||Title ISSN 1923-7871
||Apr 9, 2009
||The Auto Crisis: Placing Our Own Alternative on the Table
|Deep economic crises violently interrupt daily lives
and force more radical responses onto the public agenda. In the case of the North American auto industry
however, that radicalism has been remarkably one-sided. Absent an alternative of their own, workers were
(and remain) trapped by their dependency on 'their' corporations becoming stronger.
||Mar 28, 2009
||After B.C. Health Services: Back to Reality
|In the deteriorating economic climate, resource, manufacturing,
construction and now private-services workers have been front and centre in employers’ crosshairs. Against the
backdrop of layoffs and plant closings stemming from financial and economic retrenchment, employers have wrenched
give-backs from unionized and unrepresented workers alike.
||Mar 25, 2009
||Another Left is Possible: The Protests in France and the New Anti-Capitalist Party
|It would be wrong to see last Thursday's massively
successful protest actions in France as distant and exotic, of no particular relevance to us here in
Canada. With the economic meltdown heralding a new political era, and with most of the country's Left
and social movements still stunned and disoriented following their embrace of the misguided and failed
Liberal-led coalition plan, the French experience is instructive and inspiring.
||Mar 22, 2009
||Matt Fodor and Bryan Evans
||ONDP Leadership: A Revival of Class Politics?
|On March 6-8, 2009, Ontario's New Democrats gathered in
Hamilton to select a new leader. After thirteen years of the lackluster leadership of Howard Hampton, the
party turned to Hamilton MPP Andrea Horwath, beating out rivals Peter Tabuns, Gilles Bisson and Michael Prue.
Horwath, the youngest of the four leadership candidates and the first woman to lead the ONDP, has generated
much excitement in terms of reviving the party from its moribund state.
||Mar 21, 2009
||Two-State Pipe Dream Impedes Justice, Again
|Is Palestine enough of a state? This is what the
International Criminal Court (ICC) must determine before it can consider charges of war crimes brought
against Israel after its recent onslaught in Gaza. The scale of Israel's 22-day military attack which
claimed more than 1,300 lives, including hundreds of children, led to widespread accusations by
international observers that Israel had committed war crimes.
||Mar 19, 2009
||Martinique General Strike Ends in Victory
|A 38-day general strike in the Caribbean colony of
Martinique ended March 14 with the signing of a protocol between the government and the February 5 Collective,
a coalition of unions and other social movements named after the day the strike began. The agreement grants the
coalition's key demands. About 20,000 people celebrated the historic victory in a march through the streets.
||Mar 18, 2009
||João Pedro Stedile
||The Crisis Will Be Profound and Prolonged...
|The Brazilian Landless Movement (MST) has been
at the forefront of militant struggles against neoliberalism and capitalism in Latin America for many years now.
They continue to be a key pole of militancy in the upsurge of socialism and renewal of the Left across the continent.
They are now leading in discussions of how peasants and workers in Brazil and Latin America might respond to the
financial crisis tearing across the world market.
||Mar 17, 2009
||Afghanistan: A Surge Toward Disaster
|As United States President Barack Obama simultaneously escalates and
crafts a new strategy for the U.S. and North Atlantic Treaty Organization-led counter-insurgency war and occupation in
Afghanistan, critics say that the “surge” will send the country toward an “unmitigated disaster,”
the brunt of which will be borne by the civilian population.
||Mar 16, 2009
||Tory Government Introduces New ‘Anti-Terror’ Law as Khawaja Sentenced to 10½ More Years in Jail
|Mohammad Momin Khawaja, the first person to be sentenced
under Canada's post-9/11 terrorism laws, was ordered March 12 to serve 10½ years in prison, with no
eligibility for parole for 5 years. Under the Anti-Terrorism Act, this term will be consecutive to
the more than 5 years he has spent awaiting trial and sentence.
||Mar 3, 2009
||The Israel Advocacy Push to "Reclaim" York University: Putting Current Events in Context
|Toronto's York University, the third-largest university in Canada, is a
politically contradictory place. On the one hand, what can in broad terms be described as left or progressive currents are
prominent – in many cases, predominant – in its social science departments.
||Mar 2, 2009
||Why We Should All Support Israeli Apartheid Week
|This is the fifth consecutive year of Israeli Apartheid Week (IAW).
