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  Date Author Title           ISSN 1923-7871
1451. July 20, 2017 Socialist Project Trumping NAFTA: Free Trade versus Democratic Planning
Opposition to ‘free trade’ is in the air again, though not in the way most of us expected or hoped. Three decades ago, the move to guarantee, extend and deepen Canada’s economic integration with the United States by way of the bilateral Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between the two states mobilized an impressive though ultimately unsuccessful opposition. This opposition continued, though with less intensity, when that agreement was later extended to include Mexico via the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
1450. July 18, 2017 Judith Deutsch The Ordeal of Hassan Diab
In December 2014, Hassan Diab, the former Carleton University sociology professor, husband to Rania, father of a lovely toddler daughter and one month before the birth of their delightful baby son, was whisked from his home by Canadian officials and extradited to France. The reason: suspicion that he was involved in the bombing of a Paris synagogue in 1980. It did not seem to matter to Canadian and French authorities that he was in Beirut at the time of the bombing, that his fingerprints did not match the proffered evidence and that the handwriting analysis was flawed.
1449. July 17, 2017 Canadian Union of Public Employees Public Transit, Privatization and the Canada Infrastructure Bank
The Canada Infrastructure Bank (CIB) will create a pipeline of privatization for our public transit systems. Corporations will be able to extract long-term profit from public transit fares and public subsidies. Our governments subsidize public transit because it’s critical infrastructure for our communities: to get us from place to place, to reduce traffic congestion, and to green our environment. When we allow corporations to plan, finance, operate, maintain and own public transit, we funnel ridership fares and government funding into corporate coffers.
1448. July 14, 2017 Ingo Schmidt Reading Capital: Changing Historical Contexts and Different Political Projects
One hundred and fifty years after the first volume of Marx’s Capital was published in 1867, Marx remains a common point of reference but his magnum opus is by no means widely read. Once he was thrown off pedestals across the former Soviet Union, Western business media adopted Marx as a principal witness for the capitalist cause. In 1998, 150 years after the publication of the Communist Manifesto, Marx and Engels were hailed as prophets of globalization.
1447. July 12, 2017 Barry Eidlin Labor’s Legitimacy Crisis Under Trump
As nativist right-wing populism surges across the Global North amidst the exhaustion of social democracy and 'Third Way' liberalism, the United States finds itself at the forefront. Elsewhere, right populist parties have led in the polls, as with the Front National in France and the PVV in the Netherlands, or played key roles in seismic political events, as with UKIP and Brexit. But so far, only in the U.S. has the right populist wave captured a major political party and ridden it to power.
1446. July 10, 2017 John Bellamy Foster interviewed by Juan Cruz Ferre A Resistance Movement for the Planet
We are in an emergency situation in the Anthropocene epoch in which the disruption of the Earth system, particularly the climate, is threatening the planet as a place of human habitation. However, our political-economic system, capitalism, is geared primarily to the accumulation of capital, which prevents us from addressing this enormous challenge and accelerates the destruction.
1445. July 7, 2017 Ethan Earle Trump Is Trying to Make NAFTA Even Worse
Many on the Left have been deeply critical of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) since before it was fast-tracked into law by former President Bill Clinton in 1994. Now, President Donald Trump’s current plan to renegotiate NAFTA is poised to make the massive trade deal even worse. In late May, a loose coalition of civil society groups gathered in Mexico City to discuss this upcoming renegotiation. Participants included the AFL-CIO, Canadian Labour Congress and over one hundred other labour, environmental, and immigrant rights organizations from across Mexico, the United States and Canada.
1444. July 5, 2017 Global Summit Calls for ‘World Without Walls’
Social movements and citizens from around the world, meeting in Tiquipaya, Bolivia, on June 20 and 21, 2017, after hearing the testimonies of migrants and refugees and collectively debating on the basis of our historic memory and the plurality of our identities, approve the following declaration, with the aim of manifesting our vision and proposals regarding the so-called migrant crisis to states and the international community.
1443. July 3, 2017 Adam Hanieh The Qatar Crisis
The June 5 decision by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain, and Egypt to suspend diplomatic ties with Qatar has sent shockwaves through the Middle East. The ensuing blockade shut down much of the Gulf’s maritime and land trade with Qatar, provoking fears that the tiny state would soon face food shortages. Major air carriers, including Emirates, Gulf Air, flydubai, and Etihad Airways, canceled flights, and Qatari citizens living in the participating nations had just two weeks to return home. Even immigrants with Qatari residency permits would be caught up in the expulsion.
