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  Date Author Title           ISSN 1923-7871
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 Justin Panos 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.
1199. December 21, 2015 Community Resistance to the War on the Poor: The Online Course
Justin Podur interviews John Clarke and A.J. Withers about the online course they will be teaching in January 2016. The course will present an overview of a decades long history of organizing resistance in poor communities in Ontario to the mounting agenda of austerity. It will deal with the history of the organization and look at some of its key struggles and campaigns.
1198. December 17, 2015 Michal Rozworski; David Bush Two Essays on the Uber-Taxi Wars
The fight against the sharing economy, and Uber in particular, can be disorienting. Opposition is often painted as techno-phobia. The good guys in this story are Uber and progress; on the other side are opponents afraid of flexibility and smartphones, kicking and screaming against a future already here. In many ways, this is like the fight of the Luddites 200 years ago at the dawn of the Industrial Revolution.
1197. December 16, 2015 Steffen Böhm How Emissions Trading at Paris Climate Talks Has Set Us Up For Failure
The Paris Agreement has mostly been greeted with enthusiasm, though it contains at least one obvious flaw. Few seem to have noticed that the main tool mooted for keeping us within the 2-degrees global warming target is a massive expansion of carbon trading, including offsetting, which allows the market exchange of credits between companies and nations to achieve an overall emissions reduction. That's despite plenty of evidence that markets haven't worked well enough, or quickly enough, to actually keep the planet safe.
1196. December 9, 2015 Justin Podur Elections Theater
For the past eleven years, since the coup and overthrow of the elected government in 2004, Haiti has been deemed so dysfunctional, so failed, a state, that the international community has decided to run it directly. UN troops patrol its streets. Nongovernmental organizations oversee most aspects of social provision. Donors provide the finances. The resources and reach of the government is limited.
1195. December 5, 2015 Gregory Wilpert The Roots of the Current Situation in Venezuela
The current economic, political, and social situation in Venezuela is very complicated, which makes it somewhat difficult for outsiders to make sense of. On the one hand there are many people who defend the Bolivarian revolution, pointing to the successes it has had in reducing poverty and inequality and in increasing citizen participation and self-governance. On the other hand, there is a chorus of critics.
1194. December 4, 2015 Patrick Bond China Sucked Deeper Into World Financial Vortex and Vice Versa
On November 30, the Chinese currency – the yuan – will join the dollar, euro, pound and yen as the world's official reserve currencies, as recommended by the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Are we reaching the fabled new era of multipolarity, and will it bring stability to a chaotic world economy – “a win-win result for China and the world,” as the People's Bank of China claims? Or instead, will this herald the amplification of extreme uneven development, worsening financial crises, and the abuse of Chinese economic surpluses?
1193. December 2, 2015 Andreas Malm Our Fight for Survival
The climate negotiations entered their final day, and we geared up for our most audacious action. Several buses brought four hundred activists to different locations near the conference hall. Adrenaline running, we walked fast toward the gates and the guards. After a week of discussing sea level rise, eating vegan food, blocking car traffic, and marching in the streets dressed as polar bears and turtles, we were out to make a real difference.
1192. December 1, 2015 Brad Hornick COP21 Fossil Fuel Addiction
Fossil Fuel Addiction is killing the planet. The Climate Justice Movement must ready for an intervention before this addiction kills us all. The following is a practical guide to recognize addictive behaviour as well as how to effectively intervene to assist in the Addict's recovery. On the middle of global climate marches and actions worldwide, climate justice activists would do well to study these tips for an informed intervention.
1191. November 29, 2015 Tim Heffernan Socialist Wins in Seattle -- Toronto Next?
The headline in mic.com ran: “Meet the Most Important Socialist in America Not Named Bernie Sanders.” It was about the impact of open Socialist, Kshama Sawant, who had just been reelected in a Seattle Council election. The article went on to say, “Sanders isn't the only socialist in the United States making a splash. Kshama Sawant, a member of Seattle's city council since her election in 2013, has a tiny fraction of the name recognition of Sanders.”
1190. November 27, 2015 Michael A. Lebowitz The Tragedy of the Commons, the Pope, and the System
There's an old argument that common property inevitably leads to exhaustion of resources. In the parable of “the tragedy of the commons,” the story is told that, given the absence of private property, everyone had an incentive to graze his own animals on the common fields without limit with the result that overgrazing destroyed the land. No matter that, historically, individual communities have always found ways to manage their common property; nevertheless, the story continues to be told.
