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  Date Author Title           ISSN 1923-7871
1299. September 2, 2016 The Importance of the September 2nd General Strike
Since India embraced what trade unions call the LPG route to growth (that is liberalization, privatization and globalization) in 1991, the country has seen 16 general strikes. And the 17th all India workers’ strike falls on September 2nd. The last general strike, observed on 2 September 2015, saw participation from nearly 150 million workers – that's half the population of the entire U.S., or more than the combined population of the UK, Canada and Australia.
1298. August 31, 2016 Brian Ward Standing Up At Standing Rock
Some 1,000 Native American activists from the Standing Rock Indian Reservation and across the country faced off against police and security forces protecting the construction of the Dakota Access pipeline project. Dozens of people have been arrested and assaulted by police while attempting to stop the project, and many more continue to risk arrest to protest the pipeline. The Dakota Access pipeline, which is being built by Energy Transfer Partners, is planned to stretch 1,172 miles from the Bakken oil fields in North Dakota through South Dakota and Iowa, before ending in Illinois.
1297. August 30, 2016 Phil Hearse Turkey's Move into Syria: Challenging the Kurds, Overthrowing Rojava
Turkey's incursion into northern Syria on 24 August was flagged up as a move to drive the so-called Islamic State (ISIS) out of the border town of Jarabulus. But that is just a cover: Turkey's not very secret major objective is to crush the 50,000-strong Kurdish YPG (People's Protection Unit) militia, and overrun the three autonomous Kurdish dominated areas, collectively called Rojava by the Kurds.
1296. August 25, 2016 Michal Rozworski How Not To Fund Infrastructure
Recycling is supposed to be a good thing, so when the federal Liberals quietly announced that 'asset recycling' would be part of their strategy for meeting their much-ballyhooed infrastructure promises, not many eyebrows were raised. They should have been. Asset recycling is an obscure code word for selling our public goods for private profit. It's privatization by another name.
1295. August 23, 2016 J. F. Conway The Working Class: Saskatchewan's Political Orphan
We all suffer from the absence of working class politics. We are smothered in the business-oriented, neoliberal 'consensus' instructing us to reconcile ourselves to 'the new reality' -- rollbacks in social welfare and universal publicly funded programs; huge tax cuts to business and the rich, driving up public debt and enriching finance capitalism; an end to secure employment and guaranteed benefits;
1294. August 19, 2016 Razem: New Left in Poland
There was no real left party in Poland. There is the so-called Socialist or post-Communist party, which is just bureaucrats of the late Communist government that became the new establishment after the transition – basically neoliberal, socially conservative, not leftist at all, but they took the place of the left in the country and our objective was to re-open that space.
1293. August 16, 2016 Kyla Sankey What Happened to the Pink Tide?
When the ‘pink tide’ of left-leaning governments first rose to power on the back of anti-neoliberal protests across Latin America in the late 1990s and early 2000s, the initial reaction from the Left was euphoric. Striving to move beyond the 'there is no alternative' mantra, many pinned their hopes on what seemed to be a new wave of actually existing alternatives to neoliberalism. Amidst the revolutionary fervor of social forums, solidarity alliances, and peoples’ councils, it appeared an epochal shift was underway, which Ecuadorian president Rafael Correa optimistically dubbed 'a genuine change in the times.'
1292. August 12, 2016 Kyle Bailey Lessons of the 2015 CUPE Local 3903 Strike
It has now been over one year since the end of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) 3903 strike at York University in March 2015. This strike began when 3,700 teaching assistants, contract faculty, graduate assistants and research assistants voted to walk the picket lines. The decision came just days after a historic strike vote by 6,000 teaching assistants and other student academic staff in CUPE 3902 Unit 1 at the University of Toronto.
1291. August 11, 2016 Sabrina Fernandes Censorship is Back in Fashion in Brazil
Lately, it's been common to say that the 'right has come out of the closet' in Brazil. More precisely, the authoritarian, fascist right, has done so and very publicly for that matter. The revolutionary potential of June 2013, even if convoluted and smeared by depoliticization, held enough of a threat to require immediate hegemonic renewal, especially at the ideological level.
1290. August 8, 2016 J. F. Conway Wall: Sky Darkens for Sunshine Premier
Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall had already broken one promise even before he called the election: 'We didn't make a lot of election promises, but we made one significant one – to keep Saskatchewan strong' – unless, of course, you embrace that old bromide, 'what doesn't kill you makes you stronger.' The post-election sky of the Sunshine Premier has darkened as the spectre of economic collapse haunts him.
1289. August 5, 2016 David Camfield Work Life: What's At Stake At Canada Post?
The Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) is currently engaged in collective bargaining with Canada Post. Unlike in previous rounds, the contracts of both the Urban bargaining unit (covering about 42,000 workers) and the unit of some 8,000 Rural and Suburban Mail Carriers are being negotiated simultaneously. This is a rare case of a public sector union not only trying to defend its past gains but also to change the nature of the work its members do.
1288. August 3, 2016 Pierre Beaudet Thousands to Meet in Montreal for World Social Forum
Thousands of people from over 95 countries are expected to gather in Montreal on August 9-14 for a social movement summit called the World Social Forum. Participants will spend a week attending a great variety of workshops, lectures and cultural events – more than 1200 in total. Famed author Naomi Klein will be giving two talks that are sure to be among the highlights of this unique event, which is designed to allow social activists and scholars to grapple with a host of economic, social, environmental and cultural questions facing the contemporary world.
