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Daily Archives: December 19th, 2009

Karl Marx

NEW YORK AREA STUDY GROUP ON ‘CAPITAL’ VOLS. II AND III

Since early October 2009, Howie Seligman and Loren Goldner have been teaching a ‘Capital’ study group in the New York area. We will complete Vol.I next Wednesday, December 23rd.

We will be continuing with Vols. II and III from January through early June. We will be meeting every other Wednesday night from 7 to 10 PM, at a convenient location on W. 28th St. in Manhattan. We will probably start vol. II on either Jan. 6 or Jan. 13.

I have been handling the close reading of ‘Capital’ and Howie has been providing technical analysis of current developments. This arrangement will continue and will of course be as closely related as possible to the concepts introduced in vols. II and III. 

If you are interested in participating, contact me at: lrgoldner@yahoo.com

Please provide a short description of your background in Marx, your previous experience of political activity, and where you’re coming from politically.

Loren Goldner

Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

The Flow of Ideas:  http://www.flowideas.co.uk

Socialist Project

CENTRE FOR THE STUDY OF EDUCATION AND WORK – UPDATE 12TH DECEMBER 2009

NEWS & VIEWS

CSEW LAUNCHES ANTI-POVERTY NEWSLETTER

The Centre for the Study of Education and Work has just launched a newsletter, “Learning Changes”, which will highlight the work of its Anti-Poverty Community Organizing and Learning Project.

To read more, click here: http://www.csew.ca/APCOLnewsletter2009v1n1.pdf

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25 IN 5 NETWORK FOR POVERTY REDUCTION – BULLETIN

Dec 11, 2009: Stand Up Against the Backlash from the Auditor General’s Report

In this week’s eBulletin:

-Quote of the Week
-Ontario Auditor General’s Report Underlines Need for Social Assistance Reform
-Backgrounder: Just the Facts
-What Can You Do? TAKE ACTION

To read more, click here: http://bit.ly/5NmQu2

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VIDEO: ROOTS OF THE ECONOMIC CRISIS: CRITICAL PERSPECTIVES

A Presentation of the Critical Social Research Collaborative

Ottawa, October 29, 2009 – Facilitator: Carlo Fanelli

This workshop explores alternative interpretations of the current economic crisis. The presentations are from organized labour, community activists and academics. The focus of this workshop is critical engagement, discussion and debate. Questions addressed include: How have various perspectives analyzed and understood the roots of the current economic crisis? Is there something fundamentally unsound about the current political-economic structure? Is the current crisis to be located within a set of recently established policies, or better understood over the long-term historical development of capitalism? How have the policy prescriptions and ideological rationales shifted over the years? And, more ambitiously, where do we go from here?

View: http://www.socialistproject.ca/leftstreamed/

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WE AREN’T BUILDING AFFORDABLE HOUSING

Posted December 9, 2009

>From No Excuse: The Poverty Project Blog:

The Ontario Auditor General’s latest report has received a lot of media attention. With the report nearly three hundred pages long, it is not surprising that the media has to pick and choose what it will focus on. In this case, they seem to have come down on that old chestnut, welfare fraud. More on that to follow. But first I’ll say that they missed this bigger story — affordable housing programs don’t really build affordable housing.

For more details visit: http://bit.ly/6w7YQp

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THE NEW SOCIALIST REGISTER WEBSITE IS NOW FULLY UP AND RUNNING!

Featuring SR 2010 on Morbid Symptoms: Health Under Capitalism, alongside our amazing archive of all 700+ essays we’ve published since 1964!

We’re sure you will want to check it out at http://socialistregister.com

This is first year the Register is being published simultaneously online and in print and it is the first time that all the essays ever published in the Register are available in one electronic archive. We are sure you agree this is a big deal, and given how much the world needs the Socialist Register that you will want to do all you can to make it successful. We would very much hope that you will personally subscribe now (from the home page go to the Subscriptions tab and click on the Merlin order link at the bottom – at £25 it’s value for money, to use that term).

We would also appreciate your help to make effective a major subscriptions campaign we are undertaking. At the very least, if you are working at an institution with a library, could you immediately contact the appropriate people at your library and ask them to take out an institutional subscription to the Register? Many of these librarians will be getting a version of the attached flyer, but we know that librarians are only likely to act on this when requests are made from users.

