Wednesday, December 26, 2012

21st Century Socialism in Vietnam

Socialism and the Path to Socialism – Vietnam’s Perspective

By Nguyen Phú Trong
General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam
Online University of the Left

Nguyen Phu Trong Meeting with Raul Castro

Nguyen Phu Trong, general secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam, paid an official friendship visit to Cuba and gave a presentation at the Nico Lopez Party School of the Cuban Communist Party.

Following are excerpts from Party leader Trong’s presentation.

Socialism and the path to socialism is a fundamental and practical theoretical topic with broad and complicated content, demanding thorough and in-depth study. I hereby mention just a few aspects from Vietnam’s perspective for your reference and our discussions. And several questions are focused: What is socialism? Why did Vietnam choose the socialist path? How to build socialism in Vietnam step by step? How significant has Vietnam’s renewal and socialism building process been over the past 25 years? And what lessons have been learnt?

As you know, socialism can be understood in three different aspects: socialism as a doctrine, socialism as a movement, and socialism as a regime. Each aspect has different manifestations, depending on the world outlook and development level in a specific historical period. The socialism I want to discuss here is a scientific socialism based on Marxist-Leninist doctrine in the current era.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Sell-off of Moose Jaw’s family housing units: An option to be resisted

By Don Mitchell
December 21, 2012

The unilateral announcement by Saskatchewan Housing Corporation that they will sell 114 of Moose Jaw Housing Authority’s 124 single detached family housing units is counter-productive and wrong. The plan to move the affected families into large apartment projects is also laced with challenges.

These houses were planned and constructed in Moose Jaw neighbourhoods almost 60 years ago through an agreement between the city, the province and the federal government. Most of the funding was not provincial but federal through CMHC. A December 1952 Times Herald headline; “First Group of Homes To Be Ready in February” stated that 75 houses were being built under a city-provincial-federal agreement. “Houses under the tripartite plan are being constructed on South Hill, on the city’s east side and in the northwest section of Moose Jaw.” The houses opened in 1953 at an average rent of $42 per month.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Global Capitalism and the Left

By Jamie Stern-Weiner, Leo Panitch
December 20, 2012

Leo Panitch is Canada Research Chair in Comparative Political Economy and Distinguished Research Professor of Political Science at York University. A leading left-wing political economist, he is a long-standing editor of The Socialist Register and the author, with Sam Gindin, of The Making of Global Capitalism(Verso, 2012).

He spoke with NLP about the role of states in global capitalism, elite cooperation in the wake of the 2007-08 financial crisis and the possibilities for left politics in an economically integrated world.


In what sense is capitalism a 'global' system?

Our world is still very much made up of nation states with quite discreet economies and class and social structures.

That said, many of those economies are integrated into the production networks of multinational corporations (MNCs), which produce, outsource or contract in many different countries. Many states are now highly dependent for a massive proportion of their GNP on exports and trade, which is in turn linked inextricably to international banking (through trade credits, currency market derivatives, and so on). Investment and commercial banks have become thoroughly internationalised. In these respects one can say that what Marx spoke about in the 1850s—capitalism as a system with globalising tendencies—has been more or less realised.

Monday, December 17, 2012

A step backwards for workers' rights in Saskatchewan

DECEMBER 17, 2012

The changes to proposed labour legislation in the new Saskatchewan Employment Act aren't as bad as they could have been, but they still represent a step backwards for workers' rights. And one of the reforms unveiled last week is a particularly mean-spirited attack against some of the most vulnerable workers.

In May the Saskatchewan government released a consultation paper that included a slew of proposals that would have contravened International Labour Organization and Supreme Court decisions. Fortunately, the government listened to the labour movement's protests and dismissed the more extreme suggestions. Still, most of the changes in the proposed legislation weaken workers' rights.

Mapping Corporate Power in Saskatchewan

By Simon Enoch
Saskatchewan Office, CCPA
December 17, 2012


"Mapping Corporate Power in Saskatchewan" traces the ties between the major corporate contributors to both the Saskatchewan Party and the New Democratic Party, and their links to other corporate interest and advocacy groups. The research demonstrates that Saskatchewan corporations have the networks, the committed leadership, the organization, and the access to government to play a large role in shaping public policy. As record amounts of corporate money flood our political system, Saskatchewan urgently needs a publicly accessible lobbyist registry to let citizens track corporate lobbying. As one of the few provinces that do not currently have a lobbyist registry, Saskatchewan is vulnerable to the perception that corporations have undue influence over both major political parties.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Fred Gudmundson: A Life of Justice

By Don Kossick and John Loxley
Briarpatch Magazine
December 01, 1996

Thanks to Don Kossick for posting on his facebook page "As we go though our stuggles today it is good to remember those those who came before. Fred Gudmundson was a great thinker and organizer for justice and compassion." - NYC

Fred Gudmundson, grass roots educator, militant, community organizer, critical writer and researcher, shit disturber, social visionary, and a good friend and mentor to many across this land, died in Prince George, BC on October 5.

