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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.

Indigenous Peoples and the “Politics of Recognition”
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Indigenous Peoples and the “Politics of Recognition”

By Glen Coulthard


“…Indigenous societies have truths to teach the Western world about the establishment and preservation of relationships between peoples and the natural world that are profoundly non-imperialist.” Glen Coulthard, New Socialist, 2006.


These words, written more than half a decade ago, ring truer than ever as the Journey of Nishiyuu is nearing its Ottawa destination as part of the Idle No More movement. Since their departure from the isolated Cree community of Whapmagoostui on Hudson Bay in northern Quebec on January 16, the ranks of walkers have swelled to nearly 200.

Meanwhile, Defenders of the Land and Idle No More have issued a joint call for intensified action against the Harper government and the corporate agenda: a “Solidarity Spring” to precede a “Sovereignty Summer,” with actions on the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination on March 21, Earth Day on April 22, and through the summer. New Socialist celebrates this mobilization and the solidarity that can defeat the Harper agenda.

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Choosing Not to Look Away: Confronting Colonialism in Canada

By Monique Woroniak and David Camfield

Canada has “no history of colonialism.” So said Stephen Harper in 2009. Today the Idle No More movement is shouting down this lie through actions both creative and courageous. In its place, it is telling Canadians at large what some of us have always known: that the country we live in was founded as — and continues to be — a colonial-settler state.

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Mobilizing Against Tar Sands Pipelines in Ontario: An Interview with John Riddell

Can you explain what’s happening in Canada with the tar sands pipelines, what they are, and what they’re going to do?

It really starts with Canada’s rulers. They have a dream that Canada is going to become the new world oil superpower. The oil that is locked up in Canada’s tar sands is greater in quantity than all the conventional oil reserves in the world put together. The tar sands could make Canada a rival to Saudi Arabia on the world oil market.

Teachers’ Strikes and the Fight Against Austerity in Ontario
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Teachers’ Strikes and the Fight Against Austerity in Ontario

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.

Mulcair’s NDP: The New Liberal Party
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Mulcair’s NDP: The New Liberal Party

Tom Mulcair has been the leader of the federal New Democratic Party for more than eight months now. His leadership has largely been as expected: solid, competent and moderate. Mulcair has continued Jack Layton’s strategy of trying to supplant the Liberals as the middle-of-the-road alternative to the Harper Conservatives. It’s not a particularly inspiring strategy and, looking toward the likely coronation of Justin Trudeau as the next leader of the Liberal Party, it’s not a foregone conclusion that it will be a successful one. And supplanting the Liberals, even if that is solidified, isn’t necessarily sufficient to defeat the Conservatives. Unless the Conservatives really implode or somehow manage to alienate their carefully cultivated base of supporters, they are going to be difficult to defeat in the next election.

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The CAW-CEP Merger: A Political Reflection

By Bruce Allen

The approaching merger between the Canadian Autoworkers (CAW) and the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers (CEP) will create the largest private sector union in Canada with over 300 000 members employed in 22 sectors of the economy. As such it has the potential to profoundly affect the political direction of both the labour movement in this country and ultimately the political future of Canada.

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Montreal-Nord Republik and its Fight for Justice

By Alejandra Zaga

The inspiring student movement is not the only organizing in Quebec that people outside Quebec need to know about, so we are publishing a number of articles about movement organizing in Quebec today. Following on our article on Profs Against the Fee Hike, we’re glad to publish this look at Montreal-Nord Republik — NSW.

Criminalization of Indigenous People Part II – Decriminalizing Sex Work, Saving Lives
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Criminalization of Indigenous People Part II – Decriminalizing Sex Work, Saving Lives

by Maurganne Mooney

Toronto’s Indigenous Sovereignty and Solidarity Network organized a series of events during Indigenous Sovereignty Weeklast November, including a panel on The Criminalization of Indigenous People. We’re bringing you a series of three contributions adapted from presentations by Jules Koostachin, Maurganne Mooney, and Christa Big Canoe. This is the second article in the series. The article by Jules Koostachin can be found here.

Many people don’t really understand the current state of law with regards to sex work. I use the term sex work, not prostitution, because I view it as work. It’s a type of labour, and people engaged in that labour deserve as safe working conditions as anybody else.

Currently in Ontario it is legal to work in prostitution or in sex work. But until recently, the practices for staying safe were criminalized. It was a violation of basic human rights here in Canada.

Articles

Profs Against the Hike, or a New Beginning for Faculty Political Action

By Anne-Marie Le Saux and Philippe de Grosbois

During the Quebec student strike this year, CEGEP and university teachers opposed to the tuition fee hike that triggered the student mobilization organized themselves in a network, Profs Contre La Hausse (Profs Against the Hike, PCLH by its French initials), to take action in solidarity with students and against the government’s agenda.This organization, independent of union structures, was an important development. We are glad to present this article about PCLH, which was written before the final phase of the student strike — NSW

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Ontario Teachers Under Attack: It’s Our Turn Now

By Jason Kunin 

Like passengers on the upper deck of the Titanic who could order drinks and mill about in their tuxedos a good hour after those in the lower decks had drowned, we teachers in Ontario have spent the past eight years relatively insulated from anti-labour attacks that have affected workers in virtually every other sector, from garbage collectors to postal worker to the custodial and secretarial staff we work side-by-side with in our schools. 

Criminalization of Indigenous People Part I – A Foreign System: Incarceration of Indigenous Women
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Criminalization of Indigenous People Part I – A Foreign System: Incarceration of Indigenous Women

by Jules Koostachin

Toronto’s Indigenous Sovereignty and Solidarity Network organized a series of events during Indigenous Sovereignty Week last November, including a panel on The Criminalization of Indigenous People. We’re bringing you a series of three contributions adapted from presentations by Jules Koostachin, Maurganne Mooney, and Christa Big Canoe. The article by Maurganne Mooney can be found here.

In my work with the Elizabeth Fry Toronto, I oversee the volunteer program court service at the College Park provincial court. This program has volunteer court workers that assist clients through the court experience. We provide information and referrals to community resources. We provide clarification of the court process, and we also give referrals to lawyers, assistance with applying for legal aid.

It’s a preventative program using a restorative justice approach to ensure that clients do not get a criminal record for minor offences while making amends for their criminal behavior. This will most likely change with Bill C-10, which will effectively lead to more criminalization of women.

Quebec’s “Red Square” Movement: The Story So Far
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Quebec’s “Red Square” Movement: The Story So Far

By David Camfield 

This is a slightly revised and expanded version of an article written for the magazine of the New Anti-Capitalist Party in France. Although it’s mainly intended to give readers outside Canada an account of the movement, readers in Canada may find it a useful overview.

Articles

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.

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