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  Date Author Title           ISSN 1923-7871
771. February 9, 2013 Xavier Lafrance and Alan Sears Campus Fightbacks in the Age of Austerity
The 2012 Quebec student strikes delivered one of the few victories we have seen in anti-austerity struggles in the Canadian state. The mobilization, which at its high point saw over 300,000 students on limited or unlimited strike, and demonstrations of hundreds of thousands, was a crucial highpoint that has a great deal to teach radicals. The attempted clampdown by the Jean Charest government through Bill 78 that attempted to outlaw the movement, unleashed a new and innovative round of resistance including the casseroles night marches.
770. February 7, 2013 Samir Amin Is the World Social Forum of Use for Popular Struggles?
The undeniable success of the World Social Forums (and of the national and regional forums), from their first edition (Porto Allegre 2001) to their seventh (Nairobi 2007) shows that the formula met a real objective need, felt by many militants and movements engaged in their struggles against neoliberalism and aggression (including military aggression) of imperialism. In these struggles, movements and militants have much renewed their forms of organization and active intervention in society.
769. February 4, 2013 Elisabeth Gauthier Europe: Existential Danger: New Political Challenges
In Europe we are at a new stage of class confrontation. Despite the systemic crisis not only of finance but of the whole of the mode of accumulation and reproduction of 'financial market capitalism,' this system has been able to maintain itself. Its transnational power -- largely sustained by the nature of European integration and policies -- has not been seriously cracked, despite the massive destruction of public and private goods, which is constantly becoming more extreme, deepening the great crisis.
768. January 31, 2013 Monique Woroniak and David Camfield Choosing Not to Look Away: Confronting Colonialism in Canada
Canada has "no history of colonialism." So said Stephen Harper in 2009. Today the Idle No More movement is shouting down this lie through actions both creative and courageous. In its place, it is telling Canadians at large what some of us have always known: that the country we live in was founded as -- and continues to be -- a colonial-settler state.
767. January 29, 2013 Geneviève Beaudet and Pierre Beaudet The High Stakes of Native Resistance
The blossoming of the Idle No More movement signals the return of native resistance to the political and social landscape of Canada and Quebec. With its origins in Saskatchewan in October 2012, this mass movement has taken on the federal government and more specifically the adoption of Bill C-45.
766. January 28, 2013 Jenny Brown In Walmart and Fast Food, Unions Scaling Up a Strike-First Strategy
Small but highly publicized strikes by Walmart retail and warehouse workers last fall set the labour movement abuzz and gained new respect for organizing methods once regarded skeptically. "The labour movement is all about results," says Dan Schlademan, who directs the Making Change at Walmart project of the Food and Commercial Workers. "The results are creating the energy."
765. January 24, 2013 Mario Candeias What is 'Socialist' about 'Green Socialism'?
It is surely right to build bridges between diverging approaches to social change, but in the process, contradictions are often covered up, and a debate on contentious issues like property and the state is avoided. In this article, we are experimenting with the concept of 'green socialism.' We want to discuss whether it could fill the void of a left-wing, ecological, feminist imagination.
764. January 22, 2013 Leo Panitch and Sam Gindin Subsidies and Concessions: The Never-Ending Corporate Shake-Down
Prime Minister Stephen Harper's first economic policy initiative of 2013, which took him to Oakville in early January to trumpet yet another $250-million in auto subsidies, ought to raise some very fundamental questions. The heady free market rhetoric of recent decades was often cast in terms of the economic benefits associated with multinational corporations escaping the confines of nation states by being able to go global.
763. January 21, 2013 Mick Sweetman The Greatest Swindle in Toronto's History
Toronto exists because of one of the biggest swindles you can think of. In 1787, the British Crown first made what was known as the Toronto Purchase from the Mississaugas who were the Indigenous Peoples in the region. However, this was no tidy real estate transaction, the deed for the original purchase was left blank, the exact size of land was unclear and the names of Mississauga chiefs were attached to it by separate pieces of paper.
762. January 19, 2013 Roger Annis France Launches War in Mali in Bid to Secure Resources
France, the former slave power of west Africa, has poured into Mali with a vengeance in a military attack launched on January 11. French warplanes are bombing towns and cities across the vast swath of northern Mali, a territory measuring some one thousand kilometers from south to north and east to west. French soldiers in armoured columns have launched a ground offensive, beginning with towns in the south of the northern territory, some 300 km north and east of the Malian capital of Bamako.
761. January 18, 2013 Adaner Usmani The Left in Europe: From Social Democracy to the Crisis in the Euro Zone
An Interview with Leo Panitch. "What the welfare state did is increase commodification. Yes, of course, the welfare state provided a certain level of job security, but it didn't free people from the obligation to sell their labour. The way the welfare state was structured was largely designed to facilitate a mass, high-wage proletariat for the consumption of commodities."
760. January 17, 2013 Rebekah Wetmore and Ryan Romard The Crisis and the Myth of Canadian Exceptionalism
An Interview with Michael Lebowitz. Michael Lebowitz is Professor emeritus of Economics at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, Canada, and the author of, most recently, The Socialist Alternative: Real Human Development, and The Contradictions of "Real Socialism": The Conductor and the Conducted. He was the Director of the Program in Transformative Practice and Human Development, in Caracas, Venezuela, from 2006-11.
