Original articles by Citizens' Press

Below, you will find original articles from the Citizens' Press.

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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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Defending public health work

Public health agencies have carried the weight of this pandemic for many months now. As COVID-19 cases rise across Canada and the Fall reveals clear signs of a second wave, it is important to remember the role and purpose of public health workers at all levels – local, provincial and national.

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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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What is a union and what is it not?

The Alberta majority government has moved a series of bills that, when looked at together, drastically undermine unions in the province. Bill 1, passed in May, makes it illegal to protest ‘essential infrastructure’. Bill 32 makes multiple changes to labour law, restricts picketing activities, creates an onerous system where members must opt-in for dues used for ‘political activity’, and more. Finally, Bill 26 changes the Constitutional Referendum Amendment Act allowing big money to pour into Alberta politics.

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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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A red-green new deal in transport: Workers' Power and renewable electrification of the whole economy

The transport sector represents one of the biggest challenges when it comes to greenhouse gas emissions. They are increasing faster than from any other sector in society – and at an ever-increasing pace (over 120% globally over the last 30 years – and still increasing in all parts of the world). In Europe, transport is the largest climate problem accounting for 27% of its green-house gas emissions (GHGs) in 2017. It is also the only sector which emissions are above 1990 levels (Transport & Environment, 2018).

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These times demand renewed investment in our public services

The events of the past two months have shone a spotlight on the underlying weaknesses of Canada’s crumbling welfare state. Many people in Canada are rightly proud that Canada does not share some of the most grotesque features of the American social model, above all the horrendously wasteful and inequitable private health insurance system. And, Canada’s national political leadership has come across as much more competent in managing the COVID-19 crisis than its American and British counterparts, whose response has ranged from openly inept at best to completely absurd at worst. But, having a head of state or government who does not advocate injection of home cleaning products at press conferences is a low bar indeed.

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