Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Enbridge – Time for an Oil Change

OCTOBER 14, 2014 – Some 300,000 barrels of oil per day, sometime this fall, were to have begun flowing from Sarnia, Ontario to Montreal, Quebec – courtesy of Enbridge “reversing the flow” on its 40-year old “Line 9” Ontario and Quebec pipeline. But a surprise ruling by the National Energy Board (NEB) will delay that flow for a few months (McCarthy 2014).

Friday, 15 November 2013

Rob Ford, brought to you by …

Support for Toronto Mayor Rob Ford is evaporating with stunning speed. Few want to be associated with a man who has publicly and brazenly lied about past behaviour, engaged in open and obnoxious physical bullying, and now on public television used misogynist and degrading language. His mayoralty is disintegrating in a cloud of scandal and shame. We need to be clear, however, that Rob Ford is more than just one, dysfunctional, white former football coach from Etobicoke. He came to this dance party with many partners. Think back to the 2010 municipal elections, and remember the luminaries and institutions that counselled us to take a chance with Mr. Ford. A partial list would include …

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

For the Record – Flawed Methods, Unnecessary Divisions

OCTOBER 9, 2013 – Charlie Kimber and Alex Callinicos (2013) have written a defence of the British Socialist Workers Party (SWP), a party wracked by crisis since late 2012. This crisis was precipitated by the response, on the part of the SWP leadership, to allegations of rape and sexual assault. However, Kimber/Callinicos assert that “all those involved … have agreed that the case itself should be treated as ‘closed’” and therefore barely address issues of sexual violence, sexism, women’s oppression – the substantive issues that have generated the current crisis.

Sunday, 13 January 2013

Reflections on the Crisis in the SWP

JANUARY 13, 2013 – 1. Richard Seymour is author of the widely read blog, “Lenin’s Tomb,” and a prominent member of the Socialist Workers Party (SWP), the largest group left of the Labour Party in Britain. In an article written in the days following the January 4-6 annual conference of the SWP, Seymour made public a controversy inside the party, a controversy so serious he says: “the future of the party is at stake”. Speaking of the party’s Central Committee he said: “they are on the wrong side of that fight”. Speaking to fellow members of the party, he wrote: “You, as members, have to fight for your political existence. Don't simply drift away, don't simply bury your face in your palms … You must fight now” (Seymour, 2013a).

Friday, 4 January 2013

The Tar Sands: A made-in Canada problem

JANUARY 4, 2013 – The tar sands development in northern Alberta is an ecological nightmare, and an insult to indigenous land rights. This nightmare and this insult are profoundly Canadian – shaped by Canadian corporations and Canadian government policies. Unfortunately, there was a tendency by some in the movement in 2012, to try and “off-shore” the problem, shifting the blame, in particular to China. This has no basis in fact, and opens the door to a nasty politics of xenophobia.

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Notes on Greece 6: The Challenge of the United Front

NOVEMBER 15, 2012: Note 6 of 6 – SYRIZA, as its name “Coalition of the Radical Left” implies, is an expression of the coalescence of anti-capitalist forces in Greece, a coalescence produced through the struggles of the first years of the 21st century as well as the resistance to austerity and crisis from 2007 on. It is not the only such expression. Earlier notes have also mentioned another such coalescence with a very similar name – ANTARSYA, “Front of the Greek Anti-Capitalist Left”. The SYRIZA coalition has 12 components, ANTARSYA has nine.[1]

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Notes on Greece 5: Greece, France, and the limits of the Concept ‘Left Reformism’

NOVEMBER 13, 2012: Note 5 of 6 – There are, as Alex Callinicos outlines, New Lefts forming across Europe in countries other than Greece. How should we assess these New Lefts? Callinicos, in a short newspaper article attempted to survey the development of the left throughout Europe as a whole, putting the entire New Left of four countries – Germany, Greece, France and Holland – under one label. He asked: “What is the politics of this rising left? Over-simplifying a little, it is essentially some version or other of left reformism. It’s true that SYRIZA includes within its ranks an assortment of far-left groups, but the dominant force, SYNASPISMÓS, originates in the more accommodating and pro-European wing of the Greek Communist movement”. This left reformism, he argues, is “filling a space left by the rightward shift of mainstream social democracy.” Leaders of left reformism “are able to reach out to traditional social-democratic voters by articulating their anger in a familiar reformist language.” However, “ambiguity is inherent in any version of reformism, which seeks simultaneously to express workers’ resistance to capitalism and to contain it within the framework of the system” (Callinicos 2012a).