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Andrew Kliman

RADICAL INTERPRETATIONS OF THE PRESENT CRISIS

November 14th, 2012

8-10:30PM

WollmanHall
Eugene Lang Building, 6th floor
65 W 11th St
New York, NY10011

WITH: LOREN GOLDNER | DAVID HARVEY | ANDREW KLIMAN | PAUL MATTICK

The Present Crisis

The present moment is arguably one of unprecedented confusion on the Left.  The emergence of many new theoretical perspectives on Marxism, anarchism, and the left generally seem rather than signs of a newfound vitality, the intellectual reflux of its final disintegration in history.  As for the politics that still bothers to describe itself as leftist today, it seems no great merit that it is largely disconnected from the academic left’s disputations over everything from imperialism to ecology. Perhaps nowhere are these symptoms more pronounced than around the subject of the economy.

As Marxist economics has witnessed of late a flurry of recent works, many quite involved in their depth and complexity, recent activism around austerity, joblessness, and non-transparency while quite creative in some respects seems hesitant to oppose with anything but nostalgia for the past the status quo mantra, “There is no Alternative.”  At a time when the United States has entered the most prolonged slump since the Great Depression, the European project founders on the shoals of debt and nationalism.  If the once triumphant neoliberal project of free markets for free people seems utterly exhausted, the “strange non-death of neo-liberalism,” as a recent book title has it, seems poised to carry on indefinitely.  The need for a Marxist politics adequate to the crisis is as great as such a politics is lacking.

And 2011 now seems to be fading into the past.  In Greece today as elsewhere in Europe existing Left parties remain largely passive in the face of the crisis, eschewing radical solutions (if they even imagine such solutions to exist).  In the United States, Occupy has vanished from the parks and streets, leaving only bitter grumbling where there once seemed to be creativity and open-ended potential. In Britain, the 2011 London Riots, rather than political protest, was trumpeted as the shafted generation’s response to the crisis, overshadowing the police brutality that actually occasioned it.  Finally, in the Arab world where, we are told the 2011 revolution is still afoot, it seems inconceivable that the revolution, even as it bears within it the hopes of millions, could alter the economic fate of any but a handful.

While joblessness haunts billions worldwide, politicization of the issue seems chiefly the prerogative of the right.  Meanwhile, the poor worldwide face relentless price rises in fuel and essential foodstuffs. The prospects for world revolution seem remote at best, even as bankers and fund managers seem to lament democracy’s failure in confronting the crisis. In this sense, it seems plausible to argue that there is no crisis at all, but simply the latest stage in an ongoing social regression. What does it mean to say that we face a crisis, after all, when there is no real prospect that anything particularly is likely to change, at least not for the better?

In this opaque historical moment, Platypus wants to raise some basic questions:

* Do we live in a crisis of capitalism today and, if so, of what sort — political? Economic? Social?

* Why do seemingly sophisticated leftist understandings of the world appear unable to assist in the task of changing it?

* Conversely, can the world be thought intelligible without our capacity to self-consciously transform it through practice?

* Can Marxism survive as an economics or social theory without politics?

* Is there capitalism after socialism?

From: Radical Interpretations of the Present Crisis: http://newyork.platypus1917.org/11-14-2012-radical-interpretations-of-the-present-crisis/

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Thanks to Ross Wolfe for alerting me to this important event: Glenn Rikowski

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David Harvey

Egypt

PUBLIC MEETING ON THE UPRISINGS IN NORTH AFRICA AND THE MIDDLE EAST

The Egyptian and Tunisian governments have already fallen, while those in Yemen and Bahrain are on the brink. Meanwhile Qaddafi is waging war on the Libyan people and mass protests are sparking off from Iran and Iraq to Algeria and Mauritania. Only a few months ago nobody could have predicted the intensity and the dimension of these uprisings, which are challenging hegemonic, culturalist and traditional assumptions about the politics of the region. Nor could anyone have foreseen the resonances that these movements would have across the world.

The uprisings pose far-reaching questions: What are we to make of the confluence of two “youths” united by an absent future, one educated and “middle class”, one banished to the slum periphery? What about the connection between these unemployed youth and the striking workers of Egypt? And what of the women who have played such a central role in these movements?

