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New Canadian International Labour 10-Minute

The Hope of the Hopeless

Contemporary Lessons from Marxist Struggles Against Hitler and Mussolini


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Fascist movements are on the rise. But does that mean that Donald Trump’s America, Viktor Orbán’s Hungary or Narendra Modi’s India are fascist? Many on the left think so and discovered antifascist action as their preferred rallying point. It remains often unclear, though, is which alternatives to a discredited neoliberalism and the rise of a new right the left has to offer. Historically, fascism represented the organized counterrevolution against the communist challenge seemingly spreading from Russia to Germany and Italy. No such challenge exists today. Often made references to the 1930s depression and the 2008/9 world economic crisis by no means suffice to qualify all of today’s new right as fascist.

Besides, purely economic explanations of fascism didn’t help to build effective anti-fascist movements in the 1930s either. A fuller understanding of these movements, as socialists of different persuasions learned the hard way, required a closer look at the social mass basis of fascism as well as an understanding of the psychological reasons that made fascism attractive for so many of the discontented back in the day.

Marxist theories focusing on the economic conditions, social basis, and psychological motives that produced the fascist rule of Mussolini and Hitler can serve as useful starting points to understand today’s crisis of neoliberal capitalism and its political articulations. Beginning an analysis of today’s conditions with these old theories allows us to see parallels but also significant differences. And they remind us that one thing present then, socialist and communist mass movements, is missing today. Leftists often recite Max Horkheimer’s dictum that “whoever is not prepared to talk about capitalism should also remain silent about fascism.” This dictum should be amended to: Whoever mobilizes against fascism and talks about capitalism should also present a viable socialist alternative. In the absence of such an alternative, neoliberal discontent will be articulated in right-wing terms but capitalists have little reason to take refuge, as they did in 1920s Italy and 1930s Germany, to fascist rule to retain their crisis-ridden power.

Presentation by Ingo Schmidt – teaches Labour Studies at Athabasca University and is one of the organizers of the annual World Peace Forum teach-ins in Vancouver.

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The Struggle for Decent Work and Wages


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Bill 148, the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act (in Ontario, Canada), has been referred to the parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs. Over 10 days in July in 10 different cities, the Committee heard deputations on the Bill. In August, the Committee will review the Bill “clause-by-clause” to decide what, if any, amendments will be made to the legislation.

While supporters of the Fight for $15 and Fairness are calling for important amendments – such as eliminating the sub-minimum wage rates for students and liquor servers, strengthening the language for equal pay for equal work, improving the scheduling provisions, adding more paid leave days and simplifying the process by which workers join unions – the ruling class is not rolling over so quickly. “The Fight for $15 & Fairness isn’t over. It’s just gearing up” ... continue reading.

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Palestinian Dispossessions, Canada and the Jewish National Fund


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The Jewish National Fund (JNF) has been the key tool used by Israel to dispossess Palestinians of their lands for over a century. It also discriminates against Palestinian citizens of Israel in the provision of land and housing, and appropriates lands in the Occupied Palestinian Territory in violation of international law.

Canadian taxpayers subsidize these activities, as the JNF has a fundraising office in Canada that has had charitable status since 1967.

Join with Independent Jewish Voices Canada (IJV) in calling on the Minister of National Revenue to revoke JNF Canada's charitable status NOW!

Sign our petition here.


