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Seit einem halben Jahrhundert kennzeichnet 1968 einen Meilenstein sozialer und politischer Umbrüche, die die ganze Welt umspannten. Eingeleitet von einer Neuen Linken, welche sich von der Alten Linken (1920er/-30er) abzugrenzen suchte, legten die Ereignisse von 1968 den Grundstein für alles Folgende: von Protestpolitik bis hin zur akademischen Linken. Heute, da die USA in einen scheinbar endlosen Krieg in Asien verwickelt sind, der Aufruf zur Amtsenthebung eines unbeliebten Präsidenten laut wird, und sich auf den Straßen Aktivisten um Forderungen nach Befreiung hinsichtlich Herkunft, Gender und Sexualität zum Kampf erheben, treten die Ansprüche des politischen Horizonts von 1968 in Erinnerung. Welche Lehren sind aus der Neuen Linken zu ziehen, wenn eine andere Generation an den Aufbau einer Linken des 21. Jahrhunderts herantreten soll?
What does it mean today when the challenges to the status quo are no longer clearly identifiable as originating from the Left? While it seems implausible that Left ideology has been transcended because people still explain social currents in terms of Left and right, there is a sense in the present that to end exploitation will demand a measure of realpolitik—a better tactical response—rather than ideological clarification. One has the uneasy feeling that existence of the Left and the right only persist by virtue of the fact the concept of the Left has somehow become settled, static, and trapped in history. But wouldn't this be antithetical to any concept of the Left?

The two historical precedents for #Occupy are Seattle in 1999 and Paris in May 1968. The 1960s and 1990s saw the rise of anarchism against otherwise predominant liberal, social-democratic and Marxist tendencies. One difference in 2011 is democratic discontents in a period of economic crisis, whereas the mid- to late-20th century crises of the Fordist state and alterglobalization took place in periods of prosperity. How does the history of two preceding historical generations of the Left inform the present movement, and how might the present movement go beyond them? How is this a time for renewal on the Left? What might be the challenges for continuing Occupy Wall Street during deepening crisis and in the time of a general election in the U.S.?

Brooke Lehman is a faculty member at the Institute for Social Ecology and a longtime activist. She is on the Board of Smartmeme, the Brecht Forum, and Yansa, and spends most of her time organizing with Occupy Wall Street.

Dave Haack is an organizer of Occupy Your Workplace.

Red Channels and the Platypus Affiliated Society present:

The Poverty of Student Life, a film screening and discussion

SFimg

Monday, November 23, 7:30 pm - 10:30 pm @ The Brecht Forum, 451 West Street

San Francisco State: On Strike - Newsreel, 1969, 25 minutes
Community Control - Newsreel, 1969, 50 minutes
TOTAL RUNNING TIME: 75 minutes | Digital Projection

Discussion with:

Pam C. Nogales C. of the Platypus Affiliated Society

Luz Schreiber of the Committee in Defense of the Children's Learning Center at Hunter College, and Ollin Imagination

Jitu Weusi - teacher, principal, member of the African American Teachers Association, co-founder of The East (1969-1985)

[more TBA]


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Platypus Review articles on student politics:

1. Politics of the contemporary student Left

2.  Violence at the RNC

3. The New School occupation and the direction of student politics: an interview with Atlee McFellin

4. Five questions to the student Left

IN MAY OF 2009 SCIENTISTS IN BERLIN claimed to have unearthed the corpse of the martyred revolutionary leader Rosa Luxemburg. Stored in the cellar of a hospital, the corpse had neither a head, nor feet, nor hands. The stump of a corpse of Rosa Luxemburg lay rotting in a basement, subjected to the un-tender mercies of modern forensic science.