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  Date Author Title           ISSN 1923-7871
1415. May 16, 2017 Tanner Mirrlees Canada’s Role in the World
Stories about Canada's role in the world define 'who Canadians are' and 'who they are not.' The story that gets told most is a positive one. Canada, benign and benevolent, promotes free markets, democracy and multiculturalism while protecting peace, stability and human rights in each country it engages in or does business with. Optimistic and confident, this glowing story about Canada in the world is packaged and sold, over and over again, year after year.
1414. May 15, 2017 Mostafa Henaway Migration and Capitalism, in the Age of Trump
This past May 1st, across the United States and here in Quebec, the spirit of May Day was alive and well. Immigrant workers have given International Workers’ Day a new breath of fresh air since the historic mobilizations of a 'day without an immigrant' in the United States in 2006. This year in the U.S., broad coalitions of migrant communities and trade unions took to the streets in solidarity with immigrant workers to resist Donald Trump's racist and xenophobic policies.
1413. May 11, 2017 Oupa Lehulere The Corruption of a Dream
The SASSA scandal currently unfolding is probably the most dramatic expression of how far the African National Congress (ANC) has traveled since its days of opposition to apartheid. Under apartheid, ANC activists were associated with laying down their lives in defending and advancing the interests of the mass of the people - in particular the black working class. Today, the cadre of the ANC is associated with stealing from the mass of people they used to die for.
1412. May 10, 2017 Shellie Bird, Candace Rennick, Michael Hurley Childcare Now! The Struggle for Quality, Universal Childcare
In 1991, 20 per cent of childcare workers belonged to a union. This stands at 21 per cent today. Despite their stated commitment to organize women in the wage ghetto of childcare, unions have essentially forsaken one of the most vulnerable, underpaid and undervalued female dominated workforces in this country. Universal, quality, accessible, free, not-for-profit, childcare is the goal.
1411. May 9, 2017 André Binette Canada’s 150th: A Québécois View
Each sovereign state can choose the date of its national holiday. Generally, this date recalls the accession to independence. The United States, for example, chose to emphasize each year their unilateral declaration of independence of July 4, 1776. They preferred this date to the date of the Treaty of Paris, 1783, which ended the revolutionary war they had won thanks to France's decisive support. Their national holiday commemorates a founding act.
1410. May 8, 2017 Michael A. Lebowitz Hats and Men: Marx's Faulty Symmetry
It is 150 years since Karl Marx published the first volume of Capital: A Critique of Political Economy in 1867, with the two subsequent volumes coming out under the editorship of Friedrich Engels over the next decades. Capital is a masterful appraisal of the ‘vulgar’ defences of capitalism focused on exchange and markets and the more ‘scientific’ accounts of classical political economy highlighting the distribution of the new value produced between the social classes.
1409. May 6, 2017 Bruno Góis Anti-Austerity Geringonça in Portugal
A new word has arisen in the European political debate: Geringonça. This new Portuguese political term geringonça (contraption), refers to the current minority government of the Socialist Party (center-left) supported in the parliament by radical left parties. The name Geringonça was coined by its conservative critics but became popular and is also used by supporters. Between 2012 and 2013, Portugal had massive popular demonstrations, the biggest since the revolutionary period of 1974/75. Half a million people in the streets in a country of 10 million inhabitants is quite a lot.
1408. May 4, 2017 Tikva Honig-Parnass Zionist Colonization is Not ‘Exceptional’: A Marxist Viewpoint
This article aims to challenge the rather widely accepted claim that the nature of Zionist settler colonization is exceptional and even 'defies appeal to any precedent that can usefully be invoked as to its evolution and eventual revolution.' My challenge will focus on Moshé Machover's 2016 article, 'The decolonization of Palestine' which is the third of a series of three articles published in Weekly Worker. It deals with the typology of colonial projects and its implication upon identifying Zionist colonization and the struggle for its downfall.
1407. May 3, 2017 Judith Deutsch Convenient Untruths About 'Human Nature'
At this most critical of times, do current erroneous assumptions about human nature play a role at a deep level in the prevalent responses to catastrophes? Apropos, Raymond Williams summarized Antonio Gramsci's view of hegemony as a 'central system of practices, meanings and values saturating the consciousness of a society at a much deeper level than ordinary notions of ideology.' There are new and old normals and it is hard to know where public knowledge is on this. Movies from similar times evoked normal, even beautiful scenes from daily life, of intimacy and love, but with ordinary life shadowed by foreboding threats.
