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  • Writer's pictureMichael Laxer

2022: The year in review on The Left Chapter

Chris Smalls speaks

2022 is done and what a complicated year it was. There was the imperialist war in Ukraine, the uprising in Kazakhstan, victories for the left in Colombia and Brazil, the coup in Peru, the reactionary and dangerous "Freedom Convoy" in Ottawa, the inspiring Starbucks and Amazon campaigns in the USA, the ongoing courageous resistance of Socialist Cuba, the 100th anniversary of the formation of the USSR, the 50th anniversary of the expulsion of the Waffle from the Canadian NDP and many other events of note.

We looked at these events and many more on The Left Chapter.

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

As with last year we are 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.


Today is the 100th anniversary of the formation of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics -- the world's first workers' socialist state -- on December 30, 1922. We have translated this statement from the original Spanish by the Communist Party of Chile in honour of this momentous event:

The Communist Party of Chile salutes and commemorates the decision of the Bolsheviks 100 years ago under the leadership of Lenin, to found the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). It was not only a decision of the Russian people under the leadership of the Communists, but in conjunction with the numerous peoples who populated the vast empire of the tsars. It was a qualitative leap that made it possible to transform this semi-feudal state into a great political, economic and military power, under the leadership of the working class triumphant in the October Revolution.


By Dennis Raphael

Food banks are good because they feed hungry people. Corporations that fund food banks are good because they help feed hungry people. Right?

Wrong. The opposite is actually the case. Food banks prevent actions to address hunger and the corporations that fund food banks are usually the ones creating hunger in the first place.


In a genuinely grotesque, cynical and profoundly anti-democratic move, the BC NDP's provincial executive council has disqualified insurgent, anti-establishment candidate Anjali Appadurai from its leadership race. This leaves only party establishment supported candidate David Eby and turns the "contest" into little more than a coronation. Eby will become British Columbia's next premier.


The city of Vancouver, Washington (now with a population of around 190,000) in the United States has a monument and major street dedicated to an historic Soviet aeronautic achievement that it was involved in. The honours were bestowed in 1975 and -- remarkably given the tone of the times -- they remain in place today.


By Rafe Saltman

The world mourns the day the atomic bomb exploded over Hiroshima, August 6, 1945, and three days later, Nagasaki. Of all the bombs ever dropped on civilians, these two were in a class of their own in destructive force and cruelty. The discovery of nuclear fission, ten million times more energetic than chemical reactions, was put to its worst possible use at the close of the Pacific War.


In an impossibly stupid moment that set Twitter on fire and that energized the legions of right wing fanatics that have been bred of late, US podcast celebrity Joe Rogan actually claimed that Canada was a "communist" country even while admitting that he does not know how things "work " up here.


The best way we now can honour the Waffle is by acknowledging the primary lesson it taught us. Under no circumstances are the careerists and power brokers whose family compacts have controlled the NDP since the Waffle era going to allow any kind of activist, grassroots or left takeover.

If we want to see a triumph of the socialist politics and the ideals of the Waffle we need to act outside of and in opposition to the NDP's capitulation to bourgeois liberal politics and the sooner left activists in the NDP realize this the closer we will be to starting a new and truly interesting chapter in the anti-capitalist struggle in Canada.


Today on May 9 -- Victory Day in the former USSR as it was on this day in 1945 that the Soviets formally accepted the German surrender -- we look at some facts about the war and its utterly devastating impact on Soviet society published by Soviet Life magazine in 1975 for the 30th anniversary of the end of the conflict.

The sacrifices of the peoples of the Soviet Union are almost unimaginable and are reflected here. It is also simply astonishing how the USSR recovered and rebuilt after the war. Both the victory and the reconstruction are among the great achievements of Soviet socialism.


In a huge win for Amazon workers in the United States and US workers generally, workers at Amazon’s massive warehouse on Staten Island, New York voted by a large margin to join the Amazon Labor Union in results released April 1. They are the first US Amazon workers to unionize and they did so in spite of relentless efforts by the company to prevent it.


The problem -- and it is a problem -- with framing what the NDP has done in the terms that some leftists have is that it continues to portray the NDP as a "left" political project and vehicle that could, theoretically, be somehow redeemed and made into a "real socialist party" or some such thing.

This is simply not true and has not been true for a very long time. A serious left analysis of this move by the NDP will see it as just another confirmation that for anti-capitalist leftists the time to build new movements and electoral structures outside the NDP is long, critically overdue.

So long overdue, in fact, that it is perhaps understandable that people still feel betrayed by what must appear to them the only "left" game in town, the party that has been nothing but a terrible albatross around the neck of Canadian socialism.

While it is much easier to say this than to do it, the Left in Canada must shed the NDP albatross once and for all and shed any lingering idealization of the party that makes some see "betrayal" in what is simply par-for-the-course.


By Gabriel Haythornthwaite

Less than two weeks after the cross-country “freedom convoy” took up a crusade to end government COVID regulations, the far-right movement has claimed its first political scalp—federal Loyal Opposition leader, Erin O’Toole. The Conservative Party leader was rejected by more than 60% of his caucus, initiating the party’s third leadership battle in five years. With hardline reactionaries like prominent MP Pierre Poilievre grasping for the keys to Stornoway, the path is clear to Trumpify the Northern Republican Party.


By Gabriel Haythornthwaite

Ever since Trump the White House Ogre embraced the neo-Nazi riots at Charlottesville in 2017, I have regarded his vile tenure as a dress rehearsal for American fascism. The Keystone Koup’s botched launch one year ago today was the culmination of this farce. Trump’s attempted Koup blew up in his face yet this failure is informing future bids for outright fascist power in the USA today.


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