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Ellen Meiksins Wood

Ellen Meiksins Wood


November 4th, 2015

Birkbeck, London

Symposium on the work of Ellen Meiksins Wood

Wednesday 4th November

13:30 – 17:00

Lecture Theatre B34 Main Building,

Birkbeck, Torrington Square, London

Event is free to attend

The symposium will contain discussions on the politics and historiography of Ellen’s work from Robert Brenner, David McNally, Benno Teschke, Maia Pal, Samuel Knafo and Charles Post.

To mark Verso’s republication of Ellen Meiksins Wood’s The Pristine Culture of Capitalism and Peasant-Citizen and Slave, Birkbeck Politics Department, the Sussex PM group and Verso are hosting a symposium to celebrate the work of this great historian and political thinker.

Ellen Meiksins Wood is a leading political theorist and one of the world’s most influential historians. Her wide-ranging and original work, covering topics which range from examinations of Athenian democracy to contemporary American imperialism, has, alongside Robert Brenner, inaugurated the ‘Political Marxist’ approach to history. Political Marxism is founded upon a critique of the teleology and formalism of many forms of Marxism in an attempt to re-historicising and re-politicising the Marxist project. The influence of Ellen’s distinctive work can be seen across the social sciences and has marked generations of scholars.

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The Pristine Culture of Capitalism

The Pristine Culture of Capitalism


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11 & 12 April 2014

Thai Theatre, New Academic Building,

London School of Economics, WC2A 3LJ

To mark the 100th anniversary of the First World War, Critique is looking for conference papers around the topic of imperialism and war

We propose including the whole gamut of causes and consequences, given the extra-ordinary nature of the First World War, its mindless cruelty and destructiveness, on the one hand, but the fantastic explosion of working class revolution throughout Europe on the other. The ruling class was bent on compelling its citizens to fight to the last man, for a cause which disappeared into the mist. Imperialism, which most see as a crucial underlying cause of the war, continues down to the present and conceptions of imperialism, even as applicable to the War of 1914-18, have been developed and discussed.

Confirmed speakers include: Bob Brenner, Mick Cox and Hillel Ticktin

More information:

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By Vivek Chibber


Published April 2013


A provocative intellectual assault on the Subalternists’ foundational work.

Postcolonial theory has become enormously influential as a framework for understanding the Global South. It is also a school of thought popular because of its rejection of the supposedly universalizing categories of the Enlightenment. In this devastating critique, mounted on behalf of the radical Enlightenment tradition, Vivek Chibber offers the most comprehensive response yet to postcolonial theory. Focusing on the hugely popular Subaltern Studies project, Chibber shows that its foundational arguments are based on a series of analytical and historical misapprehensions. He demonstrates that it is possible to affirm a universalizing theory without succumbing to Eurocentrism or reductionism.

POSTCOLONIAL THEORY AND THE SPECTER OF CAPITAL promises to be a historical milestone in contemporary social theory.


“With its focus on cultural identities and mixtures, postcolonial theory ignored the larger context of capitalist relations and thus limited its scope to Western academia where it excelled in the game of growing and profiting from the liberal guilt feeling. Chibber’s book simply sets the record straight, bringing postcolonialism down from cultural heights to where it belongs, into the very heart of global capitalist processes. The book we were all waiting for, a burst of fresh air dispelling the stale aroma of pseudo-radical academic establishment.” – Slavoj Žižek

“In this scrupulous and perceptive analysis, Vivek Chibber successfully shows that the ‘universalizing categories of Enlightenment thought’ emerge unscathed from the criticisms of postcolonial theorists. He shows further that—perhaps ironically—Subaltern Studies greatly underestimates the role of subaltern agency in bringing about the transformations that they attribute to the European bourgeoisie. Chibber’s analysis also provides a very valuable account of the actual historical sociology of modern European development, of Indian peasant mobilization and activism, and much else. It is a very significant contribution.” – Noam Chomsky

“In this outstanding work—a model of clarity in its architecture and argumentation—key theorists of the ‘Subaltern’ and of postcoloniality have met their most formidable interlocutor and critic yet. Chibber’s critique of postcolonial theory and the historical sociological studies associated with it is, at the same time, a vigorous and welcome defense of the enduring value of certain Enlightenment universals as an analytical framework to both understand and radically change the world we live in.” – Achin Vanaik

