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THERE ARE SECTIONS of the international left that support Iran’s Islamic regime, want to ban any criticism of its dictatorial practices, and condemn calls for its revolutionary overthrow because it is currently threatened by the U.S. and its allies. It is entirely legitimate to be sharply critical of this approach and to ask: What has created this bizarre allegiance of sections of the antiwar left with some of the most unsavory Islamic governments and political forces in the Middle East and beyond?
DESPITE THE CREATION OF AN AUTOCRATIC and anti-Semitic regime after the Khomeneiite revolution of 1979, the European Community and later the European Union continued to deal with the Islamic Republic of Iran; and even with new, insufficient sanctions in place, trade with Iran continues until today. It is the capitalist state’s primary task to allow the further realization of capital, but there is a certain sense in which politics surpasses this function

From accusations directed towards Occupy Wall Street to arson attacks in Brooklyn, antisemitism has reemerged as a concern of the left in recent months. This talk will look at the relationship between the left and antisemitism, giving an overview of different historical forms, analyzing divergent theoretical explanations, and comparing the U.S. and German cases. Special attention will be given to examining the particular relationship of antisemitism to political economy and critiques of capitalism, the political implicationst of viewing antisemitism as a form of prejudice versus an ideology, and left debates around antisemitism and Israel post-9/11.

This event is part of the transatlantic dialogue series initiated by the Platypus Affiliated Society which aims to rebuild an emancipatory internationalism.

Zeena Arnold is an activist and scholar from Germany researching perspectives on antisemitism within the U.S. left.

A talk held on November 17th, 2010 at the University of Illinois.

In the years immediately following World War II French intellectuals Jean-Paul Sartre and Frantz Fanon turned their attention to racism, anti-semitism and anti-black racism. Both men were engaged with both. Neither wrote from identity, but rather both sought to link their reflections to Marxism, to its failure and possible reconstitution.

The texts Sartre and Fanon wrote during the years 1945-1952 primarily Anti-Semite and Jew and Black Orpheus by one and Black Skin, White Masks by the other remain enigmatic, resisting assimilation to the canons of identity politics. Unlike later writings taken up by the New Left in the 1960s, above all Fanon's Wretched of the Earth with Sartre's notorious preface, the writings from the immediate post-war years are rarely revisited today and, insofar as they cannot be rendered mere precursors to the later works, they are ignored.

This talk seeks to recover the concerns of Sartre and Fanon regarding racism in the post-war years and, if possible, to estrange these writings in the process. That is, it seeks to raise as a question what has since become falsely naturalized: How did Sartre and Fanon intend their writings on racism not as contributions to the dismantling of Marxism, but to its reconstitution?

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.