Tag Archive - left politics

The Impossible Dream

Thomas Mulcair at the NDP convention in March 2012. Credit: Matt Jiggins, Flickr

Todd Gordon makes the case for giving up on the dream of reforming the NDP, in favour of building a new political project based on new social movements. This is the second in a series of reflections in the aftermath of the April NDP Convention, first published by Jacobin. Murray Cooke provides a view from inside in his article "The NDP Convention: A Leap to the Left?"

The NDP Convention: A Leap to the Left?

This article by Murray Cooke is the first in a series of reflections on theaftermath of the April NDP Convention. For an alternate view, see Todd Gordon's article "The Impossible Dream."

There were two highly visible and significant developments at the federal New Democratic Party (NDP) convention in Edmonton on the April 8-10 weekend. As widely discussed in the mass media, delegates passed a resolution on the Leap Manifesto and they launched a leadership contest to take place within two years. Much less visibly and more tenuously, another potentially significant development occurred. For the first time in recent memory, there was a promising undercurrent of organized left activity within the NDP.

These are three positive steps, but do they amount to a leap to the left for the NDP? Pundits in the mainstream media seem to think so and warn that the NDP is headed toward far-left, electoral irrelevance.

Syrian Socialists on the Ongoing Struggle Against the Regime

The popular movement against the Assad regime continues. We are publishing a translation of a statement from the Syrian Revolutionary Left, a group of Marxists inside and outside Syria that in January published the first issue of a monthly newspaper. We hope that this will allow more people who read English to become aware of the revolutionary socialist presence in the struggle in Syria.

Wages of Rebellion Without Strategy

By Kaley Kennedy 

Review of Chris Hedges, Wages of Rebellion (Knopf Canada, 2015) 

About two thirds into Wages of Rebellion, Chris Hedges discusses the writing of Thomas Paine, saying "[Paine] spoke undeniable truths. And he did so in a language that was accessible. He called upon his readers to act upon these truths."  

Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for Hedges. Not only is much of Wages of Rebellion excessively academic, referencing dozens of authors, theorists, and political thinkers who are probably not common reading for those on the front lines of political struggle, but he also presents little in the way of a call to action. 

What is a Revolution?

 By Neil Davidson 

Celebrations at Tahrir Square following the resignation of Hosni Mubarak, 2011. Source: 

When asked to define revolution, socialists often quote a famous statement by Leon Trotsky: "The most indubitable feature of a revolution is the direct interference of the masses in historical events." That was certainly true of the Russian Revolution which Trotsky was discussing and it would also be true for any future socialist revolutions; but as a general description it is far too restrictive. It would, for example, exclude most of the great bourgeois revolutions with the exception of the English, the French and a handful of others. 

Three Reasons to Hope for an NDP Victory (in spite of what the party has become)

A statement by the editors of New Socialist Webzine
If you're not horrified by the 2015 federal election, you're not paying attention. As the long campaign rolls on, many people are turned off politics by the shallow rhetoric and tightly-controlled discussion orchestrated by the major parties and the mainstream media. Just as bad, the range of political options being offered to people by the leaders of the parties is shrinking.

Cosmic Alignments and the New Labour Party Leader

By Simon Hardy

On the first night of the Labour Party conference in the British seaside town of Brighton, there was a blood red moon in the sky. Superstitious types may have viewed this cosmic event favourably. Others, perhaps, with foreboding. With the left wing MP Jeremy Corbyn taking to the stage as the newly elected leader of the Labour Party, was this the sign of a new dawn for politics in Britain?

The NDP: Historic Breakthrough or More of the Same?

By Alan Sears

The New Democratic Party may be poised to make a historic breakthrough in the current Canadian federal election. In 2011the NDP won more seats than it ever had before, becoming the Official Opposition for the first time. Now polls suggest that they could win even more seats, possibly forming a federal government for the first time ever. It is important to ask if this represents a shift to the left in Canadian politics.

