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  Date Author Title           ISSN 1923-7871
1338. December 8, 2016 AJ Withers Boycotting Apartheid
On December 1st, 2016, the Legislative Assembly of Ontario officially condemned the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign to end Israeli apartheid. Ontario Conservative MPP Gila Martow, who introduced the motion, likened the BDS campaign to the Ku Klux Klan. Both the Liberal and Conservative parties supported the motion; only five New Democrat Party Members voted against it. But, this isn't the first time that Israel's occupation of Palestine has been raised at Queen's Park.
1337. December 7, 2016 Iron and Earth Workers’ Climate Plan Four-Week Report
Sometimes in this vast and complicated world, it's easy to feel a bit lost and hopeless. It can be hard to see progress or positives in the face of so much struggle. But I find if I focus things inward and think about the community with which I work to put renewable energy on the map, my mood changes. Drastically.
1336. December 6, 2016 South Korean Protests Growing
For the sixth straight weekend, hundreds of thousands of Koreans came out in Seoul (and with other Korean cities estimates approaching 2 million people on the streets) to demand the resignation of President Park Geun-hye. These are the largest demonstrations in South Korea since the pro-democracy movement of the 1980s.
1335. December 1, 2016 Global Climate Justice Movements Refuse to Be Overshadowed by Election of Climate Change Denier
We the undersigned organizations, networks, and movements gathered in Marrakech at COP22 issue the following collective statement in support of communities and movements around the world in response to Donald Trump becoming President-Elect of the United States of America and its potentially devastating implications for the cause of climate justice.
1334. November 29, 2016 Heather Whiteside The Canada Infrastructure Bank: Theft by Deception
Both the Liberal government and its Advisory Council on Economic Growth are head-over-heels for the Canada Infrastructure Bank (CIB), announcing with fresh-faced enthusiasm that it will be an innovative route for augmenting infrastructure finance, a flywheel of institutional capital participation, and an economic stimulus boon for the middle class. Beyond the euphoria is deception; there are no sunny ways to be found here, only shadowy figures and cloudy rationale. Let's decipher the fraudulent hype.
1333. November 23, 2016 Joanna Misnik Turning It Around: Long-Term Organizing in the U.S.
The U.S. just elected a new 'leader of the free world.' Both he and his opponent Hillary Clinton ran their entire campaigns with persistently high rates on disapproval from the public. Fully 12 million people who voted for Trump stated they had an unfavorable attitude toward him. But the South Carolina Klu Klux Klan held a gala celebration and Marine Le Pen, leader of the right-wing National Front in France, jumped for joy.
1332. November 18, 2016 Richard Fidler Solidarity With the People of Syria! Build the Antiwar Movement!
David Bush's article 'Syria and the Antiwar Tradition,' in the November 3 issue of The Bullet, is a commendable attempt to debate what antiwar activists in Canada and other 'Western' countries should be saying and doing about the current war in Syria. In that country, the rebel cities that rose up four years ago in revolt against the brutal Bashar al-Assad dictatorship are now under a genocidal siege, bombed and assaulted from the air by Assad's military, aided and abetted by Russian fighter jets and bombers.
1331. November 16, 2016 Two Takes on Remaking the U.S. Left
It seems obvious to me that there is no way that we can deal with the enormous economic, social, and environmental problems facing this country without making radical changes in the economic system, and we've got to be honest about that. I believe that democratic socialism is the appropriate framework for making those changes, and we should be upfront about our beliefs...
1330. November 15, 2016 John Clarke Ontario’s Austerity Government Sets Basic Income Trap
The Ontario Government's Adviser on Basic Income (BI), Hugh Segal, has released his much heralded discussion paper, 'Finding a Better Way,' that sets out his proposals for a lengthy BI pilot project. If the experiment he advocates is put into effect, it will run parallel to the deliberations of a Security Reform Working Group that will be considering changes to the present social assistance system in the province, rather than replacement to it.
1329. November 11, 2016 Herman Rosenfeld Ford Unifor Agreement Ratified -- Voted Down at Oakville Unit, Local 707
As bargaining between Unifor and the Canadian branches of the Detroit Three automakers came down to the last company, Ford, the signs were pointing to an emerging resistance to decades of concessions. Amid general opposition on the shop floor, leaders at the biggest Ford local were openly opposing the pattern the union had bargained with General Motors and Fiat Chrysler (FCA). But at the October 31st deadline, the Unifor locals reached a tentative agreement with Ford, based on the pattern.
1328. November 10, 2016 Henry Heller Protesting the Capitalist University
The University of Manitoba is on strike. Since 1st November, more than 1,200 faculty members took to the picket line to protest the lack of funding for education, a need for workload protection and safeguarding for fairer tenure and promotion procedures, in addition to addressing several job security issues for instructors and librarians.
1327. November 8, 2016 James T. Brophy, Margaret M. Keith, Michael Hurley Violence Against Healthcare Workers: A Canadian Experience
According to healthcare workers interviewed this past year by the Ontario Council of Hospital Unions (OCHU)/Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), the health and wellbeing of the individuals devoted to caring for our health seems to be increasingly at risk from angry, frustrated, or out of control patients. Their experiences are chilling. Every one of the 150 registered practical nurses (RPNs) from across Ontario attending a conference on violence in Kingston in January, 2016, reported that they have been assaulted at work.
1326. November 6, 2016 ALBA Social Movements in Canada Condemn the Attacks Against Brazil's Landless Workers’ Movement
On the morning of November 4th, 2016, Brazilian military and civilian police used violent force to storm Brazil's, Landless Workers Movement's (MST) Florestan Fernandes National School (ENFF) in Guararema, outside of Sao Paulo in Brazil. According to several witnesses, the police stormed their way into the facility by forcing their way through the main gate shooting live bullets, and threatening people.
