Language Guide

  • Available in French - Available in French
    Available in German - Available in German
    Available in Greek - Available in Greek
    Available in Spanish - Available in Spanish

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Articles Lists

Notebook items in chronological order


Words of Wisdom

  • Pessimism of the intellect, optimism of the will.
  • – Romain Rolland, popularised by Antonio Gramsci

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Book Reviews


The evidence from all OECD countries shows that the private sector is far more bureaucratic and much less efficient than the public sector when it comes to providing health care.
Ten Health Care Myths

For the foreseeable future, we will have to content ourselves with giving our votes to the NDP, while giving our energies to more promising causes. What we have to do, in effect, is to start doing the work of a socialist movement, outside of the NDP, and indeed outside of any party structure.
Let’s Stop Kidding Ourselves About the NDP

Articles in English
By Ulli Diemer

All articles on this site were written in English. Translations of some articles are available in French, German, Spanish, Arabic, Chinese, Greek, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Polish, Portuguese, Swedish, Turkish, and Vietnamese.

Abandoning the public interest
The neo-liberal drive to cut red tape is costing lives. Exposing the hidden costs of deregulation and privatization.
Against All Odds
The shadow which haunts the power structure is the danger that those who are controlled will come to realize that they are powerless only so long as they think they are. Once people stop believing they are powerless, then the whole edifice which they support is in danger of collapse.
Arts, Media, Culture Overview for the Connexions Annual
Bain Co-op meets Wages for Housework
The story of the struggle that gave birth to a housing co-operative and destroyed the credibility of the ‘Wages for Housework’ sect.
Bakunin vs. Marx
The anarchist-Marxist split started with Bakunin, who systematically misrepresented Marx’s positions.
The Bomb won’t go away on its own
Our task is to break out of this closed self-justifying system by depriving governments of the passive populations they need, by refusing to accept the choices we are offered and instead becoming active participants pressuring them to accept our proposals.
The Canada Metals Story: A chronology
The ongoing struggle against lead pollution in South Riverdale.
Canada’s Distorted Electoral System
Canada’s first-past-the-post electoral system is notorious for producing results at odds with the wishes of the electorate. There are alternatives.
The Capital Punishment Debate
The cold-blooded killing of a human being is horrifying. The existence of capital punishment make us all complicit in killing, and degrades us as a society.
Chemicals in your water: A little is too much
The irresponsible dumping of chemicals in and near water endangers us all.
Chomsky’s Determination to change society before it slides into irreversible barbarism
Review of For Reasons of State
Community, Urban, Housing Overview for the Connexions Annual
The Connexions Annual: Introductions to the directory & its sections
Constructive criticism can be a good thing
It’s counterproductive to say that for the sake of “unity” we shouldn’t criticize others in the environmental movement. Principled debate and critcism when it is called for helps us clarify issues and move forward.
Contamination: The Poisonous Legacy of Ontario’s Environmental Cutbacks
A story about fanaticism and death: The story of Ontario’s right-way Harris government, which gutted health and environmental protection polices, leading to the Walkerton water disaster.
Dances with Guilt: Looking at Men Looking at Violence
When we throw around indiscriminate terms like ‘male violence’ and give credence to theories that men are inherently violent, we are slandering men who are not violent and, unthinkingly, we are actually perpetuating the stereotype that to be a man is to be violent.
El Debate de la Pena Capital
Debating the NDP
The Left has been trying to ‘move the NDP to the left’ since 1933, achieving pretty much the same result as a dog chasing its tail.
Development, International Overview for the Connexions Annual
Economy, Poverty, Work Overview for the Connexions Annual
Education, Children Overview for the Connexions Annual
Environment, Land Use, Rural Overview for the Connexions Annual
Free speech and acceptable truths
Some suggestions for making universities safe by purging them of dangerous words, ideas, and thoughts.
‘Free speech’ – as long as it doesn’t offend anyone
Many people claim to be in favour of free speech: but only so long as it isn’t used to express views they find unacceptable or offensive.
Free speech for me – you shut up
The right to express offensive views is at the very heart of the princple of free speech.
Free Trade Debate: Look at the Contents, Not Just the Label