Launched in Toronto, this week-long initiative hosts a string of lectures, film screenings, panels,
demonstrations, cultural performances and other events across campuses and community centers around
the world to inform the public about the continuing violations of one of the longest and devastating occupations in modern history.
||Feb 25, 2009
||Leo Panitch and Sam Gindin
||From Global Finance to the Nationalization of the Banks: Eight Theses on the Economic Crisis
|1. The current economic crisis has to be understood in terms of the historical
dynamics and contradictions of capitalist finance in the second half of the 20th century. Even though the spheres of capitalist finance and production are obviously intertwined (in
significant ways today more than ever before), the origins of today's US-based financial crisis are not rooted in a profitability crisis in the sphere of production, as was the
case with the crisis of the 1970s, nor in the global trade imbalances that have emerged since.
||Feb 19, 2009
||Exposed: University of Toronto Suppresses Pro-Palestinian Activism
|The last few months have seen a global surge in support
for the movement of boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israeli Apartheid. Important solidarity
actions have occurred across the globe, including: a wave of student occupations across the UK; union
resolutions in Europe, New Zealand and Australia; and, most recently, the historic action of South African
dockworkers refusing to unload Israeli ships.
||Feb 18, 2009
||Margaret Aziza Pappano
||Academic Freedom Threatened in Ontario Universities
|The last two years have seen increasing efforts to
limit advocacy of Palestinian rights at Canadian universities, amounting to a pattern of the suppression of
freedom of speech and freedom of assembly. This article, and the Open Letter from Faculty for Palestine
for signing on to below, reviews some of these developments in the context of the growing campaign
of international solidarity with the Palestinian people.
||Feb 16, 2009
||The Financial Crisis and American Power: An Interview with Leo Panitich
|What is your assessment of the relationship between this serious financial crisis emerging foremost in the U.S. and American power and economic decline?
I don't think that U.S. hegemony has waned, and I don't think it's about to wane in the very near future, despite the current financial crisis.
||Feb 14, 2009
||Why the Venezuelan Amendment Campaign Is So Important
|Sunday, 15 February, Venezuelans vote in a referendum on a proposed Constitutional Amendment that will allow for any candidate to stand for the Presidency, or indeed for any elective office, without restriction on the number of terms they may serve. Only the people's vote will decide whether they are elected and how many terms they serve.
||Feb 12, 2009
||Why the U.S. Stimulus Package is Bound to Fail
|Much is to be gained by viewing the contemporary crisis as a surface
eruption generated out of deep tectonic shifts in the spatio-temporal disposition of capitalist development. The tectonic plates are now
accelerating their motion and the likelihood of more frequent and more violent crises of the sort that have been occurring since 1980 or so
will almost certainly increase.
||Jan 23, 2009
||The Crisis in Gaza: An Interview with Gilbert Achcar
|Daniel Finn (Irish Left Review) interviewed Gilbert Achcar
on January 10, 2009 covering the events surrounding the Israeli attack on Gaza an the Palestinian struggle for their rights.
||Jan 21, 2009
||Israel's Message to Iran
|On January 17, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert
announced a unilateral ceasefire, where Israel will stop its attacks but continue its military presence.
“We have met and even surpassed our goals,” declared Olmert, as he thanked the Israeli public for their
continued support of the 22-day onslaught in Gaza.
||Jan 18, 2009
||Toronto Janitors Organize for Rights, Respect and Justice
|As darkness falls in Toronto and tens of thousands
of office workers pour out of the downtown skyscrapers, another army enters the buildings, quietly and
unperceived – the night shift that cleans the office towers and readies them for the next day's activity.
||Jan 15, 2009
||“We are All Palestinian”: Gaza, the War, and Global Solidarity
|Across the world, the Israeli bombardment of Gaza has been
viewed with horror and outrage. The massive loss of human life in the densely-populated occupied territory has sparked
worldwide condemnation and protest. In Europe, North America, the Middle East, Latin America,
Africa and Asia, millions of people have demonstrated against the Israeli version of “shock and awe.”.
||Jan 14, 2009
||Confronting Industry Shutdowns: Multinational’s Assets Seized in Newfoundland
|A Conservative Party provincial premier has presented
an unlikely challenge to trade unions and the New Democratic Party across Canada. No, it's not another
assault on workers' rights and living conditions. It's a surprising decision to stand up to a corporate giant.
||Jan 13, 2009
||Stop the War Now
|The present conflagration in Gaza is perniciously
criminal because it was foreseen and could have been averted. The most enraging aspect about it is its
wanton wastefulness and the cynicism of both leaderships. Had the two sides agreed to negotiate – something
they will inevitably have to do in the wake of this slaughter – the conflagration could have been avoided.
||Jan 12, 2009
||Watered-Down Resolution Stands on the Backs of the People of Gaza
|There is no safe place in Gaza. A statement by the
United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reads: “This war is unique in
the way that the civilians have no place to go and no place to hide.” On Saturday evening, one
week after the launch of Operation Cast Lead, Israel's ground operation began and civilian casualties increased rapidly.
||Jan 11, 2009
||Solidarity with Palestine: Crisis Responses and Movement Building
|As the number of deaths from Israel's carnage in Gaza mounts,
more and more people in Canada are being moved to take action. Of course, the question quickly becomes: "What can I do?"
||Jan 6, 2009
||Israel's Historical Mistake
|No matter how the current war plays out,
it is certain that Israel has made a big historical mistake in entering Gaza. On Saturday night,
one week after the start of Operation Cast Lead in the Gaza Strip, the Israeli ground operation began.
||Jan 4, 2009
||Destroying Gaza, Delaying Palestine
|We watch in horror as Israel unleashes yet another
war on the dispossessed and weak. Hundreds are killed (mostly police and civilians, not trained militants),
thousands are injured, and a million and a half are terrorized, punished for defying the will of their
besiegers and refusing to submit.
||Jan 3, 2009
||Breaking the Cycle or Going Around in Circles? The Ontario Poverty Reduction Strategy
|On December 5th, the Hamilton poverty reduction working group
held a meeting on the provincial government's poverty reduction strategy, which had been released the previous day.
