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Books published by Platypus Publishing

Marxism in the Age of Trump

Edited by Chris Cutrone

The present crisis of neoliberalism is a crisis of its politics. In this way it mirrors the birth of political neoliberalism, in the Reagan-Thatcher Revolution of the late 1970s through early 1980s. The economic crisis of 2007–2008 took eight years to manifest as a political crisis. That political crisis was expressed by SYRIZA’s election in Greece, Jeremy Corbyn’s rise to leadership of the Labour Party, the Brexit referendum, and Bernie Sanders’s, as well as Donald Trump’s, campaign for President of the U.S. Now Trump’s election is the most dramatic expression of this political crisis of neoliberalism.

The heritage of 20th century “Marxism”—that of both the Old Left of the 1930s and the New Left of the 1960s—does not facilitate a good approach to the present crisis and possibilities for change. Worse still is the legacy of the 1980s post-New Left of the era of neoliberalism, which has scrambled to chase after events ever since Thatcher and Reagan’s election. A repetition and compounding of this failure is manifesting around Trump’s election now.

“Marxists” and the “Left” more generally have been very weak in the face of such phenomena, ever since Reagan and up through Bill Clinton’s Presidency. Neoliberalism was not well processed in terms of actual political possibilities. Now, it is too late: whatever opportunity neoliberalism presented is past.

Trump’s victory is the beginning not the end of a process of transforming the Republican Party as well as mainstream politics more generally that is his avowed goal. So the question is the transformation of democracy—of how liberal democratic politics is conducted. This was bound to change, with or without Trump. Now, with Trump, the issue is posed point-blank. There’s no avoiding the crisis of neoliberalism.

This volume collects articles originally published in the Platypus Review between 2015 and 2017, by Chris Cutrone, Leonie Ettinger, Boris Kagarlitsky, Catherine Liu, Daniel Lommes, Gregory Lucero, Nikos Malliaris, John Milios and Emmanuel Tomaselli, addressing questions and problems raised for the Left by the election of Trump.

Contents
ixMarxism in the Age of Trump

xiThe Platypus Review Editorial Statement of Purpose

01 The Sandernistas: The final triumph of the 1980s
Chris Cutrone

13 Who's afraid of Donald Trump?
Boris Kagarlitzky

19 Paralysis of will: Bernie Sanders' capitulation
Boris Kagarlitzky

25 Why not Trump?
Chris Cutrone

31 The call to advent: an answer to Chris Cutrone's "Why not Trump?"
Daniel Lommes

35 Critical authoritarianism
Chris Cutrone

45 Freedom from progress: Donald Trump, Christopher Lasch, and a Left in fear of America
Nikos Malliaris

65 Slavoj Žižek, Donald Trump, and the Left
Leonie Ettinger

79 The crisis of neoliberalism
Chris Cutrone, John Milios, Emmanuel Tomaselli, and Boris Kagarlitzky

111 Marxism in the age of Trump
Chris Cutrone, Catherine Liu, and Greg Lucero

135 The Millennial Left is dead
Chris Cutrone

Epilogue

147 The end of the Gilded Age: Discontents of the Second Industrial Revolution today
Chris Cutrone


Appendix

163 Symptomology: Historical transformations in social-political context
Chris Cutrone

The Platypus Review Reader, 2007-2014

Edited by Spencer A. Leonard

The Platypus Review Reader, 2007-2014 contains a selection of 50 articles distributed across ten headings: Marxism in the 20th century, the anti-war movement, the legacy of the New Left, Israel-Palestine, the election of Barack Obama, the economic crisis, art, the history of Marxism, Lenin, and the #Occupy Movement.

The Reader documents a central expression of the Platypus Affiliated Society’s project of clearing the obstacles to the formation of a new Left. In its pages, whether in edited forum transcripts, interviews, or articles, the speakers, interviewees, and authors seek in collaboration with the Platypus Review editors to explore the suggestion in the paper’s Statement of Purpose to the effect that “What exists today is built upon the desiccated remains of what was once possible.” The aim is not to lament, much less decry, the ruin, but instead to make conscious the discontinuity with what was (“the death of the Left”). Doing so requires recognizing what the Left that once existed was, so that the prospect of its reemergence (in necessarily much altered form) can begin at least to be contemplated (and felt as a need).

The Platypus Review expresses a desire to “bury the dead,” or, better, to actively assist in letting the dead bury themselves. Its aim is not to denigrate, much less stifle, any movement or campaign, however modest, but to see that the rites be performed that death demands if there is to be any possibility of its enabling a future regeneration of actual leftist politics. The Review sought to do this by performing the function of curation. As this was expressed in the Statement of Purpose, the dead weight of the Left, so palpable in the anti-war movement, could not “be cast off by sheer will, by simply ‘carrying on the fight.’” Rather, it “must be addressed and itself made an object of critique.” We could not ourselves—whether by study and reflection or by experience (and further reflection)—attain perspectives superior to those we nevertheless seek to resituate as objects of critique and appropriation for a new generation. As we rather hopefully put it in our editorial statement, “To make sense of the present, we find it necessary to disentangle the vast accumulation of positions on the Left and to evaluate their saliency for the possible reconstitution of emancipatory politics in the present.” What we faced on the Left, we felt, was in fact a “vast accumulation of positions,” and this demanded that we evolve a strategic orientation and an activity based not so much in the “positions” themselves as to their manner of “accumulation.” This was the aspiration of the PR from its earliest inception. It is an enterprise upon which it embarked in its first issue with what appears, in retrospect, an uncanny self-awareness, one that perhaps no other post-New Left moment could have afforded and, certainly, a self-awareness that none other did.

616 pages
6.7” X 1.4’’ X 9.5”
2.6 lbs.

