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Richard Fidler

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Twenty-first century global capitalism reconfigures the imperialist disorder

 

 


Introduction and translation by Richard Fidler

February 25, 2021 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Life on the Left — The following is the third of a series of articles on contemporary imperialism by Argentine Marxist Claudio Katz. I translated the first article (The United States’ failed imperial recovery) and cited a section of the second in my review of the work of Leo Panitch (Remembering Leo Panitch). In this third instalment, Katz draws attention to what he considers an increasing asymmetry between the enduring geometry of post-WWII imperialism and the changing features of 21st century global capitalism.[1] Katz published his text under the title “La indefinición imperial contemporánea.”

Remembering Leo Panitch

 

 

By Richard Fidler

February 12, 2021 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Life on the Left — I first met Leo personally in 1984. Articling with a progressive law firm in Toronto, I found that Leo was my contact for arranging the visit of Ralph Miliband as guest speaker at the annual Law Union conference. Miliband’s presentation was well received, and following the meeting Leo suggested the three of us should repair to the pub to which other conference participants had adjourned.

I remember telling Miliband that I had read several of his books but that my favourite was still his first, Parliamentary Socialism, A Study in the Politics of Labour. He laughed and said “It’s mine too.” Published in 1961, it began famously with the statement: “Of political parties claiming socialism to be their aim, the [British] Labour Party has always been one of the most dogmatic — not about socialism, but about the parliamentary system.” I was in 1962 a member of the provincial council of the recently-founded Ontario New Democratic Party, and had found Miliband’s analysis of the BLP of immense help in understanding the disturbing features of the NDP that I was encountering.

Canada: Quebec’s October Crisis 1970 – What today’s left learned from Ottawa’s turn to repression

 

 

By Richard Fidler

October 31, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Life on the Left — Fifty years ago this month the federal government, invoking the War Measures Act – its first use in peacetime – occupied Quebec with 12,000 troops, arrested without a warrant almost 500 citizens, and carried out 36,000 police searches of homes, organizations and publications.

Of the 497 trade unionists, artists, lawyers and left activists jailed, 435 were subsequently freed without charges, and 44 of the 62 charged were acquitted or had their prosecutions stayed. But October 1970 marked a turning point in the federalist response to Quebec’s “Quiet Revolution” and the rapidly growing popular mobilization in favour of making Quebec an independent state.

Bolivia’s perfect storm: Pandemic, economic crisis, repressive coup regime

 

 

Introduction by Richard Fidler

August 11, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Life on the Left —The rising toll of diseased and deceased from the Covid-19 pandemic has hit Bolivia particularly hard, in a continent that is now in the lead in global contagion rates. As of August 8, more than 100,000 cases were officially confirmed or suspected, with 3,600 deaths among a total population of just over 10 million.

The coup government, installed in November, has mismanaged the crisis from the outset. Hospitals are understaffed and ill-equipped, testing is minimal, and the main response by the de facto authorities is to threaten lengthy jail terms for those who circulate “inaccurate” information about the pandemic — in a country where only a minority of workers are employed, the vast majority eking out a living in the “informal” economy of street markets and self-employment.

Typical of its approach, the interim regime headed by President Jeanine Añez was quick to expel more than 700 Cuban healthcare workers who, under the previous government, had provided needed services in remote areas and helped to train new medical staff.

What to do about the police: How some socialists, decades ago, addressed these issues

 

 

By Richard Fidler

July 21, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Life on the Left — The mass protests and public debate over what to do about the police sparked by the brutal police murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis have brought to the fore popular demands to defund, disarm and disband the police. These issues and demands arise at frequent intervals under late capitalism, as deepening neoliberal austerity features increasingly violent attacks on working people and national and ethnic minorities, and their democratic rights, by the repressive forces of the state.

Canada, a colonial-settler state built on the expropriation and oppression of the Indigenous peoples and the marginalization of the Québécois, has been no stranger to such conflicts. In the 1970s, when the RCMP’s Security Service was exposed as engaging in a wave of illegal interventions against the Quebec nationalist movement and its leftist sympathizers, the federal government was led to establish a Royal Commission of Inquiry into Certain Activities of the RCMP, better known as the McDonald Commission after its chair, Justice David McDonald.