759. January 16, 2013 Nick Bedell Bus Stewards Win More Routes Through Alliance with Riders
New York City transit workers ran a winning campaign when we turned to community organizing in our fight against cuts in service. The cuts to bus service were severe: 38 routes eliminated and 76 with shorter routes or shorter hours. Transport Workers Union Local 100 fought the Metropolitan Transportation Authority every step of the way, protesting at board meetings and in front of the director's house.
758. January 15, 2013 Murray Cooke Teachers' Strikes and the Fight Against Austerity in Ontario
On January 3, Ontario Education Minister Laurel Broten announced that she will be imposing concessionary contracts on the province's teachers. This is a drastic attack on collective bargaining rights that the teachers have said they will fight. It follows on the heals of the Liberal minority government's Bill 115, "An Act to Implement Restraint Measures in the Education System," passed last September with the support of the Conservatives.
757. January 11, 2013 Carlo Fanelli Austerity and Aboriginal Communities: An Interview with David Newhouse
The Tory budget has done little if nothing to address housing issues faced by Indigenous peoples and is subsequently continuing a trend of inequality thereby subtly forcing Indigenous communities to assimilate in attempts to escape impoverished conditions. To what extent would you agree with such a proposition? If so, in what ways is the current budget a continuation of past attempts to assimilate Indigenous communities in Canada?
756. January 10, 2013 Russell Diabo Harper Launches Major First Nations Termination Plan
On September 4th the Harper government clearly signaled its intention to: 1) Focus all its efforts to assimilate First Nations into the existing federal and provincial orders of government of Canada; 2) Terminate the constitutionally protected and internationally recognized Inherent, Aboriginal and Treaty rights of First Nations.
755. January 9, 2013 Roger Annis Shared Hardships and Concerns Bind the Fates of Indigenous Peoples in Canada and Haitians
A social and political rights movement of Indigenous people is rising across Canada and making international headlines. Protests by the 'Idle No More' movement began last month and continue to grow. The movement has rallied daily across the country in shopping malls, at U.S. border crossings and on major railway lines.
754. January 8, 2013 Dick Nichols United Left National Convention: 'This is the Spanish SYRIZA!'
On the last day of the 10th federal convention of the Spain's United Left (Izquierda Unida), Juan Pena, young IU organization secretary for the Castilian town of Valladolid, summed up his view of the impact of the indignado movement on the IU, one of the oldest broad left formations in Europe: "15M brought IU good news and bad news. The good news was that our programmatic proposals hit the mark, shared by the people who poured into the streets."
753. January 4, 2013 Rebecca McMillan and Calais Caswell Learning to Govern Ourselves: Venezuela's National Network of Commoners
News of the deterioration of Chavez's health has Venezuelans increasingly worried. While top government officials and opposition members were meeting behind closed doors in early December to discuss their next steps, other important discussions were taking place amongst grassroots activists on the future of the Bolivarian Process.
752. December 31, 2012 Ingar Solty Canada's "Maple Spring"
The 2012 student strike in Quebec is a lesson in successful struggle against austerity policies. The strike was sparked by the announcement by the governing Parti Liberal du Quebec of Premier Jean Charest that tuition fees would increase 75 per cent, from $2168 per year to $3793 by 2017. This was not the first time a liberal government decided on such an increase.
751. December 28, 2012 Bruce Allen Camaro Blues
GM's mid-December announcement that the next generation Camaro will be produced in Lansing, Michigan not in Oshawa is cause for serious reflection among Canadian autoworkers. This relocation of production is simply a corporate restructuring event where GM is consolidating its rear wheel car production in one location with the exception of the Corvette.
750. December 26, 2012 Free and Accessible Transit Campaign, GTWA Free and Accessible Transit Now!
Transit is a critical issue for people in Toronto, as in all major urban areas. More is at stake than reducing traffic congestion and gridlock. Transit and general mobility are intimately related to larger issues in capitalist society: how goods and services are produced and delivered; the location of and nature of jobs; where and how we live and travel; issues of class, inequality and oppression related to race, age, gender, and sexuality; climate justice; and the very shape and nature of our democratic institutions.
749. December 24, 2012 Susan Spronk and Rebecca McMillan 21st Century Eco-Socialism? Struggles over Nature in Venezuela
Santiago Arconada was the first Community Coordinator for the Caracas metropolitan region of HIDROCAPITAL, the city's water utility, and subsequently held several prominent positions in HIDROVEN, the national water company. In this interview, Santiago discusses the peaks and valleys experienced by the mesas técnicas de agua and the differences between 21st century socialism and eco-socialism.
748. December 22, 2012 Araz Bagban Egypt in Light of the Iranian Revolution: The restoration of a dictatorship?
The new constitution submitted to referendum by Mohamed Morsi, the president of Egypt elected with the support of the Freedom and Justice party, i.e. the political wing of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, in addition to its properties of attacking working-class achievements as well as women's and minorities' rights, is preparing the legal ground for the Brotherhood to seize the whole political power in the country.
