The 12th annual Education for Activists conference, hosted by Socialist Action Canada, attracted 150+ participants over the course of four sessions, November 15-16, at the University of Toronto.
Topics included: Imperialism, origins and nature of the system; The Next Great Recession; Capitalism versus Life on Earth; and Working Class Politics. Speakers were Jeff Mackler, SA-USA national secretary and candidate for President of the U.S.; Robbie Mahood, leading member of SA/LAS in Montreal; Rebecca Keetch, auto worker in Oshawa and a leading member of the campaign ‘Take the Plant, Save the Planet’; Dimitri Lascaris, lawyer, journalist and coordinator of the Disruption Network Canada; John Clarke, founding member of the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty; Ian Angus, editor, Climate and Capitalism; Yvonne Hanson, NDP candidate in Vancouver Granville; Dirka Prout, NDP candidate in London North-Centre; and Barry Weisleder, federal secretary of Socialist Action Canada.
As usual, cultural presentations featured prominently at the gathering. Giovanna Riccio, author of Vittorio (Lyricalmyrical, 2010), Strong Bread (Quattro Books, 2011), and Heartwood: For the Love of Trees (League of Canadian Poets, 2018), read her poem about the public campaign to ‘Take the Plant’ at GM Oshawa. George Elliott Clarke, the 4th Poet Laureate of Toronto (2012-15) and the 7th Parliamentary/Canadian Poet Laureate (2016-17), presented an anti-imperialist, pro-Indigenous poem. Mohammad Ali – Socialist Hip Hop, energetically opened the proceedings on Saturday at 1 p.m., followed by environmentalist singer/guitarist Tom Smarda at 4 p.m., and opera, oratorio and art song performer Y.C. Lee at 7 p.m.
Activists from Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Quebec, Ontario, British Columbia and California USA contributed to a very lively, informative and participatory gathering. Eight people joined SA or expressed a keen interest in doing so. Brisk sales of books, booklets, newspapers, buttons, T-shirts and posters kept volunteers at the display tables busy.
Video recordings of the conference will be posted on YouTube, with links at the SA website http://www.socialistaction.ca and Facebook page.