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Canada

NATO’s new cold war redraws left, liberal views on imperialism and war

The right-wing Canadian government endorsed a "Ukrainian Independence Day" celebration in Toronto that openly raised funds for the fascist Right Sector organisation and at which the group's red and black flags were displayed prominently.

By Roger Annis

September 18, 2014 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Just under 25 years ago, the Cold War ended with a capitalist triumph. The nationalised economies and political structures of the Soviet Union and eastern Europe collapsed and a transition to a harsh, anti-social capitalism began.

In the years that followed, an eastward expansion was undertaken by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the military alliance of the imperialist countries of Europe and North America. Many of the countries of eastern Europe joined the alliance, in explicit defiance of agreements by NATO with post-Soviet Russia not to expand in this way.

Canada needs a new left-wing party

Ontario NDP leader Andrea Horwath disappointed much of her party’s base by positioning herself to the right of the Liberal Party.

By Roger Annis

July 3, 2014 -- A Socialist in Canada, first published at The Bullet (Socialist Project) and posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- Voters in Canada’s largest and most industrialised province went to the polls on June 5, 2014, to choose a provincial government. The choices were limited lesser evils, "bad" or "worse", constrained by a lurch to the political right by the trade union-based New Democratic Party (NDP).

This follows elections last year in Nova Scotia and British Columbia that were marked by the drift to the right of the NDP and electoral disappointments similar to what the party suffered in Ontario.

Mariela Castro's Toronto speech on LGBTI rights in Cuba

Click HERE for more on Cuba and LGBTI rights

July 9, 2014 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Cuban political leader and advocate of gay and lesbian liberation, Mariela Castro, was an invited foreign guest and participant in the festivities and discussions during the WorldPride celebration in Toronto in late June 2014.

Mariela Castro is the director of the National Center for Sexual Education in Cuba (CENESEX). Castro and CENESEX have greatly helped to sustain and lead the fight against homophobia in Cuba. She is also an elected member of Cuba's parliament, the National Assembly.

She spoke at several events that were part of the WorldPride program and she attended the huge World Pride Parade.

During the WorldPride events in Toronto, the president of the Ontario Federation of Labour, Syd Ryan, awarded Mariela Castro the OFL's International Workplace Rights Award. Ryan motivated the award to Castro, citing, in part, the major gains registered by Cuba's new labour code. It bans discrimination and violence in the workplace based on sexual orientation.

'Revolutionary Activism in the 1950s & 60s' launched in Toronto (videos)

Introduction by Greg Albo and moderated by Carolyn Egan.

June 26, 2014 -- Left Streamed -- Ernest Tate's two-volume Revolutionary Activism in the 1950s & 60s was launched in Toronto on June 11, 2014. Presentations by:

  • Chris Schenk teaches labour studies at University of Toronto
  • Richard Fidler blogs at Life on the Left
  • Bryan Palmer is the Canada Research Chair at Trent University, and editor of Labour/Le Travail
  • Ernie Tate, author of Revolutionary Activism in the 1950s & 60s

The introduction was published in The Bullet No. 995. Contact bookorders@socialistresistance.org to place your order.

Read more on this important book on the history of the revolutionary socialist movement in Canada and Britain HERE. You can can read excerpts for the book HERE.

Breaking a path for the '60s radicalisation: John Riddell reviews Ernest Tate's 'Revolutionary Activism'

Revolutionary Activism in the 1950s & 60s: A Memoir
By Ernest Tate
Volume 1, Canada 1955-1965
Vol. 1: ISBN 978-0-902869-69-1; EAN: 9780902869691
Vol. 2: ISBN 978-0-902869-60-8; EAN: 9780902869608
Resistance Books, London, 2014

Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal readers can read an excerpt HERE. To order a copy, email terryconway@tiscali.co.uk.

Review by John Riddell

Quebec election: A seismic shift within the independence movement?

An election poster for Québec Solidaire.

For more on Quebec, click HERE.

By Richard Fidler

May 13, 2014 – Life on the Left, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with the author’s permission -- The defeat of the Parti Québécois and the election of a federalist Liberal Party government in the Quebec general election of April 7, 2014, raises important questions about the future of the Quebec movement for sovereignty and political independence. And it poses some major challenges to the left party Québec Solidaire, as it seeks to position itself in the developing struggle for the direction and programmatic content of the Québécois national movement.

Barry Sheppard reviews Ernest Tate's 'Revolutionary Activism in the 1950s & 60s'

Revolutionary Activism in the 1950s & 60s: A Memoir
By Ernest Tate
Volume 1, Canada 1955-1965
Vol. 1: ISBN 978-0-902869-69-1; EAN: 9780902869691
Vol. 2: ISBN 978-0-902869-60-8; EAN: 9780902869608
Resistance Books, London, 2014

Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal readers can read an excerpt HERE. To order a copy, email terryconway@tiscali.co.uk.

