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The future of Greece and SYRIZA

"Syriza now finds itself in an ambiguous position. Having come close to forming a left government, the pressure will be on to establish its credentials with international lenders and EU leaders... What happens to Syriza, whether and how it governs, will have a huge impact on the European left, and not just on Greece." Read the article by Richard Seymour here.

Why strike support isn't enough

"We want to share these lessons because any forceful fight against austerity in Canada will require a strategy that brings together public-sector workers and people who access public services. These two overlapping groups are the vast majority of Canadians and include many people who will need to be won over to the politics of solidarity in the face of the right’s attempts to divide."

Read the whole of the useful article "Why strike support isn't enough" by Halifax community organizers David Bush and Kaley Kennedy in Briarpatch.

An entirely wretched statement

On June 26 the Canadian Peace Alliance issued a statement on Syria. The statement gets off to a bad start from its very first words.  The statement is titled No Western Intervention in Syria.  But the second sentence says, "The Canadian Peace Alliance stands against any intervention from outside powers..." Well, which is it? Wouldn't "outside powers" refer to Russia as well? There have been some reports of the presence of Iranian forces in Syria. If these reports turn out to be true, would Iran be one of the "outside powers?"

What is happening in Syria?  Here's what the CPA has to say:
 
"Moreover, Western governments are the loudest complainers when the Syrian government responds to armed aggression with force, as any other government would do in its place."  A reasonable person might conclude the CPA believes that Assad has been falsely accused of attacking his own people. Of course, if this is what they believe, they have the right to say so.  I would go farther and say that they have the obligation to say so, clearly and explicitly. 
 
Perhaps they are uncertain.  While they are researching the question, may I suggest that they read the article by Phyllis Bennis that they themselves provide the link for, "Syria: Only diplomacy can stop the war."
Here are a few quotes from her article:
 
"Despite his government's history of brutal repression, Bashar al-Assad still enjoys support..."
"Certainly the regime has committed brutal atrocities against civilians, potentially including war crimes..."
"The regime is clearly responsible for more attacks with heavy weapons, including tanks and artillery..."
 
Reading what they have to say about the United Nations you might not guess they we in the anti-war movement have sometimes had reason to criticize the UN.
 
The CPA calls for "...a diplomatic solution to the Syrian crisis"  This is not what the Syrian people are calling for.  At the risk of their lives they are going into the streets to demand the end of the Assad regime.  The CPA does not express any solidarity with Syrians or even acknowledge the existence of their movement.
 
In the midst of their statement they say something that we can all agree to.  "Western governments have always had their own interests at heart while engaging in these types of interventions."  This would be a good starting point for a useful statement on Syria.  But, to be effective, any statement on Syria must not have even a whiff of support for the Assad regime.
 
Not only is it possible to link our opposition to Canadian intervention to support for the Syrian people.  It is necessary to do that.
 

Canada Day

"It would be strange indeed to celebrate the birth of a nation that stole my land, forced hardships on my peoples and won’t recognize my place in this nation or all that my ancestors lost and sacrificed for this home on my native land." Read the rest of Susana Deranger's article in Briarpatch here.

Disability politics and capitalism in crisis

"What governments are actually saying to disabled people is unless they work for a living or seek the support of their family, they will die—period. What right-wing governments are seeking to do is to return industrialized societies to the Victorian, neo-classical values of individual choice, responsibility, and self-reliance. This means that disabled people and other excluded groups will have to increasingly (if they are unemployed or underemployed) rely on charity or the family for survival, as the State will no longer provide anything more than temporary support." Read the rest of Chris J Ford's article in the latest issue of New Politics.

Overhauled website

We've updated our website and look forward to being able to provide readers with more than just text. The only casualties of the transition were blog posts of the last few months and comments previously posted on articles on the site, but we hope readers will continue to comment on what you read on the site. If you encounter any technical issues with the site, please let us know by e-mail at website [at] newsocialist.org

Challenges facing Quebec's student movement

Roger Annis has written a very good article on the situation in Quebec -- read it on rabble.ca here.

The "Soft Coup" in Paraguay & the Harper government

"Although Canada's political and economic engagement with Paraguay has been modest compared with other countries in the region, the Harper government, looking at the broader balance of forces, is happy to see Lugo go the way of Zelaya." Read the article "Paraguay's Parliamentary Coup and Ottawa's Imperial Response" by Todd Gordon and Jeff Webber here.

Quebec Student Strike (Updated)

As of Feb. 28, student organizations with close to 70 000 members have voted to strike against the government's drastic tuition fee increase. Check out the activist site "Stop the Hike" for news, information and political arguments to build the movement. There's a good report in English here and a Facebook page carrying reports here.

Solidarity against both imperialism and the Iranian regime

"Solidarity activists are often caught between a rock and a hard place, and many choose what they believe are the “lesser evil” politics. In the case of Iran, this has meant aligning with a repressive state leader under the guise of “anti-imperialism” and “populism,” or supporting “targeted” sanctions." Read the whole article by Raha Iranian Feminist Collective "about how to rethink a practice of transnational solidarity that does not homogenize entire populations, cast struggling people outside the US as perpetual and helpless victims, or perpetuate unequal power relations between peoples and nations" here.

Indigenous activists send strong message at Occupy Toronto talk

Read a report from a panel discussion on "Indigenous Perspectives on the Occupy Movement" on rabble.ca here.