A response to criticisms of ‘What Do We Do Now? Building a social movement in the aftermath of Free Trade’.
Grassroots Cells, Devil’s Architects Defend Community: Review of The Householders Guide to Community Defence Against Bureaucratic Aggression
Organizational principles and campaign tactics communities can use to fight projects or developments being foisted on them.
Grassroots Media Relations
A guide for activists on getting media coverage.
Green Municipalism
A green municipalist analysis offers valuable perspectives but can become a straightjacket if it is seen as ‘the’ answer.
He who pays the piper
Community groups have become dependent on government money resulting in an erosion of their community base and their independence.
Health Overview for the Connexions Annual
How they shot those campus bums
The Truth About Kent State (review).
Human Rights & Civil Liberties Overview for the Connexions Annual
Hungary 1956: A workers’ revolt crushed by the “workers’ state”
The Hungarian revolution, brief though it was, did as much as a century of socialist theorizing to show what a united and determined people could do to transform their society.
Inclusion or exclusion
People who advocate a vision of distinct communities that speak different languages, keep apart from each other, and communicate with the structures of the larger society only through interpreters, are doing more harm than good. What they are advocating is not diversity but entrenched division.
Inflated claims about Software Piracy
Money that isn't spent on software isn’t ‘lost’ to the economy — it is spent on something else.
An Intelligent Guide to Intelligent Research
Review of the Oxford Guide to Library Research, a first-rate guide to how to think about research and how to formulate strategies for answering research questions.
Interview with Ulli Diemer
Jeff Orchard interviews Ulli Diemer about socialism, capitalism, life, and social change.
Introduction to the Connexions Annual
We have to answer two simple questions: How are we going to live? and What do we do now? The Connexions Annual is dedicated to the idea that change is both possible and necessary.
The Iraq crisis in context
A rogue state, heavily armed with weapons of mass destruction, openly contempuous of international law and the United Nations, plunges the world into crisis.
Israel: A Colonial Settler State (Review)
The tragedy of two peoples brought into conflict by forces largely outside of their control. November 23, 1973
Keep stressing the issue of democracy
The issue of democracy, or the lack of it, connects, or has the potential to connect, many struggles and movements.
Let’s Stop Kidding Ourselves About the NDP
Canadian socialists are terribly reluctant to give up their illusions about the NDP. No matter how often we are beaten over the head with the hard facts, no matter how often the party lets us down, no matter how far to the right it drifts, we don’t want to face the bitter truth.
Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals Chapter Overview for the Connexions Annual
Looking for Democracy
The revolutionary upheavals in Eastern Europe are an inspiration for everyone working for social change and show us that even the most seemingly entrenched system of control can be overthrown by popular movements.
Marguerite has come a long way
Literacy student writes the story of her life.
The meaning of democracy
Democracy as defined by the corporate media is a safe election every four years or so in which voters choose between corporate-dominated parties whose policies are virtually indistinguishable on all fundamental issues.
Medicare Myths and Realities
Since medicare is an extremely popular social program, the media and right-wing politicians have learned that it is unwise to attack it directly. Instead, they propagate myths designed to undermine public support for, and confidence in, the health care system, with the goal of gradually undermining and dismantling it.
The myth of a free market in publishing and high-tech
The high-tech industries owe their existence not to ‘free enterprise’, but to massive levels of government subsidies and intervention.
National Post columnist traumatized by having to wait his turn
Jonathan Kay thinks people with money should get quicker treatment in emergency rooms than people who are poor.
Native Peoples Chapter Overview for the Connexions Annual
Neo-con game
First starve the public sector of resources so it can’t act, then blame it for not acting.
New Hogtown Press
Profile of a left-wing Canadian book and magazine publisher.
Obscenity Exposed
The police definition of ‘obscenity’ gets right to the crux of the question.
150 Years of Dirty Water
Toronto’s water has been polluted pretty much since the beginning. That doesn’t mean we should put up with it.
One Vote for Democracy
The ‘consensus’ model of group decision-making rarely works well. The democratic model is better both in principle and in practice.
Peace Chapter Overview for the Connexions Annual
The police vs. the law
In a democracy the police have to obey the law. In a police state, they don’t.