This meeting will feature speakers from the region with a critical analysis of the uprisings, plus a discussion of the implications of the movements for struggles in the United States, and for our understanding of revolutionary practice in the Twenty-first Century.

Confirmed speakers: Benoît Challand, Amr Ragab, Arya Zahedi. 

Friday March 11th, 7pm

The Commons Brooklyn

388 Atlantic Avenue, Brooklyn, NY

See: http://thearabrevolts.info/

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The Incident

TOWARD A POLITICS OF SOLIDARITY – LEFT FORUM 2011

PACE UNIVERSITY

MARCH 18-20 2011

NEW YORK CITY

We would like you to consider proposing a panel for the upcoming Left Forum conference at Pace University in New York City, March 18-20, 2011. The deadline for submission is January 15th. We ask that you submit your proposals as soon as you can.

This year’s theme is “Toward a Politics of Solidarity”.

This theme speaks to a rising concern among leftists, progressives, social movement organizers, and radicals: rather than energizing the forces of progressive change, the Obama administration has left many of us politically fragmented, if not deflated. The theme, and its appeal to forge greater bonds between us, encourages an active stance to overcome such conditions as the corporate control over a media that gives an abundance of coverage to the Right while giving the Left little to none.

And while it is a theme that can brace us for what might well come after the Obama era, it is also a call to consider what we must do to prepare for that eventuality today. The theme conveys a message about the importance of dialogue, conciliation (e.g., of recognizing and addressing differences), reaching out, alliance building, and overcoming tough times. 

All are needed now. 

As you know, developing your panel topic, getting commitments from speakers, and preparing an engaged diverse panel experience takes a lot of time. When panel proposals are submitted near or after the deadline (January 15th), our small office staff is overwhelmed, and we are hindered in helping you in all the ways that we can. Hundreds of panel organizers work together each year to make the conference possible. Please consider starting this process right away by proposing a panel as soon as possible. To do that go to our website ( www.leftforum.org) and follow the panel submission instructions, or click any of the links below. Note too that we have a new revamped website; more on that later.

how to submit a panel

Please feel free to call me or other conference organizers in the office if you have any questions.  I look forward to working with you and seeing you at the conference.

In Solidarity,

Seth Adler
Conference Coordinator
212 817-2003

P.S. Please forward this Call to colleagues, listserves, organizers and others you feel could propose and organize a panel.

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Fanaticism

ALBERTO TOSCANO ON ‘FANATICISM’ – TALK IN NEW YORK

Alberto Toscano, “Fanaticism: The Uses of an Idea”

Tuesday, September 28, 2010 5:00 PM – 7:00 PM

Humanities Initiative at NYU, 20 Cooper Square East, 5th Floor

Details: http://steinhardt.nyu.edu/events/2010/9/28/237740/alberto_toscano%2C_%26quot%3Bfanaticism_the_uses_of_an_idea%26quot%3B

 

About this Event:

Alberto Toscano, Senior Lecturer in Sociology at Goldsmiths in London, speaks on the concept of fanaticism to coincide with Verso’’s publication of his new book: “Fanaticism: The Uses of an Idea.” Fanaticism is usually seen as a deviant or extreme variant of an already irrational set of religious beliefs. Drawing a straight line from the Peasant Wars to Bolshevism, this view of fanaticism is today invoked by the West in order to demonize and psychologize any non-liberal politics. Alberto Toscano’s compelling counter-history explores the critical role fanaticism played in forming modern politics and the liberal state, and undermines the idea that liberalism and fanaticism are irrevocably opposed.

Book info:

FANATICISM: ON THE USES OF AN IDEA, by Alberto Toscano

Verso Books, distributed by W.W. Norton

Publication Date: May 24, 2010 / Price: $26.95 PB / ISBN: 978-1-84467-424-4  

To buy the book, go to Amazon.com 

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Culture

THE CENTER FOR PLACE, CULTURE AND POLITICS

Ten Year Anniversary Conference

Speakers:

LEO PANITCH

TIM BRENNAN

GILLIAN HART

…and others…….

Please join us in celebrating a decade of critical inquiry, interdisciplinary scholarship, blood, sweat, and beer.

Wednesday, May 5th, 2010

Panel discussions: 3-6 pm * Reception: 6 – 8 pm

Proshansky Auditorium, CUNY Graduate Center, 365 Fifth Ave. @ 34th Street

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