1406. May 2, 2017 Stefan Kipfer 'Things are serious': Update on the French Presidential Election
'C'est grave,' (things are serious) said the monsieur who sells me the papers every morning. A resident of Mantes-la-Jolie (a working class town at the western edge of the Paris region), he laments a lack of clarity on the dangers of the Front National (FN) not only among colleagues and neighbours but also parties and politicians. The situation in France is indeed serious. A week before the second-round vote, Marine Le Pen has made progress in the polls but still trails Emmanuel Macron by a margin of about 18 per cent.
1405. May 1, 2017 Labor for Our Revolution A Day Without Immigrants
Millions of immigrants, both documented and undocumented, who lead hard working and productive lives, are also union members. Donald Trump launched his political campaign in 2015 with a racist attack on Mexican immigrants, painting them as rapists and murderers. He made attacks on our Muslim sisters and brothers his political trademark - even going so far as to propose a religious test for immigration.
1404. April 28, 2017 Ernie Tate NAFTA Redux
The new Trump administration has made the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) between Canada, Mexico and the United States, a major issue in its relations with its two neighbours. Recently, Trump has threatened to tear it up. With his standard nationalist demagogy, he claims 'previous bad trade deals,' have cost the United States many jobs as a result of American manufacturers moving plants off-shore. He is now in the process of telling Canada and Mexico the new administration is prepared to bully its way to a new and more favourable arrangement for itself.
1403. April 27, 2017 Climate Struggles and Ecosocialism
The hard right U.S. administration of Donald Trump has widened the terrain of struggle over climate change and, indeed, the entire array of environmental issues facing the ecology of North America and the working class movement. Climate change deniers, big oil executives, and finance capitalists now occupy pivotal positions in an array of state agencies and apparatuses directly impacting these portfolios. Some of the first decisions of the new administration have been to expand pipeline development, further open spaces for fossil fuel extraction, and gut the Environmental Protection Agency.
1402. April 26, 2017 David Bush Basic Income and the Left: The Political and Economic Problems
Should the Left and labour support a demand for a Basic Income (BI)? This simple question has provoked a fervent and confusing debate. The discussion over BI touches on real political and economic anxieties. The attack on the social welfare state, the depreciating power of organized labour and an economy producing increasingly low-wage precarious jobs have led many to search for alternative mechanisms and policies to address these problems.
1401. April 25, 2017 SAFTU – This Is What We Stand For
The South African Federation of Trade Unions (SAFTU) has been born. We have passed a milestone in the history of the South African trade union movement at this Launching Congress held in Boksburg from 21-23 April 2017. 700,000 workers represented by 1,384 voting delegates from 24 unions and other non-voting unions have taken the first decisive step to building a new, vibrant, independent, and democratic workers’ federation, leading the struggle against exploitation, mass unemployment, poverty, inequality and corruption and taking up the struggle for the total emancipation of the working class from the chains of its capitalist oppressors.
1400. April 24, 2017 Ingo Schmidt In the Shadow of Social Democracy: Right-Wing Challenges and Left Alternatives
We live in a paradoxical world. Much debate on the radical left revolves around multitudes of discontented groups - sometimes lumped together as the 99%, sometimes rebranded as precariat - struggling against an abstract empire and its 1% rulers. Capitalism and class - once serving as a compass to navigate left politics through the apparently chaotic sees of everyday life - have turned into subjects of theoretical debate with little to no connection to political praxis.
1399. April 21, 2017 AJ Withers and John Clarke What Basic Income Means for Disabled People
Disabled people in Ontario are much more likely to experience poverty than non-disabled people. Many have to live on sub-poverty payments under the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) or the even more wretched income provided by Ontario Works (OW). Those that are in this situation are confronted by an ongoing process of surveillance, invasion of their privacy and moral policing. Those disabled people who are working, because of systemic discrimination, are less likely to be receiving living wages and are far more likely to be precariously employed.
1398. April 19, 2017 An Economic Policy for France
Despite the fact that France is not yet out of the economic stagnation that followed the 2007-08 crisis, Emmanuel Macron and François Fillon want to continue and to intensify the policies of cuts to public expenditure, dismantling the social and State labour-rights, that were applied without pause by the previous governments. These policies have only served the richest in society. They only lead to immerse the country in the vicious circle of unemployment and precariousnes.
1397. April 18, 2017 Christoph Scherrer and Anil Shah The Return of Commercial Prison Labour
Prisons are seldom mentioned under the rubric of labour market institutions such as temporary work contracts or collective bargaining agreements. Yet, prisons not only employ labour but also cast a shadow on the labour force in or out of work. The early labour movement considered the then prevalent use of prison labour for commercial purposes as unfair competition. By the 1930s, the U.S. labour movement was strong enough to have work for commercial purposes prohibited in prisons.
