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SAPF: Special Session on Sri Lanka

Toronto, April 23, 2009.

The South Asian People's Unity Forum, Toronto, began with a special discussion on the current crisis in Sri Lanka, and what democratic and Left groups might expect or work for the near future. SAPF is interested to disseminate as many progressive analyses and reflections on Sri Lanka as possible, especially in Toronto. It invited Rohini Hensman, writer, based in Mumbai; Ahilan, spokesperson of the Sri Lanka Democracy Forum; and Rajan Philips, writer and former journalist from Jaffna, to bring their deep knowledge and concern for the country to offer us different histories and alternative futures than available through the mainstream media.
Chair: Aparna Sundar
Speakers: Rohini Hensman, Ahilan Kadirgamar and Rajan Philips.

The Financial Crisis: a Socialist Perspective

Montreal, February 21, 2009.


A strategy with short and medium term demands, geared to fostering the relation of forces necessary to move beyond capital. Presentation by Sam Gindin.


Introduction by Roger Rashi

I am a member of the organizing committee of Masse Critique, which is a collective inside Quebec Solidaire dedicated to popular education over three major themes: a critique of the capitalist system; ecosocialism; and of course support for the people’s struggles and anti-imperialism.

These are the three great themes our group is working on mostly trough conferences and with movie projections under the name Ciné-militant. This morning activity is supported by Gauche Socialiste and our comrade David Mandel has been crucial in the organization. We thank David for his support

This morning we have with us Sam Gindin. For those who do not know him, he is not only an intellectual but more important he was a trade union militant for over a quarter of century from 1974 to 2000. He was an economic advisor attached to the president of the CAW. Sam was also the advisor to president Bob White and Buzz Hargrove.

Sam represents this type of intellectual which can not only analyze the economic crisis but who can as well indicate venues for action and ways of struggle. As I had the privilege to hear Sam's presentation yesterday, he develops three major points.

  1. the function of financial capital in today's capitalism and it's impact on popular struggles
  2. he underlines the importance to attack financial capitalism and discuss the nationalization of the banks
  3. he develops ideas on how to unify popular and trade union struggles against capitalism.

I present you Sam Gindin, thanks

Launching the 2009 Socialist Register:
Violence Today: Actually Existing Barbarism

Toronto, February 4, 2009 - This event launches The Socialist Register 2009 as well as the second edition of Leo Panitch's Renewing Socialism: Transforming Democracy, Strategy and Imagination. Sponsored by: York University Book Store, Fernwood Books, the Socialist Project, and the Socialist Register.

Part 1:

• Moderated by Greg Albo
• Leo Panitch: Actually Existing Barbarism Versus Renewing Socialism
• Tania Murray Li: The Political Economy of Ethnic Violence: The Case of Indonesia
• Anna Zalik: The Commodification of Violence: The Nigerian Delta.

Part 2:

• Moderated by Greg Albo
• Vivek Chibber: American Militarism: Obama and the Legacy of Iraq
• Bashir Abu-Manneh: From Siege to War: Israel and the Palestinians

Launch of the 2008 Socialist Register

Crisis and the Global South

Toronto, January 30, 2009.

• Adam Hanieh, Niraj Joshi, Paul Kellogg - Moderator: Carlos Torchia.

The Crash of 2008, a crisis of U.S.-led neoliberalism, is wreaking havoc on the poor in the Global South. This panel examines the causes and effects of the crisis, and suggest ways of fighting back.

Understanding the Financial Crisis: Critical Approaches, Alternative Policies

Toronto, January 30, 2009

The financial crisis that has ripped across the world market over the last year has been remarkable in the chaos it has unleashed - and continues to unleash - on national economies, workers, ecologies and marginalized communities. Financial authorities, have admitted that whole banking systems may have to be nationalised. This is even after governments around the world have backstopped their loans and capital positions to the tune of several trillion dollars. The financial crisis is now spilling over into a wider economic crisis. The most visible casualty here has been the North American auto sector, with the Big Three careening on the edge of bankruptcy. As the crisis deepens, the impact on mortgages, unemployment, welfare rolls and so forth is likely to be devastating.

It is clear that mainstream neoliberal discourse has produced sheer nonsense in attempting to explain the financial crisis. The notion that 'excessive risk-taking' extending sub-prime mortgage credit to low-income earners in the U.S. could cause credit markets to lock-up and the world economy to spin into recession - and possible deflation - is absurdly naďve. It is becoming clear that attempts by states at re-regulation, fiscal stimulus and monetary supports are at best patch-work Keynesian attempts to avoid even worse economic turmoil. It is necessary, therefore, to explore deeper explanations of the crisis within structuralist accounts of how capitalism generates cycles of 'financial instability' and how Marxian theorizations of the interaction between credit-money, accumulation and income distribution. These panels allow an opportunity to discuss some of the theoretical, political and research issues emerging out of the financial crisis and this major political turning point.