1287. August 1, 2016 Tony Iltis Turkey: After Failed Coup, Erdogan Cracks Down
Faced with an attempt to overthrow his government, President Recep Tayyip Erdo?an described the coup as 'a gift from God' – and wasted no time in exploiting it to further entrench his authoritarian regime. Turkish government broadcaster TRT was seized by a group of military officers calling themselves the 'Peace in the Country Council' on July 15, who announced that they had taken over the country.
1286. July 29, 2016 Sungur Savran Turkey: Atlanticism versus Rabiism
The dramatic events that unfolded in Turkey on the night of 15 to 16 July have been excessively confined to the internecine struggle of two different Islamic currents, that of the AKP under the iron fist of Recep Tayyip Erdogan and its latter day nemesis the Gulen fraternity. This is misleading in two senses. On the one hand, it hides from view the distinct possibility or even more and more certitude that other tendencies within the Turkish armed forces were involved in the planning if not the final execution of the failed putsch. On the other, it prevents us from seeing the more fundamental contradiction that besets Turkey today – a contradiction that relates to the country's position in the world system.
1285. July 26, 2016 Evert Hoogers, Donald Swartz, Rosemary Warskett Postal Workers Confront Canada Post: The Struggle Continues in 2016
A major confrontation is in the making at Canada Post. On the one hand, post office management is seeking to extract a series of far ranging concessions from its workers. On the other, those workers and their union, Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW), are not simply prepared to resist these demands, but are determined to use the opportunity to negotiate a new collective agreement to pursue an agenda that advances equality within the workplace and the expansion and renewal of vital public services. The importance of this struggle lies in the fact that its outcome will be of enormous significance not only to the lives of postal workers, but to all public sector workers and indeed to future workers as well.
1284. July 22, 2016 AJ Withers and Yogi Acharya Implementing Austerity By Downloading Responsibility
Laura Bardeau had bedbugs and lost all of her furniture. A single mother with two children, trying to survive on social assistance, she applied for emergency housing support from the City of Toronto's Housing Stabilization Fund (HSF). In doing so Laura was one of over 30,000 people annually who try to access this fund. As per her eligibility, Laura requested the maximum $1500 the City allots for replacing necessary furniture. That was in April. Much to her surprise, she was denied; not once, but twice.
1283. July 20, 2016 Benjamin Selwyn Rethinking Recovery: Poverty Chains and Global Capitalism
Contemporary global capitalism is characterized by extreme wealth concentration and a rapidly expanding and largely impoverished global labour force. Mainstream institutions such as the World Bank and International Labour Organization encourage integration into global value chains as a development strategy that, they claim, will reduce poverty. In reality, employment within these chains generates new forms of worker poverty and contributes to global wealth concentration. That is why they should be labelled global poverty chains.
1282. July 19, 2016 Hilary Wainwright A Question of Leadership
The ‘new politics’ Jeremy Corbyn proclaims must be an explicit agenda of institutional change, not simply a change of style at the dispatch box. Isn't it time we put the idea of leadership as we know it under scrutiny?
1281. July 15, 2016 Michael Löwy Reactionary Tide in Latin America
Since the beginning of the 21st cen­tury, the Left has won elections in most Latin American countries, in a powerful wave of popular rejection of the disastrous neoliberal policies of the previous regimes. One must however distinguish between two quite different sorts of left governments: Social-liberal coalitions, which do not break with the fundamental 'Washington Consensus' but implement several progressive social measures....
1280. July 12, 2016 Greg Albo and Lilian Yap From the Tar Sands to ‘Green Jobs’? Work and Ecological Justice
The ecological and social implications of climate change have – or should – become a central parameter for all discussions of work and capitalism. It is generally agreed that reliance on the burning of fossil fuels as the pre-eminent energy source for production and consumption over the history of capitalism is the critical factor in the ruinous greenhouse gas emissions triggering global warming, which would become irreversible if the earth's atmosphere were brought to a ‘tipping-point’.
1279. July 8, 2016 Dick Nichols Spanish Left Falls Short in Poll Amid New Deadlock
The key question about the result of the June 26 Spanish general election is also the most difficult to answer: why did 1.09 million people – who in the December 20 elections voted for the anti-austerity party Podemos, the United Left (IU) and the three broader progressive tickets Together We Can (Catalonia), Podemos-Commitment (Valencian Country) and In Tide (Galicia) – not vote for the combined Podemos-IU ticket (United We Can) and these broader tickets at this poll?
1278. July 6, 2016 John Riddell Trudeau Climate Plan Challenged at Toronto ‘Town Halls’
The first two public consultations on climate action organized by Canada's national government in Toronto, gave strong support to the demands of the People's Climate Plan (PCP), an alternative to climate-related proposals. The two concepts most frequently voiced at the gatherings, held June 17 and June 24, were support for Indigenous rights and opposition to further expansion of fossil fuel infrastructure. Participants listened attentively to the government's presentations but offered no congratulations for its initial proposals.
1277. June 30, 2016 Ingar Solty After 'Brexit': A Social-Democratic Re-Founding of Europe?
In light of 'Brexit' and within 24 hours after the publication of the final results in the British referendum on EU membership, Sigmar Gabriel, Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD) chairman, German vice-chancellor and Minister of Economic Affairs in the Merkel government, and Martin Schulz, EU Parliament President, published a new strategy paper analyzing the origins of the deep legitimacy crisis of the European Union amid the Europe-wide rise of the nationalist Right and outlining political pathways to overcome this legitimacy crisis in order to prevent the EU's disintegration.
1276. June 29, 2016 Angella MacEwen Who Earns Minimum Wage?
Minimum wages have been getting a lot of attention lately. And for good reason. Workers earning minimum wage often struggle to get enough hours, don't have predictable schedules or advance notice of shifts, and many don't even have access to unpaid sick days.
