"The Left is Dead! Long Live the Left!"
The Platypus Affiliated Society, established in December 2006, organizes reading groups, public fora, research, and journalism focused on problems and tasks inherited from the “Old” (1920s-30s), “New” (1960s-70s), and post-political (1980s-90s) Left for the possibilities of emancipatory politics today.
The Platypus Affiliated Society holds two concurrent streams of the primary reading group for Australian participants where we explore the possibilities for emancipatory politics today! Please join us as we cast a critical light onto the accumulated wreckage of the past. One stream meets in-person on Thursday evenings at the Kathleen Syme community center in Carlton, Victoria, and the other stream meets online on wednesday nights via Zoom.
For information on how to get involved or for more information on the reading group contact us via pas1917melbourne(at)gmail(dot)com.
Marxist Reading GroupIntroduction to the history of the Left and Marxism
II. Introduction to revolutionary Marxism - Semester 1 (February-June)
Through reading key texts from the high period of the history of Marxism in the 2nd International and its crisis in the early 20th century, the problem of consciousness of this history and its potential political implications in the present are addressed. Readings include Luxemburg, Lenin, Trotsky, the philosophical reflections on Marxism by Lukacs and Korsch, and their ramifications in the Frankfurt School Critical Theory of Walter Benjamin, Horkheimer, and Adorno. 2023 Syllabus.
The Black Question and the Left: From 1776 to BLM - Winter 2023 (June-August)
We'll be reading the history of the so-called 'Black Question' in the USA, from the revolutions and civil war through to the new left and contemporary movements.Syllabus
Anarchism - Winter 2022 (June-July)
We read Proudhon, Bakunin, Kropotkin, Malatesta and Bookchin to tie in with our year-long theme on Anarchism. Syllabus
I. What is the Left? -- What is Marxism? - Semester 2 (August-December)
The historical roots of the Left and Marxism in the bourgeois revolution of the 17th-18th centuries and its 19th century crisis in capitalism are addressed through readings from Karl Marx and the background in radical bourgeois philosophy of Rousseau, Kant, and Hegel. 20th century attempts to recover Marx and Marxism's political consciousness by the Frankfurt School and in the 1960s-70s "New Left" frame the problem of consciousness of the Left in the mid-late 20th century leading to the present, through writings by Juliet Mitchell, Adolph Reed, Moishe Postone, and the Spartacist League/U.S., among others, and Theodor Adorno, Max Horkheimer, Georg Lukacs, Karl Korsch, and Leszek Kolakowski. 2022 Syllabus.
Coffee BreaksInformal discussions on politics, current events, etc.
Our semi-regular Coffee Breaks are a great way to meet Platypus members and fellow travelers, and to get to know the Platypus project. It’s an opportunity to discuss issues raised in the latest issue of the Platypus Review, consider the state of the Left, and just hang out with people who have similar political interests.
All of our events are open to the public, new attendants encouraged.
Public ForaHosting the conversation on the death of the Left
Upcoming Panel discussion on the topic "The Legacy of 1968".
Saturday June 24, 2023, 1-4pm, Victorian Trades Hall, Carlton.
Andy Blunden - Hegel Scholar, the first draft card burner in Melbourne in 1966, and later a member of the Workers Revolutionary Party. Writes at Ethical Politics.
Alison Thorne - Member of the Freedom Socialist Party, and founder of the Australian branch of Radical Women.
Arthur Dent - (AKA Albert Langer) Orthodox Maoist, former member of the CPA[M-L] and leader of the Red Eureka Movement in the 1970's. Writes at C21st Left.
Live stream of the event will be available on YouTube
“Marxism & Anarchism: Radical Ideologies today” Panel, July 30th, 2022.
We take the question of internationalism seriously and we do so through hosting the conversation at different cities, such as in Greece, Germany, Canada, US and UK. Through our public fora we try to raise the same issues in numerous contexts and thus build a continuous conversation through multiple locations. The importance of hosting the conversation, as opposed to organizing debates or varying forms of activism, is due to platypus’s self conception as a pre-political project. The choice of a pre-political project is not merely a choice to abstain from politics, but rather, it is informed by what we recognize as a greater absence of politics, that is, the absence of radical democratic social transformation in our moment. We don’t seek to host debates but instead “curate conversations” in which the differences among various tendencies on the “Left” can be manifested and worked through.
"The Australian Labor Party and the Left" Panel, November 14th, 2021.
"Coronavirus and the Left" Panel, November 2nd, 2021.
"What is Capitalism, and why should we be against it?" Panel, Saturday, May 22nd, 2021.
The Platypus ReviewOur monthly open-submission journal
The Platypus Review seeks to be a forum among a variety of tendencies and approaches on the Left—not out of a concern with inclusion for its own sake, but rather to provoke disagreement and to open shared goals as sites of contestation. The PR hopes to create and sustain a space for interrogating and clarifying positions and orientations currently represented on the Left, a space in which questions may be raised and discussions pursued that would not otherwise take place. Print copies will be made available at our regular events and at the New International Book Shop (NIBS) downstairs at Trades Hall in Carlton.