Articles

The Making of the Migration Crisis

Photo source: Migrante Europe.

The unprecedented scale of global migration and migrant deaths are deliberate, not coincidental.

Leading up to World Refugee Day on June 20, the United Nations unveiled a devastating and damning report on the scale of global displacement. The UN’s Refugee Agency data reveals a total of 59.5 million people are displaced around the world. With one in every 122 people being internally displaced or seeking asylum in a new country, this is the highest level of displaced people ever recorded. It is also the largest leap recorded within a single year, and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres calls it “a staggering acceleration” that will only worsen.

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Explaining Acquiescence

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.

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Stories Capitalists Tell

Review of Nicole Aschoff, The New Prophets of Capital (Verso Books, 2015)

Storytelling is important to humans. Storytelling is equally as important to capitalism. In her new book Nicole Ashoff examines the elite in in our society and the stories they tell. She calls them, as the title suggests, “The New Prophets of Capital.”

Many people go to jobs they don’t like and produce things that don’t improve human life. Nicole Aschoff asserts – and I am inclined to agree with her – that this is a strange way to organize society.

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Londoners Vow to Keep Door-to-Door Mail Delivery

Canada Post Corporation management is moving forward with its project of eliminating door-to-door postal service across Canada and Quebec. If it’s completed, it will deprive millions of people of a valued service and thousands of postal workers of their jobs. While this move is very unpopular, in most places not a lot has been done to turn widespread pro-door-to-door sentiment into active opposition. London, Ontario is one city where efforts to build an active campaign around defence of door-to-door have been more successful. We are republishing this article on the campaign in London to give readers a sense of some of the community mobilization tactics being used there. Such campaigns are important not only because they have more potential when it comes to defending public services but also because they can show in practice that there’s an alternative to just waiting for the next election. To quote from an article we published earlier this year, “It is through engaging with social movements that people develop new political skills and confidence and are exposed to new political perspectives about how other struggles and how society works.” With the federal election coming up later this year, it’s important to bear that in mind.

– NSW

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Lessons from the CUPE 3902/3903 Strikes at UofT and York

By Umair Muhammad

The simultaneous strikes at the University of Toronto and York University have come to an end. Teaching and Graduate Assistants at both universities (joined in the beginning by Contract Faculty at York) walked picket lines through much of the month of March after contract negotiations with their respective employers broke down.

Following repeated avowals that it could not possibly provide what was being asked of it, York ended up agreeing to meet all of the major demands made by its striking workers. In the case of the strike at UofT, the outcome was not as decisive.

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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. 

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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.

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Taxing Times and T-Birds in Alberta

By Paul Kellogg

Alberta’s conservative finance minister Robin Campbell announced in February that his government was looking to slash nine percent from its annual budget in response to declining oil prices. The news caught few by surprise. Oil prices were collapsing in late 2014, and New Alberta Premier Jim Prentice, just before the holidays, cautioned about the economic and fiscal instability looming in that oil-dependent province. “We don’t know what’s around the corner”, he said. “We don’t know how long prices are going to be low”. He gave this advice to the province’s citizens: “it is a time to be careful on personal expenditures”. The next month, the premier went to Arizona and carefully bought himself a present – a vintage 1956 Ford Thunderbird, costing US$59,400 or about $71,000 Canadian.

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Canada Responds to Tsilhqot’in Decision: Extinguishment or Nothing!

By Russell Diabo and Shiri Pasternak

This is the third in a three-part series on the landmark Supreme Court of Canada Tsilhqot’in v. British Columbia decision last June, first published in First Nations Strategic Bulletin. Part 1, “The Tsilhqot’in Decision and Canada’s First Nations Termination Policies” can be found here. Part 2, “The Tsilhqot’in Decision and Indigenous Self-Determination” is here.

“Our government believes that the best way to resolve outstanding Aboriginal rights and title claims is through negotiated settlements,” stated Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (AANDC) Bernard Valcourt on the day the final Tsilhqot’in decision came down in June.

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The Tsilhqot’in Decision and Indigenous Self-Determination

By Arthur Manuel

This is the second in a three-part series on the landmark Supreme Court of Canada Tsilhqot’in v. British Columbia decision last June, first published in First Nations Strategic Bulletin.  Part 1,“The Tsilhqot’in Decision and Canada’s First Nations Termination Policies” by Russell Diabo, can be found here. Part 3, “Canada Responds to Tsilhqot’in Decision: Extinguishment or Nothing!” is here.

It is important to acknowledge with gratitude the courage and determination of the Tsilhqot’in People for moving our efforts to achieve self-determination one level higher.

Articles

The Tsilhqot’in Decision and Canada’s First Nations Termination Policies

By Russell Diabo

This is the first in a three-part series on the landmark Supreme Court of Canada Tsilhqot’in v. British Columbia decision last June, first published in First Nations Strategic Bulletin. The second article in this series, “The Tsilhqot’in Decision and Indigenous Self-Determination,” can be found here. Part 3, “Canada Responds to Tsilhqot’in Decision: Extinguishment or Nothing!” is here.

On June 26, 2014, the Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) recognized that the Xeni Gwet’in Tsilhqot’in People have Aboriginal Title to a large part of their traditional territory. In the same decision, building on previous legal cases written to contain Section 35 of Canada’s constitution (which provides constitutional protection to the aboriginal and treaty rights of Aboriginal peoples in Canada), the SCC set out a legal test for asserting and establishing Aboriginal Title in Canada. 

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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.

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