The Spring Socialist Network is a pan-Canadian revolutionary socialist organization with a membership that spans coast to coast. We are a diverse organization comprised of all genders, sexualities, ethnicities, and religions at all strata of society. We are excited to offer the series Spring into Socialism: A Beginner’s Guide to Social Change as an introduction to the basics of our network and to Marxism.
The program is free to attend and is open to members and non-members alike. Whether you’re looking for an introduction to Marxism, are thinking of joining a socialist organization, are interested in Spring specifically, or are just seeking a venue in which you can learn about social change in Canada, the Spring into Socialism series has something for you.
One session is held a month. Each session is structured by a presentation followed by a lively discussion. Readings are recommended to enhance the experience but are not required for full participation. The sessions do not have to be attended in order, though the following is recommended:
- Capitalism: How the economy works (or doesn’t)
- The state is not neutral: Canada’s violent history of genocide and oppression
- Why the international working class?
- Building power: Centering anti-racism and anti-oppression practice
- Getting organized for revolution
- Revolutionary journalism: Website as organizer
Session 1: Capitalism: How the economy works (or doesn’t)
While it is widely acknowledged that our present state of affairs—economic downturn, extreme inequality, war, oppression, and climate crisis—is unsustainable, the system underpinning our predicament, capitalism, is less understood. Socialists are those who have come to the conclusion that capitalism is inherently crisis-prone and that the contradictions of capitalism cannot be reconciled; they argue that the solution to the problems facing us is the creation of a new society. In this session, we will discuss the logic of capitalism, how Marxist economics provides the tools to both understand the world and to act on its problems, and how the struggle for socialism can lead us to a new world.
Session 2: The state is not neutral: Canada’s violent history of genocide and oppression
Thursday, November 19, 2020; 7 PM EDT
The history of the settler Canadian state is the history of resource extraction on unceded lands from which Indigenous peoples have been dispossessed. The Canadian left has an extended tradition of producing counter-history in exploring and exposing the tension between Canada’s famous perceived image of multicultural tolerance and its exploitative imperialist practices rooted in capitalism. In this session, we will learn more about both the history of oppression in Canada and the rich traditions of resistance that have emerged in response to colonialist exploitation.
Session 3: Why the international working class?
Thursday, December 10, 2020; 7 PM EDT
The fundamental ethic of the struggle for socialism is solidarity. As Rosa Luxemburg argued, solidarity must be international for the fight for liberation to truly succeed. The working classes of the world are extremely diverse but they are unified in their oppression under the capitalist system. They share a common cause in the overthrow of a system that, in the age of climate crisis, is increasingly recognized as untenable and in need of a global solution. In this session, we will explore who the working classes are, what inextricably links them, and how socialists have come to understand that it is only through international solidarity that capitalism’s continuous crises may be brought to a halt.
Session 4: Building power: Centering anti-racism and anti-oppression practice
The contradictions of capitalism are expressed through inequality, injustice, and social division. Be it by race, gender, sexuality, ability, religion, nationality, or age, people struggle unequally under a system that mandates their oppression. Marxist organization provides a framework for understanding exploitation, strengthening fights against different forms of subjugation, and centering different oppressions in order for the fight for socialism to be effective. In this session, we will learn more about the relationship between capitalism and racism, capitalism and other forms of oppression, and how Marxist thought empowers those fighting inequality and injustice to fight back.
Session 5: Getting organized for revolution
Marxist economics provides an invaluable framework for understanding our world. However, as Marx famously said, “the point [of interpretation]… is to change it”. To actualize the possibility of socialism, forces must collectively unite in order to be strong enough to confront the problems of capitalism. It is organization that provides the means for doing so. In this session, we will learn the value of joining a socialist organization specifically and the strategy involved in building the movements that will overthrow capitalism. Through movements, we struggle for reforms to the capitalist system with revolution as our aim.
Session 6: Revolutionary journalism: Website as organizer
The distribution of information is crucial to socialist organization. Through journalism socialists can connect “principles, experience, and the tasks of the moment”, not only sharing ideas but delivering the necessary information people need to do something. Here at the Spring Socialist Network, our magazine is the centerpiece of our plans for pan-Canadian organization, providing a forum for socialism in action. In this session, we will explore the principles of socialist writing, what that looks like in the 21st century, the importance of ideas and debates to our movement, and how writing enables us to effect social change.
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