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Take the path of most resistance


January 7, 2019

The fault-lines are clearer than ever. In 2018, the world got a lot more dangerous – but it also offered a glimmer of hope.

The far right is rising, emboldened by Trump and his political friends like Steve Bannon who are spreading hate in a way we have not seen in decades. From Bolsonaro in Brazil to Tommy Robinson in the UK to the nascent racist movements and parties in Canada, there is an unrelenting assault on solidarity and an increase in scapegoating of people of colour, immigrants and anyone who does not fit into the narrow box of the far right’s ideals.

The gap between rich and poor grew wider providing a possible cadre for these new right forces. Fascism thrives on despair.

The economic crisis in 2008 lent justification for a renewed assault on working people’s standard of living. Austerity is biting and people are fed up. Rising rents, lack of good jobs and economic turmoil are forcing people to be dislocated from their communities.

The climate crisis is accelerating. We need to radically change the way the world operates to stave off environmental collapse and we only have a few years to make significant changes. The recent International Panel on Climate Change report essentially stated that we need to dismantle the capitalist system as it exists, but in response global leaders put forward the same failed policies.

Polarisation

Political polarisation has resulted in the collapse of mainstream political parties and brought out new right and left forces. Where liberal and social democratic parties embraced neoliberalism, they have been decimated, opening the door to the far right. Where they have moved left, they have shown the possibility of a better world.

In Canada, the Trudeau liberals have failed to address the key issues of poverty, racism and environmental destruction. They instead are spending billions to build pipelines and to force them through Indigenous lands. But their reckoning is coming. The heroic stand of the Unist’ot’en people is a beacon to people throughout the country and will be a massive thorn in the side of the Liberals. Join a rally near you to stand in International Solidarity with Wet'suwet'en.

Fighting mood

This year there is a federal election in Canada. Anti-Liberal sentiment is, at this point, being captured by the Conservatives – unfortunately, the NDP seems incapable of providing the kind of bold policies that would be a pole of attraction for those who want to challenge the status quo.

But the resistance will not happen in Parliament. If we are going to challenge this downward spiral, it needs to be by building grassroots movements for change.

And the nucleus for that change is visible. The recent postal strike and the rank and file response to the back-to-work legislation proves that there is a mood for a fight. The movements such as the Fight for $15 have drawn thousands into the resistance to austerity. The pipeline protests and the Extinction Rebellion blockades are bringing a new generation into the streets.

The “yellow vest” revolt in France shows that there are millions who are looking for a chance to challenge the system. But it is contradictory. The collapse of mainstream politics can move to the left or the right. To move it towards the left, to solidarity over division, we need to organize. Join us and help make 2019 the year the people fight back.

In Vancouver, join Amy Scaife of Extinction Rebellion, Sara Sagaii from the Vancouver Tenants' Union, and Josh Arlitt with the International Socialists to discuss how we can build on the key struggles and victories that ended last year to win the battles to come in 2019. Tuesday January 22 at SFU Harbour Centre, see Make 2019 A Year of Resistance for details.

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