LS #Date PublishedTitle 
361. 3 September 2017 The Hope of the Hopeless Schmidt, Ingo
Fascist movements are on the rise. But does that mean that Donald Trump’s America, Viktor Orbán’s Hungary or Narendra Modi’s India are fascist? Many on the left think so and discovered antifascist action as their preferred rallying point. It remains often unclear, though, is which alternatives to a discredited neoliberalism and the rise of a new right the left has to offer. Presentation by Ingo Schmidt.
360. 6 August 2017 The Struggle for Decent Work and Wages
Bill 148, the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act (in Ontario, Canada), has been referred to the parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs. Over 10 days in July in 10 different cities, the Committee heard deputations on the Bill. In August, the Committee will review the Bill 'clause-by-clause' to decide what, if any, amendments will be made to the legislation.
359. 30 July 2017 Palestinian Dispossessions, Canada and the Jewish National Fund
The Jewish National Fund (JNF) has been the key tool used by Israel to dispossess Palestinians of their lands for over a century. It also discriminates against Palestinian citizens of Israel in the provision of land and housing, and appropriates lands in the Occupied Palestinian Territory in violation of international law. Canadian taxpayers subsidize these activities, as the JNF has a fundraising office in Canada that has had charitable status since 1967. Join with Independent Jewish Voices Canada (IJV) in calling on the Minister of National Revenue to revoke JNF Canada's charitable status NOW!
358. 23 July 2017 Socialism Historically and Today Socialist Studies 50th Anniversary Plenary
This year, the Society for Socialist Studies (SSS) turns fifty, and celebrated its anniversary at its annual conference at Congress 2017. Socialism Historically and Today: A Panel of Three-Minute Interventions was recorded in Toronto, 1 June 2017.
357. 16 July 2017 Red Skin, White Masks: Glen Coulthard Coulthard, Glen
Studies in Political Economy Book Prize 2017 was awarded to Glen Coulthard. He spoke on issues arising from his celebrated recent work and from subsequent developments in academe, activism and the links between the two. Glen Coulthard is Yellowknives Dene and an associate professor in First Nations and Indigenous Studies and Political Science at the University of British Columbia. Recorded in Toronto, 31 May 2017.
356. 1 July 2017 UNsettling Canada 150
Idle No More & Defenders of the Land call to action: In the spirit of Arthur Manuel, we want to make July 1st a National Day of Action. This day of action is to celebrate our Indigenous and human rights to self-determination, our lands, territories, and resources. It is also to educate Canadians about how their constitutional framework, first established 150 years ago.
355. 25 June 2017 Trump, Right-Wing Populism, and the Future of the Labour Movement Fletcher Jr., Bill
Bill Fletcher Jr. has been an activist since his teen years. He has worked for several labour unions in addition to serving as a senior staffperson in the national AFL-CIO. Fletcher is the co-author (with Dr. Fernando Gapasin) of Solidarity Divided: The Crisis in Organized Labor and a New Path toward Social Justice; and the author of 'They're Bankrupting Us' -- And Twenty Other Myths about Unions. Fletcher is a syndicated columnist and a regular media commentator on television, radio, and the web. Recorded in Toronto, 2 June 2017.
354. 18 June 2017 Precarious Work: Contract Faculty in the Neoliberal University
These videos explore the situation of Canadian contract academic faculty and compares their situation to the even poorer conditions American contract faculty face, highlighting the need to more firmly address working conditions in Canada. The second film, 'Contract Faculty: Injustice in the University,' focuses on not only the injustice faced by contract faculty but the implications of this injustice for students, the University and higher education in general.
353. 11 June 2017 Unions and the City: Negotiating Urban Change
This panel invites Toronto labour leadership to respond to a comparative book on labour strategy and political action in Toronto and New York City, titled Unions and the City: Negotiating Urban Change. The book discusses how local unions in four sectors (hospitality, film, green energy and childcare) seek to advance organizing and collective bargaining goals through the reregulation of their respective sectors. Union strategy is evaluated according to whether it succeeds in achieving narrow trade union goals while also addressing broader class demands and social justice criteria. Recorded in Toronto, 1 June 2017.
352. 4 June 2017 Mine Tailings Dam Collapses in Canada and Brazil
'Accidents' or 'Environmental Crimes'? Mariana, Minas Gerais, Brazil, November 5, 2015: Worst environmental disaster in Latin American mining history. Mount Polley, British Columbia, Canada, August 4, 2014: Worst environmental disaster in Canadian mining history. Moderated by Judith Marshall. Presentations by Bruno Milanez, Richard Holmes, and Joan Kuyek. Recorded in Toronto, 29 May 2017.
