Graham H. Cox

Graham Cox is a researcher and organizer at the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE). At CUPE, his work has focused on economic and policy analysis for anti-privatization, trade, post-secondary education sector, utilities, employment insurance, special projects, and organizing.

Before working at CUPE, Graham served the student movement as National Researcher of the Canadian Federation of Students and chairperson of the National Graduate Caucus.

Graham has worked as an organiser for the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) with a focus on graduate student teaching assistant, research assistant and contingent academic staff union drives. This included leading drives to organize academic workers at the University of New Brunswick, UPEI, and Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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Posts

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2020 Ontario Budget for post-secondary education: Tories continue undermining the system

The best thing a government can do in the height of a recession that is being compounded by a pandemic is invest in the education of its population. Higher education – when done well – creates a citizenry who are able to respond to crises and develop the solutions to address the needs of themselves and their communities. Unfortunately, in Ontario we have abandoned support for higher education. Instead, the government is determined to drive an ideological agenda to distort the labour market, make workers pay for job losses, reduce access to higher education, and undermine the advanced education and research system that supports Ontario's economy.

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Pulling commodities out of the air

Since the early 1980s, central banks and governments of top capitalist countries have been attempting to save their beloved system. Responding to the collapsing profit rate was their ultimate goal and drove economic and social policy for 40 years. To save our economy and solve the social, health, and environmental crises we now face we must reverse course.

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Regressive taxes, commodification, and theft

The current economic crisis has led to unprecedented government spending. This spending is funded by borrowing or by 'printing money' (which has an effect similar to borrowing) to support furloughed and unemployed workers to the tune of roughly $80 billion and to subsidize corporate revenue. This has been necessary to prop up basic economic activity in an attempt to delay the impact of the economic consequences of the recession. Unfortunately, neoliberal policy makers are already trying to convince us that giving public services away to private interests is the only way to pay for this debt.

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La marchandisation, c’est le vol

La crise économique actuel a mené à un niveau inédit de dépenses gouvernementales. Ces dépenses supplémentaires, financées par des emprunts publics ou, parfois, en imprimant de l’argent (dont l’effet est semblable à celui des emprunts), secourent les travailleurs en chômage temporaire ou permanent au montant d'environ 80 milliards de dollars et subventionne les revenus des entreprises. Ces actions sont nécessaires pour soutenir l’activité économique essentielle et pour reporter à plus tard l’impact des conséquences économiques de la récession.

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Socialist economic policies are the answer to the current crises

The cheerleaders of neoliberal policy are rising like zombies after the current collection of economic, health, climate, and political crises seemed to bury them for a while. This means that it is not going to be enough to just defend the current wreck, but build something better. Socialists have social and economic policy programs that deal directly with these challenges. It is time to dust them off and fight for them with abandon.

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Theories of money, labour, and power

When it comes to Modern Monetary Theory (MMT), I tend to take a rather less aggressive position than some from the classical (Marxian/Marxist) tradition. There are some holes in the theory and its view of the economy is irksome, but others have debated these to their fullest extent (a debate that is at least 100 years old). And, in the end of the day, arguing over the degree to which a theory is wrong is not very interesting. Anwar Shaikh does a very good job of putting the limits to MMT's ideas. Basically, there is a limit to MMT and the question is: what then?

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The coming end of start-up culture and the limits of what can be commodified

There is a growing focus in liberal policy circles on fostering entrepreneurial spirit in an attempt to drive growth. Having run out of ideas for promoting the economic growth endemic to capitalism through the privatization of state assets, and seeing the lackluster productivity gains over the previous decades, the governments of advanced capitalist countries are looking to leverage the only part of their economies that are growing: the tech sector. This singular focus has resulted in changes to post-secondary education policy where university research are pushed ever further into becoming corporate R&D labs, and government research supports are spun off in an attempt to commercialize anything that looks like it can be commodified and sold.

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The regular user's guide to using Linux

The purpose of this document is to outline how I work in Linux. While there are lots of documents online on how coders set-up and tinker with Linux, there are not many for regular users who want to become more proficient in their computer use.

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A how-to install guide for Linux programs

This is a list of GNU and open source programs I use regularly. I have included some install commands and configuration details that I hope will make them easier to use.

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Unions and ending the restrictions on work.

Discussions about 're-opening the economy' are just beginning. Capital's demands are not about worker protections and pay, their goal is a return to profitability. Labour unions must avoid full alignment with capital on their demands to ensure workers' interests are prioritized. There are many questions we need answered to start to support any process that ramps-up production.

