Editors (What's Left)

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Public debate, public governance: what's missing from the Sidewalk Labs project | What's Left Issue 110

The dog days of summer saw a new development in what some are calling a new world-historical event, and not in a good way. It is the creation of Sidewalk Labs on the Toronto waterfront through an innovative (one hears this word a lot) and perhaps unholy alliance between the Alphabet subsidiary (Alphabet is both Google’s and Sidewalk Labs’ parent company) and an odd bird of municipal governance, Waterfront Toronto.

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What is a general strike?

Today is May Day, International Workers’ Day. With roots in the workers’ struggle for an 8-hour work day, this day has been marked for more than a century in countries across the world. May Day is a great day for socialists, labour organizers and agitators to draw connections between the workers’ struggle under capitalism and the gains we have made in history. May Day is marked around the world with cultural celebrations and also protests where workers’ rights are under attack.

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Book Review: How Will Capitalism End? Essays on a Failing System by Wolfgang Streeck

As socialists, it’s no surprise to us that the study of capitalism should be paired with an understanding of history, sociology, and politics. In Wolfgang Streeck’s 2016 book How Will Capitalism End? Essays on a Failing System he does just that. In fact, he does more than that, he gives capitalism a death sentence and it doesn’t look good.

Ford's 'free speech' directive to Ontario's universities and colleges limits freedoms | Citizens' Press

Ontario universities have academic freedom enshrined in their very fabric, negotiated in collective agreements and outlined in the principles of their governing bodies. Protecting the rights of these organizations to continue their work is essential to maintaining the academic culture of free exchange on campuses. Instead of expanding and fostering the healthy freedom of expression enjoyed on Ontario’s university and college campuses, the Ford government’s new ‘free speech’ directive will put a chill on academic freedom and debate.

What's Left 2018-03-22 Volume 105

Citizens’ Press sat down with five commentators to discuss the current Facebook scandal involving Cambridge Analytica. The dialogue has been edited and presented here to help inform the broader discussion of Facebook on the left.

What's Left 2018-04-22 Volume 106

Facebook, Data Mining, and Changing Childhoods, LECTURES D’HIVER, Ontario Liberals do not understand what universities are for

The Facebook Scandal | Citizens' Press

Citizens’ Press sat down with five commentators to discuss the current Facebook scandal involving Cambridge Analytica. The dialogue has been edited and presented here to help inform the broader discussion of Facebook on the left.

Apologists, failure, and always being wrong about privatization | What's Left 2018-01-21 Volume 104

The fight against privatization is framed by liberals and the right-wing as a clear and unsubstantiated ideological position of the left. And, no matter how much research is presented exposing how privatization of state services and programs costs more and has no positive (but, in many cases negative) impacts on quality of services, the dominant narrative is privatization works. But, at this point, believing that privatization leads to increased efficiency and lower costs is akin to the denial of climate change and thinking vaccines cause Autism. Decades of real life examples, economic analysis, and trial and error policy show that there are so many ways that do not work when it comes to privatization. So, why do people still believe this nonsense?

Apologists, failure, and always being wrong about privatization | What's Left 2018-01-21 Volume 104

The fight against privatization is framed by liberals and the right-wing as a clear and unsubstantiated ideological position of the left. And, no matter how much research is presented exposing how privatization of state services and programs costs more and has no positive (but, in many cases negative) impacts on quality of services, the dominant narrative is privatization works. But, at this point, believing that privatization leads to increased efficiency and lower costs is akin to the denial of climate change and thinking vaccines cause Autism. Decades of real life examples, economic analysis, and trial and error policy show that there are so many ways that do not work when it comes to privatization. So, why do people still believe this nonsense?

State Power Apologists and Propaganda | What's Left

State propaganda is sophisticated. To a point that we do not even call it ‘propaganda’ any more. Narratives glorifying soldiers of war, spies, and good cops defending the poor and innocent from external threats are everywhere in Western media. All celebrating the moral individual fighting an immoral other. Or, the take down of a Rogue by a broken state system made up of good people.

What's Left 2017-12-31 Volume 103

Reading my way through 2017 | Roxanne Dubois; State Power Apologists and Propaganda

What's Left 2017-12-11 Volume 101

For the republican Arab world, the past twelve years have been defined by foreign invasion, civil and proxy wars, revolution and counter-revolution. It has been devastating. However, it should be remembered that, within the republican Arab world, the twenty-first century began with the American backed crushing of the second Palestinian uprising (intifada).

Transfers of Wealth and Snake-Oil Promoters | What's Left

There is something not quite right with the regulation of the financial-technology world. The focus of regulation since the financial crisis was on risk (even if these have since been rolled back). However, the main problem in the end might have not been the high risk, but that the negative consequences of high risk are not borne by those taking the risk.

Transfers of Wealth and Snake-Oil Promoters | What's Left

There is something not quite right with the regulation of the financial-technology world. The focus of regulation since the financial crisis was on risk (even if these have since been rolled back). However, the main problem in the end might have not been the high risk, but that the negative consequences of high risk are not borne by those taking the risk.

Naming Capitals | What's Left Guest Editorial

For the republican Arab world, the past twelve years have been defined by foreign invasion, civil and proxy wars, revolution and counter-revolution. It has been devastating. However, it should be remembered that, within the republican Arab world, the twenty-first century began with the American backed crushing of the second Palestinian uprising (intifada).

What to write about? | What's Left 100th Edition

Reading the news today is like living through a poorly written dystopian novel, but without any of the exciting grittiness that comes with a real apocalypse or the fun of Zombieland. And, the current contradictions make it difficult to focus on a topic to write about. We have economic growth with rising inequality. Right-wing populism without a populist left-wing response. The decline of social democratic parties, but with a rising acceptance of democratic socialist values. Increased access to knowledge, but less real understanding. Increased politicization, but no clear path to political power. It makes one’s head spin.

What's Left 2017-11-11 Volume 100

Reading the news today is like living through a poorly written dystopian novel, but without any of the exciting grittiness that comes with a real apocalypse or the fun of Zombieland. And, the current contradictions make it difficult to focus on a topic to write about. We have economic growth with rising inequality. Right-wing populism without a populist left-wing response. The decline of social democratic parties, but with a rising acceptance of democratic socialist values. Increased access to knowledge, but less real understanding. Increased politicization, but no clear path to political power. It makes one’s head spin.

Artificial Intelligence versus the Human Mind | What's Left

The fear of robots taking all the jobs (and the silliness of those arguments) is an issue that has been much discussed, including in What’s Left This Week. Are robots replacing humans on production lines? Of course. But, it is important to understand the logic that leads to this happening because the problem isn’t that robots are taking peoples’ jobs.

G20 (G19+US) in Hamburg fails to accomplish much | What's Left

Meetings of politicians who are defenders of global capitalism are rather good venues for displays of anti-capitalist alternatives. The G19+1 meeting in Hamburg, Germany was one such occasion.

Understanding Venezuela | What's Left

Corporate media reports on Venezuela depicting the current situation make it difficult for casual observers on the left to understand what is going on. While this has been the case even when Chavez was president, it has become harder to get a clear analysis.

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