• Michael Laxer

2021: The year in review on The Left Chapter



2021 is done and what a year it was. Along the way we saw momentous victories for the left in Kerala, Chile, Peru, Honduras and Venezuela, the demise of the Lima Group, the intensification of the new imperialist campaign against the People's Republic of China, the déjà vu Canadian election, the raids on Wet’suwet’en territory in British Columbia, the corporate welfare CEWS travesty in Canada and the attacks on socialist Cuba.


We covered these events and many more both on the website itself and on our associated Facebook pages The Left Chapter and Red Daily.


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. There are also links to other notable pieces.


In 2022 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.


December:



US claims about Russian "aggression" are a hypocritical farce


Placed in the context of 30 years of aggressive NATO expansion to the east despite all promises, the coup in Ukraine, the disturbing far-right nationalism of the Ukrainian government and military, and NATO forces, advisors and military exercises in Russian border states it is really not so clear cut who the "aggressor" is at all, is it?


Also Notable: International Meeting of Communist and Workers’ Parties 2021: Actions and roundup (theleftchapter.com) and It's beginning to look a lot like a Starbucks union wave (theleftchapter.com)


November:



RCMP attack on Wet’suwet’en during a "climate disaster" is a new BC NDP government low


In a breathtakingly cynical, disgraceful move, the RCMP in British Columbia have chosen the backdrop of a state of emergency due to climate change, landslides and flooding to launch raids on Wet’suwet’en territory.


Also Notable: The BC NDP's disgraceful week (theleftchapter.com) and Federal NDP Wet’suwet’en statement is a masterclass in BS (theleftchapter.com)


October:



Propaganda movie? It all depends on the country


Western media like the BBC call the Chinese movie The Battle at Lake Changjin "propaganda" while unironically mentioning James Bond and Marvel movies. They don't mention the line-by-line veto power the Pentagon had over scripts for films like Iron Man and Goldeneye though.


Also Notable: Trudeau echoes Trump in equating "far-left" and far-right (theleftchapter.com) and Think we can't afford free transit? Think again. (theleftchapter.com)


September:



The left shift in China the western left is not talking about


- A significant "left shift" is occurring in the People's Republic of China under Xi Jinping that is totally in keeping with the Communist Party's stated and long-term development goals.


- The international and capitalist press has taken note of the significance of this push for "common prosperity" and have no doubt the "left shift" is real.


- Now it is time for large parts of the western left to drop its usual dismissiveness and to start to pay more attention.


Also Notable: 9/11: 20 Years of Retro-Colonial Gambles and Anti-Colonial Reckoning (theleftchapter.com), It’s déjà vu all over again (theleftchapter.com) and Yuri Gagarin's letter to a young Canadian (theleftchapter.com)


August:



After 60 years those embracing class struggle should move on from the NDP


Every year for the last 60 years of the rightward arc of the federal New Democratic Party we have been treated to any number of -- mostly well-intentioned -- articles about how the NDP has to "move left", "embrace socialism", "become radical or die away", "embrace class struggle" etc.


They run as a constant thread through the entire party's history. By now there are at least two or three hundred (likely many more) of them whether in Rabble, Canadian Dimension, Jacobin or any number of other left outlets. I have been guilty of penning a couple myself in the 2000s


And they are all an ever greater waste of time.


Also Notable: NDP tries to spin its way out of CEWS support (theleftchapter.com)


July:



Communist Party of Swaziland issues call for international solidarity with the democratic uprising


In a statement released July 6, The Communist Party of Swaziland (CPS) is calling on "all communist and workers’ parties to be alert to and to express solidarity concerning the new situation in our country, as pro-democracy protests are now gathering pace, and as the autocratic regime of Mswati III is clamping down fiercely and bloodily on its opponents."


Also Notable: On the importance of Ho Chi Minh Thought (theleftchapter.com) and Pipelines ahead of people (theleftchapter.com)


June:



Neither Green nor Orange


Enough of these detours and wastes of time.


Every single adventure in trying to turn these parties left has seen them go further right.


For those on the left looking for a solution to the malaise that is Canadian politics it is neither Green nor Orange. It is Red.


We need to build a new Red Front and the sooner we do so the better.


Also Notable: Castillo wins vote in Peru as Fujimori refuses to concede (theleftchapter.com)


May:



Greyhound's demise shows more than ever that we need intercity public transit


But one has to ask, what will it take before governments in Canada abandon the neoliberal approach to transit and transportation and begin to view it, build the networks and run them as both an essential service for many millions of people and as a key tool in combating climate change?


The only long-term solution to providing accessible and affordable intercity and intercommunity transit is to build and maintain public bus and train lines that are run for the people as a service and not for profit.


Also Notable: Response to state violence in Colombia exposes western hypocrisy yet again (theleftchapter.com), Historic victory for the Left in Kerala (theleftchapter.com), and Historic victory for the left in Chile (theleftchapter.com)


April:



CEWS remains the real pandemic scandal


As I noted before everything that has happened with the CEWS was 100% predictable. It has been a program to allow the rich to get richer at least partly on the public dime.


All wage compensation to workers should have been paid directly to workers and never to Canada's grifter corporate class. Compensation should not have been dependent on corporations or on workers working during a pandemic. This should have been the left's and labour's position.


The NDP-Liberal CEWS sham is a disgraceful fiasco that represents one of the biggest transfers of wealth from the public to wealthy corporations and CEOs in Canadian history. Steps should be taken immediately to change the program and stop this extreme version of corporate welfare.


Also Notable: Now is the time for resistance to the Ford government, not collaboration (theleftchapter.com)


March:



Broadbent Institute Executive Director fires twitter broadside at Corbyn, Ashton and Robinson


It would seem that the Broadbent Institute and its Executive Director are making it clear what side they are on in the ongoing ideological fight within the Labour Party in the UK as well as in regards to how the charge of antisemitism was leveled against Corbyn.


Also Notable: Niki Ashton events moving forward despite brouhaha (theleftchapter.com) and Niki Ashton turns the tables on Twitter (theleftchapter.com)


February:



Toronto targets tiny shelters as city ranked 5th most unaffordable housing market in world


There is likely no better embodiment of the basic cruelty of the neo-liberal City of Toronto and its political class and leadership than the fact that it is pursuing an injunction against a man who built tiny shelters for the unhoused just as Toronto was ranked as the fifth most unaffordable city in the world for real estate.


Also Notable: A better world is possible: Cuba's powerful statement to the UN Human Rights Council (theleftchapter.com)


January:



Forget hypocritical personal trips, the CEWS scandal is far worse (theleftchapter.com)


Everything that has happened with the CEWS was 100% predictable. It has been a program to allow the rich to get richer at least partly on the public dime.


All wage compensation to workers should have been paid directly to workers and never to Canada's grifter corporate class. Compensation should not have been dependent on corporations or on workers working during a pandemic. This should have been the left's and labour's position.


So, save a little of the outrage felt about the hypocrisy of individual politicians for the kind of systemic moral and political bankruptcy that the CEWS represents. Perfectly legally many corporations and CEOs have been feathering their nests in a way that would obviously not have happened had it not been for hundreds of millions of dollars in public, government handouts.


Also Notable: Anti-choice groups got the government's CEWS wage subsidy (theleftchapter.com) and More corporate fun and games with the CEWS (theleftchapter.com)





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