1189. November 25, 2015 Jeffrey Henderson China, the Remembrancer and the Continued Wasting of the British Economy
At first glance it seems an almost inexplicable paradox: probably the most right wing British government since 1945 inviting, against the advice of the security services, the military and the U.S. Government, companies controlled by the Chinese Communist Party -- and in one case the Chinese military -- into the heart of our strategically vital energy infrastructure.
1188. November 23, 2015 Panagiotis Sotiris The Realism of Audacity
In a certain way, I feel a certain unease since the entire Greek Left has some form of responsibility for the fact that Greece is not currently a laboratory of hope; rather it is a reason for despair. What I am going to say should be taken as a form of self-criticism rather than a declaration. I consider myself part of the problem... The problem is that in the country where the most aggressive experiment in neoliberal social engineering was met with the most massive, almost insurrectionary sequence of struggles.
1187. November 19, 2015 Jeff Noonan After Paris: Understanding not Revenge
At the basis of all concrete identities: “Muslim,” “Sunni,” “French citizen,” etc., lies a core human being, a capacity for self-making within the objective contexts of natural and social life. Selves are made, identities forged, reproduced, modified, and developed through processes of work and affective-symbolic interaction with other people within and across societies.
1186. November 18, 2015 Gerardo Otero and Efe Can Gürcan Arab Spring and Syrian Refugee Crisis: Ten Theses for Discussion
Our goal is to formulate ten theses on what we believe constitutes the historical background of the Syrian refugee crisis within the context of the Arab Spring. One central argument is that Western meddling in this process was turned into a violent contest for state power that has resulted in grave human tragedy. The recent Paris attacks with over 100 fatalities - resulting in a state-of-emergency declaration and arson of refugee camps in retaliation - indicate that the Syrian refugee crisis has already taken on a greater importance for global politics.
1185. November 17, 2015 Art Young Terror Attacks, G20 Hypocrisy
I join with many others who stand for a world of peace and justice in completely repudiating the terrorist attacks in Paris and the similar atrocity in Beirut. We express our full solidarity with the hundreds of innocent victims, dead and injured, many of whom remain in critical condition at this time.
1184. November 10, 2015 Gregory Shupak Will Justin Trudeau Change Canadian Policy in the Middle East?
The election of Canada's Liberal Party is likely to mean a shift away from the hyper-belligerent tone Stephen Harper's Conservative Party used on issues pertaining to Middle East policy, but few concrete changes can be expected to take place. All signs point to the incoming government continuing to play a key supporting role in U.S.-led imperialism in the Middle East.
1183. November 6, 2015 The Socialist Register The Politics of the Right and the Dilemmas of the Left
The Preface to the 2016 Socialist Register, The Politics of the Right, includes the following paragraphs: "There is a great strategic importance in a sober analysis of the strength of new right today, and the impasse of the left emerges here as a central concern."
1182. November 4, 2015 Richard Fidler Canada's Election: Voters Defeat Harper, but Elect Another Trudeau
Canada's federal election October 19 was effectively a plebiscite of voter opinion on the decade-long rule by the ultra-neoliberal Conservatives (Tories) led by Stephen Harper. With some 70 per cent of the electorate declaring for “change” in successive polling, the overriding issue was which of the main opposition parties, the New Democratic Party (NDP) or the Liberals, would emerge as the party best situated to replace the Tories.
1181. November 2, 2015 Patrick Bond South African Student Protesters Win First Big Victory
The university students have been furious, as their cry 'Fees must fall!' rang out on campuses and sites of political power across this society. An historic victory over South African neoliberalism was just won through the most intense three-week burst of activist mobilization since liberation from apartheid in 1994.
1180. October 29, 2015 Andrew Murray Corbyn's Labour
Lenin's excitement at his rediscovery of Hegel as he grappled for meaning at the great turning point in international socialist politics of autumn 1914 finds its echo on the left of the British labour movement in the extraordinary summer 101 years later. The election of Jeremy Corbyn, the most left-wing socialist and consistent anti-imperialist in the House of Commons, as leader of the Labour Party and therefore of Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition, is a break in gradualness on a grand scale.