351. 28 May 2017 Dump Hydro Privatization, Build Public Power
Hydro in Ontario is a mess and rates are skyrocketing. The high number of people who have trouble paying or can't pay their Hydro bills is growing by the day. In short, deregulation and privatization did not deliver on its promises of 'lower rates,' or create 'greater efficiencies.' Smart Meters did not save consumers any money. In fact, Hydro deregulation has been a complete disaster for Ontario's businesses, citizens and its economy.
350. 14 May 2017 Building a National Solidarity Coalition
Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) hosted a panel discussion during the Convention of the Canadian Labour Congress. The panelists discussed their experiences working with various solidarity coalitions and the need for a national solidarity network that can bridge the divide between labour and social movements. How could a solidarity coalition be used to build support for struggles for social, environmental and economic justice? Recorded in Toronto, 11 May 2017.
349. 7 May 2017 Bill C-27: An Attack on Pensions
The Ottawa Committee for Pension Security (OCPS) recently co-hosted a panel discussion with the Congress of Union Retirees about Bill C-27, a Bill that will give employers the tools they need to dump their defined benefit pension plan guaranteed promises, including the benefits already earned and paid for by active workers and retirees. Presentations by Mark Jansen and Mike Palecek. Recorded in Ottawa, 1 March 2017.
348. 30 April 2017 May Day
For more than 100 years, May Day has symbolized the common struggles of workers around the globe. Why is it largely ignored in North America? The answer lies in part in American labour’s long repression of its own radical past, out of which international May Day was actually born a century ago. The seeds were sown in the campaign for the eight-hour work day. On May 1, 1886, hundreds of thousands of North American workers mobilized to strike.
347. 23 April 2017 South Africa, a Dream Betrayed Kodisang, Eli
The current government of President Jacob Zuma is witness to major brawls between rival elite factions, amidst growing corruption scandals. The historical alliance between the ANC, the SACP and COSATU is fracturing. Protests and demonstrations calling for Zuma to resign are growing. Out of this ruin, a new South African working class movement may yet emerge. Forum with Eli Kodisang, recorded in Toronto, 20 April 2017.
346. 16 April 2017 Basic Income: A Way Forward for the Left?
The idea of a Universal Basic Income (UBI) has been championed by both progressives and conservatives. Not everyone on the left, however, is behind the idea. Is the UBI a means of redistributing wealth, attacking poverty and protecting workers from technological displacement? Or will basic income serve to advance an agenda of austerity and privatization? Recorded in Toronto, 13 April 2017.
345. 2 April 2017 Allies at Every Stop: Organizing Passengers and Building Power
These two videos are sections of a two-part on-line training course, produced by the International ATU, for use by ATU locals in the U.S. and Canada. The goal is to help members to build alliances between transit workers and users, to collectively challenge the common agenda of business and its allies to privatize, deregulate and cut needed social services (such as public transit), and attack the rights of those who deliver the service, in the transit unions.
344. 26 March 2017 Refusing Settler Colonialism, From Turtle Island to Palestine
The keynote event of Israeli Apartheid Week 2017 focused on articulating connections between ongoing struggles against settler colonial violence and dispossession across Turtle Island (North America) and in historic Palestine. The panelists reflected on the history and current state of these anti-colonial struggles. Featuring Erica Violet Lee. Recorded in Toronto, 15 March 2017.
343. 19 March 2017 150 Years of Marx's Capital
This is a collection of videos dealing with Karl Marx's Capital: A Critique of Political Economy. It is 150 years since Karl Marx published the first volume of Capital in 1867, with the two subsequent volumes coming out under the editorship of Friedrich Engels over the next decades. As its subtitle suggests, Capital is a masterful appraisal of the ‘vulgar’ defences of capitalism focused on exchange and markets and the more ‘scientific’ accounts of classical political economy highlighting the production of an economic surplus and its distribution between the social classes.
342. 19 February 2017 Global Intern Strike!
On February 20th, young people across the world will come together to push for an end to the exploitative and exclusionary practice of unpaid internships. Decentralised actions will take place in a range of cities, to call on employers and leaders to ensure that quality intern opportunities are paid and accessible to all - regardless of their socioeconomic background.
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