John Riddell

Five hundred Toronto-area supporters crowded into a west-end school auditorium March 29 to support the Leap Manifesto, for a “justice-based” energy transition to renewable economy.


Marines join protesting German workers in Berlin during the November 1918 revolution.

The German Left & the Weimar Republic
By Ben Fowkes
Haymarket Books, 2015
399 pages, US$28.

Socialist historian Ben Fowkes has given us a unique and vivid text documentary of the German workers’ movement during the tumultuous years of its greatest influence — from November 1918 to its defeat by Nazism 15 years later.

The Bolivarian Alliance of the Peoples of Our America (ALBA) is an anti-imperialist trading bloc first formed by the left-wing governments of Venezuela and Cuba to promote trade on the basis of solidarity rather than competition.

It has since expanded to include 11 nations, with Venezuela and Cuba joined by Bolivia, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Dominica, Antigua and Barbuda, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Saint Lucia, Grenada and Saint Kitts and Nevis. Honduras was an ALBA member, but was forced to withdraw when a 2009 US-backed coup installed a right-wing dictatorship.

The Bolivarian Alliance of the Peoples of Our America (ALBA) is an anti-imperialist trading bloc first formed by the left-wing governments of Venezuela and Cuba to promote trade on the basis of solidarity rather than competition.

It has since expanded to include Bolivia, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Dominica, Antigua and Barbuda, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Saint Lucia, Grenada and Saint Kitts and Nevis. Honduras was an ALBA member, but was forced to withdraw when a 2009 US-backed coup installed a right-wing dictatorship.

One hundred years ago, fighting broke out among the great powers of Europe, launching what has become known as World War I. The brutal conflict, which lasted more than four years, proved to be a decisive turning point for humanity and the socialist movement — its effects still felt strongly today.

Revolutionary Activism in the 1950s & '60s Volumes I
By Ernest Tate
Resistance Books, 2014
www.resistancebooks.org

“A police cruiser with two uniformed officers pulled up alongside me,” recalls Ernest Tate in his newly published memoir Revolutionary Activism.

“They jumped out and asked me for identification. I gave it to them. ‘What’s in your suitcase?’ Dirty underwear, I said. ‘Open it,” they ordered. I told them it was none of their business. They almost went berserk …”

“Bangladesh is a world leader in adaptation to natural disasters,” Bangladeshi community organiser Nasima Akter told a Toronto audience January 8. “But now climate change threatens to wash away all our gains.”

Akter had been invited by East End Against Line 9, a neighbourhood committee formed to protest against a proposed cross-Toronto tar-sands pipeline. The East End committee wanted to learn about the implications of Canada’s reckless tar-sands development for a poor and vulnerable nation.

The removal of the Mohamad Morsi government by Egypt's military on July 3 and subsequent bloody repression against Muslim Brotherhood supporters had caused debate on the international left on how to understand the events and what attitude to take to the anti-Morsi protests, the July 3 coup and protests against the military regime. The contribution below is from John Riddell, a Toronto-based activist and historian of the socialist movement.

The Ecosocialist Conference, a broad and enthusiastic all-day meeting in New York April 20, took a big step toward creating an anti-capitalist wing of the environmental movement.

The conference was arranged in just six weeks by organizers of the Ecosocialist Contingent in the mass demonstration against the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline in Washington February 17. It was supported by 29 groups who subscribed to the Ecosocialist Contingent statement for “system change, not climate change.”

On July evenings, most people in Toronto are just trying to find ways to escape the heat and humidity. On July 30, more 150 people filled the room for a meeting on Contested Futures: Tar Sands and Environmental Justice.

Many had to sit on tables or stand to hear from two indigenous leaders of environmental justice actions in Ontario and two delegates to the People’s Summit Rio +20.

The meeting was initiated by the Greater Toronto Workers Assembly (International Solidarity Committee) and Toronto Bolivia Solidarity; a further 20 groups endorsed and helped build the event.

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