Since 1994, the political leaders of South Africa have attempted to solve the national question through the ‘de-racialization’ of the economy and society. How to remake the state without addressing the benefits and misfortunes of capitalism and racism in South Africa? The ANC-led governments linked the struggle against racism to the national task of creating and strengthening a black capitalist class. This was an integral part of their attempt at de-racialization within the class and property relations of capitalism. But the misfortunes of capitalism and racism in South Africa continue to take the form of mass poverty for the majority of its people. And in post-apartheid South Africa the wealth and privileges of the beneficiaries of apartheid have been protected even with apartheid's end. Only a tiny minority of blacks have entered into the capitalist class, often through connections to the state and the governing group.
The current government of President Jacob Zuma is witness to major brawls between rival elite factions, amidst growing corruption scandals. The historical alliance between the ANC, the SACP and COSATU is fracturing. Protests and demonstrations calling for Zuma to resign are growing. Out of this ruin, a new South African working class movement may yet emerge.
Eli Kodisang has been involved in South African left politics and struggle for almost thirty years. He was a local and national organizer and educator in various COSATU unions, and then moved to Khanya College, a left NGO that provides support and political education for community and informal worker movements. He is currently organizing informal waste pickers and completing a Masters in Education and Work.
The idea of a Universal Basic Income (UBI) has been championed by both progressives and conservatives. Not everyone on the left, however, is behind the idea. Is the UBI a means of redistributing wealth, attacking poverty and protecting workers from technological displacement? Or will basic income serve to advance an agenda of austerity and privatization? This important debate features two speakers speaking in favour of the left support for Basic Income and two against.
Opening remarks: Kikélola Roach, Unifor Sam Gindin Chair in Social Justice & Democracy, Ryerson University. Moderator: Avi Lewis, The Leap.
John Clarke, Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (OCAP) [speaking against]
Jessica Sikora, OPSEU Local 586 [speaking against]
Josephine Grey, Low Income Families Together (LIFT) [speaking in favour]
Guy Caron, MP (NDP) and Federal Leadership Candidate [speaking in favour]
Hosted in partnership with: OCAP, OPIRG-Toronto, OPSEU Local 586, Ryerson Centre for Policy Innovation and Public Engagement, The Leap, Unifor Sam Gindin Chair in Social Justice and Democracy.
The essential training for understanding what is at stake for transit unions, learning how to mobilize their members and riders, and learning how to mount campaigns to save jobs and the transit systems that our communities depend on.
These two videos are sections of a two-part on-line training course, produced by the International ATU, for use by ATU locals in the U.S. and Canada. The goal is to help members to build alliances between transit workers and transit users, to collectively challenge the common agenda of business and its allies to privatize, deregulate and cut needed social services (such as public transit), and attack the rights of those who deliver the service, in the transit unions. It includes one video that identifies the agenda, and features a discussion about who and what is driving it, as well as the commonalities workers across the board are facing. The second video concentrates on the nuts and bolts of how to build a common movement.
Austerity, Finance, and the Polarization of Wealth. Over the last several decades, inequality has been steadily increasing, with the 1% enjoying ever higher concentrations of wealth, while members of the 99% experience greater poverty. Presentations by: Jim Stanford, Nathan Okonta, Linda McQuaig and Sam Gindin.
Immanuel Ness is the author of several books on workers' organizing and resistance. He is a trade union organizer and labour activist and co-founded with Keith Brooks of the New York Unemployed Committee (1990-1993), which successfully organized jobless workers at New York State unemployment centers. He recently co-edited a collection called Ours to Master and to Own which details 22 cases of workers' councils, assemblies and occupations from the Paris Commune to the present.
The 2010 Deutscher Memorial Prize was awarded to David Harvey for his book The Enigma of Capital and the Crises of Capitalism. The lecture is entitled: "History versus Theory: a Commentary on Marx's Method of Capital."
Supporters of the Novotel Ottawa workers OCCUPIED the main restaurant and management had no choice but to shut down the restaurant and give the coffee for free. Supporters then gathered in the front of the hotel and marched and chanted "Solidarity Forever."
In 1981, Ronald Reagan took on and smashed PATCO, the Air Traffic Controllers. The American labour movement expressed outrage but did nothing. This sealed the fate of American workers for over three decades. Toronto's mayor, Rob Ford, has declared war on city-workers. He intends to smash unions. This is our PATCO moment.
A group of people from OccupyToronto paid their fare and rode the subway cars of the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC). They engaged with riders using the people's mic - about the state of the TTC and the city's budgetary cutbacks.
What are some of the forces that are driving the current crisis? How is it pushing forward the agenda of business and governments to get working people and our organizations to tighten our belts and accept their calls for austerity? What forms is resistance taking around the world - what are the strengths and limitations of that resistance and what can we learn from it?
OccupyTO is a movement that will start on October 15th, 2011 that intends to show our solidarity with the Occupy Wall St. movement and stand in unity with the rest of the world to seek and work towards drastic changes to economic systems that are destroying our economy, social fiber, and environment.
Gaspar Miklos Tamas is one of Hungary's pre-eminent public intellectuals and social critics. Following a lecture (in Montreal) about the failures of liberal democracy as part of his North American speaking tour, he was interviewed by Matthew Brett.
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford and Prime Minister Stephen Harper are cutting, privatizing and contracting out vital public services. The McGuinty Liberals are giving corporations a $2.4-billion annual tax break while cutting jobs and services. And Tim Hudak's Tories plan to start cutting where Mike Harris left off. Labour and community activists discuss the Ontario provincial election, what our communities have at stake, and how we can make a difference.
The idea is simple: Torontonians meet in the park and lay out a People's Declaration - a clear set of demands to deliver to City Hall. Then we all show up at City Hall on September 26 and 27 to make sure that are these demands are met when council votes on the future of our city.
New video on Greece and the European Union financial crisis, produced by RealDemocracy.gr. "Welcome to the civilization of fear. Where words have no meaning. It is us or them..." Recorded in Athens, Greece on 28 and 29 June 2011.
Over the last year or so there have been over 700 attacks in the United States upon public sector collective bargaining. This alarming trend is also finding root in Canada with the elimination of collective bargaining rights. Recorded in Toronto, 23 June 2011.