Echoing the talking points released by the main Ontario anti-poverty coalition, 25in5, the group took credit
for forcing the government to persist with its strategy despite the downturn, welcomed the report as the first
hopeful sign for meaningful action on poverty since the Ontario Government Transitions report of 1988, but
called on the government to go much further.
||Dec 31, 2008
||Saving the Detroit Three, Finishing Off the UAW
|At the end of 1979, President Carter offered loan
guarantees to Chrysler to prevent the company's imminent bankruptcy. The loans were conditional on
wage concessions of some 10% and the outsourcing of half of Chrysler's work. In August 1981 a newly
elected President, Ronald Reagan, ended a strike of 13,000 air traffic controllers by firing the
strikers en masse (the controllers' union had ironically been a supporter of Reagan in his 1980 presidential campaign).
||Dec 29, 2008
||Israeli Slaughter, International Culpability
|There is every reason to be outraged. But despite the severity
of Israeli atrocities in Gaza, we have little right to act surprised. Whatever else can be said, Israel has made
it abundantly clear that until its actions are met with credible international sanctions, it will subject
Palestinians (and very likely others in the region) to massive, recurring waves of violence.
||Dec 26, 2008
||Facing the Economic Crisis
|The main news these days is the global economic crisis,
an event ascribed by economists and most pundits alike to a “financial” meltdown caused by
the irresponsibility of mainly, but not exclusively, U.S. lending institutions and consumers in offering
– and accepting – “sub-prime” mortgages. The variable mortgages, initiated during
the credit driven bubble of the 1990s, and welcomed by the Clinton administration but accelerated
in the first six years of the new century, require home buyers to put no money down.
||Dec 24, 2008
||The Global Crisis and Mexico: The End of Mexico's Development Model?
|The current global crisis, and the role of the
United States in it, has brought into the public light the role of financial derivatives in keeping
the global financial system in a constant state of volatility. This, however, is not a new experience
for the Mexican economy. These financial instruments were a key factor in triggering the 1995 peso crisis.
||Dec 19, 2008
||Labour Turmoil and the Fight for Public Education
|Over the last three decades, the post-secondary education
sector in Canada has been consistently undermined by a crisis of under-funding. Provincial and federal
governments have followed neoliberal policies which seek to reshape the logic of the public sector while
at the same time increasingly transfer its costs away from public provision through taxation and onto the
public through individual user-fees.
||Dec 17, 2008
||BC Labour Convention Confronts Economic Crisis
|The biannual policy convention of the British Columbia
Federation of Labour, held in Vancouver from November 24 to 28, reflected a growing anger among unionized workers with
corporate attacks and deteriorating economic and social conditions in the province.
||Dec 8, 2008
||Economic Crisis and the Poor: Probable Impacts, Prospects for Resistance
|Now that the crisis of the financial markets has
become a crisis of the 'real' economy, it is obvious that those who already face poverty (or live on
the edge of it) will be hit extraordinarily hard in the days ahead. Over the last three decades, social
programs that served to partially redistribute wealth or limit the disciplinary power of unemployment on
the working class were massively reduced.
||Dec 5, 2008
||The Neoliberal University: Looking at the York Strike
|Placed neatly in the middle of a global economic maelstrom,
it is near impossible to understand or predict what, if any, consequences the strike by 3500 odd teaching and research
assistants and contract faculty at York University in Toronto (represented by Canadian Union of
Public Employees Local 3903) will have for higher education in Ontario and throughout Canada.
||Dec 4, 2008
||From the Global Crisis to Canada's Crisis
|The political crisis that has suddenly erupted in
Canada adds yet another dimension to the seemingly unending shockwaves set in motion by the global
financial crisis. The sheer political escapism that led all the leaders (even the NDP's Jack Layton)
to solemnly pledge during the recent federal election not to run a deficit.
||Dec 2, 2008
||Canada-Colombia Free Trade Agreement Signed
|Not a government to fail to live up to its
reactionary commitments, the Tories signed Canada's free trade agreement with Colombia on November 21st.
