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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
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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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.
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.
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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.
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.
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.”
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.
National Farmers Union (NFU), an affiliate of La Via Campesina. The text is taken from John Riddell's site.
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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.”
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.
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”.
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.
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.
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.
By Geneviève Beaudet and Pierre Beaudet, translated from the French original at Nouveaux Cahiers du Socialisme by John Bradley
January 25, 20133 -- Life on the Left, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- The blossoming of the Idle No More movement signals the return of native [Indigenous] resistance to the political and social landscape of Canada and Quebec.
With its origins in Saskatchewan in October 2012, this mass movement has taken on the federal government and more specifically the adoption of Bill C-45. Its origins lay not in the work of established organisations such as the Assembly of First Nations (although the AFN supports the initiative), but in a grassroots mobilisation that has arisen in several parts of the country. This process echoes other recent citizen mobilisations such as the student carrés rouges in Quebec and the worldwide Occupy movement.
"The military attack in Mali has been condemned by groups on the political left in France, including the Nouveau parti anticapitaliste (New Anti-Capitalist Party [its newspaper pictured above]) and the Gauche anticapitaliste (Anti-Capitalist Left). The latter is a tendency within the Front de gauche (Left Front). Shockingly, the Left Front leadership group has come out in favour of the intervention."
By Roger Annis
January 18, 2013 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal/Green Left Weekly -- France, the former slave power of west Africa, has poured into Mali with a vengeance in a military attack launched on January 11. French warplanes are bombing towns and cities across the vast swath of northern Mali, a territory measuring some one thousand kilometres from south to north and east to west. French soldiers in armoured columns have launched a ground offensive, beginning with towns in the south of the northern territory, some 300 kilometres north and east of the Malian capital of Bamako.
A French armoured convoy entered Mali several days ago from neighbouring Ivory Coast, another former French colony. French troops spearheaded the overthrow of that country’s government in 2011.
Speech by Art Sterritt, introductory comment by John Riddell
December 15, 2012 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal via Johnriddell.wordpress.com -- Speaking in Toronto, on November 17, 2012, at a conference against tar sands pipelines, Art Sterritt (pictured above) of the Coastal First Nations in British Columbia gave a dramatic account of his peoples’ initiatives for ecological justice in the province. Sterritt is among the main spokespersons of the powerful campaign in B.C. against tar sands pipelines.
Sterritt’s talk (below) offers insight into three important issues in current Canadian social struggles:
By Stefan Kipfer
December 3, 2012 -- The Bullet (Socialist Project, Canada) -- Epochal crises allow us to see clearly the irrationalities of capitalism, notably its systematic inability to develop to the fullest human capacities and provide the basis for sustainable and respectful relationships to the rest of nature. The current world economic crisis has thrown to the dustbin of history the aspirations and capacities of millions of human beings – those laid off, driven off the land or relegated to permanent precariousness. At the same time, the crisis has intensified the exploitation of those still connected to gainful employment and driven up, at least temporarily, the ecologically destructive extraction of ‘resources,’ particularly in the global South and the peripheral areas of the global North.
Self-guided tour of revolutionary history: Colonial peoples at the Fourth Communist International Congress
By John Riddell
September 25, 2012 -- Johnriddell.wordpress, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- The newly published proceedings of the Communist International’s Fourth Congress, Toward the United Front, makes it possible for any socialist activist or independent researcher to make the acquaintance of a wide spectrum of revolutionaries of the 1920s, both prominent and obscure. No guide or interpreter is needed.
By Richard Fidler
September 21, 2012 -- Life on the Left, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- Their demonstrations have shaken Quebec in recent months, and on September 20 students and environmentalists won major victories.
At her first news conference as premier, Pauline Marois announced that her Parti Québécois government had cancelled the university tuition fees increase imposed by Jean Charest's defeated Liberal government, and would repeal the repressive provisions of Law 12 (formerly Bill 78) Charest had imposed in his efforts to smash the province’s massive student strike. Among other things, this will remove the restrictions on public demonstrations and the threat of decertification of student associations.
In addition, Marois has ordered the closing of Gentilly-2, Quebec’s only nuclear reactor, while promising funding to promote economic diversification to offset job losses resulting from the shutdown. And she will proceed with her promise to cancel a $58 million government loan to reopen the Jeffrey Mine, Quebec’s last asbestos mining operation.