Review by Barry Sheppard

March 30, 2014 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- European Trotskyists writing recently about this movement tend to give short shrift to Trotskyism in North America, in the US and Canada. An example is An Impatient Life by French leader Daniel Bensaid, who died this year.

Exclusive excerpts from Ernest Tate's 'Revolutionary Activism in the 1950s & 60s'

March 5, 2014 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Resistance Books (Britain) has kindly given permission for Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal to publish excerpts from long-time Canadian revolutionary socialist Ernie Tate's just-published two-volume memoirs, Revolutionary Activism in the 1950s & 60s. Links readers are urged to order a copy; to do so email terryconway@tiscali.co.uk.

* * *

Preface by Phil Hearse

It’s a great pleasure to write the preface for Volume II of Ernie Tate’s memoirs of the 1950s and ’60s. I first met Ernie and his partner Jess MacKenzie in 1967, when I was part of a small group of young socialists from the London Borough of Ealing recruited to the International Marxist Group (IMG). So it’s the British part of the story that I know well.

Solidarity saved me from Hitler: Now it must save Palestine

BDS-Sticker2009

 

By Suzanne Weiss

December 8, 2013 -- Johnriddell.wordpress.com, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- In October 2013 I accompanied Suzanne Weiss in a trip back into the history of rural France under Nazi occupation. Suzanne’s interviews there provided a framework for the following talk given by her to Solidarity for Palestine Human Rights at the University of Western Ontario on November 20, 2013. A portion of her speech has been published by Electronic Intifada; the full text first appeared in Bullet, a publication of Socialist Project. -- John Riddell.

* * *

Canada: Behind Stephen Harper's imperialist agenda

By Greg Albo

November 17, 2013 -- The Bullet, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- It has become commonplace to observe that the Conservative government of Stephen Harper has been re-making the symbols and practices of the Canadian state. Canada, in this view, was once the social democratic heartland of North America. But under Harper, Canada has been transformed into a hyper-regime of neoliberal market fundamentalism. Nowhere, it is argued, is this makeover more evident than in Canada's dealings with the rest of the world.

Canada was once the pre-eminent middle-power, peace-keeping nation. But now Canada operates like a renegade state: abandoning peace keeping; deploying troops in combat missions across several continents to discipline wayward states; attacking the United Nations (UN); money-wrenching climate change negotiations; and on it goes.

Québec Solidaire congress reaffirms the party’s independence from the neoliberal parties

[Click HERE for more on Quebec Solidaire.]

By Richard Fidler

May 6, 2013 -- Life on the Left, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- The following are some notes on the the Ninth Congress of Québec Solidaire, held at the University of Quebec in Montréal (UQAM), which I was able to attend on the final day, May 5, when some important decisions were made by the more than 600 delegates. This was the largest congress to date for this party, founded in 2006, which doubled its membership to 14,000 during the past year in the wake of the student upsurge. My account is supplemented by some additional details on the proceedings of the previous two days provided by QS delegate Marc Bonhomme and media reports.

Hugo Chávez: Tribune of world’s dispossessed/Tribuna de los desposeídos del mundo

By John Riddell

April 15, 2013 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal/America XXI -- Hugo Chávez was not only a great Bolivarian patriot; he was a tribune of the world’s dispossessed.

At an anti-imperialist conference in Cairo in 2007, I heard Chávez hailed for his solidarity with Palestinians as “a better Arab than the Arabs”; “closer to us than the Arabs that impose injustice”.

Chávez, the first Latin American president to declare himself of African descent, proclaimed in 2005, “Every day we are much more aware of the roots we have in Africa.”

North America: Ecosocialist Conference shows potential for a united green left

Introduction by Ian Angus

April 23, 2013 -- Climate & Capitalism, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- I was unable to attend the Ecosocialist Conference in New York City on April 20, 2013, and it is clear from all reports that I missed an important and inspiring event. The meeting was organised by the Ecosocialist Contingent, the alliance that participated as a united anti-capitalist voice in the demonstration against the Keystone XL Pipeline in Washington on February 17.

Initiated by members of Solidarity and the International Socialist Organization, the Ecosocialist Contingent quickly expanded to include the broadest range of left organisations and individuals yet seen in the US environmental movement.

See the list of conference endorsers, which includes Climate & Capitalism, here.

Québec: Québec solidaire in search of a second wind; Federal NDP meets in Montréal – another missed opportunity?

Quebec solidaire: a party of the ballot box or a party of the streets?

The first article below is a translation and slight modification of the original article published in French on Marc Bonhomme’s blog, March 29, 2013. The second article, by Richard Fidler, deals with the New Democratic Party's position on Quebec. Both are posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission.