1396. April 12, 2017 Michael Brie and Mario Candeias The Return of Hope: For an Offensive Double Strategy
The future has gone astray. The neoliberal utopia is exhausted just as are left alternatives. The decades of an initially conservative-orthodox neoliberalism from Margaret Thatcher to Helmut Kohl; its generalization under the governments from Tony Blair to Gerhard Schröder; and, finally, its authoritarian deepening and anchoring in the years of the crisis have caused social inequalities and dynamics, which are hardly under control. The structural crisis is not resolved and cannot be solved in the old framework.
1395. April 11, 2017 Ernie Tate Review: I Am Not Your Negro
Now and then, and despite its capitalist and racial biases, our culture throws up something that can speak quite eloquently and uniquely about the times we're living through. In this case, I'm referring to an amazing documentary film that has been released recently, 'I Am Not Your Negro,' directed by Raoul Peck, an acclaimed Haitian director with major films to his credit. This latest work is well worth seeing and has been well received here.
1394. April 9, 2017 Chris Nineham Trump's Strike has Prolonged the Syrian Tragedy
Trump's attack on the Shayrat airbase in Syria has received plaudits from western politicians and commentators across the board. Liberal pundits, who had nothing but contempt for Trump days ago, are suddenly more respectful after this show of lethal force, even though most would probably accept The Guardian's Jonathan Freedland's caveat that despite this virtuous show of violence, Trump is still not to be wholly trusted.
1393. April 4, 2017 Rania Khalek interviewed by Justin Podur The Much-Maligned Views of Rania Khalek on Syria
When journalist Rania Khalek's lecture was cancelled on February 27, the group that invited her, Students for Justice in Palestine - University of North Carolina (SJP-UNC) issued a statement saying that the cancellation was because of Rania's 'views' on Syria, and that they believed 'her invitation would mistakenly imply SJP to hold such views.' They also added that they 'do not endorse nor reject her views on the Syrian civil war as they remain relatively unclear according to our members’ diverse opinions of Rania's analyses.'
1392. April 3, 2017 Marty Hart-Landsberg Monopolization and Labour Exploitation
Those who advocate 'freeing the market' claim that doing so will encourage competition and thereby increase majority well-being. These advocates have certainly had their way shaping economic policies. And the results? According to several leading economists, the results include the growing monopolization of product markets and steady decline in labour's share of national income. Neither outcome desirable.
1391. March 31, 2017 Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o interviewed by Mahdi Ganjavi Returning to the Home that is No More There
Ngugi wa Thiong’o, a Kenyan writer, is one of the most prominent African anti-colonial authors. He lived during the British colonial rule in Kenya, and was very young when he experienced the destruction of the village in which he was born, destroyed by the British colonizers. The post independent Kenya, however, was not a safe place for him as well. He was put in jail and faced violence for his criticisms toward the national bourgeoisie that came to power after the independence in 1963.
1390. March 29, 2017 Niko Block Toronto's Buried History: The Dark Story of How Mining Built a City
On Sunday March 5th, the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) hosted its 85th annual conference in downtown Toronto. With more than 20,000 attendees and 900 exhibitors, the conference is the largest of its kind in the world. During those four days, delegates take over 20 of Toronto's downtown hotels and spend millions of dollars in its restaurants and bars. By day, they meet in the caverns of the Metro Toronto Convention Centre - an underground pavilion larger than 10 football fields - to make deals.
1389. March 28, 2017 Charles W. Smith and Andrew Stevens Building the 'Saskatchewan Advantage': Saskatchewan's 2017 Austerity Budget
Saskatchewan's 2017 budget landed with an unenthusiastic thud last week. Riddled with cuts, job losses, public sector wage reductions, and tax increases, the Saskatchewan Party's austerity budget has garnered few friends, with critics ranging from organized labour movement to small businesses. The government's budget has several fiscal goals: aggressively tackle its $1.3-billion deficit in three short years, overhaul the tax structure away from progressive forms of taxation to consumption taxes, and dismantle key aspects of the social welfare state.
1388. March 27, 2017 BDS National Committee BNC Statement on Israel’s Ongoing Campaign to Silence Omar Barghouti and Repress BDS
On the morning of Sunday, March 19, Israeli tax authorities barged into the home of Omar Barghouti, the prominent Palestinian human rights defender and co-founder of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement for the freedom, justice and equality of the Palestinian people. They detained and interrogated Omar and his wife Safa for 16 hours that first day. Omar is currently enduring a fourth day of interrogation.
