Upcoming courses and events
January 13, 2023
CSI Annex 720 Bathurst St, Toronto and online
We are thrilled to officially announce the launch of the school at a very special event! Featured will be an introduction of the school and a guest lecture by Bryan D. Palmer, Professor Emeritus at Trent University, on the topic of Capitalism, Colonialism, and Canada: How the past is before us. Following the talk will be a time for friendly discussion and conversation. Light refreshments will be available for all those in attendance. All are warmly invited to join us for this celebration from wherever you are, either with us in person in Toronto, or remotely via Zoom.Register
January 22, 2023
This first course will provide an introduction to socialism for both those already sympathetic to socialism but looking to learn more, and those new to socialist ideas and full of questions.
It will cover three main topics in sections of three sessions, as described below. Participation in all three sections is encouraged!
Classes will be in person in Toronto. Further location details to be provided upon registration.
Section 1: Why Socialism?
Facilitated by Sam Gindin
2-4:30pm. January 22, January 29, February 5
Is socialism a credible or practical idea? Since we cannot point to an actually-existing and sustained democratic socialist example, is there any reason to believe it could work in practice? The first section will tackle these questions by introducing socialism as a philosophical and practical notion and pose barriers to its emergence. Over three sessions, we will address what socialism is, what is distinctive about a socialist perspective, and why Marxists historically have placed the working class at the centre of the making of socialism.
As a group, we will also discuss whether the kind of working class made by capitalism can be expected to develop the technical, cultural, and political capacities necessary to bring about a different world.
Section 2: Why the State?
Facilitated by Steve Maher
2-4:30pm. February 19, February 26, March 5
How democratic is the liberal capitalist state? What is the scope for reform within it, and how does the struggle for change within capitalism relate to the larger project of socialist transition? Can the state serve as an agency for reforms while still remaining structurally bound to the power of the ruling class? To what extent can elections express and organize the power of the working class – and what are the limits of electoralism? Over three sessions, we’ll investigate these and other questions related to the modern state and socialist strategy.
Section 3: Why Parties?
Facilitated by Greg Albo
2-4:30pm. March 19, March 26, April 2
What is the history, form, and objective of working-class parties? Is having a party necessary? How do socialist and social democratic parties differ in terms of their organizational structure and relationship to the state and working class? What are the forms socialist parties have taken in the past, and what were their limits? How have these parties interacted with unions, and what is the role for socialist parties in terms of transforming unions and the state today?
We are going to explore these issues by introducing the basic role of socialist parties in class formation, looking at the relationship between social democratic parties and trade unions (and other social forces), and by posing the challenge of constructing ‘a party of a different type’ capable of giving expression to the principles of democratic socialism today.