The signing is the culmination of the Tory government's aggressive campaign to reach a trade deal with
the human-rights troubled Andean country. Prime Minister Harper first announced his government's intention
to get a deal with Colombia during his state visit there in July, 2007.
||Dec 1, 2008
||Coalition Government? Let's Not Give Away The Store
|The Harper government's economic proposals, announced
November 27, aroused a cry of outrage from unions and social activists across the country: "Throw the bums out."
||Dec 1, 2008
||Laurie E. Adkin
||Financial Crisis and Ecological Amnesia
|As OECD governments and political parties rush to pour
billions of dollars into the generation of more credit to stimulate more consumption, no one seems to be pointing
out that only a short time ago, the same governments were insisting that there was no money for a significant reduction
of greenhouse gases. There was no money for transition to renewable energy sources. There was, in short, no money to
invest in the ecological transformation of our economies.
||Nov 30, 2008
||Precarious Employment and the Struggle for Good Jobs in the University Sector
|Precarious employment is one of the hallmarks of
what is euphemistically called “the new economy.” It has deep roots in the university sector.
Recent decades have seen a move away from full-time secure jobs for academic workers, toward
reliance on part-time, contingent, relatively low wage jobs. As a cost-savings measure, and
as a way to provide flexibility in operations, universities rely on part-time teaching staff to increasing degrees.
||Nov 26, 2008
||Too little too late? The State of the Canadian Labour Movement Today
|Standing in a crowd of a few thousand auto workers,
their families, and union and community allies rallying outside General Motors' Oshawa truck plant
in June, I couldn't help but think, “Way too little. Way too ineffective. Probably way too late.”
||Nov 26, 2008
||Beyond Wage Cuts, Beyond the Bailout
|The global crisis quickly engulfing us threatens
to become the worst since the Great Depression, and this means that past ways of doing things need
to be fundamentally rethought. But Gord Henderson's focus on wage cuts for autoworkers
(Windsor Star, November 20, 2008) is the absolutely wrong way to go – that much we already learned from the 1930s.
||Nov 25, 2008
||The Financial Crisis and Democratic Public Finance
|First let's be clear about capitalism –
and with it the character of the state under capitalism. There is a conventional assumption, a leftover
of the cold war perhaps, that somehow capitalism is essentially about the market
and socialism is essentially about the state.
||Nov 24, 2008
||The Financial Crisis: Notes on Alternatives
|Over the last quarter century, the left in
most of the developed world has been marginalized as a social force. The 'culture of possibilities'
for left alternatives has correspondingly narrowed. But historic changes, above all the discrediting of
neoliberalism, hold out the potential of at long last reversing that earlier defeat.
||Nov 23, 2008
||Making the World's Poor Pay: The Economic Crisis and the Global South
|The current global economic crisis has all the
earmarks of an epoch-defining event. Mainstream economists – not usually known for their
exaggerated language – now openly employ phrases like 'systemic meltdown' and 'peering into the abyss.'
||Nov 18, 2008
||Rinaldo Walcott; Matthew Brett
||Assessing an Obama Presidency
|The Left in the US and around the world is celebrating
the end of the Bush Presidency. We also celebrate the election of an African-American to the Presidency
of what remains a deeply racist country. And what person on the Left does not want 'change'?
This all raises deeper questions about Obama's Presidency, alongside a more strongly Democratic Congress.
Will this bring an end to neoliberalism?
||Nov 6, 2008
||Challenging the Framework for Concessions
|At an October 26th unit meeting, scheduled to
discuss proposals for amending the collective agreement – up for renegotiations in
December – about 225 workers from the Magna-owned Mississauga Seating unit of
Canadian Auto Workers (CAW) Local 1256 turned down efforts to get them to buy-in to the notorious Framework for Fairness Agreement (FFA).
||Nov 6, 2008
||No anti-Semitism at Durban II: Canada should end its boycott of Durban II
|In October, I attended the U.N. Second Substantive Session
of the Preparatory Committee for the Durban Review Conference, a Preparatory Committee for the Review of the
UN World Conference Against Racism (WCAR), popularly called “Durban II”, scheduled for April 2009 in Geneva.
As a Jew, I went to assess the validity of the Canadian government's charges that Durban II is anti-Semitic.
||Oct 30, 2008
||Election 2008 and Beyond: Radical-Left Strategy in a Time of Right-Wing
Consensus and “Centre-Left” Illusion
|In these difficult times, those of us on
the radical Left have learned to be grateful for tender mercies. And so it goes with the
results of the October 14th federal election. A few bits of good news immediately come
into view: the hard-Right crew around Stephen Harper was denied a majority government;
||Oct 30, 2008
||Bolivia: Unprecedented Alliance Defeats Right-Wing Assault
|LA PAZ: After three months of intense class struggle,
there can be no doubt that the U.S.-backed right-wing opposition to the government of President
Evo Morales has suffered three important defeats. The right's offensive to topple Morales, which
climaxed with the September 11-12 “civic coup” attempt, has been decisively rolled
back by the combined action of the government and social movements.
