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Labour Day 2012: Get ready to rumble

The Labour Day picnics and parades might be the calm before the storm for the labour movement this fall. On top of terrible job losses in manufacturing and resource industries, governments in Canada are sharpening their swords, preparing to do battle with the country's trade unions.

It's not just unions that should be worried. The lagging economy is failing all Canadians, whether in unions or not. Historically, the trade union movement has played a pivotal role in turning things around and raising living standards for everyone. But the political and bargaining strengths of unions are at one of the lowest points in decades, and opponents are preparing to take advantage of this weakened state.

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Turning anger into action to stop Harper's foreign policy

If you're reading this you probably know that the Harper-led Conservative government has ramped up the corporate and military orientation of Canadian foreign policy. But, the extent to which they’ve done so will likely be a surprise.

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Everything in moderation (including moderation): Moving away from 1 per cent solutions

In Quebec, they are rising up against neoliberalism and '1 per cent solutions'.

Capitalism's been giving itself some extremely bad press lately. Finance capital's approval ratings (if any were taken on a regular basis) have to be at as low a level as at any other time in the last hundred years.

Even the mainstream business press seems at a loss to justify the new mantra of austerity in any way that makes sense. The 'shock doctrine' as applied to the current historical moment has meant yet another tired strategy of attacking the welfare state and privatizing everything, while unemployment skyrockets and life becomes more tenuous for everyone, even in the richer northern states (everyone but the 1 per cent, of course).

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Wall Street crooks: A brief history of financial deregulation

'Deregulation for Wall Street crooks' is one chapter of a manuscript entitled, Wall Street Thieves: the Crisis of Capitalism and the 99% Movement for a Just and Better World. I wrote the first draft of this book from Havana where I live half the year with my Cuban wife and family.  Over the three months from November to January as I was writing the original draft, the rapid spread of the 99 per cent movement in the US and elsewhere was unfolding. 

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Green Party of Canada convention: 'Cooperate to defeat Harper'

New Zealand Green Party Leader Metiria Turei attended the convention.

The Green Party of Canada's three-day long convention in Sidney, B.C. has just wrapped up. Here is an account of the major decisions taken, from one of the nearly 300 delegates who were in attendance. 

This year's convention saw discussion of 27 policy motions, six constitutional motions, eight directive motions and three emergency motions.

All of the policy, constitutional and directive motions were subjected to an online vote prior to the convention. Emergency motions were first presented at the convention itself and thus had not previously been voted on. All resolutions will be subjected to a final and conclusive vote by the membership after the convention.

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Why the Harper government was happy with the ouster of Lugo in Paraguay

 Fernando Lugo campaigning in 2008. (Photo: Fernando Lugo Méndez / flickr)

Six weeks ago the left-leaning president of Paraguay Fernando Lugo was ousted in what some called an "institutional coup." Upset with Lugo for disrupting 61-years of one party rule, Paraguay's traditional ruling elite claimed he was responsible for a murky incident that left 17 peasants and police dead and the senate voted to impeach the president.

The vast majority of countries in the hemisphere refused to recognize the new government. The Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) suspended Paraguay's membership after Lugo's ouster, as did the MERCOSUR trading bloc. Last week the Council on Hemispheric Affairs reported: "Not a single Latin American government has recognized [Federico] Franco's presidency."

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Rewarding bad behaviour: Israel and the West

Protest outside the U.S. Embassy in London, UK. (Photo: http://londonbds.org)

Israel has barely put a foot right with the international community since its attack on Gaza more than three years ago provoked global revulsion.

The right-wing government of Benjamin Netanyahu has serially defied and insulted foreign leaders, including U.S. President Barack Obama; given the settlers virtual free rein; blocked peace talks with the Palestinians; intimidated and marginalised human rights groups, UN agencies and even the Israeli courts; and fuelled a popular wave of Jewish ethnic and religious chauvinism against the country's Palestinian minority, foreign workers and asylum seekers.

No wonder, then, that in poll after poll Israel ranks as one of the countries with the most negative influence on international affairs.

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People's Tribunal on mining impacts: Why we found Goldcorp guilty

The judges read out the verdict. (Photo: Allan Lissner)

Wednesday, August 1 is a 'Continental Day of Action Against Canadian Mega Resource Extraction.' In Vancouver, a protest action will take place in front of Goldcorp's corporate headquarters, starting at 4:30p.m. at 666 Burrard Street. Goldcorp's record in Central America and Mexico was recently put before a People's Tribunal in Guatemala. Here, two of the judges explain why Goldcorp was found guilty. 

 “The enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health is one of the fundamental rights of every human being…” – World Health Organization

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Annexation ahead? The meaning of Israel's 'there is no occupation' report

A 2010 protest in the West Bank village of Beit Ommar. (Photo: karathepirate / flickr)

The recently published report by an Israeli judge concluding that Israel is not in fact occupying the Palestinian territories -- despite a well-established international consensus to the contrary -- has provoked mostly incredulity or mirth in Israel and abroad.

Left-wing websites in Israel used comically captioned photographs to highlight Justice Edmond Levy's preposterous finding. One shows an Israeli soldier pressing the barrel of a rifle to the forehead of a Palestinian pinned to the ground, saying: "You see -- I told you there's no occupation."

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Austerity, racism and structural violence: Putting the Scarborough shooting in context

A recent town hall drew attention to the need for jobs and services for Scarborough. (Photo: HiMY SYeD / photopia)

Politicians from all levels of government have reacted with statements about Monday night's horrific shooting in Scarborough, Ontario. Federal government Ministers Julian Fantino and Rob Nicholson took the occasion to promote the Conservatives' crime bill and other "tough on crime" legislation. While the Harper government promotes their own agenda in the wake of this tragedy, we are sharing this reflection that situates the shooting in its wider context of austerity, racism and structural violence. 

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