Socialism from Below

In the following piece British socialist Dan Swain builds on Hal Draper's classic discussion in the essay "The Two Souls of Socialism" of socialism from below vs socialism from above and shows its relevance to the contemporary period. We are republishing this article because we think it makes a useful contribution. But we also think it is important to note that the article does not address lessons learned since the 1960s about the importance of anti-oppression struggles in creating conditions for democracy within social movements. This is perhaps reflective of broader political weaknesses on the contemporary left. We believe it is critical to be attentive to the ways in which racism, sexism and heterosexism structure power relations within society - including within movement organizing - and limits the discussion around what it means to practice the politics of socialism from below today. Socialists need to actively promote anti-oppression politics - anti-racist queer feminist socialism from below!

- NSW editors

Syriza. Defeat. Victory. Defeat.

By Richard Seymour

It is gut-wrenching, watching Syriza [the Greek Coalition of the Radical Left] beg, and plead with the creditors not to crush Greece. Too late did they realise that they weren't negotiating. They had nothing to do negotiate with, no cards to play. They went looking for the 'good euro', and found only ruthless, mercenary capitalist enforcers. They sought compromise and were given fiscal strangulation.

Explaining Acquiescence

By Charlie Post

Review of Steve Fraser, The Age of Acquiescence: The Life and Death of American Resistance to Organized Wealth and Power (New York: Little, Brown and Company, 2015)

All of us on the left are all too familiar with the capitalist offensive of the past forty years. Under the banner of "neo-liberalism" capital has rolled back almost every gain working people across the world have made since the 1930s. All sorts of public industries, services and institutions have been privatized, social welfare programs that protected workers from the worst insecurities of the labour-market have been rolled back or simply abolished and unions and working class political parties that had traditionally organized and represented working people have been severely weakened.

The Politics of Human Rights

By David Camfield

There has never been more talk about human rights than there is today. Social media is full of calls to sign petitions or send e-mails about human rights causes. Almost no one says they’re not supporters of human rights, from radicals on the left to people on the hard right like Stephen Harper. Governments of Western countries justify war in the name of defending human rights. We now have a Canadian Museum for Human Rights in Winnipeg. 

Another Politics

By Steve D’Arcy

Review of Chris Dixon, Another Politics: Talking Across Today’s Transformative Movements (University of California Press, 2014)

If there’s one thing that activists often lack, it is opportunities to reflect about what they’re trying to do, and how it might be done differently and better. Often overworked and pressured to focus on pragmatic and tactical questions under urgent timelines, it can be difficult to give political and strategic reflection the attention it deserves.

Just in the past couple of years, however, a number of widely discussed and important books have been published, inviting serious thinking and sometimes rethinking about what left activists are up to when they organize for social change.

A Note to Our Readers

To kickstart our role on the radical left for 2012, we’re launching an online campaign to expand the readership of New Socialist Webzine via an ad on Facebook. You can help strengthen the impact of the ad! If you like this publication, please click the Facebook “like” button located below the blog section on our homepage.

Building an Infrastructure of Dissent

By Matthew Brett

Review of Alan Sears, The Next New Left: A History of the Future (Fernwood Publishing, 2013)

Some of Our Best of 2011

This month we were very glad to publish Ali Mustafa's interview with Hossam El-Hamalawy about the revolutionary process in Egypt -- our most widely-read article ever. With 2011 drawing to an end, here are a few of the articles we published in 2011 that we think you shouldn't miss. Until we're back with more articles in January 2012, we invite you to have a look at these and other articles.

Why Greece's Elections Matter & the Politics of SYRIZA

On January 25, people in Greece will go to the polls. But this is no ordinary election. The situation in Greece is being widely watched because the election could be won by SYRIZA, a left-wing party pledged to end the austerity measures that have caused such harm in the country since 2010.

2015: Beyond "Anything But Conservative"

By David Bush

At the end of 2014,, an online labour news publication, ran a competition for Scumbag of the Year. While we received many nominations of bad bosses and terrible politicians from across the country, unsurprisingly it was Stephen Harper who topped our readers' list to win this prestigious award.

