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  • Writer's pictureMichael Laxer

2020: The year in review on The Left Chapter

It is hard to overstate how momentous a year 2020 was. Among so many other events, it was the year of the Black Lives Matter uprisings, the Indigenous solidarity movement with Wet'suwet'en, the Dominion strike in Newfoundland, the defeat of the far right coup in Bolivia and, of course, the capitalist coronavirus crisis. And then there was the American election saga.

We covered these events and many more both on the website itself and on our associated Facebook pages The Left Chapter and Red Daily. The Left Chapter also transitioned from its original Blogspot page to the new website.

Every year we do a post looking back over various pieces and contributions.

This year we are changing the format a bit by looking at a featured post from each month. It will be based on its numbers, the feedback it got, its shares and reactions to it, and its ongoing relevance.

In 2021 we have plans for new features and ideas that will be unveiled shortly.

Thanks very much to all our readers and contributors.

Here is looking forward to a better year ahead, and a Happy, Healthy and Red New Year to everyone.

The Year in Review:


"As the year ends the rich are not only getting richer, they are doing so so brazenly at the expense of everyone else that they obviously know there is no meaningful political or popular threat of any kind to their power and impunity. There are no bigger grifters than an unfettered corporate class."


"No progressive should be supporting a motion that could have been penned by the US Secretary of State and that advances the foreign policy talking points of the Conservative Party."


From October 16 while the Dominion workers in Newfoundland were still fighting their ultimately losing battle against the corporate greed of Loblaw, its CEOs and the Westons.

By editor and Kingston-based historian Doug Nesbitt: The Weston Family: A century of union-busting and price-fixing


"When figures like Sir David Attenborough talk about the impact of population growth on the environment but not that of corporations and vastly unequal distribution, they act as apologists for imperialism and capitalism."


From August 24 by Gabriel Haythornthwaite, an acerbic and incisive, very clever look at the victory of O'Toole in the Conservative Party leadership race: Tories Tap Tool(e) for Leader

"In a three-round snore-a-thon, Canadian Conservatives have managed yet again to select a leader genetically, culturally and politically engineered to help Sunny Mimbo PM regain a majority government."


From July 16, our most widely shared post of the year: CERB exposes business reliance on poverty wages

"Clearly at least part of the ire directed at the CERB by these folks is because it exposes how wedded to poverty wages so many Canadian businesses are. Instead of allowing business groups and leaders to frame the CERB and its recipients in crass, ugly ways we need to remind all workers and politicians that what is really bad for the economy and bad for society is that altogether too many businesses pay workers wages that are unacceptably low and that minimum wages across the country are totally inadequate.

The basic immorality of poverty wages is made even more starkly evident by the demands of the business sector that working people be pushed off meager pandemic benefits and forced to work, no matter the danger to themselves. If business wants to "incentivize" working they could try raising the hourly pay of their employees to a livable level."


There has never been a better time to make the case for an EI system that works for workers. So why aren't we doing it?

"While obviously workers should not be cut off from the bare minimum that is the CERB, its extension is nothing to celebrate. It exists entirely as a result of decades of undermining the rights and gains of working people and it serves only to consolidate them. When this crisis has passed, the CERB will be gone, but the utterly vicious, anti-worker EI system will remain."


"Under a socialized economy with socialized housing, transit, industry, wages, and "wealth", locking down for the interests of workers and public health would have been not simply much easier but would have been done without question and with the needs of the people placed first as they should be economically.

China and Vietnam, as well as Cuba, have provided glimpses of this kind of collectivist action, especially impressive for Cuba given the devastation of the embargo. So have a handful of other capitalist countries.

But it is essential that we never confuse the interests of the capitalist economy with the interests of the workers. They are never the same. There is a reason that big business and capital want you back on the frontline to die for their money.

Never has the case for a socialized, planned economy been more easy to make."


"Far worse is the fact that millions of Canadian workers cannot practice social distancing in any meaningful sense for large parts of the day as their jobs have been deemed as "essential". Many of these are among the lowest paid workers in the service sector at grocery stores, chain pharmacies and the like.

To some degree this is unavoidable. People have to be able to purchase food and medicine, though it does not necessarily follow that they need to be able to do so in the relatively laissez-faire way that is for the most part happening. This lack of structure is entirely meant to put the corporations and the economy ahead of the health and safety of workers and the public.

But even accepting that some of these stores need to be open, and that some services like the mail need to continue, huge construction projects are being allowed to proceed when there is nothing "essential" about them under these circumstances at all.

These include projects like Site C in British Columbia where literally hundreds of workers not only work in close proximity to each other but also live together in man camps. The BC NDP government even rescinded the state of emergency that the City of Fort St. John voted to implement to allow construction to proceed."


"Panic buying is not something to be mocked and it is not funny. It is actually the smart thing to do given the society we live in.

It is also inevitable, along with price gouging and hoarding, for one reason and one reason only. Capitalism."


From February 27...the NDP being the NDP...4 Tweets tell the tale of another week in the life of the NDP


From January 7, a powerful, to-the-point Open Letter by Toronto based academic and writer Matt Fodor: Open Letter to Jagmeet Singh regarding Trans Mountain, Site C and Coastal GasLink

"The Horgan government is complicit in the violation of international law and of Indigenous rights. As the leader of the federal NDP and the party’s Indigenous affairs critic, now is not the time for uncritical partisanship. It is time to heed the advice of the committee and take a clear and unequivocal stand against all of these projects."


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