1179. October 27, 2015 Dick Nichols Surge in Portuguese Left Bloc Support Puts Socialist Party on the Spot
Will Portugal finally see the end of austerity as administered for four years by the right-wing coalition (known as Portugal Ahead) composed of the Social-Democratic Party (PSD) and Democratic and Social Centre-People's Party (CDS-PP)? In the country's legislative October 4 elections this governing alliance, running for the first time as a single ticket called Portugal Ahead (except on the Azores), won the elections, but with only 38.4 per cent of the vote.
1178. October 26, 2015 Good Riddance and Old Quandaries
The recent Canadian federal election results have taken most commentators and social activists by surprise. If the anti-Harper sentiment amongst two-thirds of the population had been clear enough for more than a year, very few had on their radar a Liberal majority outcome (even given the notoriety of the electoral distortions of the single-member plurality electoral system in Canada).
1177. October 22, 2015 Shannon Ikebe Beyond Parliamentarism: Historical Bases and Prospects for Corbynism
Who would have thought? Britain, of all places - that island so often lamented to be devoid of revolutionary history and thought, the land of Fabianism without Marxism, the home of Thatcher and Blair and the City - now has one of the most radical leaderships of a major social democratic party in the advanced capitalist world. The election of Jeremy Corbyn to the leadership of the British Labour Party is an expression of enormous discontent and anger at ever-worsening conditions since the crisis of 2008.
1176. October 21, 2015 Cynthia Peters Fighting Class War While 'Walking on Two Legs'
There's an apartment building in Dorchester that used to be a safe and affordable place to live for working-class families in Boston. But after a corporate landlord bought it in 2013, it has become a case study in how displacement happens. First, he allowed it to fall into extreme disrepair. As the building deteriorated, leaks developed, mold started growing, and people started moving out. After they left, the landlord cleaned up their units and rented them at significantly higher rates.
1175. October 19, 2015 Sungur Savran The Syrianization of Turkey
The immense catastrophe that struck Turkey in the streets of Ankara, the capital city, on 10 October, when two bombs exploded in the midst of a thronging crowd of what would possibly turn out to be hundreds of thousands of people, leading to the death of an indefinite number of people, in any case exceeding one hundred, and the wounding of hundreds, some still under the risk of death, is a sharp reminder, if any were needed, that this is a country undergoing a severe political crisis.
1174. October 16, 2015 Palestinian BDS National Committee Solidarity with the Palestinian Popular Resistance!
Whether the current phase of Israel's intensified repression and Palestinian popular resistance will evolve into a full-fledged intifada or not, one thing is already evident – a new generation of Palestinians is marching on the footsteps of previous generations, rising up en masse against Israel's brutal, decades-old regime of occupation, settler colonialism and apartheid. World governments, especially in the west, are calling this a “cycle of violence” where both sides are to blame, ignoring the root cause of the colonial conflict and their own complicity in enabling Israel to maintain it and to violate international law with impunity.
1173. October 14, 2015 Jerome Klassen Naked Neoliberalism: Canadian Foreign Policy under Harper
Since the Conservative government of Stephen Harper came to power in 2006, shifts in Canadian foreign policy have been a flashpoint of debate in Parliament, the media, and civil society. There is general agreement that a “revolution in Canadian foreign policy” has occurred, to quote Canadian academic Alexander Moens.
1172. October 13, 2015 Lars Henriksson Can Autoworkers Save the Climate?
At the UN Climate Change Conference COP 19, the even-more-depressing-than-usual climate summit that took place in Warsaw in 2013, one small ray of light made it through the dark corporate clouds that were otherwise suffocating even the slightest effort to address the ongoing environmental disaster. On the last day of the conference, an unusual alliance was formed as environmental organizations and trade unions together walked out of the venue under the banner of 'Enough Is Enough'.
1171. October 12, 2015 Chris Gilbert The Search for a Political Practice: Venezuela 2000-2015
It is common to understand the diverse 'processes' in Latin America - in the period marked initially by Zapatismo in the mid-1990s and later by the emergence of left or popular governments in Venezuela, Bolivia, and Ecuador along with center-left governments in Brazil, Uruguay, and Argentina - within the theoretical framework of a return or recuperation of the left following the fall of the East Bloc. This kind of formulation has a number of problems.
