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Our Times 3

John Clarke

  • Policing the poor

    The call to defund the police was put on the political agenda in Canada as well as in the United States in the wake of the killing of George Floyd last year, and its importance has not diminished. The vast resources that have been poured into bloated police budgets urgently need to be diverted into the public services to meet the needs of vulnerable communities under attack.

  • A left perspective on vaccine passports

    Refusing to be vaccinated has real and terrible consequences and it is not possible to view it as a personal choice that we must come to terms with. However, while measures taken by the state to increase levels of vaccination are something we must support, the last thing I want to suggest is that we should trust those in political power or leave it to them when it comes to the response to the pandemic.

  • Danger signs on the road to a post-pandemic future

    The official line that the pandemic is a temporary disturbance that will soon be behind us and that we will all build back better in its wake is tired and discredited. The post-pandemic austerity regime will demand new and bold forms of organizing. Similarly, as extreme weather becomes more common and intense, the defence of communities left in harm’s way will require a whole new level of audacity and solidarity.

  • Hounding Toronto’s homeless

    The neoliberal city needs its enforcers as a matter of great priority, writes CD columnist John Clarke. Those who are denied the right of housing must not be allowed to become too visible. If they seek shelter and safety in public parks, they will soon learn that, while there may be no housing or even adequate shelter available for them, there will be no lack of police batons to drive them from view.

  • Free speech on Palestine: Time to push back

    There is a need for bold and wide-ranging approaches to Palestine solidarity at this time. However, we must also confront a major barrier that stands in the way of such forward movement. In the last few years, Israel’s enablers have made progress in attacking the legitimacy of support for the Palestinian struggle by falsely equating it with anti-Semitism. These accusations have seriously obstructed the work of left movements and activists.

  • Defending the left case against basic income

    I don’t think my enemies are those who honestly feel that basic income is the best approach. Rather, they are those who maintain the system of colonialism, racism and poverty. The stakes are too high to set the debate aside, but I hope we can pursue it in ways that are useful and constructive. In that spirit, I offer this response to what is, in my view, the mistaken notion that basic income offers us a way forward.

  • A post-pandemic social peace accord?

    The key consideration is how the left should orient itself in the period that is now opening up. The concessions that employers and states make aren’t driven by wishes and hopes; they hinge on the willingness of those in power to provide them. The post-war approach was based on a capacity to broker social peace, while ensuring a robust flow of profits. There is no such prospect before us at present.

  • The class struggle and geopolitics

    It is hard to imagine any credible political perspective on the left that isn’t hostile to US-led imperialism. However, there is more to be considered than the geopolitical map and the actions of governments. We live in a world in which working class people face exploitation and oppression and in which they take to the streets to challenge those conditions.

  • Organizing in the face of crisis

    The pandemic will continue to shape our lives for a long time to come yet. However, even when it is finally behind us, the economic fallout and deeper problems of global capitalism will be left in its wake. As workers and as members of communities under attack, we are going to have to be able to assert the popular will through powerful and united social movements.

  • Banning the Proud Boys—be careful what you ask for

    Governments, even with liberals in charge, won’t stop the right today anymore than Hindenburg stopped Hitler. Governments of the discredited neoliberal centre won’t contain the social dislocation and discontent that feeds the growth of fascism. The threat will only be stopped by powerful working class action that drives the fascists off the streets and challenges the system that produces them.

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