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Social Movements

  • Chile’s new political era

    Chilean historian Gabriel Salazar, a specialist in social movements and constituent people’s power, ponders the future of the new left-wing president in Chile. According to him, Gabriel Boric must place himself at the service of the Constitutional Convention, or put himself at risk of a new revolt. This interview was translated from French by David Mendel.

  • America’s new class war

    There is one last hope for the United States. It does not lie in the ballot box. It lies in the union organizing and strikes by workers at Amazon, Starbucks, Uber, Lyft, John Deere, Kellogg, the Special Metals plant in Huntington, West Virginia, the Northwest Carpenters Union, Kroger, teachers in Chicago, and the members of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees.

  • Extinction Rebellion: ‘Shifting the zeitgeist’ through mass arrests

    Protest action that incurs the risk of mass arrest is a central part of the Extinction Rebellion movement, whose guiding philosophy is rooted in previous grassroots civil disobedience models, such as the civil rights and women’s suffrage movements. The rationale is that causing mass disruption in urban centres and overwhelming criminal justice systems is the only way to force the government to listen.

  • Fighting for transit in a world on fire

    Conditions are dire, but transit riders and workers continue to fight for change. Canadian Dimension spoke with two organizers with TTCriders—a grassroots, membership-based advocacy group in Toronto—about their current campaigns, organizing during the pandemic, the relationship between transit politics and climate justice, and advice for people who want to get involved in transit organizing in their own communities.

  • From Clayoquot Sound to Fairy Creek: What have we learned?

    For those who lived through BC’s legendary War in the Woods nearly 30 years ago at Clayoquot Sound, the blockades and mass arrests at Fairy Creek are indeed a déjà vu experience. The question is: Why is this still going on? Why is history repeating itself while the world burns, oceans rise and irreplaceable ancient forests disappear? What will it take to change the script?

  • Electoral politics can’t solve climate change

    Climate change isn’t a technical problem, it’s a power imbalance problem. And polite participation in electoral politics—perform your civic duty then return to a quiet life of economic production—has never successfully challenged power before. We shouldn’t expect it to be able to now. Instead, we need to draw our lessons from major social breakthroughs of the past.

  • Skyler Williams is a political prisoner

    Skyler Williams is dangerous in the eyes of the state because he is politically active; because he refuses the shackles of shame and poverty; because he speaks and refuses to be silenced. He is seen as dangerous because he questions the government in court, challenging development on the traditional land of the Haudenosaunee people with injunctions and peaceful resistance.

  • Organizing for prison abolition and racial justice on the Canadian Prairies

    The Canadian Prairies remain a sprawling example of disproportionate incarceration rates and profoundly troubling conditions for inmates—made only worse by the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, a vast enclave of organizations have found solidarity under the banner of the Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Alberta Abolition Coalition, which aims to address and correct the abuses and systemic racism that are widespread in these provinces’ justice systems.

  • Can we really fight for a left agenda within the NDP?

    We are often told that voting is a form of ‘harm reduction.’ But consider all the energy and resources poured into trying-and-usually-failing to get NDP candidates elected to a parliament where they likely cannot or will not make any difference in the actual policy output. What if we put those resources and energy into the actual harm reduction itself?

  • Time for craft brewery workers to organize

    It is imperative that the impetus created by the public response to the sharing of allegations of sexual harassment, abuse, and discrimination within the craft brewing industry builds into an enduring movement that extends beyond the current moment. The possibility for a necessary shift away from a toxic workplace culture comes from the increased support and solidarity that a labour organization or union can provide.

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