“Vivek Chibber has written a stunning critique of postcolonial theory as represented by the Subaltern Studies school. While eschewing all polemics, he shows that their project is undermined by their paradoxical acceptance of an essentially liberal-Whig interpretation of the bourgeois revolutions and capitalist development in the West, which provides the foundation for their fundamental assertion of the difference of the East. Through a series of painstaking empirical and conceptual studies Chibber proceeds to overturn the central pillars of the Subalternists’ framework, while sustaining the credibility of Enlightenment theories. It is a bravura performance that cannot help but shake up our intellectual and political landscape.” – Robert Brenner

“POSTCOLONIAL THEORY AND THE SPECTER OF CAPITAL is a must-read book for students of comparative politics and social theory. Vivek Chibber presents a forceful challenge to the Subaltern Studies school and to postcolonial theory more broadly. Arguing with great clarity, Chibber raises fundamental objections to their ideas about capitalism, power, and agency, and presents an alternative account of these ideas. Most fundamentally, he rejects the fundamental division between ‘East and West’ associated with postcolonial theory and defends the ‘universalizing categories of Enlightenment thought.’ This is a major contribution that is bound to reshape debate on these important issues.” – Joshua Cohen

“In this book, Vivek Chibber has carried out a thoroughgoing dissection of Subaltern Studies. Like a highly skilled anatomist, he lays bare the skeleton, the nervous system, the arteries and veins of this school … In the process the reader is also exposed to the nitty-gritty of a materialist historiography.” – Amiya Kumar Bagchi


Not Even Marxist? Paul M. Heideman examines Chris Taylor’s critique of Vivek Chibber:

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Now Out! The Ellen Meiksins Wood Reader

Edited by Larry Patriquin, NipissingUniversity


Volume: 40

Series: Historical Materialism Book Series



ISBN: 9789004230088

Publication Year: 2012

Edition info:  1

Version: Hardback

Publication Type: Book

Pages, Illustrations: xiii, 335 pp.

Imprint: BRILL

Language: English

Ellen Meiksins Wood is a leading contemporary political theorist who has elaborated an innovative approach to the history of political thought, the ‘social history of political theory’. She has been described as the founder, together with the historian Robert Brenner, of ‘Political Marxism’, a distinct version of historical materialism which has inspired a research program that spans a number of academic disciplines. Organized thematically, this Reader brings together selections from Wood’s groundbreaking scholarship, published over three decades, providing an overview of her original interpretations of capitalism, precapitalist societies, the state, political theory, democracy, citizenship, liberalism, civil society, the Enlightenment, globalization, imperialism, and socialism


All those interested in the history and theories of capitalism, socialism, imperialism, Marxism, liberalism, social classes, democracy, civil society, and citizenship.


Table of Contents



Introduction: The ‘Method’ of Ellen Meiksins Wood

1. Capitalism
The ‘economic’ and the ‘political’ in capitalism
Class-power and state-power
Feudalism and private property
Capitalism as the privatisation of political power
The localisation of class-struggle
England vs. the dominant model of capitalism
The bourgeois paradigm
Begging the question
Opportunity or imperative?
The commercialisation-model
Marx on the transition
Towns and trade
Agrarian capitalism
Market-dependent producers
A different kind of market-dependence?
Competitive markets

2. Precapitalist Societies
Class and state in China and Rome
Rome and the empire of private property
The city-states of Florence and Venice
Master and slave vs. landlord and peasant
Free producers and slaves
Slavery and the ‘decline’ of the Roman Empire
The ‘logic’ of slavery vs. the logic of capitalism
The ‘slave-mode of production’
Agricultural slavery and the peasant-citizen
The nexus of freedom and slavery in democratic Athens

3. The State in Historical Perspective
Class and state in ancient society
The emergence of the polis in ancient Athens
The ‘essence’ of the polis
Class in the democratic polis
Village and state, town and country, in democratic Athens
The rise and fall of Rome
The culture of property: the Roman law
From imperial Rome to ‘feudalism’
Absolutism and the modern state
The idea of the state
The peculiarities of the English state
Contrasting states: France vs. England

4. Social and Political Thought
The social history of political theory
Political theory in history: an overview
The Greek concept of freedom
Jean-Jacques Rousseau
John Locke
Revolution and tradition, c. 1640–1790

5. Democracy, Citizenship, Liberalism, and Civil Society
Labour and democracy, ancient and modern
From ancient to modern conceptions of citizenship
Capitalism and democratic citizenship
The American redefinition of democracy
A democracy devoid of social content
From democracy to liberalism
Capitalism and ‘liberal democracy’
Liberal democracy and capitalist hegemony
The idea of ‘civil society’
The civil-society argument
‘Civil society’ and the devaluation of democracy