1387. March 23, 2017 Justin Podur interviews Joan Joy Grant Cummings Women Rise Up Against Gender Violence in the Caribbean
On March 11, survivors of violence against women and their allies and supporters held marches in six Caribbean countries. Started by two Barbadian women, Ronelle King and Allyson Benn, the movement had the hashtag #LifeInLeggings. In Jamaica, one of the groups marching was the Tambourine Army, a movement of activists dedicated to eradicating sexual violence against women and girls. Some of the Tambourine Army are survivors themselves of sexual violence.
1386. March 22, 2017 Caglar Dolek and Gulden Ozcan Building Solidarity through Standing Up for Truth
The fate of the neoliberal Islamist project of authoritarian restoration in Turkey will be determined by an upcoming referendum on April 16 of this year. The referendum will be held under the conditions of a state of emergency in effect since the July 15 coup attempt last year. The regime's use of the putsch attempt to suppress all forms of dissent has quickly evolved into an overriding choice to make the state of emergency the permanent form of governance in Turkey. In this sense, the April 16 plebiscite on constitutional changes marks a defining stage in the politics of violent polarization and oppression under way for more than a decade.
1385. March 20, 2017 Todd Gordon and Jeffery R. Webber Profits, Coercion, and Resistance
An article published in Third World Quarterly in 2008 was our initiation into collaborative work on Canadian mining imperialism and the popular forms of resistance it systematically engenders in Latin America. The first seed. After a lengthy stretch of germination, this led almost a decade later to our new book, Blood of Extraction: Canadian Imperialism in Latin America. In the preliminary stages, when Blood of Extraction wasn't even yet a fully-fledged idea, Todd was working on the manuscript which would become Imperialist Canada, and Jeff was trying to map out the cycle of left-indigenous revolt in early twenty-first century Bolivia and the rise to the presidency of Evo Morales.
1384. March 17, 2017 Joyce Nelson Ignoring Chicago, Toronto Has a Big, Stupid Idea
Two weeks ago, the good folks of Toronto, Ontario learned that their elected officials at City Hall are considering selling off the Toronto Parking Authority - which operates dozens of municipal parking lots as well as on-street parking. It's a big, stupid idea that indicates our 'city fathers' apparently don't read, but also that they can't see through the latest scam being sold by some corporate lobbyist.
1383. March 16, 2017 Asbjørn Wahl Reactionary Working Class?
Large parts of the western working class now seem to gather around right populists, demagogues, and racists. They vote for reactionary and fascistoid political parties. They helped to vote the UK out of the EU and to make Trump president of the world's superpower number one, and they vote so massively for the far right political parties that the latter have government power in sight throughout several of Europe's most populous countries.
1382. March 14, 2017 Sam Gindin and Herman Rosenfeld The Crisis in the ATU: Labour Shoots Itself in the Foot
A sign of the tragic disarray of the Canadian labour movement is the extent to which its misadventures keep piling up. As the turmoil within the union representing the Ontario government's unionized employees (Ontario Public Service Employees Union - OPSEU) hits the press, the chaos continues in Local 113 of the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU). The 10,500 members in that local - over a third of the ATU's Canadian membership - operate and maintain Toronto's transit system, North America's third largest public transit system.
1381. March 12, 2017 Alia Karim and David Bush Striking York University Food Service Workers Win $15 and Fairness
On Monday March 6th, striking York University food service workers, represented by Unite Here Local 75, voted to accept their new contract. The workers went on strike for and won a $15/hour starting wage and fair working conditions. Their victory paves the way for workers right across the province to achieve $15 and fairness. The workers won major improvements to their contract in the nearly three week strike.
1380. March 9, 2017 Ingo Schmidt Chronicle of a Crisis Postponed: Italy After the Referendum
Matteo Renzi assumed the role of Italian Prime Minister on February 22, 2014 as the self-proclaimed rottamatore - the ‘demolition man’ of an inefficient system. After successfully passing a series of laws by means of this very system that lowered social standards, he failed in the attempt at a constitutional amendment that would have accelerated future measures designed to further degrade social standards.
1379. March 7, 2017 Against the Blacklisting of Activists and Writers
The cancellation of a lecture by journalist Rania Khalek, who was invited to speak on the University of North Carolina (UNC) - Chapel Hill campus by Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) on February 27, 2017, raises important issues of tactics and strategy within movements for social change. The signers of this statement hold a range of views on Syria. Some agree with Khalek; others disagree - in some cases quite vehemently.
