“The Past and Future of Black Politics and the Left” (6/05/21)

On Saturday June 5th, 2021, the Platypus Affiliated Society hosted a public forum on Black Politics and the Left.

– Pascal Robert (THIS IS REVOLUTION podcast; Black Agenda Report)
– Ashanti Alston (ex-Black Panther Party; ex-Black Liberation Army; anarchist)
– Rutledge Dennis (ex-Students for a Democratic Society; George Mason University sociology)

Beneath a consensus of avowed anti-racism, the American Left remains conflicted about whether and how to politicize race. The summer of 2020 featured prodigious unrest relating to issues of racism, resulting in the resurgence of Black Lives Matter and a mainstream conversation around reparations. At the same time, however, the 2020 US election witnessed a demographic swing in voting constituencies, with Donald Trump receiving the most black votes for any Republican since 1960. Our present post-political moment within the crisis of Neoliberalism has been shaped by key antecedent periods of political conflict over race and racism, from the failure of the post-Civil War Reconstruction Era through the entrenchment of Jim Crow through the abolition of legal racial segregation with the Civil Rights Movement, but it remains unclear what lessons should be learned from these experiences.

This panel seeks to shed historical light on today’s political impasse by asking: What is the state of the contemporary Left regarding “the black question”? If the problem of racism has been bypassed but not overcome, leaving in place the structural conditions that have shaped racism historically, then how might we recognize these structural conditions and thereby render race and racism politically tractable? How could the politics of anti-racism advance the struggle for socialism and the pursuit of freedom?
Recommended viewing = a past iteration of this panel from 2015
Curious to learn more about Platypus? E-mail coordinator@platypus1917.org to be connected with a chapter in your area.

The Platypus Affiliated Society organizes reading groups, public fora, research, and journalism focused on problems and tasks inherited from the “Old” (1920s-30s), “New” (1960s-70s) and post-political (1980s-90s) Left, for the possibilities of emancipatory politics today.


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