The State: Seize It? Smash It? Take a Long March Through It?

What is to be done with the state? How does one’s assessment of the state relate to socialist strategy? Is the state merely a committee for managing the common affairs of the whole bourgeoisie? Is it entirely captured by industry, or factions of capital, or does it operate independently? Team Advantage convenes to discuss theories of the state, and explains how state theory ultimately informs the approach one takes to social transformation.

Further reading:
Ralph Miliband, The State in Capitalist Society. 1969.
Ralph Miliband, The Coup in Chile. October 1973.
Miliband, Ralph. “Poulantzas and the capitalist state.” New Left Review 82.1 (1973): 83-93.
Rooksby, Ed. “‘Structural Reform’ and the Problem of Socialist Strategy Today.” Critique 46.1 (2018): 27-48.

Small Businesses Are Capitalism

Are small businesses really the backbone of our economy? Team Advantage examines the realities of small businesses in our society. How do big corporations benefit from small businesses being the front-facing, friendly face of modern capitalism? What do Marx and Engels have to say about “small capitalists?” How do working conditions fare in a small business environment? Will socially progressive small businesses usher in an era of social change?

Want to replace every mention of “small business” in your browser with “small capitalist?” Install the Tampermonkey extension, and add the small capitalists script.

Farm Crisis, Climate Crisis

How can we reduce agricultural greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by half by mid-century? And how can steps to do so help strengthen and safeguard family farms? Darrin Qualman, director of Climate Crisis Policy and Action for the National Farmers Union and author of Tackling the Farm Crisis and the Climate Crisis: A Transformative Strategy for Canadian Farms and Food Systems joins Team Advantage to discuss farms, food, and the climate crisis.

A New Party? The NDP and the 2001 New Politics Initiative

In 2001, a campaign to reconstitute the NDP into a new party emerged, calling itself the New Politics Initiative. It proposed a party with stronger links with social movements and the anti-globalization campaigns that had been growing over the previous years, and had some high-profile spokespeople. What happened with this initiative? What was the response from within the NDP? Can anything be learned from this effort to reshape the NDP towards a more explicitly left-wing vision?

Listeners may also be interested in this 2018 episode, The Waffle, the NDP, and Full Breakfast Socialism.

Welcome, COMMONS listeners!

If you’re stumbling across our podcast after hearing about it on Arshy Mann’s excellent COMMONS, subscribe with Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Stitcher, Spotify, or RSS.

We’ve put together a few episodes you might enjoy. First, check out Killing the Welfare State: Liberals and the 1990s. It’s an exploration of the manufactured debt crisis and deep budget cuts that the Chrétien Liberals brought to Canada in the 1990s, as Canada welcomed corporate globalization. Features Rank & File editor Doug Nesbitt.

You might also enjoy our episode Canada: Making People’s Lives Miserable, Around the World. It’s an interview with Tyler Shipley about his book Canada in the World: Settler Capitalism and the Colonial Imagination. Has Canada always been a front for dispossession and resource extraction?

Lastly, give our episode about Western Alienation a listen. (Heads up: we think it’s fake.) Do other provinces blame all their woes on Ottawa to protect local billionaires, or is that just us?

Our work is 100% listener-funded. If you like what you hear, support us on Patreon and get yourself some exclusive perks. Thanks for listening!

Expand Medicare to Include Dentalcare

While Canada’s medicare system was launched in the 1960s, some notable exclusions remain. Vision, pharmaceuticals, mental health, and dental care are all aspects of health that remain largely uncovered by our public health system. Brandon Doucet, dentist and member of the Coalition for Dentalcare, and Thomas Lange, health economist and research coordinator at the University of Calgary, join Team Advantage to discuss the potential ways health coverage could be expanded to include dentalcare.

Follow the Coalition for Dentalcare on Twitter @for_dentalcare, and follow Tom Lange @TomLangeYYC.

Read Brandon’s piece in Passage on the topic here:
https://readpassage.com/as-a-dentist-i-know-canada-needs-universal-public-dental-care/

Read Tom’s research papers here:
https://www.policyschool.ca/authors/thomas-christopher-lange/

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The Klan in Alberta

Did you know that the Ku Klux Klan operated in Alberta— with thousands of members, a newspaper published out of downtown Edmonton, and regular picnics, parades and marches? Anti-racist activist Jason Devine joins Team Advantage to explore the strange history of the KKK in Alberta, and discuss how these historical forms of white supremacy have contributed to implicit and explicit forms of white supremacy today.

Further reading:
The Ku Klux Klan in Canada A Century of Promoting Racism and Hate in the Peaceable Kingdom – Allan Bartley
Perry, Barbara, and Ryan Scrivens. “Uneasy alliances: A look at the right-wing extremist movement in Canada.” Studies in Conflict & Terrorism 39.9 (2016): 819-841.
Anti-Racist Canada blog.
Canadian Anti-Hate Network.

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Waffles, Trots, and the 1971 Takeover of the New Brunswick NDP

New Brunswick, home to one of Canada’s wealthiest families, is far from a nexus of left-wing political culture— yet in 1971, a small group of Waffle-aligned activists managed to briefly take over the New Brunswick NDP, before the federal party intervened. Who was involved in this radical takeover of the provincial party, and how did it happen? New Brunswick correspondent Abram Lutes joins Team Advantage to discuss this strange tale involving Trotskyites, entryism, and dueling conventions. Follow Abram on Twitter @abramxlutes.

Further reading:
Webber, Patrick. “Entryism in theory, in practice, and in crisis: The Trotskyist experience in New Brunswick, 1969-1973.” Left History: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Historical Inquiry and Debate 14.1 (2009).

Webber, Patrick. “” For a Socialist New Brunswick”: The New Brunswick Waffle, 1967-1972.” Acadiensis 38.1 (2009): 75-103.

Blocker, David G. “‘To Waffle to the Left:’The Waffle, the New Democratic Party, and Canada’s New Left during the Long Sixties.” (2019).

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Corporate Subsidy Sponges and Handout Hogs

What is the employer-friendly CEWS, the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy, and how is it funneling public funds to big businesses? Doug Nesbitt joins Team Advantage to discuss the generosity of the Canadian state with regards to employers, and how this differs substantially from the approach taken towards workers. Why did the NDP and major labour leaders support a program that is essentially trickle-down economics on steroids? Who benefits from this program? And how will the costs it creates be used against working people in the future?

Follow Doug Nesbitt on Twitter @StandingTheGaff, and read his work at rankandfile.ca.

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MINI-EP: Alberta’s Abstinence-Only “Recovery” Model

The opioid crisis is killing more Albertans than the COVID-19 crisis— but Jason Kenney’s UCP government is intent on pursuing an abstinence-only model that rejects harm-reduction approaches. Joining Team Advantage are Garth Mullins, host of the CRACKDOWN podcast, and Jeremy Appel, author of a recent Progress Report piece titled The Alberta Model: Who benefits from the Alberta government’s shift away from harm reduction to abstinence-only recovery.

Follow Jeremy Appel on Twitter @JeremyAppel1025, and follow Garth Mullins on Twitter @garthmullins. Listeners may also be interested in the work of @momsstoptheharm and @HIVCommLink.

A full transcript follows the link.

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