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Bolivia: Who's the real 'outlaw'? Behind Bolivia’s nationalisation of a Canadian mine

By Paul Kellogg

September 5, 2012 -- PolEcon.net, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- For Canada's Financial Post, the actions of the Bolivian government in nationalising a Canadian mine this northern summer confirmed the country’s status as an “outlaw nation” (Grace 2012). But for less-biased observers, the reality was a little different.

Responding to pressure from local Indigenous communities the Bolivian government confirmed on August 2 that it would expropriate the operations of a Canadian-owned mining project. This represents, in the short term, the success of local social movements in putting an end to violence created by the tactics of the corporation, and in the long term, one small step towards ending 500 years of foreign powers stripping the country of its natural resources.

Quebec: 'Share Our Future' – the CLASSE manifesto; CLASSE rep explains struggle (video)

July 27, 2012 -- GreenLeftTV -- Guillaume Legault is a leading member of Quebec's CLASSE, a radical student organisation at the forefront of a months-long student strike against tuition fee hikes. Legault toured Australia and New Zealand in July-August 2012 as a guest of the socialist youth organisation Resistance. Above is Legault's address to the Resistance national conference, held in Adelaide.

[August 3, 2012 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The following document is the manifesto of Quebec's militant student union, Coalition large de l’Association pour une solidarité syndicale (CLASSE). For more on the student struggle in Quebec, click HERE.]

Québec solidaire agrees to talks on electoral agreement with other pro-sovereignty parties

By Roger Annis

June 21, 2012 -- Rabble.ca, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with the author's permission -- On June 20, the National Coordination Committee of Québec solidaire issued a statement in response to a "Call for a United Front" in the next election in Quebec, saying it is open to a “limited and timely electoral arrangement” with two other pro-Quebec sovereignty parties. The statement is titled (translation), "Defeat the Liberals, yes. But above all, build a progressive Quebec!"

The call has received close to 11,000 signatures online. It urges the three pro-sovereignty parties – Parti québécois, Québec solidaire and Option nationale – to enter into an electoral agreement such that only one candidate of the parties would contest electoral districts against the ruling Liberal Party and the right-wing Coalition pour l’avenir du Québec (CAQ).

The mandate of the current Liberal government ends in 17 months. Widespread speculation has it calling an election as soon as August.

Quebec student mobilisations: Debate opens on strategic perspectives

By Richard Fidler

June 7, 2012 -- Life on the Left, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with the author's permission -- Despite massive mobilisations throughout Quebec in opposition to Law 78 and the Quebec provincial government of Premier Charest, the student struggle is once again at an impasse.

At the end of May, the government terminated the latest round of negotiations with the four college and university student associations without offering any concessions on the students’ key demands: for repeal of the tuition fee increases and repeal of its “bludgeon law” aimed at smashing student unionism in the province.

The student negotiators had bent over backwards to find some acceptable compromise. They agreed not to discuss Law 78 pending an agreement on the fees. They put aside the proposal of the CLASSE, the most militant student group,[1] that a tax on banks be substituted for the fee increase, proposing instead that the funds in question be found through increasing the existing education savings program. All to no avail.

Québec solidaire leader Amir Khadir arrested, home raided: 'I'm proud to stand with my people'

Quebec solidaire leader Amir Khadir was arrested and handcuffed at a protest on June 5, 2012, in Quebec City.

For more coverage of the Quebec students' struggle, click HERE.

By Roger Annis

STOP PRESS: June 7, 2012 -- Rabble -- According to a report in La Presse and Radio Canada, at 6 am this morning, Montreal police arrived at the home of Quebec National Aseembly member Amir Khadir and his wife, Nima Machouf, with arrest and search warrants. They arrested the couple's daughter, Yalda Machouf-Khadir, and her partner, Xavier Beauchamp. The two are among 11 student activists arrested in early morning police raids in the city. 

Quebec student strike: hot summer of protest ahead; Interview with CLASSE leaders

"Pots and pans" protests -- casseroles -- have erupted in neighbourhoods across Quebec and are spreading in the rest of Canada.

For more analysis of the Quebec students' struggle, click HERE.

By Roger Annis

June 4, 2012 -- Rabble -- On Saturday, June 2, several tens of thousands of people marched through the streets of Montreal in answer to the Quebec government breaking off negotiations two days earlier with the province's striking student movement.

