Platypus panel held at Left Forum 2010 in New York City, Pace University, March 20, 2010
Pat Korte, New School Students for a Democratic Society and Radical Student Union, Organization for a Free Society
Hannah Rappleye, CUNY School of Journalism, freelance journalist for Mott Haven Herald in the South Bronx, New School alumnus, former Senior Editor, New School Free Press
Easton Smith, Sarah Lawrence College, UNITE-HERE organizer
Ashley Weger, DePaul University, UNITE-HERE organizer, Platypus Affiliated Society
Moderator: Pamela Nogales, Platypus Affiliated Society
Within both historical and contemporary imaginations, university students are posed as playing an indispensable part in progressive and radical Left political movements. This legacy is imbued with and reproduces a sort of mythological nostalgia of the dissident student exemplified in early groups of the New Left such as SDS, whose name and politics found themselves recycled in the American anti-war movement surrounding the Afghan and Iraq wars. However, the twenty-first century student Left is hardly monolithic in its inclinations, ideologies and impulses. Rather, the current state of student politics is one exemplified both by autonomous actions and alliances, converging and diverging in the anti-war movement, labor solidarity campaigns, school occupations, new attempts toward intellectual discourse and theoretical engagement. Such a multifaceted scene requires adequate address. This panel seeks to host a variety of perspectives amongst actors and organizers of the contemporary student Left, engaging their experiences in dialogue with a multitude of questions that remain incompletely addressed as to the future of the university within the realm of emancipatory politics. Particular attention will be paid to the panelists' perspective on the importance of protest as political act, the prevalence and relevance of identity politics, and the current direction of student intellectualism and activism.
On Thursday March 11, 2010, Platypus Review Editor-in-Chief Spencer A. Leonard interviewed the prominent 1960s radical and last National Secretary of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), Mark Rudd, to discuss his recently published political memoir, Underground. In April, Leonard’s interview with Rudd, prepared in conjunction with Atiya Khan, was broadcast in two parts on “Radical Minds” on WHPK-FM 88.5 Chicago.
On October 16, 2008, a panel discussion titled What is a Movement? A Discussion on the Meaning and Direction of Left Political “Movements” Historically and Today was held in Chicago. The panelists were Luis Brennan of the new Students for a Democratic Society, Elena Davis of Pomegranate Health Collective, Chuck Hendricks of UNITE/HERE, Jorge Mujica of Movimiento 10 de Marzo, and Richard Rubin of Platypus.
"The desire for revolution cannot be born only when the situation is ripe, because among the conditions for this ripeness are the revolutionary demands made of an unripe reality."
-- Leszek Kolakowski
"But it is absurd to think of a purely 'objective' foresight. The person who has foresight in reality has a 'programme' that he wants to see triumph, and foresight is precisely an element of this triumph."
-- Antonio Gramsci
"The socialist order of society is not prevented by world history; it is historically possible. But it will not be realized by a logic that is immanent to history but by men trained in theory and determined to make things better. Otherwise, it will not be realized at all."
-- Max Horkheimer
". . . every shortcoming in historical duty increases the necessary disorder and prepares more serious catastrophes."
-- Antonio Gramsci
Information session for organizers of the May 1, 2008 International Workers' Day demonstration in Chicago, held on April 23rd, 2008 at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago
Co-sponsored by the Students for a Democratic Society and the Platypus Affiliated Society
“However difficult the task of grasping and confronting global capital might be, it is crucially important that a global internationalism be recovered and reformulated. . . .
The Left should be very careful about constituting a form of politics that, from the standpoint of human emancipation, would be questionable, at the very best, however many people it may rouse.”
— Moishe Postone, “History and Helplessness” (2006)
A moderated panel discussion and audience Q&A on issues of global capital, imperialism and war, possibilities for progressive political opposition, and the problems and tasks for the Left in the post-Cold War and post-9/11 world raised by the invasions and occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq. Held on January 30th, 2007, in Chicago.
Panelists: Kevin Anderson (News and Letters), Chris Cutrone (Platypus), Nick Kreitman (new Students for a Democratic Society), Danny Postel (OpenDemocracy.net), and Adam Turl (International Socialist Organization).