1275. June 24, 2016 Spanish Left: 50 Steps to Govern Together
The coalition between Podemos and IU (called 'Unidos Podemos' -- Together We Can) is the only one that, on 26 June, could overturn the situation created by the 20 December Spanish election. In order to do that, Podemos and IU have agreed on a 50-point programme to end austerity and bring democracy to the country.
1274. June 23, 2016 J. F. Conway Wall: Sunshine Premier Makes History
Saskatchewan Party leader Brad Wall has earned a major place in Saskatchewan's political history. On April 4 he broke the back of the NDP, the province's 'natural governing party' since 1944. Until Wall's first victory in 2007 the CCF/NDP ruled the province, suffering only two interruptions. Liberal Ross Thatcher defeated Woodrow Lloyd's CCF in 1964 and 1967, only to be crushed by Allan Blakeney's NDP in 1971.
1273. June 22, 2016 Peter Linebaugh interviewed by Mahdi Ganjavi History of the Equals
Peter Linebaugh was in Toronto in May 13-16, 2016. An internationally known historian, Professor Linebaugh is considered one of the most important Marxist historians of our time. He is a historian of class struggles in Britain and the colonial Atlantic. A former student of E. P. Thompson, Linebaugh has taught in New York University, Harvard University and the University of Toledo.
1272. June 21, 2016 Part of the Union?
Can socialists take a principled position in relation to the UK's European Union membership referendum on 23 June, or should we wish ‘a plague on both your houses’? Christina Delistathi puts the case to ‘leave’, Charlie Hore for a ‘remain’ vote, and Rob Owen for a ‘radical abstention’.
1271. June 18, 2016 Walter Baier The Resistible Rise of the Far Right in Europe
The rise of the radical right in Europe raises many questions. The key here is the crisis of European democracies. To counteract this development, the Left is confronted with great challenges: overcoming mass unemployment and nationalism, and defending democracy. The victory of the candidate of the Greens, Alexander Van der Bellen in the second round of Austria's presidential elections over the far right contender is certainly a reason for relief.
1270. June 16, 2016 John Palmer The EU Referendum: The Case for a Socialist Yes Vote
What attitude should socialists take to the referendum on Britain's membership of the European Union (EU)? It is possible to trace the roots of the movement for European unity and integration to the inter-war decades. A number of loosely linked groups -- some led by radical federalists including socialists, liberals and supporters of the League of Nations -- argued for a federal, united Europe.
1269. June 15, 2016 Maurice Glasman Why Should Labour Support the Undemocratic European Union?: The Case to Leave
The origins of the European Union (EU) are, in many ways, inspiring and almost miraculous. Co-operation in the iron and steel industries between France and West Germany was built on an economic strategy that gave not only dignity, but some power to workers, through the balance of power in corporate governance which gave a parity to capital and labour. It recognised a mutual interest between nations that had engaged in two abominable wars in the previous forty years.
1268. June 14, 2016 Jesse McLaren Climate Justice Transitions
The devastating fires in Fort McMurray show the urgent need to transition to an economy that supports people and the planet, and this is part of a transition in climate justice politics. The mainstream environmental movement used to be dominated by a narrow focus on consumerism, individual lifestyle choices, and single issue politics – taking for granted the broader context of colonialism and capitalism.
1267. June 13, 2016 Richard Greeman The French Stand Up
'We've had enough' is the phrase on everyone's lips as -- against all expectations -- the wave of strikes, blockades, disruptions and mass demonstrations begun on May 17th continues to develop throughout France. Indeed, in the past couple of days, two new strategic groups of workers have joined the protest. Technicians at France's nuclear power plants are now cutting back on production of electricity, and the railroad workers have massively joined the street protests while cutting back on trains.
1266. June 8, 2016 John Riddell Toronto Teach-In Poses Climate Justice Alternative
The People's Climate Plan Teach-in, held in Toronto June 4, took great strides forward in presenting a forceful alternative to the inadequate and deceptive climate action proposals of Canada's federal government. In the opening session, five leading climate activists presented a coherent, unified climate justice strategy, proposing effective action to save the world from climate disaster interlocked with practical measures to assist working people and the poor who are the first victims of global warming.
1265. June 7, 2016 Socialist Project A Leap Toward Radical Politics?
The Leap Manifesto is, in a way, Canada's version of the burst of Left and socialist energies that have come with the Bernie Sanders campaign in the Democratic Party in the U.S. and the Jeremy Corbyn leadership win in the Labour Party in Britain. As with these, the explosion of popular interest reflects general disquiet on the limits of recent protests demanding changes from the state but having no strategy to transform it, on the one hand; and disappointments with electoral politics and social democratic parties that only seem to reinforce neoliberalism, on the other.
1264. June 5, 2016 Carlo Fanelli Neoliberalism, Public Services and Labour in Toronto
City Manager Peter Wallace recently released a report on The City of Toronto's Long-term Financial Direction. The analysis is the latest to reinforce what many earlier studies have long been arguing: that the city of Toronto does not have a spending crisis, but a revenue crisis. It found that 'cost containment' measures have produced some $300-million in savings since 2010, but that this has done little to address the structural deficit at the root of the city's financial challenges. The report notes that, consistent with the austerity approaches adopted by the governments of Ontario and Canada, city government is less expensive today than it was six years ago.
1263. June 2, 2016 Léon Crémieux Strong Headwinds Are Making France a Stormy Sea
France has entered a new situation since the beginning of March. Previously it was dominated by the political polarization exerted by National Front and the parallel rise of the ‘national security’ climate following the terrorist attacks in January and November 2015. None of these elements has been cancelled out and you would have to be blind to think that all of that had been swept away by the present movement.
