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Panel held on March 31st, 2012 at the Fourth Annual Platypus International Convention, School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

In 2009 President Obama's auto bailouts became a major flashpoint between the left and the mainstream of the labor movement. The majority of the left, including UAW dissidents, felt the auto bailouts were a missed opportunity to retool our manufacturing base, and a miserable half-measure.

On the other hand, mainstream labor leaders, and a consistent majority of polled union members, endorsed Obama's plan and explanation that the bailouts were an extraordinary measure and that government support for union ownership of firms was generally inappropriate. In 2009 an absolute majority of Americans opposed the auto bailouts altogether by an average 3 to 2 margin.

What does #Occupy's demand for "more democracy" in the labor movement mean in this context, where the majority of members did not support a comprehensive intervention into the affairs of GM and Chrysler?

Panelists:
John Peterson (International Marxist Tendency)
David Moberg (In These Times)
James Manos (Occupy Chicago Labor Committee)

Panel held on March 31st, 2012 at the Fourth Annual Platypus International Convention, School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

#Occupy represents one of the most significant prospects and challenges for the Left in the past decade. Working through the politics of #Occupy is a delicate matter. In some ways, the increasing influence of anarchism upon the Left since the rise of the anti-globalization movement of the 1990's continues to be visible in #Occupy (horizontal organizational structures, repurposing of public property, an emphasis on alternative forms of community and production "autonomously" produced within capitalism). At the same time, #Occupy has shied from imitating past protests directly (e.g. the lesser adoption of black bloc tactics) largely in favour of ambiguous claims about the unity of the 99% for a fairer world.

We hope this panel can work through what anarchism means for occupy, and, more broadly, to what extent revolutionary perspectives can and should be integrated into Occupy. This means clarifying the conflicts that exist within anarchism as a politics, recognizing those aspects of anti-capitalist politics which seem to have by osmosis found themselves within #Occupy's organization, and to which strains of revolutionary thought it seems to be resistant.

Can #Occupy pave the way for insurrection and revolution?

Panelists

John Slavin (Industrial Workers of the World, 4 Star Anarchist Organization)
Daniel Dulce (Crimethinc)
Kelvin Ho (Occupy Chicago)
Sara Whitford (Formerly Occupy Chicago)

At the fourth annual international convention of the Platypus Affiliated Society, speakers from various perspectives were asked to bring their experience of the Left’s recent history to bear on today’s political possibilities and challenges as part of the "Differing Perspectives on the Left" workshop series.

A workshop on Occupy Chicago with representatives and participants in the movement held on March 31st, 2012.