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.
ixMarxism in the Age of Trump
xiThe Platypus Review Editorial Statement of Purpose
01 The Sandernistas: The final triumph of the 1980s
13 Who's afraid of Donald Trump?
19 Paralysis of will: Bernie Sanders' capitulation
25 Why not Trump?
31 The call to advent: an answer to Chris Cutrone's "Why not Trump?"
35 Critical authoritarianism
45 Freedom from progress: Donald Trump, Christopher Lasch, and a Left in fear of America
65 Slavoj Žižek, Donald Trump, and the Left
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
147 The end of the Gilded Age: Discontents of the Second Industrial Revolution today
163 Symptomology: Historical transformations in social-political context
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.
Benjamin Blumberg, Chris Cutrone, Atiya Khan, Spencer A. Leonard, and Richard Rubin
Kevin Anderson, Chris Cutrone, Nick Kreitman, Danny Postel, and Adam Turl
Michael Albert, Chris Cutrone, Stephen Duncombe, and Brian Holmes
Spencer A. Leonard
Spencer A. Leonard and Atiya Khan
Spencer A. Leonard
Kenyon Farrow, Greg Gabrellas, Gary Mucciaroni, and Sherry Wolf
Douglas La Rocca and Spencer A. Leonard
Hussein Ibish and Joel Kovel with Richard Rubin
Initiative Sozialistisches Forum
Alan Goodman and Richard Rubin
Chris Cutrone, Stephen Duncombe, Pat Korte, Charles Post, and Paul Street
Cedric Johnson and Mel Rothenberg
David Graeber, Saul Newman, Hillel Ticktin, and James Woudhuysen
Stanley Aronowitz, Robert Pollin, and Jason Wright
Omair Hussain and Bret Schneider
Benjamin Blumberg and Pam C. Nogales C.
Spencer A. Leonard
Nicholas Brown, Chris Cutrone, Andrew Feenberg, and Richard Westerman
Elmar Flatschart, Jamie Merchant, and Alan Milchman
Lars T. Lih
Ben Lewis and Tom Riley with Chris Cutrone
Haseeb Ahmed with Chris Cutrone
Hannah Appel, Jeremy Cohan, Erik Van Deventer, Brian Dominick, and Nathan Schneider
Ian Morrison, Richard Rubin, and Chris Cutrone