The Intractable Marginality of the Activist Left

By Stephen D'Arcy

Strikes are only one form of struggle, and perhaps less and less important as the years pass. But the disappearance of strikes — documented in the accompanying graph — is not an anomaly. It reflects a pattern of diminishing overall levels of oppositional social mobilization. Although there aren’t (as far as I know) statistics on it, it is obvious that levels of social struggle generally, in the Canadian state, are lower now than at any time since written records have been kept.

Toronto Municipal Elections: Beyond Politricks


By Salmaan Khan 

As election day draws nearer, the race for Toronto's Mayoral seat has narrowed down to three out of the initial 65 registered candidates. Benefiting from selective corporate media exposure,  John Tory, Olivia Chow and Rob Ford have managed to build themselves campaigns that regurgitate many of the same vague promises: less traffic; greater accountability; transit relief; tackling youth unemployment; supporting businesses; and of course, talking taxes. The obsession with tax rates has become so normalized that even the "progressive" alternative has found it a useful mantra as all three candidates clamor for votes.

The Allure of Violence and the Decline of the Organized Left in India: An Interview with Himani Bannerji (Part 3)

                                               Image source: hindustan times  

This is Part 3 of an interview with Himani Bannerji by New Socialist Editor Salmaan Khan on the outcome of the Indian elections. This final portion of the interview focused on the Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPI[M]) which fared poorly in these past elections, securing only nine seats out of 97 candidates - a progressive decline from the last two national elections and the lowest since the formation of the party in 1964 - followed by a discussion of the difficulties that come with organizing people according to a formula derived from outdated and inappropriate conceptions of industrialization and capitalist developmentPart 1 of this interview, "India and the Rise of Religious Nationalism," is here. Click here for Part 2, "Masculinity, Islamophobia and Neoliberal Politics in India." 

Should Radicals Care About Unions?

By David Camfield

People in Canada who want deep-rooted social change are divided when it comes to unions today. While many are pro-union, it's not uncommon to run into dismissive or simply hostile attitudes too.

Radical Left Praxis in an Election Year: Lessons for Brazil

By Sabrina Fernandes

                        Rally held in June 2013, Brazil. Source: MidiaNinja media collective

The general commentary regarding Brazilian politics is that the "politicians are all the same" or "there is no political alternative" and that even the good ones get corrupted once they reach power. It is no wonder then, that the massive protests of June 2013 throughout Brazil, which were filled with diffuse voices and eclipsed by broad demands, revealed what many termed a crisis of representation.

One Year After the G20 Protests: Forms of Protest Reflect Our Power

By Clarice Kuhling

In June 2010, leaders of the G20 countries gathering in Toronto were met with a large protest march organized by union officials as well as by a series of actions organized by community-based activists. Police arrests of activists began before the march. Many hundreds of arrests followed, in the wake of attacks on property in downtown Toronto by some protestors.

David Graeber’s Democracy Project: A Review

By Brian S. Roper 

Review of David Graeber, The Democracy Project: A History, a Crisis, a Movement (Allen Lane,  2013)

Was the Occupy movement an anarchist movement? David Graeber certainly thinks so and dedicates much of The Democracy Project depicting it in these terms.

In reality the influence of Anarchism as a diverse political current was highly uneven across the hundreds of occupations that took place globally in September, October and November of 2011. The relative influence of anarchists, socialists, feminists, Indigenous activists, greens, social democrats, left nationalists, and others varied largely according to the relative strengths of these currents prior to the emergence of the Occupy movement, and how they conducted themselves during the course of the encampments.

Toward a New Labour Politics

By Maryann Abbs

Review of David Camfield, Canadian Labour in Crisis: Reinventing the Workers' Movement
(Winnipeg: Fernwood, 2011).

Queering Anti-Capitalist Organizing

By Alan Sears

These are challenging times for the anti-capitalist left. Despite the enormous attacks being waged in the name of austerity, there is little in the way of sustained resistance in the streets, workplaces, neighbourhoods or schools. The Left's limited resources are being strained to the limits in struggles to organize against the tide.