1325. November 4, 2016 Sean Sweeney Standing Rock Solid with the Frackers
If anyone were looking for further evidence that the AFL-CIO remains unprepared to accept the science of climate change, and unwilling to join with the effort being made by all of the major labour federations of the world to address the crisis, the fight over the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) provides only the most recent case in point. Taking direction from the newly minted North American Building Trades Unions (NABTU) and the American Petroleum Institute (API), the federation stood against the Standing Rock Sioux and other tribal nations.
1324. November 3, 2016 David Bush Syria and the Antiwar Tradition
There is major disorientation on the left in many Western countries when it comes to Syria and about how antiwar activists should respond to events on the ground in Syria and Iraq. The highly complex nature of the Syrian war involving a multitude of foreign states and non-state actors would, in the best of times, present the left with a real challenge to find political clarity. The fact that this is occurring precisely when the antiwar movement in countries like Canada and the United States are relatively weak only adds to the confusion.
1323. November 1, 2016 Sam Gindin Misreading the Historical Moment
Deep economic crises, as opposed to the regular ups and downs of capitalism, have played a special role in the history of autoworkers. Since the auto industry emerged as a mass production industry about 100 years ago, there've been three such economic crises and each, in different ways, both threatened and tested workers. The first was the Great Depression. In spite of the economic conditions, autoworkers found the courage and creativity to confront the largest corporations in the world.
1322. October 31, 2016 Bill Murnighan Unifor and Big Three Bargaining: A Response to Gindin's 'Different Ways of Making History'
In his essay of October 17, 2016, 'Big Three Bargaining: Different Ways of Making History,' Sam Gindin provides an intriguing analysis of current negotiations between Unifor and the Detroit Three automakers. Beyond agreeing with his points about tough pressure on auto workers, there is not much room for agreement on his portrayal of the issues, the economic and industry context, or the outcomes of negotiations to-date. And there are serious factual concerns around his analysis of autoworkers’ earnings.
1321. October 29, 2016 Leo Panitch What is Really the Matter with CETA?
Canada's Trade Minister Chrystia Freeland's sense of amour propre was clearly dented last week when the latest talks to salvage the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) between the European Union and Canada appeared to fall apart in face of the refusal of the Belgian regional parliament in Wallonia to accede to the Belgian government's support for it.
1320. October 27, 2016 Bruce Allen Fighting the TPP: Niagara Labour Organizes
I want to take this opportunity to present a short overview of local activity in Niagara in response to the TPP. It will emphasize in particular the leading role which the Niagara Regional Labour Council (NRLC) has played in this activity. The first actions to show opposition to the TPP were initiated last autumn. They essentially came from outside of the labour movement.
1319. October 25, 2016 Panagiotis Sotiris The Crisis of European Integration and the Challenges for the Left
The elephant in the room is now visible to everyone. All the developments of the past years, from the extreme violence and cynicism of the 'memoranda of understanding' imposed upon Greece to the decision of the British referendum in favour of Brexit, point to the same direction: the deep crisis of European Integration. It was supposed to be the most advanced example of economic and political integration and the first successful introduction of a single currency in such a broad area. It presented itself as a paragon of stability and human rights. Yet the reality is very different.
1318. October 21, 2016 Frederic Heine and Thomas Sablowski The Future of the Euro Area
The unequal development of the countries of the euro area since the outbreak of the crisis is causing increasing friction that threatens to tear the monetary union apart. Contrary to what many critics of the monetary union suggest, responsibility for this development lies not alone with its internal structure, but is rather a general feature of capitalist development.
1317. October 19, 2016 Andrew Jackson Is 'Postcapitalism' On the Horizon?
Paul Mason is a leading British economic journalist, currently a columnist for The Guardian. He is also a long time left political activist. His new book, Postcapitalism: A Guide to Our Future is a challenging, sometimes obscure, sometimes brilliant, eminently worthwhile read, and an optimistic take that the left might, once again, be marching in tune with the forces of history. Mason is, to say the least, highly original and idiosyncratic. His book is partly addressed to the orthodox Marxist left, endorses and builds upon the labour theory of value.
1316. October 17, 2016 Sam Gindin Big Three Bargaining: Different Ways of Making History
Canadian autoworkers have long been pace setters in the Canadian labour movement and as soon as its most recent agreement with General Motors was ratified, Unifor (the successor in 2013 after the merger of CAW and CEP) laid claim to that agreement's ‘historic’ status. It has now also been ratified by the Chrysler workers, but at the Ford assembly plant in Oakville – now the largest auto facility in the country – it's pretty hard to find any enthusiasm for the outcome of this latest bargaining round. If this agreement is indeed historic, it may be so in a sense quite different than the leadership's bravado declaration intended.
1315. October 13, 2016 Asbjørn Wahl Brexit and the Crisis of the Left
The British majority in favour of leaving the EU (Brexit) was surprising, even shocking, to many. The discussion runs high on both the result and the causes. The confusion seems to be extraordinarily high on the left, in Britain as in the rest of Europe. In reality, the result of the referendum reflects an EU in existential crisis, while the discussion reflects a Left in deep political and ideological crisis.
1314. October 11, 2016 J. F. Conway The Arctic Voyage of the Crystal Serenity
Capitalism's four-century obsession with finding a more profitable route between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans is finally satisfied. The voyage of the Crystal Serenity through the Northwest Passage proclaimed the route open for routine, if still risky, commercial shipping. The ship left Vancouver on 10 August 2016, arriving in New York on 16 September.