1378. March 5, 2017 Stefan Kipfer Projecting Shadows: France Before the 2017 Elections
In comparative context, France has long been a source of inspiration for lefties and revolutionaries due to its history of successful or failed revolution from 1789 to 1968 and due to its role as an inadvertent point of contact for anti-colonial movements, from the Haitian revolution to the era of decolonization in the 20th century. More recent cycles of mobilization - movements against neoliberalism from 1995 to 2010 and the mass marches and revolts against racism and police violence from the early 1980s to 2005 - kept French politics in the radical limelight.
1377. March 3, 2017 Marta Harnecker Reading Marx's Capital Today: Lessons from Latin America
One hundred and fifty years ago, Karl Marx published his book Capital, an intellectual effort of great breadth, with the aim of revealing the logic of capitalist production and providing workers with theoretical instruments for their liberation. Having discovered the logic of the system, he was able to foresee with great anticipation much of what is happening in the world capitalist economy today. But, we cannot mechanically apply what is outlined in Capital to the current reality of Latin America.
1376. March 1, 2017 Judith Deutsch Militarism: Revolutionary Mothering and Rosie the Riveter
The women who mobilized the January global protest against Trump are upping the ante with plans for a one-day women's general strike. They focus on many appalling injustices and on the violence ignored by 'lean-in feminism': 'women in the formal labor market, women working in the sphere of social reproduction and care, and unemployed and precarious working women.' There are plans for further women's actions as part of broad coalitions in the next few months.
1375. February 26, 2017 Nizar K. Visram Western Sahara: An Albatross on African Union’s Conscience
At the 28th Summit meeting of the African Union (AU) held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on 30 January 2017, Morocco's re-admission to the continental body generated heated discussion. At the end of the day the Kingdom of Morocco managed to win over sufficient member states on its side and it was allowed to join the fold unconditionally. Morocco left the Organization of African Unity (OAU), precursor to the AU, in 1984 after the OAU recognized the right to self-determination and independence for the people of the Western Sahara.
1374. February 25, 2017 Pierre Beaudet The Canadian Left and the Quebec Question: The Dilemma That Won’t Go Away
In September 2015, a fine document emerged from Canadian progressives around the Leap Manifesto. It expresses a broad will to transform the land around a wide platform of social, democratic and environmental transformation, away from the neoliberal ‘model’ that we endure and fight. The Manifesto started by identifying violence against the Indigenous Peoples and the non-response from the Canadian State facing climate change as a crime.
1373. February 23, 2017 Sam Gindin Bob White, Union Organizer, Union Leader
When I last visited Bob at his nursing home in Kincardine, a nurse politely pulled me aside to tell me that he no longer talked much but remained quite sociable. The deterioration in his condition was sad to hear, but I remarked that his retention of social skills was no surprise. ‘As a union organizer he had a natural sociability’. She lit up and excitedly whispered to a nearby nurse: ‘That explains it!’. ‘Explains what?’ I asked. ‘Well, the one thing he keeps telling us is: 'You know, all of you work really hard but don't get paid enough; you should get a union'.’
1372. February 22, 2017 Paul Kahnert Time to Fix Hydro 'Mistake'
Hydro in Ontario is a mess and rates are skyrocketing. The high number of people who have trouble paying or can't pay their Hydro bills is growing by the day. Businesses are leaving the province and/or refusing to locate here because of high Hydro rates. A group that is especially being ignored is small and medium business including farmers. On 19 November 2016, Premier Kathleen Wynne said she made a 'mistake on Hydro' and took 'responsibility for it.' But it wasn't just an accident that Hydro rates skyrocketed.
1371. February 20, 2017 Marty Hart-Landsberg Trump's Economic Policies Are No Answer To Our Problems
President Trump has singled out unfair international trading relationships as a major cause of U.S. worker hardship. And he has promised to take decisive action to change those relationships by pressuring foreign governments to rework their trade agreements with the U.S. and change their economic policies. While international economic dynamics have indeed worked to the disadvantage of many U.S. workers, Trump's framing of the problem is highly misleading and his promised responses are unlikely to do much, if anything, to improve majority working and living conditions.
1370. February 16, 2017 Leonard Gentle South Africa and the Changing Possibilities for the Left
With the claims that a new trade union federation will be launched in March 2017, it is appropriate to draw up a balance sheet of the labour movement in South Africa, and ask whether the optimism of many that a new Left force is going to be unleashed is justified. Or whether the possibilities for a force of revolutionary working class politics lie elsewhere. The period framed by the Marikana massacre of August 2012 and the December 2013 Special Congress of NUMSA, was one in which, so it seemed, a political rupture occurred.
