Leo Panitch: left-nationalist?
lnp3 at panix.com
Wed Aug 20 11:45:42 MDT 2003
(Turns out that Leo Panitch has a bit in common with Hardt-Negri. His
solution, however, is not in the miscegnating multitude but in what they
used to call the Great White North on SCTV. Blowed up real good.)
Socialist Worker 407, August 6, 2003 N www.socialist.ca
Socialist Project launched in Toronto
By Paul Kellogg
A panel discussion July 18 on "Global Capital and National Identity"
turned into a launch of the Socialist Project in Toronto.
The event — jointly sponsored by a political economy class at York
University and the Socialist Project — was organized around a panel
featuring Dick Bryan from the University of Sydney in Australia and
Abbie Bakan from Queen’s University and a leading member of the
But Leo Panitch from York University and co-editor of the influential
annual Socialist Register — in his capacity as discussant — used the
opportunity to announce the formation of the Socialist Project and to
invite the 70 or so in the audience to sign up at a table in the back.
The statement of principles of the Socialist Project, circulated at the
meeting, contains some excellent ideas.
"Our political project is defined by the struggle to move beyond
capitalism. To be for equality and democracy, to be for justice and
solidarity, to be for the end of all oppressions and the full and
universal development of individual and collective capacities — to be
for all of this is to be against capitalism".
But the emphasis of Panitch was very different. To the surprise of many
in the audience, he began his remarks by identifying himself as a
"left-nationalist". He then proceeded to provide a theoretical
justification for this position, developing an argument that the
national states of all advanced capitalist countries — including
Canada’s and the states of Western Europe and Japan — have been so
incorporated into the empire-building project of the United States, that
they have lost their sovereignty.
Taking back this sovereignty is something that will be opposed by
capitalists and the rich — they now completely identify with the class
project of the United States bourgeoisie. The sovereignty campaign,
then, becomes one that has to be taken up by the left and the working
class — hence the justification for a life-long Marxist like Panitch
calling himself a "left-nationalist".
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