Out of the current anti-globalization mobilizations has come a movement towards unifying and strengthening the anti-capitalist left in Canada. This issue of Canadian Dimension features a forum on how to advance the process of rebuilding the Left.
The Canadian Left has had a sorry history of fragmentation, squabbling and competition. The roots of these conflicts are often to be found in events and issues that have long since ceased to have relevance. This is a period of transition, reflection and experimentation, as all of us, both veterans and newcomers to the movement, look to locate ourselves in political homes that best suit ourselves and the times we live in.
We have asked a diverse group of Left activists to address the question of how they see the Left in Canada today and how in particular we can overcome obstacles to building an effective movement for social change. We intend for this discussion to be as inclusive as possible and we will be carrying it forward in the months ahead.
This discussion occurs in the shadow of the so-called war against terrorism. The government of Canada has opted to take the country into an American-inspired war without limits or borders. In taking this step the Liberals, whose monopoly on federal power is unchallenged, have completely abandoned any pretence of pursuing a foreign policy independent of that of the United States.
Canada's armed forces now serve under American command and are to be integrated into a redefined North American defence perimeter. Bills C-35, C-36 and C-42 in combination embody a serious attack on the civil liberties of Canadians as well as immigrants and refugees living in Canada. Major revisions in customs and immigrations procedures have been instituted so as to satisfy the demands of U.S. authorities and to rationalize Canada's border with the United States.
What U.S. and Canadian policies share is a commitment to target people of colour as potential "terrorists" and to criminalize dissent. There is an atmosphere of increased licence for racist harassment of immigrants and visible minorities. And, in the aftermath of the Quebec City protests, and with the G-8 summit planned in June in Kananaskis, Alberta, can anyone doubt that these new measures are aimed at least as much against anti-globalists and anti-capitalists as they are …