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Tag Archives: David Rovics

Education Crisis




Social Economy Centre – Fall Workshops

Friday Oct 12 & 19, 2012:
Instructor: Kunle Akingbola

Friday, Nov 2, 2012:
Instructor: Vic Murray

For more info:


Fighting Austerity in Quebec, Ontario & Beyond

Sunday, Oct. 14
2 pm
OISE, room 5-260
252 Bloor St. West, Toronto

Guest speakers:

– Marianne Breton-Fontaine, leader, Young Community League of Quebec; activist in the student strike movement; candidate for Quebec Solidaire in the 2012 election
– Liz Rowley, leader, Communist Party of Canada (Ontario); former public school trustee; candidate in 2012 Kitchener-Waterloo by-election


David Rovics Touring Canada this Fall

Indie singer-songwriter David Rovics has criss-crossed North America and Western Europe many times over the past two decades. The roving troubadour has witnessed scores of local struggles against the capitalist system, and he’s documented and celebrated many of them with finely-crafted topical songs.

This fall Rovics is touring Canada, with concerts in Quebec (October 12), Ottawa (October 13), Toronto (October 16), Brandon (November 9), Winnipeg (November 10), and Victoria (November 23). Also in the works are shows in Montreal (October 14) and Vancouver (November 24).

David’s new album “Meanwhile in Afghanistan” will be released in December. Unlike most of his recordings, this project is rock-oriented. Guest artists include lefty guitar hero Tom Morello. Readers can download an acoustic version of the album by making a donation of any size to David’s publicity fundraising campaign.

For more info:


Social Planning Toronto (SPT) Member Forum: 2013 City Budget

Friday, Nov. 30
Doors open 9am, 9:30am to 12pm
2nd floor auditorium, Metro Central YMCA (space is wheelchair accessible)
20 Grosvenor Street (Yonge & Wellesley)

Join us for our annual City budget forum! Come and learn about:

– the City of Toronto’s 2013 staff-recommended operating budget
– what the budget means for our communities
– opportunities to participate in the budget process

The forum will include a presentation on the 2013 City budget, remarks from our community panel, and a question / answer and discussion session with participants.

Details on speakers to follow. All are welcome!

To register, click here:


Conference: A Living Wage in Ontario – Why It Matters

Thursday, Oct 11-Friday, Oct 12, 2012

Cara Commons, Ted Rogers School of Management, Ryerson University
7th Floor, 55 Dundas Street W., Toronto

October 11th, 7:00 pm – Evening keynote address:
The History and Potential of the Living Wage Movement: The B.C. Experience, featuring Seth Klein, Director of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives–BC.

Friday, October 12th, 8:30-4:30 pm – Full-day workshop
The workshop will draw on real-life examples of living wage successes and it will provide space for participants to consider what a living wage could mean in the context of reducing income inequality in Ontario.

For more info:


2012 Ontario Campus Activist Assembly

Friday, October 12th, & Saturday, October 13th
University of Toronto
27 King’s College Circle, Toronto, Ontario

The Canadian Federation of Students is Canada’s largest student organization, representing over 500,000 college and university students who are members of more than 85 campus students’ unions. The Federation’s Ontario component, the Canadian Federation of Students–Ontario, is hosting a unique assembly of student and campus activists from across Ontario to build a fighting student movement.

The Ontario Campus Activist Assembly will bring together hundreds of rank-and-file student and youth activists, campus labour activists and community activists. This assembly will feature a variety of issues-based sessions and skills training workshops aimed at providing an interactive opportunity to develop strong local and inter-campus organizing capacities.

The deadline to register for the Assembly has been extended! Please register by Wednesday, October 3, 2012. Visit for more details.


La Danza del Venado—A play by Ari Belathar

Staged-Reading Thursday October 11th
Theatre Direct, Wychwood Arts Barns
601 Christie Street, Toronto

Inspired by my own experience of illegally crossing the border into the United States as a child, to reunite with my father, LA DANZA DEL VENADO is a multidisciplinary play exploring the frightening nature of leaving one’s home, to walk into the unknown, through theatre, dance, and poetry. It tells the story of a group of migrants whose clandestine journey into the north is thwarted when they find themselves lost in the middle of the Sonoran Desert in southern Arizona—a harsh and desolated area that for hundreds of years has stolen the souls of its travellers.

The title of the play is based on the ancient dance of the same name celebrated by the Yaquis, a native community from the Mexican side of the Sonoran Desert. The dance, called Maso Yi Ihua (Deer Dance) in Yaqui language, narrates the life and death of the deer, the sacred animal of the Yaquis.