1313. October 10, 2016 Michael Skinner Fifteen Years of Occupation: Afghanistan Since the Invasion
7 October 2016 marks the fifteenth anniversary of the invasion of Afghanistan. Many Western leaders claimed the invasion, dubbed Operation Enduring Freedom, was a humanitarian intervention to liberate Afghans and especially Afghan women and girls from the brutal Taliban regime. However, the evidence demonstrates the results have been anything but humane or liberating. The people truly liberated by the invasion and occupation of Afghanistan are the wealthy investors in the military-industrial complex and those betting on successfully extracting Afghan resources and developing the infrastructure of the New Silk Road.
1312. October 7, 2016 David Camfield Getting Ready for the Tory Storm in Manitoba
No one has a crystal ball that allows them to foresee precisely what's going to happen as the new Tory government of Manitoba really gets down to business in the months ahead. But there are some things we can be pretty sure about. The Tories will claim that it's vital to curb provincial government spending to reduce Manitoba's deficit and move toward balancing the budget. In reality, there's no deficit crisis.
1311. October 5, 2016 Peter Rossman Unpacking CETA
The Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), like other looming mega-treaties, is a comprehensive vehicle for expanding the scope of transnational investment by rolling back the capacity of governments to regulate in the public interest. The attack on democratic governance is not restricted to the notorious Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) mechanism, which privileges transnational capital by creating a parallel legal system exclusive to transnational investors. The invasive claims of transnational investors permeate the entire treaty.
1310. October 3, 2016 Sergio Bologna The Perfect Storm of Logistics
Analysts have been waiting for the perfect storm for a long time, and it has finally arrived. If you look at it a little bit closer, it is a shocking but fascinating sight because it allows you to see the essence of logistics, its true nature. They call it 'the physical Internet,' and when you see it you truly realize what globalization means. It happened in the container shipping sector: The world's seventh largest shipping company, the Korean company Hanjin, went bankrupt. Overburdened by $4.5-billion in debt, it has not been able to convince the banks to continue their support.
1309. September 30, 2016 John Clarke Disabled People Give Lead In Fight Against UK Austerity
I recently had the enormous honour of representing the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (OCAP) at a week of action and international conference, organized from September 4-10 by Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC) in the UK. This was another step in building a close working relationship between our two organizations. It was also fascinating and inspiring to see disabled people, not merely participating in the struggle against austerity but actually giving a powerful and decisive lead to the entire movement.
1308. September 27, 2016 Planka.nu The Traffic Hierarchy
Mobility and class are deeply entangled. Not only because one's potential for mobility often has to do with one's economic position, but also because a society built on today's mobility paradigm – automobility – directly contributes to growing economic and social differences. A society which puts the car on a pedestal quite obviously favours motorists. Another obvious fact is that white high-income and middle-aged men are an over-represented group among motorists.
1307. September 23, 2016 Maxime Benatouil France and the Struggle over Labour Reforms
The so-called Labour Law, passed en force by the French government on 20 July, is the most serious attack against the 'Code du Travail,' already undermined for the past thirty years. A short historical overview is necessary to better grasp the destructive scope of this law, promoted and enforced by a socialist government – cruel irony! Struggle over Labour Reforms in France The Labour Code is a compilation of regulations giving structures to the relationship between employees and employers at the national level. It emerged after the shock of the 1906 catastrophe of Courrières, Northern France, where 1099 miners lost their lives.
1306. September 20, 2016 Irvin Jim South African Workers Mobilize to Challenge Neoliberal Policies
The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) Special National Congress in December 2013 resolved: 'There is no chance of winning back the Alliance to what it was originally formed for, which was to drive a revolutionary programme for fundamental transformation of the country, with the Freedom Charter as the minimum platform to transform the South African economy.' Recent events have fully vindicated this view.
1305. September 16, 2016 Ilan Pappé interviewed by Alejandra Ríos Ethnic Cleansing in Palestine
The context is the phenomenon of settler colonialism: the movement of Europeans, because they felt unsafe or endangered, into non-European areas in the Americas, Africa, Australia and Palestine. These people were not only seeking a new home, but also a new homeland. Namely, they had no wish or plan to come back to Europe. The only problem was that the lands they coveted were already inhabited by other people. In most cases, their solution was the genocide of indigenous people. In two cases, the solution was different: apartheid in South Africa and ethnic cleansing in Palestine.
1304. September 13, 2016 Matthew Corbeil Why We Shouldn't Pay $1-Billion for the Ring of Fire
Hyped as 'Northern Ontario's oil sands,' the Ring of Fire mineral deposit is inching closer to development. Noront Resources, which now holds 75 per cent of the active mining claims in the area 400 kilometres north of Thunder Bay, has recently announced plans to begin mine construction in 2018. Developing North America's largest chromite deposit, the company claims, will create 'jobs, growth and long-term prosperity for Northern Ontario.'
1303. September 11, 2016 Corbyn's Manifesto on Digital Democracy
Technological advancements have transformed our daily lives, and politics is changing too. The issues may not change that much – people want decent housing and decent jobs, they want access to education and opportunity, they want thriving public services and a society which works for the millions not just the millionaires. But the terrain on which opinions are formed is changing.
1302. September 8, 2016 Lee Sustar Are Chicago Teachers Headed Toward a Strike?
A three-cornered battle between a budget-slashing mayor (Rahm Emanuel), a union-busting governor (Bruce Rauner) and determined teachers (CTU) could result this fall in the second public school strike in Chicago in four years. At the center of the battle is an effort to force Chicago teachers to pay the equivalent of 7 per cent of their base pay in additional pension costs, reversing an agreement made with the Chicago Teachers Union in lieu of a raise.
