Leo Panitch Critiques Performative Politics

It’s a bit surprising that there has been relatively little attention given to this absolutely riveting discussion with Leo Panitch and a very confrontational (as she should be) Sharmini Peries.

Why riveting? Here’s why. As the recent Sanders/Black Lives Matter imbroglio has demonstrated, not only does politics function here as theatre, albeit of the lamest, most trivial and most incompetent variety, most have become so inured to the charade that, as Matt Breuning observes, they have no awareness of, or even interest in, what it’s really about-namely power, and who materially benefits from it. Normally, of course, political power is exercised to benefit those at the controlling heights of the economy. Syriza demonstrates that it is possible for us to cut the strings through which elites choreograph the political system and to begin to challenge the normal arrangements.

At that point, the fourth wall is broken down, which is to say that we are dealing no longer with theater, what Breuning calls “performative” politics, but with reality. That reality can be terrifying. To take one example, it means, in the case of Greece, the government is required to enforce its mandates through security services largely staffed by Golden Dawn supporters (i.e. neo-Nazis), as Leo mentions.

Of course, those of us who deal with politics on an abstract, academic level, as Leo notes, have never given one second of thought as to how to combat this, or numerous other problems which are inherent in actual radical governance, not just governance in theory.

I have made some criticisms of Syriza and what I understand to be their orientation. And I have also favorably cited some of the equally riveting remarks of Lapavistas.

Leo’s interview here provides a crucial rejoinder to these.

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One thought on “Leo Panitch Critiques Performative Politics”

  1. So many people on the American left believe that the Vietnam war was ended by gestures made by the “good guys” that forced the “bad guys” to stop doing their nastiness.

    The Vietnamese resistance, in the face of the huge number of Vietnamese deaths at the hands of the most deadly military power on earth, never gets their credit due by absolute pacifists, or as I refer to these fantasists, passivists.

    Greece is facing a life and death struggle, whether by the economic equivalent of the Siege of Leningrad, or by CIA assassins.

    Expect Germany to develop a relationship with Greece similar to the U.S / Cuba relationship after a Eurozone exit.

    When the situation is properly understood the direction forward will be more apparent to those not consumed by panic. Too many wished for options are contradictory and cannot exist at the same time—as Panitch correctly explains.

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