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VIDEO: OCAP METRO HALL OCCUPATION

Toronto, December 8, 2009

More Than 150 Angry Social Assistance Recipients Storm and Occupy Municipal Welfare Offices

Members of the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (OCAP) and more than 150 people struggling to survive on Ontario Works and ODSP occupied the 12th floor of Toronto’s Metro Hall. The group refused to leave until they receive the Special Diet Benefit that they are entitled to. The City is responsible for administering social assistance in Toronto, and people are currently being denied their right to the Special Diet Benefit. More people than ever are being forced to live on welfare in Ontario. They face two major problems. First of all, the income they receive does not let them pay their rent and feed their families properly. Secondly, welfare offices do all they can to deny even the small benefits people are supposed to get. When they apply for Special Diet, Community Start Up and other benefits, they are denied their rights. This must stop.

View: http://www.socialistproject.ca/leftstreamed/

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CANADIAN CENTRE FOR POLICY ALTERNATIVES (CCPA) UNVEILS NEW WEBSITE

Dear Friends and Members,

We’re excited to announce the launch of the CCPA’s new website. Built on an entirely new platform with open-source software, the site is loaded with new features to make the Centre’s research easier to access and follow.

– find what you’re looking for with an advanced search engine;
– watch and listen to videos, slideshows and podcasts in our new multimedia section;
– share our content to social networking sites or email pages to your contacts;
– purchase CCPA books, gift memberships, and join or donate to the Centre with an improved shopping cart system.

Click here for a full tour of the site: http://www.policyalternatives.ca/welcome-new-site

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SOCIAL PLANNING TORONTO CALL FOR ABSTRACTS: RESEARCH ON HEALTHCARE FOR THE UNDOCUMENTED AND UNINSURED

Individuals/organizations are invited to submit abstracts for oral presentations or poster presentations by Friday December 18, 2009 for a conference aiming to gather local academic and community researchers with interest in health services for uninsured and undocumented clients.

For more info, click here: http://bit.ly/667OnB

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HOUSING AGAIN BULLETIN

Sponsored by Raising the Roof as a partner in Housing Again.

A monthly electronic bulletin highlighting what people are doing to put housing back on the public agenda across Canada and around the world, sponsored by Raising the Roof as part of the Housing Again partnership.

To read more, click here: http://bit.ly/6rbsyg

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THE NEW UNIONISM NETWORK – ORGANIZING FOR WORKPLACE DEMOCRACY

New Unionism is about unions setting agendas, rather than just reacting to them. This network unites supporters of four key principles: organizing, workplace democracy, internationalism and creativity.

To read our latest blog entries, click here: http://newunionism.wordpress.com/

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OPPORTUNITIES FOR GREEN JOBS IN CANADA HIGHLIGHTED IN GROUNDBREAKING RESEARCH REPORT

The world is facing climate and economic crises, people are experiencing serious impacts and without urgent action the world is in peril. Mere weeks away from the important climate negotiations in Copenhagen, Denmark, world leaders are already warning that urgent action may not come soon. This must change.

The Council of Canadians and the Canadian Labour Congress have produced Green Decent and Public, a report focused on opportunities for the public sector to play a prominent role in generating good jobs. Green Decent and Public focuses on opportunities for improving energy efficiency and rapidly expanding electricity production from renewable resources. Public and community ownership of renewable power is offered as an alternative that has distinct advantages to further market liberalization in the electricity sector. These advantages include retaining economic revenues, maximizing social benefits, prioritizing conservation and ensuring energy security.

To read more, click here: http://bit.ly/4FIs8A

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RADICALS AT WORK NETWORK

Radicals at Work is a network of young activists and radicals involved in workers’ movements. We have come together to connect our radical ideas to our jobs and to work together to build a stronger labor movement.

We come from many jobs and communities – we are young rank and file workers, office workers, union and non-profit staff, activists working with workers centers, students, and teachers. We have a shared commitment to grassroots democracy and a workers movement that takes on racism, sexism, homophobia and isn’t afraid to go head-to-head with the boss.

Our website is meant to inform, spark discussion and be a place for conversations and education on some of the issues facing workers’ movements today.