||Oct 26, 2008
||Looking for Solutions: Labour and the Crisis of Neoliberal Capitalism
|For three decades after the Second World War,
the ideas of British economist John Maynard Keynes provided the intellectual backbone of trade unions
in Western developed countries like Canada. Unionists maintained their affinity with Keynes,
despite his declaration that “class war will find me on the side of the educated
bourgeoisie.” This affinity remained intact even during the dark ages of neoliberalism
that superseded the postwar era of enlightened welfare capitalism.
||Oct 21, 2008
||International Political Economy Conference
||Responses From The South To The Global Economic Crisis
|Academics and researchers from Argentina, Australia,
Belgium, Canada, Chile, China, Cuba, Ecuador, France, Mexico, Peru, Phillipines, South Korea, Spain,
United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay and Venezuela participated in The International Political
Economy Conference: Responses from the South to the Global Economic Crisis, held in Caracas from
the 8 to 11 October 2008. The conference stimulated a wide ranging debate on the current economic and
financial health of the global economy, the new perspectives and the challenges to the governments
and peoples of the South posed by the international financial crisis.
||Oct 14, 2008
||The 2008 Canadian Federal Election: A Quebec Perspective
|Traditionally, federal elections in Quebec have
always been a privileged time to reflect and debate on Quebec's constitutional status within Canada.
Is Quebec getting more autonomous? Is Canadian federalism becoming more flexible? Are we heading
towards decentralisation or centralisation?
||Oct 13, 2008
||Where's Palestine in the Canadian Election?
|Many will certainly remember that incredibly
friendly moment, during the otherwise acrimonious recent U.S. Vice-Presidential debate, when
Republican candidate Sarah Palin reached out to her Democratic rival Joseph Biden, saying she
was: “encouraged to know we both love Israel and I think that is a good thing to agree on.”
||Oct 12, 2008
||The Canadian Election and the War in Afghanistan
|Conservative Party leader, Stephen Harper, attempted
to remove questions about Canada's role in Afghanistan from debate during the election campaign by announcing
the combat role of the Canadian Forces will end, in 2011, if he is re-elected as Prime Minister. But let's
be clear about what the current combat role entails.
||Oct 6, 2008
||Wall Street Panic, Main Street Pain and Policy Choices
|Falling house-prices triggered a financial crisis in the
summer of 2007. Increasing numbers of people who had borrowed against their property, whose value they expected
to rise continually, had trouble to pay their mortgages and other bills. Particularly hard hit were people
whose mortgages had flexible interest rates that were now rising.
||Oct 3, 2008
||Canada's Elections: What's the Alternative to the Tories?
|Canada's minority Conservative Party government
has called a federal election for October 14. Serious issues confront voters – war in the
Middle East and Afghanistan, the economic downturn that that will grow out of the U.S.
financial crisis, and climate change that endangers human life on our planet. But four of the five
parties in the federal parliament are avoiding serious debate on these issues.
||Sep 30, 2008
||Leo Panitch and Sam Gindin
||The Current Crisis: A Socialist Perspective
|'They say they won't intervene. But they will.'
This is how Robert Rubin, Bill Clinton's Treasury Secretary, responded to Paul O'Neill, the first
Treasury Secretary under George W. Bush, who openly criticized his predecessor's interventions in
the face of what Rubin called 'the messy reality of global financial crises.'
The current dramatic conjuncture of financial crisis and state intervention has proven Rubin
more correct than he could have imagined.
||Sep 28, 2008
||Comparing Crises: The 1930s, the 1970s, and Today
|Boom or bust, Wall Street keeps people busy.
Everybody debates the U.S. government's $700 billion bailout plan these days. After the bankruptcy
of the Lehman Brothers investment bank, who's next was last week's big question. Last month, it was
speculation whether falling oil prices and a resurgent U.S. Dollar would indicate the next boom.
Last year, we were where we are now: fearful considerations whether financial turmoil would push the U.S. and world economies into recession.
||Sep 26, 2008
||NDP or Bloc? Quebec Left Debates Election Tactics
|An interesting debate over federal election tactics
has developed among socialists in Québec solidaire (QS), the new left pro-sovereignty party
that confines its activity to contesting Quebec, but not federal, elections. For the
first time since the 1980s, the federal NDP is being considered as a valid electoral
option by some, while others advocate voting for the Bloc Québécois as
the best means of forestalling the re-election of the Harper government.
||Sep 25, 2008
||Bryan Evans and Greg Albo
||Harper's Bunker: The State, Neoliberalism and the Election
|The manner of governing of Stephen Harper's
Conservative government might be characterized as a paradox with a purpose. A sharp centralization
of authority over decision-making and political management in the executive branches of the
state – particularly to augment policing, warmaking and market-enhancing
administrative capacities – is accompanied by an equally focused policy
agenda that seeks to hollow out the redistributive role of the Canadian federal state.
||Sep 22, 2008
||Canada's Election and the Climate Crisis: Five Parties, No Solutions
|For the environment, there's good news and bad news in Canada's current
federal election campaign. Good news: for the first time ever, climate change is a central issue in the political debates.