1262. May 31, 2016 Patrick Bond Imperialism's Junior Partners
On May 12, Brazil's democratic government, led by the Workers’ Party (PT), was the victim of a coup. What will the other BRICS countries (Russia, India, China, and South Africa) do? Will they stand by as the reactionaries who took power in Brasilia pivot closer to Western powers, glad to warm Dilma Rousseff's seat at the BRICS summit in Goa, India in five months’ time? Or take a stronger line, following the lead of Latin American progressive countries (Venezuela, Cuba, Ecuador, Bolivia, Nicaragua and El Salvador)?
1261. May 26, 2016 J. F. Conway Federal NDP's Pact With Satan Implodes
The years of compromise and moderation were about to bear fruit in 2015. In 1933 the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (CCF) proudly declared itself a socialist party dedicated to the eradication of capitalism and building a socialist economy and society. Voices of moderation within the party appealed to the party's rank-and-file to be more pragmatic, less ideologically pure.
1260. May 24, 2016 Sean Smith interviewed by Tim Heffernan Mobilizing Workers at Toronto Airport
Toronto's Pearson International Airport is Canada's busiest hub and is crucial to the economy. There are more than 40,000 employees working for over 400 employers at the airport, making it the largest workplace in Canada.
1259. May 22, 2016 Transit Activism and the Urban Question in Belo Horizonte, Brazil
The current conflagration of the Dilma Rousseff government notwithstanding, Brazil has been an inspiring source of debate for the global left over the last generation. This has been true for a range of initiatives, including the rise of the Workers’ Party (PT) in the 1980s, municipal socialist projects in the 1990s, and the movement of landless workers Movimento dos Trabalhadores Rurais Sem Terra (MST). The demand for free transit has been an important starting point of more recent mobilizations, notably those that shook the whole country in the summer of 2013.
1258. May 20, 2016 Esther Vivas What Remains of All Our Outrage?
It's been five years since the massive occupation of May 15, 2011 that gave birth to the movement of los indignados, known as the 15M movement, followed by five years of faltering progress with many advances and set-backs along the way -- five years of a tremendous crisis, civil unrest and mass protest. What remains today after such a sustained period of outrage?
1257. May 17, 2016 Zwelinzima Vavi Zuma's Denialism and Betrayal
South African President Jacob Zuma's budget speech delivered on 4 May 2016 was yet another missed opportunity to look the South African public in the eye and be frank about the challenges our country is facing. This president and the government he leads are in a state of shocking denial about the worsening and unfolding crisis happening under their watch. They simply refuse to acknowledge the level of our people's suffering.
1256. May 13, 2016 Paul Kellogg interviewed by Robin Chang Canada, Left-Nationalism, and Alternatives
A concrete understanding of contemporary Canadian economic development depends in part on a grasp of the current institutional structures within the North American economic bloc and how this regional trading bloc interacts with others within the world market. In terms of tracing the history of capitalism in the Canadian context, the next question becomes what are the comparative forms of colonization within the Americas as well as the role of staples commodity exports in that development.
1255. May 11, 2016 Asbjørn Wahl Norway's Unions Confront Neoliberalism
For a long time, Norway has represented an exception in Europe and the word. The main reason has been the abundance of oil revenue, which has made Norway the only country in Europe without net state debt. Quite the opposite, the Norwegian government has a huge surplus – most of it in the form of the so-called “Government Pension Fund – Global.” Until recently, Norwegian workers have therefore not felt the effects of the financial and economic crisis as strongly as most other workers in Europe.
1254. May 6, 2016 "Dilma's Mistake Was to Promote Class Conciliation"
The economist and leader of the Landless Workers’ Movement (MST) of Brazil, Joao Pedro Stédile, affirmed that left-wing forces won't allow the Parliamentarian right to fulfill their wish to force Dilma Rousseff out of the presidency to reinstall neoliberalism in the country.
1253. May 3, 2016 Tanner Mirrlees The U.S. Empire's Culture Industry, at Large
For readers immersed in the annals of Empire, it is well known that the United States is no ordinary country in the world system. The United States is a unique Empire whose national security strategy since 1945 has relied upon a mix of diplomacy and brute military force to make the world safe for American capitalism around the world, and more importantly, made the world over for global capitalism.
1252. April 29, 2016 Raju Das The Attack on Democracy and Secularism in India
There are things. And there are conditions of existence of things. In India, as in all countries of the world, many social problems exist. Close to 700 million Indians do not have access to food that will provide the minimum number of calories required for a healthy life. In other words, there is a massive amount of absolute poverty. And then there are conditions of existence of problems such as poverty.
1251. April 26, 2016 Trish Kahle Austerity vs. the Planet: The Future of Labour Environmentalism
Last December members of the International Trade Union Confederation joined other civil society activists in a mass sit-in at the COP21 talks in Paris. Unionists and their allies, some 400 strong, filled the social space adjacent to the negotiating rooms for several hours, in defiance of a French ban on protests that remained in effect in the wake of the November 13 terrorist attacks. The ITUC delegation demanded the negotiators go back to the table and make a serious effort to incorporate labour's demands for a just transition.
1250. April 22, 2016 Standing Up to Verizon's War on Unions
Unions representing nearly 40,000 Verizon workers have announced plans to hit the picket lines on April 13, in what would be one of the largest strikes in the U.S. in recent years. The workers, members of the CWA and IBEW, are fighting aggressive attacks on their compensation, job security and more -- carried out by a corporation that is raking in the profits, but won't be satisfied until it breaks the power of their unions.