To read more, click here: http://radicalsatwork.org/

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CALEDON INSTITUTE OF SOCIAL POLICY – DEVELOPING A DEPRIVATION INDEX: THE RESEARCH PROCESS

by Richard Matern, Michael Mendelson and Michael Oliphant, December 2009

This paper tells the story of the development of the Ontario Deprivation Index by the Daily Bread Food Bank and the Caledon Institute of Social Policy. A ‘deprivation index’ is a list of items which are widely seen as necessary for a household to have a standard of living above the poverty level so that most households not in poverty are likely to have these items, but households in poverty are likely to find some of them unaffordable and so not have all those items. The index should therefore contain those items that distinguish the poor from the non-poor in the prevailing social and economic conditions.

To read more, click here: http://www.caledoninst.org/Publications/PDF/836ENG.pdf

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MURRAY DOBBIN’S BLOG – POVERTY: THE ULTIMATE LITMUS TEST OF DEMOCRACY

If we were to judge democracy using the language of business we would ask how it does on the “deliverables.” In other words, does it deliver on its promises of equality? In a capitalist society it is virtually impossible to deliver anything like complete equality but the role of government in the period following the Second World War was to provide a measure of equality in a system whose foundation was inequality. It has always struck me that the term we use to describe our political economic system – liberal democracy – is an oxymoron. Or more accurately a system that tries to integrate two mortally hostile notions: property rights and democracy. These are two principles that cannot be reconciled – eternal conflict is literally guaranteed.

To read more, click here: http://bit.ly/4mRZCs

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BOOK REVIEW – UNPREDICTABLE FUTURES: STORIES FROM WORKER-RUN FACTORIES IN ARGENTINA

Written by Benjamin Dangl  

Reviewed: Sin Patron: Stories From Argentina’s Worker-Run Factories, edited by Lavaca, 320 pages, Haymarket Books, 2007.

Following the social upheaval in Argentina in 2001-2002 a book was published in Spanish that a lot of activists and independent journalists in the country began trying to get their hands on. It wasn’t in all of the bookstores, but news about it traveled like wildfire. Now the legendary book, Sin Patron: Stories From Argentina’s Worker-Run Factories, is translated and available to the English-speaking world.

To read more, click here: http://towardfreedom.com/home/content/view/1770/1/

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JAMES LAXER’S BLOG – BEYOND THE BUBBLE: IMAGINING A NEW CANADIAN ECONOMY

(Here is a brief summary of my new book, published earlier this month by Between The Lines Publishing, Toronto.)

Beyond the Bubble: Imagining A New Canadian Economy, makes the case that the economic crash of 2008 marked the end of one world age and the beginning of another. What has ended is the neo-liberal age of globalization and the American-centred global economy. What lends weight to this thesis is both the nature of the system of finance whose collapse is at the centre of the global crisis and the crushing problems that face the United States, making the re-assertion of an American-centred global economy exceedingly improbable.

To read more, click here: http://bit.ly/4xbapx

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MUSEUM WORKERS AT WAR: PRECARIOUS EMPLOYMENT AND THE PUBLIC SECTOR SQUEEZE

by Priscillia Lefebvre

The casualization of labour has placed many workers in a position of precariousness forcing them into a state of perpetual insecurity characteristic of the ‘new economy’ neoliberal nightmare. In an effort to reduce production costs and maximize profitability, many employers have adopted a neoliberal approach to employment, which is achieved through the temporary and discretional use of labour, major layoffs, the retrenchment of wages, workplace intensification and the denial of benefits. The result of which has brought real wages to a near stand-still over the past twenty-years, as well as a growing chasm between worker productivity and the compensation that follows.

The battle for wage parity and job security rages on in Ottawa between the Canadian Museum of Civilization Corporation (CMCC), which operates both the Canadian Museum of Civilization and Museum of War, and the 92% of fed up workers who voted in favour of a strike. The current strike by 420 Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) members is the longest running labour strike in PSAC history. The workers have been on strike for more than 60 days after initial attempts to bargain for a fair collective agreement came to a halt on September 18th of this year.

