Venue: Goldsmiths College, University of London, SE14 6NW
(Richard Hoggart Building Room 256)
Platypus discussion panel
Adam Buick (SPGB)
James Heartfield (Spiked, independent author)
Marjorie Mayo (Emeritus Professor, Goldsmiths University)
Benjamin Studebaker (Graduate researcher at Cambridge University
Join Platypus Goldsmiths for an open and wide-ranging discussion of an age-old question, which is certainly pertinent to our present moment:
‘Democracy and the Left’
Corbyn, Sanders, Trump, Brexit, and the gilet jaunes among others have all claimed the mantle of democracy, but what does it mean for the Left? Our panel will be held on the eve of the planned (at the moment!) date for the UK to leave the EU.
1. What is the relationship between democracy and the working class today? Do you consider historical struggles for democracy by workers as the medium by which they got “assimilated” to the system, or the only path to emancipation that they couldn’t avoid trying to take?
2. Do you consider it as necessary to eschew established forms of mass politics in favour of new forms in order to build a democratic movement? Or are current mass form of politics adequate for a democratic society?
3. Why has democracy emerged as the primary demand of spontaneous forms of discontent? Do you also consider it necessary, or adequate, to deal with the pathologies of our era?
4. Engels wrote that “A revolution is certainly the most authoritarian thing there is”. Do you agree? Can this conception be compatible with the struggle for democracy?
5. Is democracy oppressive, or can it be such? How would you judge Lenin’s formulation that: “…democracy is also a state and that, consequently, democracy will also disappear when the state disappears.”