Venezuela’s Chavez to Ministers: Now is the Time for Self-Criticism

by Rachael Boothroyd, Venezuela Analysis

In a cabinet meeting with his top ministers on Saturday, Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez strongly criticised his political team for failing to show commitment to the participatory democratic model currently being proposed by his government and urged them to undertake serious “self-criticism”.

Chavez at the cabinet meeting on Saturday

The meeting was the first cabinet meeting to have taken place since the Venezuelan national elections were held on 7 October, in which Chavez won a third presidential term with over 54% of the vote.

During the televised meeting, Chavez made many criticisms of his party, especially with regards to the construction of the country’s communes, which group together communal councils in a given region. Continue reading

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Striking Shifts in Education and Community Activism

Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives

The Fall 2012 issue of Our Schools/Our Selves is about the links between education and activism, but it focuses extensively on issues raised before, during and since the Québec student strike.

Student Strike – Popular Struggle

The strike provides us with a superb case study of how the Charest government labeled student resistance as evidence of an outmoded, entitled ideology, and then used the negative public sentiment towards students that it had itself helped fuel to distract public attention from the wider debate the students were trying to have on the effects of an austerity agenda and, more immediately, a construction/corruption scandal. In this case, it backfired. Spectacularly. And resulted in a pretty remarkable victory for progressives. Continue reading

What Has Been Put on Hold by the Prorogation of Ontario’s Provincial Parliament?

Rebel Youth

Here is a sampling:

  • A bill allowing HST rebates for home heating;
  • A bill to boost security at courts and nuclear plants;

Former Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty

  • A bill requiring school boards to introduce concussion-prevention practices;
  • A bill banning people under 18 from using tanning beds;
  • A bill to amalgamate Ontario’s three power authorities; Continue reading

Poll Results on Satisfaction with Capitalism and Multiparty Democracy

Twenty+ years after the Soviet Union’s implosion under Gorbachev’s disastrous policies, Russians, Ukrainians, and Lithuanians are disgusted with the direction of their countries and disillusioned with multi-party politics and “the free market”. The Pew Research Centre Poll tells the story of radical disillusionment:

Russians, Ukrainians, and Lithuanians indicate they want a deepened, real democracy, with a fair judiciary and free media. However, they do not believe their post-socialist countries have delivered these institutions.

(And since the beginning of the Global Economic Crisis the disquiet with the global financial system has gone viral. According to the result of a 27-nation survey published in the German magazine Der Spiegel 2 years ago, only 11 percent reported being content with the capitalist system’s functioning. Further, 23 percent believe the free market economy is inherently flawed: Only in the US and in Pakistan were at least one in five happy with the current economic system.)

Venezuela’s Chavez Outlines Vision for Next Presidency, “Greater Advance” Towards Socialism

By Rachael Boothroyd, Venezuela Analysis

Recently re-elected Venezuelan president, Hugo Chavez, stated that his next 6 year term would mark a period of “greater advance” towards the construction of socialism as well as “greater achievements and greater efficiency in this transition from capitalism”.

President Hugo Chavez at the voting booth on election day

The Venezuelan president made the comments on Wednesday night during a ceremony with the country’s National Electoral Council (CNE), who named him the official winner of last week’s presidential election after Chavez beat right-wing candidate Capriles Radonski by 11.11% and took over 55% of the vote last Sunday.

In his speech, Chavez argued that the project of 21st century socialism in Venezuela was something that must be constructed “in the long term,” and promised that his government would try to respond to citizen’s concerns over the next 6 years.

Continue reading

Socialism Is Alive and Well … in Vietnam

by Frank Joyce

Southeast Asian nations could offer a way for countries like ours to become more democratic and prosperous.

Vietnam is mentioned in the news quite often these days. But the references are almost always in relation to Iraq. What’s not being covered is what’s going on in Vietnam itself — which is unfortunate, because economically, politically and socially, it might just be the most interesting and inspiring nation on the planet.

Socialist art in Vietnam

In the interest of full disclosure, my affection for Vietnam goes way back. As an anti-war activist I met with Vietnamese liaisons to the anti-war movement on several occasions. In 1970 I visited Hanoi and was profoundly impressed with the character and resolve of the people, not to mention the beauty of the country itself. Even then, during wartime, the food was terrific, too. Continue reading

Why Don’t the Greek Communists Just Link Forces With the Radical Left Coalition?

by Johan Boyden

The political assessment of the Communist Party of Greece (which we posted here) deserves some introduction for our readers in Canada. Afterall, as Greece heads towards Sunday elections, all eyes seem to suddenly be turned to the volatile situation in the Hellenic Republic.

UPDATE: View the election results in graphic form and read the assessment of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Greece.

Progressive-minded people in Canada are optimistic. After years of hard struggle with countless general strikes and mass rallies, maybe these elections will hand a victory to political parties that identify with the left? Maybe they will demonstrate a different direction from austerity and economic crisis to the world?

There is also a certain renewed anxiety in the voices of the ruling class.  “We cannot have a Greek election determining the future of the global economy. That’s not fair to anybody,” Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper said recently. Today, Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney referenced Greece and the European situation to warn of more mass unemployment and ‘recession’ over here. Continue reading