NGOization: Depoliticizing Activism in Canada

By Dru Oja Jay

Across Canada, movement organizations are preparing for the People's Social Forum, coming up in August. There's a buzz of excitement and anticipation in the air as committees elect delegates, and strategies are debated. When hundreds of activists gather in Ottawa in a few months, we will be drawing from a rich, long-simmering cauldron of theoretical discussion and insight issuing from astute on-the-ground observations.

The Left and the End of Harper

By Alan Sears

I have a dream about the end of Harper, in which he is driven from office, a reviled figure.

Against Austerity: A Crucial Reference Point for the Left

By Alan Sears

Review of Richard Seymour, Against Austerity: How We Can Fix the Crisis They Made (Pluto Press, 2014)

Richard Seymour's new book is an unflinching and insightful analysis of the current situation in which the radical left finds itself. These are hard times for radicals in Northern Europe and North America. You would think this would be a period of mass radicalization, given the glaring inequality being produced by blatant attacks on social programs, wages, migrants' rights and job security. Yet there are few effective fightbacks, and activist circles in some places are actually getting smaller.

Notes Towards a Socialism for the Times

Alan Sears's "Notes Towards a Socialism for the Times" is a very good article to get people interested in socialism, or to reinvigorate the passion of those already knowledgeable on the topic. It strives to explain what socialism from below is, how it fell by the wayside and why we need it back.

Could Election Reform Make a Difference?

By Harold Lavender

In the May Federal election, Stephen Harper won a majority government without winning a majority of the vote. Only 39.6 percent of the population voted Conservative while 60 percent voted against. Much discussion has focused on the election results and what to do about the Harper majority. But relatively little of this has focused on the electoral system.

Quebec Election 2014: What the Heck Happened, and What Does It Mean for the Left?

By Jeremie Bedard-Wien and Alain Savard

Two years after the defeat of the Charest government, Quebecers have chosen to give a strong mandate to the Liberals (PLQ). As a backdrop, a dramatic election campaign saw the Parti Québécois (PQ) rise and fall precipitously. What lessons should progressives draw from the re-alignment of the Quebec electoral map?

No Shortcuts to a New Left

By David Camfield

This article was first published by Canadian Dimension as part of a series of online viewpoints about challenges and prospects for the left. 

Derrick O’Keefe recently wrote in a piece on the Canadian Dimension magazine website that “beyond some very marginal formations and small publications, the left is missing. It’s just not there, organizationally.”

After the Election 2011: Building our Movements on Shifting Ground

By Alan Sears and James Cairns

The federal election of 2011 drastically shifted the terrain of parliamentary politics in Canada.

Canada’s Federal Election 2011: Should Radicals Care?

By Alan Sears and James Cairns

Despite severe problems with electoral politics, radicals building movements for real social change need to engage seriously with elections. In this article, we look at the current Canadian election from a Toronto perspective.

Catastrophism: A Climate Justice Activist’s Perspective

By Harold Lavender

Review of Sasha Lilley (ed.), Catastrophism: The Apocalyptic Politics of Collapse and Rebirth (PM Press, 2012)

Images and talk of catastrophes are pervasive in today’s world. Much discussion of the subject ignores issues of social justice and is not very favourable to a left-wing perspective. Yet the spectre of catastrophic climate change haunts the future. Climate change is wreaking destruction on many, is getting worse and poses a potential threat to life on the planet. This raises many serious questions about how the Left should respond.

Resisting Austerity: Don't (Just) Show Me the Money

By Scott Neigh

We hear a lot these days about the need for cuts to public spending, for saving money. The use of this rhetoric to cover massive changes in how our lives and societies are organized has a long history, but in the current "age of austerity" -- ushered in by unprecedented giveaways of ordinary people's money to rich people and powerful institutions and the Toronto G20 meeting's commitment to make up for that by further attacks on ordinary people -- mean that we're hearing it rather a lot at the moment.

Fighting Mayor Ford's Austerity Regime (Part II)

Wanted: A Left to Stop Ford

It will take a mighty movement to defeat the Ford agenda and turn back the age of austerity. We need a Left that can reach out to broad layers of the population, communicating a political alternative effectively and contributing to effective activism that really makes a difference.

