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You are here: The Platypus Affiliated Society/Platypus European Conference/Platypus European Conference 2014/The Inaugural European Conference of the Platypus Affiliated Society

The Inaugural European Conference of the Platypus Affiliated Society


Platypus Panel Event: What is Platypus doing?

At this panel event (open to all), Platypus members Lucy Parker (London); Jan Schroeder (Frankfurt); and Nikos Manousakis (Thessaloniki) will be reflecting on these questions below. This will be followed by an open audience Q&A.
  • What have been some of the more significant engagements in your chapter with the Left? Why was this important for the development of your chapter and, what has this engagement taught us about the nature international Left?
  • What are some challenges in building your local chapter, what is the landscape of the Left that makes it hard to navigate etc?
  • Why Platypus? Why does platypus need to exist in your location aside from you being there?What are the recurring points of discussions within your chapter? Do you feel like your chapter differs from the international discussions if so how?
  • This is an international conference, in what way do you see yourself as part of an international organization and how do you see Platypus as an international project? What do you see as the growing trends in the Left in the next year or two? How might Platypus be positioned to address these? Should it?
  • Where do you want Platypus to go? What other kind of engagements do you hope to foster in the future with the help of other international chapters?

18:30 – 20:00 NAB 314


11:00-17:00 Perspectives on the Left Workshops

RHB 143:  International Bolshevik Tendency
NAB 305:  James Heartfield, book talk: ‘An Unpatriotic history of the Second World War’ 


RHB 143: Communist Party of Great Britain 
NAB 305: The Greens (Austria)
LG01 143: Podemos (Spain) 
RHB 143: David Black (International Marxist-Humanists), author of The philosophical roots of anti-capitalism, presents a book talk focussing on  'Alfred Sohn-Rethel's Neo-Kantian Marxism: a Critique
NAB 305: Alliance for Worker’s Liberty 
LG01 143:  Worker’s Fight

19: 00 – 20: 30 PANEL EVENT: Is there a need for Left Unity? Communist Party of Great Britain International Bolshevik Tendency Costas Douzinas LG01

The conference is FREE to attend for ALL


Join us at the first European Conference of the Platypus Affiliated Society - 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! euroflyer-maponly