6. The Enlightenment, Postmodernism, and the Post-‘New Left’
Modernity vs. capitalism: France vs. England
From modernity to postmodernity
Modernity and the non-history of capitalism
Themes of the postmodern left
Enlightenment vs. capitalism: Condorcet vs. Locke
The periodisation of the Western left
Left-intellectuals and contemporary capitalism

7. Globalisation and Imperialism
Globalisation and the nation-state
Nation-states, classes, and universal capitalism
The indispensable state
Precapitalist imperialism
The classic age of imperialism
Globalisation and war
Globalisation and imperial hegemony
The contradictions of capitalist imperialism

8. Socialism
The end of the welfare-state ‘compact’
There are no social democrats now
Market-dependence vs. market-enablement
Left-strategies of market-enablement
The political implications of competition
The working class and the struggle for socialism
Class-conflict and the socialist project
Socialism and democracy
The state in classless societies
Liberalism vs. democracy
‘Universal human goods’
The self-emancipation of the working class
The socialist movement
Democracy as an economic mechanism

Bibliography of Works by Ellen Meiksins Wood, 1970–2012


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Russian Revolution


A new book in the Historical Materialism Book Series

The October Revolution in Prospect and Retrospect: Interventions in Russian and Soviet History
John Eric Marot, Keimyung University, Korea

In a series of probing analytical essays, John Marot tracks the development of Bolshevism through the prism of pre-1917 intra-Russian Social Democratic controversies in politics and philosophy. For 1917, the author presents a critique of social historical interpretation of the Russian Revolution.

Turning to NEP Russia, the author applies Robert Brenner’s analysis of pre-capitalist modes of production and concludes that neither Bukharin nor Trotsky’s NEP-premised programs of economic transformation and advance toward socialism were feasible. At the same time, he rejects the view thatStalinism was pre-destined to supplant NEP. Instead, he hypothesises that the superior alternative to Stalinism was NEP without collectivization and the Five-Year Plans – a outcome that would have been possible had Bukharin and Trotsky joined forces to stop Stalin.

Biographical note
John Eric Marot, Ph.D. (1987), University of California, Los Angeles, teaches History at Keimyung University in Korea. He has published many articles on Russian and Soviet History, notably ‘Class Conflict, Political Competition, and Social Transformation: Critical Perspectives on the Social History of the Russian Revolution’ (Revolutionary Russia, 1994) and ‘Trotsky, the Left Opposition, and the Rise of the Stalinism: Theory and Practice’ (Historical Materialism, 2006).

This work will appeal to those interested in the fate of the October Revolution.

Table of contents

1. The Peasant-Question and the Origins of Stalinism: Rethinking the Destruction of the October Revolution

2. Trotsky, the Left Opposition and the Rise of Stalinism: Theory and Practice

3. Class-Conflict, Political Competition and Social Transformation: Critical Perspectives on the Social History of the Russian Revolution

4. Political Leadership and Working-Class Agency in the Russian Revolution: Reply to William G. Rosenberg and S.A. Smith

5. A ‘Postmodern’ Approach to the Russian Revolution? Comment on Ronald Suny

6. Alexander Bogdanov, Vpered, and the Role of the Intellectual in the Workers’ Movement

7. The Bogdanov Issue: Reply to Andrzej Walicki, Aileen Kelly and Zenovia Sochor

8. Marxism, Science, Materialism: Toward a Deeper Appreciation of the 1908-1909 Philosophical Debate in Russian Social Democracy

9. Politics and Philosophy in Russian Social Democracy: Alexander Bogdanov and the Socio-theoretical Foundations of Vpered

General Index




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The Black Rock


The American Road to Capitalism: Studies in Class-Structure, Economic Development and Political Conflict, 1620–1877

By Charles Post
Publication year: 2011

Historical Materialism Book Series, 28
ISBN-13 (i):
978 90 04 20104 0
90 04 20104 1
Number of pages:
xvii, 300 pp.
List price: € 99.00 / US$ 141.00

Most US historians assume that capitalism either “came in the first ships” or was the inevitable result of the expansion of the market. Unable to analyze the dynamics of specific forms of social labour in the antebellum US, most historians of the US Civil War have privileged autonomous political and ideological factors, ignoring the deep social roots of the conflict. This book applies theoretical insights derived from the debates on the transition to capitalism in Europe to the historical literature on the US to produce a new analysis of the origins of capitalism in the US, and the social roots of the Civil War.

