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Articles

  • Leadership the Issue at CLC Convention

    Just another day in the labour movement. On June 13, 2005, 212 garbage collection workers began a legal strike in Mississauga. The workers were confronted with scabs performing their work. The union, Teamsters Canada Local Union 419, refused to comment publicly on the reasons for the strike or the issues at stake. The Toronto Star reported on the frustration of the public having to deal with hot weather, smelly garbage, with no idea of the reasons behind the strike.

  • Peasant Movements in Latin America

    At the end of the seventies, many experts argued that peasant movements were an anachronistic, declining force for social transformation. These observers failed to see or understand the emergence of a new generation of modern peasant leaders based on mass organizations, capable of compensating for demographic changes through greater organization and through coalition building with urban-poor neighborhood organizations and trade unions. Peasant organizations have more than made up for quantitative losses in relative population with qualitative gains in organization, leadership, strategies and tactics.

  • Hugo Chavez & The “New Democracy”

    In the working-class neighbourhood of Catia on Caracas’ west side, the streets are strewn with refuse; even the public spaces, the plazas and street-shopping laneways are neglected. Caracas’ west side is part of the sprawling district of Sucre, one of Latin America’s largest and one of Caracas’ oldest barrios. At a meeting called by local activists last January, Catia residents complained that the Sucre district council wasn’t doing its job, that the head of the district council was inept and wholly corrupt. Not only was the council neglecting garbage collection and other community services for which they were responsible, they were extorting small businesses in the area.

  • “War on Terror” Has Latin America Indigenous People in its Sights

    The “War on Terror,” identified in Amnesty International’s 2004 annual report as a new source of human-rights abuses, is threatening to expand to Latin America, targeting indigenous movements that are demanding autonomy and protesting free-market policies and “neoliberal” globalization.

    In the United States, “there is a perception of indigenous activists as destabilizing elements and terrorists,” and their demands and activism have begun to be cast in a criminal light, said lawyer José Aylwin, of the Institute of Indigenous Studies at the University of the Border in Temuco (670 kilometres south of the Chilean capital).

  • The Call for a Living Wage

    No surprise to those of us trapped in low-wage jobs, but for others more fortunate, let’s make it official: having a job is no longer a way out of poverty. The minimum wage in most provinces is so low that even someone working full time at a minimum-wage job falls far short of the poverty line. Indeed, it’s a fact that half of the families in Canada who are living below the poverty line have someone working 35 or more hours per week.

  • Wal-Mart’s Culture of Control

    Canada could stand to learn from Germany’s example. The emergence of big-box enterprise marks an important turn in Canadian capitalist expansion, and, if Canadians are going to maintain control of their urban space and labour conditions, they’re going to have to take a lesson from the big guy. In dealing with the non-negotiable culture of Wal-Mart, Canadians could stand to develop a little non-negotiability of their own.

  • CLC Convention 2005

    It is time for the labour movement to seriously debate the role and function of the Canadian Labour Congress. If the CLC is to assert itself as a leading institution in the labour movement it must be led by a president with the vision and courage to unite the labour movement in the key collective bargaining and organizational struggles that lie ahead.

    Under the current leadership the Congress is viewed by many activists to be floundering and largely irrelevant to many of the important struggles of the labour movement. This is in spite of the fact that the Congress is widely recognized as doing valuable work, especially in the areas of research, and on issues such as racism, sexism, homophobia and equality.

  • The Cost of Consent

    “The people here are the unluckiest people in the world,” our guide commented, as we drove through the winding back roads to avoid the many police outposts scattered throughout the mountains. We were all well aware that underneath the vast beauty surrounding us lay the source of a major conflict: the Kashipur region of the eastern Indian state of Orissa sits above one of the world’s largest bauxite reserves. While this may be good news for the major aluminum multinationals, like Canada’s Alcan Inc., it is a curse, not a blessing, for many of the local inhabitants.

  • Fernwood

    Errol Sharpe does not have a corner office in a towering skyscraper. The view from his desk is not of the Toronto skyline, but of Croucher, Wood and Strawberry Island in the quiet cove of St. Margaret’s Bay. It is here, in Black Point, Nova Scotia, that Fernwood Publishing has its national office, publishing critical non-fiction that challenges existing scholarship on issues of race, economics, trade, globalization, gender, labour and numerous other social issues.

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