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Canadian Dimension | Articles: Real Democracy and the Capture of Institutions

It is no longer enough to win over civil society, occupy public spaces, take to the streets, carry out symbolic actions, prevent evictions, or to win plebiscites. In Spain movements for ‘real democracy’ are setting a course to capture institutions – albeit with the aim to recreate these institutions in a constitutive process in the interests of ‘real democracy’.

We are witnessing a dynamic reorganization of the political sphere – from the left. Even before the European parliamentary elections at the end of May a shift was evident that would bring the Izquierda Unida (United Left, IU) party a tripling (Read more…)

Canadian Dimension | Articles: Working Class Politics After the NDP

The issue that we can’t ignore this Labour Day is the disorientation in our movement’s politics. List the issues working people are most concerned about today – whether deindustrialization, unemployment and underemployment; access to healthcare, childcare and pensions; poverty, racism, conditions of foreign workers and appalling levels of overall inequality; the environment, transit costs and transit services; another corporate-friendly trade agreement that is insensitive to workers and communities; or the horror of Gaza – and two things especially stand out. First, how fundamental the actions of the Canadian state are to what is most important to us. Second, how distressingly (Read more…)

Parchment in the Fire: Upstart party Podemos emerging as third political power, says new poll | In English | EL PAÍS

Upstart party Podemos emerging as third political power, says new poll | In English | EL PAÍS.

New party Podemos has taken a further step toward becoming the third power on the Spanish political scene, according to the latest opinion poll from the Center for Sociological Research (CIS). The group – which was the surprise success of the recent European elections, winning five seats thanks to 1.2 million votes – received support from 15.3% of those polled. That’s compared to 30% of voter support for the governing Popular Party, and 21.2% for the main opposition Socialist Party (Read more…)

Parchment in the Fire: The Radical Left at the 2014 EP Election - Transform Network

The Radical Left at the 2014 EP Election – Transform Network.

The publication of the final results of the 2014 European Parliament (EP) election of 22-25 May finally permits to draw a first assessment of the performance of the radical Left.[1]

By Paolo Chiocchetti

The election marked an important electoral advance for this party family, which won 12,981,378 votes (+1,885,574) corresponding to 7.96% of valid votes (+1.04%). This was matched by an even stronger increase of radical left Members of the European Parliament (MEPs), from 36 to 53, and of their parliamentary group (European United Left/Nordic Green left – (Read more…)

Left Over: Incoming? Nah, Outgoing….

Guaranteed $20K income for all Canadians endorsed by academics Advocates enjoy resurgence of plan to ease poverty

The Canadian Press Posted: Jun 30, 2014 9:53 AM ET Last Updated: Jun 30, 2014 11:31 AM ET



A great idea, but like many academic ideas, not too practical in the sadly real world we live in…Scandinavian countries do it successfully, but they have intelligent well-designed social programs and a population that is onside..a far cry from N. America. where getting rich and climbing the wealth ladder is tantamount to sainthood, and damn the undeserving poor.. They probably didn’t (Read more…)

Parchment in the Fire: What German Left (Part II)

Originally posted on thecurrentmoment:

This guest post, by Phil Mader, a researcher in sociology at the Universal of Basel, follows on previous posts by him and by Wolfgang Streeck on the German Left. Mader’s first installment dealt with the SPD and the Greens; this second and final part highlights some issues plaguing the parties on the left of the SPD in Germany.

What German Left? (Part II)

The Eurozone crisis has set even the rigid German political landscape in flux. Merkel’s seemingly post-political governance, with what from many a German’s perspective appears as benign motherly strictness towards the continent, (Read more…)

Parchment in the Fire: Policy Network – News

Policy Network – News.

