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Our Times 3

Social Movements

  • Resisting education cuts in Alberta: Drawing on recent historical examples

    If austerity is to be fought, we need to look at the recent history of labour and student organizing to identify some high points of resistance. History does not necessarily repeat itself, but it does provide lessons that point towards the possibility of alternatives and the belief that another way is possible, even if movements in the past failed to achieve it.

  • Beyond the New Democratic Party

    In charting a course forward, amid the pandemic and beyond, socialists must use their energy strategically. Transforming the New Democratic Party, for many, might simply prove to be too costly or too pointless to manage in a time of great upheaval and even greater opportunity. With so many trains leaving the station, is the NDP’s the right one to jump on?

  • Why socialists should join the ONDP now

    Many leftists believe that social movement organizing is more important than electoral politics. But the labour movement needs a labour party in government, and socialists ignore the need to gain power at our own peril. It seems to me that our best chance of avoiding the disappointment of 2018 is to join the ONDP now and team up with other socialists within the party struggling to push it to the left.

  • Winning social justice victories means bringing power to the table

    Winning social justice victories isn’t about making nice with the powerful. Rather, it requires bringing some power to the table. Fortunately for the anti-nuclear movement its latent power is a broadly supportive public. To turn that into policy, activists need to rile up public opinion and channel it politically. If that upsets some important people that’s a reflection of their priorities, not our tactics.

  • Stage left: Fighting precarity in the cultural industries

    For the past several years, worker organizing and strike action in the cultural sector have been on the rise throughout North America. While cultural workers with greater strategic leverage have carried out successful strike actions, those working in precarious situations have faced greater obstacles. This is particularly true for freelance and other arts workers with less stable forms of employment—which is to say the vast majority.

  • 250 million people participate in countrywide strike in India

    Despite police repression and the COVID-19 pandemic, workers and farmers and their allies across India participated in the pan-India strike action against the recent neoliberal reforms pushed through by the Narendra Modi government. The strike comes at a time when the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic has pushed India into a veritable recession, exacerbating existing inequalities and deprivation.

  • The terminal politics of ‘more of the same’

    We are living in a time of biomedical, economic and ecological crises. A Biden administration will only offer more of the same measures that will fuel the rise of something even more aberrant than Trump. The only alternative lies neither in unity with the political centre nor in the false hope of deliverance by lesser evil, but in mass social action and the forging of a clear socialist project.

  • Why we need to resurrect the ‘syndicalism’ of the 1919 Winnipeg General Strike

    Capitalism has changed very little over hundreds of years, and general strikes, now as in 1919, remain the most powerful form of anti-capitalist action. Amid ever-worsening inequality, progressives of all stripes must shift away from electoral politics and focus on organizing general strikes, as workers did more than a century ago in the streets of Winnipeg.

  • Building, not branding

    People whose names we will never know propelled liberatory struggles of the past. With plenty of contradictions and messiness, they fought oppression and exploitation, nurtured freedom dreams, and won victories that we sometimes take for granted today. For the most part, they were neither rich nor famous, nor did they become rich or famous through their movement efforts.

  • The cost of resistance

    Two of the rebels I admire most, Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks publisher, and Roger Hallam, the co-founder of Extinction Rebellion, are in jail in Britain. That should not be surprising. You can measure the effectiveness of resistance by the fury of the response. Julian courageously exposed the lies, deceit, war crimes and corruption of the ruling imperial elites.

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