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    Letter from the editor

    Dignity is, ultimately, why we are on the political left. It is connected to the energy by which we can reckon with domination rather than crumple in its grasp. It is why we have each other.

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    More than a hero

    She has long been honoured as a revolutionary martyr, but can her theories about capitalism and working-class organization guide us today? In a time of austerity and flaring social unrest, Ingo Schmidt reveals Luxemburg’s key insights for understanding our world – and organizing for a better one.

  • Magazine

    Letter from the editor

    The primacy of place and, more pointedly, an essential relation to the land is largely absent from the aesthetic theories of those in the modernist and Marxist traditions. In a settler-colonial society, such abstract sensibilities are untenable.

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    Killers in high places

    If the drug war is a tool of social and territorial control and capital accumulation, it’s not enough to simply accuse Harper’s Conservatives of pursuing a misguided strategy.

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    Left behind

    In the long term, the fate of CAW-unionized workers is going to depend on their ability to organize unrepresented parts and autoworkers. The wider the wage gap grows between unionized and non-unionized workers, the more concessions CAW autoworkers will have to endure.

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    From the classroom to the boardroom

    With constitutional challenges to the Special Law pending in Quebec courts, the fate of the student movement very much depends on whether the law will be massively defied beginning August 13, when three of 14 CÉGEPs are scheduled to reopen for the completion of the suspended winter semester.

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    NGOs and empire

    This article is excerpted from Paved with Good Intentions: Canada’s Development NGOs from Idealism to Imperialism, released April 2012 by Fernwood Publishing fernwoodpublishing.ca

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    Land rush

    Amid skyrocketing food prices, climate-related instability, and declining soil and water resources, wealthy investors have begun to size up the world’s farmland as both an investment opportunity and a hedge against food crises and political turbulence. Saskatchewan’s farmland has gained a particularly noteworthy reputation, making the province a global hot spot for farmland investment.

  • Magazine

    Letter from the editor

    Our efforts to organize more co-operatively must go beyond inclusivity. For power to be truly re-distributed, we must pay particular attention to the voices that have been most silenced by global capitalism.

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    Reimagining revolution

    The Occupy movement has demonstrated a tenacious and effective commitment to non-violent, collaborative tactics. These photos, from various photographers, capture some of the ways in which the Occupy movements have helped us to reimagine how we organize and relate to one another within our collective struggle for justice.

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    Canadian mining on trial

    As a court battle ensues between the Salvadoran government and Canadian mining company Pacific Rim, the disappearances and murders of anti-mining activists are a tangible manifestation of the lack of respect for individual and collective rights in the face of highly lucrative development projects.

  • Magazine

    Letter from the editor

    As the Occupy movement continues to gather momentum, this moment presents an opportunity to re-evaluate the role of unions in social transformation and look beyond the reactive task of simply defending the working conditions of their members within the capitalist system, to which much of the labour movement has become resigned.

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    Homeplace as revolutionary front

    Homeplace is where we are grown and raised into social beings, where we receive our earliest definitions of humanity, where we first learn to recognize love, violence, justice and pain. Yet it has persisted in our imagination as a private sphere of emotional and material dependence, rather than as a front in revolutionary struggle.

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    The confines of compromise

    Has the labour movement become comfortable in a reactive, and even survivalist, mode of operating? What would a labour movement that strengthened and encouraged resistance and militancy, rather than managed it, look like?

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    From apple pie and mother’s milk to pop-tarts and formula

    Ninety per cent of pregnant families in Canada plan to breastfeed their children. After the recommended six months later, less than 25 per cent of those families are still exclusively breastfeeding. This is a story of severed cultural ties to breastfeeding knowledge; “breast is best” lip service by many care providers, hospitals and government funding models; and huge marketing dollars from the big multinationals that produce artificial human milk (marketed as the more genteel “formula”).

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    Open for business

    Afghanistan, and the surrounding region, has been in the crosshairs of imperial expansionists for centuries. In 1600, Queen Elizabeth I set the East India Company on its march northward through India. This expansion of the British empire was confronted in Afghanistan in the early 19th century by the southward expansion of the Russian empire, instigating a series of wars known as the “Great Game.”

  • Magazine

    Letter from the editor

    This summer marked the 75th anniversary of the Regina Riot, a landmark in the history of Briarpatch’s hometown and an event with political reverberations well beyond the city itself. On June 3, 1935, at the height of the greatest crisis of capitalism in the country’s history, 1,200 striking workers departed relief camps in British Columbia aboard eastbound boxcars to deliver demands for employment and fair wages to the federal government of R.B. Bennett

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    Reinventing resistence

    Globalization has propelled neoliberalism across borders, not just as an ideology or system of commerce, but as the primary determinant of the daily realities of where people live, what they eat, how they work, and what rights they enjoy.

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    Room and board

    There are three things a farmer can’t live without: a wheelbarrow, a dog and a pry bar.” Maggie called this to me from just outside the barn, where she stood offering me the said pry bar. The dog looked up from where she lay lounging in the shade, and I paused where I crouched, preparing to heave a sizable boulder into the aforementioned wheelbarrow.

  • Magazine

    Discipline and punish

    The dream of a benevolent welfare state may live on in social work theory, conference papers and mission statements, but as far as front-line bureaucracy goes, welfare is dead. Only its image remains, as faint as chalk on a sidewalk. No longer even pretending to be a right or social safety net, social assistance has mutated into a series of manipulative tactics to prod and intimidate its clients into jobs that no one wants. In other words, welfare has become workfare.