Contents
Introduction
Acknowledgements
Statement of purpose of the Platypus Review
Marxism in the 20th century
1 The decline of the Left in the 20th century: Toward a theory of historical regression
Benjamin Blumberg, Chris Cutrone, Atiya Khan, Spencer A. Leonard, and Richard Rubin
2 Learning from the Communist Movement of the 20th century: A response to Richard Rubin
Grover Furr
The anti-war movement
3 Imperialism: What is it? Why should we be against it?
Kevin Anderson, Chris Cutrone, Nick Kreitman, Danny Postel, and Adam Turl
4 The 3 Rs—Reform, revolution, and “resistance”: The problematic forms of “anti-capitalism” today
Michael Albert, Chris Cutrone, Stephen Duncombe, and Brian Holmes
5 Going it alone: Christopher Hitchens and the death of the Left
Spencer A. Leonard
The legacy of the New Left
6 To the victor, the spoils: Review of Artforum’s May 2008 issue “May ’68”
Benjamin Blumberg
7 Book Review: Frantz Fanon, Black Skin, White Masks
Sunit Singh
8 You don’t need a Marxist to know which way the wind blows: An interview with Mark Rudd
Spencer A. Leonard and Atiya Khan
9 Chinoiserie: A critique of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA’s “New Synthesis”
Chris Cutrone
10 Up in the air: The legacy of the New Communist Movement: An interview with Max Elbaum
Spencer A. Leonard
11 Which way forward for sexual liberation?
Kenyon Farrow, Greg Gabrellas, Gary Mucciaroni, and Sherry Wolf
12 Emancipation in the heart of darkness: An interview with Juliet Mitchell
Sunit Singh
13 “These petrified relations must be forced to dance”: An interview with Dick Howard
Douglas La Rocca and Spencer A. Leonard
Israel-Palestine
14 Which way forward for Palestinian liberation?
Hussein Ibish and Joel Kovel with Richard Rubin
15 Communism and Israel
Initiative Sozialistisches Forum
16 German psycho: A reply to the Initiative Sozialistisches Forum
Felix Baum
17 Marxism and Israel: Left perspectives on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict
Alan Goodman and Richard Rubin
The election of Barack Obama
18 Progress or regress? The future of the Left under Obama
Chris Cutrone, Stephen Duncombe, Pat Korte, Charles Post, and Paul Street
19 Black politics in the age of Obama
Cedric Johnson and Mel Rothenberg
The economic crisis
20 Living Marxism
James Heartfield
21 Why the U.S. stimulus package is bound to fail
David Harvey
22 Symptomology: Historical transformations in social-political context
Chris Cutrone
23 Resurrecting the '30s: A response to David Harvey and James Heartfield
Ian Morrison
24 Letter from Greece: Brief notes on revolt and crisis in Greece and the Greek situation
Thodoris Velissaris
25 Radical interpretations of the present crisis
David Graeber, Saul Newman, Hillel Ticktin, and James Woudhuysen
26 The politics of work
Stanley Aronowitz, Robert Pollin, and Jason Wright
Art
27 Is the funeral for the wrong corpse? An interview with Hal Foster
Omair Hussain and Bret Schneider
28 “I can’t go on, I’ll go on”: A response to “Questionnaire on ‘The Contemporary’” in October and “What is Contemporary Art?” in e-flux
Chris Mansour
29 After Hegel: An interview with Robert Pippin
Omair Hussain
The history of Marxism
30 Marx after Marxism: An interview with Moishe Postone
Benjamin Blumberg and Pam C. Nogales C.
31 Capital in history: The need for a Marxian philosophy of history of the Left
Chris Cutrone
32 An unmet challenge: Race and the Left in America
Benjamin Blumberg
33 Against dogmatic abstraction: A critique of Cindy Milstein on anarchism and Marxism
Chris Cutrone
34 The Marxist hypothesis: A response to Alain Badiou’s “communist hypothesis”
Chris Cutrone
35 Overcoming bourgeois right: An interview with Mel Rothenberg
Spencer A. Leonard
36 The politics of Critical Theory
Nicholas Brown, Chris Cutrone, Andrew Feenberg, and Richard Westerman
37 Subject, class, and the Hegelian legacy in critical social theory
Timothy Hall
38 The elusive “threads of historical progress”: The early Chartists and the young Marx and Engels
David Black
39 Marx and Wertkritik
Elmar Flatschart, Jamie Merchant, and Alan Milchman
Lenin
40 Lenin’s liberalism
Chris Cutrone
41 October 1921: Lenin looks back
Lars T. Lih
42 Lenin’s legacy today
Tamas Krausz
43 Lenin’s politics: A rejoinder to David Adam on Lenin’s liberalism
Chris Cutrone
44 Lenin and the Marxist Left after #Occupy
Ben Lewis and Tom Riley with Chris Cutrone
45 The relevance of Lenin today
Chris Cutrone
The #Occupy Movement
46 A cry of protest before accommodation? The dialectic of emancipation and domination
Chris Cutrone
47 The #Occupy movement, a renascent Left, and Marxism today: An interview with Slavoj Žižek
Haseeb Ahmed with Chris Cutrone
48 The movement as an end-in-itself? An interview with David Graeber
Ross Wolfe
49 What is the #Occupy Movement? A roundtable discussion
Hannah Appel, Jeremy Cohan, Erik Van Deventer, Brian Dominick, and Nathan Schneider
Epilogue
50 Class consciousness (from a Marxist perspective) today
Chris Cutrone
Appendices
I What is a Platypus? On Surviving the Extinction of the Left
II A Short History of the Left
III Statement of Purpose of the Platypus Affiliated Society
IV The Platypus Synthesis
Ian Morrison, Richard Rubin, and Chris Cutrone