We have been saddened by news of the passing of Canadian Marxist, professor of Political Sciences and editor of the Socialist Register magazine Leo Panitch. He was 75 years old.
In 2014, Leo Panitch visited Ljubljana, where he held a well-received lecture on the traps of Leftist strategies for the 21st century. 2014 was a time when struggles against austerity measures, inherited from the economic crisis, which had started more than a decade ago, were held all over the world. On one hand, the Occupy movement lost its initial drive; and was even suppressed with violence in some places. On the other hand, hopes were raised by the traditional form of a mass political party, at the time embodied by Syriza from Greece. And, after all, our (United) Left was beginning its journey; the first political breakthrough of a socialist organisation in an area where, 25 year ago, actually existing socialisms fell apart, and were replaced by a restoration of peripheral capitalism and a centrist consensus on »the end of history«.
Panitch posed the question of how a leftist party moving closer to executive authority would be able to retain its initial protest (activist?) power. He warned of traps an organisation bound by internal democracy and membership activation would have to face within a political system essentially based on excluding the masses from achieving actual political power.
This is a lecture that holds the same relevance today as it did six years ago – for us even more in this moment in time. We invite you to watch it – in memory of a comrade who followed our journey on this side of the world and saw relevance in our work.
We offer our sincerest condolences to his wife, two children and the rest of his family.