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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.


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131. 11 March 2012 Transit Forum 2012
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130. 4 March 2012 Haiti: Solidarity and Social Justice
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