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New Canadian International Labour 10-Minute

Free Public Transit


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Public transit lies at the intersection of several critical social struggles today. Affordable (or free) public transit is an important mechanism for redistribution, and particularly targets low income women and people of colour. A central component of public policies to address climate change must be mass expenditures on public transit to reduce reliance on private cars and fossil fuels. Mass transit also enables an increase in the density and livability of cities. And public transit that is free and available as a social right is a core demand to decommodify everyday life in opposition to endless consumerism. Transit justice is, then, a crucial aspect of social justice today, and should be a fundamental part of the political programme of progressives and socialists. The struggle for the extension of free and accessible public transit rubs directly against neoliberal policies, and raises the vision of alternate production and provision essential to anti-capitalist politics.

This video mostly focuses on Tallinn, Estonia, and includes interviews with international activists: Roger Fowler (FareFree New Zealand), Greg Albo (Toronto Free Transit), Erik van Hal (traffic planner, Eindhoven), Michel van Hulten (scientist, Netherlands), Anna Ujma (advisor to the mayor of Zory, Poland), Dan Diaconu (deputy mayor of Timisoara, Romania), Raymond Polus (journalist Hasselt, Belgium), Mao Xiang (Chengdu Transport Department), Siim Kallas (European Commissioner for Transport), Lars Isacsson (Mayor of Avesta, Sweden), Allan Alakula (Head of Tallinn EU Office), Taavi Aas (Deputy Mayor of Tallinn).

Video produced by Revo Raudjarv for Tallinna Televisioon (2015).

For more information, see Free Transit and Transit News.



Southern Insurgency:

The Coming of the Global Working Class


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Even as labour in the developed world seems to be in retreat, industrial struggle continues elsewhere, and with particular force in the Global South. In Southern Insurgency, Immanuel Ness provides a thorough and expert perspective of three key countries where workers are fighting the spread of unchecked industrial capitalism: China, India, and South Africa. In each case, he considers the broader historical forces in play, such as the effects of imperialism, the decline of the international union movement, class struggle, and the growing reserve of available labour. He then narrows his focus in each case on the specifics of the current grassroots insurgency: the militancy of miners in South Africa, new labour organizations in India, and the rise of worker insurgencies in China. The product of extensive firsthand field research, Southern Insurgency paints a picture of the new industrial proletariat in the Global South, a group that lives a precarious, frightening existence yet at the same time offers hope for new approaches to solidarity and the anti-capitalist struggle.

Immanuel Ness is Professor of Political Science at City University of New York. His new book, Southern Insurgency: The Coming of the Global Working Class, is published by Pluto Press (2015). He is also author of Guest Workers and Resistance to U.S. Corporate Despotism and Immigrants, Unions, and the New U.S. Labor Market, as well as numerous other articles and academic and popular books on labour, worker insurgencies, community public and social health, and trade unions. He is editor of the International Encyclopaedia of Revolution and Protest and Working USA: The Journal of Labour and Society.

Moderated by Mark Thomas. Discussants:

Sponsored by The Global Labour Research Centre (York University), the Centre for Social Justice, and the Socialist Project.



Why Media Democracy?


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That the North American media is dominated by corporate monopolies serving capitalist interests and squeezing out critical voices is to state the obvious. The state media in Canada – nationally the CBC and provincially organizations like TV-Ontario (TVO) – provide only the slightest respite from pro-business reportage; the CBC has been equally a key ideological support for neoliberalism, particularly in its news coverage of public policy and economics. Media concentration in Canada is now the highest for the major capitalist countries. The same corporations who control TV and radio also own the major newspapers, but they have also bought up the smaller local media scattered across the country as well. The digital media technologies have added a huge number of new outlets and sites, but they have not broken the media monopoly at all. The various social media platforms arguably have even compounded the problem.