1170. October 6, 2015 Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz Land Claims: An Indigenous People's History of the United States
With a large part of Indigenous nations’ territories and resources in what is now the United States taken through aggressive war, outright theft, and legislative appropriations, Native peoples have vast claims to reparations and restitution. Indigenous nations negotiated numerous treaties with the United States that included land transfers and monetary compensation, but the remaining Indigenous territories have steadily shrunk due to direct federal appropriation by various means as well as through government failure to meet its obligation to protect Indigenous landholdings as required under treaties.
1169. October 1, 2015 Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz From Wounded Knee to the United Nations
Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz's An Indigenous Peoples History of the United States presents a much needed history of the United States as a settler colonial-state from the perspective of Indigenous Peoples. In it she argues: The form of colonialism that the Indigenous peoples of North America have experienced was modern from the beginning: the expansion of European corporations, backed by government armies, into foreign areas, with subsequent expropriation of lands and resources. Settler colonialism is a genocidal policy.
1168. September 29, 2015 John S. Saul The Struggle for South Africa's Liberation: Success and Failure
It is true that I'm from Canada and only arrived in Africa, in Tanzania to be specific, in 1965 at the age of 27; nonetheless, it was in Africa that I grew up, at least politically; not, initially, in South Africa but in Tanzania where I taught for many years and in working with Mozambique's FRELIMO in exile in DSM; in visiting the liberated areas of a new Mozambique in Tete Province in 1972; and, later, in teaching in a liberated Mozambique at the Universidade de Eduardo Mondlane.
1167. September 27, 2015 Richard Fidler SYRIZA's Pyrrhic Victory, and the Future of the Left in Greece
In the wake of the September 20 Greek election SYRIZA has once again formed a coalition government with a small right-wing party, ANEL. SYRIZA's 35.46% and ANEL's 3.69%, combined, were sufficient to give them a majority of 155 seats in the 300-seat parliament.
1166. September 24, 2015 Herman Rosenfeld The NDP and the Election
At this moment, it seems that Harper's Conservatives are losing ground, headed for possible defeat or minority status, if recent polls are to be believed. If these trends continue, it might represent a long-awaited respite from years of unrelenting and hard-edge neoliberal offensive in all walks of Canadian life.
1165. September 22, 2015 Oskar Lafontaine Let's Develop a Plan B for Europe!
Many in Europe had put great hopes in the election of Alexis Tsipras as Greek Prime Minister. When, after long and exhausting negotiations, the Syriza leader signed the European diktat, the disappointment was great. It would be unjust and presumptuous to want to give moral lessons to Alexis Tsipras and Syriza.
1164. September 18, 2015 Michalis Spourdalakis Syriza Before and After the Elections: To Fight Another Day
The historical victory of the Left in January marked a change in the system of political representation which outlines a new dynamic for the political forces. However, the way in which this victory was achieved and the difficulties that the first government of the left faced, led after the referendum of the 5 of July, to a big fallback, a big defeat. This defeat needs to be understood as a turning point in a long and large war for the victory of the left in the struggle for the control of state power.
1163. September 17, 2015 Richard Fidler Quebec Left Debates Perspectives in Canada's Federal Election
Canada's current federal election campaign is now at the half-way point in the lead-up to October 19. The three major parties are polling almost equally, with the ruling Conservative vote dropping steadily while the opposition New Democrats (NDP) and Liberals are virtually tied overall at just over 30 per cent. This means the NDP has not significantly increased its support from the previous election in 2011, while the Liberals under Justin Trudeau have staged a remarkable recovery from their 19 per cent in 2011.
1162. September 15, 2015 Sungur Savran Turkey and its Kurds at War
The Kurdish town of Cizre, a settlement with a population of approximately 150 thousand souls in Southeastern Turkey, is now under siege by the Turkish armed forces and the so-called 'special operation force' of the police for a second time, after a previous one-week long siege was lifted for an interlude of two days.
1161. September 12, 2015 Leo Panitch Can Jeremy Corbyn Redeem the Labour Party?
"Of political parties claiming socialism to be their aim, the Labour Party has always been one of the most dogmatic -- not about socialism, but about the parliamentary system." That's how Ralph Miliband opened his classic 1961 text Parliamentary Socialism, a critical analysis of the party that most of the British left wanted to capture.