747. December 19, 2012 Justin Podur Haiti's New Dictatorship
What constitutes a dictatorship? Haiti had an election in 2006, which the popular candidate won. It had an election in 2011, which had one of the lowest turnouts in recent history and which was subject to all kinds of external manipulation. Given these elections, is it unfair to call Haiti, a country that suffered 30 years of classic dictatorship under the Duvaliers from the 1950s to the 1980s, a dictatorship today?
746. December 17, 2012 Hassan N. Gardezi United States and al-Qaeda: Strange Bedfellows?
There is a war raging in our times between a coalition of states led by the United States of America and al-Qaeda which has entered its second decade. One of the parties in this war, the United States, needs no introduction. After the collapse of the Soviet Union it became the sole superpower and is known in all corners of the world as the most powerful nation on all accounts, political, military, economic and socio-cultural. However, al-Qaeda as a global force is not understood so well and needs some introduction and defining.
745. December 14, 2012 Mark Bergfeld Crisis and Resistance in Portugal
A day before the right wing coalition government in Portugal was to vote through its 2013 budget, the German finance minister Wolfgang Schauble met his Portuguese counterpart Vitor Gaspar and proclaimed, "Portugal is on the right path and is, for all of us in the Eurozone, a brilliant example that the approach we have been following to stabilize the Euro is correct."
744. December 13, 2012 Lawrence J. Hanley and Bill McKibben Think About the Transportation Sector
Superstorm Sandy has made it clear that no matter how hard some politicians try to ignore climate change, climate change will not ignore them -- or any of us. More carbon means higher seas, the kind that inundate subways. The U.S. can also thank carbon emissions for contributing to the hottest summers on record.
743. December 11, 2012 Richard Fidler Pipeline Politics: Can Popular Protest Stop the Tar Sands Leviathan?
Petroleum giant Enbridge Inc. has taken huge strides in recent weeks to complete its plan to transport tar sands oil to eastern Canada and from there to foreign markets. Already assured of support from the Harper government, the company is rapidly lining up further backing from provincial politicians and industry players, including a key trade union. And it is fast-tracking the regulatory approval process.
742. December 10, 2012 Doug Nesbitt Kill Bill 115: Where is the Ontario Labour Movement Going?
This week, Ontario's teachers, education workers and students will be turning up the heat on the Liberal minority government and Bill 115, which imposes a concessionary bargaining agenda on teachers unions and the school boards, and allows the cabinet to change tentative agreements and stop strikes without even legislative oversight.
741. December 8, 2012 Javier Biardeau Venezuelan Opposition Fails to Make Counterproposal
The Plan of the Nation for the 2013-19 period, proposed by President Hugo Chavez last June in the context of his socialist platform for the 2012 presidential election, stopped being an electoral platform when it was opened up for debate and improvement by the Venezuelan people. In short, the national program is to be strengthened by the contributions of the national collective, by the experiences and needs of the people.
740. December 7, 2012 Asbjørn Wahl The Left in Government -- A Strategic Project
The experiences from having had left political parties in government in Europe in the era of neoliberalism have not been very exciting, to put it mildly. The most recent experiences from such governments in France, Italy and - to a certain degree - also Norway have proved anything from negative to disastrous.
739. December 5, 2012 Hugo Radice Why Carney's Appointment as Bank of England Governor Should be Challenged
The appointment of Mark Carney as next Governor of the Bank of England has been greeted with universal acclaim. In the House of Commons Ed Balls was quick to congratulate Chancellor George Osborne on his choice, and on the evening TV news both former Chancellor Alistair Darling and self-styled monetary maverick David Blanchflower were of the same opinion.
738. December 3, 2012 Stefan Kipfer Free Transit and Beyond
Epochal crises allow us to see clearly the irrationalities of capitalism, notably its systematic inability to develop to the fullest human capacities and provide the basis for sustainable and respectful relationships to the rest of nature. The current world economic crisis has thrown to the dustbin of history the aspirations and capacities of millions of human beings -- those laid off, driven off the land or relegated to permanent precariousness.
737. November 29, 2012 Ingo Schmidt Obama's Second Term: Following Angela Merkel in the Oval Office?
A debt crisis in Europe, an electoral campaign in the United States, and Canada watching from the sidelines; this is how the trans-Atlantic world was depicted in the media over the past months. Though the votes had not yet been counted, warnings suddenly emerged about a fiscal cliff. In order to keep discussions of budget policy out of the campaign, the Republicans and the Democrats agreed on a pact earlier this year, which increased the debt ceiling of the federal government to the point that drastic spending cuts or tax increases could be postponed until after the election.
736. November 28, 2012 Evert Hoogers, Donald Swartz and Rosemary Warskett The Campaign Against the Rand Formula
It has been widely reported that Pierre Poilievre, the Federal Conservative MP for Nepean-Carleton, has launched a campaign to change the rules regarding the payment of union dues. The object of Mr. Poilievre's ire is the 'Rand Formula' -- the union security clause found in most collective agreements and labour relations legislation in Canada.