Fighting Mayor Ford's Austerity Regime (Part I)

In the first part of a two-part article, Alan Sears argues that Toronto's very right-wing mayor is no mere buffoon, but "the immediate face" of the "Age of Austerity" and a "bad cop" of neoliberalism.

By Alan Sears

Workers in Wisconsin have responded to attempts to destroy collective bargaining rights in the public sector with massive protest actions. These actions have galvanized workers in other states to confront their own employers and to support the movement in Wisconsin.

From Red October to Evo Morales: The Politics of Rebellion and Reform in Bolivia

David Broder, of the British publication The Commune, interviewed Jeffery R. Webber on his two books on Bolivian politics out this year.

Reflections on an Historic Election: Argentina Enters a New Crisis

By Bob Lyons

The historic Argentinean mid-term elections of 27 October resulted in a breakthrough for the revolutionary left, and has exposed more clearly the outline of the tendencies emerging at the time of the primary votes held in July. The political, economic and social fissures revealed by the vote can be grouped around three themes:
1.    the end of the Kirchnerist experiment and the resulting strategic incoherance of the Argentinean bourgeoisie as a whole;
2.    the radical deepening of the economic and fiscal crises of the Argentinean state expressed as a loss of political legitimacy, and a series of policy cul-de-sacs;
3.    the growing presence of a workers and social vanguard determined to resist the consequences of the global crisis as expressed locally.

In what follows we will attempt to situate the election, and especially the results for the revolutionary left, within the context of the above themes.

'No Fare is Fair': A Roundtable with Members of the Greater Toronto Workers' Assembly Transit Committee

By Ali Mustafa 

The Greater Toronto Workers' Assembly (GTWA) is a promising new initiative aiming to build a united, non-sectarian, and militant anti-capitalist movement in the city among a diversity of rank-and-file labour unionists, grassroots community organizers, and youth alike. Since the GTWA's inception in early 2010, mass public transit has emerged as one of the organization's key political battlegrounds. In this in-depth roundtable discussion, members of the GTWA's transit committee Jordy Cummings, Lisa Leinveer, Leo Panitch, Kamilla Pietrzyk, and Herman Rosenfeld explore both the opportunities and obstacles facing the campaign Towards a Free and Accessible TTC.

When Soldiers Lay Down Their Arms

By Mike Gonzalez

In every revolutionary crisis the state will slip off the velvet glove to reveal the iron fist underneath; that is the nature of the beast, as Lenin reminded us. Armies are there to serve the capitalist order, whether their activity is described as "peacekeeping," "national security" or simply the maintenance of public order.

The European Workers' Movement: Dangers and Challenges

By Murray Smith

With the onset of the world economic crisis, the European workers' movement finds itself in a new phase, one that is replete with dangers and challenges. It is important to underline that we are in fact in a new situation and not just a continuation of the previous period.

Letter to an Anarchist Activist

This is the second in a series of letters by one of the editors of the NS Webzine.

Chris Hedges: From Moral Gadfly to Eclectic Radical

By Jase Short

Chris Hedges is one of the most celebrated intellectuals of the contemporary US Left. A former New York Times reporter who essentially lost his job for taking a public stand against the invasion of Iraq, Hedges straddles the line between cynical doomsayer and principled critic of mainstream politics. In spite of many lapses in judgment in his intellectual work, the general thrust of his political standpoint is a welcome relief to those who have a hard time finding intellectuals who take the crises of global capitalism seriously.

A Diagnosis of the Current Situation

By Samuel Farber

Review of Chris Hedges, Death of the Liberal Class (New York: Nation Books, 2010).

Letter to a New Anti-Capitalist

This article is the first in a series by one of the editors of NS Webzine that we will be publishing this year. As always, we welcome constructive comments from readers.

The Neoliberalization of Social Democracy

Review of Social Democracy After the Cold War. Edited by Bryan Evans and Ingo Schmidt. 2012. Edmonton: AU Press. 

