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Marxist academic praises Labour's ‘potential to be the most important revitalisation of democracy’

LABOUR’s review of its internal structures “has the potential to change the world’s prospects in the 21st century,” Marxist academic Leo Panitch claims.

In a video circulated by left grassroots group Momentum, Toronto’s York University professor Mr Panitch, an editor of the Socialist Register journal, said the affect of the shake-up should not be underestimated.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has commissioned former MP Katy Clark to conduct a root-and-branch review of party structures, many of which were hollowed out under Neil Kinnock and Tony Blair’s leaderships.

Mr Panitch connected the current “democracy review” to the efforts of the late Tony Benn and the Campaign for Labour Party Democracy in the 1970s and ’80s.

“He didn’t see himself as primarily a parliamentarian,” the Canadian said in the video.

“He saw he himself as an educator. An educator involved in the making, educating and keeping of socialism. And when he said that he meant developing people’s capacities to actually be involved in the making of socialism.”

For Mr Benn, this meant “the developing of people’s capacities to actively engage in the institutions through which their lives are conducted,” Panitch said.

But the intellectual also said there was lessons to be learned from the failures of the previous democratisation drive.

“It’s a struggle that turned inwards in the 1970s, one that divided the party and one that was not orientated enough to changing the Labour Party branches into being centres of working-class life,” he warned.

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