Posts Tagged ‘activism’

Greg Albo “Neoliberalism, the State, and the left: A Canadian Perspective”

In the entries in this series I am writing about my current readings on left writings relating to neoliberalism in Canada.

Greg Albo’s1 essay sets out to analyze the state of neoliberalism in Canada in order to analyze the state of the left. As such, this essay is situated within the body of left work that is theorizing about how to have a successful mass movement to construct a socialist alternative. Rather than having an explicitly Gramscian analysis, Albo focus specifically on the contest between neoliberalism and the left as being a class struggle, and points out early that neoliberalism does not describe just a set of economic and financial policies, but rather a “particular form of class rule within capitalism” and that “neoliberalism developed out of an important shift in the balance of class forces and the defeat of the left” (48). Albo highlights three aspects of neoliberalism that he believe are important for the left to consider in its work to confront the neoliberal social order.

First, its is important to recognize the global economic developments of the last thirty years, and the entrenchment, internationally, of capitalists and their technical economic policies, and also the lack of a left alternative. Second, there have been transformations within the ruling block in Canada. Financialization and growth in export-oriented and multinational capital in Canada means that “the political terrain for another grand social compromise with a national bourgeoisie has evaporated” (51). Third, as most other left authors point out, it is “entirely misleading to see neoliberalism as an attack on the state in favour of the market, or as a hollowing out of the state to the global and local, or a bypassing of the state by corporate power” (51). Rather, control and use of the state has been and is an important tool for neoliberal class power. Albo, like Saad-Filho concludes that defeat of neoliberalism cannot come via electoral process: “the political role of the market is being strengthened to offset any democratic initiatives being fought through the state.” (52) And, he recognizes that important non-parliamentary action-oriented groups have already formed and done work, including union groups, the anti-globalization movement, anti-racist campaigns, and other. But, Albo believes that “the constructive challenges of a viable socialist politics remains—the capacity to wage strikes for class-wide demands, electoral gains advancing a radical political program, and building egalitarian social alternatives in our everyday lives” (53). His visions seems to be the creation of a radical political culture.

  1. Albo, Greg. “Neoliberalism, the State, and the Left: A Canadian Perspective.” Monthly Review 54, no. 1 (May 2002): 46-55. []

Upstairs in the Crazy House by Pat Caponni

1366_Upstairs at the Crazy HousePat Caponni’s book on her experiences living in a boarding house for discharged psychiatric patients is a painful, uplifting, and ultimately very important book. Caponni displays with both subtlety and honesty the feelings and opinions that she held, and which changed so incredibly, during her time in the ‘crazy house.’ The feelings of fear, disgust, revulsion, etc., towards the other denizens that she admits to having felt upon her arrival, becuase of its honesty, makes her ultimate transition to the caring warden of these same people all the more striking and inspiring.

This book shows how easy it is to accept poverty when we don`t see it, when we succeed in hiding it away, but also how hard it is to not become a compasionate activist when we are forced to see it in an intimate way.

R.U.S.T. ( Radical Urban Sustainability Training)

Was reminded of this when digging through old jottings…

and also: the beehive collective

quoted from the above website:

Beth Ferguson and Juan Martinez have been part of the ecological art movement on many fronts. They started working together by organizing 20 person bicycle circus tours. They co-founded Bikes Across Borders, an Austin-based organization that has sent over 600 bikes to community groups on the US/Mexico border, in Chiapas, Mexico, and Cuba. Juan has produced illustrations for the last six years with the Beehive Collective ( Beth has been working with the Green Map System, which promotes ecological and cultural resources, as a graphic designer and special projects coordinator. She earned a BA in Ecological Design and Community Development from Hampshire College

The work of the beehive collective, which I saw at couple of different demonstrations in Halifax, reminds me of the work of Jose Guadalupe Posada about whom I recently received a book. Posada was a Mexican graphic artist aroudn the turn of the 20th century, and an inspiration for the famous Mexican muralists, including Diego Rivera, who would follow soon after…