On the political lessons of the most important strike wave
The editors of New Socialists asked three activists Hassan Husseini, Niloofar Golkar, and Russell Diabo to explain what the election of a Liberal majority means for their areas of social justice work. We’re afraid to hear that they are deeply sceptical that…
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
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.
By Alan Sears
Solidarity with Gaza rally held in Toronto, Canada
Omar Barghouti wrote in December 2013 that the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign “may well be reaching a tipping point.” Barghouti is one of the founders of this movement to pressure Israel to recognize fundamental Palestinian rights. This may be the breakthrough moment for BDS, shifting from the slow accumulation of modest victories to major successes and widespread support. He described this as the “South Africa moment,” where BDS organizing would reach the critical mass of anti-apartheid solidarity in the 1980s.
By David Camfield
Being a fighter for radical change can be meaningful and rewarding. But it isn’t easy. This is especially true when people’s everyday experience doesn’t give them any reason to believe that radical change is possible, which is the situation in Canada and many other places today. Political attrition – people rejecting the possibility of radical social transformation, or giving up any kind of political activity at all – becomes inevitable (though some people who give up or become inactive do come back when circumstances change in their individual lives or in society).
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.
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.