• Tough union, tough lessons

    Over the last three decades in Canada, governments’ neoliberal policies have created a crisis of under-funding in post-secondary education. With steep funding cuts, universities and colleges have looked to other measures to balance their books: increasing tuition and ancillary fees, soliciting greater private funding and implementing cost-reduction measures like increased reliance on contract faculty to teach courses. The present economic crisis has further exacerbated the financial situation at many universities, as cash-strained investors restrict their donations, universities’ sizable endowment funds bleed with investment losses, and deficit-laden governments balk at increasing education funding.

  • York University’s get of jail free card

    The longest university strike in English Canada came to an unhappy end on January 29, 2009, in a manner that should send a wake-up call to an entire labour movement already on the defensive. After 85 days on the picket line in an effort to reverse the trend towards casualized teaching in post-secondary institutions, the contract professors and graduate-student workers of CUPE 3903 were legislated back to work by a Liberal-Conservative coalition. One by one, MPPs stood up to vote for Bill 145, as picketers outside could be heard singing the words, “we’ll not stand for this.” Within days, there were reports of imminent legislation forcing Ottawa transit workers back on the job. Within a week, 70,000 elementary school teachers accepted a tentative agreement after being told to “watch the situation at York very closely.”

  • Thinking through the York University strike

    The recent strike by CUPE 3903, which represents the contract faculty, teaching assistants and graduate assistants at York University, has left deep divisions in the union and on campus. In a heated discussion about the merits of the two articles we commissioned, the Dimension collective generated a number of questions over which no agreement emerged. We thought it would be useful to share these questions with our readers.

  • Unions and the crisis

    The political and economic setting facing the union movement today is the most difficult since the Great Depression. Unions have already confronted two decades of unrelenting assault from neoliberal policies of labour-market flexibility, austerity and political conservatism. Then, the global financial crisis ripped across the entire world market. Many forecasts for 2009 are projecting negative growth for the world economy as a whole for the first time since the 1930s.

  • Actually, it’s the system, President Obama

    Global capitalism’s deterioration is fast outrunning the disorganized, uncoordinated patchwork of too-little-too-late government “programs.” Nothing illustrates this sorry spectacle better than the twists and turns of U.S. monetary policy to be executed by the Federal Reserve, and Congress’s just-passed “stimulus” program, about to be enacted by the Obama administration.

  • Banning art, blaming the victim and rewarding Canadian war exporters

    Posters have been banned on two university campuses in Ottawa because they used a cartoon image depicting an Israeli AH-64 attack helicopter firing at a Palestinian child. The poster’s artwork, by Brazilian cartoonist Carlos Latuff, is based on reality.

  • The Labour Report

    One might think that a prolonged and deep recession would provide the inspiration for socialist renewal. The contradictions of capital, combined with the insatiable greed of many capitalists, have once again revealed how this system doesn’t work for people who depend on selling their labour. But failures of capitalism don’t automatically lead to thoughts of socialism. If history can teach us, we should look beyond the labour movement for sources of new inspiration and leadership.

  • From Mothers to Activists

    Disability, Mothers, and Organization: Accidental Activists, by Melanie Panitch, looks specifically at the development of the community living movement across Canada, an organization that (broadly speaking) assists people with developmental disabilities in meeting their needs.

  • The effect of imperialism on Greece

    The series of events that occurred from 1941-1949 and 1965-1974 give rise to Greece’s current state today. The complicated and dramatic course of the war and civil war in Greece has, for lack of parties interested in reconstructing the truth of events, has never before been narrated in full. I am a direct descendent of the ELAS (Greek Peoples Liberation Army). I have relied on testimony painstakingly collected from survivors of this tragedy.

  • The Return of Mr. Keynes

    John Maynard Keynes has returned from the graveyard of discarded and abandoned theorists. Blamed for the strange brew known as stagflation, Keynes’ economics had been unceremoniously dumped there in the mid-seventies. His economics was replaced by that rediscovered nineteenth-century concoction of deregulation, privatization and free trade that, under the rubric of neoliberalism, ruled economic policy making for the past quarter century. And so, the cycle turns.

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