Charles Post, Ph. D. (1983) in Sociology, SUNY-Binghamton, is Associate Professor of Sociology at Borough of Manhattan Community College-CUNY. He has published in New Left Review, Journal of Peasant Studies, Journal of Agrarian Change, Against the Current and Historical Materialism.

“Explaining the origin and early development of American capitalism is a particularly challenging task. It is in some ways even more difficult than in other cases to strike the right historical balance, capturing the systemic imperatives of capitalism, and explaining how they emerged, while doing justice to historical particularities… To confront these historical complexities requires both a command of historical detail and a clear theoretical grasp of capitalism’s systemic imperatives, a combination that is all too rare. Charles Post succeeds in striking that difficult balance, which makes his book a major contribution to truly historical scholarship.” — Ellen Meiksins-Wood, York University, author of The Origins of Capitalism: A Long View.

“In The American Road to Capitalism, Charles Post offers a brilliant reinterpretation of the origins and diverging paths of economic evolution in the American north and south. The first systematic historical materialist account of US development from the colonial period through the civil war in a very long time, it is sure to be received as a landmark contribution.” — Robert P. Brenner, University of California-Los Angeles, author of Agrarian Class Structure and Economic Development in Early Modern Europe and Merchants and Revolution: Commercial Change, Political Conflict, and London’s Overseas Traders, 1550-1653.

“Charles Post has written an excellent book on the origins of American capitalism in the antebellum North, on plantation slavery in the Old South and on the cataclysmic conflict between them. His interpretation is bold and controversial; it will have to be considered by all scholars in the field.” — John Ashworth, University of Nottingham, author of Slavery, Capitalism and the Antebellum Republic

“This is the most original and provocative materialist interpretation of the origins and dynamics of US capitalism for a long time. Post combines impressive command of the historical sources with a sharp analytical understanding, not least of the centrality of agrarian questions to the development of capitalism.” — Henry Bernstein, University of London, School of Oriental and African Studies and China Agricultural University, Beijing, emeritus editor Journal of Agrarian Change.

“Over the past three decades, Charles Post has been developing an original and powerful interpretation of the American road to capitalism. This volume brings together his most important essays in what is sure to be a landmark volume. Post brilliantly analyzes the structural basis of economic development in both the North and the South, culminating in a powerful interpretation of the social basis of the Civil War. The book is one of the best examples of historical sociology that I have seen in recent years, effortlessly melding theory and historical research. This is engaged scholarship of the highest order.” — Vivek Chibber, New York University, author of Locked In Place: State Building and Late Industrialization in India.

Table of contents:

Foreword by Ellen Meiksins Wood

1. The American Road to Capitalism
i. Plantation-slavery
ii. Agrarian petty-commodity production
iii. Capitalist manufacture and industry
iv. Conclusion: the Civil War

2. The Agrarian Origins of US Capitalism: The Transformation of the Northern Countryside before the Civil War
i. Rural class-structure in the North before the Civil War
ii. Debating the transformation of northern agriculture
iii. The transformation of the northern countryside, c. 1776–1861

3. Plantation-Slavery and Economic Development in the Antebellum Southern United States
i. The ‘planter-capitalism’ model
ii. The ‘non-bourgeois civilisation’ model
iii. Class-structure and economic development in the antebellum-South

4. Agrarian Class-Structure and Economic Development in Colonial British North America: The Place of the American Revolution in the Origins of US Capitalism
i. The commercialisation-staples model
ii. The demographic-frontier model
iii. Agrarian social-property relations in colonial British North America
iv. Colonial economic development, the American Revolution, and the development of capitalism in the US, 1776–1861

5. Social-Property Relations, Class-Conflict and the Origins of the US Civil War: Toward a New Social Interpretation
i. Ashworth’s social interpretation of the US Civil War
ii. A critique of slavery, capitalism and politics in the antebellum-republic
iii. Toward a new social interpretation of the US Civil War

Conclusion: Democracy against Capitalism in the Post-Civil-War United States
i. Democracy against capitalism in the North: radicalism, class-struggle and the rise of liberal democracy, 1863–77
ii. Democracy against capitalism in the South: the rise and fall of peasant-citizenship, 1865–77
iii. The defeat of populism, ‘Jim Crow’ and the establishment of capitalist plantation-agriculture in the South, 1877–1900


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“Extraordinary reflections….this collection dramatically reasserts the role of rank-and-file revolt in shaping American labor history and offers rich lessons to contemporary rebels.” Mike Davis

“Truly shines … By uncovering the hidden history of the 1970s, REBEL RANK AND FILE reminds us that there is another path to union renewal—a path firmly rooted in the workplace and motivated by visions of transforming society.”
From the mid-1960s to 1981, rank-and-file workers in the United States engaged in a level of sustained militancy not seen since the Great Depression and World War II. Millions participated in one of the largest strike waves in US history. There were 5,716 stoppages in 1970 alone, involving more than 3 million workers. Contract rejections, collective insubordination, sabotage, organized slowdowns, and wildcat strikes were the order of the day.
Workers targeted much of their activity at union leaders, forming caucuses to fight for more democratic and combative unions that would forcefully resist the mounting offensive from employers that appeared at the end of the postwar economic boom. It was a remarkable era in the history of US class struggle, one rich in lessons for today’s labor movement.