Panel 1: The Financial Crisis: Causes, Dimensions, Consequences
- Brenda Spotton Visano, Department of Economics, York University
- Erin Weir, Economist, United Steel Workers
- Katharine Rankin, Department of Geography, University of Toronto

Panel 2: The Global Financial Crisis: Developing Left Responses?
- Kanishka Goonewardena, Department of Geography, University of Toronto, Chair
- Laurie Adkin, Department of Political Science, University of Alberta
- Adam Hanieh, Department of Political Science, York University
- Leo Panitch, Department of Political Science, York University

Sponsors: Studies in Political Economy; Canada Research Chair in Comparative Political Economy, York University; Canadian Auto Workers.

Grasping the Financial Crisis

Toronto, November 26, 2008.

With Sam Gindin, Leo Panitch, Eric Cazdyn, Kanishka Goonewardena: MP3 audio

(event organized by Toronto School of Creativity & Inquiry)

Canada-Colombia Free Trade Agreement

Toronto, December 7, 2008.

• Jesús Erazo, union leader with Sintracarbon, Colombia, talking about working conditions and their opposition to the Colombia-Canada Free Trade Agreement.

Top ten reasons why Canada should cancel Harper's "free trade deal" with Colombia

Toronto, December 3, 2008.

Legalizing Terror: The Canada-Colombia Free Trade Agreement

• Jasmin Hristov, author of Blood and Capital: The Paramilitarization of Colombia, Ph.D. candidate York University

• Todd Gordon, writer on Canadian imperialism and Canada's free trade agreement with Colombia, member of New Socialist Group

• Iliam Burbano, CUPE international solidarity activist

Assessing an Obama Presidency

Toronto, November 21, 2008.

With Abbie Bakan, Ajamu Nangwaya and Herman Rosenfeld: video page...

Financial Chaos and the Crisis of Neoliberalism

Toronto, October 26, 2008.

With Greg Albo, Adam Hanieh and Tom Marois: video page...

Venezuela and Bolivia - People Against Empire:

Toronto, September 10, 2008.

With Dr. Maria Paez Victor, Cynthia Cisneros Fajardo and John Riddell. Moderated by Carlos Torchia: video page...

Movements, Debates and Struggles in Latin America:

Toronto, July 17, 2008.

A Report by Leo Panitch on the International Seminar organized by the Brazilian Landless People's Movement (MST) in honour of Che's 80th Birthday.
The last year has seen enormous political turmoil across Latin America. Political and social advances for the Left in Bolivia, Ecuador and Venezuela continued to be wracked by civil conflicts. In other countries, strikes, peasant organizing and dissent against neoliberalism continues to grow. In Brazil, the landless movement is in the midst of a militant wave of occupations, confrontations and civil actions. The recent seminar hosted by the MST brought many of Latin America's leading intellectuals and activists together for an assessment of the political setting and future prospects.

More news from Brazil: Via Campesina's Struggles in Brazil.

Haiti's Food Crisis:

July 6, 2008.

Avi Lewis travels to Haiti to look at how the stories of politics, rice and the US are deeply interwoven. YouTube website...

European Revolutionaries Discuss Left Unity Experiences:

June 28, 2008.

The British socialist newspaper Socialist Resistance sponsored a fascinating day of discussion and debate on building broad left parties across Europe, attracting a comprehensive list of speakers from key left unity projects. The videos of the following talks were recorded on the day. They include speakers from the Left Bloc Portugal, Respect in Britain, the Socialist Party in the Netherlands, Die Link in Germany, Sinistra Critica (Italy) and the European Greens Links website...

Haiti - Damming the Flood:

Toronto, June 2, 2008.

Launch of Peter Hallward's Damming the Flood: Aristide, Haiti, and the Politics of Containment (Verso Books).
Damning the Flood has been widely praised as the first accurate and comprehensive analysis of recent Haitian history as well an insightful eye into the future of the battered Caribbean country. In his groundbreaking book, Hallward analyzes the role of foreign powers, including Canada, in the overthrow of Aristide and the other institutions of elected government in Haiti in February, 2004. As Hallward chronicles, the story of Haiti's betrayal has much to teach Canadians about the acts done in our name when we weren't looking.
Review by Joe Emersberger (MRZine) | Google video [1/2]... | Google video [2/2]...

The Left and Labour in Russia Under Putin:

Toronto, April 3, 2008.

Since the collapse of the old Soviet Union in the 1990s and the end of the politically bankrupt regime of Boris Yeltsin in 2000, Vladimir Putin has consolidated power in Russia. He has ruled over an economy growing at about 7% per year, and, in Kagarlitsky's view, establishing Russia as an 'empire of the periphery'. The left and workers have faced enormous challenges in the new (and not so new) Russia in the face of massive economic restructuring and major political obstacles. This discussion will address how the left, workers and unions are attempting to re-group and respond to these challenges. Boris Kagarlitsky page...

History of Oil:

April 21, 2006.

Robert Newman's stand-up act examines the history of the last 100 years or so but putting oil center-stage. Google video...

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