735. November 27, 2012 David Camfield Solidarity or Exclusion? British Columbia Unions and Chinese Mineworkers
It's obvious why HD Mining is hiring workers in China to work at the Murray River Coal Project in Northern British Columbia. Because they are admitted to Canada on work visas under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP), the company can pay them a lot less than it would have to pay Canadian citizens or permanent residents.
734. November 25, 2012 Justin Podur Goma Falls to Rwanda
Rebels, called the M23, have taken Goma, the main city of North Kivu, one of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)'s eastern provinces. Their plan is to march to Bukavu, the main city of South Kivu, and from there, they say, across the massive country to Kinshasa, the Congo's capital. A geographical note is in order. The DRC's principal cities are part of greater urban areas that cross international borders.
733. November 23, 2012 Brenda Thompson Toronto's $8.4-Billion Light Rapid Transit Sell Out
It seemed all our transit woes in Toronto were finally behind us. Mayor Rob Ford's cancellation of Transit City had galvanized the mushy middle. In February, Toronto Council ignored his call for subways to vote in favour of four Light Rapid Transit lines (LRTs). At long last, the residents of Malvern and Jane and Finch in Toronto's northern suburbs were going to get some much needed public transit. In retrospect this was only the lull before the storm.
732. November 22, 2012 Alan Maass, Elizabeth Clinton and Natalie Johnson A Show of Determination on Black Friday
Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving in the U.S., is traditionally the biggest shopping day of the year as retailers kick off the holiday season. But this year could begin a new tradition - of Black Friday being the biggest labour protest day of the year. Workers at the giant retailer Wal-Mart are preparing for walkouts and rallies at as many as 1,000 stores across the country.
731. November 17, 2012 Panagiotis Sotiris The Greek Left and the Rise of the Neo-Fascist Golden Dawn
For the past months there has been an intense debate both in Greece but also in international media regarding the rise of the neo-fascist Golden Dawn in Greece. The reason is obvious: for the first time in a European Union country a political party that in contrast to most of the varieties of the European far Right does little to hide its openly neo-nazi ideology and the culture of the nazi street gang that has been its trademark since the 1990s, has been one of the rising political forces.
730. November 16, 2012 Dan Freeman-Maloy For Israel, Imperialism Isn't Enough
Things in Palestine have developed far beyond the point where any given "flare-up" in the constant violence that defines Israeli rule can be addressed in isolation. The significance of the ongoing Israeli assault on Gaza has absolutely nothing to do with the tired, dull hasbara talking points being peddled by Israeli diplomats -- less still with their enterprising "twitter offensive."
729. November 13, 2012 Pham Binh U.S. Election: Sawant, Stein, and Post-2012 Left Strategy
With more than 16,000 votes (a whopping 28 per cent of the vote), the campaign of Socialist Alternative's Kshama Sawant in Washington's 43rd legislative district is a bright beacon of hope on the otherwise bleak horizon of the 2012 election for the American left, although you wouldn't know it by reading the party-line and left-liberal news outlets.
728. November 12, 2012 Sahra Wagenknecht The Strike in Southern Europe
A storm is brewing in Southern Europe. In Greece on November 6 and 7 another general strike will take place. On November 14 Portuguese, Cypriot, Spanish and Italian trade unions intend to go on strike in opposition to the austerity policies of the European Union. Belgian and British trade unions, as well as the European and German trade union confederations, are also calling for action.
727. November 11, 2012 Fawwaz Traboulsi The Left in Time of Revolution
The Arab revolutions are presenting the Left with a mixture of existential challenges and historical opportunities. The decisive factor will be the Left's ability to learn from the rich lessons of its own past experiences and vast revolutionary legacy, in order to develop its own project and role in the coming period, and to work out a coherent plan for tackling challenges ahead.
726. November 9, 2012 Final Declaration: 9th Asia-Europe People's Forum
We, over 1,000 women and men, representing people's organizations and citizens from Asia and Europe joined together from the 16th to 19th October 2012 in Vientiane, Laos at the 9th Asia-Europe People's Forum under the title "People's Solidarity against Poverty and for Sustainable Development: Challenging Unjust and Unequal Development, Building States of Citizens for Citizens."
725. November 8, 2012 Ahmet Devrim The Tremor in the Communist Party of China
The Chinese Communist Party is holding a new congress, the 18th, due to start on November 8. The CCP is at the helm of the single-party system of the People's Republic. The nine-member Politbureau Standing Committee acts as the supreme body that rules over this vast country with a population of 1.3 billion souls.
724. November 7, 2012 Steven Tufts The Particular Politics of Casino Development in Toronto
On November 5, 2012 the Executive Committee of Toronto's City Council voted to move ahead with public consultations on the benefits and location of a casino in the city. The marathon session included over 52 listed deputations from unions, social service professionals, boosters, and anti-casino residents.
723. November 6, 2012 Antonio Carmona Puerto Rico Elections: New Partido del Pueblo Trabajador to Challege Neoliberal Parties
After years of strategic dialogue and an arduous process of electoral inscription, Puerto Rico can now count on an organized alternative, a political party that is committed to defending the interests of the working-class and marginalized sectors of the island's population.