The need for a vibrant, radical media democracy movement has never been more imperative in Canada. The main forces here – represented largely by the Council of Canadians, the Canadian Media Guild, Unifor, and the various campaigns for a democratic media – are a beginning. But these forces all remain isolated from rebuilding the socialist movement in Canada – the only realistic foundation for a democratic media.

Resources and Commentary:


LS #Date PublishedTitle 
323. 25 September 2016 Free Public Transit
Public transit lies at the intersection of several critical social struggles today. Affordable (or free) public transit is an important mechanism for redistribution, and particularly targets low income women and people of colour. This video mostly focuses on Tallinn, Estonia, and includes interviews with international activists. Video produced by Revo Raudjarv for Tallinna Televisioon (2015).
322. 18 September 2016 Southern Insurgency
Even as labour in the developed world seems to be in retreat, industrial struggle continues elsewhere, and with particular force in the Global South. In Southern Insurgency, Immanuel Ness provides a thorough and expert perspective of three key countries where workers are fighting the spread of unchecked industrial capitalism: China, India, and South Africa. Recorded in Toronto, 8 September 2016.
321. 28 August 2016 Why Media Democracy?
That the North American media is dominated by corporate monopolies serving capitalist interests and squeezing out critical voices is to state the obvious. The state media in Canada provide only the slightest respite from pro-business reportage. Media concentration in Canada is now the highest for the major capitalist countries. The same corporations who control TV and radio also own the major newspapers, but they have also bought up the smaller local media scattered across the country as well. The need for a vibrant, radical media democracy movement has never been more imperative in Canada.
320. 21 August 2016 Canadian Mining and Popular Resistance
Canada is one of the world's centres of the mining and extractive sector. Toronto is the centre of the trade in mining stocks and in financing mining operations. Canadian mining capital operates in more than 100 countries and is among the top five world producers of potash, uranium, nickel, gold, platinum, aluminum, diamonds and steel-making coal.
319. 14 August 2016 Oppose the Energy East Pipeline
TransCanada’s Energy East project is the largest tar sands pipeline proposed yet. Stretching from Alberta to New Brunswick, Energy East could carry over 1 million barrels per day of tar sands crude to the Atlantic coast. Despite TransCanada’s promises that Energy East is for domestic gain, they are making plans to export the vast majority and leave us to bear the real costs of climate change, spills and clean-up.
318. 7 August 2016 Palestinian Solidarity Struggles
The state of Israel was just served notice by Black Lives Matter (BLM) in a big way. The human rights movement pummeled Israel for its decades long oppression of the Palestinian people in its new platform. In a show of solidarity between black Americans, who have bravely struggled against centuries of discrimination in the U.S., Black Lives Matter has reached out to their Palestinian brothers and sisters by embracing the Palestinian call for justice and freedom.
317. 31 July 2016 The Struggle over Site C Dam and the Peace River
The energy from Site C is not needed: After 28 days of hearings and review of 28,000 pages of documentation, the Joint Review Panel concluded that BC Hydro has failed to prove that we need Site C. Further, they emphasized that because there are significant adverse effects, justification for the project must rest on an unambiguous need for the power.
316. 24 July 2016 Before '68: The Left, Activism and Social Movements in the Long 1960s
Ernest Tate and Phil Hearse present Revolutionary Activism in the 1950s and 1960s. Ernest Tate's memoir is an important contribution to the history of the left in Britain and Canada during a unique period. Recorded in Norwich, 13 February 2016.
315. 17 July 2016 Whose Right to the City?
Earlier this year, the journal Alternate Routes organized a conference on the theme 'Sub/Urbanizing Austerity: Impacts and Alternatives.' The following presentation is from panel four of the conference: 'Whose Right to the City?' Moderated by Carlo Fanelli. Presentations by Jeff Noonan, Josephine Watson, and Paul Bocking. Recorded in Toronto, 18 March 2016.