1249. April 20, 2016 Crisis in Brazil
Since the 1980s, Brazil's Workers' Party has been one of the largest political parties of the left in Latin America. It has held power at the federal level in Brazil, in coalition with other parties, since January 2003, and figured prominently as one of the central representatives of the ‘pink tide’ running against neoliberalism in Latin America. But just as the pink tide has been fracturing, from internal challenges in some cases and electoral reaction in others, a deep institutional crisis is consuming the PT government of Dilma Rousseff and, indeed, exposing political rot across the state institutions.
1248. April 18, 2016 Umair Muhammad Confronting Injustice, Choosing Social Activism
Bold and imaginative activism is difficult to find precisely at a time when we need it most. However, it is not the case that activism in general is in short supply; one finds, in fact, that activist ideals and vocabulary have securely made their way into everyday life. However, this leaves society fundamentally unchanged when the messages communicated by activists are distorted and then used to reinforce the social realities that they were originally devised to change.
1247. April 15, 2016 Ashley Smith What Did Quebec Public-Sector Unions Achieve?
After a wave of protests and job actions that culminated in Quebec's largest general strike in decades last December, public-sector unions have agreed to a series of contracts with disappointing concessions that raise questions about where the struggle in Quebec will go next. On December 9, more than 400,000 workers shut down government services to defend their wages, benefits and working conditions. Liberal Party Premier Philippe Couillard provoked the strike by demanding massive concessions. Unions formed a bargaining alliance, the Common Front, to negotiate with the government.
1246. April 14, 2016 Bernd Riexinger What Die Linke Should Do
The March 13 regional election results were a bitter setback for Die Linke and everyone fighting for social justice and democracy in Germany. The results of the parliamentary elections in Saxony-Anhalt, Baden-Württemberg, and Rhineland-Palatinate signify a major shift in the political landscape. For years now, studies have identified a potential voting base for parties of the far right ranging from 15 to 20 per cent of the electorate.
1245. April 12, 2016 Phil Hearse Neoliberalism's World of Corruption
The Panama Papers’ revelations about the rich and powerful hiding untold billions in ‘offshore’ tax havens may be shocking, but it's hardly a surprise to anyone who knows the first thing about the way that big business works. We are living through a blitzstorm of allegations and controversy about corruption. The revelations in the Panama Papers that hundreds of companies and thousands of individuals, including 72(!) present or former heads of state, hid their fortunes offshore.
1244. April 8, 2016 Herman Rosenfeld The Roots and Contours of Worker Rebellion in a Changing China
It is impossible to ignore the large and growing wave of worker strikes and protests now rocking China. Just last year there were over 2700 actions, double the numbers of 2014 and more than 500 during this past January alone. They are in response to the Chinese government's restructuring program of wage cuts, worker layoffs, and workplace closures during an economic slowdown and plans to move away from the export-oriented strategy followed in this stage of the reform period.
1243. April 7, 2016 Brewing the Right Cup of Coffee
Coffee is one of the most valuable commodities exported by the global South (seconded only by oil and illegal drugs), generating billions of dollars in corporate profit each year. And yet, despite the expansion and increased visibility of fair-trade coffee, the majority of the world's coffee families live in relative poverty. Gavin Fridell's recent book, Coffee (Polity, 2014), not only charts coffee's long and tortuous history of exploitation and colonialism, but endeavours to expose the culprit for such vast inequality.
1242. April 4, 2016 Greg Shupak The Case Against Bombing ISIS
When ISIS claimed responsibility for the horrendous attacks in Brussels last week, U.S. President Barack Obama was unequivocal: the U.S. and its allies, he said, “can and will defeat those who threaten the safety and security of people all around the world.” More bombing, it hardly needed to be said, was on the way.
1241. April 1, 2016 John Clarke Looking the Basic Income Gift Horse in the Mouth
Both the Trudeau Liberals in Ottawa and the Wynne Government at Queen's Park have been making noises of late on the subject of Basic Income. The last Ontario Budget, in fact, declared an intention to carry out a pilot project in a community still to be announced. While no clear details are yet available, it is very likely that we will soon be dealing with a practical initiative that we will have to respond to. We will have to consider how we view the possibility of the Liberals moving in the direction of a Basic Income system.
1240. March 30, 2016 Doug Allan Ontario Government Program Spending is far Lower than the Rest of Canada
The Ontario government spent 1.6 per cent less of provincial Gross Domestic Product (GDP) compared to the other provinces in 2010-11. With sharp cutbacks in Ontario, that gap had increased to 2.1 per cent by 2014/15. On this basis, Ontario spent about $15-billion less on programs than the other provinces and territories. On a per capita basis, Ontario is the lowest spending (and lowest revenue) provincial government in Canada.
1239. March 28, 2016 Patrick Bond Austerity Gathers Pace in Volatile South Africa
A wedge is being quickly driven through Pretoria's political elite, splitting even those who worked closely in the murky 1980s Durban spy scene during the fight against apartheid. Amongst the victims are vast numbers of poor people beginning to bear the brunt of the diverse shakeouts in the ongoing confrontation now underway between the country's two most powerful 21st century politicians: President Jacob Zuma and his predecessor Thabo Mbeki.
1238. March 25, 2016 Araz Bagban An Iranian Classic: For the Continuation of the Dictatorship, Long Live Elections!
Iran's parliamentary elections for the Islamic Consultative Assembly were held in parallel with the elections for the Assembly of Experts on 26 February. Iran is one of the main actors of the ongoing wars and conflicts in the Middle East and has just recently overcome its long-standing nuclear crisis with the Western powers. Naturally, with these elections the internal dynamics of the Islamic regime was again at the centre of attention.
