Leo Panitch, who died on Saturday, defended working-class politics even in times when many of his colleagues succumbed to neoliberal triumphalism. His work had a political, not just academic, purpose — and its message will survive among the generation of socialists whose thinking he shaped.
Ingar Solty is Senior Research Fellow in Foreign, Peace and Security Policy at the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation’s Institute for Critical Social Analysis in Berlin. He is author of several books, including The USA Under Obama (Die USA unter Obama) and the forthcoming edited volumes Literature and Class Society (Literatur in der neuen Klassengesellschaft) and On the Shoulders of Karl Marx (Auf den Schultern von Karl Marx). His writings can be downloaded for free at https://rosalux.academia.edu/IngarSolty.
In the last years before the Berlin Wall’s fall, most opposition movements in East Germany sought a reformed, more democratic socialism. But the effect of reunification on October 3, 1990 was a wave of neoliberal triumphalism in both East and West — undermining the principles of social solidarity and pushing the Left into the wilderness.
The coronavirus pandemic has ushered in a series of emergency measures to reorient our economies toward the public health care response. The crisis offers a glimpse of how production could be made to serve social needs — but only if we defeat those who want a return to capitalist normality.
Faced with another global recession, many governments are responding with even stronger state interventions than they did in the 2008 financial crisis. But stimulus packages to prop up businesses must also pose the question of public control — not just bailing out corporations, but repurposing their operations to confront the disasters ahead of us.
Frankfurt School cofounder Max Horkheimer is today credited as an insightful analyst of authoritarian culture. But Horkheimer’s ever-pessimistic outlook reflected the political defeats of his time — and an oft one-sided view of the loss of working-class agency.
As soon as we show up for work, our much-vaunted free speech goes out the window. But when we win full employment and don’t fear losing our jobs, we can tell the boss what we really think.
Seventy-five years after the Nazis murdered him, we celebrate the life of German anti-fascist athlete and communist resistance fighter Werner Seelenbinder.
The Social Democrats have collapsed. Die Linke is divided. Will the German left ever be able to contend for power?
Angela Merkel has resigned as CDU leader. Her failed promises of “prosperity for all” are leading to the disintegration of the traditional mass parties.