722. November 5, 2012 Richard Fidler Quebec Student Leader Convicted in Outrageous Political Trial
Quebec student leader Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois was convicted November 1 of contempt of court for publicly criticizing a court injunction issued during last spring's student strike. The injunction ordered the strikers to allow dissident students who opposed the strike to attend classes.
721. November 4, 2012 OCAP Brighter Prospects -- For Cheap Labour
Over the last eighteen years, people on social assistance in Ontario have seen their real income levels fall by 56 per cent. For the last nine years, the Liberal Government of Dalton McGunity, while actually pushing people deeper into poverty, has continued a sham consultation process around "poverty reduction."
720. November 2, 2012 Roger Annis A Movement Against Tar Sands Oil, Pipelines and Tankers is on the Rise in Canada
A popular movement against tar sands oil production and pipeline transport is on the rise and gathering steam in Canada. Its biggest expression to date was in Victoria, BC on October 22 when 4,000 to 5,000 people rallied in front of the British Columbia Legislature to send a forceful message to the tar sands industry and its political representatives.
719. November 1, 2012 Esther Vivas La Via Campesina: Food Sovereignty and the Global Feminist Struggle
Via Campesina is the world's foremost international movement of small farmers. It promotes the right of all peoples to food sovereignty. Via Campesina was established in 1993 at the dawn of the anti-globalization movement, and gradually became one of the major organizations in the critique of neoliberal globalization.
718. October 30, 2012 Michael Barker Paramilitarism in the Age of Democracy
On August 20, 2012, retired Colombian military general Mauricio Santoyo, former security chief for ex-president Alvaro Uribe, pled guilty to working with the right-wing paramilitary organization, the United Self Defence Forces of Colombia. In his plea agreement, Santoyo acknowledged accepting at least $5-million in bribes from the murderous, drug-running United Self Defence Forces between 2001 to 2008, that is, during the time he served as Uribe's anti-terror security tzar.
717. October 29, 2012 Anita Ogurlu Turkey's Unions in a Time of Imperialist War
On October 4th Turkish unions across all sectors rallied in Ankara. Their message to the ruling party Ministry of Labour was loud and clear: Reform draconian labour laws and release jailed KESK union members. Reforms include: rights to collective bargaining; scrapping a law stating 51% of employees must favour unionization to become a unionized workplace.
716. October 27, 2012 Jiri Malek Czech Elections: 'No' to Austerity and 'Yes' to Strengthening the Left
On 12 - 13 October 2012, elections took place in the Czech Republic. The elections were for regional assemblies and one-third of the Senate. Their political impact could have far-reaching results for the whole of society. They signalled a resounding 'no' to cost cutting and complete submission to the demands of the world financial sector for a quick restart of neoliberal capitalism.
715. October 24, 2012 Shaun Harkin Turning Despair Into Hate
Greece is in a grueling downward economic spiral with massive political and social ramifications. Aspects of Greek society are literally falling apart at the seams. Across the whole eurozone -- the countries that use the euro as a common currency -- unemployment is at a record high of 18.2 million people without work in August.
714. October 22, 2012 Roger Annis Austerity and Counter-Austerity in Britain
Britain is in the throes of a deepening class struggle prompted by attacks on social and democratic rights by the capitalist class. The economic elite is pressing forward with an austerity program of ever-deepening cuts to jobs and social services. A coalition government of Conservatives and Liberal-Democrats has been in power for the past two years and has cut billions of dollars from public services. With the country mired in economic stagnation, the two parties are aiming to cut billions more in government spending, most notably in the social sphere.
713. October 15, 2012 Esther Vivas When Will We See Tanks in Barcelona?
"Independent Catalonia? Over my dead body and those of many other soldiers." It was with these words that on August 31, retired infantry lieutenant-colonel Francisco Alaman Castro referred to the possibility of an independent Catalonia.
712. October 12, 2012 Jeffery R. Webber Latest Step in a Long Road: The Venezuelan Elections
That Hugo Chavez had to win last Sunday's elections in order for the Bolivarian process to continue -- in whatever form -- was recognized by close to the entirety of the Venezuelan Left over the last several months, including those sectors especially critical of the limits to the political economic program of the government, and the lingering influence of an important conservative bureaucratic layer within the ruling party.
711. October 10, 2012 Matthew Brett and Rushdia Mehreen Just the Beginning: Beyond the Quebec Student Strike
While it is difficult to predict the lasting consequences of the 2012 student strike in Quebec, a few things are certain. The strike has fostered a climate of dissent and a respect for direct democracy and direct action for a whole generation. The effectiveness and appeal of combative syndicalist organizing is not likely to fade from our memories anytime soon, and the broader implications of the strike are also significant.
710. October 9, 2012 Chris Webb What is the ANC and Where is the Left in South Africa?
About a month ago I stood with some 200 striking farm workers in South Africa's Hex River Valley, a rich agricultural region that produces table grapes for export. The workers were on strike against severe pay cuts and outsourcing, which came about when a major fruit export company took over the farm from its previous owner.
