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New Canadian International Labour 10-Minute

The Hope of the Hopeless

Contemporary Lessons from Marxist Struggles Against Hitler and Mussolini


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Fascist movements are on the rise. But does that mean that Donald Trump’s America, Viktor Orbán’s Hungary or Narendra Modi’s India are fascist? Many on the left think so and discovered antifascist action as their preferred rallying point. It remains often unclear, though, is which alternatives to a discredited neoliberalism and the rise of a new right the left has to offer. Historically, fascism represented the organized counterrevolution against the communist challenge seemingly spreading from Russia to Germany and Italy. No such challenge exists today. Often made references to the 1930s depression and the 2008/9 world economic crisis by no means suffice to qualify all of today’s new right as fascist.

Besides, purely economic explanations of fascism didn’t help to build effective anti-fascist movements in the 1930s either. A fuller understanding of these movements, as socialists of different persuasions learned the hard way, required a closer look at the social mass basis of fascism as well as an understanding of the psychological reasons that made fascism attractive for so many of the discontented back in the day.

Marxist theories focusing on the economic conditions, social basis, and psychological motives that produced the fascist rule of Mussolini and Hitler can serve as useful starting points to understand today’s crisis of neoliberal capitalism and its political articulations. Beginning an analysis of today’s conditions with these old theories allows us to see parallels but also significant differences. And they remind us that one thing present then, socialist and communist mass movements, is missing today. Leftists often recite Max Horkheimer’s dictum that “whoever is not prepared to talk about capitalism should also remain silent about fascism.” This dictum should be amended to: Whoever mobilizes against fascism and talks about capitalism should also present a viable socialist alternative. In the absence of such an alternative, neoliberal discontent will be articulated in right-wing terms but capitalists have little reason to take refuge, as they did in 1920s Italy and 1930s Germany, to fascist rule to retain their crisis-ridden power.

Presentation by Ingo Schmidt – teaches Labour Studies at Athabasca University and is one of the organizers of the annual World Peace Forum teach-ins in Vancouver.

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The Struggle for Decent Work and Wages


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Bill 148, the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act (in Ontario, Canada), has been referred to the parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs. Over 10 days in July in 10 different cities, the Committee heard deputations on the Bill. In August, the Committee will review the Bill “clause-by-clause” to decide what, if any, amendments will be made to the legislation.

While supporters of the Fight for $15 and Fairness are calling for important amendments – such as eliminating the sub-minimum wage rates for students and liquor servers, strengthening the language for equal pay for equal work, improving the scheduling provisions, adding more paid leave days and simplifying the process by which workers join unions – the ruling class is not rolling over so quickly. “The Fight for $15 & Fairness isn’t over. It’s just gearing up” ... continue reading.

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Palestinian Dispossessions, Canada and the Jewish National Fund


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The Jewish National Fund (JNF) has been the key tool used by Israel to dispossess Palestinians of their lands for over a century. It also discriminates against Palestinian citizens of Israel in the provision of land and housing, and appropriates lands in the Occupied Palestinian Territory in violation of international law.

Canadian taxpayers subsidize these activities, as the JNF has a fundraising office in Canada that has had charitable status since 1967.

Join with Independent Jewish Voices Canada (IJV) in calling on the Minister of National Revenue to revoke JNF Canada's charitable status NOW!

Sign our petition here.