To read more, click here: http://www.socialistproject.ca/bullet/278.php

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OUR MANDATE:

The Centre for the Study of Education and Work (CSEW) brings together educators from university, union, and community settings to understand and enrich the often-undervalued informal and formal learning of working people. We develop research and teaching programs at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (UofT) that strengthen feminist, anti-racist, labour movement, and working-class perspectives on learning and work.

Our major project is APCOL: Anti-Poverty Community Organizing and Learning. This five-year project (2009-2013), funded by SSHRC-CURA, brings academics and activists together in a collaborative effort to evaluate how organizations approach issues and campaigns and use popular education.

For more information about CSEW, visit: http://www.csew.ca

***END***

Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

The Flow of Ideas: http://www.flowideas.co.uk

Note: the Socialist Project web site is excellent: http://www.socialistproject.ca/

Strategies of Resistance

STRATEGIES OF RESISTANCE AND ‘WHO ARE THE TROTSKYISTS?’ – BY DANIEL BENSAID

A new book by Daniel Bensaid:

http://www.iire.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=186%3Astrategies-of-resistance-a-who-are-the-trotskyists&catid=18%3Anotebooks-for-study-and-research&lang=en

Strategies of Resistance & ‘Who Are the Trotskyists?’

IIRE/Socialist Resistance, Notebook for Study and Research no. 41/42 (182 pp.)

With shipping to: Europe €13,50 Rest of World €20,00 Pick up in Amsterdam €8,00

The IIRE has just published Strategies of Resistance & ‘Who Are the Trotskyists?’, a collection of works by IIRE Fellow Daniel Bensaïd, including his history of Trotskyism, newly translated into English by Nathan Rao. This 182-page book has been published in cooperation with Resistance Books. The introduction by Paul Le Blanc gives a flavour of the contents:

Daniel Bensaïd’s challenging survey comes at an appropriate moment. It is a gift to activists reaching for some historical perspective that may provide hints as to where we might go from here. Embracing and sharing the revolutionary socialist political tradition associated with Leon Trotsky, Bensaïd is not simply a thoughtful radical academic or perceptive left-wing intellectual – though he is certainly both – but also one of the foremost leaders of an impressive network of activists, many of them seasoned by innumerable struggles.

Daniel Bensaïd emerged decades ago as a leader of the French section of the Fourth International, the Ligue Communiste Révolutionnaire (LCR). Coming from the ‘generation of ‘68′ – the layer of young revolutionary activists of the 1960s – he blends an impressive intellectual sophistication with a refreshing inclination for revolutionary audacity, and with activist commitments which have not faded over the decades. In the tradition of Ernest Mandel, Bensaïd has reached for the continuing relevance of revolutionary Marxism not only in the battlegrounds of academe (as a professor of philosophy and author of such works as Marx for Our Times), but even more in the battlegrounds of social and political struggles against the oppressive and lethal realities of capitalist ‘globalization.’

In this particular work – succinct, crackling with insights and fruitful provocations – Bensaïd surveys the history of his own political tradition. We are not presented with a catechism, but with a set of informative and critical-minded reflections and notes. We don’t have to agree with all he says. I certainly question his taking issue with Trotsky over whether or not Lenin was essential for the triumph of the Russian Revolution (Trotsky says definitely yes, Bensaïd suggests maybe not). Nor am I satisfied when he gives more serious consideration to the dissident current in US Trotskyism of Max Shachtman and James Burnham (both of whom ended up supporting US imperialism in Vietnam) than to the tradition connected with James P. Cannon (which played a role in building a powerful movement that helped end the Vietnam war). On the other hand, Bensaïd makes no pretension of providing a rounded historical account of world Trotskyism, or even a scholarly account of the more limited issues that he does take up.

He emphasizes that ‘this essay is based on personal experience’ and is focused on what he views as ‘the major debates’ within the movement. And one is especially struck by the excellent point he makes in his Introduction regarding the necessity of understanding the varieties of Trotskyism around the world in their distinctive cultural and national specificities. Little sense can be made of Trotskyism if it is not related to the actual social movements and class struggles of various parts of the world, and to the left-wing labour sub-cultures, in which it has meaning.

The fact remains that Bensaïd offers us a thoughtful, stimulating, valuable political intervention which leaves the reader with a sense of Trotskyism’s history and ideas and diverse manifestations – and also a sense of their relevance for the struggles of today and tomorrow. For younger activists beginning to get their bearings, and for veterans of the struggle who are thinking through the questions of where we have been and where to go from here, this is an important contribution.

Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

The Flow of Ideas: http://www.flowideas.co.uk

Professor Dave Hill

JOURNAL FOR CRITICAL EDUCATION POLICY STUDIES: VOL.7 NO.2

The new edition of The Journal for Critical Education Policy Studies -JCEPS 7(2) is now published online at: http://www.jceps.com

The contents are:

1.Dave Hill (University of Northampton, England, and Middlesex University, London, England): Race and Class in Britain: a Critique of the statistical basis for Critical Race Theory in Britain

2.Tom G. Griffiths (University of Newcastle, Australia), Jo Williams (Victoria University, Australia): Mass schooling for socialist transformation in Cuba and Venezuela

3.Peter McLaren (University of California, Los Angeles, USA): Guided by a Red Star: the Cuban literacy campaign and the challenge of history

4.M. Wangeci Gatimu (Western Oregon University, Monmouth, Oregon, USA): Rationale for Critical Pedagogy of Decolonization: Kenya as a Unit of Analysis

5.Jennifer A. Sandlin (Arizona State University, USA), Richard Kahn (University of North Dakota, USA), David Darts (New York University, USA) and Kevin Tavin, (The Ohio State University, USA): To Find the Cost of Freedom: Theorizing and Practicing a Critical Pedagogy of Consumption

6.Brian Lack (Georgia State University, USA): No Excuses: A Critique of the Knowledge Is Power Program (KIPP) within Charter Schools in the USA

7. Sondra Cuban and Nelly Stromquist (Lancaster University, UK and University of Maryland, USA): It Is Difficult To Be A Woman With A Dream Of An Education: Challenging U.S. Adult Basic Education Policies to Support Women Immigrants’ Self-Determination

8.Bill Templer (University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia): A Two-Tier Model for a More Simplified and Sustainable English as an International Language

9.Prentice Chandler (Athens State University, United States) and Douglas McKnight (The University of Alabama, United States): The Failure of Social Education in the United States: A Critique of Teaching the National Story from “White” Colourblind Eyes

10.Seçkin Özsoy (Ankara University, Ankara, Turkey): A Utopian Educator from Turkey:Ýsmail Hakký Tonguç (1893-1960)

11.Domingos Leite Lima Filho (Federal Technological University of Paraná UTFPR, Brazil): Educational Policies and Globalization: elements for some criticism on the international organizations’ proposals for Latin America and the Caribbean Islands Countries

12.Andrea Beckmann (University of Lincoln, UK), Charlie Cooper (University of Hull, UK) and Dave Hill (University of Northampton, and Middlesex University, UK): Neoliberalization and managerialization of ‘education’ in England and Wales – a case for reconstructing education

13.Jane-Frances Lobnibe (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Illinois, USA): International Students and the Politics of Difference in US Higher Education

14.Magnus Dahlstedt (University of Linkoping, Sweden): Democratic Governmentality: National Imaginations, Popular Movements and Governing the Citizen

15.Torie L. Weiston-Serdan (Claremont Graduate University, California, USA): A Radical Redistribution of Capital

16.Brad Porfilio (Lewis University, Romeoville, Illinois, USA) and Greg Dimitriadis (University of Buffalo, New York, USA): Book Review: Marc Pruyn and Luis Huerta-Charles Eds. Teaching Peter McLaren: Paths of Dissent (New York: Peter Lang)

The Journal for Critical Education Policy Studies seeks and publishes articles that critique global, national, neo-liberal, neo-conservative, New Labour, Third Way, postmodernist and other analyses of policy developments, as well as those that attempt to report on, analyse and develop Socialist/ Marxist transformative policy for schooling and education from a number of Radical Left perspectives. JCEPS also addresses issues of social class, ‘race’, gender, sexual orientation, disability and capital/ism; critical pedagogies; new public managerialism and academic / non-academic labour, and empowerment/ disempowerment. JCEPS welcomes articles from academics and activists throughout the globe. It is a refereed / peer reviewed/ peer juried international journal.

Contact: dave.hill@ieps.org.uk and DAVE6@mdx.ac.uk.

Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

The Flow of Ideas: http://www.flowideas.co.uk