1160. September 10, 2015 Andrea Germanos Nations' Climate Pledges Set Course for Disastrous Warming
Greenhouse gas reduction pledges countries have submitted to the United Nations in advance of global climate talks set the planet on a path that keeps critical climate goals out of reach. That's according to the Climate Action Tracker (CAT), a project of four research organizations that assesses nations' climate pledges and actions.
1159. September 8, 2015 Network for the Elimination of Police Violence Police Carding Regulations Amount to Putting Lipstick on a Pig
The Network for the Elimination of Police Violence (NEPV) rejects the call from the Government of Ontario to retain carding by regulating the practice. Carding is a street harassment practice by cops across Canada that involves the stopping and questioning of civilians in non-criminal interactions and documenting their personal information. Carding must be abolished now!
1158. September 6, 2015 Michael Hurley and Sam Gindin Work Overload: Time for a Union Strategy
Talk to workers in any sector, in any workplace and sooner or later they'll get to their frustrations with their ever-increasing workloads: ‘I'm struggling’, they'll lament to fellow workers or anyone ready to listen, ‘to just do the job, never mind do it well’. And yet even though few work-related issues seem to generate more passion, the relentless intensification of every-day work life rarely surfaces as a union priority.
1157. August 30, 2015 Dan Freeman-Maloy Signs of Regression: The NDP and Palestine
A friend recently expressed his confusion about the outrage over the death of Ali Dawabsheh, the 18-month-old Palestinian toddler who was killed last month when Jewish settlers firebombed his home in the occupied West Bank. (The child's father was also badly burned in the attack, and eight days later died from his injuries.) An attack that kills a sleeping toddler is surely horrific.
1156. August 25, 2015 Amir Khadir Federal Leaders Must Come Up With a Substitute for Oil
The longest election campaign in recent Canadian history is an opportunity to point to the contradictions of the major parties on the question of ecology. If there is one issue that touches simultaneously on economic development, the protection of ecosystems, public health, climate warming, transportation and the legitimacy of public institutions, it is the exploitation of the tar sands and the many pipeline projects for exporting the most polluting oil in the world.
1155. August 21, 2015 John Lister interviewed by Robin Chang Public Healthcare Against Privatization
The new book NHS For Sale: Myths, Lies and Deception argues that the Health and Social Care Act of 2012 is a government policy whose component parts are together a significant step toward the privatization of Great Britain's National Health Service (NHS). John Lister and six co-authors demonstrate that the British reform debate about healthcare is polluted with myths about the performance of the NHS, how capitalist economies work, the proper economic and social role of government in them, and what conditions are required to maximize political freedom.
1154. August 18, 2015 Paul Le Blanc and Jonah McAllister-Erickson A Win for Pittsburgh Public Transit
Since port Authority of Allegheny County cut 15 per cent of its service, residents of Baldwin, Mooncrest and Groveton -- working-class suburbs of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania -- had to walk two miles, over roads with no sidewalks, just to catch the bus. But on September 8, Baldwin residents active in the struggle of “Buses for Baldwin” and Groveton residents who pushed for service in their county housing authority will be riding the first restored buses, celebrating the sweetness of the victory.
1153. August 14, 2015 Michael Yates A New Union Movement and Anti-Racism
In terms of the willingness of labour leaders -- AFL-CIO officials and those at the top of individual unions -- to engage in class-struggle unionism, the answer is no, the situation today is similar to that in 2009. These people often talk a good game, but their actions belie their words. Strikes are extremely rare, and concession bargaining is still common.
1152. August 9, 2015 Stathis Gourgouris The Syriza Problem: Radical Democracy and Left Governmentality in Greece
Although the history of the Left has produced an extraordinary theoretical legacy, which continues to be the nucleus of almost all radical thinking, it has nonetheless left a trail of extraordinary failures in practice.
1151. August 6, 2015 Richard Fidler; Judith Marshall The Pope's Message in Bolivia and to the World
In retrospect, it must be said that the College of Cardinals made an astute decision in 2013 when they chose Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina as the Vicar of Christ. Pope Francis, as he is now called, has emerged as a world leader in speaking out on the major social and humanitarian issues ranging from climate crisis to poverty and social exclusion.