LS #Date PublishedTitle 
21. 11 May 2009 The Middle East from Bush/Sharon to Obama/Netanyahu Achcar, Gilbert
Professor Gilbert Achcar teaches Development Studies at the School of African and Oriental Studies at the University of London. His latest book is Perilous Power: The Middle East and U.S. Foreign Policy. Dialogues on Terror, Democracy, War, and Justice (2009) (with Noam Chomsky), published by Paradigm.
20. 4 May 2009 May Day 2009 - No One Is Illegal NOII
On April 2nd and 3rd, over 100 temporary and undocumented workers were attacked by armed border guards, dragged in to detention and are now being forcibly deported.
19. 3 May 2009 Imperialism and South Asia Chibber, Vivek; Syed Azeem, Amrit Wilson
In the context of India as a rising power with increasingly strong links to the U.S. economic and military empire, of Pakistan's increasing vulnerabilty to terrorist acts linked to the incursion of Taliban forces, the U.S. air strikes into Pakistan territory as well as its use of Pakistan as a supply base for the USA, ISAF and NATO mission in Afghanistan, we asked the following speakers to speak on 'Imperialism and South Asia.'
18. 2 May 2009 SAPF: Special Session on Sri Lanka Hensman, Rohini; Ahilan Kadirgamar and Rajan Philips
The South Asian People's Unity Forum 2009, Toronto: began with a special discussion on the current crisis in Sri Lanka, and what democratic and Left groups might expect or work for the near future. SAPF is interested to disseminate as many progressive analyses and reflections on Sri Lanka as possible, especially in Toronto. It invited Rohini Hensman, writer, based in Mumbai; Ahilan, spokesperson of the Sri Lanka Democracy Forum; and Rajan Philips, writer and former journalist from Jaffna, to bring their deep knowledge and concern for the country to offer us different histories and alternative futures than available through the mainstream media.
17. 10 March 2009 Still a Marxist After All Panitch, Leo
The 2009 Phyllis Clarke Memorial Lecture. Recorded March 10, 2009 in Toronto.
16. 20 February 2009 The Financial Crisis: a Socialist Perspective Gindin, Sam; Roger Rashi
A strategy with short and medium term demands, geared to fostering the relation of forces necessary to move beyond capital. Recorded February 21, 2009 in Montreal.
14. 4 February 2009 Violence Today: Actually Existing Barbarism Panitch, Leo, Tania Murray Li ...
Launch of the 2009 Socialist Register. Recorded February 4, 2009 in Toronto.
13. 31 January 2009 Crisis and the Global South Hanieh, Adam, Niraj Joshi, Paul Kellogg
The Crash of 2008, a crisis of U.S.-led neoliberalism, is wreaking havoc on the poor in the Global South. This panel examines the causes and effects of the crisis, and suggest ways of fighting back.
12. 30 January 2009 Understanding the Financial Crisis Spotton Visano, Brenda; Erin Weir
Critical Approaches, Alternative Policies. Recorded January 30, 2009 in Toronto.
11. 29 January 2009 Working Class Fightback: Lessons of the Last Great Depression Palmer, Bryan
The financial crisis has certainly brought on a deepening worldwide slump, with growing mass unemployment and impoverishment. There is also a crisis of working class institutions, in particular the union movement. How can the working class build unity within its ranks and rebuild our capacity to fight back? One thing we can do, is to learn from the experiences of working people during the 1930s, who organized a series of mass fightbacks and built new institutions, such as industrial unions.
10 January 2009 Demonstration Against the Israeli Assault on Gaza CAIA
In front of the Israel Consulate in Toronto, Canada. Support the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign. Recorded January 10, 2009.
10. 9 December 2008 Grasping the Financial Crisis Gindin, Sam; Leo Panitch, Eric Cazdyn, Kanishka Goonewardena
With Sam Gindin, Leo Panitch, Eric Cazdyn, Kanishka Goonewardena (audio only). Event organized by Toronto School of Creativity and Inquiry.
9. 7 December 2008 Canada-Colombia Free Trade Agreement Erazo, Jesús
8. 21 November 2008 Assessing an Obama Presidency Rosenfeld, Herman; Ajamu Nangwaya; Abbie Bakan
7. 26 October 2008 Financial Chaos and the Crisis of Neoliberalism Albo, Greg; Adam Hanieh; Tom Marois
6. 21 October 2008 After the Election: Neoliberal Crisis or Neo-Conservative Advance? Goosen, Tam; Judy Rebick
5. 11 October 2008 Battling Harper: The Left and the Canadian Election Albo, Greg; Bryan Evans
6 October 2008 Market Meltdown: Capitalism and the Crisis of Neoliberalism Albo, Greg; Jim Stanford; David McNally
A panel discussion on the crisis followed by Q and A. This is part of the Socialist Project forum series.
4. 22 September 2008 Poverty And Healthcare Mehra, Natalie; John Clarke
3. 21 September 2008 Poetry and Socialist Politics Rosenblatt, Joe
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