The labor struggles in this period have been somewhat overlooked by historians, making this the first in-depth and comprehensive account. The period included strikes which had a significant and lasting impact, such as the Memphis sanitation workers strike which broke the back of racial inequality in the workplace, and the West Virginia coal miners strike which forced the passage of Black Lung legislation.

The struggles in this time also blazed a trail for a new radical and grassroots trade unionism which incorporated demands for racial and sexual equality and challenging entrenched bureaucracies within the union movement itself. The challenge to union bureaucracies led to some remarkable episodes, such as the attempt by UAW leaders to break a wildcat strike at Chrysler’s Mack Avenue stamping plant in Detroit by mobilizing one thousand armed officials and loyalists.

The struggles in this period challenge common assumptions about the US working class – that it is naturally conservative, nationalistic and inward looking. It recaptures a time when millions of ordinary working people engaged in militant action against workplace exploitation, racism and sexism. The book also includes a number of remarkable photographs of the those involved in the struggles by the veteran photojournalist Earl Dotter, a sample of which can be viewed at .
REBEL, RANK AND FILE contains contributions from, in addition to the editors, Judith Stein, Kim Moody, Frank Bardacke, Paul J. Nyden, Dan La Botz, Marjorie Murphy, A. C. Jones, Kieran Taylor, Dorothy Sue Cobble and Steve Early.

“An important collection … honest and thoughtful.”

“This is an unusually high-quality effort, with an all-star cast of authors, which should attract wide interest.”
– Nelson Lichtenstein, Professor of History at University of California Santa Barbara

“Bracing and often electrifying … A primer and a call to arms for a radical rank-and-file politics.”
– Michael Watts, Professor of Geography and Development Studies at UC Berkeley
Aaron Brenner is President of Rank & File Enterprises, a financial and labor research firm. Robert Brenner is Director of the Center for Social Theory and Comparative History at UCLA. He is the author of THE BOOM AND THE BUBBLE, MERCHANTS AND REVOLUTION, THE ECONOMICS OF GLOBAL TURBULENCE. Cal Winslow is Director of the Mendocino Institute and Fellow in Environmental Politics, UC Berkeley.
ISBN: 978 1 84467 174 8 / $29.95 / £19.99 / CAN$37.50 / Paperback / 432 Pages
For more information and to buy the book visit:
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World Crisis


The variegated geographical contours of the urban crisis

Sara Gonzalez (University of Leeds), Stijn Oosterlynck (Universiteit Antwerpen), Ugo Rossi (Università di Cagliari) and Ramon Ribera Fumaz (Universitat Oberta de Catalunya)

As part of the Sixth International Conference of Critical Geography


Details at: 

We call for contributions to a workshop where we will discuss how cities have been affected in different ways by the global financial crisis and what different reactions and policy responses are we seeing across the world. We are particularly interested in comparing and contrasting across different geographical locations to understand if and what general trends are emerging. Are we seeing the intensification of “unevenly evolving neoliberalization processes” (Brenner et al, 2010: 27) in urban spaces, glimpses of a post-neoliberal alternative or gradual return to business as usual? Are cities emerging as key arenas for (global) change or passive sites for implementation of policies? Can we appreciate different urban future scenarios?

Rather than a traditional paper based session we propose to have short presentations directly related to the questions above by participants bringing a particular geographical focus. In an interactive way we hope to start to draw the contours of how cities and capitalism itself are being remoulded in a geographically variegated way.

