What is capitalism and why should we be against it? – panel discussion featuring Rory Dufficy, Arthur Dent and Rjurik Davidson, Melbourne 22 May 2021

On Saturday, May 22nd, 2021, the Melbourne chapter of the Platypus Affiliated Society hosted an in-person panel discussion at the Clyde Hotel in Carlton, Australia on the question: “What is Capitalism, and why should we be against it?”

The present is characterized not only by a political crisis of the global neoliberal order but also by differing interpretations of the cause of this crisis:

Capitalism. If we are to interpret capitalism, we must also know how to change it.

– What is capitalism? – Is capitalism contradictory? If so, what is this contradiction and how does it relate to Left politics?

– How has capitalism changed over time, and what have these changes meant politically for the Left?

– Does class struggle take place today? If so, how, and what role should it play for the Left?

– Is capitalism in crisis? If so, how? And how should the Left respond?

– If a new era of global capitalism is emerging, how do we envision the future of capitalism and what are the implications of this for the Left?

Panelists: – Rory Dufficy (Scholar of Avante-Garde politics and teaches Marx’s Capital at the Melbourne School Of Continental Philosophy) – Rjurik Davidson (Marxist writer, editor & speaker. Former Associate Editor of Overland magazine) – Arthur Dent (Unreconstructed Maoist and contributor at c21stleft.com)

[ Unfortunately 20 seconds of Dufficy’s opening remarks were lost due to an internet drop-out. However, his remarks are complete in the transcript expected to be published in an upcoming issue of The Platypus Review ]

4 thoughts on “What is capitalism and why should we be against it? – panel discussion featuring Rory Dufficy, Arthur Dent and Rjurik Davidson, Melbourne 22 May 2021

  1. My post of 21 May with updates includes extensive notes for my response to the panel prompt and related links:

    Platypus has a YouTube channel with many other discussions:

    I noted the following time marks for rough start of each segment of the video at:

    0 Convenor Ryan (15′ each)
    5:27 Rory
    23:04 Rurik
    40:30 Arthur
    58:35 Convenor (briefer responses from each)
    59:40 Rory
    1:06 Rurik
    1:11 Arthur
    1:14:50 Audience questions and panel replies
    1:45:51 end

    A comment at YouTube may be more accurate:
    intro 00:00; Rory 5:23; Rjurik 23:11; Arthur 40:33; Responses 50:33; Q&A 1:14:19

    There is a 20 page draft transcript for editing:
    What is Captialism Panel Transcript [Accepted RD][ Edits AD ].docx


    Below is my response to transcript editor.

    My proposals for changes to edited version are:

    1. p8 “… Occupy movement. I didn’t take part in that” –> “I did take part in that”.
    (Was at “Occupy Melbourne” every day!)

    2. p9 “Modulesky” –> “Modelewski” (twice) That’s my vague recollection of the spelling used at the time.

    3. p9 After “Modelewski Notes” please add “[AD clarification: This 1960s joke was not aimed at Karol Modzelewski or the Frankfurt School or any claim of a connection between them, but at Monash University student “marxians” who wrote footnotes about theorists from other times and places instead of studying, let alone participating in, the struggle around them.]”

    4. p11 “1882” –> “1888” (better to give correct date rather than whatever I actually said)

    5. p11 footnote 11: give the full direct reference corresponding to 1888 to save people from looking for it.

    https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1848/communist-manifesto/preface.htm –>


    6. p13 “[regression? inaudible]…Rosa was quoted by Lenin saying” –> (guessing what I would have said, not based on audio)
    “the expression “The Left is Dead” as applied to both the 1950s and 1970s and also the 1914 left. Rosa Luxemburg was quoted by Lenin saying”

    7. p13 “Jim Kins” –> “Jim Cairns”

    8. “the communists were virulently anti-Stalinist” –> “the revisionist Communist Party were virulently anti-Stalinist”
    (not checked audio but I would certainly not have intended to say “communists”, perhaps just said or intended to say “revisionists” but above correction would be more clear).

    9. p14 “there’s nbe al political overthrow” –> “there’s going to be a political overthrow”

    10 p15 “[refers to c21stleft.com, will link in introductions]” –> [refers to links from {footnote}]

    11. p17 “west-bank Palestinians” –> “west-bank and Gaza Palestinians”
    (the national unity of all three parts was the whole point I was making – point lost if Gaza inaudible)

    12 p20 “Am Anfang die Tat” –> “Im Anfang war die Tat” (to correspond to Goethe cited in footnote 14)

    13 p20 footnote 14
    “Genesis 1.1.” –> “Genesis 1:1 and Genesis 1:3 ‘And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.'”

    I have not attempted to improve loose verbal expression for more readable text, fix minor typos and paragraphing etc. Let me know if that is wanted.


      • Sorry should have mentioned. (Both links to same DropBox, tinyurl and direct).
        Will be replaced soon by final edit for Platypus Review. Editor requested removal of preliminary draft “It’s just that other panellists haven’t agreed to have the unedited version made public”.
        Nothing secret. The DropBox was used to send it to me for my edits via Dave McMullen. Ask him if you want it emailed to you now (not for publication).
        Will add a comment with link here when it is eventually online.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Arthur I enjoyed the discussion and thought it excellent that you drew a line between revolutionary Marxism and academic Marxism. I just wanted to comment on Modern Monetary Theory. This theory arose because of an obvious deficit in standard economic theory represented by Milton Freedman’s position that inflation is always and every where a monetary phenomenon. This was shown to be untrue with the massive expansion of money supply post 2008 without significant inflation.
    We have now returned to the Keynesian idea that inflation is a demand induced issue.
    Governments around the world have adopted MMT despite being unable to acknowledge that they have. The crisis of 2008 and of 2020 required a stimulatory response as opposed to those who argued for austerity. I do have a position on austerity and that is Fuck austerity.
    I guess the issue is about the theory of money. The Austrian school has one this being that money needs the backing of some physical value or the Keynesian one where money is a form of credit not relying on value but of trust. Is there a current Marxist view on money? I dont know, is there a go to person on this?


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