Breslauer of Redneck Revolt; Mark Kazanski of Socialist Alternative, Houston; and Bernard Sampson of the Communist Party, U.S.A., and the Democratic Socialists of America. Danny Jacobs of Platypus moderated. What follows is an edited transcript of their discussion.
The academic establishment can betray its trust in many ways; one of them is the teaching of irrelevant modes of thought not geared to understanding that which is really going on. The goal of teaching and learning has been set by the Western tradition: It is no longer (if it ever was) free choice; we have to work with the historical heritage which has shaped our thought and action, theory and practice.