This session forms part of a wider research project funded by the Leverhulme Trust:

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Work, work, work




The latest APCOL newsletter featuring updates on project activities as well as articles focused on community anti-poverty issues and activism can be found at

A new feature on the APCOL web site – an interactive Google map showing the neighbourhoods where APCOL is active with links to community sites. Check it out at



Friday, December 17
7:00pm – 10:00pm
Regal Beagle Pub (back room)
335 Bloor St. West, Toronto

– Mary-Jo Nadeau – Coordinating Committee, Coalition Against Israeli Apartheid; university teacher and writer
– Ajamu Nangwaya – Labour, community and anti-racist activist
– Elizabeth Rowley – Communist Party electoral candidate in various federal elections, including 2004 and 2006

Join us to consider the politics of elections and the left. Following introductions from diverse perspectives, join us in a free-flowing discussion addressing strategy, points of unity and difference in our movements, and the potential of the GTWA in these discussions and actions.



Labour Start’s panel of judges comprised of David Bacon, Gretchen Donart and Mac Urata selected 5 photos that best captures workers’ struggles this year. And our Pilgrimage to Freedom is one of them!  Please take a moment to vote for the powerful picture on the left taken by Gerrardo Correa of our migrant brothers and sisters who led this historic action. Please distribute widely on your lists, twitter, Facebook and any online tools to spread the word far and wide.

Deadline for voting: Dec. 31, midnight



December 18
3pm – 7pm
George Brown College, St. James Campus
290 Adelaide St. East
3rd Floor, Room 303 – Theatre

Join us in celebrating International Migrants Day, organized by a network of various migrant workers groups and allies.  Cultural performances through popular theatre, dance and music, mural painting, and photo exhibits will be the highlight of the celebration.

We will celebrate victories won, affirm the right of migrant workers to self-organize, and strengthen the bonds of solidarity with all workers. There will be a report back, through video, by delegates from the recently-concluded International Assembly of Migrants and Refugees held in Mexico City as well as photo exhibits of the Pilgrimage to Freedom last November.

Food and refreshments will be provided.



Thursday, January 20th
7 PM
Lula Lounge
1585 Dundas St. W., west of Dufferin, Toronto
416 588 0307

with panel discussion with local contributors:
Greg Albo, Bryan Evans, Leo Panitch and Sam Gindin

Doors open at 6, dinner and drinks available.

Sponsored by: York University Book Store, Fernwood Books, the Socialist Project, and the Socialist Register.

For more information please contact:



Tuesday, December 14, 2010
6:30 to 8:30 pm
Black Creek Community Health Centre
2nd Floor, Yorkgate Mall
(Jane Street, north of Finch Ave.)

Childcare and TTC tickets available
Dinner will be served

All community residents, community workers and union members are invited to a workshop on:

Why raising the rate of social assistance should matter to all of us?
What can we do to restore the Special Diet Allowance?

Presentations by CUPE and OCAP

Social assistance rates are way below the poverty line, and it has remained virtually unchanged since 1995 where Mike Harris government slashed assistant rate by almost 22%.  People on social assistance are now about 40% to 50% worse off than those in 1995.  In addition, the McGuinty government has decided to restrict its $250 special diet allowance to social assistance recipients with a medically verified need for extra money for special diet. According to the Toronto Star, those with “ineligible” aliments (such as cardiovascular disease and impaired glucose tolerance) or hungry kids or no cash left when the rent is paid will be cut off.  Thousands of recipients will be affected by these changes.

Jane-Finch community has had one of the highest rates of application as well as denial of special diet allowance.

Social assistance rates need to be increased to the above poverty line and the Special Diet Allowance restored immediately.

Organized by Jane Finch Action Against Poverty (JFAAP)

In partnership with Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) and Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (OCAP)

For more information, please contact
or leave us a voicemail at 416-760-2677.




by John Cartwright, Toronto Star

Not long ago, a wealthy stockbroker drives by nine men who have been locked out of their jobs at the First Canadian Place. He stops his luxury car, gets out, and utters the words that explain his attitude to their plight.

“The watch I’m wearing is worth more than you earn in a year. Get out of my way!”

(John Cartwright is President of the Toronto and York Region Labour Council.)

Read more:–corporate-greed-is-eroding-foundations-of-a-just-society



Rebel Rank and File: Labor Militancy and Revolt from Below During the Long 1970s, edited by Aaron Brenner, Robert Brenner, and Cal Winslow

The hidden story of the 1970s insurgency from below, against employers and bureaucrats.

From the mid-1960s to 1981, rank-and-file workers in the United States engaged in a level of sustained militancy not seen since the Great Depression and World War II. Millions participated in one of the largest strike waves in US history. There were 5,716 stoppages in 1970 alone, involving more than 3 million workers. Contract rejections, collective insubordination, sabotage, organized slowdowns, and wildcat strikes were the order of the day.