By James Cairns

Organizing Against the Flow: Learning from the Greater Toronto Workers' Assembly

By Alan Sears

The global slump since 2008 has cast a sharp light on the glaring injustices that characterize global capitalism at every level. Yet there is a horrible gap between the perception that something is wrong and the sense we can do something about it. The greatest challenge anti-capitalists face today is to work towards closing that gap.

Capitalist Crisis and Left Alternatives

By Hamid Sodeifi

A Review of Greg Albo, Sam Gindin and Leo Panitch, In and Out of Crisis by (PM Press, 2010)

Socialism from Below and Indigenous Resurgence: Reclaiming Traditions

By DL Simmons

With the indigenous activists of Idle No More and Defenders of the Land calling to make the summer of 2013 "Sovereignty Summer" -- a "campaign of coordinated non-violent direct actions to promote Aboriginal rights and environmental protection in alliance with non-native supporters" -- it's a good time to look at the relationship between indigenous struggle and radical politics. With this in mind, we are glad to publish a revised and updated version of a piece that originally appeared in the special Indigenous Resurgence issue of New Socialist in 2006.

During the peak of the Red Power movement in the late 1960s and early 1970s, many newly radicalizing indigenous people became interested in exploring various theories of revolution and socialist organization.

Caught in the Whirlwind: US Working-Class Families Face the Economic Crisis

By Johanna Brenner

The Great Recession has no doubt punctured US celebration of the unregulated market, generated anger at wealth disparities and shock at the loss of the American Dream. Yet three decades of conservative dominance and political drift to the right have taken their toll.

Where Do We Go from Here? The G20 Summit, Black Bloc, and the Canadian Left

By Ali Mustafa


Public outcry continues to grow across Canada over the widespread abuse of civil liberties during the recent G20 Summit in Toronto. Over 1,000 people were rounded-up and arrested between June 26th- 27th, resulting in the largest mass arrest in Canadian history. While the majority of those arrested have since been released, at least 16 people remain under strict bail conditions and face a variety of serious criminal charges. Countless others who managed to avoid arrest were indiscriminately searched, detained for hours, and even violently attacked by police.

Up Against the Neoliberal Parties: What Should the Left Do? Four Views

The editors of New Socialist Webzine recently sent the following short description of the situation in which the Left finds itself today to a number of people we respect and asked them for their thoughts. We are glad to publish four responses, from Cindy McCallum Miller, David McNally, Leanne Simpson and Cloé Zawadzki-Turcotte. We welcome additional constructive responses from readers.

Europe's Crisis: An Explanation and an Internationalist Alternative

By Özlem Onaran

Europe is now the centre of the global crisis. It is a crisis of the capitalist system, sweeping across Europe and not limited to just one country. The crisis erupted five years ago under governments of both the traditional Left and Right as they all pursued similar neoliberal policies.

Fight the Deficit-Cutting Agenda!

A statement for May Day 2010 from the editors of the New Socialist webzine.

The Deficit: THEIR Problem, Not Ours

By David Camfield and Daniel Serge

Deficits are the difference between what governments spend and what they take in. Governments often claim deficits are the fault of social spending that's too high. But in fact deficits always grow when capitalist economic activity slows down or contracts because tax revenue falls while state spending rises.

The Politics of Free Speech: Israeli Apartheid Week, Ann Coulter and Mobilization from Below

By Alan Sears

One talk by racist American right-winger Ann Coulter gets shut down and the media fills up with columns, editorials, stories and opinion pieces about freedom of speech. Yet a concerted silencing campaign against Palestine solidarity that has included the federal government, Israel advocacy organizations and Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff gets virtually no critical media attention.

Assessing the Anti-Olympics Protests in Vancouver

By Harold Lavender

Opposition to the many negative impacts of the Vancouver Olympics was loud and clear as activists vigorously exercised their right to free speech in wide-ranging protest actions against the 2010 Winter Games.

Workers in the Global North: A Labour Aristocracy?

Review of Zak Cope, Divided World, Divided Class: Global Political Economy and the Stratification of Labour Under Capitalism (Kersplebedeb, 2012)

By Charlie Post

A specter has haunted anti-capitalist radicals and revolutionaries for more than 150 years—the specter of working class reformism and conservatism in the global North of the capitalist world economy. Why have those who Marx called the “grave-diggers of capitalism,” the wage-earning majority of the industrialized societies, embraced politics that either seek to “balance” the interests of capital and labour (reformism) or blame other workers for falling living standards and working conditions (conservatism)? 

