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  Date Author Title           ISSN 1923-7871
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.
671. July 27, 2012 Gavin Fridell The Day the Wheat Board Died
On August 1, 2012, the Conservative government will bring an end to a major Canadian institution and one of the world's largest, longest-standing, and most successful "state trading enterprises." After 70 years as the state-mandated monopoly seller of most Western Canadian wheat, the Canadian Wheat Board will officially become "voluntary," meaning the death of anything resembling what it has been.
670. July 25, 2012 Chris Webb Cheap Labour, Cheap Lives
There is a passage from Olive Schreiner's 1883 novel The Story of An African Farm where she describes the isolated existence of the rural Karoo, with its "weird and almost oppressive beauty...the stone walled sheep kraals and kaffer huts." This cursory and derogatory description of farm worker's dwellings is perhaps the only time they feature in the book. Rather, labourers and their homes are considered part of the farm's natural landscape and as such are rendered invisible and silent social actors.
669. July 20, 2012 Steve Early Ed Miliband At the Miners' Gala
Although their histories are quite different, the British Labour Party and the U.S. Democrats have one thing in common: both like to avoid too much public cuddling with workers -- particularly, any sector of the organized working-class whose militant struggles with management might force them to reveal which side they're really on.
668. July 19, 2012 Francois Laforge What Will Change in France?
In the traditional speech to the National Assembly, France's Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault of the ruling Socialist Party laid out the political program he shares with the new President François Hollande. Hollande won France's presidential election with a victory in a runoff vote in May over despised conservative ex-President Nicolas Sarkozy.
667. July 18, 2012 Marcelo Vieta Cuba's Coming Co-operative Economy?
Reflections From Two Recent Field Trips. In 2011, I made two trips to Cuba to study the new co-operatives. In June I was kindly invited by Camila Pineiro Harnecker, a professor at the University of Havana and one of the country's leading experts on its co-operative movement, to participate in two conferences.
666. July 17, 2012 Celia Garces and CEDIB Bolivia's Mine Nationalization of South American Silver in Mallku Khota
On July 7th, 2012 the Bolivian police launched a rescue operation to recover hostages that were being detained by some indigenous community members opposed to South American Silver's exploration operations in their territories.
665. July 13, 2012 Michael Lebowitz Overture: The Conductor and the Conducted
Do we need leaders? Certainly, when we work together on a common project, we are more productive than when we are separate and isolated. The whole is greater than the sum of the parts taken individually. But do we need a director in order to work together on a common project?
664. July 12, 2012 The Jackson Plan: A Struggle for Self-Determination, Participatory Democracy, and Economic Justice
A major progressive initiative is underway in Jackson, Mississippi. This initiative demonstrates tremendous promise and potential in making a major contribution toward improving the overall quality of life of the people of Jackson, Mississippi, particularly people of African descent. This initiative is the Jackson Plan and it is being spearheaded by the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement (MXGM) and the Jackson People's Assembly. The Jackson Plan is an initiative to apply many of the best practices in the promotion of participatory democracy, solidarity economy, and sustainable development and combine them with progressive community organizing and electoral politics.
663. July 11, 2012 Sahra Wagenknecht The Euro Crisis and the European Fiscal Pact
At a late hour on Friday 29 June 2012, the Bundestag took two far-reaching decisions. The so-called European Stability Mechanism (ESM), better known as the bailout fund, as well as the Fiscal Pact, a treaty modelled on the socially regressive German "debt brake" law and a blueprint for social service and public sector cutbacks in Europe, were up for vote. 491 Bundestag members voted for the ESM, 111 voted against it, and 6 members abstained.
662. July 10, 2012 Tamara Pearson Planning the Next Six Years of Venezuela's Bolivarian Revolution
Planning the detail of the transition and revolution toward a socialist and more just society, from community and worker organization, to consciousness building, to production and distribution systems, to combating state and judicial corruption and bureaucracy, to agriculture, mining, petroleum, infrastructure, and relationships with other countries, is no small task.
