Political Compass: Canada 2008 Edition!

Just a quick update on the Canadian federal election: the folks at the Political Compass (that try to popularize charting political identity on a two-dimensional chart instead of the single-dimension left-right axis) have completed a chart plotting the overall positions of the major parties in this election (including the Tories, Liberals, NDP, Green, and Bloc). Continue reading

How can a socialist participate in the Canadian federal election?

It appears the Canadian government has fallen – although, unfortunately, not in a guerillamarxist coup. The PM Stephen Harper decided to pull the plug on what has apparently been Canada’s longest-running minority government. There will be a federal election on October 14th, and since the parties were more-or-less expecting this to happen, I’ve already received about 15 e-mails from my former political home, the NDP.

Note that I listed the NDP as former; this election actually presents a unique situation for me. It will be the first election (provincial or federal) ‘after the break’, as it were. Continue reading

DNC protests: continuing the fine tradition of left splintering and liberal-left selling out

As the headline states, the DNC protests have continued the fine tradition of left-wing organizations splintering into factionalism, in this case caused by the usual liberal-‘left’ sellouts. For those of you who have missed it (it certainly isn’t getting much in the way of media attention-surprise surprise), the protests, originally organized under the (rather clever, I have to say) Recreate ’68 banner. What the organizers are referring to with ‘recreate’ is the protests against the Vietnam War at the 1968 DNC, and presumably, the broader history of left activity in 1968.

Of course, nothing like this could go on without some splintering. Continue reading

Student organizers pissed at SEIU/UNITE HERE coalition; are SEIU & UNITE HERE company unions?

Service Employees International Union (SEIU), which has been at the centre of several controversies within the U.S. labour movement in the past few years (Change to Win Coalition, SEIU vs California Nurses Union, et cetera), has been accused of abusing the trust of some student volunteer organizers on several U.S. university campuses. Jack Stripling wrote an article about the students concerns for Inside Higher Ed that’s pretty interesting; I would encourage you to check it out. The students, who had been helping SEIU organize service workers (mostly food services + janitorial), feel SEIU has treated them as ‘pawns’. They have released an open letter detailing their problems with SEIU at several campuses and listing a series of demands for SEIU to do: improving internal union democracy, fight for better contracts with Aramark, stop using students and campus workers as pawns in corporate campaigns. Continue reading

Obama ♥ change!

In lieu of a proper update, I offer unto the masses this:

Courtesy of what might be the best-named blog ever – Drink-soaked Trotskyite Popinjays for WAR.

Linkity-link: May 1st, 2008

In today’s episode of LL, we have a pamphlet on the Spanish Civil War about how the NKVD framed the POUM , a post on the so-called ‘Open Source Boob Project’, and a Business Week article on the the personal dimension of offshoring a New York factory. Enjoy! Continue reading

Happy May Day!

The Red Flag

Arise ye workers from your slumbers
Arise ye prisoners of want
For reason in revolt now thunders
And at last ends the age of cant.
Away with all your superstitions
Servile masses arise, arise
We’ll change henceforth the old tradition
And spurn the dust to win the prize.

So comrades, come rally
And the last fight let us face
The Internationale unites the human race.
So comrades, come rally
And the last fight let us face
The Internationale unites the human race.

No more deluded by reaction
On tyrants only we’ll make war
The soldiers too will take strike action
They’ll break ranks and fight no more
And if those cannibals keep trying
To sacrifice us to their pride
They soon shall hear the bullets flying
We’ll shoot the generals on our own side.

No saviour from on high delivers
No faith have we in prince or peer
Our own right hand the chains must shiver
Chains of hatred, greed and fear
E’er the thieves will out with their booty
And give to all a happier lot.
Each at the forge must do their duty
And we’ll strike while the iron is hot.

(Courtesy of our friends at OCAP)

Market research & the decline of (political) civilization

Just completed an online survey and got asked a couple of rather peculiar questions that need sharing. I’ve answered questions on ‘who would you vote for in the next federal election’ and ‘which party leader do you think would make the best Prime Minster’ before – a bit limiting to the definition of politics, but I understand why. However, in this recently-completed survey, I was asked which national party leader would I prefer to (and this is somewhat paraphrased):

  • Who would you want to take care of your house for a week?
  • If you had a flat on your car, which one would be most likely to stop and help?

I think we have reached a new level of political inanity here, folks.

Linkity-link: April 18th, 2008

In today’s episode, we have articles on the outcome of suburbanization on food accessibility, the crackdown of dissent at the University of Ottawa, and the sad and long-reaching effects of the Iraq Occupation on American soldiers. Enjoy! Continue reading

The Two “Souls” of Unionism

Unionism from above and unionism from below. These are the two incompatible “souls” of the labour movement. The latter is a deeply democratic and radical strategy for working-class self-emancipation, the former is antithetical to emancipation: it’s simply bureaucratic and conservative. A comrade sadly informed me of the disturbingly reactionary tactics used by SEIU members and staffers at the Labor Notes Conference held in Dearborn, Michigan. The SEIUers’ violent behaviour is no more than acts of desperation of the old, dilapidated model of contractual unionism… Continue reading