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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 
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200. 12 January 2014 The Rise of Finance
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197. 22 December 2013 Global Labour Migration
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196. 8 December 2013 Launching the Socialist Register 2014: Registering Class
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195. 1 December 2013 Socialism and Feminism Bakan, Abbie; Sue Ferguson
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194. 24 November 2013 Pension Funds and Privatization Mehra, Natalie; Brian O'Keefe; Graham Cox
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193. 23 November 2013 Afghanistan: Perils and Possibilities Podur, Justin
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192. 10 November 2013 The Hidden History of Workplace Resistance: U.S. Autoworkers Speak Out Shotwell, Gregg; Sean Crawford; Scott Houldieson
Three prominent UAW shop floor activists (Sean Crawford, Scott Houldieson, and Gregg Shotwell) describe current life on American assembly lines and keeping resistance alive. Organized by the Labour Committee of the Greater Toronto Workers' Assembly. Recorded in Toronto, 26 October 2013.
191. 3 November 2013 Fiduciary Duty: A legal shield for corporate capitalism? Weststar, Johanna; Simon Archer and Murray Gold
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190. 27 October 2013 Understanding Globalization Gindin, Sam; David McNally
Presentations by: Sam Gindin, co-author with Leo Panitch of The Making of Global Capitalism: The Political Economy of American Empire; and David McNally, author of Global Slump: The Economics and Politics of Crisis and Resistance. Recorded in Toronto, 19 October 2013.
189. 20 October 2013 Trade Union and 'Progressive' Strategies Soederberg, Susanne; Jim Stanford
It is noteworthy that as finance has been on the 'rise', some activists began to formalize anti-corporate and targeted activist campaign strategies through pension and personal investment funds. In Canada and the U.S., several faith organizations began to argue that anti-social corporate behaviour should be, in some sense, sanctioned by individual investors and ultimate owners, on the basis of social principle or humanitarian values.
188. 6 October 2013 From Pension Fund Socialism to Pension Fund Capitalism?
Peter Drucker's famous 1976 warning that the growth of workers' pension funds was leading to 'socialism' in the United States has not aged well. This conception inspired many trade unionists and some on the left, and led to various experimental proposals for seizing 'worker control' of finance and the economy via the pooled savings of workers, whether in pension funds or in individual savings.
187. 29 September 2013 Tied in a Knot - discussion with the director Kukreja, Reena
This documentary examines the newly emergent phenomenon of bride buying and commoditization of the female body in India, and the attendant gender based violence that the sourced, bought, or trafficked brides undergo in their marital homes. Years of repressive social morés that promoted girl dispreference is now seeing men from these regions breach customary rules and travel to distant poorer regions of India to find wives.
186. 15 September 2013 Prime Your Mind for Resistance to the 'Right to Work' Lie
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185. 1 September 2013 How Tar Sands Threaten Our Communities
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184. 18 August 2013 France: One year after the Sarkozy defeat
François Hollande and his Socialist Party came to power following presidential and legislative elections in May-June 2012. While the defeat of hard-right president Nicolas Sarkozy and his UMP party certainly came as a huge relief, Hollande and his government have essentially pursued the same agenda as the defeated forces of the right and have plummeted in the opinion polls.
183. 4 August 2013 Architecture, Occupation, and Resistance
Justin Podur interviews architectural researcher Suzy Harris-Brandts, who studied and worked with the Decolonizing Architecture group in the West Bank. They discuss the limitations of negotiations, design tactics under occupation, and the responsibility of architects.
182. 14 July 2013 Has the Giant Awoken?
Brazil is currently witnessing the largest mass protests to hit the country in over 20 years. Originally organized by the Free Fare Movement (MPL) in Sao Paulo against a planned 10 cent public transit fare hike, the protests quickly spread to Rio de Janeiro, Brasilia, and other major cities across the country. At its peak, over 1 million people in over 100 Brazilian cities took to the streets to protest a long list of grievances ranging from political corruption to human rights abuses and World Cup spending.
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