709. October 8, 2012 Doug Nesbitt and Andrew Stevens Waiting For a Walkout: The End of McGuinty?
For the first time since the late 1990s, a provincial labour-related education bill has angered a substantial number of Ontarians, from students to parents and, of course, teachers. Bill 115, with the Orwellian title of "Putting Students First Act", passed into law on September 11. To no surprise, the law received unanimous support from the opposition Tories.
708. October 7, 2012 Shadi Chaleshtoori A Game of Smoke and Mirrors: Canada's Decision to Cut Ties with Iran
On September 7, 2012, Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird announced the suspension of all diplomatic relations between Canada and the Islamic Republic of Iran. This measure, Baird summarized briefly, entailed closure of the Canadian embassy in Iran, recall of all Canadian diplomats stationed in Iran, and a federal mandate that all Iranian diplomats, newly declared personae non gratae, leave Canada within five days.
707. October 6, 2012 Tommaso Fattori Joining Forces for Another Europe
In Europe we are living in particularly dramatic times. Democracy is in death-agony and we are witnessing post-democratic processes taking over at the national and supranational level. EU leaders have further concentrated decision-making power on public and fiscal policies in the hands of an oligarchy of governments, technocrats and the European Central Bank, which are subject to the dictates of the financial markets.
706. October 3, 2012 Esther Vivas Spanish State 25S: The Salvaging of Democracy
Tens of thousands of people demonstrated in Madrid on Tuesday September 25, 2012 to protest against the sequestration of popular sovereignty by the banks and 'markets.' Repression was once again brutal, leaving dozens of people wounded, and there were numerous arrests. In this article, Esther Vivas reviews the motivations for this mobilization and the causes of an ever more brutal police repression.
705. October 2, 2012 Ingar Solty The U.S. Democratic Party and the Left
A conversation with Ingar Solty and Max Bohnel on the labour movement, the Occupy movement and its crisis, and the challenges of history.
704. September 29, 2012 Ali Mustafa The 2012 Toronto Palestine Film Festival: A Preview
The 2012 Toronto Palestine Film Festival is finally set to hit theatres this weekend. Launched in 2008 to commemorate the 60th anniversary of al nakba, TPFF aims to showcase the vibrant cultural heritage, resilience, and collective identity of the Palestinian people through film, art, and other events. In five short years, against all the odds, TPFF has quickly emerged as one of the city's premier film festival experiences.
703. September 28, 2012 Feyzi Ismail Nepal: New Demands Require a New Strategy
The Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) has been in power for just over a year. In leading government again they were hopeful they could complete a constitution-writing process that has consumed Nepal since 2008. They still talk about a socialist future, but the year in power has seen the Maoists disband their People's Liberation Army (PLA), initiate trade deals with India and consolidate alliances with the mainstream parties.
702. September 27, 2012 Sam Gindin Culture of Concessions Has Gutted Organized Labour
At the end of the 1970s, just before the era of concessions began, the U.S. section of the United Auto Workers included some 700,000 members at the Big Three. In each subsequent round of bargaining, the union accepted concessions in exchange for the promise of 'job security.' Today, after three decades of this charade, there are 110,000 UAW members left at these companies, a stunning loss of almost 85 per cent of the jobs.
701. September 26, 2012 Herman Rosenfeld The CAW-CEP Merger: New Union in a Difficult World
Just about everyone in and around the union movement in Canada is talking about the upcoming merger between the Canadian Auto Workers and the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers. The new union being formed will be the largest private sector union in Canada. While bigger is not necessarily better -- as numerous other examples of larger mergers have shown -- in this era of general unions, the new union should become a positive force on the Canadian labour scene.
700. September 25, 2012 Matthew Behrens Taking Liberties: Canada's Growing Torture Infrastructure
The ease with which self-described democratic states embroil themselves in torture continues to be illustrated by the manner in which agencies of the Canadian state, from spies to judges, have wedged open a door to legitimize complicity in a practice that both domestic and international law ban outright.
699. September 24, 2012 Richard Fidler Major Victory for Quebec Students, Environmental Activists
Their demonstrations have shaken Quebec in recent months, and yesterday students and environmentalists won major victories. At her first news conference as premier, Pauline Marois announced that her Parti Quebecois government had cancelled the university tuition fees increase imposed by the Charest Liberal government.
698. September 22, 2012 Julian Ammirante and Tyler Shipley Another NHL Lockout: An Alternative View
Sport has always been a matter of deep social significance. In contemporary society there are few individuals who do not, directly or indirectly, encounter elements of sport in their daily social lives. Some may be actively involved as participants in some kind of sporting activity.
697. September 21, 2012 Peter Brogan 7 Days that Shook Chicago: The 2012 Chicago Teachers Strike
On Tuesday, September 18, 2012 the Chicago Teachers Union House of Delegates voted overwhelmingly to suspend their first strike in 25 years, begun on the previous Monday, September 10 at 12:01 am. Many commentators from both left alternative publications and in the corporate press have observed that in an era of austerity when seemingly no unions in the United States - and I would add Canada - are fighting back against layoffs, budget cuts, wage freezes and the like, the CTU has stood up to a city government that was seeking massive concessions.