What Good is Charity?

 By Greg Sharzer

The earthquake in Haiti has prompted a deluge of public support. As of the beginning of February, US charities have raised $644m (£413) from dozens of organisations. That shows people care about each other – particularly in the face of racist apathy from some right-wing commentators.

Democracy from Below vs Official Democracy

Review of James Cairns and Alan Sears, The Democratic Imagination: Envisioning Popular Power in the Twenty-First Century (University of Toronto Press, 2012)

By Salmaan Khan

The Ottawa Bank Bombing

By Daniel Serge

In the early hours of May 18, a branch of the Royal Bank of Canada went up in flames. We know this because a previously unidentified group, calling itself FFFC – Ottawa, posted a video of the incident to, the radical web portal. RBC was the target for “stealing native land” during the 2010 Winter Olympics. FFFC promised to attend the upcoming G20 protests in Toronto.

Hope is in the Streets, Not Parliament!

That was the message of a Winnipeg New Socialist Group leaflet distributed at the demonstration against the prorogation of Parliament on Jan. 23rd.

What is the ANC and Where is the Left in South Africa?

By Chris Webb

About a month ago I stood with some 200 striking farm workers in South Africa’s Hex River Valley, a rich agricultural region that produces table grapes for export. The workers were on strike against severe pay cuts and outsourcing, which came about when a major fruit export company took over the farm from its previous owner. The workers were a mixed group. Some were Zimbabwean migrants, but the majority were Xhosa speakers from the more impoverished Eastern Cape, where 72 percent of the population lives below the poverty line. Most of them currently lived in the valley’s informal settlements, expanses of matchbox houses and zinc shacks on the dusty ground between the grape farms. As we marched toward the farm, the workers began to sing struggle songs praising the African National Congress (ANC) and the role of struggle leaders like Oliver Tambo and Chris Hani.

Moving Forward After the Elections in Greece Part II – Building a Working Class Alternative


This is Part II of Kokkino's statement after the June elections in Greece, revised and slightly abridged from the version published in International Viewpoint. Kokkino is a revolutionary socialist organization in Greece, which has been in the throes of a major debt crisis since 2009.

Kokkino is part of the broader Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA), which is the main force against the austerity measures being imposed on Greece by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) as a condition of a proposed bailout. SYRIZA's anti-bailout stance resulted in a dramatic growth in its popular support in the run-up to the recent elections - from just under 5% of electoral votes in May to 27% in June.

Part I of this statement offers an analysis of the election's political outcome. The final sections, reprinted here, focus on strategic questions for the radical left in Greece. Although the context is quite different, there is much to be learned from the experience of major social mobilization in Greece since the eruption of the debt crisis. - New Socialist 

Moving Forward After the Elections in Greece Part I – Analyzing the Outcome

By Kokkino

This is Part I of Kokkino’s statement after the June elections in Greece, slightly abridged and adapted from the version published in International Viewpoint. Kokkino is a revolutionary socialist organization in Greece, which has been in the throes of a major debt crisis since 2009.

Kokkino is a small group that's part of the broad Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA), which is the main force against the austerity measures being imposed on Greece by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) as a condition of a proposed bailout. Syriza's anti-bailout stance resulted in a dramatic growth in its popular support in the run-up to the recent elections -- from 17% of votes cast in the election held in May 2012 to 27% in June.

Part I of Kokkino’s post-election statement offers an analysis of the election’s political outcome. Part II focuses on the strategy for building a working class alternative, and will be published soon in this webzine. – New Socialist

Reflections of a Weather Underground Veteran

Review of David Gilbert, Love and Struggle: My Life in SDS, The Weather Underground, and Beyond (PM Press, 2012).