Read more:



by Rebecca Schein, The Bullet

The demonstrations surrounding the G20 summit in Toronto unfolded more or less as scripted. Demonstrators marched peacefully along a designated route through deserted downtown streets. A few people broke windows and set fire to abandoned police cars. Police made full use of their brand new riot gear and special legal powers. A thousand arrests. Denunciations of police lawlessness and brutality. Calls for a public inquiry. Denunciations of vandalism. Calls for solidarity. And of course, the perennial lament that the voices and messages of labour and civil society were lost in the clamor.

(Rebecca Schein teaches in the Human Rights Program at Carleton University.)

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by Jill Hanley & Eric Shragge, Social Policy

Canada’s immigration system has been shifting towards the use of temporary foreign worker programs to respond to a business demand for a low paid, compliant labor force, a trend that can be observed across OECD countries. This form of migration puts workers at risk of abusive economic conditions and undermines the strength of the workers who are permanent residents. The conditions faced by these workers are at best difficult, with little legal protection in practice.

How can global south-to-north migrant workers defend themselves from abuse and have equal working conditions?

(Jill Hanley is Associate Professor in the School of Social Work, McGill University, Montreal. Eric Shragge teaches in the School of Community and Public Affairs, Concordia University, Montreal.)

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by The Wellesley Institute

Our working lives are an essential contributor to what keeps us healthy and what makes us sick. In this recent release, Work and Health: Exploring the impact of employment on health disparities, Sheila Block, the Wellesley Institute’s new Director of Economic Analysis, delves into the linkages between labour market policies, employment conditions, working conditions and health disparities.

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by Canadian Centre on Policy Alternatives

A major report by CCPA Senior Economist Armine Yalnizyan shows Canada’s richest 1% enjoy more of the gains from economic growth than ever before in recorded history.

The report looks at income trends over the past 90 years, revealing the richest 1% took 32% of all growth in incomes between 1997 and 2007 – the biggest piece of action any generation of Canadians has taken.

You have to go all the way back to the 1920s to find a similar trend, and even then, the richest 1% didn’t take so large a share of income.

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Larry Savage and Dennis Soron
Labor Studies Journal published 8 December 2010


Sarah Busse Spencer
Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly published 29 November 2010


Derek Hrynyshyn and Stephanie Ross
Labor Studies Journal published 29 November 2010


Spencer Moore
International Journal of Public Health, Vol. 55, Issue 6



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 CSEW, visit:

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Capitalism in Crisis


Global Slump: The Economics and Politics of Crisis and Resistance

by David McNally

SKU: 9781604863321

Global Slump analyzes the global financial meltdown as the first systemic crisis of the neoliberal stage of capitalism. It argues that – far from having ended – the crisis has ushered in a whole period of worldwide economic and political turbulence. In developing an account of the crisis as rooted in fundamental features of capitalism, Global Slump challenges the view that its source lies in financial deregulation.

The book locates the recent meltdown in the intense economic restructuring that marked the recessions of the mid-1970s and early 1980s. Through this lens, it highlights the emergence of new patterns of world inequality and new centers of accumulation, particularly in East Asia, and the profound economic instabilities these produced.Global Slump offers an original account of the “financialization” of the world economy during this period, and explores the intricate connections between international financial markets and new forms of debt and dispossession, particularly in the Global South.

Analyzing the massive intervention of the world’s central banks to stave off another Great Depression, Global Slump shows that, while averting a complete meltdown, this intervention also laid the basis for recurring crises for poor and working class people: job loss, increased poverty and inequality, and deep cuts to social programs. The book takes a global view of these processes, exposing the damage inflicted on countries in the Global South, as well as the intensification of racism and attacks on migrant workers. At the same time, Global Slump also traces new patterns of social and political resistance – from housing activism and education struggles, to mass strikes and protests in Martinique, Guadeloupe, France and Puerto Rico – as indicators of the potential for building anti-capitalist opposition to the damage that neoliberal capitalism is inflicting on the lives of millions.