1237. March 23, 2016 Alfredo Saad Filho Overthrowing Dilma Rousseff
The judicial coup against President Dilma Rousseff is the culmination of the deepest political crisis in Brazil for 50 years. Every so often, the bourgeois political system runs into crisis. The machinery of the state jams; the veils of consent are torn asunder and the tools of power appear disturbingly naked. Brazil is living through one of those moments: it is dreamland for social scientists; a nightmare for everyone else.
1236. March 22, 2016 Andreas Karitzis The 'SYRIZA Experience': Lessons and Adaptations
The impact of the strategic defeat of last year is still very strongly shaping various reactions within the Greek left. Some people seem content with superficial explanations of what happened and return to habitual ways of thinking and acting; others sense the strategic depth of the defeat and turn inward to disappointment and demoralization.
1235. March 21, 2016 Dick Nichols Podemos and the Crisis of the Spanish State
It's impossible to understand Podemos without grasping the many-sided crisis of Spanish society and the Spanish state. Podemos expresses the anger and hatred toward the Spanish and European establishment felt by millions of people – especially the young – and a deep desire for a radical overhaul of economy, society and state institutions.
1234. March 17, 2016 Brad A. Bauerly and Ingar Solty Sanders and the Left After Super Tuesday
While some have become skeptical, there are those - from The Nation via Politico and Tom Cahill to Robert Reich - who are now saying that this is not the end of the line for Bernie Sanders U.S. presidential bid. And it is indeed true that we should remind ourselves that ever since the 1980s the Democratic party leadership has scheduled the primary season in ways that voters in more conservative states would go to the polls first in order to prevent leftist grassroots candidates from challenging the neoliberal party establishment.
1233. March 16, 2016 Geoffrey McCormack and Thom Workman Age of Austerity: Capital, the Financial Crisis and the State in Canada
The financial and economic crisis of 2008 has left a continuing legacy on social welfare, showing up in slow economic growth, unemployment and underemployment, and increasing social conflict. In the debate over the future of the world economy, many foresee a long depression, and the intensification of neoliberal austerity. Geoffrey McCormack and Thom Workman's new book is concerned with Canada's unique economic and social history over the period of neoliberalism, including the financial and economic crisis of 2008.
1232. March 13, 2016 Charles-André Udry Portugal's Political Impasse
The election of conservative candidate Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa as Portugal's new president on January 24 (with 51.99 per cent of the vote) adds a new element to the existing ‘tripolar’ situation, which may be analyzed as follows. First, we have a Socialist Party (SP) government, serving alongside the newly elected president, presided over by the party's general secretary (Prime Minister) Antonio Costa.
1231. March 10, 2016 Paul Kahnert Hydro Fairy Tales: Debunking Wynne's Sale of Hydro One
Up until the late fall of 2014, Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne and her Ministers vehemently denied, on the record, that they would sell Hydro One. Then on March 10, 2015 when it was leaked that the Liberals were going to sell Hydro One, Premier Wynne went on the record and said “Whatever we do, we are going to control prices. We are going to make sure that the regulatory regimes that will protect people in this province stay in place.”
1230. March 8, 2016 Sebastian Chwala The Front National and French Workers
The class-consciousness of workers in France is diminishing. As early as 1978 opinion surveys revealed a strong unease that went with the sense of society falling into crisis. The most important factors for the preservation of class-consciousness, according to social scientists Guy Michelat and Michel Simon, were the existence of relatively unified and solidary collectives at the lower societal levels (workplace, neighbourhood), and the presence of strong organizations (trade unions, political parties), which were able to assert workers' interests in the political and social spheres, and by whom workers felt themselves to be represented.
1229. March 4, 2016 Claudio Katz Is South America's 'Progressive Cycle' At an End?
The progressive cycle emerged from popular rebellions that altered power relations in South America. There were social improvements and democratic conquests, and imperialist aggression was curbed. But export-oriented extractivism increased and trade became more balkanized. The agreements with China made by each country reveal fractures in continental integration that have facilitated the reappearance of free trade treaties.
1228. February 29, 2016 Pierre Rousset The NPA Seven Years On: Project, Reality and Questions
Radical Left organizations in Europe have tended to focus their attention on the major political and electoral experiences that have stood out in the recent period – beginning with Syriza in Greece, Podemos in the Spanish State and the Left Bloc in Portugal, and often also Die Linke in Germany, Rifondazione Comunista in Italy, the Red-Green Alliance in Denmark and others. This is entirely justified. Still, other attempts at “doing something new” merit analysis, even where successes were fewer or shorter-lived.
1227. February 26, 2016 John Clarke Toronto's Homeless Shelters Bursting at the Seams
On Wednesday, February 17, a mass delegation of members and supporters of the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty marched to Toronto City Hall. We brought with us copies of a report we had put together called Out in the Cold: The Crisis in Toronto's Shelter System. The City Council was putting the finishing touches to a municipal budget tailored to the needs of investors, developers and a well resourced police force. We entered the Council Chambers and interrupted their deliberations to deliver the report as many of them scrambled for the exits.
1226. February 24, 2016 For BDS, Against Apartheid, Free Palestine
Six years before the fall of the South African apartheid, an editorial by The Daily noted optimistically, “Now, even the most conservative authorities are recognizing that revolution is inevitable. Now, they are divesting not on principle, but out of self-interest.” McGill would later, in November 18, 1985, join dozens of other North American universities in divesting its holdings from South Africa, also becoming the first Canadian university to do so – something that played an important role in taking down legislated apartheid in the country.
