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?
Further reading: 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?
Team Advantage convenes to discuss Universal Basic Income. Why is it, and why has it gained such popularity over the last few years? What’s so appealing about the proposal, and how does this appeal relate to left-wing politics and strategy more generally? What might be the benefits and drawbacks of such a program? What kind of social and political forces would be needed to mobilize for a program of this kind?
Kate was recently on Victor’s Children, a podcast hosted by David Camfield, to discuss class struggle in the past, present and future. Kate was joined on the panel by John Clarke, a writer and retired organizer for the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (OCAP).
Can workers fight a university administration dead-set on busting the union? The Athabasca University Faculty Association did exactly that— and won. AUFA President Dave Powell and AUFA Chair of Membership Engagement Committee Rhiannon Rutherford join Team Advantage to explain how organizing and engaging union membership helped stave off an effort by university administration to cripple the union.
What can be learned from the Corbyn project in the U.K. and the opposition it encountered, from both Conservatives outside the Labour party as well as Labour’s own right wing? What do recent attacks on the left of the NDP mean for the state of bold policy in Canada? Niki Ashton, MP for Churchill-Keewatinook Aski, joins Team Advantage to discuss the Progressive International and her upcoming event, a conversation with Jeremy Corbyn. Purchase event tickets here through Eventbrite, and learn more at progressive.international.
Are the NDP merely liberals in a bit of a rush? Team Advantage examines Gary Teeple’s 1972 essay, ‘Liberals in a hurry’: socialism and the CCF-NDP. What role does the Fabian Society have in shaping the thought of the CCF, and later, the NDP? Can real socialist change be made through technocratic changes or parliamentary methods? Is moralizing about capitalism’s ill effects a useful way of bringing about political change?
Sweater Weather is a video & audio podcast about Canadian culture, politics & economics from a socialist perspective, hosted & produced by Aaron Giovannone. Follow Aaron on Twitter @SincerityCity, and follow the Sweater Weather series @canadiansweater and sweaterweatherpod.com.
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.
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?