Leo Panitch: left-nationalist?

Louis Proyect 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 
International Socialists.

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".

full: http://www.web.net/sworker/407-11-socialistproject.html

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