Episode 11: Defending, and Transcending, Liberal Democracy

The co-hosts interview Adam Plante, a young New York City education activist and Marxist-Humanist thinker, about his work on liberal democracy. With respect to the current moment, they discuss such topics as Plante’s view that the rise of Trump and other authoritarian strongmen is a threat specifically to socialist values; why the threat of Trumpism has been minimized; Plante’s contention that the actions of “leftists” who remain silent and or encourage Trump are literally suicidal; his thoughts on efforts by anti-neoliberal “leftists” to appeal to Trump’s base; and why Plante himself didn’t get swept up in soft-on-Trump “leftism.” Taking a more theoretical turn, the discussion then focuses on his argument that it is important that socialists both defend liberal democracy and fight to transcend it, and on his exploration of how Marx and Lenin theorized this issue.

During the interview, Plante and the co-hosts refer to his presentations on liberal democracy at a 2019 conference sponsored by Historical Materialism and Jacobin and last year’s Left Forum.

Also in this episode: The state of the Democratic Party’s primary campaigns after the elections in Iowa and New Hampshire.

Radio Free Humanity is a podcast covering news, politics and philosophy from a Marxist-Humanist perspective. It is co-hosted by Brendan Cooney and Andrew Kliman. We intend to release new episodes every two weeks. Radio Free Humanity is sponsored by MHI, but the views expressed by the co-hosts and guests of Radio Free Humanity are their own. They do not necessarily reflect the views and positions of MHI.

We welcome and encourage listeners’ comments, posted on this episode’s page.

Please visit MHI’s online print publication, With Sober Senses, for further news, commentary, and analysis.

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1 Comment

  1. It has been a while since my last listen to RFH, but pod cast 11 “Defending, and Transcending, Liberal Democracy” was a real joy, to hear, especially of attempts in the European/UK context of the state trying to normalise authoritarianism. Ostensibly to deal COVID-19, it was reported in the Independent March 14th that police now have the right to detain people that they suspect have the Corona virus (COVID-19) and these powers are set to last for last least two years. https://inews.co.uk/news/coronavirus-uk-police-powers-detain-suspected-covid-19-emergency-law-2450654

    Also In Australia; https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-03-13/coronavirus-scott-morrison-coag-premiers-cancelling-events/12053382, and New York; https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/12/nyregion/coronavirus-nyc-event-ban.html and here in the UK; https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/mar/13/uk-to-ban-mass-gatherings-in-coronavirus-u-turn, groups of over 500 have been banned.

    A knock on affect is that several left-groups that were organising large demos against racism and for migrants and refugees have felt forced to cancel their events, and a number of unions are having to rethink whether to hold their conferences, also attempts to show solidarity for various strikes have had to be curtailed. The UK left and the TUC (trade Union Council) have made a list of demands on the government that I’ll post as soon as I can.

    Can MHI comrades across the pond report back on how the virus is playing politically for Trump and more widely politically?

    F Whitman

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