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The Ranting Canadian: The un-Canadian Harper Conservatives recently announced they are…

The un-Canadian Harper Conservatives recently announced they are giving away $1.5 million of our tax dollars to fund a politically motivated monument with the misleading name Memorial to Victims of Communism—Canada, a Land of Refuge.

It’s not “victims of Stalinism”, “victims of totalitarianism”, “victims of dictatorships”, “victims of the Soviet Union” or something along those lines – it’s victims of communism, an economic system, a political philosophy. This monument is not really about freedom or justice; it is a tribute to capitalism and right-wing ideologies. The pet project is spearheaded by a shadowy fringe group called Tribute to (Read more…)

The Ranting Canadian: Happy Labour Day weekend to all working class women and men. In…

Happy Labour Day weekend to all working class women and men.

In this corrupt age of ultra-capitalism, globalization, neo-feudalism and unrestrained class war, we need the labour movement more than ever! Now is the time to stick together and take what’s ours, instead of continuing to fight each other over crumbs from the rich man’s table.

This song is “Working Class Man” by the English proto-punk band (with one Canadian member) Third World War. If you’re like me, you’ve never heard of this band until now. After hearing their music, it’s apparent that their musical style influenced many bands that (Read more…)

RedBedHead: On Pythons & Media Generated Paranoia

My partner and I have been talking much about the horribly tragic death of two boys in New Brunswick a couple of days ago. KP is snake-o-phobic and this just confirmed her worst fears, especially with a reptile shop around the corner that sells large snakes.

For me, while it horrified me as a father of two young children to think of losing my kids so senselessly, what was also striking was how

wmtc: what i’m reading: clarence darrow, attorney for the damned, by john a. farrell

I last wrote about Clarence Darrow in early 2012, after reading a piece by one of my favourite New Yorker writers, Jill Lepore. Two new biographies of Darrow had been published, and Lepore wrote a tribute to the great defender, and mused on the state of North American labour movement.

Lucky for me, Allan found a copy of one of those books – brand new, in hardcover – on one of his used-book jaunts. I’m more than halfway through John A. Farrell’s Clarence Darrow: Attorney for the Damned and still haven’t gotten to Darrow’s most famous triumph.

As (Read more…)

wmtc: rtod

This Revolutionary Thought of the Day brought to you by my abiding hero, Clarence Darrow. Darrow dismissed many of the remedial bandages that he and the labor movement had battled for: eight-hour-day laws, women’s suffrage, child labor legislation. “We are busy patching and tinkering, and doing a poor job patching and tinkering at that.”

The working class must seize the earth’s natural resources and the means of production, he said. “There can never be any proper distribution of wealth in the world while a few own the earth – a few men own the mines, the railroads, the forests, (Read more…)

RedBedHead: Massacre in Egypt: Is Revolution Worth The Price?

As I sat down to write this post the news of a tragic massacre of at least 32 Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated protestors, and the injury of 300 more was plastered all over the internet. That much is clear, the rest is yet to be disentangled (if ever) from two completely opposing stories by the Egyptian military and people on the scene. This is now one more massacre in a two year revolutionary

RedBedHead: Deflected Marxism: The Poison Of The Intelligentsia

I was thinking recently of an apocryphal story that was told to me many years ago as I sat in a dank basement drinking from a keg of beer. Apparently Lenin was listening to Beethoven with the Russian novelist Gorky and commented something along the lines: “ah, the petty-bourgeois intelligentsia. Sometimes they produce such beauty that one wants to reach out and pat them on the head. But you mustn

wmtc: barcelona, day two

Barcelona is amazing. Some people suggested that five days here were too many, but we can barely fit in all the things we want to do – even though we are omitting one major tourist attraction and the most popular day-trip in Spain. (More on that later.)

I managed to sleep a little more than usual today, a rare gift, and we purposely got a later start than usual. After breakfast, we took the metro to our first views of La Sagrada Familia. This building, Gaudi’s great masterpiece, is truly unique in all the world. It is also famously (Read more…)

The Ranting Canadian: I just saw that today, May 5, is the birthday of Karl Heinrich…

I just saw that today, May 5, is the birthday of Karl Heinrich Marx (1818-1883), the German economist, historian, journalist and philosopher. I post this video in honour of the occasion. It’s a bit silly, and I’m not sure of the intentions of the creators, but I’ve been waiting for an appropriate occasion to share it.

I haven’t read any Marx in a very long time, other than passages that other people quote, but his writings are certainly still relevant today, especially in this era of economic collapse, ongoing exploitation of workers, growing inequality and top-down austerity measures.