314. 10 July 2016 Low Waged Work, Social Reproduction and the Promises/Perils of Participatory Budgeting
Earlier this year, the journal Alternate Routes organized a conference on the theme 'Sub/Urbanizing Austerity: Impacts and Alternatives.' The following presentation is from panel three of the conference: 'Low Waged Work, Social Reproduction and the Promises/Perils of Participatory Budgeting.' Moderated by John Shields. Presentations by: Meg Luxton and Patricia McDermott; Bryan Evans; Laura Pin. Recorded in Toronto 18 March 2016.
313. 3 July 2016 Canada Since 1960: A People's History
Canadian Dimension magazine (CD) is this country's oldest Left publication. In this new book, Canada Since 1960: A People's History, 25 authors evaluate how CD discussed diverse subjects over a span of 50 years: 50 Years of Class Struggle; 50 Years of Art and Culture; 50 Years of Making Socialism; 50 Years of Rebelling Youth; 50 years of Anti-Racism, Human Rights and Immigration advocacy! Recorded in Toronto, 7 June 2016.
312. 26 June 2016 Class Struggles, TO
A panel of activists and historians (Joan Sangster, Bryan Palmer and Gaetan Heroux) on the struggles of women and the poor in the city's history. Recorded in Toronto 9 June 2016.
311. 19 June 2016 Public Exposures
The art-activism of Condé and Beveridge symposium brought together participants from diverse communities and working sectors -- practicing artists, community activists, union members, educators and students. Recorded in Toronto, 28 May 2016.
310. 12 June 2016 The BJP and the Crisis of Liberal Democracy in India
Since the election of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in May 2014, there has been an unprecedented onslaught on workers' rights along with a well-planned assault on democratic institutions, academic-cultural centres, intellectuals, left, progressive and secular groups, religious minorities, women and marginalized sections across India. Given the rise of fascist challenge it is even more urgent to rethink the approach and methods in the working class movement. Recorded in Toronto, 26 May 2016.
309. 29 May 2016 Crackdown on BDS: Criminalization of Dissent?
On February 18, 2016 Canadian parliament passed a motion condemning “any and all attempts by Canadian organizations, groups or individuals to promote the BDS [Boycott Divestment Sanctions against Israeli apartheid] movement, both here at home and abroad.” Recorded in Toronto, 26 April 2016.
308. 8 May 2016 Confronting Injustice
A new generation of activists working for economic and environmental justice, and against war and poverty, confronts critical questions. Why is the world so unjust and crisis-prone? What kind of world should we fight for? How can we win? In this panoramic yet accessible book, Umair Muhammad engages with these and other urgent debates. Recorded in Toronto, 22 April 2016.
307. 24 April 2016 The Cuban Five Freed: Toronto Welcomes Gerardo Hernández
Gerardo Hernández is one of the three of the Cuban Five who had been behind bars since 1998, until U.S. President Obama freed them on December 17, 2014. Recorded in Toronto, 3 April 2016.
306. 17 April 2016 After the Sands Laxer, Gordon
Gordon Laxer outlines a bold strategy to get with the global move to a low carbon society, run on conservation and renewable energy sources including wind, solar and low-impact hydro to ensure that all Canadians, including those on lower incomes, have access to a sufficient amount of energy as a human right. Recorded in Toronto, 7 April 2016.
305. 10 April 2016 The BRICS: An Anti-Capitalist Critique
The book's co-editors Patrick Bond from South Africa and Ana Garcia from Brazil are joined by the two Toronto authors of chapters in the book in discussing how to understand where the BRICS fit on the most crucial global issues ranging from world finance to climate change. Recorded in Toronto, 31 March 2016.
304. 3 April 2016 Methodology for a New Politics Karitzis, Andreas
The 2016 Phyllis Clarke memorial lecture is presented by Andreas Karitzis: Methodology for a New Politics: Changing the 'Operating System' of the Left after the Greek experience of 2015. Recorded in Toronto, 24 March 2016.
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