1369. February 14, 2017 Judith Deutsch Unspoken Words: Nuclear War Provocations and Plans
During the election campaign there was a brief period of anxiety about Clinton or Trump taking possession of the nuclear code, with the power to eradicate our species at the push of a few buttons. But where has discussion, let alone mention, of nuclear weapons gone? An exception is the brief article by Robert Dodge in CounterPunch about the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists advancing the Doomsday Clock to 2 ½ minutes before the midnight of human extinction caused by nuclear war or climate change: 'Nuclear weapons are not even on the radar of our congress. Their phones are not ringing off the hook about nuclear weapons.'
1368. February 11, 2017 Andrea Levy and Corvin Russell Mapping the Canadian Left: Sovereignty and Solidarity in the 21st Century
If there is a single theme that has distinguished left politics in Canada and Québec at least since the 1960s, it is the aspiration to national sovereignty. For both the social-democratic and radical left in Québec, the pursuit of social justice is inextricably bound up with national liberation and the creation of a sovereign state emancipated from the colonial chokehold of the Canadian federation. Meanwhile, a considerable part of the left in English Canada for decades similarly conceived the liberation of the Canadian economy and foreign policy from domination by the superpower to the south as the starting point of any viable left project.
1367. February 9, 2017 Teressa Rose Ezell Black Snakes on the Move: U.S. Pipeline Expansion Out Of Control
A Lakota prophecy tells of a mythic Black Snake that will move underground and bring destruction to the Earth. The 'seventh sign' in Hopi prophecy involves the ocean turning black and bringing death to many sea-dwelling creatures. It doesn't take an over-active imagination to make a connection between these images and oil pipelines and spills. It's troubling enough that the growing 'Black Snake' has branched out at an alarming rate, forming a massive subterranean coast-to-coast web.
1366. February 7, 2017 Yogi Acharya Toronto Mayor’s Housing Policies Costs Lives
Eighty people have died in the last two years as a direct result of homelessness in Toronto. That's one homeless person dying every 10 days. In 1985, people fighting homelessness started keeping track of these senseless, and entirely preventable deaths. Since that time, they've recorded over 800 deaths - lives sacrificed in service of a perverse economic logic that demands ever more cuts from the destitute and grants ever more comforts to the rich.
1365. February 6, 2017 Jamie Partridge How Postal Workers Removed the Staples
'We Won! The U.S. Postal Service and Staples deal is over!' proclaimed the headline on the American Postal Workers Union (APWU) website. A three-year battle against the outsourcing of living-wage, union postal jobs to the low-wage, nonunion Staples ended January 5 when USPS management informed the APWU that the 'approved shipper' program in Staples Office Supply stores will be shut down by the end of February 2017.
1364. February 2, 2017 Alain Savard A Terrorist Attack on Muslims in Quebec
On Sunday night, a young, white, French-speaking, Quebec-born man opened fire inside of a Quebec City mosque, killing six Muslim worshipers and injuring 25. The six victims were first-generation immigrants who had lived in Quebec for years, some for decades. The shooter, Alexandre Bissonnette, had expressed anti-immigrant positions online and was a fan of Donald Trump in the U.S. and France's far-right National Front leader Marine Le Pen.
1363. January 31, 2017 Labor Network for Sustainability How Labor and Climate United Can Trump Donald Trump
Donald Trump and his congressional Republican allies have taken control of the U.S. government. The result threatens to be devastating for both labor and the climate - not to mention immigrants, African Americans, Muslims, women, children, the elderly, the disabled, LGBTQ people, and many others.
1362. January 27, 2017 Patrick Bond Will Washington's New Pro-Moscow, Anti-Beijing Gang Drive a Wedge Through the BRICS in 2017?
The weeks following an underwhelming Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa (BRICS) mid-September summit in Goa and the United States presidential election in November have unveiled ever-widening contradictions. Thanks to blatant corruption, presidential delegitimation has reached unprecedented levels in both Brazil and South Africa; while ruling-party religious degeneracy in India also included an extraordinary bout of local currency mismanagement; and sudden new foreign-policy divergences may wreak havoc in China and Russia.
1361. January 25, 2017 Cyrus Bina Homecoming to Nostalgia: The Inauguration of Donald J. Trump
When the entire arsenal of impulsive and aggressive foreign policy is deployed in absolute desperation and without accomplishment by a declining power unaware of its imminent demise, first it resorts to self-aggrandizement and spectacle, and then suddenly and viciously turns on itself through self-flagellation and serious self-mutilation.
1360. January 23, 2017 Joan Sangster Canadian Women Marching in Washington
A friend's daughter set out on January 19th from Montreal for Washington to join American protests timed to coincide with the inauguration of Donald Trump. She may not know that she is marching in a long Canadian tradition of cross-border feminist solidarity going back to a 1913 suffrage demonstration, also timed to coincide with a presidential inauguration.
