By Panagiotis Sotiris
One might say that historical time has been condensed in Greece. In less than a year we have seen changes in the political landscape that in other countries would have taken a decade.
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.
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.
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
There are some very important campus struggles unfolding in early March 2015.
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.
By James Cairns
It’s always good to see Conservatives lose. And Tim “Zillion Job Cuts” Hudak was the biggest loser on election night in Ontario. Hudak’s macho version of Austerity-by-Sledgehammer failed to win broad support. The Conservatives lost legislative seats, and their share of the popular vote dropped. Of course, they’ll be back, refreshed by a new leader, and perhaps by the directionally-intriguing “enema from top to bottom” Doug Ford has kindly offered to give the party. For the moment, however, I certainly am relieved not to be waking up in Premier Hudak’s province.
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.
By Alan Sears and James Cairns
Almost everywhere you look around the world, policy-makers are introducing big changes to university systems and pondering deeper transformation.It isn’t surprising that these changes take different forms on campuses in countries as different as Canada, Britain, the United States, Chile, Greece, and India, but there are also important common themes in the change agenda globally. These include rapid increases in tuition fees, new models of university governance, new ways of teaching, a significant shift in subject matter, an attempt to depoliticize campuses, and major alterations in employment relations.
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.
By David Finkel
“Reader, suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself,” wrote Mark Twain. That 19th century epigraph can serve to express today’s attitude of a large and growing proportion of the US public, especially over the federal budget “sequester” — across-the-board cuts that began taking effect on March 1.
By Murray Cooke
On January 3, Ontario Education Minister Laurel Broten announced that she will be imposing concessionary contracts on the province’s teachers. This is a drastic attack on collective bargaining rights that the teachers have said they will fight. It follows on the heals of the Liberal minority government’s Bill 115, “An Act to Implement Restraint Measures in the Education System,” passed last September with the support of the Conservatives.
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
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.
By Xavier Lafrance and Alan Sears
The Charest government has turned to repression to try to break the largest and longest student strike in Quebec history. Students had already endured heavy-handed policing, including hundreds of arrests and brutal attacks by riot cops on campuses and in the streets. The new strikebreaking legislation, Bill 78, is a brutal clampdown on the right to organize collectively and on freedom of expression. The protest plans for any demonstrations of more than 50 people must be cleared with the police in advance of any gathering, or the action will be considered illegal. Individual students, staff or faculty members who advocate the ongoing strike action risk harsh penalties, and student unions or university employees unions who organize or support ongoing strike activity will face heavy fines.
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.
By Zac Saltis
The contents of the federal budget unveiled by the Conservatives on March 29, 2012 are hardly shocking. In fact, this voluminous document sheds light on what strategies the Canadian state will be adopting to promote and facilitate capital accumulation in this era of economic stagnation and austerity for the working class.