Marx wasn’t (Read more…)

The Ranting Canadian: Here’s my final photo from the International Workers Day…

Here’s my final photo from the International Workers Day rally in downtown Toronto on May 1, 2013. I couldn’t resist snapping a pic of this “Bourgeois” tour bus parked near the starting point of the Mayday march. Obviously I wasn’t the only one who saw the dry humour in this, because someone else posted a photo of that bus here: http://toronto.mediacoop.ca/story/mayday-toronto-2013/17365

The Ranting Canadian: Toronto Mayday 2013 – Photo set 4 These two photos from the 2013…

Toronto Mayday 2013 – Photo set 4

These two photos from the 2013 International Workers Day march in Toronto are of the front and back of a Rebel Time Records “United Colours of Antifa” T-shirt — the black flag of anarchism and the red flag of socialism united against fascism.

You can probably get your own at http://www.rebeltimerecords.com

The Ranting Canadian: Toronto Mayday 2013 – Photo set 3 These are various photos of…

Toronto Mayday 2013 – Photo set 3

These are various photos of the International Workers Day march in downtown Toronto during the evening of May 1, 2013. A wide range of groups, individuals, causes and ideologies were represented — under the common banner of working class power.

The Ranting Canadian: Toronto Mayday 2013 – Photo set 1 These pictures are from the…

Toronto Mayday 2013 – Photo set 1

These pictures are from the starting point of the International Workers Day rally in downtown Toronto in the early evening of May 1, 2013. The trees and sunlight in these five photos highlight the other, much older, aspect of Mayday: nature, rebirth and the arrival of spring. It was a great night with warm weather and no trouble (as far as I know). Fortunately the police behaved themselves, unlike in Montreal and some other cities.

drive-by planet: NDP caters to conservative critique by nixxing ‘socialism’ references in constitution

Top: NDP leader Mulcair / Bottom: Atefa Akbary and Farshad Azadian The vote at the NDP Montreal convention to remove the word “socialism” from the party’s constitution is symbolic in all the wrong ways. It’s ironic that at a time when neoliberal policies are on the ropes and capitalism never so vulnerable… they go seeking some nebulous approbation by deleting references to “socialism.” It sends completely the wrong message and not unlike Labour in the UK, stinks of catering to the conservative critique.

Sure some have said reassuring things… that removing a constitutional preamble won’t change the character of (Read more…) party. If the party truly believed in its character it would care less about deleting “socialist” and be focused on taking down Harper – but there are a lot of other signs that the NDP is softening its position, not recent developments either.

A lot of people . . . → Read More: drive-by planet: NDP caters to conservative critique by nixxing ‘socialism’ references in constitution

drive-by planet: Billy Bragg on why he became a socialist

One of the main reasons Billy Bragg became a socialist was Margaret Thatcher. She inspired many to take up the fight against the policies that have been wrecking Britain.

Billy Bragg was a front line activist during the Thatcher years. In 1985 he formed Red Wedge – a musician’s alliance that promoted socialist views and encouraged youth participation in the political process. After Thatcher’s 1987 return to power, Bragg joined Charter 88 that was committed to reform in the British political system. 

Billy talks about the path he took during the Thatcher years:

And as a singer-songwriter who had

. . . → Read More: drive-by planet: Billy Bragg on why he became a socialist

Song of the Watermelon: A Socialist’s Lament

Let’s be clear about one thing: the New Democratic Party of Canada was never a socialist party.

For all the hands wrung and tears shed over its newly amended constitution, the NDP, since its formation in 1961, has always been a social democratic party like any other, and social democracy has been standing a respectful distance away from true socialism for nearly one hundred years.

Once upon a time, Europe’s social democratic parties may have been the standard-bearers of Marxist orthodoxy, but following the infamous “schism” in the international socialist movement over World War I and the Russian Revolution,

. . . → Read More: Song of the Watermelon: A Socialist’s Lament

Song of the Watermelon: A Socialist’s Lament

Let’s be clear about one thing: the New Democratic Party of Canada was never a socialist party.

For all the hands wrung and tears shed over its newly amended constitution, the NDP, since its formation in 1961, has always been a social democratic party like any other, and social democracy has been standing a respectful distance away from true socialism for nearly a century.

Once upon a time, Europe’s social democratic parties may have been the standard-bearers of Marxist orthodoxy, but following the infamous “schism” in the international socialist movement over World War I and the Russian Revolution, the (Read more…)

Leftist Jab: Here’s Why Removing "Socialism" From the NDP’s Constitution Preamble is Superb

Modernizing the terminology is a good step forward.

