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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)
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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– followed by a discussion of the difficulties that come with organizing people according to a formula derived from outdated and inappropriate conceptions of industrialization and capitalist developmentPart 1 of this interview, “India and the Rise of Religious Nationalism,” is here.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.” 

Radical Left Praxis in an Election Year: Lessons for Brazil
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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.

David Graeber’s Democracy Project: A Review
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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.

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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.

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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.

Against Austerity: A Crucial Reference Point for the Left
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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.

No Shortcuts to a New Left
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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.”

Articles

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.

Reflections on an Historic Election: Argentina Enters a New Crisis
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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.

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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.

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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.

Socialism from Below and Indigenous Resurgence: Reclaiming Traditions
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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.

Articles

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.

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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)? 

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