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A teach-in with Sam Gindin, Packer Chair in Social Justice, York University, held in Toronto on November 29, 2010.

Transcript in Platypus Review #35 (Click below):

Austerity measures stemming from the global financial crisis threaten to undermine public sector unions and the services they provide. The unions, however, have failed to politicize the crisis along class lines, and by extension, to the Left. This is leading to situations like the Toronto mayoral election where union activity was stigmatized opportunistically to motivate a rightward populism.

If anything, this crisis reveals that the connection between public sector unionism and the Left has become unclear. This is a problem that cannot be solved by simply reconsidering union strategy pragmatically; its solution depends on working through and clarifying the history, ideology and politics that underlie how public sector unions and the Left have come to relate.

This teach-in with leading Canadian labour analyst Sam Gindin explores the present crisis, its meaning and how we might get beyond it. His recent piece with Michael Hurley, titled “The Public Sector: Search for a Focus” considers how union activity could be changed not only to meet the challenge of austerity but also to reignite the Canadian Left.

Co-hosted with OPIRG York. Thanks to Socialist Project for the video recording.

A Film by Stewart Bird, Rene Lichtman and Peter Gessner
Produced in Association with the League of Revolutionary Black Workers
Running Time: 55 Minutes

Friday, January 16th 2009
6:30pm
New York University Sociology Department
Puck Building
295 Lafayette st. 4th FL
New York, NY 10012

Confronting the confusion and fragmentation that wrought progressive politics in recent decades, Ernesto Laclau’s work attempts to theorize the path to the construction of a radical democratic politics. Drawing on Gramsci’s concept of hegemony to devise his own theory by that name, Laclau describes the processes of social articulation that creates popular political identities.