Polluted Logic
The idea of letting companies buy their way out of complying with the law is an idea with vast untapped potential.
Preface to Martin Glaberman’s Four Essays on the Working Class
Glaberman insists that the working class is not merely a victim of capitalism — working people are active participants in creating their own consciousness, their methods of struggle and their own history.
Progressives shouldn’t be begging the police to take more power
The last thing we need is to hand the police even more power to decide what we are allowed to see or read.
Psychotherapist Out of Touch
In this psychotherapist’s emotionally constipated vision of family life, there is no room for spontaneous physical expressions of affection.
Public Housing Redesign
Our obsessive and utterly futile ‘war’ against drugs is turning tens of thousands of people into ‘criminals’ and corrupting our entire society.
Radical Newspapers
A radical newspaper succeeds to the extent that in engages in dialogue with its readers and community, rather than it preaching to them.
Response to criticisms of Dances with Guilt
A critique of Dances with Guilt said comments and attitudes are forms of ‘violence’ comparable to, or worse than, physical violence. This response argues that while verbal and emotional abuse can be very hurtful, beating someone up is qualitatively different from verbal aggression, and we should not say they are the same.
Returning to Chess
Rediscovering chess.
Review falsifies history
The voters rejected free trade – and got it anyway. That’s how our democracy works.
Rights and Liberties
Civil liberties and human rights appear as a key dimension in almost every other field of social justice and social change, but those who seek a freer and more just society cannot rely on the state to achieve their goals.
Rosa Luxemburg
Rosa Luxemburg’s revolutionary perspective includes supporting pressure for reforms within capitalism, but she is utterly clear that reforms cannot bring about fundamental change, that socialism can only come about through revolution.
Seeds of Fire: A People’s Chronology
Recalling events that happened on this day in history. Memories of struggle, resistance and persistence.
Self-determination for whom?
Do the Cree of Northern Quebec have the right to self-determination? If some regions of Quebec want to stay part of Canada, do they have the right to self-determination?
Soil removal a possibility
The soil around houses in South Riverdale is so contaminated with lead that it may have to be removed.
Some of my best comrades are friends
The left’s sloppy use of language indicates sloppy thinking.
Tactics of desperation: Using false accusations of ‘anti-Semitism’ as a weapon to silence criticism of Israel’s behaviour.
The attempt to outlaw criticism as Israel by labelling it as ‘anti-Semitism’ is a serious threat which needs to be exposed and challenged, but it also a sign of desperation.
Teaching adults how to read
Learning to read means gaining more control over one’s life.
Ten Health Care Myths: Understanding Canada’s Medicare Debate
Medicare’s opponents have launched a sustained ideological attack on medicare. Their propaganda relies on myths and misrepresentations.
Thinking About Self-Determination
Does that familiar canon of the left, ‘the right to self-determination’, actually mean anything, or is it an empty slogan whose main utility is that it relieves us of the trouble of thinking critically?
Toronto’s finest
Too many cops seem to enjoy intimidating people and smashing things.
Trotskyism and the Vanguard Party
Trotskyists maintain that the vanguard party model holds the key to bringing about revolutionary change. The record of Trotksyism shows that vanguard parties are actually a political dead end.
Twenty years of I.F. Stone
Perceptive, analytical, well-written, witty, and drawing on a vast, eclectic store of knowledge.
Viet peace will come with victory
Editorial on the Vietnam War.
War in the Gulf
Written upon the outbreak of the 1991 Iraq War.
What Do We Do Now? Building a social movement in the aftermath of Free Trade
We have the potential to create a social movement in this country that goes beyond single-issue organizing to work toward an integrated vision of a more just and caring society.
What is Libertarian Socialism?
Revolution is a collective process of self-liberation: people and societies are transformed through their struggles for freedom and for a better world.
What’s Wrong with Front Yard Parking?
The negative effects of front yard parking are significant, and affect us all. The benefits are small, and go only to a few.
Women chapter Overview for the Connexions Annual
Why make a fuss about the the murder of a brown-skined Muslim girl
Why things don’t work (book review)
There are lots of guides explaining how things work. This one explains how they don’t — and why they don’t.
Yes Means No?
Puritans may not like it, but some people actually enjoy sex under circumstances that puritans don’t approve of.