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2017: a year of struggle


December 31, 2017

The following is a brief overview of some of the major struggles of the past year, seen through articles on socialist.ca

From Trump to Trudeau

This was the first year of the Trump presidency, which he used to defend Nazis in Charlottesville, sabotage climate initiatives, ban refugees, flirt with nuclear war and give a massive tax cut to the rich. But since the start there has been mass opposition—from the Women’s March, to solidarity with refuges, to disability activists defending healthcare, to Black Lives Matter. But it’s increasingly clear that for those in Canada, challenging Trump means challenging Trudeau—who has been complicit in his travel ban, wars, climate destruction and nuclear proliferation.

Unsettling Canada

This was the 150th anniversary of the Canadian state, and the legacy of Indigenous resistance continued—including vigils for Indigenous youth, toxic tour through Chemical valley, protest against nuclear waste, supreme court challenge against Line 9, and victory for the 60s scoop. Sadly, leading Indigenous activist Arthur Manuel passed away this year, but his lessons continue to unsettle Canada.

Climate Justice

Indigenous communities have also been central to the growing climate justice movement, which organized mass marches on April 29, successfully stopped the Energy East pipeline, and is continuing to challenge Kinder Morgan and Site C while just transition initiatives are emerging.

Fighting fascists

Trump gave a boost to the far right, who murdered people from Charlottesville to Quebec City while nearly winning the French election. But 2017 also saw protests drive Nazis off the streets—in New Westminster, Vancouver, Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal.

Black Lives Matter

The fight against anti-Black racism continued to grow—toppling Confederate monuments, building solidarity with Colin Kaepernick, and connecting with the Fight for $15.  

$15 and Fairness

The fight for $15 and Fairness fought racism at work, won victory for food service workers, pushed the Ontario government to announce higher wages and better working conditions, and then fought to strengthen and pass Bill 148.

Union power

The fight to raise the wage floor and demand fairness has been part of building workers confidence to strike for more—including Canadian Hearing Society workers, Woodbine slot machine workers, Toronto airport workers, Toronto food terminal workers, and Ontario college workers.

NDP gains?

After people in the US felt the Bern, and Jeremy Corbyn’s inspiring campaign made gains against the Tories in Britain, activists across Canada looked to the NDP for similar left surges. Jagmeet Singh’s election broke the colour barrier for federal party leaders, and the backlash that followed shows how much progress is still needed. But he was also the candidate of the party brass who’s centrism continues. The dangers are clear from the BC NDP, who followed their electoral victory by holding back their promise of $15/hr and then continuing the Liberals’ Site C dam.

Radical independence

Mass repression and mass resistance in Catalonia shows how national liberation movements that intertwine independence with progressive policies can upset the capitalist order. In Quebec, left alternative Quebec solidaire gained former student strike leader Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois and thousands of new members, rejected a merger with the neoliberal PQ, and are building in the streets and the ballot box towards next year election.

Socialism in the 21st century

This year was the centenary of the Russian revolution, whose historic gains continue to offer lessons for today. A hundred years later socialism is back in mainstream conversation—including in the heart of the capitalist economy, from Bernie Sanders to the DSA. Let’s build on the struggles of the past year to make 2018 a year of climate, economic and social justice, and one step closer to the better world that’s possible.

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