The Liberals are hoping that if they throw enough money at the private sector, an army of Elon Musks will emerge from the darkness armed with even more private capital to save humanity and the Canadian economy along with it.
Students, who make up the future citizens, workers, and innovators of Canada, are barely mentioned in this budget except to partially extend pandemic-related economic support. Without further support for broad-based training and curiosity driven research, the innovation program will grind to a halt long before we solve the country's problems.
There are many contradictory definitions, explanations, and policy responses to high inflation. Understanding the differences is important to develop the correct orientation to these pressures on workers' wage demands and the left's policy responses.
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.
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.
While some people are convinced that COVID-19 does not affect them, it is important to remember that everyone has a role to play to limit contagion. COVID-19 has the potential to directly affect the ability of the union to operate effectively, and to advance the interest of our members. This note outlines analysis and recommendations for union leadership on orientation to building a response to COVID-19 within the union.
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.
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)