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Leo Panitch (born May 3, 1945 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada) is a Distinguished Research Professor, renowned political economist, Marxist theorist and editor of the Socialist Register. He received a B.A. (Hons.) from the University of Manitoba in 1967 and a M.Sc.(Hons.) and PhD from the London School of Economics and Political Science in 1968 and 1974, respectively. He was a Lecturer, Assistant Professor, Associate Professor and Professor at Carleton University between 1972 and 1984.
He has been a Professor of Political Science at York University since 1984. He was the Chair of the Department of Political Science at York from 1988-1994. He was the General Co-editor of State and Economic Life series, U. of T. Press, from 1979 to 1995 and is the Co-founder and a Board Member of Studies in Political Economy. He is also the author of numerous articles and books dealing with political science including The End of Parliamentary Socialism (1997). He was a member of the Movement for an Independent and Socialist Canada, 1973-1975, the Ottawa Committee for Labour Action, 1975-1984, the Canadian Political Science Association, the Committee of Socialist Studies, the Marxist Institute and the Royal Society of Canada. He is currently a supporter of the Socialist Project.
He is a prominent exponent of Marxism who sees his own work as theoretically innovative within that tradition, because he maintains that the dominance of the United States in the early years of the twenty-first century can't be understood using theories of imperialism that are themselves a century old.
He has argued, for example, that the concept of imperialism developed for the Victorian era over-emphasized the matter of the export of capital. Yet if one uses that as a yardstick today (he reasons) Great Britain is more a victim of U.S. imperialism than Kenya -- since American investors have much more at stake in the former than in the latter. The advanced industrial nations, in other words, are interpenetrating -- exporting capital to one another, not to the 'South,' and this requires a great deal of revision in Marxist-Leninist models.
Panitch has also argued that Marx was wrong to contend that the rise of trade unions would develop a socialistic class-consciousness in the working class. The association of workers for the purpose of collective bargaining has proven quite compatible with capitalism -- since such bargaining concerns the terms of wage labor, not the legitimacy of wage labor. He argues that Marxist political parties must abandon the assumption that there is anything inherently revolutionary about any class, so that they can get to work creating a self-conscious revolutionary class of wage earners, "articulating the articulation."
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