696. September 19, 2012 Justin Panos 'Class' Warfare: A Primer on the Chicago Teachers Strike
An estimated 30,000 public school teachers in Chicago walked off the job on Monday for the first time since 1987, leaving 350,000 students in limbo. Chicago has the third-largest school district in the United States and it is the city where President Obama launched his presidential bid. There are national stakes involved, like the election a mere 50-odd days away.
695. September 12, 2012 Richard Fidler Quebec's Election -- An Initial Balance Sheet
The results of the September 4 general election in Quebec produce mixed reactions among supporters of all the major parties. The pro-sovereignty Parti Québécois becomes the government, and PQ leader Pauline Marois the first woman premier, but with only a minority of seats (54) in the 125-seat National Assembly and thus vulnerable to parliamentary defeat by the right-wing and federalist Liberals (PLQ) and Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ).
694. September 10, 2012 Steve Ellner The Chavez Election
You pay back a favour with favours," said Joanna Figueroa, a resident of El Vinedo, a barrio in the coastal city of Barcelona in eastern Venezuela. She had pledged to work for the reelection of Hugo Chavez after receiving a house as part of the government's ambitious Great Housing Mission programme. She helped build it, as part of a workers team that included a bricklayer, a plumber and an electrician appointed by her community council.
693. September 5, 2012 Vishwas Satgar The Marikana Massacre and the South African State's Low Intensity War Against the People
The massacre of the Marikana/Lonmin workers has inserted itself within South Africa's national consciousness, not so much through the analysis, commentary and reporting in its wake. Instead, it has been the power of the visual images of police armed with awesome fire power gunning down these workers, together with images of bodies lying defeated and lifeless, that has aroused a national outcry and wave of condemnation.
692. September 4, 2012 Ingar Solty Right-Wing Populism and the Republican Party
The most important contemporary American playwright and socialist Tony Kushner once said about neoliberalism: "What used to be called liberal is now called radical, what used to be called radical is now called insane, what used to be called reactionary is now called moderate, and what used to be called insane is now called solid conservative thinking."
691. September 3, 2012 Marlon Berg Auto Manufacturing Workers at a Crossroads
"The place is hot like hell, especially in the summer time at night, bad ventilation, a lot of humidity and of course machines emitting heat doesn't help," said Iain, a temporary worker at an auto parts plant in the Toronto area.
690. September 2, 2012 Lee Sustar Chicago Teachers Draw a Line
Can the scrappy band of outsiders that now heads the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) lead the kind of high-stakes fight that most labour unions have ducked? That question looms large - not just for the city's teachers, students and their parents, but for the entire labour movement. Because while both private- and public-sector unions are taking a pounding across the U.S. with layoffs, pay cuts and pension rollbacks, the CTU is gearing up for a showdown.
689. August 31, 2012 Martin Legassick The Marikana Massacre: A Turning Point?
The massacre of 34, and almost certainly more, striking mineworkers at Marikana (together with more than 80 injured) on 16 August has sent waves of shock and anger across South Africa, rippling around the world. It could prove a decisive turning-point in our country's post-apartheid history.
688. August 27, 2012 Paul Bocking No Silver Medal: Mexican Farmers Battle Canadian Mine
Civil disobedience has halted production at Mexico's "top grade producer of silver." Farmers of the La Sierrita village, a close knit community of about 50 families, located 40 minutes north of the city of Gomez Palacio, Durango, have shut down the La Platosa mine owned by Canadian firm Excellon Resources for over a month.
687. August 24, 2012 Susan Spronk and Jeffery R. Webber Venezuela: "Open Horizons"
Roland Denis is a leading intellectual and revolutionary in Venezuela. He served as Vice Minister of Planning in the Hugo Chavez government in 2002-03, but resigned after ten months in protest of the lack of grassroots involvement in the planning process. He is the author of many books and articles. We caught up with Denis at the Terrar Park, a popular restaurant frequented by left militants in Caracas.
686. August 23, 2012 Leonard Gentle The Massacre of Our Illusions ... And the Seeds of Something New
The story of Marikana has so far been painted shallowly as an inter-union spat. In the first few days after the fateful Thursday and the shock and horror of watching people being massacred on TV there have correctly been howls of anger and grief. Of course no one wants to take responsibility because to do so would be to acknowledge blame.
685. August 22, 2012 Murray Smith France: The Rise of the Left Front
The Left Front (Front de Gauche) emerged onto the political scene at the beginning of 2009. As the Left Front to Change Europe, it was established by three organizations -- the French Communist Party, the Left Party and the Unitary Left -- with the aim of standing in the European elections of June 2009.
684. August 21, 2012 Chris Webb Echoes of the Past: Marikana, Cheap Labour and the 1946 Miners Strike
On August 4, 1946 over one thousand miners assembled in Market Square in Johannesburg, South Africa. No hall in the town was big enough to hold them, and no one would have rented one to them anyway. The miners were members of the African Mine Worker's Union, a non-European union which was formed five years earlier in order to address the 12 to 1 pay differential between white and black mineworkers.