1359. January 21, 2017 Women's March on Washington
January 21 is set to be the day of one of the largest protests in recent U.S. history, the Women's March on Washington. The widely-publicized protest is expected to dwarf the numbers at Trump's inauguration, as three times more busses are registered for the Women's March than for the inauguration.
1358. January 20, 2017 Pierre Beaudet A Critical Week for the World Social Forum
It all began right here in Porto Alegre in 2001 when this city in the south of Brazil became a major site of popular mobilization. Influenced by the Workers' Party (PT), unions were, along with popular movements, at the forefront of a proactive political effort that included the support of the left within the Catholic Church, inspired by liberation theology.
1357. January 17, 2017 Toby Leon Moorsom Canadian Aid to Africa under Justin Trudeau
The Canadian government under Justin Trudeau is attempting to alter the narratives about our country's relationship with the African continent. Be aware the initiative is largely ideological chimera void of concrete action, but even worse, it is blatant hypocrisy. The purported 'new agenda' for Africa began with a trip to Nigeria, Kenya and Ethiopia by Foreign Affairs minister, Stéphane Dion in November of 2016.
1356. January 16, 2017 Anonymous Tube Worker London Underground Workers Relaunch Fight Against Cuts
The following contribution from a transit worker - and an activist in the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT), refers to an ongoing series of strikes and protests against the management of the Underground's adoption of lean production, an austerity-driven program of restructuring called 'Fit for the Future.' The program involves layoffs of over 1,000 workers, and work re-assignments which amount to extra work, without any proper compensation.
1355. January 13, 2017 Henry A. Giroux Militant Hope in the Age of Trump
The United States stands at the endpoint of a long series of attacks on democracy, and the choices faced by the American public today point to the divide between those who are committed to democracy and those who are not. Debates over whether Donald Trump was a fascist or Hillary Clinton was a right-wing warmonger and tool of Wall Street were a tactical diversion.
1354. January 11, 2017 Charles Smith interviewed by Rankandfile.ca Electoral Reform and Labour
The federal Liberal retreat from their big flashy promise of electoral reform has definitely killed the Trudeau honeymoon. Meanwhile, Prince Edward Islanders narrowly voted for electoral reform but Premier MacLauchlan has decided to ignore the results, leading to an angry protest of hundreds in Charlottetown. Electoral reform seems pretty easy to support if you want greater democracy, but things get pretty murky once you go into detail.
1353. January 9, 2017 Sam Gindin The Power of Deep Organizing
The profound defeat of the U.S. labour movement over the past three to four decades is usually measured by the loss of things that workers once took for granted like decent wages and benefits. A less quantifiable but ultimately more decisive indicator is the retreat from possibilities. By extension, the labour movement's renewal (or reinvention) is inseparable from reversing, through effective struggle, this lowering of expectations.
1352. January 6, 2017 L. E. Melin, Franklin Serrano Brazil's Neoliberal U-Turn: Wishful Thinking in the Face of Class Antagonism
Since reaching its zenith in 2010, the Brazilian economy has suffered a remarkable reversal of fortune. Despite official protestations to the contrary, however, Brazil's afflictions turned out to be of its own making, as it so often proves to be the case. The origins of the contraction of Brazilian GDP in 2015-2016 by nearly 7.5% can be traced back to the economic policies implemented during President Dilma Rousseff's first administration.
1351. January 4, 2017 Leo Panitch interviewed by Arun Gupta The Trump Way
In the runup to November's presidential election, commentators from across the political spectrum predicted a round defeat for Donald Trump, not least because of the palpable disgust he elicited from elites. Hillary Clinton, on the other hand, was the recipient of a number of moneyed defections from the Republican Party and soaring capitalist confidence. Arun Gupta spoke to Leo Panitch about Trump's economic agenda, his relationship to transnational elites, and how neoliberalism's crisis could mean revitalization for the Left.
1350. January 2, 2017 John Clarke Basic Income: Progressive Dreams Meet Neoliberal Realities
Up until now, the concept of Basic Income (BI) has enjoyed a greater history of being proposed than of being implemented. We may well be approaching a period, however, when this changes. The Ontario Government is holding consultations on setting up a BI pilot project. The Legislature in another Canadian Province, Prince Edward Island, has agreed to test out a version of BI. Pilot projects are also impending in Finland, the Netherlands and Scotland.
1349. December 30, 2016 David Bush Debating Syria Productively
The debate over Syria on the Left is toxic. I pulled together 13 points about the situation in Syria I hope can be useful in framing the discussion in a more productive way. The ultimate goal of these discussions in Western countries should be to have a clearer idea about how to strengthen antiwar movements to stop the madness of imperialism.