1442. June 30, 2017 Nicole Hill, Angele Alook, Ian Hussey Indigenous People and Resource Extraction
In February, the government of Alberta signed a ten-year framework agreement with the Métis Nation of Alberta, emphasizing a relationship based on recognition, respect, and cooperation. In March, Alberta and the Blackfoot Confederacy signed a protocol agreement on how they will work together on economic development and other areas of concern to both parties. These agreements, of course, are only two of many instances of Indigenous people in the mainstream media recently.
1441. June 29, 2017 Stefan Kipfer Macronism: Neoliberal Triumph or Next Stage in France's Political Crisis?
'I really hope Macron can reform France, which is not doing well, you know.' These were the words of a young and stylish corporate lawyer, who started chatting with me during lunch in the cafeteria of the French national library. Emmanuel Macron's La République En Marche had just won the Parliamentary elections. The lawyer tried to convince me of the benefits of liberalism but also expressed anxiety about whether Macron would manage to do what previous Presidents have not: overcome all the various social and institutional obstacles in the way of a full-fledged neoliberalism.
1440. June 28, 2017 J. F. Conway Populism in the 21st Century
The term 'populism' has returned to the daily vocabulary of political pundits and analysts trying to make sense of the recent seismic shifts in the politics of many capitalist democracies. For the most part the term is used loosely, with no definition to guide the reader. There was the 'populism' behind the unexpected surges in support for Bernie Sanders in the U.S. primaries and for Jeremy Corbyn in the UK election.
1439. June 27, 2017 Socialist Project Working Classes and the Rise of the New Right: Socialist Politics in the Era of Trump
The success of xenophobic right-wing political forces today calls for the development of a socialist praxis fit for this perilous political moment. Taking this seriously requires that we address the inroads of the far right into working class constituencies that were bastions of trade unionism for much of the 20th century, and traditionally voted heavily not only for New Deal Democrats, or Labour and Social Democratic parties on the centre-left but even, as in France, for Communist parties.
1438. June 26, 2017 John Clarke The Neoliberal Writing on the Wall: Ontario's Basic Income Experiment
Since 2010, the UK has endured a political regime that can be considered a cutting edge of the austerity agenda. Through the film, I, Daniel Blake, people around the world have become familiar with the institutionalized cruelty of the Country’s warped system of providing social benefits to those in need. To those who endure sub-poverty misery, the humiliating intrusion of the Work Capability Assessment (WCA) and the ever present threat of the sanctions regime, the conclusion that anything must be better than the present set up is an easy one to arrive at.
1437. June 23, 2017 Christoph Scherrer Trump's Trade Policy Agenda: More Liberalization
President Donald Trump has been portrayed as a protectionist. His immediate cancellation of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) upon assuming the presidency, as well as his support for the border adjustment tax proposed by the Republican leadership in Congress, seems to confirm this portrayal of his foreign economic policy leanings. However, a different conclusion emerges from a closer reading of Donald Trump's business interests, of his trade agenda as published in the 2016 Annual Report on the Trade Agreements Program by the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR), and of American trade negotiation history.
1436. June 21, 2017 Canadian Union of Public Employees Banking on Privatization: the Canada Infrastructure Bank
The Liberal government is promoting the Canada Infrastructure Bank as a new way to provide financing for public infrastructure. But it’s really a new and dangerous way for corporations to profit from public infrastructure and services. The bank will allow corporations and private lenders unprecedented access to - and power over - the infrastructure that keeps our communities safe and makes them great places to live. The Canada Infrastructure Bank (CIB) will support projects that generate revenue for private lenders and corporations, including water and wastewater systems, public transit, roads and electrical utilities.
1435. June 20, 2017 Nikki Williams We Need Free Speech to Fight the Right
'Free Speech or die, Portland. You got no safe space. This is America. Get out if you don't like free speech.' Those were the chilling words of anti-Muslim terrorist Jeremy Christian at his arraignment for stabbing three people who tried to stand up to his harassment of two women of color, one of them wearing a hijab, on a light rail train in Portland, Oregon. Christian was responding to the far right's current cynical campaign in defense of what it calls 'free speech' - which to the bigots means the freedom to harass, intimidate and assault oppressed people with no opposition.
1434. June 19, 2017 Canadian Union of Postal Workers Time to Revitalize the Anti-War Movement
Justin Trudeau certainly did not run on a military-strength platform. Nowhere on the campaign trail did Liberals talk about increasing military spending or using 'hard power' abroad. The recent speech by Minister of Foreign Affairs, Chrystia Freeland, alongside the announced 70 per cent increase in military spending should ring alarm bells. Stephen Harper wouldn't have dared such an announcement. Canadians wouldn't have accepted it. Not with our hospitals, schools and infrastructure in such sorry shape.