State of the Left 30 May 2014

The dust is still settling after the European elections of last weekend with the horse-trading over the Commission presidency and the populist challengers in France and Britain still dominating much of the news agenda. The elections delivered stark warning signals of old nationalisms stirring across the continent; but, overall, the picture is not irreversibly bleak for the European project. In countries like Austria, Finland, Germany and the Netherlands, reluctant but relatively solid pro-European majorities have come through. Indeed, arch-populist Geert Wilders’ (Read more…)

. . . → Read More: Parchment in the Fire: Policy Network – News

The Ranting Canadian: Some Canadian content for Mayday (International Workers’…

Some Canadian content for Mayday (International Workers’ Day):

This video is a documentary about the Toronto folk music group The Travellers, who started out in 1953, mixing traditional folk songs, Canadian patriotism, communism and Jewish culture (sometimes singing in Yiddish). They were inspired by, and worked with, Pete Seeger. They are best known for the Canadian version of “This Land is Your Land”.

The Travellers were deeply involved with a left-wing Jewish summer camp in Brampton called Camp Neivelt, which still exists. In their early days, The group performed at many benefit concerts for the labour movement and (Read more…)

Parchment in the Fire: The Economics Of Social Democracy – Social Europe Journal

The Economics Of Social Democracy – Social Europe Journal.

By John Weeks

In a recent article in the Social Europe Journal Shayn McCallum develops in some detail his interpretation of the “political economy” of social democracy. Central to his approach is the work of Karl Polanyi, and specially the famous Chapter 6 of The Great Transformation, “The Self-regulating Market and the Fictitious Commodities: Labor, Land, and Money”. This chapter, obviously influenced by Karl Marx who is not cited, provides the basis for developing the “economics” of social democracy.

I specifically seek to distinguish the economic policy framework of social (Read more…)

Parchment in the Fire: Syriza Succeeds in Greece by Challenging European Left’s Approach to Reform

Syriza Succeeds in Greece by Challenging European Left’s Approach to Reform.

Leo Panitch on Syriza’s radical approach to ‘reform’ in Europe.

Filed under: Austerity, Capitalism, Social Democracy, Socialism Tagged: Europe, Syriza, the Left

Parchment in the Fire: Five Theses on the French Left

Reblogged from thecurrentmoment:

As an antidote to the snide gossip that passes for analysis of French politics at the moment, and in line with our broader reflection on the state of the European left, here are five theses on the French left that we hope might go some way to explaining the present impasse.

1. The French Socialist Party remains haunted by François Mitterrand’s u-turn in 1983-4.

Read more… 1,096 more words

Parchment in the Fire: Europe’s left has seen how capitalism can bite back | Leo Panitch

Filed under: Europe Tagged: Capitalism, Socialism, the Left

Parchment in the Fire: The Radical Left in Europe: An Outline - Transform Network

Filed under: Uncategorized Tagged: Socialism, the Left

RedBedHead: Ford Saga: Left Gives Cover To Right Wing Palace Coup

Cuts, what cuts? It’s all about bad behaviour photo credit: @HeartsOnTheLeft

Not one word about cuts. Not one word about privatizing garbage collection. Nothing about his refusal to ever attend a single Gay Pride Parade. Zilch about his actual politics. No, everything is focused on his drinking, his drug use and his public displays of such activities. The closest we get to something

wmtc: more moyers: democracy and plutocracy don’t mix

I found the preceding rtod post buried in Blogger drafts, something Allan saved there years ago. I never got around to posting it, but I never had the heart to delete it, either.

If you’re not familiar with Bill Moyers, he is an American independent journalist, producer, and public intellectual. Earlier in his career, Moyers served as White House Press Secretary under the Johnson administration, but he’s better known for the many shows he has produced and hosted on PBS.