By Kim Moody

Share Our Future: The CLASSE Manifesto

By Coalition large de l’Association pour une solidarité syndicale (CLASSE)

For months now, all over Quebec, the streets have vibrated to the rhythm of hundreds of thousands of marching feet. What started out as a movement underground, still stiff with the winter consensus, gathered new strength in the spring and flowed freely, energizing students, parents, grandparents, children, and people with and without jobs. The initial student strike grew into a people’s struggle, while the problem of tuition fees opened the door to a much deeper malaise – we now face a political problem that truly affects us all. To find its remedy and give substance to our vision, let us cast our minds back to the root of the problem.

Editorial: Why Greece's June Elections Matter to All of Us

The final opinion polls before the June 17 parliamentary elections in Greece report that SYRIZA (Coalition of the Radical Left) has the support of between 25 and 31.5% of voters, up from the 16.7% it won in the May 2012 elections, when it stunned many people by leaping to second place among Greece's many political contenders. It's possible that SYRIZA could come first this time.

Occupy This!

Review of Judy Rebick, Occupy This! (Penguin, 2012).

By Donya Ziaee

Reading long-time activist Judy Rebick's new e-book Occupy This! re-awakened memories of my experience at the Occupy Toronto encampment in its very early days. The optimism, excitement and hope with which Rebick pens her latest book is quite reminiscent of the sentiments that drew me, and perhaps many others, to the camp in the initial period.

Syria: Understanding the regime and the revolutionary process

By Khalil Habash

The Syrian revolutionary process has since the beginning been met by circumspection by some on the left and even led some to separate it from the other uprising in the region, accusing it of being a conspiracy of Western imperialist and reactionary regional countries such as Saudi Arabia. This trend has unfortunately continued, despite the criminal actions of the regime. Others have limited their position to the refusal of any foreign military intervention, on which we agree, but refused to bring full support to the revolution, on which we disagree. Opposition to foreign military intervention in Syria is not enough. Such a position is meaningless if not accompanied by clear and strong support for the Syrian people's movement.

Greek Elections: The Vengeance of a People in Struggle!

By Panagiotis Sotiris

Vengeance came down hard, with the force of an earthquake, in Greek elections. Despite the efforts by corporate media, despite the various forms of open blackmail from the part of the EU – IMF – ECB Troika, despite the timing of the election in order to steal some form of support for at least some of the pro-austerity forces, the results of the election are an explosive rejection of the politics of austerity and limited sovereignty in Greece.

Democracy in the Age of Austerity: Beyond the Robocall Scandal

By James Cairns

A lot of people are angry about the robocall scandal. Even by the low standards of the Harper Conservatives, the covert attempt to block thousands of people from voting in the 2011 federal election is pretty disgusting.

Syria: The Popular Revolution the World Does Not Want

By Khalil Habash

The first time it was reported that our friends were being butchered there was a cry of horror. Then a hundred were butchered. But when a thousand were butchered and there was no end to the butchery, a blanket of silence spread. When evil-doing comes like falling rain, nobody calls out 'stop!' When crimes begin to pile up they become invisible. When sufferings become unendurable the cries are no longer heard. The cries, too, fall like rain in summer.”

- Bertolt Brecht

Syria One Year After the Beginning of the Revolution (Part III)

By Khalil Habash

This article is the last part of a three-part series exploring key questions and debates that have emerged in relation to the Syrian revolution that has been ongoing since the beginning of the uprising in March 2011. The first part, "Who is Behind the Popular Movement?," can be found here. The second part, "A Sectarian Movement?," is here.

Syria One Year After the Beginning of the Revolution (Part II)

By Khalil Habash

This article is the second in a three-part series exploring key questions and debates that have emerged in relation to the Syrian revolution that has been ongoing since the beginning of the uprising in March 2011. The first part, "Who is Behind the Popular Movement?" can be found here.The third part, on "Strategy, Tactics and Geopolitics," is here.

The International Indigenous Movement for Self-Determination (Part I)

This article is Part 1 of a 2-part series. Part 2 can be found here.The authors are both based in the United States, and thus use the term "tribal nations" (Indigenous peoples in Canada refer to themselves as "First Nations") -- NSW

By Andrew Curley and Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz