Sunday, April 18, 2010

Rebuilding the Left: Toronto Worker's Assembly

"The Assembly calls on activists to join together in a democratic process to create a new politics. It is both a space for dialogue and learning within the popular left movement and an organ of common action. Seeking to move beyond coalition and network politics the Assembly is an organization that individuals belong to without giving up their membership and allegiances to community organizations, unions and left groups. We are committed to developing our understanding of what we’re up against, who our potential allies are, and to organize and act in new ways that will take us from a politics of resistance to emancipatory alternatives."

One  of the most developments within the Canadian left that Greg Albo will be discussing at the upcoming May Day Event in Regina is the Greater Toronto Worker's Assembly. This broad-based organization brings together many movements, parties, unions and individuals into a unique project of the left.

The following is their statement of purpose.

About the Greater Toronto Workers' Assembly (GTWA)

With economic and political crises deepening before our eyes, the working class in Canada – employed, unemployed and marginalized; in the workplace and the community; union and non-union – seems to be permanently on the defensive both ideologically and strategically. This is, on one hand, easily explained: amidst attacks on workers, poor people, unemployed/underemployed, racialized workers and immigrants, many of us are consumed in the struggle just to survive, let alone participate in some form of organized or unorganized resistance. Others among us are trying to deal with the enormity and ferocity of the attacks by employers and governments threatening our jobs, working conditions and basic standards of living. But there is also a sense that we have not yet built the kind of movement that we need.

Despite often resourceful local forms of resistance and organizing, we have yet to build an independent politics that puts real alternatives to capitalism on the agenda. Many unions are pursuing short-term strategies that fend off or minimize the impact of the crisis on their own members, but fail to address its underlying causes, challenge the inequalities it is reinforcing, and build the necessary alliances with the unemployed and the thousands of people living on various forms of social assistance. Those of us with a more radical vision of social and economic justice remain fragmented and isolated. How can we address our immediate needs and also build our collective capacities for social change?

The goals of the Assembly are:

To bring together activists within the broad working class movement, to explore the experiences and approaches to struggle that both unite and divide us as a starting point for overcoming divisions and building greater collaboration, exchange, strategic discussion and action amongst us

To share our understanding of the problems created by capitalism and the current economic crisis and the need to develop alternative visions that challenge the logic and power of private corporations, and the states that back them, over our lives

To identify and develop concrete strategies and organizational forms of struggle which defend working-class people’s immediate needs and lay the groundwork for an equitable and democratic alternative to our present economic and political system.

Fnd out more at the GTWA website here.

1 comment:

  1. I think it's about time we had something like this in English Canada. For a decade now the process of uniting the political Left and civil society has been proceeding apace in Quebec, concretely manifesting itself in the ongoing organizational and programmatic formation of Québec Solidaire and setting an example for us all.

    I hope that this sort of thing catches on. I've heard talk of an Ottawa Workers' Assembly, though I can't find anything on the Internet. If this sort of organization can find an expression on the provincial level in English Canada, or maybe even on the federal level, it would be a great step forward in the fight against the There Is No Alternative political culture which has become hegemonic in North America.