Category Archives: Theory

Video of Education for Activists conference now available!

Video of each of the sessions at the Education for Activists conference, November 15-16, 2019 in Toronto is now available!

Working class politics — The crisis of the labour movement, lessons of the federal election, and a strategy to win.

Speakers: Dirka Prout, NDP candidate in London North-Centre; Barry Weisleder, federal secretary of Socialist Action Canada and Yvonne Hanson, NDP candidate in Vancouver Granville.

Capitalism versus Life on Earth. Is the answer the ‘free’ market, green capitalism, or mass anti-capitalist action?

Speakers: Ian Angus, editor, Climate and Capitalism; Gary Porter, leading member of SA based in Victoria, B.C.; Yvonne Hanson, NDP candidate in Vancouver Granville.

The Next Great Recession — The business cycle, decline in the rate of profit, and the socialist alternative.

Speakers: Dimitri Lascaris, lawyer, journalist, Montreal-based coordinator of Disruption Network Canada; John Clarke, founding member of Ontario Coalition Against Poverty, and Jeff Mackler, national secretary, Socialist Action-USA, and Rebecca Keetch, worker at GM Plant in Oshawa and UNIFOR Local 222 Political Action Committee and Education Committee.

Imperialism, Origins and nature of the system. Are Russia and China imperialist?

Speakers: Jeff Mackler, socialist candidate for President of the United States, and Robbie Mahood, leading member of SA/LAS Canada based in Montreal.

This session will open with Giovanna Riccio reading her poem about the public campaign to ‘Take the Plant’ at GM Oshawa, and George Elliott Clarke, National Poet Laureate, 2016-17, with an anti-imperialist poem.

Working Class Politics

presentation by Barry Weisleder on Working Class Politics at the Education for Activists conference in Toronto, November 2019.

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I taught high school for 35 years, but let me assure you this is not a civics class.  Feel free to take notes.  The only test will be life itself.  I will talk about the federal election.  First, let’s consider what is working class politics.

It begins with the fact that society is class divided.  There are two main classes:

1. The working class is at least 85% of society.  We sell our labour power to survive. Workers and nature are the source of all wealth, but we possess nearly zero economic and political power.

  1. The capitalist class, the less than 1% of society, produce almost nothing and have nearly total control of economic and political decision making, exercised through their state apparatus. The self-employed and managerial petty bourgeoisie, the intermediary 10 to 14% of the population, cling to the coat-tails of the capitalist class. They do its bidding.  In a deep crisis the petty bourgeoisie will split between the main classes. Most will go over to the working class if there is a mass revolutionary party.

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IT IS TIME TO NATIONALIZE SCIENTIFIC PUBLISHING IN CANADA

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Scientists for Socialized Publishing

The State of Scientific Publishing in Canada

· Scientists are publically-funded yet most scientific publishers are for-profit. None are democratic.

· Scientists are exploited into providing peer-review without any financial remuneration.

· Copy-editing and formatting is outsourced to the Global South, where workers are paid less than $1 an hour.

· Scientists pay scientific publishers and often are forced to give up their copyright.

· Most scientific journals are closed-access, and scientific articles are hidden behind paywalls.

· Canadian research libraries are forced to spend $80 million CAD a year in subscription costs to scientific publishers.

· The biggest scientific publisher, Elsevier, publishes 16% of scientific literature, and boasts annual profits of over $10 billion CAD with profits margins of 36%.

· Canadian scientists spend $500 million CAD a year in publication fees.

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PRINCIPLES AND TACTICS: SOCIALISTS UTILIZING THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY BALLOT-LINE Contributions to a Debate

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Paul Le Blanc, Rob Lyons, Matthew Strauss

Preface

With the one-sentence preface “these ten points indicate where my thinking is now on certain questions,” I initiated a tempest in the little teapot of my FaceBook page, although the storm – such as it was – swept through other sites and beyond the virtual reality of the worldwide web.

What generated the debate were ten fairly succinct points on how I felt revolutionary socialists should respond to socialists running on the ballot-line of the Democratic Party (the most famous so far being Congressional representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez) and the related question of the Bernie Sanders campaign. Many had assumed I would express “revolutionary rejection” – and the fact that I expressed something different astonished many.

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The Winnipeg General Strike: from Revolt to Revolution?

by Medway Baker

This article was originally published by Cosmonaut.

May 15, 2019 marked the hundred-year anniversary of the beginning of the Winnipeg General Strike. An icon of the Canadian socialist mythology, the Winnipeg General Strike is emblematic of the 1919 Canadian labour revolt and the reformation of the Canadian left between 1917 and 1921. More broadly, it speaks to the spontaneism common to much of the revolutionary left worldwide at the time. It is a lesson in the need for a workers’ party able to command the allegiance of the majority of the working class, with a revolutionary strategy and a clear programme leading inexorably to a rupture with bourgeois society. 

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