1150. August 4, 2015 Syriza Youth Greek Youth Against Austerity
The agreement reached in the months of negotiation of the SYRIZA-ANEL Government on 13 July is, beyond doubt, a huge defeat for the forces of the radical left in Greece. The unprecedented coup that lenders caused, was only the latest episode of a series of extreme coercion that led the government in a stifling political impasse.
1149. August 2, 2015 Michael A. Lebowitz Social Democracy or Revolutionary Democracy: Syriza and Us
All eyes on the Left are upon Greece. Not because of a general interest in the contradictions of capitalism in the midst of this particular crisis but because of Syriza. Unfortunately, what we are observing is not unique to Syriza. The story has been told before, and the story inevitably will occur again if we do not learn from it.
1148. July 22, 2015 David Bush Canada's Bloody Political Consensus on Israel and Palestine
A year ago this month, Israel commenced Operation Protective Edge, their third major assault on the Gaza strip since 2008. The response from Canada's political parties was a swift and unflinching support for Israel. The 51-day war, or rather display of modern mechanical butchery by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), killed 2,251 Palestinians, over two thirds of whom were civilians, including 500 children.
1124. July 21, 2015 John Milios The Class Logic Behind Austerity Policies In the Euro-Area
After the outbreak of the 2008 global economic crisis, extreme austerity policies prevailed in many parts of the developed capitalist world, especially in the European Union (EU) and the Euro-area (EA). Austerity has been criticized as an irrational policy, which further deteriorates the economic crisis by creating a vicious cycle of falling effective demand, recession and over-indebtedness. However, these criticisms can hardly explain why this ‘irrational’ or ‘wrong’ policy persists, despite its ‘failures’.
1147. July 20, 2015 Barry Finger What Next in the Greek Crisis?
If the ongoing standoff between the Syriza government and the Troika could be boiled down to its essentials, it would be this: The 'institutions' will only equip the Greek economy with enough operating funds to manage a bare-bones operation. And they will begrudgingly accede to this only if Syriza maintains a primary surplus and the neoliberal labour market reforms that the Troika judges necessary to keep the Greek economy, and other eurozone economies, competitive in the global market.
1146. July 19, 2015 Eric Toussaint Greece: Alternatives and Exiting the Eurozone
On 5 July 2015, by a referendum initiated by the government of Alexis Tsipras and the Hellenic Parliament, the Greek people overwhelmingly rejected the austerity measures imposed by the institutions that were known as the Troika. It was a splendid victory for democracy.
1145. July 17, 2015 Sam Gindin and Leo Panitch The Real Plan B: The New Greek Marathon
In the face of being excluded from desperately needed funds and the threat of being kicked out of the European Union, the Greek parliament has now voted to accept the Troika memorandum. The Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras acknowledged -- unlike social democrats choosing to implement neoliberalism as part of their ‘modernization‘ -- that this was ‘a bad deal’ forced on the Greeks.
1144. July 16, 2015 Blockupy Goes Athens Understanding the Defeat Means Preparing a Victory
Nine provisional considerations after both the popular Oxi and Syriza's Yes to the Memorandum. This is being written after the vote in the Greek parliament and before the final decision of the Eurogroup (12 July). At the moment, everything is open, and we are certain of only a couple of things. Almost everything can change, but some things will remain true.
1143. July 15, 2015 Leo Panitch The Denouement
For many decades, the view was widespread on the left that there was a distinct European variety of capitalism which could be positively contrasted with the Anglo-American more 'free market' variety. The labour movements of northern Europe were usually seen as being the decisive force behind greater state economic involvement, more capitalist cooperation with unions, and more egalitarian social welfare and labour market regimes.
1142. July 14, 2015 Martin Hart-Landsberg Lessons From A Defeat In Europe
The Troika are celebrating the end of negotiations with Greece, proclaiming that thanks to their tireless efforts the Eurozone remains whole. And why wouldn't they celebrate. They have demonstrated their power to crush, at least for now, the Greek effort to end austerity and its associated devastating social consequences. Tragically, Syriza has not only surrendered, the nature of its defeat is likely to leave the country worse off, at least both economically and very likely politically as well.
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