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Platypus International Convention 2021

Here is the FB event for the overall convention: https://fb.me/e/7gEMs4QCY 

From protests to politics? What was the Millennial Left?

Mar 28, 2021 12:00pm-2pm EDT/6pm-8pm CEST

Join on Zoom: https://zoom.us/j/94920307888

The past decade on the Left appears to have ended in an attempt to revive social democratic politics. Cutting its teeth in the 2011 Occupy movement only to spend the next three years in retreat, the Millennial Left eventually reconsolidated under the presidential campaign of Bernie Sanders and the Labour leadership of Jeremy Corbyn. Under these auspices, leftists sought out a vision that could strongly inform the direction of the established liberal parties. With the defeat of both politicians, however, these past ten years of effort have been placed into question. Some, like the late Leo Panitch, laud the progress made by the Millennial Left in moving “from protest to politics.” Others, being less optimistic, point to the ambivalent legacy of the liquidating sectarian Left. What has the past decade meant for the future horizons of leftist politics? In the coming decade, does the Left find itself entering a wider, or a narrower, field of possibility? What obstacles remain to be overcome?

—Danny Jacobs of the Platypus Affiliated Society
—John Leveille, associate professor of sociology at West Chester University and author of "Searching for Marx in the Occupy Movement"
—Connor Mauche, DSA Class Unity Caucus
—John Judis, editor at large at Talking Points Memo and author of 'The Socialist Awakening: What's Different Now About the Left' among other books.
—More panelists TBA

The Legacy of Trotskyism

Apr 2, 2021 3pm-5pm EDT/9pm-11pm CEST

Join on Zoom: https://zoom.us/j/93220596374

At its Third International Convention, the Platypus Affiliated Society hosted a plenary discussion titled The Legacy of Trotskyism. That panel's introduction specifically mentioned the Socialist Workers Party (UK), International Socialist Organization (USA), and New Anticapitalist Party (France) as contemporary representatives of Trotskyism. Since 2011, all three groups have significantly declined, or collapsed outright. The smaller Trotskyist sects, once a familiar sight outside socialist and trade union meetings, seem unable to replace their aging membership through recruitment, and face the prospect of their long-term leaders passing away without a new generation prepared to continue their mission. The current generation of "Left" activists, whether inspired by social democracy or "new social movements," seem to have bypassed Trotskyism entirely, in contrast to the 2001-2008 antiwar movement, which drew heavily on existing organizations' experience and discipline.

If Trotsky's foremost accomplishment was his political and intellectual opposition to Stalinism, this raises the question of what Trotsky and the Trotskyists have to say about our present circumstances. What is the relevance of Trotskyism for the Left today? What has Trotskyism made of Trotsky’s Marxism? Finally, is the collapse of Trotskyism a progressive or regressive overcoming?

—Bryan Palmer, author of the forthcoming "James P. Cannon and the Emergence of Trotskyism in the United States", Professor Emeritus at Trent University
—Mike Macnair, member of the Provisional Central Committee of the CPGB and author of "Revolutionary Strategy"
—Richard Rubin, member of the Organisational Committee of the Platypus Affiliated Society
—Wayne Price, a revolutionary anarchist and former member of the International Socialists and the Revolutionary Socialist League

The Politics of Critical Theory

Apr 3, 2021 1pm-3pm EDT / 7pm-9pm CEST

Join on Zoom: https://zoom.us/j/96133613423

For many on the Left, the Sanders and Corbyn campaigns, and the coinciding growth of the DSA and Momentum between 2015 and 2020, posed an opportunity for a revitalization of the Left. Following the failure of these campaigns there has been a resurgence of interest in the critical theory of the Frankfurt School amidst a reconsideration of goals, strategy and direction.

However, there was historically some contention within critical theory over the applicability of Marxist theory to the moment. This manifested in a dispute in the late ‘60s between Theodor Adorno and Herbert Marcuse over the efficacy of contemporary political action in the absence of a socialist party.

What then is the political role of critical theory for the Left today? How did the practice and theory of Marxism, from Marx to Lenin, make possible and necessary the politics of critical theory? How does our moment differ, or remain the same, from the one in which critical theory emerged?

—Dennis Graemer of the Association for the Design of History
—Doug Lain of Zer0 Books podcast
—Douglas Kellner, professor at UCLA and author of "Herbert Marcuse and the Crisis of Marxism"
—Chris Cutrone, founding member of the Platypus Affiliated Society

The Death of the Millennial Left

Apr 9, 2021 1pm-3pm EDT/7pm-9pm CEST

Join on Zoom: https://zoom.us/j/91337029953

In the October 2017 issue of the Platypus Review, Chris Cutrone pronounced the Millennial Left dead. His contention was that the Millennial Left never strived to live, rather, it “chose not to play its own hand, shying away in fear from the gamble.” Founded in 2006, Platypus exists to work through the undigested history of the Left, which has been blindly inherited by the Millennial generation. We are playing our own modest wager: by confronting the Left with its own past and dissolving the ideological obstacles contained therein, we aim to clear the way for the Left to live once again. Long live the Left!

As the Millennials age, the veterans of the Millennial Left have begun to tell their histories the coming-of-age Zoomers. What stories will they tell? Once more, the Left appears to call defeat a victory, and sets up the next generation for further regression from the task of socialism. Our moment calls for a critical history, one which holds up the forgotten aspirations of the past to the present’s lowered horizons.

This panel is an addendum to the "Dialectics of Defeat" panel (Left Forum, 2009) where the dates 2001, 1968, 1933, and 1917 anchor the history of regression. The present panelists have been assigned a phase of the Millennial Left they experienced as members of Platypus. They have been asked to reflect on that history via the organizations & publications which shaped developments of the Millennial Left. The panel will work through the manic-depressive phases of the last fourteen years: from the anti-Iraq-war movement (manic); to Obama and the Great Recession (depressive); Occupy & the Arab Spring (manic); the post-Occupy return to Marxism and the "Party turn" (depressive); the turn to Neo-Social-Democracy, & rise of the DSA (manic); and the 2016 election of Donald Trump & defeat of Bernie Sanders in the US, alongside Jeremy Corbyn in the UK (depressive).

All Platypus members panel. Panelists TBA.