1301. September 5, 2016 Evert Hoogers, Donald Swartz, Rosemary Warskett Labour Day: Signs of Renewal?
Labour Day Weekend is upon us, and many union activists and their families will be out marching and picnicking, joining with brothers and sisters from other unions in a show of solidarity. While their participation is heartfelt there is no doubt many of them are asking what is there to celebrate? There are a few recent victories but not enough to prevent workers from concluding that the current Labour movement is in crisis.
1300. September 4, 2016 Sam Gindin and Herman Rosenfeld Bargaining Over Corporate Investment: Innovation or Trap?
Ever since the sit-down strikes of the 1930s, the cycle of ‘Big Three’ auto bargaining has been a major economic and political event, an indicator of the progress of the class struggle in North America. If such interest has sagged of late, it charged back into the news with the aggressive declaration of Unifor's president, Jerry Dias, that winning new investments for Canada is at the top of the union's agenda in its current bargaining round with General Motors (GM), Ford and Chrysler.
1299. September 2, 2016 The Importance of the September 2nd General Strike
Since India embraced what trade unions call the LPG route to growth (that is liberalization, privatization and globalization) in 1991, the country has seen 16 general strikes. And the 17th all India workers’ strike falls on September 2nd. The last general strike, observed on 2 September 2015, saw participation from nearly 150 million workers – that's half the population of the entire U.S., or more than the combined population of the UK, Canada and Australia.
1298. August 31, 2016 Brian Ward Standing Up At Standing Rock
Some 1,000 Native American activists from the Standing Rock Indian Reservation and across the country faced off against police and security forces protecting the construction of the Dakota Access pipeline project. Dozens of people have been arrested and assaulted by police while attempting to stop the project, and many more continue to risk arrest to protest the pipeline. The Dakota Access pipeline, which is being built by Energy Transfer Partners, is planned to stretch 1,172 miles from the Bakken oil fields in North Dakota through South Dakota and Iowa, before ending in Illinois.
1297. August 30, 2016 Phil Hearse Turkey's Move into Syria: Challenging the Kurds, Overthrowing Rojava
Turkey's incursion into northern Syria on 24 August was flagged up as a move to drive the so-called Islamic State (ISIS) out of the border town of Jarabulus. But that is just a cover: Turkey's not very secret major objective is to crush the 50,000-strong Kurdish YPG (People's Protection Unit) militia, and overrun the three autonomous Kurdish dominated areas, collectively called Rojava by the Kurds.
1296. August 25, 2016 Michal Rozworski How Not To Fund Infrastructure
Recycling is supposed to be a good thing, so when the federal Liberals quietly announced that 'asset recycling' would be part of their strategy for meeting their much-ballyhooed infrastructure promises, not many eyebrows were raised. They should have been. Asset recycling is an obscure code word for selling our public goods for private profit. It's privatization by another name.
1295. August 23, 2016 J. F. Conway The Working Class: Saskatchewan's Political Orphan
We all suffer from the absence of working class politics. We are smothered in the business-oriented, neoliberal 'consensus' instructing us to reconcile ourselves to 'the new reality' -- rollbacks in social welfare and universal publicly funded programs; huge tax cuts to business and the rich, driving up public debt and enriching finance capitalism; an end to secure employment and guaranteed benefits;
1294. August 19, 2016 Razem: New Left in Poland
There was no real left party in Poland. There is the so-called Socialist or post-Communist party, which is just bureaucrats of the late Communist government that became the new establishment after the transition – basically neoliberal, socially conservative, not leftist at all, but they took the place of the left in the country and our objective was to re-open that space.
1293. August 16, 2016 Kyla Sankey What Happened to the Pink Tide?
When the ‘pink tide’ of left-leaning governments first rose to power on the back of anti-neoliberal protests across Latin America in the late 1990s and early 2000s, the initial reaction from the Left was euphoric. Striving to move beyond the 'there is no alternative' mantra, many pinned their hopes on what seemed to be a new wave of actually existing alternatives to neoliberalism. Amidst the revolutionary fervor of social forums, solidarity alliances, and peoples’ councils, it appeared an epochal shift was underway, which Ecuadorian president Rafael Correa optimistically dubbed 'a genuine change in the times.'
1292. August 12, 2016 Kyle Bailey Lessons of the 2015 CUPE Local 3903 Strike
It has now been over one year since the end of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) 3903 strike at York University in March 2015. This strike began when 3,700 teaching assistants, contract faculty, graduate assistants and research assistants voted to walk the picket lines. The decision came just days after a historic strike vote by 6,000 teaching assistants and other student academic staff in CUPE 3902 Unit 1 at the University of Toronto.
1291. August 11, 2016 Sabrina Fernandes Censorship is Back in Fashion in Brazil
Lately, it's been common to say that the 'right has come out of the closet' in Brazil. More precisely, the authoritarian, fascist right, has done so and very publicly for that matter. The revolutionary potential of June 2013, even if convoluted and smeared by depoliticization, held enough of a threat to require immediate hegemonic renewal, especially at the ideological level.
1290. August 8, 2016 J. F. Conway Wall: Sky Darkens for Sunshine Premier
Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall had already broken one promise even before he called the election: 'We didn't make a lot of election promises, but we made one significant one – to keep Saskatchewan strong' – unless, of course, you embrace that old bromide, 'what doesn't kill you makes you stronger.' The post-election sky of the Sunshine Premier has darkened as the spectre of economic collapse haunts him.
1289. August 5, 2016 David Camfield Work Life: What's At Stake At Canada Post?
The Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) is currently engaged in collective bargaining with Canada Post. Unlike in previous rounds, the contracts of both the Urban bargaining unit (covering about 42,000 workers) and the unit of some 8,000 Rural and Suburban Mail Carriers are being negotiated simultaneously. This is a rare case of a public sector union not only trying to defend its past gains but also to change the nature of the work its members do.
