The Ukraine invasion and the peace movement
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine should have been pretty straightforward at least on the surface. A large authoritarian nuclear power launches an all out assault on a vulnerable and militarily weak neighbour to recover its regional hegemony and eliminate any semblance of a political alternative. This should be a no brainer for peace activists, or so you would think. But that assumption has turned out to be wrong.
What’s the use of the Pandora Papers?
Of course the hope lingers that the extensive leaks contained within the Pandora Papers will force reform of the tax regime and reverse, or at least impede, the exacerbation of what is already a staggering level of global inequality. But it seems naïve to imagine that those who made the rules in favour of capital accumulation will now turn around and say “Gosh we never intended it to go this far.”
Reimagining the left in times of crisis
Challenging the Right, Augmenting the Left: Recasting Leftist Imagination is a fine collection willing to challenge and explore a number of different paths out of the ecological wasteland that the many forms of capitalism are condemning us to. But it also goes some way to addressing the largely unrecognized crisis of all too many of the alternatives to that capitalist system.
Politics and pandemics
The COVID-19 crisis is making us do some of the things required to live within the planet’s ecological boundaries. We have a stark choice before us. Rework our economy and polity around the possibilities that tackle climate change, or continue to ratchet up the labour market to produce ever more jobs while paying no attention to their ecological implications or levels of pay and conditions of work.
Electoral dilemmas and participatory theatre
Those we get to choose from are largely part of a class of professional politicians, mostly former lawyers or business executives with the occasional teacher thrown into the mix. Many such as Andrew Scheer have never been anything but career politicians. It’s a sad kind of symbolic democracy as opposed to any real self-rule with democratic decision-making embedded broadly in workplaces and communities.
Capitalism: A Crime Story
Harry Glasbeek is a real oddity—a lawyer and professor of corporate law who specializes in exposing the way in which law is manipulated to provide aid and comfort to the dubious maneuverings of corporate power. In this concise book he moves beyond his earlier critique of the shield provided by corporate personhood to examine the ways in which the spirit of liberal jurisprudence is undermined by the way courts interpret corporate malfeasance.
Nawrocki’s Displaced/Misplaced exposes plight of migrant workers
Norman Nawroki, long a stunningly creative voice from out of Montréal’s anarchist community, combines spoken word with guitar, drum, piano and some very haunting violin in this compilation to benefit the city’s Immigrant Workers centre and Solidarity Across Borders. Nawrocki’s political poetry blends acute observation of the plight of migrant workers and refugees with musical and background voice arrangements.
NDP needs to leave its comfort zone
Candidates seek to strike a series of sensible balances between the economy and the environment, between free and fair trade, between husbanding taxpayer’s dollars and meeting social needs. There is nothing wrong with balance as a principle, but these are not equivalencies, and treating them as such will mean the former always undermines the latter. This is not a path to the radical passion that has propelled recent electoral success on the Left.
Would a maximum wage law work for Canada?
A maximum wage (like a minimum wage) is no panacea, failing as it does to address both the content and conditions of work or the overall way in which society’s wealth gets distributed. However, depending where it was set and how vigorously it was enforced, it could help to revive public finances and tame the trend towards galloping inequality.
The dead end of wage labour
An adequate basic income for all is a good starting point for the Left to renew its assault on compulsory wage labour. The organization of work could be freed up to take on more cooperative, decentralized and democratic forms in which workers could decide for themselves what work is desired and useful. Such reforms should be welcomed insofar as they would significantly weaken the power corporate job blackmailers currently wield over society.
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