Canada: After the federal election - the dangers and challenges that lie ahead

 

 

By Pierre Beaudet and Richard Fidler
 
November 9, 2019 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Life on the Left — It is still early to interpret fully the results of Canada’s October 21 federal election. But behind the immediate results some trends are clear. 

‘Dual Power,’ then... and now?

 

 

By Richard Fidler

 

September 7, 2019 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Life on the Left — Global capitalist crisis, impending ecological disaster, and new responses by popular movements in some regions, particularly in Latin America, inspire radical thinking about the need to go “beyond capital.” But how to attain the desired “system change” — today, an ecosocialist regime in place of capitalist rule — continues to be a matter for debate and experimentation.

 

Kashmir, solidarity and the Canadian state

 

 

August 19, 2019 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Socialist Project — In his essay, “India’s Kashmir Crackdown Poses Risk of War,” John Riddell argues that India unilaterally revoked the autonomy of the state of Jammu and Kashmir, flooding the region with troops, imposing a curfew, and shutting down all communications, and imposing direct rule by New Delhi, India’s Hindu nationalist government, under the leadership of Narendra Modi of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), radically increased the dangers of regional war. The Indian left immediately denounced the measures and called Jammu and Kashmir occupied territories (further drawing parallels to Occupied Palestine). In turn, this raised questions of international solidarity for the anti-war movement, and in Canada the demands to be placed on the Canadian state. Here Richard Fidler and John continue to discuss the Indian intervention into Kashmir and solidarity responses in Canada.

 

Trudeau government gives dangerous new powers to Canada’s political cops

 

 

By Richard Fidler

 

July 12, 2019 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Life on the Left Blog — Canada’s spy agency, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS), is engaged in massive surveillance of environmentalists and Indigenous opponents of extractive energy projects. And it is sharing some of its “intelligence” with the oil industry and its regulator, the National Energy Board.

Québec solidaire vows to fight CAQ government’s racist bill

 

 

By Richard Fidler

 

April 27, 2019 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Life on the Left Blog — As it had threatened during last fall’s election campaign, the newly-elected Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ) government has introduced legislation to prohibit a wide range of persons “in authority,” including teachers, from wearing symbols of their religious beliefs while exercising their functions.

 

Those affected include judges, prosecutors, police, and jail guards, but also teachers, childcare providers, public transit operators, health and social service workers, municipal and administrative tribunal and board officials, etc.

 

Rethinking some dominant approaches to climate change

 

 

By Richard Fidler

 

March 26 2019 
— Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Life on the Left Blog — Climate change is the most visible, most threatening expression of a larger, planetary ecological crisis, the result of an economic system (capitalism) with an inherent growth and profit dynamic which ensures that the exploitation of natural resources (both renewable and non-renewable) exceeds the carrying capacity of nature. You have read the almost-daily scientific reports, each more alarming than the ones before, on the scope of the crisis. I won’t belabour the point.

 

Our approach must be informed by, and congruent with, the challenge that crisis poses to the way society must be organized if we are to halt and reverse the ecological catastrophe toward which we are now hurtling.

 

Canada: A paragon of democratic national self-determination?

 

 

By Richard Fidler

 

May 8, 2018
— Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Life on the Left  — Madrid’s stubborn refusal to allow Catalans to vote on their independence prompted some commentators, paradoxically, to praise Canada’s support for Quebec self-determination.

 

“Quebec got off light,” wrote Louis Bernard,[1] a former top official in Parti québécois governments, referring to the Supreme Court of Canada judgment in the Reference re Secession of Quebec. After the almost-victory for the OUI in the 1995 referendum, he recalled, the federal government asked the Court to declare that Quebec had no right in Canadian or international law to choose unilaterally to “become a sovereign country, separated from Canada.”

 

Imperialism today: a critical assessment of Latin American dependency theory

 

 

Introduction and translation by Richard Fidler

 

March 31, 2018
Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Life on the Left  — Brazilian economist and sociologist Ruy Mauro Marini (1932-1997) was a prime exponent of what became known as dependency theory, an attempt to explain the systemic unequal relations of the Latin American countries in particular with the developed economies of the imperialist “North.” He was a close collaborator of, among others, Vânia Bambirra and the recently-deceased Theotónio Dos Santos. Marini’s best-known work, first published in Spanish in 1972, is Dialectics of Dependency.[1]

 

Marini was a founder of the Brazilian Marxist organization Política Operária and later, during his Chilean exile, a member of the Movimiento de Izquierda Revolucionaria (MIR). Forced into exile again after the Pinochet coup, he taught at the UNAM in Mexico for many years, returning to Brazil shortly before his death from cancer in 1997.

