Platypus European Conference 2014
The Inaugural European Conference of the Platypus Affiliated Society was held at Goldsmiths College, London, July 18 - 20, 2014.
Platypus continues with its mission to host the critical conversation on the death of the Left, in order to help found anew an emancipatory political practice that is presently absent.We aim at an international perspective in doing so. Already our activities in European chapters (in London, Frankfurt, Prishtina and Thessaloniki) show there is a need for such conversations to take place.
We see our activity as but a small part of the division of labour required to overcome capitalism. So now we ask, what might it mean for us to host a more consciously international conversation on the death of the Left? One hundred years ago, the modern nation state came into acute crisis through inter-imperialist struggles, arguably brought about by the growth and development of the working class internationally. In this moment, the historical consciousness of the class in itself and for itself (the international movement for socialism) faltered when the German SPD capitulated to nationalist tendencies and voted for war credits. With the Left today we witness a stark lack of power to transform society. Nevertheless, in Platypus we invite the question: What is the Left today?
What are the necessary tasks for the Left in the 21st century? How does the Left understand its own role as an agent of societal transformation? Europe has experienced the global economic crisis in ways shared by the rest of the world, but also in particularities of national contexts. The Left's attempts to address particularities within different contexts as well as internationally needs examining. This crisis has also manifested ongoing concerns about the status of 'Europe' itself, and what stance should the Left take on the European Union (should the European Union, as an ostensibly imperialist agent, be overcome?). In addition, what stance should the Left take regarding elections, and what is the role of "unity" in this context? And what is the role of the European Left in building a political opening for the Left on the world's stage? Again, what role should the Left to take given its diminished social weight today? Is it possible, desirable or necessary to express unity over the current inter-imperialist crisis in Ukraine, for example, given that the historical consciousness of the class in itself and for itself, is so lacking in this moment?
In this inaugural European conference, we will be inviting others on the Left to present the mission behind their political projects. We hope to learn from these effort, and contribute to them by providing the time for critical reflection. In addition, we also want to stress our mission - the necessity for Platypus, as part of a division of labour amongst the Left: to host a critical conversation on the Left's unprecedented weakness. We hope our activities will contribute to overcoming present obstacles to an emancipatory future Left.
We say: The Left is dead! Long live the Left!