“In this book, McNally confirms – once again – his standing as one of the world’s leading Marxist scholars of capitalism. For a scholarly, in depth analysis of our current crisis that never loses sight of its political implications (for them and for us), expressed in a language that leaves no reader behind, there is simply no better place to go.” –Bertell Ollman, Professor, Department of Politics, NYU, and author of Dance of the Dialectic: Steps in Marx’s Method

“David McNally’s tremendously timely book is packed with significant theoretical and practical insights, and offers actually-existing examples of what is to be done. Global Slump urgently details how changes in the capitalist space-economy over the past 25 years, especially in the forms that money takes, have expanded wide-scale vulnerabilities for all kinds of people, and how people fight back. In a word, the problem isn’t neo-liberalism — it’s capitalism.” –Ruth Wilson Gilmore, University of Southern California and author, Golden Gulag

“Standard accounts of the present crisis blame the excesses of the financial sector, promising that all will be well when the proper financial regulations are in place. McNally’s path breaking account goes far deeper. He documents in great detail how the roots of the crisis are found in the systematic failings of capitalism. At this moment in world history the case for a radical alternative to the capitalist global order needs to be made as forcefully as possible. No one has done this better than McNally.” –Tony Smith, Professor of Philosophy, Iowa State University and author of Globalisation: A Systematic Marxian Account

“McNally has developed a powerful interpretation that sheds a mass of new light… This is a superb book.” –Robert Brenner, author of The Economics of Global Turbulence on Political Economy and the Rise of Capitalism.

“By exposing the historical and theoretical roots of ‘market socialism’, David McNally demonstrates in a particularly lucid and powerful way the fundamental flaws and contradictions in that concept.” –Ellen Meiksins Wood, author of Empire of Capital on Against the Market: Political Economy, Market Socialism and the Marxist Critique.

About the Author:

David McNally is Professor of Political Science at York University, Toronto. He is the author of five previous books: Political Economy and the Rise of Capitalism (1988); Against the Market: Political Economy Market Socialism and the Marxist Critique (2003); Bodies of Meaning: Studies on Language, Labor and Liberation (2001); Another World is Possible: Globalization and Anti-Capitalism (2002; second revised edition 2006); and Monsters of the Market: Body Panics and Global Capitalism (2010). His articles have appeared in many journals, including Historical Materialism, Capital and Class, New Politics, and Review of Radical Political Economics. David McNally is also a long-time activist in socialist, anti-poverty and migrant justice movements.

Product Details:

Author: David McNally
Publisher: PM Press/Spectre
Published: December 2010
ISBN: 978-1-60486-332-1
Format: Paperback
Page Count: 248 Pages
Dimensions: 8 by 5
Subjects: Politics-Marxism, Economics

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Global Crisis


A new book by

Murray E.G. Smith

    • ISBN: 9781552663530
    • Price: $24.95 CAD
    • Publication Date: Mar 2010
    • Rights: World
    • Pages: 172

The world economy is currently experiencing a devastating slump not seen since the Second World War. Unemployment rates are skyrocketing and salaries are plummeting in the developed world, while astronomical food prices and starvation ravage the developing world. The crisis in global capitalism, Smith argues, should be understood as both a composite crisis of overproduction, credit and finance, and a deep-seated systemic crisis. Using Marx to analyze the origins, implications and scope of the current economic slump, this book argues that the crisis needs to be understood structurally, as the result of a system prone to crisis, rather than as an aberration.

The Global Economic Crisis: A Marxist Perspective • A Summary of Marx’s Theories of Value, Capital and Crisis • The Necessity of Value Theory: Brenner’s Analysis of the “Long Downturn” and Marx’s Theory of Crisis • Class Struggle and Socialist Transformation: Beyond the Law of Value • The Global Crisis, Marxism and the Malaise of the Anti-Capitalist Left • Appendix 1, The Controversy Surrounding Marx’s Theory of Value • Appendix 2, Socially Necessary Unproductive Labour in Contemporary Capitalism • Bibliography • Index

Murray E.G. Smith is Professor of Sociology and Labour Studies at Brock University

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Conference on Giovanni Arrighi

Conference on the Work of Giovanni Arrighi

“Dynamics of the Global Crisis, Anti-Systemic Movements and New Models of Hegemony”

“Dinámica de la crisis global, movimientos antisistémicos y nuevos modelos de la hegemonía”

At the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid

25-29 May 2009

Participants: Giovanni Arrighi, Perry Anderson, Beverly Silver, David Harvey, Robert Brenner, Samir Amin, Emir Sader, Walden Bello, Theotonio dos Santos, Marcello de Cecco, Ravi Palat, John Saul, Ho-Fung Hung, Gillian Hart, Lu Aiguo, Ravi Sundaram, Takeshi Hamashita, Amiya Bagchi, Roberto Patricio Korzeniewicz, Luis Sandoval Ramírez, William Martin, Tom Reifer, Siba Grovogui

Organized by the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía
and the Universidad Nómada

Sponsored by the Fundación por la Europa de los Ciudadanos and CLACSO

Full programme available here:

“Remenbering Giovanni Arrighi” – by Steven Colatrella, from Counterpunch: 

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