Born in Mozart, Saskatchewan in 1934, Fred became a farmer who honed his organizing skills in the struggle for socialized medicine in the early sixties. He was a member of the provincial organizing committee that was instrumental in developing a community health clinic movement to create cooperative alternatives to privatized medicine.

Fred was deeply committed to preserving agriculture based on the family farm and building grass roots democracy in Canada. He believed in knowledge as power and in his organizing work with farm communities, he had a vision of farm people researching and learning about the forces acting upon them, and then acting on that knowledge.

NYC Promotional Video: No Expectations

Purchase HERE.

The Saskatchewan Farmers Union, Hal Banks and teaching history

The following is an excerpt from No Expectations: A Memoir by James N. McCrorie published by Next Year Country Books. You can purchase this book HERE. - NYC.

This is not the place to reconstruct the history of the disruption of shipping on the Great Lakes and along the St. Lawrence river. Suffice to note that the sailors who manned the great lakes ships had once belonged to the Canadian Union of Seamen, a militant trade union with a Communist leadership. This situation was not acceptable to the owners of the Great Lake shipping companies, most of whom had ties to the Liberal Party of Canada. The Federal Liberal Government was prepared to admit a convicted, American felon – Hal Banks – to Canada for the purpose of organizing a raid on the Canadian Seamen’s Union and replacing it with a compliant, international (read American) union known as the Seafarer’s International Union of Canada.

Banks proceeded to surround himself with goons. They beat up and ran ashore seamen who were militant and left wing, and worked out sweet heart collective agreements with Canada Steamship Lines – the largest of the carriers. Smaller, competing shipping companies soon discovered the wisdom in following the course, charted by Canada Steamships. The Company, after all, had an “in” with the Federal Government.

The Diefenbaker Conservatives were in office at the time and the SFU [Saskatchewan Farmers Union] leadership wished to arm itself with ammunition, blowing open the nature of the collusion between Canada Steamships, the former Liberal Government and a corrupt, American dominated union. I was ordered to Ottawa to “get the goods”.

New book from NYC - No Expectations: A Memoir

From Next Year Country Books

NO EXPECTATIONS by James N. McCrorie is a brief memoir of a Montreal working class kid, the son of Scottish immigrants, who lowered his sights, abandoning a lively ambition to either go to sea or become a railroader, and settling for the life of an academic.

The choice did not keep him out of some of the historical struggles of his time, including the fight for medicare in Saskatchewan in 1962, the wild cat strike of 1964, when CN railroaders shut down the railroad, paralyzing the nation, and university reform, which dominated campus life throughout the 1970s.

Click HERE to purchase this book.

Read excerpts from his book HERE and HERE.

Canada-Syria: White Dominions, Brown Colonies

By Eric Walberg
Dissident Voice
December 15th, 2012

France and Britain have begun to circle Syria like vultures (my apologies to vultures, who politely wait for their prey to die). They plan to save Syria from chemical bombs – a surreal replay of Suez 1956, where France and Britain cooked up a pretext to invade Egypt with the US posing as the more restrained gang member, not to mention Iraq 2003, when they reversed their roles.

Meanwhile, Canada sings on demand for its US-Israeli sponsors. The Canadian government solemnly announced this week it is ready — if asked by NATO — to deploy the Canadian Joint Incident Response Unit, which handles chemical, biological and radioactive attacks. Canada will also send a Disaster Assistance Response Team to provide clean water in Syrians, as well as engineers and staff who can help set up a field hospital. A friendly navy frigate is already offshore.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

The Question of Strategy: Socialist Register 2013


Socialist Register 2013
Paperback ISBN: 9781552665336
Paperback Price: $29.95 CAD
Publication Date: Nov 2012
Rights: Canada
Pages: 286
Purchase HERE.

Greg Albo, Vivek Chibber, Leo Panitch
Socialists today have to confront two realities — that they cannot avoid the question of reforms and a gradualist path out of capitalism; and that the organizational vehicles for socialism will most likely have to abide by different structures and principles than those that dominated left politics in the twentieth century. Which features of past organizational models should be retained? And which discarded? Socialist Register 2013 seeks to explore and clarify strategy for the Left, in the light of new challenges, and new opportunities.


Preface (Leo Panitch, Vivek Chibber & Greg Albo) • The Crisis and Economic Alternatives (Greg Albo) •Rethinking Unions, Registering Socialism (Sam Gindin) • Occupy Wall Street: After the Anarchist Movement (Jodi Dean) • Occupy Oakland: The Question of Violence (Barbara Epstein) • Occupy Lenin (Mimmo Porcaro) • Left Strategy in the Greek Caludron: Explaining Syriza’s Success (Michalis Spourdalakis) • The Rise of Syriza: an Interview (Aristides Baltas) • Transformative Power: Political Organization in Transition (Hilary Wainwright) • Die Linke Today: Fears and Desires (Christoph Spehr) • What is Left of Leninism? New European Left Parties in Historical Perspective (Charles Post) • Whatever Happened to Italian Communism? Lucio Magri’s The Tailor of Ulm(Stephen Hellman) • On Taming A Revolution: The South African Case (John S. Saul) • Strategy and Tactics in Popular Struggles in Latin America (Atilio A. Boron) • Twenty-first Century Socialism in Bolivia: The Gender Agenda (Susan Spronk) • Socialist-Feminist Strategy Today (Johanna Brenner, Nancy Holmstrom) • Feminism, Co-optation and the Problems of Amnesia: A Response to Nancy Fraser (Joan Sangster, Meg Luxton) • Reconsidering the American Left (Eli Zaretsky) • Alain Badiou and the Idea of Communism (Alex Callinicos) • The State and The Future of Socialism (Michael A. Lebowitz)

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Mulcair's NDP Part I: The New Liberal Party

New Socialist Webzine
December 11, 2012

This article by Murray Cooke is Part I of a two-part series on Mulcair's NDP. Part II will focus on the Ontario context.