1288. August 3, 2016 Pierre Beaudet Thousands to Meet in Montreal for World Social Forum
Thousands of people from over 95 countries are expected to gather in Montreal on August 9-14 for a social movement summit called the World Social Forum. Participants will spend a week attending a great variety of workshops, lectures and cultural events – more than 1200 in total. Famed author Naomi Klein will be giving two talks that are sure to be among the highlights of this unique event, which is designed to allow social activists and scholars to grapple with a host of economic, social, environmental and cultural questions facing the contemporary world.
1287. August 1, 2016 Tony Iltis Turkey: After Failed Coup, Erdogan Cracks Down
Faced with an attempt to overthrow his government, President Recep Tayyip Erdo?an described the coup as 'a gift from God' – and wasted no time in exploiting it to further entrench his authoritarian regime. Turkish government broadcaster TRT was seized by a group of military officers calling themselves the 'Peace in the Country Council' on July 15, who announced that they had taken over the country.
1286. July 29, 2016 Sungur Savran Turkey: Atlanticism versus Rabiism
The dramatic events that unfolded in Turkey on the night of 15 to 16 July have been excessively confined to the internecine struggle of two different Islamic currents, that of the AKP under the iron fist of Recep Tayyip Erdogan and its latter day nemesis the Gulen fraternity. This is misleading in two senses. On the one hand, it hides from view the distinct possibility or even more and more certitude that other tendencies within the Turkish armed forces were involved in the planning if not the final execution of the failed putsch. On the other, it prevents us from seeing the more fundamental contradiction that besets Turkey today – a contradiction that relates to the country's position in the world system.
1285. July 26, 2016 Evert Hoogers, Donald Swartz, Rosemary Warskett Postal Workers Confront Canada Post: The Struggle Continues in 2016
A major confrontation is in the making at Canada Post. On the one hand, post office management is seeking to extract a series of far ranging concessions from its workers. On the other, those workers and their union, Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW), are not simply prepared to resist these demands, but are determined to use the opportunity to negotiate a new collective agreement to pursue an agenda that advances equality within the workplace and the expansion and renewal of vital public services. The importance of this struggle lies in the fact that its outcome will be of enormous significance not only to the lives of postal workers, but to all public sector workers and indeed to future workers as well.
1284. July 22, 2016 AJ Withers and Yogi Acharya Implementing Austerity By Downloading Responsibility
Laura Bardeau had bedbugs and lost all of her furniture. A single mother with two children, trying to survive on social assistance, she applied for emergency housing support from the City of Toronto's Housing Stabilization Fund (HSF). In doing so Laura was one of over 30,000 people annually who try to access this fund. As per her eligibility, Laura requested the maximum $1500 the City allots for replacing necessary furniture. That was in April. Much to her surprise, she was denied; not once, but twice.
1283. July 20, 2016 Benjamin Selwyn Rethinking Recovery: Poverty Chains and Global Capitalism
Contemporary global capitalism is characterized by extreme wealth concentration and a rapidly expanding and largely impoverished global labour force. Mainstream institutions such as the World Bank and International Labour Organization encourage integration into global value chains as a development strategy that, they claim, will reduce poverty. In reality, employment within these chains generates new forms of worker poverty and contributes to global wealth concentration. That is why they should be labelled global poverty chains.
1282. July 19, 2016 Hilary Wainwright A Question of Leadership
The ‘new politics’ Jeremy Corbyn proclaims must be an explicit agenda of institutional change, not simply a change of style at the dispatch box. Isn't it time we put the idea of leadership as we know it under scrutiny?
1281. July 15, 2016 Michael Löwy Reactionary Tide in Latin America
Since the beginning of the 21st cen­tury, the Left has won elections in most Latin American countries, in a powerful wave of popular rejection of the disastrous neoliberal policies of the previous regimes. One must however distinguish between two quite different sorts of left governments: Social-liberal coalitions, which do not break with the fundamental 'Washington Consensus' but implement several progressive social measures....
1280. July 12, 2016 Greg Albo and Lilian Yap From the Tar Sands to ‘Green Jobs’? Work and Ecological Justice
The ecological and social implications of climate change have – or should – become a central parameter for all discussions of work and capitalism. It is generally agreed that reliance on the burning of fossil fuels as the pre-eminent energy source for production and consumption over the history of capitalism is the critical factor in the ruinous greenhouse gas emissions triggering global warming, which would become irreversible if the earth's atmosphere were brought to a ‘tipping-point’.
1279. July 8, 2016 Dick Nichols Spanish Left Falls Short in Poll Amid New Deadlock
The key question about the result of the June 26 Spanish general election is also the most difficult to answer: why did 1.09 million people – who in the December 20 elections voted for the anti-austerity party Podemos, the United Left (IU) and the three broader progressive tickets Together We Can (Catalonia), Podemos-Commitment (Valencian Country) and In Tide (Galicia) – not vote for the combined Podemos-IU ticket (United We Can) and these broader tickets at this poll?
1278. July 6, 2016 John Riddell Trudeau Climate Plan Challenged at Toronto ‘Town Halls’
The first two public consultations on climate action organized by Canada's national government in Toronto, gave strong support to the demands of the People's Climate Plan (PCP), an alternative to climate-related proposals. The two concepts most frequently voiced at the gatherings, held June 17 and June 24, were support for Indigenous rights and opposition to further expansion of fossil fuel infrastructure. Participants listened attentively to the government's presentations but offered no congratulations for its initial proposals.
