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In Memoriam: Leo Panitch (1945-2020)

Canadian Dimension is heartbroken at the loss of Leo Panitch, Professor Emeritus of Politics at York University and editor of the Socialist Register. An early pillar of our publication, Leo was a leading thinker of the global left and a comrade to the many. In this collection, we pay tribute to Leo and his indispensable contributions to socialist thought in Canada and around the world.

  • Living socialism today: Remembering Leo Panitch

    Standing outside a conference with a group of devotees, a famous political scientist brags that there’s only two people in the world he’s afraid of: his mother and Leo Panitch. To anyone who knows Leo, this revelation elicits knowing smiles and an affirmative nodding of heads. But it also poses a question. Those with an authoritative presence tend to bring a distancing from others; how then did so many nevertheless come to feel so close to Leo?

  • Michael Spourdalakis on Leo Panitch, Syriza, and challenges for the Greek Left

    In December of last year, COVID-19 took the life of one of Canada’s most widely respected public intellectuals, Leo Panitch. Leo was a researcher, teacher and author whose work had a profound impact on the thinking of democratic socialists around the world. One of the countries in which Leo took a passionate interest, and in which he exercised considerable influence among leftists, was Greece.

  • Sam Gindin on Leo Panitch

    In this interview, members of the Canadian Dimension editorial committee spoke with Sam Gindin, a lifelong friend, comrade, and collaborator of Leo Panitch, about their relationship and how Leo’s views and perspectives changed over time. In 2012, Gindin and Panitch published The Making of Global Capitalism: The Political Economy of American Empire. The book traces the development of American-led globalization over more than a century.

  • Canada’s socialist legacy

    What can those of us committed to the socialist project, to laying the groundwork for a viable mass, democratic, but revolutionary party learn from what our fathers and forefathers did? Serious inquiry into the history of the Canadian socialist movement will help us not only to learn from the mistakes of the past, but also to reclaim what is valuable from this history.

  • Remembering Leo Panitch—an iconic figure of the Canadian left

    The numerous writings and comments spurred by Leo Panitch’s death have expressed shock, grief, gratitude and admiration for his contributions to scholarship and the pursuit of progressive political causes. This is more of a personal reminiscence of my encounters with Leo. I hope that it may go some way to explain why so many people cherished their relationship with him as much as I did.

  • Socialist savant: Leo Panitch (1945-2020)

    Leo Panitch was a socialist savant whose lifelong opposition to capitalism and its deformation of human experience never wavered. As Leo made abundantly clear, in so many ways, over so many years of involvement in and contribution to the socialist left, it is time to get rid of this system of exploitation and oppression, whose inherent destructiveness now places all of humanity at obvious risk.

  • Leo Panitch: Teacher, friend, comrade

    Leo Panitch was a tall man, and maybe because of those long legs of his, he always walked quickly. Often too quickly for me. Even though I am a former speed-walker, he was always one step ahead. It was as if he wanted to anticipate tomorrow, to approach it, to understand it, and to project it through teaching. That is why his memory and his example weigh heavily upon us now.

  • Leo Panitch and the socialist project

    Though larger than life in so many ways, Leo was after all a human being, and human beings die. His passing has been unspeakably difficult for me, as for so many others who were close to him. But insofar as he was dedicated to the socialist mission, something that is larger than his—or anyone else’s—life, he cannot die. He will live on in the ideas he espoused and the lives he touched.

  • In appreciation of Leo Panitch

    The sudden death our friend and comrade Leo Panitch has led to an extraordinary outpouring of sadness and appreciation across the world. Very few intellectuals on the left have had the intellectual impact on progressive thinkers and activists that Leo has had, as the flood of testimonials shows; and fewer still have in addition personally trained a comparable network of scholars of the highest calibre.

  • Empire, socialism and November with Leo Panitch

    Sanjiv Gupta interviewed Leo Panitch in September 2020. They discussed two issues which Panitch has studied and written about for decades. First, whether the pandemic has fundamentally altered the geopolitical balance between the United States and other great powers. And second, how socialists in the US should approach the November elections. For Panitch, the two issues are intimately connected.

  • Revolutionary optimism: Journeys in radical politics past and present

    On the “Reality Asserts Itself” program of The Real News Network, Leo Panitch is interviewed by host Paul Jay. Panitch talks about the political culture of his family, shaped in Winnipeg’s radical Jewish community before and after World War Two; Labour Zionists, Social Democrats and Communists debated and organized within the Jewish working class movement.

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