In Yaqui cosmology the deer represents the first member of the tribe—the oldest brother, who offers himself in sacrifice to feed the tribe with his own flesh. In this multidisciplinary play, the ancient dance serves as a metaphor to narrate the story.

General tickets $15, Students/Seniors $13, Festival Pass $29
For tickets and information call 416-652-5442 or visit

For The 2012 De Colores Festival of New Works full programme visit:  



Video – Book Launch: Social Democracy After the Cold War

Toronto — 19 September 2012

Edited by Bryan Evans and Ingo Schmidt, published by AU Press. Guest speaker: Leo Panitch.

Offering a comparative look at social democratic experience since the Cold War, the volume examines countries where social democracy has long been an influential political force – Sweden, Germany, Britain, and Australia – while also considering the history of Canada’s NDP, the social democratic tradition in the United States, and the emergence of New Left parties in Germany and the province of Québec. Once marked by redistributive and egalitarian policy perspectives, social democracy has, the book argues, assumed a new role – that of a modernizing force advancing the neoliberal cause.

The book is available as PDF download here:



The CAW-CEP Merger: New Union in a Difficult World

by Herman Rosenfeld, the Bullet

Just about everyone in and around the union movement in Canada is talking about the upcoming merger between the Canadian Auto Workers (CAW) and the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers (CEP). The new union being formed will be the largest private sector union in Canada.

While bigger is not necessarily better — as numerous other examples of larger mergers have shown — in this era of general unions, the new union should become a positive force on the Canadian labour scene. Both the CAW and CEP have strengths in different but complementary sectors and geographical areas; their pooling of resources should help address some of the membership losses in each (a problem throughout the entire private sector) as well as provide needed collective resources for research, education and organizing.

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The U.S. Democratic Party and the Left

A conversation with Ingar Solty and Max Bohnel on the labour movement, the Occupy movement and its crisis, and the challenges of history

Max Bohnel lives in New York and is the U.S. foreign-correspondent for German-speaking public radio networks and progressive newspapers. Previously he worked as a Middle East foreign correspondent in Jerusalem. His conversation with Ingar Solty is a slightly reworked and unabridged version of a piece published in the German monthly journal Analyse & Kritik: Journal for Left Debate and Praxis (September edition, Sept. 21st, 2012).

Ingar Solty is a PhD candidate at York University in Toronto, an editor of Das Argument, and co-founding member of the North-Atlantic Left Dialogue. He is the author of The Obama Project: Crisis and Charismatic Rule (2008) and The USA Under Obama: Charismatic Rule, Social Movements and Imperial Politics in the Crisis (forthcoming in February 2013) as well as co-author of The New Imperialism (2004) and Imperialism (2011), all published in German.

The conversation was translated by Sam Putinja from Toronto.

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Memories of Work

by Richard Mellor, Facts for Working People

I have been retired for almost nine years now.  I am a retired public sector worker.  I started working for the local water company as a laborer in 1976. It was the job of a lifetime.  Prior to this I was working for a private contractor busting my ass for $3.00 an hour. That was in construction. I also worked for $3.50 an hour as a teachers’ aide in the Oakland schools, which I loved, and that taught me to have a serious respect for teachers in urban schools.

My retirement I am told is what is destroying the US economy. I can live on my retirement so far, of course, this is the US, and if I get sick who knows?  Most bankruptcies in the US occur because of medical expenses.

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Mitt Romney Blurts Out the Truth About Neo-Conservatism

by Linda McQuaig, Common Dreams

Ironically, in the now-famous video that seems likely to end his political career, it could be said that Mitt Romney was speaking truth to power.

Of course, “speaking truth to power” is a phrase normally used to describe courageous souls who risk their own hides to take a principled stand challenging those in power — not exactly what Mitt was doing.

Rather, assuming he was speaking privately to like-minded multi-millionaires, the Republican presidential candidate told the $50,000-a-platers what they wanted to hear: that he hasn’t any intention of helping the 47 per cent of Americans too poor to pay income tax. “My job is not to worry about those people.”

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Is the Attack on Public Sector Workers Justified?

from Leftwords for the Ontario Council of Hospital Unions

Dwight Duncan has justified the government’s proposal to remove collective bargaining rights in the broader public sector by suggesting that the private sector has had it much worse. Earlier, I looked at wage settlements as likely the best test to determine if this was true (it wasn’t).

But one could argue that jobs are also a key measure.

So, has the loss of jobs been much worse in the private sector than in the public sector?

Read more:



Professional Telephone Fundraisers

Progressive Metrics is a fundraising, communications and political consulting agency. We specialize in assisting trade unions, worker organizations, grassroots campaigns, political advocacy organizations and progressive candidates to work for social change.