1277. June 30, 2016 Ingar Solty After 'Brexit': A Social-Democratic Re-Founding of Europe?
In light of 'Brexit' and within 24 hours after the publication of the final results in the British referendum on EU membership, Sigmar Gabriel, Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD) chairman, German vice-chancellor and Minister of Economic Affairs in the Merkel government, and Martin Schulz, EU Parliament President, published a new strategy paper analyzing the origins of the deep legitimacy crisis of the European Union amid the Europe-wide rise of the nationalist Right and outlining political pathways to overcome this legitimacy crisis in order to prevent the EU's disintegration.
1276. June 29, 2016 Angella MacEwen Who Earns Minimum Wage?
Minimum wages have been getting a lot of attention lately. And for good reason. Workers earning minimum wage often struggle to get enough hours, don't have predictable schedules or advance notice of shifts, and many don't even have access to unpaid sick days.
1275. June 24, 2016 Spanish Left: 50 Steps to Govern Together
The coalition between Podemos and IU (called 'Unidos Podemos' -- Together We Can) is the only one that, on 26 June, could overturn the situation created by the 20 December Spanish election. In order to do that, Podemos and IU have agreed on a 50-point programme to end austerity and bring democracy to the country.
1274. June 23, 2016 J. F. Conway Wall: Sunshine Premier Makes History
Saskatchewan Party leader Brad Wall has earned a major place in Saskatchewan's political history. On April 4 he broke the back of the NDP, the province's 'natural governing party' since 1944. Until Wall's first victory in 2007 the CCF/NDP ruled the province, suffering only two interruptions. Liberal Ross Thatcher defeated Woodrow Lloyd's CCF in 1964 and 1967, only to be crushed by Allan Blakeney's NDP in 1971.
1273. June 22, 2016 Peter Linebaugh interviewed by Mahdi Ganjavi History of the Equals
Peter Linebaugh was in Toronto in May 13-16, 2016. An internationally known historian, Professor Linebaugh is considered one of the most important Marxist historians of our time. He is a historian of class struggles in Britain and the colonial Atlantic. A former student of E. P. Thompson, Linebaugh has taught in New York University, Harvard University and the University of Toledo.
1272. June 21, 2016 Part of the Union?
Can socialists take a principled position in relation to the UK's European Union membership referendum on 23 June, or should we wish ‘a plague on both your houses’? Christina Delistathi puts the case to ‘leave’, Charlie Hore for a ‘remain’ vote, and Rob Owen for a ‘radical abstention’.
1271. June 18, 2016 Walter Baier The Resistible Rise of the Far Right in Europe
The rise of the radical right in Europe raises many questions. The key here is the crisis of European democracies. To counteract this development, the Left is confronted with great challenges: overcoming mass unemployment and nationalism, and defending democracy. The victory of the candidate of the Greens, Alexander Van der Bellen in the second round of Austria's presidential elections over the far right contender is certainly a reason for relief.
1270. June 16, 2016 John Palmer The EU Referendum: The Case for a Socialist Yes Vote
What attitude should socialists take to the referendum on Britain's membership of the European Union (EU)? It is possible to trace the roots of the movement for European unity and integration to the inter-war decades. A number of loosely linked groups -- some led by radical federalists including socialists, liberals and supporters of the League of Nations -- argued for a federal, united Europe.
1269. June 15, 2016 Maurice Glasman Why Should Labour Support the Undemocratic European Union?: The Case to Leave
The origins of the European Union (EU) are, in many ways, inspiring and almost miraculous. Co-operation in the iron and steel industries between France and West Germany was built on an economic strategy that gave not only dignity, but some power to workers, through the balance of power in corporate governance which gave a parity to capital and labour. It recognised a mutual interest between nations that had engaged in two abominable wars in the previous forty years.
1268. June 14, 2016 Jesse McLaren Climate Justice Transitions
The devastating fires in Fort McMurray show the urgent need to transition to an economy that supports people and the planet, and this is part of a transition in climate justice politics. The mainstream environmental movement used to be dominated by a narrow focus on consumerism, individual lifestyle choices, and single issue politics – taking for granted the broader context of colonialism and capitalism.
1267. June 13, 2016 Richard Greeman The French Stand Up
'We've had enough' is the phrase on everyone's lips as -- against all expectations -- the wave of strikes, blockades, disruptions and mass demonstrations begun on May 17th continues to develop throughout France. Indeed, in the past couple of days, two new strategic groups of workers have joined the protest. Technicians at France's nuclear power plants are now cutting back on production of electricity, and the railroad workers have massively joined the street protests while cutting back on trains.
1266. June 8, 2016 John Riddell Toronto Teach-In Poses Climate Justice Alternative
The People's Climate Plan Teach-in, held in Toronto June 4, took great strides forward in presenting a forceful alternative to the inadequate and deceptive climate action proposals of Canada's federal government. In the opening session, five leading climate activists presented a coherent, unified climate justice strategy, proposing effective action to save the world from climate disaster interlocked with practical measures to assist working people and the poor who are the first victims of global warming.
1265. June 7, 2016 Socialist Project A Leap Toward Radical Politics?
The Leap Manifesto is, in a way, Canada's version of the burst of Left and socialist energies that have come with the Bernie Sanders campaign in the Democratic Party in the U.S. and the Jeremy Corbyn leadership win in the Labour Party in Britain. As with these, the explosion of popular interest reflects general disquiet on the limits of recent protests demanding changes from the state but having no strategy to transform it, on the one hand; and disappointments with electoral politics and social democratic parties that only seem to reinforce neoliberalism, on the other.
