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You are here: The Platypus Affiliated Society/Platypus International Convention/Platypus International Convention 2014/6th Annual International Convention, April 4-6th, 2014

6th Annual International Convention, April 4-6th, 2014


5:30pm - 6:30pm

Registration (Columbus Auditorium, 280 S. Columbus Drive)

Opening Plenary

6:00pm - 8:30pm
Tony Cliff's Legacy Today: International Socialism and the Tradition of Lenin and Trotsky (Columbus Auditorium, 280 S. Columbus Dr)
James Heartfield (
Charis Papadopoulos (Kokkino-SYRIZA)
Tarek Shalaby (Revolutionary Socialists)

“‘I became a Trotskyist in 1933. The theory of state capitalism is a development of Trotsky's position.... But at the end of the Second World War, the perspectives that Trotsky had put forward were not realized. Trotsky wrote that one thing was certain, the Stalinist bureaucracy would not survive the war. It would either be overthrown by revolution or by counterrevolution.... The assumption was that the collapse of the Stalinist bureaucracy would be a fantastic opening for the Trotskyist movement, for the Fourth International. The Stalinist bureaucracy not only didn't collapse but it expanded.... Therefore, at that time, Stalinism had a fantastic strength. And we had to come to terms with it.’
— Tony Cliff, interview with Ahmed Shawki (1997)

Tony Cliff's recognition in his own moment of a certain kind of impasse within Trotskyism and his attempt to overcome it require full consideration and appreciation both in terms of the merits of its potential and a consciousness of its limits. Panelists will address this legacy for the Left today.

9:00pm -
Dinner at Exchequer (226 S Wabash Ave., 60604):
$20 per person, includes pizza and beer


8:30am - 9:30am
Registration (Lobby: 112 South Michigan Ave.)

9:30am - 10:45am
Differing Perspectives on the Left: Session I
Anarcho-Syndicalist Review (USA) (MC 908)
Revolutionary Socialists (Egypt) (MC 919)
Democratic Socialists of America (USA) (MC 920)

11:00am - 12:15pm
Differing Perspectives on the Left: Session II
Chicago Socialist Campaign (USA) (MC908)
Institute for Anarchist Studies (USA) (MC919)
Lieux Communs / Political Group for Autonomy (France/Greece) (MC 920)

12:30pm - 1:15pm
Lunch (13th Floor Lounge)
Included in registration

Panel Sessions 1:

1:30pm - 3:00pm

Radical Ideologies Today: Marxism and Anarchism (MC 908)
Dimitrios Roussopoulos (Transnational Institute of Social Ecology)
Tarek Shalaby (Revolutionary Socialists (Egypt))
Joshua Stephens (Institute for Anarchist Studies)

Europe, its Crisis, and the Global Left (MC 919)
Bill Barclay
James Heartfield (
Mel Rothenberg (Chicago Political Economy Group)

Panel Sessions 2:

3:15pm - 4:45pm
150 Years after the First International: A Critical History (MC 908)
Jon Bekken (Anarcho-Syndicalist Review)
James Heartfield (
William Pelz (Elgin Community College)

The Concept of the Left and Right (MC 919)
Samir Gandesha (Simon Fraser University)
Nikos Malliaris (Lieux Communs)
Charis Papadopoulos (Kokkino-SYRIZA)

5:00 - 6:00pm
Dinner Break
On your own

Closing Plenary

6:30pm - 8:30pm
Revolutionary Politics and Thought (Columbus Auditorium, 280 S. Columbus Drive)

Chris Cutrone (Platypus)
Samir Gandesha (Simon Fraser University)
Nikos Malliaris (Lieux Communs)
Dimitrios Roussopoulos (Transnational Institute of Social Ecology)
Joseph Schwartz (Temple University)

“No coarser insult, no baser defamation, can be thrown against the workers than the remark, ‘Theoretical controversies are for the intellectuals’“
— Rosa Luxemburg, Reform r Revolution (1900)

“Since there can be no talk of an independent ideology formulated by the working masses themselves in the process of their movement the only choice is — either bourgeois or socialist ideology… This does not mean, of course, that the workers have no part in creating such an ideology. They take part, however, not as workers, but as socialist theoreticians, as Proudhons and Weitlings; in other words, they take part only when they are able, and to the extent that they are able, more or less, to acquire the knowledge of their age and develop that knowledge.“
— Vladimir Lenin, What is to be Done? (1905)

"The liquidation of theory by dogmatization and thought taboos contributed to the bad practice."
— Adorno, Negative Dialectics (1966)

This discussion will reflect on the relationship between revolutionary politics and thinking in the past and present and ask why has it become increasingly difficult to render political life intellectual and intellectual life political today? Panelists will consider the historical role of revolutionary theory as a moment of revolutionary politics, and the ways in which thinking can be held responsible for politics, and politics held responsible for thinking.

9:00pm - 1:00am
Convention Party (Cobbler Square Loft, 1350 North Wells, 60610)
$10 (includes 2 drinks)


11:00am- 12:30pm
Semi-Internal Plenary

Sponsored by the School of the Art Institute Student Government (SAICSG).
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