Bad news: despite much sound and fury, none of the major political parties is proposing effective
measures for dealing with the climate change crisis. The differences between them amount to “Don't do anything”
versus “Don't do much.”
||Sep 17, 2008
|Watching the Bloc Québécois over the
past decade is a little like watching a bullfight. You know that the bull is going to die, but not on
what particular charge. And, as with a bullfight, I do not relish applauding the result. A rapid overview
of the Bloc's formation and achievements provides some context for assessing its current predicament, and
the effects of its potentially imminent demise.
||Sep 15, 2008
||Bolivia's Elites Seek A Media Coup
|Bolivia's popular movements are attempting to
use democracy and a legitimate government to advance an agenda of sovereignty, greater equality,
and development. Their opponents, led by several governors of the wealthier provinces in a part
of the country called the “media luna,” are trying to use violence and sabotage to
stop that agenda by provoking a civil war and chaos.
||Aug 31, 2008
||Labour Day 2008 and Canadian Workers
|Labour Day 2008 in Canada sees a number of
longer term trends over this period of neoliberalism intensifying – downward pressures on
real wages, growing precarious and marginal work, undermining of public sector services and work,
increasing reliance on migrant workers with restricted rights, and mounting global inequalities.
A recession resulting from the overaccumulation of capital in key sectors in the U.S. and Europe
has been spreading across the world market.
||Aug 27, 2008
||Out of Sight – Out of Mind: Toronto's ‘Streets to Homes’ Response to Homelessness
|The City of Toronto's ‘Streets to Homes’ program is a finalist for one of
two awards that will be presented during the celebration of United Nations'
World Habitat Day. These annual awards are given for “practical and innovative
solutions to current housing needs and problems.” ‘Streets to Homes’
is an initiative that focuses on placing people who are on the streets in housing
units, and is presented as a bold and vital step that can actually eliminate the destitution of poverty in Toronto.
||Aug 25, 2008
||The Myth of the Tragedy of the Commons
|Will shared resources always be misused
and overused? Is community ownership of land, forests and fisheries a guaranteed road to
ecological disaster? Is privatization the only way to protect the environment and end
Third World poverty? Most economists and development planners will answer “yes”
– and for proof they will point to the most influential article ever written on those important questions.
||Aug 22, 2008
||Raise the Rates: The Vital Struggle Against Ontario's Sub-Poverty Welfare System
|A drastic reduction in the adequacy of income support payments is key to the neoliberal agenda. This is especially true in a country like Canada that had earlier seen the consolidation of a basic social infrastructure. However much the balance is tilted in favour of the employers, employment insurance (EI) and welfare payments limit the desperation of the unemployed and the degree to which those with jobs can be forced to make concessions.
||Aug 11, 2008
||Huge Stakes Behind War in Caucasus
|The war over the issue of South Ossetia has three political dimensions. The first is an entirely local question. Certain peoples (in particular the Ossets and the Abhaz) that were part of Georgia under the Soviet Union have, since the dissolution of the latter, declared loud and clear that they do not wish to live under Georgian rule any longer.
||Aug 4, 2008
||Sungur Savran and Ertugrul Kürkçü
||The Turkish Crisis, the Generals and the Left
|For the last several months Turkey has been immersed
in a major political crisis as various sections of the Turkish ruling classes openly feud.
It has pitted the ruling, Islamic-influenced AKP government against sections of the Turkish military,
political and judicial elites. It is also dispute over the direction of
Turkish economic restructuring as well as control over key institutions.
||Aug 4, 2008
||Radovan Karadzic Faces Trial. But Who Can Judge?
|According to the generally accepted political
logic, the arrest of Radovan Karadzic and his bringing to Hague Tribunal are expected to put an
end to the Balkan drama of 1990s. But what's actually happening seems to be quite the reverse.
The Serbian society has got accustomed to the new reality. It suffered another indignity as
Kosovo had declared independence in February of 2008.
||July 23, 2008
||The Oshawa Plant Closing
|In the wake of GM's shocking announcement
of its plan to close the Oshawa Truck Plant – just two weeks after the end of
bargaining – CAW Local 222 organized a blockade of the corporation's Canadian
headquarters. For 12 days the union local challenged the American-based auto giant to
rescind its decision to close its award winning Truck Plant.
||July 18, 2008
||The Fiasco of Vancouver’s Municipal Reform Party
|A decades-long, municipal reform political party
in Vancouver has been dealt a serious blow, possibly put out of action, by a combination of clever
manoeuvring by liberal (and Liberal!) political interests and what Reed Eurchuk,
writing in the Republic of East Vancouver, has termed, “Suicide by Neglect.”
||July 16, 2008
||Palestine in the Middle East: Opposing Neoliberalism and US Power (part 2)
|In the late 1960s, with the definitive collapse of
British and French colonialism in the Middle East, the US rose to become the dominant imperial power within the region.
