In spite of many different political currents and tendencies, perhaps the most significant question informing the "Left" today is the issue of "political party.” Various "Left unity" initiatives have been taking place in the aftermath of the 2008 economic crisis and subsequent downturn, following Occupy Wall Street and the Arab Spring, alongside continuing "post-political" tendencies inherited from
The economic crisis, as many commentators and critics are quick to point out, has rekindled interest in—and anxieties over—Marxism. Although many on the Left hope this renewed curiosity marks the beginning of a radical turn, similar revivals of anti-capitalist politics in the 1930s, 1960s, and 1990s failed to achieve the revolutionary transformations they sought.
Has Marxism returned as a significant political force? How might this translate into the possibility for a revitalized Left? Will the resurgence of Marxist theory provide opportunities for social change—or merely the opportunity to fail again?
An interview with Dr. Leo Panitch conducted on February 19th, 2010, at the University of Toronto.
Dr. Leo Panitch is Canada Research Chair in Comparative Political Economy and Distinguished Research Professor of Political Science at York University in Toronto, and coeditor of the annual Socialist Register.