Tom Mulcair has been the leader of the federal New Democratic Party for more than eight months now. His leadership has largely been as expected: solid, competent and moderate. Mulcair has continued Jack Layton's strategy of trying to supplant the Liberals as the middle-of-the-road alternative to the Harper Conservatives. It's not a particularly inspiring strategy and, looking toward the likely coronation of Justin Trudeau as the next leader of the Liberal Party, it's not a foregone conclusion that it will be a successful one. And supplanting the Liberals, even if that is solidified, isn't necessarily sufficient to defeat the Conservatives. Unless the Conservatives really implode or somehow manage to alienate their carefully cultivated base of supporters, they are going to be difficult to defeat in the next election.

The wider reality is that there is little evidence of mass movements of resistance in Canada, outside of Quebec, that could challenge the rightward drift of the NDP or build a movement to defeat Harper in the streets or via the ballot box. Due to the nature of Canadian federalism, many of the struggles will remain provincial in scope.

Friday, December 7, 2012

What will the Conservatives' omnibus Bill C-45 mean for workers in Canada?

DECEMBER 6, 2012
A little more than a month after it was tabled, the federal Conservatives' 443-page omnibus Bill C-45 -- a so-called "budget implementation" bill that amends over 40 pieces of federal legislation -- passed through the House of Commons on Wednesday, after Conservative MPs dutifully voted down every single amendment proposed by the opposition.
For the most part, the bill's changes to laws directly affecting workers are not dramatic, nor have they taken many by surprise. But they are worth noting, especially within the context of the government's broader strategy on labour and employment.
Here's a run down of the main aspects of Bill C-45 that will affect workers and labour relations in Canada:

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Saskatchewan Greens welcome statue of Premier Walter Scott

Green Party of Saskatchewan
December 4, 2012

The Green Party of Saskatchewan (GPS) welcomes news that the provincial government is having a statue built of Walter Scott, Saskatchewan’s first Premier. “Finally, the visionary who is responsible for the creation of our province is being recognized properly,” says Victor Lau, GPS Leader. “Scott laid the foundation for both the Saskatchewan Legislative Assembly and for our province as a whole.” 

Lau says he looks forward to being on hand at the Legislature in June 2013 when the Walter Scott statue is unveiled. Scott was Premier of Saskatchewan from 1905 until 1916. Scott’s accomplishments as Premier are outstanding, and include but are not limited to:
  • the creation of Wascana Park in Regina,
  • the creation of SaskTel,
  • the paving of the province’s first highways,
  • the creation of the University of Saskatchewan,
  • allowing farmers to form Co-operatives to form their own grain elevators, and
  • Extension of the democratic voting franchise to women.

Scott Collegiate in Regina is named after Premier Scott.

Note from NYC:  Walter Scott was named an honourary member of the Saskatchewan Civil Service Association at its founding meeting in February  1913. The SCSA is the forerunner of the Saskatchewan Government and General Employees' Union which celebrates it 100th Anniversary next year.

Monday, December 3, 2012

‘Collaboration Agreement’ with uranium giants sparks opposition in northern Saskatchewan

By Scott Harris
December 3rd, 2012 

Revelations last week that the northern Saskatchewan community of Pinehouse is set to sign a so-called “collaboration agreement” with uranium giants Cameco and Areva have sparked outrage in the community due to terms of the agreement that residents say is a blatant attempt to silence opposition to the expansion of uranium mining in the area.

A summary of the agreement, obtained by the Committee for Future Generations, contains a number of alarming terms, including that “Under the Collaboration Agreement, Pinehouse is expected to fully support Cameco/Areva’s mining,” including existing operations, proposed projects, and, incredibly, even future operations.

Perhaps most alarming, however, are the terms which aim to silence voices opposed to expanded uranium development. Th two terms, contained under the section “Other Promises,” state that Pinehouse promises to “Not make statements or say things in public or to any government, business agency that opposes Cameco/Areva’s mining operations” and “Make reasonable efforts to ensure Pinehouse members do not say or do anything that interferes with or delays Cameco/Areva’s mining, or do or say anything that is not consistent with Pinehouse’s promises under the Collaboration Agreement.”

The Soviet Union: Sci-Fi buildings and arcade games?


Here are two articles that challenge our cold war images of the drab and grey soviet experience.

The Sublime Sci-Fi Buildings That Communism Built