While there were grumblings with some of the delegates regarding this change, allow me to put forward the thoughts of British historian and essayist Tony Judt on the appellation of socialism (25:25 mark to 28:45) regarding the term “socialism” as the NDP removes it from its constitution’s preamble.

Here’s the highlight:

[...] we cannot get

somecanuckchick dot com: Using a Thesaurus to woo the centre…

In an effort to modernize the language of its constitution, NDP delegates voted to excise the word “socialism”, like a tumour.

Anyone with a thesaurus can tell you that “sustainable prosperity” and “a society that shares its benefits more fairly” are synonyms — not antonyms — for “socialism”.

Re-branding is not reinvention, my friends.

Seriously, it’s not change.

And, it’s not controversial, it’s feeble.

wmtc: unpaid labour used to be called slavery. now it’s an internship.

Image found at Youth and Work blog

In recent years, I’ve been very disturbed by the proliferation of so-called unpaid internships, more properly called unpaid labour, previously known as slavery.

A while back, I had a disturbing conversation with an unpaid editor at The Mark. She was highly skilled, an excellent editor. I told her so, and asked if she was being paid. Since The Mark does not pay its contributors, I was wondering if they also got a free pass on staff.

The young woman vigorously defended her unpaid job, explaining, “I’m learning the business as I go.”

. . . → Read More: wmtc: unpaid labour used to be called slavery. now it’s an internship.

Canadian Dimension Feed: The Motor Force for Historical Regression or Advance

One of the most important and yet most neglected determinants of the outcomes of the economic crisis and resultant deepening of social inequalities and immiseration is the class struggle. In one of his most pithy metaphors, Karl Marx referred to class struggle as ‘the motor force of history.’ In this essay we analyze the central role of class struggle, its impact and reflection in economic decisions and, most especially, the different methods and forms, according to the particular classes engaged in class struggle.

Having clarified the types and methods of class struggle, we will turn to the specific results (Read more…) class struggles in different regions and countries: the different policies adopted as a result of class struggle reflect the balance of class power at both the national and regional level.

In the last section, we will compare and analyze a series of case studies of class struggles, highlighting . . . → Read More: Canadian Dimension Feed: The Motor Force for Historical Regression or Advance

The Ranting Canadian: Peter Kormos memorial on May 11, 2013 in Thorold, Ontario

Peter Kormos memorial on May 11, 2013 in Thorold, Ontario:

Click on the above link for details, and see my last post for more information about his life, which ended far too soon.

If you see grey boxes above, click on one of them to see photos of Peter.

wmtc: can money buy happiness? yes. no. sometimes. maybe.

My friend Impudent Strumpet writes a series of posts that dispute the oft-repeated notion “money can’t buy happiness”. (Here’s an example.) I find this idea very thought-provoking. I’ve definitely subscribed to the idea that money doesn’t equal happiness – that making the acquisition of riches a primary life goal does not lead to a happy life. Imp Strump’s posts led me to think more clearly about this axiom and see what kinds of truths it might or might not hold.

If money doesn’t buy happiness, try living without any

For people who live in poverty, money undoubtedly could

. . . → Read More: wmtc: can money buy happiness? yes. no. sometimes. maybe.

The Ranting Canadian: Last weekend, Canada lost a beloved, well-respected, honest,…

Last weekend, Canada lost a beloved, well-respected, honest, persuasive, gruff-voiced, hard-working, non-conformist, friendly, principled, down-to-earth man of the people who drank and smoked, wore cowboy boots, stood up for the little guy and was re-elected several times.

No, I’m not talking about that asshole Ralph Klein, whose merits and accomplishments are more myth than reality. This is about Peter Kormos, the former Ontario New Democratic Party (NDP) MPP for Welland. The larger-than-life rebel, who was serving as a Niagara Region councillor, died at the age of 60 on March 30, 2013.

Unlike many so-called populist politicians, Peter actually did (Read more…)

wmtc: hugo chavez vs lies western media tells us

Linda McQuaig recently wrote an excellent column about the blatantly false portrayal of the late Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez in the Western mainstream media. Chavez should be a hero to anyone who cares about social justice, but if your primary news sources are anywhere from CNN to the CBC to the New York Times, you might wonder why millions of Latin Americans mourned Chavez’s passing rather than celebrating. You might imagine they were in the thrall of a charismatic tyrant.

I found the mainstream media’s description of Chavez as a “dictator” particularly rich, given the US endured at least

. . . → Read More: wmtc: hugo chavez vs lies western media tells us