Big P Politics - Theory and Practice


For whatever reasons of upbringing and temperament, I have always been profoundly engaged in the politics of things – the small P politics of the fields of endeavour I hae written about and been active in, but also the big P politics of nations, of state formation and change – of issues to do with how we as a species govern ourselves, historically and actually. The pieces posted on this page are of very different orders – some are older, scholarly and theoretical, but still in use; others are radio documentaries and yet another piece is a personal/poltical memoir about a crucial period in my own politicization. What they all have in common is the theme of political order – or its failures and absences – as these manifest with respect to a number of different moments and issues.

Some of these pieces are 40 years old (e.g. ‘Masculine Dominance and the State’ a scholarly historical and theoretical paper that was among the first to express how state formation over several epochs should be understood as gendered), but are in still use every day and in many different countries, if my notification service is telling me the truth – I am astounded and delighted every time it dings me. Even the newer ones on this page are nearly twenty years old (e.g. The New Imperial Order Foretold), but also still being sought out weekly by all kinds of academic readers  – my notification services is only for academic usage – in all kinds of countries. However, these pieces and most of the older one are less theoretical and written to reach broader audiences with an analysis of trends, in politics, in environment, in health, in culture – whose origins and history are very important to our ability to understand how we as a society need our governments – political parties, government apparatuses – to approach them today, so that our governmance may improve our societal behaviour on this planet and rescue ourselves and it, going forward.

Annual anthology: The New Imperial Order Foretold.  The Socialist Register 2005. Leo Panity and Colin Leys, eds. Merlin. London (UK). 

Memoir: How I Became A True Radical. Canadian Dimension Magazine.  
Mar/April 2005

Annual anthology: The Dystopia of Our Times: Genetic Technology and Other Afflictions. The Socialist Register 2000.  Vol.36.  Leo Panitch and Colin Leys, eds. Merlin. London (UK). 

Annual Anthology: Sport, Gender and Politics: Moving Beyond the O.J Saga. The Socialist Register 1996. Vol. 32. Leo Panitch ed. London (UK). Annual Anthology

Manifesto: Women Against Free Trade Manifesto and How Women Against Free Trade Came to Write its Manifesto, (with Judy Rebick.) Resources for Feminist Research Vol 17 #3. Sept 1988.

Anthology: The Left and the Porn Wars in Who’s on Top? The Politics of Heterosexuality. Howard Buchbinder, Varda Burstyn, Dinah Forbes, Mercedes Steadman. 1987. Garamond Press, Toronto. Non-Fiction Book. 

Radio documentary: Israel at the Crossroads. IDEAS. CBC Radio, 1987.

Radio documentary: Public Sex. IDEAS. CBC Radio, 1983.

Four hour-long documentaries on the politics of the pornography debates, the sexualization of advertising and commodities, the censorship of sexually explicit art and the wider spread of sexual issues in public discourse, including thorny issues of representation and censorship.

Left to right: Varda Burstyn, Deirdre Gallagher and Debbie Field at first International Women's Day March, Toronto, 1978. Varda was a founding member of the organizing coalition.

Annual Anthology: Masculine Dominance and the State. The Socialist Register 1983 Vol. 20.  Ralph Milliband and John Savile, eds. Merlin. London (UK) 

Monograph: Women, Class, Family and the State.  Garamond Press, Toronto, 1985. Reprinted from the Socialist Register, 1983. 

One of two monographs in this volume, the other by Dorothy Smith. 

Annual anthology: Economy, Sexuality, Politics: Engels and the Sexual Division of Labour. Socialist Studies Annual 1 (1) 1983. University of Manitoba Press. Winnipeg. 

Radio Documentary: Feminism in the Political Arena. IDEAS, CBC Radio, 1982. 

Four hour-long documentaries with prominent feminists in Great Britain, the United States, Quebec and English Canada, exploring the impact of feminism on and in government, and the impact of working in government on women who chose this path.