Progressive Metrics is currently seeking telephone representatives for its Toronto-based call centre. Primary responsibilities are fundraising for various political advocacy organizations, NGO’s, and progressive political parties and candidates.

Please note that Progressive Metrics call centre is in part virtual. Successful candidates must be reliable and able to work independently. Strong computer skills and dedicated internet access are essential. Starting wage is $14/hour. Positions are 20 hours a week with variable, 4-hr shifts including evening and weekends. Additional shifts may be available to select candidates. This is a non-commission position.

Application deadline: 5 PM Tuesday, October 16, 2012. To apply, send CV to with “Representative” in the subject line.



Head: Peter Sawchuk
Co-ordinator: D’Arcy Martin

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 this project, visit

For more information about CSEW, visit:




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Peter McLaren


Academic Repression: Reflections from the Academic Industrial Complex

Peter McLaren (Editor), Steven Best (Editor), and Anthony J. Nocella II (Editor)

The extreme repressive attacks on Churchill, Finklstein, Fontan, Best, Massad, the “Dirty Thirty,” and many others represented in this book demonstrate the repressive logic of “US democracy,” whereby political elites, the mass media, and the education system establish and police the parameters of acceptable discourse. Churchill became America’s own Salman Rushdie terrorized by the fatwa of the right. Unprecedented for the media coverage given to a professor (in a mass media culture that virtually ignores substantive ideas in favor of spectacle and sensationalism) the Churchill affair was, however, just one of many cases of attacks on academic freedom that eerily evoke the tyranny of the McCarthy era where actors were blacklisted and professors were fired for having even liberal views or showing dissent against state repression. While there has been much research on political repression carried out by the Bush administration, FBI, and various law enforcement agencies, there has been little discussion on political 
repression in academia and how the shockwaves of 9/11 have reverberated throughout academia. This anthology brings together prominent academics who contribute original essays commissioned for this volume. The writers are known and respected figures in their respective fields, and many have experienced academic repression first-hand.

This volume aims to be a cogent intervention in debates over free speech, culture wars, and academic freedom. Given that the importance of free speech to academic life, and the crucial role universities play in the intellectual life of cultures as a whole, a volume addressing the political environment of universities in the current period promises to make a significant contribution.

Academic Repression: Reflections from the Academic Industrial Complex (AK Press), is a much needed book on a topic that has seen little attention. Since 9/11 the Bush Administration has ventured to every campus influencing and forcing change by administration to handover faculty, staff, and student work to be flagged as possible signs of threatening behavior. While there have been numerous books on academic freedom, that topic is outdated and something that arguably does not exist on U.S. campus soil anymore. This volume addresses not only overt attacks on critical or radical thinking, it also – following socioeconomic trends unfolding for decades – engages the broad structural determinants of academic culture. Slowly but surely, the university is being transformed from a space for free thinking, experimentation, and philosophical education in the broadest sense into a narrow, restrictive, utilitarian institution that serves the technical needs of corporations, government, science and technology, and the military. Thus, as emphasized by numerous contributors, the ultimate cause of repression is not the academy itself, but contemporary capitalist society as a whole, which strongly shapes the structure, function, and priorities of higher education. This volume shows that while universities are crucial sites of socialization in capitalist ideologies and utilitarian performance, they are not monolithic citadels or homogeneous systems of thought that grind out in assembly-line fashion each and every student into the service of capitalism. For just as universities can train tomorrow’s FBI and CIA agents, so they can breed the next generation of radicals, resisters, saboteurs, and revolutionaries.

The university is a contested political space for three reasons. First, it is home to a diversity of viewpoints, ranging from far-right to far-left, from Christian to Muslim, from white to black, Indian, or Chicano/a, from speciesist to animal liberationist, and from heterosexual to gay/lesbian. Second, despite broad and growing trends of repression, there are varying degrees of tolerance for the discussion of non-mainstream or radical ideas in classrooms and campus life. Third, however uncritical, conditioned, and conformist some students might be, they have the potential (often actualized) to discuss, debate, and think critically about issues such as US colonialism, slavery, sexism, and speciesism, and professors, staff, and students – consciously or unconsciously – cannot socialize all of them into their own worldviews and politics.

— Nocella, Best, and McLaren

About the Editors:
Anthony J. Nocella, II is completing his doctoral work at Syracuse University. He is a Visiting Scholar of SUNY Cortland’s Center for Ethics, Peace and Social Justice (CEPS) and is teaching classes in Sociology and Criminology at Le Moyne College.