1225. February 23, 2016 Carol-Anne Hudson Women Can't Wait; Repeal the 8th
Abortion is one of the defining issues of the 2016 national Irish election, yet a vast majority of candidates have declined to give their views on the controversial subject. 331 of the 392 candidates have not declared a position, 33 candidates have stated support for keeping the 8th Amendment, and another 28 candidates have stated that they want to repeal the 8th. Labour, Sinn Féin, the Greens, Social Democrats, and a number of Left Independents have pledged to hold a referendum to remove the “right to life” 8th Amendment from the Constitution.
1224. February 22, 2016 Mario Candeias A Moment of Catharsis
One year after the victory and six months after the coup, we shouldn't fool ourselves: This was a defeat, of the Greek government. But it's not only Syriza that has failed (for now). The whole left has failed in Greece – and in the rest of Europe, indeed. Europe is no longer what it was. It's impossible to defend this project of European unification from the left without falling into pure illusions.
1223. February 19, 2016 Heather Whiteside ‘No Admittance Except on Business’: How P3s are Produced and the Secret of Their Profit Making
Accompanied by Mr. Moneybags ... we [enter] into the hidden abode of production, on whose threshold there stares us in the face ‘No admittance except on business’. Here we shall see, not only how capital produces, but how capital is produced. We shall at last force the secret of profit making.
1222. February 18, 2016 The Ontario Liberals and Long-Term Care: The Struggle Against Privatization
Governments across Canada have been caught in a fiscal bind over the entire period of neoliberalism. On the one hand, they have pursued austerity and restraint almost without interruption since the 1990s; and, on the other, they remain under pressure to deliver some minimal social security for welfare, healthcare, pensions and so forth.
1221. February 15, 2016 John W. Warnock Growing Tomatoes in the Era of Free Trade
Southwestern Ontario is the historic home of Canadian tomato growers. The bulk of the crop goes to processing, and since 1909 the dominant corporation had been H. J. Heinz, a food giant based in Pittsburgh. But in 2013 the Heinz Corporation was bought by Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway and 3G Capital, based in Brazil. It was soon announced that they were planning to close their plant in Leamington.
1220. February 12, 2016 NUMSA and Allies Call for Dismantling the 'Mineral Energy Complex' in South Africa
We, as representatives of trade unions that organize in the energy sector and delegates from communities that are struggling around outages, loadshedding, high electricity prices and poor quality of energy services, met for four days (June 2nd to 5th, 2015) in the midst of what we consider as a far-reaching electricity crisis in our country.
1219. February 10, 2016 Eric Ruder What You Need to Know About the Oil Price War
The dramatic crash in the price of oil is rewiring the circuits of global capitalism by creating enormous volatility in the world's stock exchanges, hammering banks that made billions of dollars in loans to energy firms, and ravaging the budgets of the world's largest oil-producing countries. Today, oil is trading at around $30 a barrel – roughly 75 per cent below its price of $114 a barrel in the summer of 2014 – that is, a year and a half ago.
1218. February 8, 2016 James Jordan Nothing to Do, Nowhere to Go, Nothing to Say
It has been two months since the UN climate summit in Paris, aka COP 21. One might expect the kind of ebb and flow we often see in popular movements. Interest in climate issues, the cause of the day during the summit, might be expected to wane and move to the back burner of public discourse until another development pushes it forward again.
1217. February 5, 2016 Ontario Health Coalition Against Privatization: Health Coalition Demands Funding for Hospitals
The 1960s were about much more than protesting the war in Vietnam. It was also a time of cultural upheaval as a new generation challenged capitalist values, including its shallow democracy, and environmental issues emerged both in the workplace and in the community. One response by the state in the core capitalist countries was to give increased prominence to the welfare state.
1216. February 2, 2016 Real Peoples Media Eagle and Condor Meet in Oneida
On Sunday, October 25, a 10 person delegation headed by Irene Leon, advisor to the Ecuadorian foreign minister, was welcomed at the Kayanere’ko:wa longhouse within the K^onthyokwanhasta on Elijah Rd, on Oneida Nation territory. This gathering was the latest step in the development of an ongoing relationship between three traditional Oneida Nation clan families who follow the Kayanere’ko:wa (the Great Peace), and the movement known as the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas (ALBA).
1215. January 29, 2016 Ashley Smith Quebec Unions Debate a Settlement
Quebec public-sector unions organized in the Common Front reached a tentative agreement with the government of Premier Philippe Couillard right before the holidays on December 17. The agreement followed an explosive fall filled with rotating regional public-sector strikes and anti-austerity protests that culminated in the largest general strike in Quebec's history, when more than 400,000 workers stayed off the job and shut down most government services on December 9.
1214. January 28, 2016 Jannis Milios Austerity Unbroken
Much coverage of the Greek debt crisis has focused on the ‘troika’ of international creditors and German chancellor Angela Merkel – a striking image of parasitic foreign powers scapegoating the country for personal gain. In some corners of the Left, this narrative has fueled the demand for ‘Grexit’ (a Greek exit from the eurozone) under the impression that such a move would create a more favorable environment for a break with austerity.
1213. January 27, 2016 Michalis Spourdalakis Rekindling Hope: SYRIZA's Challenges and Prospects
Before turning to the main theme of this article it would be very useful to come to terms with at least the following preliminary observations: The left in government and especially the radical left in government has never been the subject of easy discussion among leftists. As the project of social transformation was never a peaceful stroll in the park, the debates on the question of in and/or out of government, let alone those about political power, have been very heated.
1212. January 26, 2016 John McMurtry The Davos Blind Eye: How the Rich Eat the Poor and the World
The just-released Oxfam Davos report An Economy For the 1% which the mass media have ignored arrestingly shows that 62 individuals (388 in 2010) now own more wealth than 50 per cent of the world's population. More shockingly, it reports from its uncontested public sources that this share of wealth by half of the world's people has collapsed by over 40 per cent in just the last five years. Yet the big lies persist even here that “the progress has been made in tackling world poverty” and “extreme poverty has been halved since 1990.”
