Articles Social Movements

  • Web exclusive:Witness to the Saturday Protests

    Social Movements

    I can still remember, as an undergrad, the debate at York University about the War Measures Act in 1972. That will give you some idea of my age and that I am not a black-shirted anarchist.

  • From Mothers to Activists

    Disability, Mothers, and Organization: Accidental Activists, by Melanie Panitch, looks specifically at the development of the community living movement across Canada, an organization that (broadly speaking) assists people with developmental disabilities in meeting their needs.

  • Building Resistance

    In western Canadian cities like Winnipeg, a new and particularly destructive form of poverty has emerged over the past thirty years. It is inextricably linked with racism, is disproportionately concentrated in the inner city and has especially damaging effects on Aboriginal people. At the same time, it is Aboriginal people and especially Aboriginal women who are in the lead in developing effective, close-to-the-ground strategies to combat this new poverty.

  • The Left’s Review

    Most English-speaking leftists over the age of forty grew up reading the New Left Review (NLR). Founded in 1960, the journal brought together the first British New Left, which exited the Communist Party in 1956, publishing the New Reasoner, and a younger generation that put out the Universities and Left Review.

  • From Apathy to Activism

    Regarding the deeply rooted apathy that many students exhibit, my observation, and that of those with whom I have consulted in writing this article, is that it is an offshoot of a sense of self-entitlement. Most students have yet to experience any political upheaval or economic hardship for themselves. The wave of relatively steady economic growth in Canada, and the consumer culture that accompanies it, results in a dangerous combination of political complacency and consumer insatiability. Coupled with the demolishment of the welfare state, the resulting competitive individualism produces a sense of hostility expressed as self-entitlement, which has had a potent demobilizing effect across campuses nationwide.

  • The Global Gang Thang

    With A World of Gangs: Armed Young Men and Gangsta Culture, author John Hagedorn heeds Antonio Gramsci’s call for “pessimism of the intellect, optimism of the will.” “Gangs aren’t going away soon … no matter what we do,” Hagedorn says gloomily, but with Gramscian optimism he continues, “this means we better figure out how to reduce the violence and encourage gangs and others in ghettoes, barrios, favelas, and townships to join movements for social change.”

  • The Long March of the Canadian Peace Movement

    The Canadian peace movement has just held a series of marches to mark the fifth anniversary of the war in Iraq and to call on the Canadian government to end our military involvement in Afghanistan. A majority of Canadians want the troops home, and over sixty per cent oppose extending the mission past 2009. Yet, almost every Liberal MP lined up with the Conservatives on March 13 to support Stephen Harper’s plan to extend Canada’s mission in Afghanistan to 2011.

  • May ‘68: An Appreciation

    Social Movements

    The earth moved. It was one of those rare moments in history when all that had been solid (and stultifying) seemed to melt into air. As William Wordsworth wrote of the epoch of the French Revolution, in 1805 – verse that also captured something of the spirit of the ‘68: “Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive,/ But to be young was very heaven!”

  • Ideas for Popular Assemblies

    In Canada and elsewhere there is currently a wide range of impressive constituency-based struggles around specific issues. But without some broader coherence to these movements, this fragmented politics leaves us frustratingly marginalized in terms of reversing and reshaping the larger agenda.

  • Tony Clarke’s remarks at Canadian Dimension May Day Dinner

    Tony Clarke and Maude Barlow, joint recipients of the prestigious Right Livelihood Award were honoured at the May Day, 2006 Ottawa Annual Benefit Dinner for Canadian Dimension. Here is the text of Tony’s remarks on that occasion

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