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ONE OF THE DEFINING MOMENTS of the recent general federal election for the Canadian left was the release on September 15 of the Leap Manifesto. The Manifesto, spearheaded by prominent left Canadian intellectuals such as Naomi Klein, Avi Lewis, David Suzuki, and Martin Lukacs as well as notable celebrities such as Donald Sutherland and Leonard Cohen, included a bold call for respect for Indigenous rights, transition to a “clean economy,” and a guaranteed annual income.

A public interview with Herb Gamberg and Tony Thomson on the 1970s New Communist Movement in Halifax, held on March 1st, 2012.

The 1970s are usually passed over as the decade in which the social and political upheavals of the 1960s New Left were overwhelmed by a conservative tide. What is forgotten is that the 1970s were also a time of tremendous growth on the Left, most notably in the New Communist Movement. In Quebec thousands of members joined groups intent on forming a new national Communist party. In cities like Halifax and Vancouver activists formed smaller collectives in an effort to "get serious" about their Leftism. The period marked a reconsideration of Marxism and working class politics on a scale that has not been seen since.

What is the legacy of this movement today? Why did it emerge and what lead to its stunning decline in the early 1980s? As activist prepare for the next phase of Occupy is there anything to learn from this experience?

Last November Platypus organized a teach-in led by Sam Gindin of the Canadian Auto Workers on "Public Sector Unionism, Austerity and the Left" at York University in Toronto. An audio and video recording is available above. What follows is an edited version of the interview Andony Melathopoulos of Platypus conducted with Gindin as a follow up to the teach-in.