Our response to the Drummond Report: the Ontario defict is THEIR problem, not ours

As CBC puts it, the report by former TD Bank chief economist Don Drummond argues that "The Ontario government must curtail its spending with the kind of cuts not seen since the Mike Harris years," But while CBC's website asks readers "where do you think Ontario should cut spending?" the socialist response is to argue "no cuts! -- the deficit is a problem for the ruling class, not the rest of us." For analysis of why this is so, check out the article "The Deficit: THEIR Problem, Not Ours."

Oil Beneath the Forest

A photo essay by Ben Powless looks at how the Alberta tar sands are polluting the air, water and animals, causing serious problems for indigenous communities in the region. View it here.

VIDEO: Debunking Anti-Union Myths

The Crisis in Greece Today

In a 20-minute video interview conducted on Jan. 31, Stathis Kouvelakis discusses the current situation in Greece, its broader context and anti-capitalist politics.

Something Fierce

Even if I were granted another three lifetimes, I might never know the range of experience that Carmen Aguirre has.  And while much of that experience was painful, we can be thankful that she has such a clear recall.  In her book we see the world through the eyes of a child and then a teenage girl, living with parents who are part of the demanding and dangerous struggle against the Pinochet dictatorship in Chile.

Courage, terror, loud and outspoken racism, she has seen it all.  The story is intense.  Before it was published, she extracted a promise from her father never to read it.  But we can and we should.

The publisher's webpage for the book is here.

Jean Wyllys, Brazil's first openly gay MP

An article on the socialist federal MP (a member of the broad anti-capitalist party PSOL) taking the fight to the religious right is here.

PHOTOS: "January 25, 2012" - Cairo, Egypt

View Ali Mustafa's complete photo archive from Cairo, Egypt here.

Petition in Solidarity with the Real Egyptian Revolution

"One year ago brave activists in Egypt electrified the world. Sweeping into Tahrir Square in Cairo, and similar sites in other cities and towns, protesting outside government offices, and striking for living wages, workers’ rights and against corrupt managers, they overturned a dictator and drove forward a process of mass democratic upheaval that has been dubbed “the Arab Spring.” In the process, Egypt’s revolution became an inspiration to millions around the world."

Please read the rest of the petition and sign it here.

A Start, but Far from Enough: On the Solidarity Rally with Locked-Out Workers in London, Ontario

By David McNally

It was heartening to be part of a roughly 5000-strong trade union mobilization on Saturday (January 21) in solidarity with the locked-out workers at Electro-Motive in London. The 450 workers, members of Canadian Auto Workers (CAW) Local 27, were locked out on New Year's Day, when management insisted on slashing wages and benefits by a shocking 50 per cent.

A loud and public demonstration of labour support for these workers was certainly needed. It was encouraging, therefore, to see teachers, postal workers, steelworkers and many more turning out. But it has to be acknowledged that up to three-quarters participating in the event were CAW members. Attendance from members of other unions was far from overwhelming. If this struggle is to build, however, much more support and mobilization from workers in other unions will be absolutely vital.

On top of this, the rally itself was often de-energizing. An utterly inadequate sound system meant that the majority attending couldn't even hear the speeches, provoking impromptu chants of "Louder, louder," and "I can't hear!" And when the speeches began, the boring routine of mentioning every major union leader and politician in attendance (including Liberals) dragged on and on. The presence of hundreds of Canadian flags was also disappointing. It's true that Electro-Motive is owned by the US-based corporate giant, Caterpillar. But there is nothing uniquely American about corporations that slash wages, bust unions, and violate workers' rights. Just ask the thousands of workers and peasants fighting Canadian mining and energy firms in Central and South America or parts of Africa.  Or ask workers at Magna International across Ontario or city workers in Toronto. We're talking about capitalism here, folks, not some US aberration.

Without a doubt, the most encouraging thing about the rally was the enthusiasm people expressed for the Occupy Movement. Every mention of the movement brought loud cheers.  On the local scene, Occupy London, Ontario has been doing inspired solidarity work around the lock-out, helping to chart a course for the next stage of their movement. And the Occupy London speaker was far and away the best at the rally -- calling for civil disobedience, direct action and the taking over of workplaces. In its more militant days, occupations were a central tactic of the workers' movement in its fight for union rights and gains for workers. It is now clear that organized labour will need to recover the Occupy spirit if it hopes to seriously resist lockouts and austerity and to defend the interests of working-class people.

David McNally is a member of Toronto New Socialists and the author of Global Slump: The Economics and Politics of Crisis and Resistance.

Speech by Occupy London activist at Jan 21 rally for locked-out CAW workers

A short speech by Anthony Verberckmoes at the rally for Electro-Motive Diesel is online here.

 

The lockout at Electro-Motive

"Despite its record high revenue and profits in 2011, stemming from sales of its machinery to a booming resource sector (tar sands, mining), Caterpillar is attempting to destroy a union." Read the rest of Doug Nesbitt's article on this important labour struggle here.

VIDEO: Toronto Stop The Cuts - "Final Budget Showdown"

The Arab Revolts, One Year Later - Two Pieces by Gilbert Achcar

Here are two worthwhile pieces, one talk and one interview, by socialist academic and Middle East analyst Gilbert Achcar on the Arab revolts one year later. Read them here and here.

Rosa Luxemburg and her significance today

This hour-long interview with Peter Hudis, who is one of the editors of the forthcoming multi-volume collected writings of the brilliant Polish-German supporter of socialism from below (1871-1919), is worth listening to here.