A selection of articles from Canadian socialists discussing the October 14 federal election and the debates and discussions in the Canadian and Quebec left and labour movements on electoral tactics.

By Reihana Mohideen

The Wall Street crisis seems light years away from the side streets of Manila’s urban poor slums. For the labouring masses in the Philippines the capitalist system has been in crisis for some time now, unable to deliver life’s basic necessities: jobs and a living wage; affordable quality healthcare and education; and food security.

According to official National Statistics Office data poverty levels have increased between 2003 and 2006, and 2008 is expected to be the worst year since the 1998 Asian economic crisis. Between April 2007 and April 2008 the labour force grew by only 81,000, while the number of unemployed rose by 249,000, i.e. triple the increase in the labour force. In 2008 the number of employed persons fell by 168,000 and there was no employment generation in April of this year. Jobs were being lost at a time when prices and inflation were skyrocketing.

By Adolfo Gilly

September 22, 2008 -- Mexico -- “The problem in Bolivia is that the country is undergoing a process of reforms, without abandoning the democratic framework, but both the opposition and the government act as if they were facing a revolution”, stated Marco Aurelio García, a close international affairs advisor to [Brazil's president] Lula, according to an article by José Natanson in the newspaper Pagina 12.

Allowing myself to not take this declaration literally, but instead in an ironic sense, Marco Aurelio García, an intelligent and well-informed man, can’t help but realise that if the two protagonists of the Bolivian confrontation believe that they are dealing with a revolution, this belief is the best confirmation that, in effect, it is. The vice-president of Bolivia, Álvaro García Linera, on the other hand, has said that what is happening is “an increase in elites, an increase in rights, and a redistribution of wealth. This, in Bolivia, is a revolution.”

By Walden Bello, Focus on the Global South

[Read more on the capitalist economic crisis HERE.]

September 25, 2008 -- The Wall Street meltdown is not only due to greed and to the lack of government regulation of a hyperactive sector. It stems from the crisis of overproduction that has plagued global capitalism since the mid-seventies.

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Many on Wall Street are still digesting the momentous events of the last ten days:

Statement by the Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network

September 30, 2008 -- As a broad network of organisations and individuals that has closely studied the significant changes in Venezuelan society since 1998 – including organising eight study tours to Venezuela involving more than 150 Australians from diverse backgrounds -- we are obliged to respond to the biases, distortions and lies contained in the Human Rights Watch report A Decade Under Chavez: Political Intolerance and Lost Opportunities for Advancing Human Rights in Venezuela, released in September 2008.

The key theme of the report -- that “Ten years ago, Chavez promoted a new constitution that could have significantly improved human rights in Venezuela. But rather than advancing rights protections, his government has since moved in the opposite direction, sacrificing basic guarantees in pursuit of its own political agenda” -- bears no relation to the reality in Venezuela today.

What happens to a dream deferred?

Does it dry up

like a raisin in the sun?

Or fester like a sore--

And then run?

Does it stink like rotten meat?

Or crust and sugar over--

like a syrupy sweet?


Maybe it just sags

like a heavy load.


Or does it explode?

-- Langston Hughes, 1951

By Kavita Krishnan

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Sydney climate emergency rally, October 3, 2008. Photo by Alex Bainbridge.

Climate action now!

September 25, 2008 -- The Australian federal government’s climate change adviser, Professor Ross Garnaut, has released his recommendations for medium-term cuts to Australian greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

He calls for reductions by 2020 of just 5% if there is no comprehensive international agreement on emissions reductions, or reductions of 10% if there is an agreement. At the Bali climate summit in December 2007 many developed countries expressed support for goals of 25-40% reductions.

By José Ramón Machado Ventura, vice-president of Cuba, speaking on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, at the 63rd session of the United Nations General Assembly.

[To watch video of the speech, click here.]

September 24, 2008 -- We are living a decisive moment in the history of humankind. The threats looming over the world put the very existence of the human species at risk.

The promotion of peace, solidarity, social justice and sustainable development is the only WAY to ensure the future. The prevailing world order, unjust and unsustainable, must be replaced by a new system that is truly democratic and equitable, based on respect for international law and on the principles of solidarity and justice, putting an end to the inequalities and exclusion to which the great majorities of the population of our planet have been condemned.

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By Peter Boyle

September 26, 2008 -- "Rich people got it good in this country", said African-American comedian Wanda Sykes on the September 24 Tonight Show with Jay Leno. "We refuse to let them not be rich. Think about it. Broke people are about to bailout rich people. This is what is going on."

"And they want no oversight. $700 billion dollars and no oversight! No oversight? Why should we? I want receipts dammit! What do you mean no oversight? Because, oh, you're so good with the other money?"

"This is the biggest piece of garbage ever. You know what? It's welfare for the rich...