By Marc Bonhomme

April 8, 2013 -- Local and regional bodies of Québec solidaire are in the process of discussing and taking a first vote on the proposals from the party’s national bodies for its convention to take place at the beginning of May 2013. Political strategy, including the issue of alliances with other parties, as well as the choice of the male spokesperson for the party will undoubtedly be the central points of discussion of the convention.

Canada: National Farmers’ Union supports Idle No More

NFU-logo
April 4, 2013 -- This statement in support of the Indigenous protest movement Idle No More is published in the Spring 2013 issue of Union Farmer Quarterly, the official publication of Canada’s National Farmers Union (NFU), an affiliate of La Via Campesina. The text is taken from John Riddell's site.

 

* * *

Our common land, our common ground

With a January 15 media release, we made public our support for the Idle No More movement, saying:

The NFU is proud to declare its solidarity with Idle No More, which is bringing people together from across Canada to stop the Harper government from riding roughshod over our collective rights. We want a better Canada.”

Quebec and Quebec solidaire: Linking sovereignty, equality and anti-neoliberalism

Part 1.

By Richard Fidler

March 18, 2013 -- Left Streamed/Life on the Left -- Amir Khadir, one of Québec solidaire’s two deputies in Quebec’s National Assembly, was guest speaker at this year’s Phyllis Clarke Memorial Lecture in Toronto. It was a rare opportunity for an Anglophone audience to hear a presentation by a leader of Quebec’s pro-independence party of the left.

Khadir’s lecture was addressed primarily to outlining QS’s approach to international solidarity in the face of neoliberalism and capitalist globalisation. In the wide-ranging discussion period that followed, he spoke about the Quebec student movement, the relation between class and national questions, the aboriginal movement, the environment, how Québec solidaire sees the relation between electoral and mass action, and other topics.

Canada: New Democratic Party poised for power, but to what effect?

For more on the New Democratic Party, click HERE. For more on politics in Canada, click HERE.

By Richard Fidler

February 19, 2013 -- Life on the Left, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- In the summer of 2012 I drafted an article on the New Democratic Party (NDP) for the purpose of introducing a discussion among some comrades seeking information about the party that now forms the official opposition in Canada’s House of Commons. While by no means a definitive study, the article draws on a number of books, academic papers and other documents addressed to the history and nature of Canadian social democracy, all of which are referenced or linked in the text. A French version of this article, addressed to a Québécois readership, is published in the current issue of the left journal Nouveaux Cahiers du Socialisme devoted to “La question canadienne”, a critical analysis of the “Harper revolution”.

50 years since ‘The Feminine Mystique’

By Suzanne Weiss

January 31, 2013 -- Green Left Weekly -- Fifty years ago, on February 13, 1963, the publication of US writer and activist Betty Friedan’s book The Feminine Mystique sparked a new awakening in the thinking of women across North America. Friedan denounced the repression women suffered in the aftermath of World War II, when they were forced out of wartime jobs and convinced to accept the role of keepers of the home.

Profiteers of the market launched an unrelenting but subtle propaganda campaign to venerate women as wife and mother. This role, Friedan said, was the “feminine mystique”.

This domestic existence became, Friedan wrote, “a religion, a pattern by which all women must now live or deny their femininity”. In submitting to this concept of womanhood, women gave up their self-respect, recognition of their talents and abilities, and — most importantly — their identities. Fundamentally, Friedan said, this was a scam to sell more consumer goods to women, who were to be the major purchasers for home and family.

French troops in Mali ‘for the long haul’; left responds to war

French troops in Mali.

[Click HERE for more on Mali.]

By Roger Annis

February 6, 2013 – A Socialist in Canada, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with the author's permission -- ”France is in Mali for the long haul.” That’s the headline of the France daily Le Monde on February 4. The newspaper’s front page, as well as pages 2 and 3, were devoted to a discussion over "what next" for France and the world in Mali.

The views of the newspaper’s editors are explained in a front page editorial. (The editorial translated into English is below.) Describing in the politest of terms France’s historic role in Africa as a slave and colonial power, and summarising the political situation in Mali and west Africa as a “struggle against narco-Islamists”, the newspaper argues for a long-term, Haiti-style tutelage of Mali.

The Quebec left and student movement after the ‘Maple Spring’

Translation, introduction and notes by Richard Fidler

January 29, 2013 -- Life on the Left, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- The 2013 edition of the annual Socialist Register, a valuable publication, is devoted to “The Question of Strategy.” It contains 19 articles by more than 20 authors on the Occupy movement, new left parties and electoral strategy in Europe, the new progressive governments and movements in Latin America, and so on. Oddly, however, there is not a single article on the strategic lessons of the Quebec upsurge in 2012 and the massive student strike that shook the province for some six months, helping to bring down the Liberal government. A surprising omission, especially in view of the fact that two of the Register’s three editors are Canadians. There is not even a mention of the Quebec strike and its strategic lessons in the editors’ preface, dated August 2012, written following the strike and in the midst of the Quebec election campaign.

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