1348. December 29, 2016 Judith Deutsch Syria and the Antiwar Movement
The enormity, complexity and fall-out of the Syrian war calls for urgent attention. Current events in Aleppo bring to the fore the unreliability of information and dichotomous political positions that contribute to obstruction and paralysis in the antiwar movement. Conflicting reports make unclear the number of civilians and fighters who have been evacuated, their condition, their political beliefs, their situation as refugees in Idlib, the civilian toll perpetrated by all sides.
1347. December 26, 2016 Sungur Savran Sheikh Bedreddin: A Greco-Turkish Communist Internationalist Avant la Lettre
The press reports that during a visit to Western Thrace, where a sizeable Turkish minority lives, Alexis Tsipras, the Greek Prime Minister, evoked the name of Sheikh Bedreddin, praised him and said that he should be a source of inspiration for all of us today. So, who is this Muslim sheikh whom a nominally leftist Greek Prime Minister, avowedly atheist, recommends as a source of inspiration to all Greeks, irrespective of their religion? A most ticklish remark at first sight. We should be thankful to Tsipras for having raised the topic, hastening to add that he personally, given his record in office, is absolutely unfit for inspiration by the grand old man.
1346. December 23, 2016 Sid Shniad Lessons from Richmond, California
It seems that we are condemned to live in interesting times. Decades of neoliberalism and austerity, capped by the election of carney barker Donald Trump as president of the United States. Of course, there have been glimmers of hope. The Occupy Movement, Idle No More and Black Lives Matter showed people fighting back against burgeoning inequality, the continuing effects of colonialism, and out of control police violence. Recently, the Bernie Sanders campaign gathered incredible numbers of enthusiastic supporters by addressing people's economic and social concerns in a straightforward manner.
1345. December 21, 2016 Henry A. Giroux War Culture, Militarism and Racist Violence Under Trump
When history repeats itself with a vengeance, it generally signals a crisis of memory, historical consciousness and civic literacy. The ghosts of the past disappear in a comforting somnolence and a deadening market-driven culture of consumption, privatization and individualization. As a mode of moral witnessing, memory withers, lost in forms of historical and social amnesia that usher in the dark clouds of authoritarianism, albeit in updated forms.
1344. December 20, 2016 Stefan Kipfer Paris in Transit: A Few Snapshots
In early December 2016, the Paris region suffered from the most intense bout of small particle pollution in a decade. Anticyclonic weather (cold air under a cover of hotter air undisturbed by wind) trapped pollutants. These came for the most part from car traffic (including diesel-powered beasts), ammonia-emitting intensive agriculture, some industrial emissions and a spike in pollutants from residential heating (90% of which emanating from the relatively few wood-fired ovens).
1343. December 19, 2016 Stephen Maher Against Liberal Nostalgia
'Restore our democracy' has become a mantra among American progressives. Populist writers are desperately trying to shake people from their passivity amidst mounting political and ecological crisis. But in crafting a vision of a better future they often appeal to idealized, romantic notions of America's past.
1342. December 16, 2016 Irvin Jim NUMSA Statement on its 10th National Congress
South Africa's biggest trade union, the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa, held its 10th National Congress from 12-15 December 2016 in Cape Town. This statement was written on 7 December. This ‘Workers’ Parliament’ could not be meeting at a more critical time for the world working class in general and the South African working class in particular.
1341. December 15, 2016 Himani Bannerji interviewed by Mahdi Ganjavi Ideology, Anti-Colonialism and Marxism
Himani Bannerji is a professor in the Department of Sociology at York University, Toronto. Her research and writing life extends between Canada and India. Her interests encompass anti-racist feminism, Marxism, critical cultural theories, and historical sociology. Mahdi Ganjavi is a Ph.D. student at the department of Leadership, Higher and Adult Education, OISE/University of Toronto.
1340. December 14, 2016 Donatella della Porta Referendums and Social Movements in Italy and Europe
Matteo Renzi's recent attempt to constitutionally embed neoliberalism and simultaneously legitimize and secure his tenure as Prime Minister via a referendum on proposed changes to Italy's postwar constitution failed spectacularly after sustained mobilization by ordinary Italians.
1339. December 12, 2016 Youngsu Won South Korea's Historic Candle Light Protests Bring Down President Park
On December 9, Parliament voted in favor of a presidential impeachment by 234 votes to 56, with 7 invalid votes and 2 abstentions. Over 30,000 protesters were present to celebrate the impeachment. The votes in favor of impeachment exceeded what was expected, though it was slightly lower than the 81 per cent support for impeachment among public opinion.
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.
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