 

In the following essay, Argentine Marxist Claudio Katz analyzes Marini’s work in light of contemporary developments in global capitalism. He assesses Marini’s attempt to understand and explain the initial developments in neoliberal globalization and suggests some ways in which dependency theory might now be renewed and updated. And he comments critically on the work of some current proponents of versions of dependency theory.

 

Québec solidaire: No to an electoral pact with the PQ, Yes to a united front against austerity and for independence

 

 
By Richard Fidler

 

May 29, 2017 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Life on the Left — As expected, the 500 delegates to the congress of Québec solidaire (QS), held here 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.

 

Les socialistes et la guerre au vingt-et-unième siècle – Le cas de la Syrie

 

 

[Original in English here.]

 

Par Richard Fidler

 

23 novembre 2016 — Traduction française par Pierre Beaudet, Europe Solidaire Sans Frontières — En Syrie, les villes rebelles qui se sont soulevées à partir de 2011 contre la brutale dictature de Bashar El-Assad, subissent maintenant un siège génocidaire. Chaque jour, elles sont visées par l’aviation syrienne et les bombardiers russes. Leur combat, s’il échoue, brisera pour une longue période les espoirs du Printemps arabe pour une alternative démocratique et anti-impérialiste dans cette région du monde. Dans ce contexte, les socialistes et les militant-es pour la paix partout dans le monde doivent appuyer le peuple syrien et s’opposer à la guerre.

 

Socialists and wars in the 21st century – The case of Syria

 

 

by Richard Fidler

 

November 14, 2016 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — In Syria the rebel cities that rose up four years ago in revolt against the brutal Assad dictatorship are now under a genocidal siege, bombed and assaulted from the air by Assad’s military aided and abetted by Russian fighter jets and bombers. Their desperate fight for survival, if unsuccessful, will put paid to the Arab Spring and with it the potential for building a democratic, anti-imperialist governmental alternative in the Middle East for an extended period to come. Socialists and antiwar activists everywhere have every interest in supporting the Syrian people and opposing that war.

 

But where is the antiwar movement?

Naomi Klein-inspired 'Leap Manifesto' shakes up Canadian left

 

 

Canada: Leap Manifesto unites broad forces, builds climate justice campaigns

 

“The Truth and Reconciliation Commission has acknowledged shocking details about the violence of Canada’s near past. Deepening poverty and inequality are a scar on the country’s present. And Canada’s record on climate change is a crime against humanity’s future.” —The Leap Manifesto

 

by John Riddell

 

April 3, 2016 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Climate and Capitalism -- Five hundred Toronto-area supporters crowded into a west-end school auditorium March 29 to support the Leap Manifesto, launched early this year in support of a rapid, “justice-based” energy transition to a renewable economy.

 

The movement was launched in January 2016 to popularize the ideas of Naomi Klein’s influential book on climate change, This Changes Everything. Klein pointed to the need for a mass social movement addressing both the urgent need for climate action and an agenda for social justice.

 

‘Venezuela defines the future of the progressive cycle’ An interview with Claudio Katz

 

Introduced and translated by Richard Fidler, article original published in Spanish in La Llamarada

 

July 14, 2013 -- Life on the Left, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- Two recent events — the second-round victory on November 22 of right-wing candidate Mauricio Macri in Argentina’s presidential election, and the December 6 victory of the right-wing Democratic Unity Roundtable,[1] winning two thirds of the seats in Venezuela’s National Assembly elections — have radically altered the political map in South America. In the following interview, Argentine Marxist Claudio Katz discusses what these setbacks for the left mean for the progressive “process of change” that has unfolded on the continent over the last 10-15 years. My translation from the Spanish.

 

Katz is a professor of economics at the University of Buenos Aires, a researcher with the National Council of Science and Technology, and a member of Economists of the Left.[2]

 

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