1264. June 5, 2016 Carlo Fanelli Neoliberalism, Public Services and Labour in Toronto
City Manager Peter Wallace recently released a report on The City of Toronto's Long-term Financial Direction. The analysis is the latest to reinforce what many earlier studies have long been arguing: that the city of Toronto does not have a spending crisis, but a revenue crisis. It found that 'cost containment' measures have produced some $300-million in savings since 2010, but that this has done little to address the structural deficit at the root of the city's financial challenges. The report notes that, consistent with the austerity approaches adopted by the governments of Ontario and Canada, city government is less expensive today than it was six years ago.
1263. June 2, 2016 Léon Crémieux Strong Headwinds Are Making France a Stormy Sea
France has entered a new situation since the beginning of March. Previously it was dominated by the political polarization exerted by National Front and the parallel rise of the ‘national security’ climate following the terrorist attacks in January and November 2015. None of these elements has been cancelled out and you would have to be blind to think that all of that had been swept away by the present movement.
1262. May 31, 2016 Patrick Bond Imperialism's Junior Partners
On May 12, Brazil's democratic government, led by the Workers’ Party (PT), was the victim of a coup. What will the other BRICS countries (Russia, India, China, and South Africa) do? Will they stand by as the reactionaries who took power in Brasilia pivot closer to Western powers, glad to warm Dilma Rousseff's seat at the BRICS summit in Goa, India in five months’ time? Or take a stronger line, following the lead of Latin American progressive countries (Venezuela, Cuba, Ecuador, Bolivia, Nicaragua and El Salvador)?
1261. May 26, 2016 J. F. Conway Federal NDP's Pact With Satan Implodes
The years of compromise and moderation were about to bear fruit in 2015. In 1933 the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (CCF) proudly declared itself a socialist party dedicated to the eradication of capitalism and building a socialist economy and society. Voices of moderation within the party appealed to the party's rank-and-file to be more pragmatic, less ideologically pure.
1260. May 24, 2016 Sean Smith interviewed by Tim Heffernan Mobilizing Workers at Toronto Airport
Toronto's Pearson International Airport is Canada's busiest hub and is crucial to the economy. There are more than 40,000 employees working for over 400 employers at the airport, making it the largest workplace in Canada.
1259. May 22, 2016 Transit Activism and the Urban Question in Belo Horizonte, Brazil
The current conflagration of the Dilma Rousseff government notwithstanding, Brazil has been an inspiring source of debate for the global left over the last generation. This has been true for a range of initiatives, including the rise of the Workers’ Party (PT) in the 1980s, municipal socialist projects in the 1990s, and the movement of landless workers Movimento dos Trabalhadores Rurais Sem Terra (MST). The demand for free transit has been an important starting point of more recent mobilizations, notably those that shook the whole country in the summer of 2013.
1258. May 20, 2016 Esther Vivas What Remains of All Our Outrage?
It's been five years since the massive occupation of May 15, 2011 that gave birth to the movement of los indignados, known as the 15M movement, followed by five years of faltering progress with many advances and set-backs along the way -- five years of a tremendous crisis, civil unrest and mass protest. What remains today after such a sustained period of outrage?
1257. May 17, 2016 Zwelinzima Vavi Zuma's Denialism and Betrayal
South African President Jacob Zuma's budget speech delivered on 4 May 2016 was yet another missed opportunity to look the South African public in the eye and be frank about the challenges our country is facing. This president and the government he leads are in a state of shocking denial about the worsening and unfolding crisis happening under their watch. They simply refuse to acknowledge the level of our people's suffering.
1256. May 13, 2016 Paul Kellogg interviewed by Robin Chang Canada, Left-Nationalism, and Alternatives
A concrete understanding of contemporary Canadian economic development depends in part on a grasp of the current institutional structures within the North American economic bloc and how this regional trading bloc interacts with others within the world market. In terms of tracing the history of capitalism in the Canadian context, the next question becomes what are the comparative forms of colonization within the Americas as well as the role of staples commodity exports in that development.
1255. May 11, 2016 Asbjørn Wahl Norway's Unions Confront Neoliberalism
For a long time, Norway has represented an exception in Europe and the word. The main reason has been the abundance of oil revenue, which has made Norway the only country in Europe without net state debt. Quite the opposite, the Norwegian government has a huge surplus – most of it in the form of the so-called “Government Pension Fund – Global.” Until recently, Norwegian workers have therefore not felt the effects of the financial and economic crisis as strongly as most other workers in Europe.
1254. May 6, 2016 "Dilma's Mistake Was to Promote Class Conciliation"
The economist and leader of the Landless Workers’ Movement (MST) of Brazil, Joao Pedro Stédile, affirmed that left-wing forces won't allow the Parliamentarian right to fulfill their wish to force Dilma Rousseff out of the presidency to reinstall neoliberalism in the country.
1253. May 3, 2016 Tanner Mirrlees The U.S. Empire's Culture Industry, at Large
For readers immersed in the annals of Empire, it is well known that the United States is no ordinary country in the world system. The United States is a unique Empire whose national security strategy since 1945 has relied upon a mix of diplomacy and brute military force to make the world safe for American capitalism around the world, and more importantly, made the world over for global capitalism.
1252. April 29, 2016 Raju Das The Attack on Democracy and Secularism in India
There are things. And there are conditions of existence of things. In India, as in all countries of the world, many social problems exist. Close to 700 million Indians do not have access to food that will provide the minimum number of calories required for a healthy life. In other words, there is a massive amount of absolute poverty. And then there are conditions of existence of problems such as poverty.
1251. April 26, 2016 Trish Kahle Austerity vs. the Planet: The Future of Labour Environmentalism
Last December members of the International Trade Union Confederation joined other civil society activists in a mass sit-in at the COP21 talks in Paris. Unionists and their allies, some 400 strong, filled the social space adjacent to the negotiating rooms for several hours, in defiance of a French ban on protests that remained in effect in the wake of the November 13 terrorist attacks. The ITUC delegation demanded the negotiators go back to the table and make a serious effort to incorporate labour's demands for a just transition.
