The coal-mining town of Blairmore, Alberta elected a slate of Mine Workers’ Union nominees to town council in 1933— resulting in Canada’s first communist town council. With Mayor Bill Knight at the council’s helm, they would proceed to implement a range of substantive measures. They gathered fame for abolishing Remembrance Day and replacing it with October Revolution Day, naming the park after Karl Marx, and renaming main street “Tim Buck Boulevard” (after the Communist Party’s leader). On the centenary year of the Communist Party of Canada, Team Advantage explores this rare instance of “red municipalism” in Canada.
What can be gleaned from a lifetime on the Canadian left? Economist, policy advisor an author Andrew Jackson joins guest-host Aaron Giovannone to discuss Andrew’s new book, The Fire and the Ashes: Rekindling Democratic Socialism. What fires might be taken from the altars of the past? How has the NDP changed since the 1960s? What was it like to face the neoliberal turn in British Columbia? What role did policy research historically play within the NDP? What should the role of the labour movement be today?
Check out Andrew Jackson’s book directly from the publisher, Between the Lines.
Check out Aaron Giovannone’s podcast, Sweater Weather, at sweaterweatherpod.com.
The COVID-19 pandemic has resurfaced a long-forgotten feature of economic planning: industrial policy. What should our economy look like? What infrastructures should we build? What technologies should we develop? And who should benefit from it all?
Journalist and author Leigh Phillips joins Team Advantage to discuss why industrial policy is the sexiest topic on the left today, examining important aspects of technological advancement, Canadian regionalism and economic development.
The Alberta Federation of Labour held its 52nd Constitutional Convention over May 13-15 2021. In a somewhat rare development, two candidates vied for the Presidency of the AFL: challenger Susan Cake, and incumbent Gil McGowan. Cole Rockarts, union organizer and writer for rankandfile.ca, joins Team Advantage to discuss what happened at convention, and how Alberta’s labour movement is organizing in response to Jason Kenney’s UCP government. Follow Cole on Twitter @colerockarts.
This last year of the pandemic has been awful— and our governments made things worse. Team Advantage convenes to list the ways in which workers have been taken for a ride. Featuring hits you know and love, like “essential workers,” “hero pay,” “government communications,” COVID-ZERO, public trust, corporate subsidies, “sick days,” and thinking about strategies we can take to change our world for the better.
Have you ever considered using nuclear explosions for fun and profit? Team Advantage explores a strange collision of two worlds: the children’s movie Bigfoot Family, which recently roused the ire of Jason Kenney’s War Room, and a 1950’s plot to use nuclear explosions to mine Alberta’s oil sands. Project Cauldron, later renamed Project Oilsand was a real, genuine plan to nuke Alberta’s oilsands that almost happened.
What went into starting the CCF— the precursor to today’s NDP? What was the working-class and socialist response to the deep depression and government inaction of the 1930s? How did prior struggles and experiences contribute to the formation of this new party, and how did they envision changing the world? Nashwa Khan of Habibti Please joins Team Advantage to discuss this fascinating historical moment. Follow Nashwa and HP @habibtiblease.
We live in a sexist, patriarchal, and capitalist society— but is the solution to these problems simply to diversify the administration of sexist, patriarchal capitalism? Will more women in corporate leadership help abolish gendered oppression? Team Advantage convenes to discuss the growth of corporate feminism, explore its weaknesses, and consider how socialist feminism might present a more tenable solution.
How the socialist behind paid child care and parental leave was erased from women’s history – Kristen R. Ghodsee
Book Review: Me, Not You: The Trouble with Mainstream Feminism by Alison Phipps
Being-in-the-Room Privilege: Elite Capture and Epistemic Deference – Olúfémi O. Táíwò
Frontlined and Sidelined: What’s next for women and the economy? – Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
‘Lean In’ Has Been Discredited For Good – Mari Uyehara
A.K. 47 – 47 Selections from the Works of Alexandra Kollontai
The global rat population features a strange Alberta-shaped rat-free zone. What’s behind Alberta’s rat-free jurisdiction? What economic and political forces shaped this policy, and how does Alberta’s rat-free status contribute to its self-image as uniquely different from other regions of Canada? What are the consequences of this kind of ecosystem management, and who stands to benefit from it?
McTavish, Lianne, and Jingjing Zheng. “Rats in Alberta: looking at pest-control posters from the 1950s.” Canadian Historical Review 92.3 (2011): 515-546.
Our cold open is sampled from STORYHIVE’s Oh, Rats!. Images from Alberta’s anti-rat publications follow the break.
As oil and gas producers practically beg, plead, and bribe the Canadian government into building and planning pipelines, Team Advantage asks: whatever happened to the National Energy Program? Yes, that NEP: conceived of by Pierre Elliott Trudeau, the bane of Alberta’s oil industry, that endless source of western alienation, the biggest power grab in history— what was it really about?
Journalist Taylor C. Noakes joins Team Advantage to discuss the genesis and legacy of the NEP, while pondering the state of the fossil fuel industry today. Could it be that some sort of economic planning could have resolved the problems we encounter today?