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New Canadian International Labour 10-Minute

May Day


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For more than 100 years, May Day has symbolized the common struggles of workers around the globe. Why is it largely ignored in North America? The answer lies in part in American labour’s long repression of its own radical past, out of which international May Day was actually born a century ago.

The seeds were sown in the campaign for the eight-hour work day. On May 1, 1886, hundreds of thousands of North American workers mobilized to strike. In Chicago, the demonstration spilled over into support for workers at a major farm-implements factory who‘d been locked out for union activities. On May 3, during a pitched battle between picketers and scabs, police shot two workers. At a protest rally in Haymarket Square the next day, a bomb was tossed into the police ranks and police directed their fire indiscriminately at the crowd. Eight anarchist leaders were arrested, tried and sentenced to death (three were later pardoned).

These events triggered international protests, and in 1889, the first congress of the new socialist parties associated with the Second International (the successor to the First International organized by Karl Marx in the 1860s) called on workers everywhere to join in an annual one-day strike on May 1 – not so much to demand specific reforms as an annual demonstration of labour solidarity and working-class power. May Day was both a product of, and an element in, the rapid growth of new mass working-class parties of Europe – which soon forced official recognition by employers and governments of this “workers’ holiday.”

What you need to know about May Day.”



South Africa, a Dream Betrayed:
Understanding the Political Crisis in South Africa

Toronto – 20 April 2017.


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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.



Basic Income: A Way Forward for the Left?

Toronto – 13 April 2017.


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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.

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.

Resources:


LS #Date PublishedTitle 
8. 21 November 2008 Assessing an Obama Presidency Rosenfeld, Herman; Ajamu Nangwaya; Abbie Bakan
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6. 21 October 2008 After the Election: Neoliberal Crisis or Neo-Conservative Advance? Goosen, Tam; Judy Rebick
5. 11 October 2008 Battling Harper: The Left and the Canadian Election Albo, Greg; Bryan Evans
6 October 2008 Market Meltdown: Capitalism and the Crisis of Neoliberalism Albo, Greg; Jim Stanford; David McNally
A panel discussion on the crisis followed by Q and A. This is part of the Socialist Project forum series.
4. 22 September 2008 Poverty And Healthcare Mehra, Natalie; John Clarke
3. 21 September 2008 Poetry and Socialist Politics Rosenblatt, Joe
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23 June 2008 A World in Revolt Celia Hart
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4 March 2008 After Bali: the Global Fight for Climate Justice Patrick Bond
Global warming: from false to real solutions.
18 January 2008 Decline of the Dollar, Decline of the Empire?
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11 January 2008 Neoliberalism, Financial Capital and Mexico under Calderon: Still in Crisis?
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25 November 2007 Che and the Cuban revolution Laureano Cardoso Toledo; Marcos Hernandez; Greg Albo
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16 November 2007 Launch of the Socialist Register 2008 Aijaz Ahmad; Sabah Alnasseri
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5 October 2007 North American DVD Launch of Ernest Mandel: A life for the revolution Cherie MacDonald; Greg Albo
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September 2006 Pedagogy, Human Development and Socialism Peter McLaren; Michael Lebowitz
Selections from a conversation between Peter McLaren and Michael Lebowitz.
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