According to the CLASSE student association (Coalition large de l'association pour une solidarité syndicale étudiante, Coalition of the Association for Student Union Solidarity), which called the march and is the largest of the four student groups that were involved in talks, the march began with 5000 or so people rallying at Parc Jeanne Mance and then swelled to 25,000 as it wound its way through city streets. A banner at the front of the march read, "This isn't a student strike, it's the awakening of society."

Quebec: Up to 400,000 defy anti-protest law; protests spread


For more analysis of the Quebec students' struggle, click HERE.

May 22, 2012 -- Real News Network -- Today marked one of the largest protests ever to be recorded in Quebec's history. We are joined with Jérémie Bédard-Wien, who is a student organiser and who was on the ground today in Montreal.

Jérémie, would you please describe for us what events have unfolded?

Quebec: Students mobilise against draconian law aimed at breaking four-month strike

For more coverage and analysis of the Quebec students' struggle, visit Life on the Left.

By Roger Annis, Montreal

May 19, 2012 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The strike of post-secondary students in Quebec has taken a dramatic turn with the May 18 approval by the provincial government of a special law to cancel the school year at strike-bound institutions and outlaw protest activity deemed disruptive of institutions not participating in the strike.

Details of Bill 78 were unveiled the day before and debated in a special, overnight session of Quebec’s National Assembly. They include a ban on demonstrations within 50 metres of a post-secondary institution and severe financial penalties on students or teachers and their organisations if they picket or otherwise protest in a manner declared “illegal”. Demonstrations of ten or more people must submit their intended route of march to police eight hours in advance.

Quebec students call for a social strike in solidarity with their struggle

April 28, 2012 -- The following is a statement issued recently by CLASSE. CLASSE is the largest of the student coalitions or federations leading the student strike movement that has spread across Quebec. It represents more than half of the 180,000 students now on strike. The statement was translated by Richard Fidler for the Life on the Left web site.

* * *

Toward a social strike: It’s a student strike, a people’s struggle

Hike in tuition fees is part of “the cultural revolution”

Massive student upsurge fuels major debates in Quebec society

 

DSC_0160 (2)

Photo by Marc Bonhomme.

By Richard Fidler

April 23, 2012 -- Life on the Left, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission --  A crowd estimated at 250,000 people or more wound its way through Montréal April 22 in Quebec’s largest ever Earth Day march. They raised many demands: an end to tar sands and shale gas development, opposition to the Quebec government’s Plan Nord mining expansion, support for radical measures to protect ecosystems, and other causes. And many wore the red felt square symbolising support to the province’s students fighting the Liberal Party government’s 75 per cent increase in post-secondary education fees over the next five years. The Earth Day march was the largest mobilisation to date in a mounting wave of citizen protest throughout the province.

Britain: The challenge of George Galloway’s ‘Bradford Spring’

George Galloway campaigns in Bradford West.

[For more discussion around George Galloway's re-election and the left's response, click HERE.]

By Paul Kellogg

April 4, 2012 -- PolEcon.net, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission by the author -- In the end, it wasn’t even close. Britain’s most prominent anti-war politician, George Galloway, is back as a member of parliament for his Respect Party, after receiving support so overwhelming that he had, in the words of a reporter for The Guardian, “annihilated the Labour vote”.

Canada: Thomas Mulcair, the New Democratic Party and the social movements

"Thomas Mulcair is a man of the establishment, not of the social movements."

[Read more on Canada's New Democratic Party HERE.]

By Paul Kellogg

March 27, 2012 -- PolEcon.net, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with the author's permission -- Canada's social-democratic New Democratic Party (NDP) has a new federal leader. Thomas Mulcair, has no roots in the social movements, a long history of being a senior Liberal Party member and is someone  openly committed to pushing the NDP considerably to the right. The implications for all interested in progressive social change are sobering.

Canada: The NDP -- new wine in an old jar?

NDP leadership candidates.

[For more on the Quebec national question, click HERE.]

By Richard Fidler

March 13, 2012 -- Life on the Left, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with the author's permission -- Apologies to subscribers to this blog for my recent silence.A lot has happened recently, most notably the revival in the fortunes and prospects for the Quebec independence movement, which I will comment on before long.

But the immediate item of note is the federal New Democratic Party [NDP, a social-democratic party similiar to the British, Australian and New Zealand Labour parties] leadership race, which will come to a close on March 24, 2012, at a convention in Toronto. There, the postal votes of the pan-Canadian membership will be tallied and the new leader will be selected by delegates, probably after more than one elimination ballot since it appears that none of the seven remaining candidates enjoys clear majority support.