683. August 20, 2012 Susan Spronk and Jeffery R. Webber "Now is the time!": Struggle for Sexual Diversity in Venezuela
Under Hugo Chavez, there have been many gains in the struggle for liberation, including for lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgendered people. Discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation was outlawed in the 1999 Labour Organic Law but anti-discrimination proposals were dropped from the 1999 Constitution due to pressure from the Catholic Church; same-sex couples cannot marry or adopt children and several proposals that would have advanced such struggles were defeated in the Constitutional referendum of 2007.
682. August 17, 2012 Susan Spronk and Jeffery R. Webber The Revolution Will Not Be Decreed
In Caracas, we caught up with Gonzalo Gomez, a founder of the radical website aporrea.org and militant in the Trotskyist organization, Marea Socialista. In this interview, Gonzalo describes his own path to militancy, the different phases of the Bolivarian process, and the dangers of bureaucracy, the 'boli-bourgeoisie,' and the stultifying internal life of the Partido Socialista Unido de Venezuela.
681. August 15, 2012 Susan Spronk and Jeffery R. Webber "This Process Belongs to the People"
Born and bred in one of the most militant inner city barrios of Caracas, 23 de enero, Juan Contreras participated in the urban guerrilla movements that sprang up in Caracas in the mid-1970s and is now a militant in the Bolivarian process. We interviewed Juan in his office -- decorated with sporting trophies and political posters of revolutionary struggles from across Latin America and Palestine -- located at the headquarters of the Coordinadora Simon Bolivar in 23 de enero.
680. August 13, 2012 David Camfield Quebec's 'Red Square' Movement: The Story So Far
In 2012 Quebec has been shaken by the most important social movement in the Canadian state since the 1970s. What began as a strike by students in Quebec's universities and CEGEPs against a major increase in university tuition fees -- part of capital's international austerity drive -- has become a broader popular movement against the government of the Quebec Liberal Party, headed by Premier Jean Charest, and against neoliberalism.
679. August 11, 2012 Jeffery R. Webber and Susan Spronk Fighting for Land and Territory in Urban Caracas
We're here in Caracas, Venezuela, with Hector Madera, one of the founders of the Comites de Tierras Urbanas (Committees of Urban Land, CUTs) and member of Movimiento de Pobladores (Poor Peoples' Movement, MP). As an introduction, can you tell us a little bit about your personal history and political formation?
678. August 9, 2012 Roger Annis Class Struggle in the Philippines
On August 2, Pete Pinlac of the MAKABAYAN labour and political center in the Philippines spoke at a public forum hosted by the Vancouver and District Labour Council (VDLC). It was an extremely informative and inspiring event that reflected years of crucially important solidarity outreach by the Labour Council that began in 2008.
677. August 8, 2012 Hilary Wainwright Greece: Syriza Shines a Light
Like a swan moving forward with relaxed confidence while paddling furiously beneath the surface, Syriza, the radical left coalition that could become the next government of Greece, is facing enormous challenges calmly but with intensified activity.
676. August 7, 2012 Sungur Savran Syria Between Revolution and Counterrevolution
The struggle between the Baath regime of Bashar al-Assad and the popular masses of the city and country in Syria that started on 15 March 2011 seems to have consumed both sides in its ferocity. It is promising imminent victory to a third force that has been carefully engineered, supported and armed by the international forces of counterrevolution.
675. August 6, 2012 Jordy Cummings Cockburn and Vidal: a Dying Breed
In just the last few weeks, the radical left has lost two of its most important, elegant and eccentric voices, Alexander Cockburn and Gore Vidal. Much (virtual) ink has already been spilled about the manifold aspects of their careers. To be an unabashed cliché monger, Cockburn and Vidal were men of the twentieth century to be sure, but in many ways men of the 19th century.
674. August 3, 2012 Jody Betzien; Michael Voss Denmark: Red-Green Alliance Congress Grapples With Increased Influence
Red carpet and champagne marked the start of the first Red-Green Alliance (RGA) congress since the party tripled its mandate at a poll in September 2011. The 385 delegates representing the 8000 members packed a basketball stadium in the migrant and working-class Copenhagen suburb of Norrebro to grapple with the party's new increased influence on Danish politics.
673. August 1, 2012 Richard Roman and Edur Velasco Arregui The New Student Rebellion and the Mexican Left
The 'defeat' of the center-left in the Presidential election of 2012 is a victory for Mexican Big Business and the U.S. in advancing the neoliberal agenda of privatization, cutbacks and attacks on the working-class. The fact that the old ruling party, the PRI, 'won' the presidency in 2012 - rather than the conservative PAN as in 2000 and 2006 - involves an important shift in influence within the neoliberal bloc.
672. July 31, 2012 John W. Warnock Remembering Sask Oil: It Can Be Done!
This past week it was revealed that one of China's state-owned oil corporations has made a bid to take over Nexen, one of the remaining four large oil corporations operating in this country that are deemed to be Canadian owned and controlled. Nexen is based in Calgary, but it is known that around 65 per cent of its stock ownership is foreign.
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