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Some socialist ideas for responding to the COVID-19 crisis

Services and products for people in need are going to be a problem in the coming weeks. Supply chains are complex and some businesses along those chains will not be able to support production during this crisis – or support the necessary ramp-up in production needed. To sustain production, the state is going to have to step-in and direct procurement and investment. As such, nationalized production should be on the table if it looks too complicated to coordinate the private sector to get the goods we need to the people that need them. Here is a list of recommendations outlining how socialists should be framing their demands during this time.

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Unions, democracy, and labour reform for building worker power

When we are debating how best to build worker power through their unions it is usually in the context of winning demands at the bargaining table. But, under advanced capitalism, union power is mostly measured in terms of how badly we are losing. This is not useful as a metric for discussion of labour law reforms attempting to impose balance in labour relations between unions and capital. If we think of unions as structures of democracy, then we can shift the narrative around power simply to refer to winning or losing the battle for our own democracy. And, democracy, unlike worker power at the bargaining table, is entirely in the hands of workers. Socialists should focus on building democracy in discussion on labour reform. Then, no matter what we are able to win in terms of power at the union's bargaining table or reforms that raise standards for workers outside unions, we are helping to build the socialism we want.

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Union dues and the struggle for democracy

To avoid the need to rebuild our democratic organizations – and thus waste valuable time – we must defend our current institutions of democracy. We must defend them even though they can, from time to time, be lead by flawed individuals – we are human, after all. It is not the people we defend as leadership can and will be replaced, but the institution. This defense is part of the historical fight for our right to practice and perfect our own democracy. (Photo by Randy Colas on Unsplash)

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Technological change and automation in the workplace

Working people have been dealing with changes in the application of technology in their workplaces since the beginning of capitalism. The recent interest in the subject has largely been driven by the tech industry's promises of automated production and job-destroying robots, which will still somehow deliver a type of techno-Utopia. It is time for workers to take back the discussion and drive an agenda for the future based on clear analysis and the broader community's interests. In this full-length article, we revisit some of the issues and concepts around automation and its affects on workers.

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Updated Citizens' Press Websites

The Citizens' Press, Leftnews.org, and What’s Left have been updated and technologies changed. Read here how you interact with the new services and make sure you do not miss any new posts.

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Graduate student issues and the academy | Graham Cox

A version of this article was presented to the Canadian Federation of Students-Ontario 2018 general meeting. The domination of the neoliberal view for the previous nearly four decades has meant that all public spending has to be couched as supporting the private economy. Even for something as basic as higher education cannot be described as having an inherent value, it must be commodified and linked to some private sector profit. In the case of university, public funding is only available because it is part of the private sectors desire to have skilled workers. As such, a post-secondary education degree is only talked about as a pathway to a job, and not as a valuable process by itself.

Alberta Conservatives Start Governing by Attacking Worker Rights and Future Generations

The newly elected United Conservative Party under Jason Kenney announced in the speech from the throne that their main priority is to drive wages down for workers, remove protections for workers at work, defund their political opposition, and undermine future generations in Alberta and around the world. Bill 1 is to attack the environment – kicking them while they are down. Bill 2 is going to attack workers, their unions, wages, youth, and health & safety for employees.

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Ontario Budget 2019 undermines the academic system | Graham Cox

The Ford Government’s cuts to the university sector puts additional strain on an already stressed funding system. The new budget drives an aggressive free-market agenda obsessed with short-term results that does not work in a university setting and will undermine teaching, learning, and research in Ontario. The announced direction for Strategic Mandate Agreement’s (SMAs) will drive universities to align their teaching and research priorities with short-term labour market demands. This will undermine of the long-term research and teaching objectives at the heart of quality academic education and research. In short, the budget is a disaster for the academy and will bring hardship to the workers, students, and faculty on our campuses.

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The Green New Campaigns in Canada | Graham Cox

In the US, the Green New Deal has gained deserved momentum because it is being promoted by charismatic elected officials, propelled to power on the basis of their broad left-wing credentials – and not only because of their focus on climate. We cannot bypass this step in Canada. This means that unapologetic socialist elements in our labour party must also be propelled into a position to promote such an agenda.

Ford's cynical politics and higher education | Graham Cox

The announcement on post-secondary education by the Ford government was a showcase of the new cynical politics of the right-wing. It was painful to watch. The minister, looking as excited as a drowned cat, delivered an announcement of massive and destructive change to higher education in this province using an ugly caricature of Orwellian language.

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