Articles Reviews

  • A Marxist History of Capitalism

    Since the 1970s, Marxist discussion of how and when capitalism was born has been dominated by two competing academic currents. World-System Theory, first enunciated by Immanuel Wallerstein, locates the origin of capitalism in the expansion of world trade and the plunder of the new world in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. Political Marxism, developed by Robert Brenner, says the transition took place somewhat earlier, and only in rural England, where feudal lords converted themselves into capitalist landlords.

  • The cautionary tale of Superman

    Superman has always been identified as representing truth, justice and the American Way. He was an unambiguous superhero, no hints at darkness, not a trace of the anti-hero. Certainly, Superman has never been identified with any type of critique of capitalism. In a time where America represents neither truth nor justice (if it ever did) there may not be a rush to the bookstore to buy a graphic novel about the creator of the Superman mythos. However, that would be a mistake.

  • Parasites in paradise: behind the capitalist curtain

    The writer of this book is a journalist who, as a member of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, did yeoman work uncovering the Panama Papers. The most intriguing part of the book is the telling of the trials and tribulations of journalists from all over the world who collaborated to put disparate pieces of evidence together. They had to find outlets and overcome mainstream publishers who were reluctant to publish and, when persuaded to publish, to do so at times agreed-to by competitors who were given the same access to the stories.

  • The North End Revisited: Photographs by John Paskievich

    As an artist of his generation, Paskievich places himself within a Cold War discourse with Paskievich working primarily as an NFB director from the time he finished his studies in the 1970s. It is interesting to contemplate an artist with Paskievich’s observational talent were his family to remain in Europe after World War II, joining filmmakers like Sergei Parajanov in the Odessa film scene established by the visionary Dovzhenko.

  • We All Live in a Mediocracy

    Recall that mediocracy as a regime compels mediocrity as a form of self-preservation. Rather, Deneault quite correctly encourages us to resist the temptation to mediocrity by considering the ultimate form and manner in which our public deliberations take place, “whenever an attitude frees us from the harmful ways of mediocrity, whenever an idea helps us develop a justly instituted public life, these will be ways for us to move forward, without any guarantees”

  • Examining the American nightmare

    This new work by one of the world’s leading social critics, the founding theorist of critical pedagogy, represents an attempt to develop both a political discourse and call to action, by examining what is viewed as an impending crisis of authoritarianism, evident in the rise of Donald Trump and the so-called alt-right in the United States. The book highlights the emerging authoritarianism in the United States which the author sees as the “emptying of politics of democratic values.”

  • Trees and teargas: worldviews clash at Barriere Lake

    Events from a chilling October day in 2008, on a gravel road entering Algonquin First Nation bush territory, epitomize the contentious history of jurisdiction in what is now known as Canada. Riot cops teargassed the community standing at a blockade and arrested nine people, including two minors, an elder, and a pregnant woman. The alarming story of Barriere Lake reveals much about the tactics and devices used by the state to continue its dispossession of Indigenous peoples’ land.

  • Where Are the Riots of Yesteryear? Remembering May 1968

    Putting aside polemics, the great strength of Abidor’s May Made Me, is that it presents a variety of voices among participants, leaving the reader to ponder their testimony and make up her own mind. Fifty years later, he has gathered the eye-opening oral testimonies of those then-young rebels. By listening to the voices of students and workers, as well as to those of their leaders, his book makes May ’68 appear as an event driven by millions of individuals.

  • The Mirage of Pension-Fund Activism

    Despite the title’s grandiose claims, the book’s argument at times retreats to the far more modest position that large pension funds are an established fact, so we need to engage with them. It’s true that unions must and will continue to defend the pensions they have won. All workers deserve good pensions, but to win these, workers’ power will have to be built to take on the existing system of inequality and insecurity.

  • Indian Horse is a Film All Canadians Must See

    At a time of rampant anti-Indigenous racism and growing residential school denial, the big-budget film confronts the legacy of Indian Residential Schools in Canada and does so in a relatable way for a general audience: the story is rooted in the main character’s relationship with the game of hockey. For anyone interested in hockey and history and figuring out how to strengthen relations between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples, Indian Horse is a must-see movie.

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