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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

RedBedHead: SWP Bureaucracy & The IST: Part 1

The tradition in the IST is to not intervene in the controversies and debates of other organizations. This was explained to me as a reaction against the practice amongst the early Trotskyists & within the Fourth International to involve every affiliated organization in the debates of every other national section. But, it was pointed out, that it was a bit foolish and grandiose for these tiny

The Ranting Canadian: http://issuu.com/randalljaykay/docs

http://issuu.com/randalljaykay/docs:

The above link is to an archive of various scanned articles and newsletters from the 1980s and 1990s that are related to topics such as anti-fascism, radicalism, socialism, anarchism, prisoners’ rights, anti-imperialism, First Nations rights and anti-racism,

They are interesting historical documents, and many of the issues they discuss are still relevant today.

Unfortunately some of them are difficult to read, at least on my computer monitor. Hopefully you have better luck.

wmtc: hugo chavez 1954-2013

Hugo Rafael Chávez Frías, July 28, 1954 – March 5, 2013.From Derrick O’Keefe at Rabble: Hugo Chavez has died — undefeated.

Yes, undefeated. Chavez, no matter how many times the corporate media and the cheerleaders of the status quo call him a dictator, was elected repeatedly with overwhelming majorities.

No matter how many times this slur is moronically or mendaciously repeated, people know the truth. No less than Jimmy Carter certified Venezuela’s elections as amongst the most fair and transparent his organization has ever observed. And the voter turnouts that elected Chavez were usually far, far higher than those

. . . → Read More: wmtc: hugo chavez 1954-2013

Dead Wild Roses: Wealth Inequality in America

This just popped into my reader. It deserves to be shared and discussed.

Filed under: Politics Tagged: America, Inequality, Politics, Socialism, the 1%

wmtc: marxism 2012 program notes: from each according to their ability: the role of socialists in disability movement

This is the final post of my notes from the 2012 Marxism Conference. This was the first Marxism conference to include a talk on disability, an exciting development full of potential. I wanted to blog about it in great detail. A friend was recording the talk, so I stopped taking detailed notes… and then the audio didn’t come out.

Melissa Graham was kind enough to give me her notes, but the others didn’t have anything written to share. What follows, then, is the general idea. What does disability have to do with capitalism and socialism? Where do disability and socialism

. . . → Read More: wmtc: marxism 2012 program notes: from each according to their ability: the role of socialists in disability movement

The Ranting Canadian: Any fool who still says “better dead than red” in…

Any fool who still says “better dead than red” in this day and age should have to prove it.

Try both options and get back to us.

wmtc: rtod

Revolutionary thought of the day: Disobedience, in the eyes of anyone who has read history, is humanity’s original virtue. It is through disobedience that progress has been made, through disobedience and through rebellion.

Oscar Wildefrom The Soul of Man under Socialism

RedBedHead: SWP: Crisis, Democracy & Renewal

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The Ranting Canadian: There’s an over-used, often-modified, bullshit slogan…

There’s an over-used, often-modified, bullshit slogan along the lines of “If you are not a socialist at the age of 20 you have no heart; if you are still a socialist at the age of 40 you have no brain.” This pearl of supposed wisdom gets a lot of people’s heads nodding in agreement, especially amongst the bumper sticker/talk radio set, but also amongst some who consider themselves left-leaning or “progressive.”

The argument is that socialists are childish, and that devotees of capitalism are grown up. Another assumption is that as people age, they abandon their earlier left-leaning

. . . → Read More: The Ranting Canadian: There’s an over-used, often-modified, bullshit slogan…

The Ranting Canadian: Canadian provinces cooperate in order to save money

Canadian provinces cooperate in order to save money:

Canada’s provincial and territorial premiers have worked out a deal to buy six generic drugs in bulk, which will save us an estimated $100 million.

Imagine that, politicians from across the country working together for the common good! In today’s divided and dysfunctional Canada! We need more of this national cooperation and national planning (and nationalization of key industries).

According to un-Canadian capitalist extremists, cooperation is weakness and tantamount to communism (and thus very bad). Conservatives promote a winner-take-all society based on brutal competition, greed and cheating. This, despite the

wmtc: are we seeing the beginning of global people’s revolution?

“There’s something happening here, what it is ain’t exactly clear…”

This week, I attended a talk put on by the International Socialists, featuring an organizer with OUR Walmart, by Skype from Texas, and a Toronto-based union activist. Both speakers were terrific and so inspiring, but although I took copious notes, I’m not posting a summary of the talk.

It was similar to the talk I blogged about here - from greece to chicago to toronto, workers fighting back against austerity - and an extension to an article I wrote recently: workers doing it for themselves: fighting

. . . → Read More: wmtc: are we seeing the beginning of global people’s revolution?