Steven Best is Associate Professor of Humanities and Philosophy at the University of Texas, El Paso.

Peter McLaren is Professor of Education, Graduate School of Education and Information Studies, University of California, Los Angeles.


This courageous and chilling book reminds us that the Academy is always a context for intellectual exchange and political struggle. Don’t miss it! — Cornel West, Princeton University

This book takes us into the Corporate University, and it’s not a pretty sight. From firing critical thinkers to putting students in debt, the system is failing America. Time to take it back by fighting for free higher education. — Jim Hightower, populist speaker and editor of the “Hightower Lowdown”

The university should be a place of freedom not a battlefield where the military industrial complex is launching its most violent attack yet on the future of education. Nocella, Best, and McLaren shows us that education must be protected if we want peace and social justice for the world. Read now! — Cindy Sheehan, Peace Activist and Founder of “Gold Star Families for Peace”

To the litany of claims by academics that the university is a safe haven for intellectual and political dissent, this book offers a convincing counter-argument. Academic Repression is a long overdue collective study of the long and sorry history of violations of academic freedom, iconoclastic thought and political dissent in US institutions of higher education. The editors have assembled an impressive group of scholars who, often through personal experience as much as analytic acuity, have supplied us with commentary as much as documentation of the central thesis of the book. This book should be required reading in all of the social sciences, humanities and education courses. —
Stanley Aronowitz, author of “The Knowledge Factory: Dismantling the Corporate University and Creating True Higher Learning”

Absolutely and utterly indispensible as we chart a way forward and attempt to finally turn the page on an era best left in the dustbin of history. It’s a first round knock out. — Dave Zirin, author APHOS

For over half a century, matters of knowledge and education have been central to the political struggles shaping our world, and the university has been a primary battleground. This collection is a chilling and powerful survey of contemporary battles, their stakes and possibilities. We should all be scared, and we should all concerned enough to take a stand. — Dr. Lawrence Grossberg, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Using the tired canards of anti-semitism, terrorism and radicalism, rightwing zealots are carrying out a merciless campaign of ideological cleansing on American campuses, often with the shameful complicity of university administrators. Academic Repression takes you to the frontlines of this fierce battle for the mind, telling stories of
purges, institutional cowardice and resistance. Here at last is a strategic plan for how to fight back against the New McCarthyites. Read it twice and then throw the book at them. — Jeffrey St. Clair, author Born Under a Bad Sky, co-editor of CounterPunch

Freedom of speech in the academy is a cornerstone of democracy — fascism always creeps closely behind intellectual repression, and we are not immune from the virus. If you want to understand how rocky our freedoms are today, pick up this book, read it, and join the fight to end censorship in all of its imperialist forms. — Joshua Frank, co-author with Jeffrey St. Clair of the forthcoming Green Scare: The Government’s New War on Environmentalism

The powers-that-be are uncomfortable with academic freedom because when one investigates any political, social, economic or even scientific issue thoroughly, a leftwing analysis will tend to emerge. Thinking is dangerous for them. This book is full of the stories and observations of some of the greatest thinkers alive today. — David Rovics, Singer-Songwriter

The editors have drawn together a diverse and competent group of scholars to assess critically the climate of academic repression. This is an essential book for anyone with a deep concern for the future of the academy. It will help raise awareness of crucial issues that face the universities. We ignore this challenge at our peril. — Dr. Andrew Fitz-Gibbon, Director, Center for Ethics, Peace and Social Justice, SUNY Cortland

As the editors and contributors of this valuable collection make clear, American academia has long been a combat zone, and never more than today. Eternal vigilance, and constant struggle, remain the watchwords if the free expression of thought upon which a good society depends is to be realized. — Joel Kovel, author of “Overcoming Zionism: Creating a Single Democratic State in Israel/Palestine”



William Armaline

John Asimakopoulos

Bill Ayers

Liat Ben-Moshe

Michael Bérubé

Carl Boggs

Marc Bousquet

A. Peter Castro

Ward Churchill

Dana Cloud

Sumi E. Colligan

Maria E. Cotera

Christian Davenport

Victoria Fontan

Takis Fotopoulos

Henry Giroux

Adam Habib

Joy James

Robert Jensen

Richard Kahn

Caroline Kaltefleiter

Doug Kellner

Mark LeVine

Bill Martin

Peter McLaren

Micere M. Githae Mugo

Mechthild Nagel

Cary Nelson

Michael Parenti

Emma Perez

Mark Rupert

Rik Scarce

Deric Shannon

Stephen Sheehi

Amory Starr

Gregory Tropea

Ali Zaidi

Howard Zinn

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