1211. January 25, 2016 Richard Fidler Can People's Power Save the Bolivarian Revolution?
Seventeen years after Hugo Chávez was elected Venezuela's President for the first time, the supporters of his Bolivarian Revolution, now led by President Nicolás Maduro, suffered their first major defeat in a national election in the December 6 elections to the country's parliament, the National Assembly.
1210. January 22, 2016 Herbert Docena To Change the Heart and Soul
On the final day of the UN summit (COP21) held in Paris in December 2015, thousands of people defied a ban on public gatherings by converging at a boulevard leading to the business district in La Défense to denounce the new climate agreement that government negotiators were about to sign and celebrate at the conference venue in Le Bourget, 20 kilometres away. Hoping to counter governments’ attempts to control the narrative regarding the summit, they gathered behind giant inflatable ‘cobblestones’ and a red banner proclaiming “System change not climate change!”
1209. January 20, 2016 John Clarke The Austerity Agenda in Sheep's Clothing
As we go into the New Year with Justin Trudeau's Liberal Government in place, it's worth noting that the struggle against poverty in Toronto now unfolds with a complete set of federal, provincial and municipal regimes all seeking to position themselves politically as moderate if not progressive. This has particular implications and poses particular challenges in terms of effectively resisting austerity, poverty and social abandonment.
1208. January 19, 2016 Ellen Meiksins Wood The Uses and Abuses of 'Civil Society'
The death of Ellen Wood on January 14, 2016 represents an immense loss for socialists everywhere. As a frequent contributor to the Socialist Register since her first essay in 1980, special co-editor of the 1995 volume on Why Not Capitalism, and a member of the Register’s editorial collective from 1996 to 2009, her depth of socialist commitment, theoretical originality and profound insight may best be gauged from this excerpt from her essay on “The uses and abuses of ‘civil society’” in the Socialist Register 1990: The Retreat of the Intellectuals.
1207. January 18, 2016 Kansu Yildirim The "New Turkey's" Test With Freedom of Thought and Expression: Resurgent Fascism?
The petition by the Academicians for Peace in Turkey has resulted in an assault against the academic community of the country, which resembles the practices of the military junta of the September 12 1980, coup d'état. The petition itself and the reactions for/against it have gained a different momentum following the increasing pressure by the AKP (the governing political power) via various channels such as university administrations, legal bodies and partisan media organizations.
1206. January 13, 2016 Lesley J. Wood Interviewed by Greg Albo The Militarization of Policing
After the killing of Michael Brown in the streets of Ferguson, Missouri in the late summer of 2014, protests erupted, and the Black Lives Matter spread across North America to protest police violence, too often systematically directed at poor and racialized communities. The massive police presence at these protests, with weapons and armoured vehicles that looked and felt like major military deployments, made it clear to all that something fundamental had taken place in policing practices and strategies.
1205. January 5, 2016 Interview with Claudio Katz A New Political Situation in Latin America: What Lies Ahead?
In my opinion, the so-called progressive cycle of the last decade in South America has been a process resulting from partially successful popular rebellions (Argentina, Bolivia, Venezuela, Ecuador) that altered the relationship of forces in the region. They allowed us to take advantage of higher prices for raw materials and dollar income in a way that differed considerably from what prevailed in other periods.
1204. January 1, 2016 Asbjørn Wahl After Paris: Unify Fights Against Austerity and Climate Change
The Climate Summit in Paris has once again reminded us of how vulnerable we are on planet earth. However, humanity is faced with a number of deep and challenging crises: economic, social, political, over food – and, of course, over climate change, which is threatening the very existence of millions of people. These crises have many of the same root causes, going to the core of our economic system.
1203. December 30, 2015 Interview with Jeremy Corbyn "What We've Achieved So Far"
Hilary Wainwright and Leo Panitch in conversation with Jeremy Corbyn, the new leader of the UK Labour Party. They talk about the meaning of ‘new politics’, Tony Benn's legacy, and opening up Labour's policymaking to the people.
1202. December 29, 2015 Dan Freeman-Maloy Why is the Canadian Media Ignoring Evidence of 1948 Massacres?
The better part of a decade ago, I described the Toronto Star's Mitch Potter as "a canary in the mineshaft of liberal Canadian racism." A piece on 1948 Palestine published in a recent edition of the Toronto Star shows the canary very close to asphyxiating. Since Potter insists he was within his rights to describe Palestinian fighters in Gaza as "lemming-like," he'll surely forgive the metaphor.
1201. December 24, 2015 Alfredo Saad Filho Brazilian Democracy in Distress: Unpacking Dilma Rousseff's Impeachment
Brazil's Chamber of Deputies has opened impeachment procedures against President Dilma Rousseff, of the Workers’ Party (PT). This political manoeuvre is led by an unholy coalition including the Speaker of the Chamber, Eduardo Cunha, a right-wing evangelical from the Party of the Brazilian Democratic Movement (PMDB), who is being prosecuted in Brazil and in Switzerland for his money-dealing sins; Vice-President Michel Temer (PMDB), who is busily negotiating posts in his non-existent administration.
1200. December 22, 2015 Michal Rozworski Questions for the Canadian Left
Harper is gone, but (as a friend only quarter-jokingly said) we got the second worst outcome sold as the best, so now what? That's the 10 second version of this post. I want to throw out a few questions or, better yet, problems that I think the Canadian Left will have to face together over the next few years. There are no easy answers here.
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