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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 
261. 19 April 2015 Economic Restructuring and the Politics of Low-Paid and Unwaged Work
Video presentations from the Alternate Routes conference "Labour Pains, Capital Gains: The Paradox of Low-Wage, No-Wage Work." Recorded in Toronto, 27 March 2015.
260. 12 April 2015 The Historic Feminist Victories of the 1980s
This forum commemorates two of the greatest achievements of the modern Canadian feminist movement, when thirty years ago, working closely together with the labour movement, the historic legislative and judicial victories on pay and workplace equity and women's reproductive rights were both won.
259. 11 April 2015 Neoliberal Violence and the Mexican state
Emerging community and class struggles. Presentations by: Hepzibah Munoz Martinez, Maria de la Luz Arriaga Lemus, Richard Roman and Columba Gonzalez. Recorded in Toronto, 20 March 2015.
258. 5 April 2015 Lifting Up Low-Wage Work: Global Perspectives Luce, Stephanie
Stephanie Luce gives the 2015 Phyllis Clarke Memorial Lecture. Luce is a Professor of Labor Studies at the Joseph S. Murphy Institute for Worker Education, CUNY School for Professional Studies and Professor of Sociology in the CUNY Graduate Centre. Recorded in Toronto, 26 March 2015.
257. 4 April 2015 Solidarity rally with striking YorkU and UofT workers
Solidarity rally with striking YorkU (CUPE3903) and UofT (CUPE3902) workers held in Toronto, 21 March 2015.
256. 29 March 2015 Education and Mobilization in Contested Mexico
This panel of experts on contemporary Mexico explores the context surrounding these events including the rise of drug violence, long standing popular movements among teachers and students, meaningful democracy, and the links between powerful interests in licit and illicit industries. Recorded in Toronto, 18 March 2015.
255. 22 March 2015 Climate and Capitalism
Climate change is already catastrophic for countless people around the world, especially in parts of the Global South. Some residents of low-lying Island States in the Pacific Ocean are already having to move to other countries as a result of rising sea levels. Water is also rising in Bangladesh, swallowing up coastal areas and contaminating fertile land. In East Africa changing sea surface temperatures have disrupted seasonal rains and lead to severe droughts. Recorded in Toronto, 15 March 2015.
254. 15 March 2015 TRANSITogether: Building A Movement
The election of John Tory creates new openings and challenges for the public transit movement in Toronto, as does the large vote for Ford in the city's inner suburban areas. How are we to understand this moment, and how do we move forward as a transit movement? Recorded in Toronto, 1 March 2015.
253. 8 March 2015 ALBA after ten years
This forum explores the achievements and challenges of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA). Recorded in Toronto, 21 February 2015.
252. 7 March 2015 Solidarity with CUPE 3902 and 3903
Solidarity rally was held on the grounds of the University of Toronto with the striking members of CUPE 3902 and support from Canadian Federation of Students. Recorded in Toronto, 6 March 2015.
251. 1 March 2015 Green Jobs
We cannot develop an ecologically-responsible and just economy without considering the consequences for work and employment. But what is the meaning of 'green work' in capitalist societies of endless production and consumption for the purposes of profits? If we scale back on tar sands, fracking, and other dirty energy projects, as we must, workers who lose their jobs will need retraining, temporary income support, and a green energy infrastructure to work in. This will require a whole range of collective investments and decisions.
250. 22 February 2015 Europe's Crisis and the Rise of the Right: Challenges for the Left Eley, Geoff; Gaspar M. Tamas; Liz Fekete
Presentations by Geoff Eley, Gaspar M. Tamas and Liz Fekete. Recorded in Toronto, 16 February 2015.
249. 15 February 2015 The Historic Victory of Greek Left: What Now? Panitch, Leo; Peter Bratsis
On January 25 2015, Greece elected a new government representative of a range of radical and left forces after years of protests and street battles against the extreme policies of austerity imposed by the so-called Troika composed of the European Commission, European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund. Syriza represents the first and the strongest democratic response to the bizarre deepening of neoliberalism after the 2008 crisis.
248. 14 February 2015 Burying Nuclear Waste in Ontario?
There are significant critiques about burying nuclear waste, and a history of failures for the industry. This forum presents frontline voices who have been resisting both the creation of nuclear waste, and the burial. Recorded in Toronto, 7 February 2015.
247. 8 February 2015 Environmental Justice, the Tar Sands, and Indigenous Rights
Tar Sands extraction projects, located primarily in Treaty 6 and 8, have radically damaged and contaminated a huge area of land in so-called Alberta, and poisoned the Athabasca watershed. Moderated by Greg Albo. Presentations by Keith Stewart, Heather Milton-Lightening and Lana Goldberg. Recorded in Toronto, 1 February 2015.
246. 25 January 2015 Launching the Socialist Register 2015: Transforming Classes
This 51st annual Socialist Register completes the investigation of class formation and class strategies on a global scale begun with last year's volume. Presentations by David McNally, Sue Ferguson, Adolph Reed, John McCullough and co-editors Leo Panitch and Greg Albo. Recorded in Toronto, 15 January 2015.
245. 18 January 2015 This Changes Everything Muhammad, Umair; Patricia Perkins, Sam Gindin
Umair Muhammad, Patricia Perkins and Sam Gindin discuss the importance of Naomi Klein's new book, This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs the Climate, where she argues that the main culprit of runaway climate change is the system itself: capitalism. Recorded in Toronto, 11 January 2015.
244. 21 December 2014 Partners in Crime
The signing of the North American Free Trade Agreement came with the promise of prosperity and jobs for all and the extension of human rights. These are, it needs hardly saying, promises unkept. Recorded in Toronto, 12 December 2014.
243. 14 December 2014 Book launch: A Line in the Tarsands
Tar sands 'development' comes with an enormous environmental and human cost. But tar sands opponents -- fighting a powerful international industry -- are likened to terrorists; government environmental scientists are muzzled; and public hearings are concealed and rushed. Recorded in Toronto, 29 November 2014.
242. 7 December 2014 Endless War? The Middle East and Canada's New Militarism Shipley, Tyler; Judy Deutsch; Sabah Alnasseri; Sardar Saadi
Canada is (again) intervening in the Middle East with fighter jets, logistics, forward bases, and other supports. This is another escalation in the 'new militarism' that is dominating Canadian foreign policy and increasingly, society. Can the intervention succeed even on its own militarist terms? What are the alternatives for the anti-war movement? Recorded in Toronto, 27 November 2014.
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