Moyers has always been liberal, but over the past decade, he has become increasingly radicalized as he reacts to (Read more…)

wmtc: rtod

Revolutionary thought of the day: The Gilded Age returned with a vengeance in our time. It slipped in quietly at first, back in the early 1980s, when Ronald Reagan began a “massive decades-long transfer of national wealth to the rich.” As Roger Hodge makes clear, under Bill Clinton the transfer was even more dramatic, as the top 10 percent captured an ever-growing share of national income. The trend continued under George W. Bush – those huge tax cuts for the rich, remember, which are now about to be extended because both parties have been bought off by the wealthy (Read more…)

RedBedHead: Bye Bye Rob Ford, Hello Karen Stintz

There is the sound of champagne corks being popped and cheers in the streets. Everyone smiles at each other and winks, knowing that soon it will all be over. The hated burgermeister is falling and no one, except perhaps his family, will be sad to see him go. And he has been felled by none other than that champion of democracy, Toronto Police Chief William Blair.

Oh, wait a second. Bill Blair?

wmtc: faludi: corporatist pseudo-feminism vs radical change for women and all working people

I would like to draw your attention to an excellent article by Susan Faludi in The Baffler: Facebook Feminism: Like It or Not.

Faludi contrasts the corporatist, individualistic, me-first, privileged, self-centered, pseudo-feminism of “Lean In” with the collective, cross-class activism of some of the original feminists: the “Mill Girls” of Lowell, Massachusetts, who fought for human rights and labour rights for all women. Describing the links between feminism, class struggle, the labour movement, and even the abolitionist movement, Faludi demonstrates how all oppression is interconnected, and how only collective solutions can affect change. She shows how an effective women’s (Read more…)

drive-by planet: Slavoj Zizek’s sharp blade: video interview on changes in the global financial and political system

The Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Žižek is one of the most engaging thinkers around, not only in terms of the ideas but in person. He’s engaging even if you don’t altogether agree with him. When he is in top gear he fulminates, gestures furiously with both hands and delivers with conviction. But it’s never just about the show and the fireworks. He gets his point across forcefully, sometimes playfully and subversively. Žižek is a true original.

When he offends people, it is often be because he is misunderstood or because he isn’t sufficiently respectful of sacred cultural cows. He was accused (Read more…)

Parchment in the Fire: Our favourite Miliband | Red Pepper

Our favourite Miliband | Red Pepper.

Our favourite Miliband Hilary Wainwright reveals which Miliband caught her fancy August 2010


I’d better come clean. For some time now I’ve been a closet Milibandite. No, not the renegade Westminster branch of the tendency. It was the late Ralph Miliband, father of current Labour leadership contenders David and Ed, who impressed me.

It was not just Ralph Miliband’s ideas but also his approach that persuaded me: a notable modesty, refusal of sectarianism and a combination of deep socialist conviction with constant interrogation of established views, including his own. Such characteristics meant, incidentally, that (Read more…)

wmtc: hedges: "when harper passes right-to-work, you must go on a massive general strike, or you’re finished"

Last night, I heard author, journalist, and activist Chris Hedges speak at the Bloor Street United Church in Toronto, sponsored by the excellent Canadian Dimension.

Hedges is a radical intellectual, in the Chomsky vein, also compassionate and fearless, in the mode of Howard Zinn. He touched on many subjects – and credited the work and thoughts of many others. I can only hope to impart a few snippets of the many threads Hedges wove.

“A seismic moment”

Hedges called the recent US debate on Syria a “seismic moment”. The Obama administration pulled out all the familiar mechanisms used to sell (Read more…)

wmtc: the other september 11, why "they" might hate "us", and the right to live in peace

For many people in the world, especially people in South America, the date September 11 was significant long before 2001. On that date in 1973, Augusto Pinochet, with the help of the United States government, overthrew the democratically elected, socialist government of Salvador Allende. Allende was either murdered or forced into suicide. Pinochet then installed a military dictatorship that ruled Chile until 1990, and was responsible for tens of thousands of deaths, tortures, and disappearances, along with right-wing economic policies that were equally brutal.

I often think of the Chilean overthrow, as I do about another CIA overthrow 12 years (Read more…)

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