Because of the presence of oil, the Middle East became critically important to the overall construction of US hegemony in the global order.
||July 15, 2008
||Palestine in the Middle East: Opposing Neoliberalism and US Power (part 1)
|Over the last six months, the Palestinian economy
has been radically transformed under a new plan drawn up by the Palestinian Authority (PA) called the
Palestinian Reform and Development Plan (PRDP). Developed in close collaboration with institutions such as the
World Bank and the British Department for International Development (DFID), the PRDP is
currently being implemented in the West Bank where the Abu Mazen-led PA has effective control.
||July 14, 2008
||Democracy: Too Important to Leave to the Members?
|Earlier this summer, it looked like
the Canadian Auto Workers (CAW) union was about to experience something truly unusual
in its history – a contested campaign for national president. The last contest
for the union's top Canadian officer was in 1960, a quarter of a century before the
formation of the CAW and a year when Tommy Douglas was Premier of Saskatchewan and
John F. Kennedy was running for President of the United States.
||July 11, 2008
||Strike by Five Thousand B.C. Grocery Workers Narrowly Averted
|Five thousand workers at one of British Columbia's
largest grocery chains, the Overwaitea Food Group (OFG), have ended a difficult round of
collective bargaining by voting in favour of a new agreement with a 75% majority.
||July 10, 2008
||CLC Convention Highlights the Challenges Facing the Labour Movement in Canada
|The triennial convention of the Canadian Labour Congress
held in Toronto from May 26 to 30 revealed the positive changes that have edged their way into the labour
movement in recent years. It also showed the weighty obstacles that stand in the way of the organization's
transformation into a more militant, fighting force on behalf of the working class.
||July 7, 2008
||Sam Gindin and Leo Panitch
||Perspectives on the U.S. Financial Crisis
|It is time to take stock. The centrality of the
American economy to the capitalist world – which now literally does encompass the whole
world – has spread the financial crisis that began in the U.S. housing market around the
globe. And the emerging economic recession triggered in the U.S. by that financial crisis now
threatens to spread globally as well.
||July 3, 2008
||USW and the Fiasco at Dofasco
|Rumours had been swirling for a few weeks
about “a big one.” Then, on March 18, United Steelworkers (USW) Ontario District 6
Director Wayne Fraser and Dofasco/Mittal management both broke the news. Within a couple of
days, Steelworker representatives would be allowed into the various Hamilton plants of
this notoriously anti-union steelmaking enterprise.
||June 30, 2008
||'Poverty Reduction'? Reforming without Reforms in a Neoliberal World
|On June 21, the
Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (OCAP) took over a downtown Toronto park for and
with the homeless. We were able to create a short lived space where destitute victims
of social cutbacks and urban redevelopment could stand together and raise a voice of resistance.
||June 25, 2008
||Global Finance, the Current Crisis and Challenges to the Dollar
|It is not often that we find ourselves
living through financial turmoil so serious that the International Monetary Fund calls
it “the largest financial crisis in the United States since the
Great Depression.” Yet that is where we are today. Already, commercial banks
have collapsed in both Britain and Germany, as has the fifth-largest investment bank on Wall Street.
||June 23, 2008
||Harvest of Injustice: The Oppression of Migrant Workers on Canadian Farms
|Some say that nothing happens by chance.
At the very least, it was a fortunate accident that my first job, when I arrived in Canada
from Bolivia three years ago, was in a tomato greenhouse in South Delta,
British Columbia – one of the first in the province to request migrant farm workers
from Mexico under the federal Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program (SAWP).
||June 22, 2008
||Death Spiral in Zimbabwe: Mediation, Violence and the GNU
|In March 2008 Zimbabweans voted in the most
peaceful election since independence, resulting in an unambiguous victory for the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) led by Morgan Tsvangirai. Three months later, the country
is haemorrhaging from a massive and rising tide of political violence not seen since the state
sponsored terror of the early 1980s.
||June 21, 2008
||Horace Campbell and Eusi Kwayana
||Pan-Africanists: Our Collective Duty to Zimbabwe
|Zimbabwe, a week before the run off elections
for the Presidency, presents many progressive Pan-Africanists with a conflict, be it in analysis
or action. There are four main competing interests in Zimbabwe, as it is today.
||June 17, 2008
||‘Dare Anyone Say a Word?’: The Canadian Labour Congress Convention of 2008
|There is always something unsettling
about people who say one thing and do another. There is for one thing the hypocrisy.
