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HERBERT SPENCER’S GRAVE faces Marx’s at Highgate Cemetery in London. At his memorial, Spencer was honored for his anti-imperialism by Indian national liberation advocate and anti-colonialist Shyamji Krishnavarma, who funded a lectureship at Oxford in Spencer’s name.
ONE HUNDRED YEARS LATER, what does the crisis and split in Marxism, and the political collapse of the major parties of the 2nd International in 1914, mean for us today? The Spartacists, for example, are constantly in search of the "August 4" moment, the moment of betrayal of the proletariat's struggle for socialism by various tendencies in the history of Marxism. The Spartacists went so far as to confess their own "August 4th" when they failed to call for the immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops from Haiti in the aftermath of the earthquake there. So, what happened, from a Marxist perspective, on August 4, 1914, when the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD) members of the Reichstag voted to finance the Prussian Empire's war budget?
On April 6, 2013, a panel on “What is Imperialism? (What Now?)” took place during the Platypus International Convention at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. The panel was motivated by the ten-year anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq and aimed to discuss whether we are any closer to understanding what imperialism is and the relationship between anti-imperialism and anti-capitalism. This panel brought together Larry Everest from the Revolutionary Communist Party (USA), Joseph Green from Communist Voice, and James Turley of the Communist Party of Great Britain, and was moderated by Lucy Parker of Platypus. What follows is an edited transcript of the conversation.

A panel discussion event held on May 28th, 2010, at the 2010 Platypus International Convention held at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

To many on the Left today, opposition to imperialism has become a political litmus test of sorts, but historically anti-imperialism was by no means an exclusively leftist political projectâwhether we are speaking of right-wing anti-colonialism in the metropole or in the colonies. In light of these confusions, this panel seeks to clarify the character of the imperialism question on the Left from the Second International to the contemporary anti-war movement, in three interrelated papers. The first will begin at the end of this trajectory by examining anti-anti-imperialist discourse on the Left from the debate Bill Warrenâs Imperialism through Bosnian solidarity in the 1990s and the writings of anti-anti-imperialist leftists such as Fred Halliday, Christopher Hitchens, and Moishe Postone after 9/11. It will address centrally the question of the status and strategic significance of left anti-imperialism in the context of a moribund world revolution as well as in light of the 19th century Marxist legacy respecting the National Question. The second paper will revisit the foundational debates on "imperialism" in the Second International and the early Comintern. By returning to this locus classicus the aim is to examine the impetus given to the âcolonial questionâ by the Bolshevik Revolution and the formation of the Third International. The interconnection for Lenin and Third International radicals between the national and the colonial questions with world revolutionary strategy came to be unhinged for later apologists of Third World nationalism. The third will consist a close consideration of the Stalinization of the imperialism question with special reference to the Communist parties of India and Pakistan from 1928-1968. This is a particularly appropriate test case given the centrality of the subcontinentâs centrality in the history of decolonization and the fact that the Marxist Left in India emerged only after the Stalinization of the international Left.

Panelists
Atiya Khan
Spencer Leonard
Sunit Singh

I was intrigued to find in The Platypus Review #7 a commentary by Chris Cutrone on the U.S. role in world politics. I found it more sophisticated and original than anything I had previously come across in the mainstream media either here or in Europe.