Articles

  • The Resistible Rise of the Creative Class

    “The Creative City” should immediately strike one as an odd phrase, one that we could very well do without. Because it has become such a buzz word since the publication of American consultant Richard Florida’s urban economic policy manual The Rise of the Creative Class, however, not everyone may feel this way. Indeed, we forget too easily in the company of our “bohemian” neighbours that cities have been creative places for much of human history, and especially so after the rise of capitalism; and that creativity itself is a fundamental feature of human nature, at least according to Karl Marx’s view on the matter.

  • Fanning the Flames

    “Hey, where’s the Russian flag?”

    Windsor’s Labour Day march, 1957, and I was three years old. Marchers carried flags of Canada, England, the United States. I rambunctiously blurted out the question above as my parents tried to hush me up. I had no idea there was a Cold War. In my child’s mind, Russia helped win the war against the bad Nazis. “We were Russian! Weren’t we the good guys, too? Wasn’t the flag with the hammer and sickle a good flag?”

  • Fool me twice? Labour Politics in South Africa

    Campaigning on a platform of “A People’s Contract to Create Work and Fight Poverty,” the ruling African National Congress (ANC) received nearly 70 per cent of the popular vote in South Africa’s third democratic election in March, 2004.

  • The Uncertain Path to PR

    The election of a minority Liberal government in the June federal election has created a historic opportunity to push democratic reform in Canada, specifically dumping our unrepresentative, uncompetitive first-past-the-post voting system for some form of proportional representation. While there have been minority governments before – throughout the 1960s, from 1972-74 and in 1979 – this is the first time since Mackenzie King’s farmer/labour-supported Liberal minority government of 1921 that a number of key political parties favour at least considering PR.

  • Mining Towns and the New Hinterland Crisis

    The long-term decline in mine-industry employment occurs in the post-1970s historical context of globalization, in this way differing from the earlier generation of post-war hinterland crisis that devastated agricultural towns. The crisis is engulfing other resource-dependent towns, notably in forestry and fishing, as well as rail towns.

  • Democracy in Montréal: One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

    The municipal political boundaries of Montréal are to be redrawn once again. Instead of one big city divided into 27 boroughs, Montréal will be one big city interspersed with 15 small municipalities. But apart from the question of identity, with its socio-economic and ethno-linguistic dimensions, does this movement represent a bid to strengthen local democracy?

  • Winnipeg: City of Contradictions

    Winnipeg’s history is one of contradictions. On one hand, it was once the “Gateway to the West”. On the other hand, it was the city of labour and struggle. Out of their struggles sprung a wealth of labour and social activism and progressive political thought and organization.

  • The Parkland Institute: Alberta’s Unofficial Opposition

    In an oil-rich province with a seemingly undefeatable Progressive Conservative government, it can seem more than a little difficult to challenge the status quo. Gordon Laxer knows this, but it didn’t stop him from creating the Parkland Institute, a left-wing think tank he describes as Alberta’s “lone alternative voice.”

  • G Stands for General Strike

    The July/August issue of CD suggested that it was high time for activists and the Left in the labour movement to reflect on the strengths and weaknesses of significant political struggles including mass work stoppages. The point is not to reminisce, but to participate in a debate around how to build resistance to the right-wing hammerings we continue to endure, with, frankly, no end in sight.

  • The 2004 Election & the Left: Some Lessons from Quebec

    A few thoughts on the June 28 federal election, focused on the Québec results and their implications for the Left in the Rest of Canada.

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