1433. June 16, 2017 Benjamin Selwyn Labour’s Permanent Reformation
The 2017 British general election has generated the beginnings of a qualitative-change in the relationship between the Labour Party, much of British society, and parliament. That transformation can be understood as the emergence of a permanent reformation. Labour’s much better-than expected support raises the distinct possibility of its victory in the next election. Against all the odds - the polls, the hostile right-wing press, expectations within the Labour party itself - Jeremy Corbyn led the party through a brilliantly coordinated campaign, presided over the biggest swing to Labour since the earth-shaking 1945 general election, and placed socialist ideas firmly back on the political agenda.
1432. June 15, 2017 Natalie Mehra Private Billing and Health Clinics: Rebuild Capacity in Public Hospitals
In the Globe and Mail this weekend, physicians who are extra-billing patients for services at private clinics justified themselves by complaining that they cannot get operating room time and waits are too long in the public system. Let's be honest, these problems do exist. But these problems do not justify double-billing - charging the public healthcare system and patients as well for healthcare. They do not justify breaking Canadian laws that are meant to provide equity and protect patients from user fees when they are sick, elderly and least able to pay.
1431. June 13, 2017 Marty Hart-Landsberg The Need For A New U.S. Foreign Policy Toward North Korea
USA-North Korean relations remain very tense, although the threat of a new Korean War has thankfully receded. Still the U.S. government remains determined to tighten economic sanctions on North Korea and continues to plan for a military strike aimed at destroying the country's nuclear infrastructure. And the North for its part has made it clear that it would respond to any attack with its own strikes against U.S. bases in the region and even the U.S. itself.
1430. June 10, 2017 Gregor Gall UK Election: Labour Surge Gives Unions a Chance
For the vast majority of unions in Britain, the idea of the Labour Party fighting a general election with a dream leadership team of Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell was manna from heaven after the era of New Labour. From 1997 to 2010, many unions believed Labour governments were a case of 'power without principles.' The unions did manage to get Ed Miliband elected as leader in 2010, rather than his more centrist brother David, but that did little to shift the balance in the equation between power and principles come the 2015 general election.
1429. June 9, 2017 Richard Greeman Sunday’s French Election
The good news this May was that French voters rejected far-right Marine Le Pen by a two-to-one margin in the second round of the Presidential election. 'At least the French are not schmucks as the Americans!' were the first words that passed the sweet lips of my Provençal partner Elyane when the radio announced Le Pen's defeat. As the Borowitz Report headlined: 'French Annoyingly Retain Right to Claim Intellectual Superiority over Americans.' Aside from this moral victory, the French people have little to be happy about.
1428. June 8, 2017 David Bush $15 and Fairness Shakes Up Ontario
The Fight for $15 and Fairness scored a big victory on May 30 when the Ontario Liberals announced they would raise the minimum wage to $15 by January 1, 2019. The Liberals also announced a slew of other legislative changes they will introduce as part of the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, such as two paid personal emergency leave days, equal pay for equal work for part-time workers, requiring employees to be paid for three hours of work if their shift is cancelled within 48 hours, an additional week of paid vacation for employees who have been with a business for at least five years.
1427. June 7, 2017 Climate Vandalism and North American Capitalism
North America has been witness to two distinct forms of climate vandalism over the last year. In the case of the United States, it came from President Donald Trump's decision last week to formally withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord of December 2015, an agreement within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change set for 2020 to address greenhouse gas emissions mitigation, and adaptation, as well as proposals for financial assistance. In the case of Canada, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has proclaimed Canada's commitment to the Paris Accord wide and far, and introduced the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change.
1426. June 5, 2017 Richard Fidler Quebec Sovereigntists Debate Fallout from Québec Solidaire’s Decisions on Alliances
As I explained in my previous report on the Québec solidaire (QS) congress, it was disclosed after the congress that the QS central leadership had disavowed the signatures by its representatives on a proposed 'road map' to independence drafted in April by the coalition OUI Québec, which includes all the pro-independence parties including QS. That decision, not reported to the QS congress delegates in late May, has since given rise so far to several articles, all of them published in the Montréal nationalist daily Le Devoir.
1425. June 3, 2017 James P. Hare Paris is Burning
With U.S. President Donald Trump's decision to formally withdraw from the Paris Agreement, he has put an end to months of apparent indecision. This withdrawal does not dissolve the agreement, which still includes nearly every country on the planet, but it is hard to imagine how an already weak agreement can be expected to slow - not to mention reverse - greenhouse gas emissions without the participation of the United States. Seeing this decision as anything other than a nail in the coffin of the global climate regime is nothing but wishful thinking.