Anti-immigration groups organise against book that exposes population myths

By Ian Angus

January 31, 2012 -- Climate and Capitalism -- Simon Butler and I wrote Too Many People? Population, Immigration, and the Environmental Crisis to promote discussion among environmental activists about two questions:

  • Is population growth a significant cause of the global environmental crisis?
  • Should the environmental movement support population reduction programs as solutions to environmental problems?

Since the book was published in September 2011, we’ve been very pleased by the eagerness of activists around the world to join in that discussion. Some readers are convinced by our arguments, some are not – in either case we look forward to continuing discussions while we work together to build a global movement against ecocide and for environmental justice. We expected such debates, and will continue to welcome them.

Workers’ governments and socialist strategy — a discussion

"The FSLN government in Nicaragua immediately after the fall of the Somoza dictatorship may qualify as a workers' government" -- David Camfield.

January 17, 2012 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- A discussion is taking place at John Riddell's website on the demand for a workers' government and issues raised in the article by Riddell, "A ‘workers’ government’ as a step toward socialism". Below are article-length responses from David Camfield and Nathan Rao, a comment by Tim K, and a response by John Riddell.

Workers’ governments and the crisis of politics

By David Camfield, an editor of New Socialist Webzine

January 10, 2012 -- John Riddell is right that, “The Comintern’s decisions on governmental policy were rooted in a political environment that no longer exists.”

Occupy! More reports from the frontline: Wellington, Dublin, Canada, US cities


Nati at Occupy Wellington.

[Are you a participant in an Occupy action in your city or town? Please leave a report in the comments section below. For more activist reports on the Occupy movement, click HERE.]

Occupy Wellington

By Grant Brookes

October 20, 2011 -- UNITYblog

“Why are they protesting?” ask the baffled pundits on TV. Meanwhile, the rest of the world asks: “What took you so long?” -- Naomi Klein 

With comments like this, campaigning journalist Naomi Klein has captured the essence of the mushrooming movement against corporate greed which began on Wall Street. The movement is expressing the feelings of a global majority denied a voice in the media and in the corridors of power.

It spread to Aotearoa on October 15, when occupations began in Auckland, Wellington, Christchuch, Dunedin, New Plymouth and elsewhere.

Trade unions must join the fight against climate change

Ian Angus speaking at the Climate Change Social Change conference. Photo by Alex Bainbridge.

September 29, 2011 -- Climate and Capitalism, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- Ian Angus, editor of Climate and Capitalism, is currently in Australia to speak at the Climate Change Social Change conference in Melbourne, September 30 – October 3.

During his pre-conference speaking tour, he was invited to address several meetings of trade union members. The following is a lightly edited transcript of the opening comments he made at union meetings in Melbourne and Geelong.

[For more articles by Ian Angus, click HERE.]

* * *

Thank you for inviting me to speak today.

Québec Solidaire: A Québécois approach to building a broad left party

Amir Khadir, currently Québec solidaire's sole member of the Quebec legislature, the National Assembly.

August 31, 2011 -- Life on the Left, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with the author's permission and that of Alternate Routes -- The following article is scheduled for publication in a forthcoming issue of the journal Alternate Routes. It is an expanded and updated version of a presentation to the third annual conference of the Critical Social Research Collaborative, held March 5, 2011, at Carleton University, Ottawa, on the theme “Varieties of Socialism, Varieties of Approaches”. Part II (below) will discuss the evolution of Québec Solidaire since its founding.

* * *

By Richard Fidler

A number of attempts have been made in recent years to launch new parties and processes, addressing a broad left or popular constituency, that are programmatically anti-neoliberal if not anti-capitalist, some of them self-identifying as part of an international effort to create a “socialism of the 21st century”. They vary widely in origins, size, social composition and influence.

On the meaning of ‘popular front’

The Bolivarian movement led by Hugo Chávez contains bourgeois forces and has been the scene of repeated struggles between popular and bureaucratic wings. But far from subordinating workers to bourgeois leadership, it has served as the instrument to mobilise the masses in struggles that have won significant gains.

By John Riddell

August 8, 2011 -- also availabe at johnriddell.wordpress.com, posted at Links international Journal of Socialist Renewal with John Riddell's permission -- In a comment posted July 16 to my article “Honduras Accord: A Gain for Ottawa?” Todd Gordon warns against the danger of “popular-front style organization” and a “popular front electoralist strategy” (see his comment below this article). Socialists often use the term “popular front” or “people’s front” as a form of condemnation. But what exactly does the term mean, and how does apply it to poor, oppressed countries like Honduras?

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