661. July 9, 2012 John W. Warnock The Fraser Institute's Global Petroleum Survey
Near the end of June 2012 the Fraser Institute released their latest survey of the oil and gas industry. They reported that 623 managers and executives from 529 oil and gas companies had ranked Manitoba and Saskatchewan near the top of 147 political jurisdictions as good places to invest. In contrast, New Brunswick and Quebec were given fairly low ratings.
660. July 7, 2012 Roger Annis and Kim Ives Haiti's Earthquake Victims Step Up Demands For Housing
The plight of some 400,000 Haitians still living under tarps and tents since the January 12, 2010 earthquake has surged into the streets and headlines in recent weeks, highlighting one of Haiti's most explosive and intractable issues. A new grassroots campaign, an international petition, several new reports, and street demonstrations are underscoring the problem's urgency.
659. July 5, 2012 Solidarity A Brief Sketch of the Politics of Austerity
In view of the 2008-09 economic meltdown, some on the left felt that the global and neoliberal agenda dominant since the 1979-81 economic crisis would be jettisoned in order to stabilize global capitalism. Yet the age of austerity proclaimed as a necessity by the Toronto G20 summit is clearly a continuation of 'there is no alternative' to brutal and restructuring capitalism.
658. July 3, 2012 Zeinab Abul-Magd Egypt: Interpreting the Coup
The newly elected president of Egypt, Muslim Brotherhood candidate Mohamed Morsy, began his national address by thanking God and the families of the revolution's martyrs for granting him such a victory, and immediately proceeded to deeply thank the armed forces. He saluted the Egyptian military and added, "Only God knows how much love I have in my heart [for it]."
657. June 26, 2012 Todd Gordon and Jeffery R. Webber Paraguay's Parliamentary Coup and Ottawa's Imperial Response
A soft-coup has ousted Centre-Leftist Fernando Lugo from the presidency in Paraguay and replaced him with Vice-President, but long-time political enemy, Federico Franco of the inaptly named Partido Liberal Radical Auténtico. Using as pretext a bloody confrontation last week between landless peasants occupying a large-landholding in Curuguaty, near the Brazilian border, and police forces sent to violently dislodge their encampment, a farcical political trial was carried out last Friday.
656. June 21, 2012 The RIO+20 U.N. Conference
Representatives of governments from all the world will be present at the Rio+20 U.N. Conference on Sustainable Development, June 2012. What can we expect from this so-called "Earth Summit" from a social and ecological perspective? Nothing! Or, to be charitable, very little.
655. June 19, 2012 Alex de Jong One Divides Into Two -- Nepal's Maoists in Crisis
After ten years of Maoist insurgency and a coup d'état by the king in 2005, the Nepali people took to the streets in April 2006, forcing the king to hand power back to the parliament. It was the end of the only Hindu kingdom in the world but only a new step in the country's continuing political crisis. The Maoist party, the UCPN(M) has entered into a crisis itself and a split has become inevitable.
654. June 13, 2012 Samir Sonti Greece and Our Illusions
While it may be premature to speculate on the legacy left by the various social upheavals that have occurred since early-2011, the electoral tide sweeping across Europe offers additional evidence that something fundamental is happening.
653. June 12, 2012 G. Dragasakis The Economic Program of SYRIZA-EKM
Alexis Tsipras, the president of the SYRIZA Parliamentary Group already presented a large part of our economic program and primarily the rationale of the program. That allows me to focus on a few specific points. Listening to Mr. Samaras yesterday, and also on other occasions, reading out long lists of measures, I feel the need to explain what we mean when we talk about a program.
652. June 11, 2012 Luke Stobart and Joel Sans Spain: A Spiral of Crisis, Cuts and Indignacion
In March 2011 several regular Guardian columnists analysed the crisis in the Spanish state and the response to "austerity" by the population. All agreed that young people were "apathetic" and even "docile." Two months later that same youth led tens of thousands to occupy city squares and a million to demonstrate across the country -- the movement of "the outraged" (los indignados in Spanish).