Then, there is the uncertainty. It only takes a few disappointments to sow the seeds
of doubt about whether you can ever trust a person's judgement again or whether you
can ever expect them to fulfill their responsibilities in the future.
||June 14, 2008
||Canadian Workers Demand Immediate End to War in Afghanistan
|On 29 May 2008, the delegates at the national
convention of the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC), representing more than three million workers
from every region of Canada and Quebec, voted overwhelmingly to demand that the Government of
Canada immediately end its participation in the illegal war in Afghanistan.
||June 11, 2008
||Disaster in the Making: Canada Concludes Its Free Trade Agreement With Colombia
|What's the monetary value of a Colombian trade unionist's
life? As it turns out, it depends on how many are killed in a given year since the potential fines the
Colombian government will have to pay as penalty under its free trade agreement (FTA) with Canada whenever
a union activist is killed is capped at $15 million.
||June 2, 2008
||Egyptian Protests: Falling Wages, High Prices and the Failure of an Export-Oriented Economy
|In April 2008, after a wave of protests over low wages
and high food prices, including an attempt to generate a general strike by many workers and social activists
on April 6 and led by workers in the state-run textile industry, the Egyptian government suspended its export
of rice and cement in order to meet local demand.
||May 27, 2008
||Building its Ties to Colombia: Canada's Imperial Adventure in the Andes
|On May 5th, 2008 Canada's Trade Minister,
David Emerson, proudly declared that Canada is “very close” to concluding free
trade negotiations with Colombia. According to Foreign Affairs officials, a deal could be
reached in a few short months, meaning that Canada would complete its free trade agreement
with Colombia before the United States completes its own deal with the Andean country.
||May 23, 2008
||Learning Some Lessons from Michigan's Auto Jobs Crisis
|The evidence of manufacturing job loss on a
massive scale in Ontario where the Canadian auto industry is concentrated is clear and undeniable.
Nonetheless a question must be asked. Is it accurate to characterize what is taking place here as a
“manufacturing crisis?” Or is it something else?
||May 20, 2008
||Building Labour Solidarity with Palestine
|In July 2005, over 170 Palestinian organizations
urged the world to adopt a campaign of boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) against Israel in
the manner of South Africa Apartheid. This call was signed by all the main Palestinian trade union
federations, as well as refugee, women and student organizations from across Palestine and the Arab world.
||May 12, 2008
||FOOD CRISIS - part 2
|When food riots broke out in Haiti last month, the
first country to respond was Venezuela. Within days, planes were on their way from Caracas, carrying
364 tons of badly needed food. The people of Haiti are “suffering from the attacks of the empire’s
global capitalism,” Venezuelan president Hugo Chàvez said. “This calls for genuine and profound solidarity
from all of us. It is the least we can do for Haiti.”
||May 7, 2008
||Race and Policing: Inquiry into Police Killing of Frank Paul Shows Power of Protest
|On December 5, 1998 a Vancouver police officer dragged
Frank Paul, a 47-year-old Mik’maq man, soaking wet and unconscious, from the downtown holding cells and
dumped him in an alley across town. He was drunk and could not stand or speak clearly. His body was found
at 2:30 am in the same alley by a passerby. ...
||May 6, 2008
||The CAW and Panic Bargaining: Early Opening at the Big Three
|In the face of a deteriorating economic climate and
concerns about the ‘investment competitiveness’ of Canadian plants, the CAW leadership made a startling move
this spring. It had an air of panic about it: the leadership quietly asked the Big Three – GM, Ford and
Chrysler – to open their collective agreements early, offering a new ‘pragmatic’ settlement.
||May 5, 2008
||What Emergency? An Assessment of Toronto’s 2008 Transit Strike
|Last weekend’s two-day transit strike in Toronto
raises anew and in starker terms two issues of longstanding concern to the labour movement in this city and
throughout the province. First, the unprecedented rapidity with which the city sought back-to-work legislation,
and the similarly expeditious and unanimous passage of this legislation by all parties of the provincial
legislature, represents a monolithic rejection by governing elites of transit workers’ right to strike.
||May 1, 2008
||Justice for Migrant Workers: Why We Will March
|Global migration has been increasing rapidly over the
last decades within and between states. A disquieting aspect of this has been the growth of migrant workers
who are non-citizens and thus lack ‘status’. Many of these workers are coming as part of formal government
programs, especially in areas of domestic workers and seasonal agricultural workers, but also in others.
||Apr 28, 2008
||FOOD CRISIS - part 1
|In Haiti, where most people get 22% fewer calories than
the minimum needed for good health, some are staving off their hunger pangs by eating “mud biscuits” made
by mixing clay and water with a bit of vegetable oil and salt.
||Apr 26, 2008
||Michael A. Lebowitz
||The Capitalist Workday, The Socialist Workday
|What I want to do today is to set out
some ideas about the capitalist workday and the socialist workday which I hope can be useful
in the current struggles in Venezuela and, more immediately, in today's discussion.