1250. April 22, 2016 Standing Up to Verizon's War on Unions
Unions representing nearly 40,000 Verizon workers have announced plans to hit the picket lines on April 13, in what would be one of the largest strikes in the U.S. in recent years. The workers, members of the CWA and IBEW, are fighting aggressive attacks on their compensation, job security and more -- carried out by a corporation that is raking in the profits, but won't be satisfied until it breaks the power of their unions.
1249. April 20, 2016 Crisis in Brazil
Since the 1980s, Brazil's Workers' Party has been one of the largest political parties of the left in Latin America. It has held power at the federal level in Brazil, in coalition with other parties, since January 2003, and figured prominently as one of the central representatives of the ‘pink tide’ running against neoliberalism in Latin America. But just as the pink tide has been fracturing, from internal challenges in some cases and electoral reaction in others, a deep institutional crisis is consuming the PT government of Dilma Rousseff and, indeed, exposing political rot across the state institutions.
1248. April 18, 2016 Umair Muhammad Confronting Injustice, Choosing Social Activism
Bold and imaginative activism is difficult to find precisely at a time when we need it most. However, it is not the case that activism in general is in short supply; one finds, in fact, that activist ideals and vocabulary have securely made their way into everyday life. However, this leaves society fundamentally unchanged when the messages communicated by activists are distorted and then used to reinforce the social realities that they were originally devised to change.
1247. April 15, 2016 Ashley Smith What Did Quebec Public-Sector Unions Achieve?
After a wave of protests and job actions that culminated in Quebec's largest general strike in decades last December, public-sector unions have agreed to a series of contracts with disappointing concessions that raise questions about where the struggle in Quebec will go next. On December 9, more than 400,000 workers shut down government services to defend their wages, benefits and working conditions. Liberal Party Premier Philippe Couillard provoked the strike by demanding massive concessions. Unions formed a bargaining alliance, the Common Front, to negotiate with the government.
1246. April 14, 2016 Bernd Riexinger What Die Linke Should Do
The March 13 regional election results were a bitter setback for Die Linke and everyone fighting for social justice and democracy in Germany. The results of the parliamentary elections in Saxony-Anhalt, Baden-Württemberg, and Rhineland-Palatinate signify a major shift in the political landscape. For years now, studies have identified a potential voting base for parties of the far right ranging from 15 to 20 per cent of the electorate.
1245. April 12, 2016 Phil Hearse Neoliberalism's World of Corruption
The Panama Papers’ revelations about the rich and powerful hiding untold billions in ‘offshore’ tax havens may be shocking, but it's hardly a surprise to anyone who knows the first thing about the way that big business works. We are living through a blitzstorm of allegations and controversy about corruption. The revelations in the Panama Papers that hundreds of companies and thousands of individuals, including 72(!) present or former heads of state, hid their fortunes offshore.
1244. April 8, 2016 Herman Rosenfeld The Roots and Contours of Worker Rebellion in a Changing China
It is impossible to ignore the large and growing wave of worker strikes and protests now rocking China. Just last year there were over 2700 actions, double the numbers of 2014 and more than 500 during this past January alone. They are in response to the Chinese government's restructuring program of wage cuts, worker layoffs, and workplace closures during an economic slowdown and plans to move away from the export-oriented strategy followed in this stage of the reform period.
1243. April 7, 2016 Brewing the Right Cup of Coffee
Coffee is one of the most valuable commodities exported by the global South (seconded only by oil and illegal drugs), generating billions of dollars in corporate profit each year. And yet, despite the expansion and increased visibility of fair-trade coffee, the majority of the world's coffee families live in relative poverty. Gavin Fridell's recent book, Coffee (Polity, 2014), not only charts coffee's long and tortuous history of exploitation and colonialism, but endeavours to expose the culprit for such vast inequality.
1242. April 4, 2016 Greg Shupak The Case Against Bombing ISIS
When ISIS claimed responsibility for the horrendous attacks in Brussels last week, U.S. President Barack Obama was unequivocal: the U.S. and its allies, he said, “can and will defeat those who threaten the safety and security of people all around the world.” More bombing, it hardly needed to be said, was on the way.
1241. April 1, 2016 John Clarke Looking the Basic Income Gift Horse in the Mouth
Both the Trudeau Liberals in Ottawa and the Wynne Government at Queen's Park have been making noises of late on the subject of Basic Income. The last Ontario Budget, in fact, declared an intention to carry out a pilot project in a community still to be announced. While no clear details are yet available, it is very likely that we will soon be dealing with a practical initiative that we will have to respond to. We will have to consider how we view the possibility of the Liberals moving in the direction of a Basic Income system.
1240. March 30, 2016 Doug Allan Ontario Government Program Spending is far Lower than the Rest of Canada
The Ontario government spent 1.6 per cent less of provincial Gross Domestic Product (GDP) compared to the other provinces in 2010-11. With sharp cutbacks in Ontario, that gap had increased to 2.1 per cent by 2014/15. On this basis, Ontario spent about $15-billion less on programs than the other provinces and territories. On a per capita basis, Ontario is the lowest spending (and lowest revenue) provincial government in Canada.
1239. March 28, 2016 Patrick Bond Austerity Gathers Pace in Volatile South Africa
A wedge is being quickly driven through Pretoria's political elite, splitting even those who worked closely in the murky 1980s Durban spy scene during the fight against apartheid. Amongst the victims are vast numbers of poor people beginning to bear the brunt of the diverse shakeouts in the ongoing confrontation now underway between the country's two most powerful 21st century politicians: President Jacob Zuma and his predecessor Thabo Mbeki.
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