651. June 10, 2012 J. F. Conway Quebec: Making War on Our Children
A society at war with its children is a society in deep crisis. Quebec's student strike mobilization has set world records for duration and size. The organizational ability of the students has been remarkable, and escalating levels of disciplined popular support nothing short of astonishing.
650. June 9, 2012 Richard Fidler Where Next for the Quebec Mobilizations?
Despite massive mobilizations throughout Quebec in opposition to Law 78 and the Jean Charest government, the student struggle is once again at an impasse. At the end of May, the government terminated the latest round of negotiations with the four college and university student associations without offering any concessions on the students' key demands: for repeal of the tuition fee increases and repeal of its 'bludgeon law' aimed at smashing student unionism in the province.
649. June 8, 2012 Tyler Shipley Soccer, Imperialism, and Resistance in Honduras
Never let them tell you it's 'just a game.' Much is on the line, as the Canadian and Honduran national soccer teams prepare for their World Cup Qualifying match on June 12 in Toronto, but the real stories that animate this match are taking place a long way from BMO Field. Just ask Honduras' most famed footballer -- once a local star with Toronto FC -- the aptly named Amado Guevara.
648. June 7, 2012 Panagiotis Sotiris Political Crisis, the Left and the Possibility of a New Historical Bloc
The combination of economic crisis, social devastation and open political crisis in 'weak links' of the European Project such as Greece has raised the possibility of social and political change. In Greece we have witnessed a sequence of social and political developments that are based on an extreme case of economic and consequently social crisis have led to an open political crisis.
647. June 6, 2012 Peter Hallward The Threat of Quebec's Good Example
The extraordinary student mobilization in Quebec has already sustained the longest and largest student strike in the history of North America, and it has already organized the single biggest act of civil disobedience in Canadian history. It is now rapidly growing into one of the most powerful and inventive anti-austerity campaigns anywhere in the world.
646. June 5, 2012 Celia Garces Mallku Khota
The indigenous community of Mallku Khota (in Bolivia) is in a state of emergency for resisting the continued operations of South American Silver Corporation's (SASC) subsidiary, Compania Minera Mallku Khota (CMMK). On May 28th, 2012, the governor of Potosi pleaded to the national government to militarize the zone where mineral exploration is ongoing.
645. June 1, 2012 SYRIZA SYRIZA's Proposals: The Exit From the Crisis Is On the Left
The national debt is first and foremost a product of class relations, and is inhumane in its very essence. It is produced by the tax evasion of the wealthy, the looting of public funds, and the exorbitant procurement of military weapons and equipment.
644. May 31, 2012 Barry Finger The Bipartisan Assault on Higher Education
Barack Obama and Republican Party Presidential nominee Mitt Romney agree that the Stafford loan program should be maintained at a 3.4 per cent interest rate, rather than being allowed to double by this July. This, somehow, is seen as a great boon to students and evidence of a bipartisan commitment to the upcoming generation.
643. May 30, 2012 Michalis Spourdalakis Syriza's Rise
The rise of Syriza, Greece's Coalition of the Radical Left, in the May elections and in polls since has changed the political landscape of Europe. Michalis Spourdalakis, professor of political science at Athens University, talked to Alex Doherty about Syriza, the reasons for their success and what the prospects are now for the radical left in Greece and beyond.
642. May 29, 2012 Andrew Stevens and Doug Nesbitt Workers at CP Get Railroaded
On May 23, 4800 CP Rail workers went on strike after giving a 72-hour strike notice on May 19. The workers, represented by the Teamsters Rail Conference of Canada, had voted 95 per cent in favour of a strike on April 27. The major issue is pensions, but there are also other areas of dispute such as fatigue management and workplace safety.
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