1424. June 1, 2017 Tithi Bhattacharya Ragpicking Through History: Class Memory, Class Struggle and its Archivists
In 1990, I watched the Polish film maker Krzysztof Kieslowski’s Blind Chance (1981/1987) without registering the paralyzing potential of a particular scene. The protagonist, Witek, meets an old Communist by chance on a train. As a result of that meeting Witek decides to join the Communist Party. Later, again by sheer chance, he runs into an ex-partner, also his first love. A beautiful, tender and fierce sex scene follows. In the calm of the after, Witek, almost absentmindedly, whistles the Internationale.
1423. May 30, 2017 Zwelinzima Vavi Let’s Rebuild a Democratic Global Trade Union Movement
Greetings to my brother and comrade, President of the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists (CBTU), Rev. Terrence L. Melvin. Revolutionary salutes to my big brother Bill William Lucy, the former President of CBTU and leading member of the AFL-CIO and AFSCME now trying to enjoy his well deserved retirement. Reporting back provides an opportunity to assess whether the beliefs we held dear when we were younger are still relevant today, and are still capable of guiding our actions for the project to liberate the working class and the whole of society from the yoke of oppression.
1422. May 29, 2017 Richard Fidler Quebec Solidaire Congress: United Front Against Austerity and For Independence
As expected, the 500 delegates to the congress of Québec solidaire (QS), held in Montréal on May 19-22, voted to work toward a fusion with Option nationale, debated and adopted the remaining part of the party's draft program with few major amendments, and elected a new leadership headed by 'co-spokespeople' Manon Massé and Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois. Most of these achievements, however, were overshadowed by the debate on a proposal by some of the outgoing leadership that the party attempt to negotiate an 'electoral pact' with the Parti québécois.
1421. May 26, 2017 Manuel Larrabure Brazil in Crisis and the Challenges for the Left
On Thursday, May 18, an incriminating audio recording surfaced containing the voice of current Brazilian president Michel Temer of the historically centrist, but recently turned right wing, Partido do Movimento Democrático Brasileiro (Brazilian Democratic Movement Party). In this recording, Temer can be heard engaging in discussions of bribery with former House speaker and fellow party member Eduardo Cunha, jailed in 2016 on corruption charges. The recording was acquired by billionaire corporate executive, Joesley Batista.
1420. May 25, 2017 Palestinian BDS National Committee Urgent Call On Day 40 of Palestinian Hunger Strike
Hundreds of Palestinian political prisoners are now approaching their critical sixth week on hunger strike, and they have made an urgent appeal for international solidarity. As they hit Day 40 of their courageous Dignity Strike on May 26, the Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC) calls for intensifying global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaigns to amplify the prisoners’ legitimate and just demands.
1419. May 24, 2017 Alfredo Saad-Filho Brazil’s Political Rupture and the Left’s Opportunity
'Out with Temer - direct elections now!' Amid meltdown in Brazil, the left calls for democracy, while the right must find ways to deny the people a voice. The Brazilian Workers’ Party won the country's presidential elections four times in a row; first with Luís Inácio Lula da Silva, then with his hand-picked successor, Dilma Rousseff. During its 13 years in office, the PT changed Brazil in many ways; four are principally worth mentioning, as they would come to play key roles in the elite conspiracy to impeach Dilma Rousseff and destroy her party.
1418. May 23, 2017 Tyler Shipley interviewed by Tanner Mirrlees The New (Canadian) Imperialism, in Honduras: Ideology, the News Media, Pedagogy and Pop Culture
I was in Guatemala in 2009 when the coup took place, and it was headline news in Central America for months, so it was impossible to miss the gravity of the situation. My first trips to Honduras that year were not research trips at all but, rather, were to participate in the larger solidarity efforts by progressives across the hemisphere. I went to Honduras to try to help the peaceful resistance movement in whatever way I could. I joined marches and demonstrations and documented the violence of the military government that had taken over.
1417. May 19, 2017 Dianne Feeley Regulation -- Who Needs It?
Surrounded by CEOs and autoworkers bused in for the event, Donald Trump made it clear during his March 14th appearance in the Detroit area that he was going to get rid of a federal regulation in order to free up the industry so it could 'make thousands and thousands and thousands of additional cars.' For him it was a simple decision: 'If the standards threatened auto jobs, then common-sense changes could have and should have been made.'
1416. May 17, 2017 Richard Fidler Major Decisions Face Québec Solidaire at its Forthcoming Congress
Quebec's broad party of the left, Québec solidaire (QS), will open a four-day congress on May 19 in Montréal - the 12th congress in its 11-year history. The delegates face a challenging agenda. It includes the final stage of adoption of the party's detailed program, a process begun eight years ago; discussion of possible alliances with other parties and some social movements including a proposed fusion with another pro-independence party, Option nationale; and renewal of the party's top leadership.
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.
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