Sep 272013

Nova Scotia ACORN held a townhall on September 27, 2013 to discuss tenants rights and rent control. Panelists included community activist and Solidarity Halifax member Evan T. Coole, and Bruce Muir of Dalhousie Legal Aid. The evening was moderated by social worker and Solidarity Halifax member Jackie Barkley and also featured ACORN organizer Shay Enxuga.

We are in the midst of an election, and ACORN-NS is fighting to put tenants rights on the agenda, specifically the implementation of rent control. Wages stay low as rent goes up, and landlords can raise the rent as high as they want while low-income tenants feel the squeeze.


Sep 242013

1. As members of Solidarity Halifax we believe another world is possible. Capitalism is not the best humanity can do.

2. We believe that deep, meaningful change in our society can only come from below through collective action of masses of people.  Change cannot come from on high by a queen, politician or bureaucrat.

3. This kind of change, eliminating capitalism, will never come as a result of an election to the provincial legislature. It can only happen when the working classes, the marginalized, the 99%, take power and control of our lives, our workplaces, and our communities from the ruling class, the 1%.

4. But elections are important.  This summer, Solidarity Halifax held a public meeting featuring Roger Rashi, a founding member of Quebec Solidaire, and Jackie Barkley, a Solidarity Halifax member and long time social movement activist in Halifax.  This panel discussion looks at the question of radical change and electoral politics. It provides a much more nuanced and detailed look at these questions.  (View video of “From the Ballot Box to the Streets.”)

5. Elections do matter.  There are significant differences between a party with social democratic roots like the NDP and parties of the ruling class, like the Liberals and Conservatives.  These differences do matter in our lives and the lives of thousands of our friends, families, co-workers and neighbours.

Some of the differences include:

a.     The make up of each party’s membership and supporters

b.     Actions and tone

c.      Original founding mandate

d.     The relationships and connections to labour and social movements.

e.     The formally stated policies and goals of each party

f.      The backgrounds and diversity of party candidates and elected officials

6. The first NDP government in Atlantic Canada has been a disappointment for most folks, especially their Left wing supporters.  Instead of bold progressive leadership, we saw a cautious, mildly left-of centre government. However, this political centrism should be no surprise to anyone, as this is exactly what the NDP ran on in the 2009 election. What’s more, the NDP has not, in recent history, ever presented itself as socialist or anti-capitalist. A sense of betrayal is therefore unwarranted and knee-jerk support for opposing parties can have real damaging effects.

7. The NDP government engaged in inexcusable actions like implementing an austerity agenda for several years by making cuts to public education, universities and freezing hospital budgets.  The NDP government often abandoned or angered its political supporters in the labour, student, environmental, anti-poverty and women’s movements.  The NDP also shamefully took the right to strike away from Nova Scotian paramedics. (View Solidarity Halifax’s statement on the NDP intervention into the paramedics’ strike.)

8. The NDP government has made some positive, progressive steps, especially in health care and workplace safety.  More details are available in a report from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives Nova Scotia, and two of the three authors are members of Solidarity Halifax. (View the CCPA-NS report.)

9. None of the NDP’s actions have in any way challenged the capitalist system, nor did the NDP ever say they would.

10. On the other hand, both the Liberals and Conservatives have a record of inflicting massive pain on the people of Nova Scotia. From privatizing public assets like Nova Scotia Power at criminally low prices to cutting thousands of nurses and teachers while closing hospitals and schools, electing the Liberals or Conservatives would be a step backward.

11. The outcomes of elections have real consequences in people’s lives.  At the end of the day the working classes of Nova Scotia, the marginalized, the 99%, are better off with an NDP government than a Liberal or Conservative government.  The Lib/Cons only serve the interests of the ruling class, the 1%. The NDP, due to the make up of its membership and candidates, due to its relationships with labour and social movements, and due to its founding mandate can be better swayed – with pressure – toward progressive decisions. Also, less intense attacks on the interests of labour and social movements, as well as on the daily lives of the working classes and marginalized allows for the necessary elbow room and breathing space to continue organizing for more radical change.

12. Regardless of the outcome of the election, no government, no politicians and no bosses have ever given anything without people organizing and fighting for it.  No government, whether it is orange, red or blue, will act in the interests of the working classes unless we organize and demand they do, or collectively take matters into our own hands.

13. So don’t let voting be the only political action you take every four years.  If you want to see real meaningful change that challenges capitalism, consider joining Solidarity Halifax and organizing collectively to fight back. (Check out our website for more analysis, campaigns and information on how to join.)

Sep 192013

Members of Solidarity Halifax share our deep sadness and extend condolences to our friend, supporter, and most recently, the curator of the People’s Museum, Natasha Krzyzewski. 

Yesterday morning, Natasha’s mother, Karen Krzyzewski, died in the horrible bus/train colllision in Ottawa.  While we cannot begin to experience the depth of her loss, we send our message of caring to her and her family at this time.

Also, please note that given that Natasha cannot continue to manage our People’s Museum, please do not call 880-2027 or email

Any questions or materials for the People’s Museum should be referred to 454-5784 or

Thank you all.

Sep 192013

A People’s History of Nova Scotia: A conference by Solidarity Halifax

October 4 – 5, 2013


George Elliot Clarke was born in Windsor, Nova Scotia, near the Black Loyalist community of Three Mile Plains, in 1960. He is the inaugural E.J. Pratt Professor of Canadian Literature at the University of Toronto. Clarke has been instrumental in promoting the work of writers of African descent, especially those of Nova Scotia. Clarke coined the term, ‘Africadian’ to identify the Black culture of Atlantic Canada. George is Toronto’s Poet Laureate.

Darlene Lawrence has worked at the Digby County Resource Centre for 18 years as Executive Director. She is also the former Chairperson of the Nova Scotia Advisory Council on the Status of Women, Chairperson of the Black Employment Partnership Committee and founding member of the Women for Economic Equality. Ms. Lawrence is currently the Chairperson of the Digby Education Committee, a committee for Black parents, which addresses the needs of Black learners.

Carolann Wright-Parks is the Manager of Community Economic Development and Strategic Engagement with the Greater Halifax Partnership. She has over 30 years of community organizing experience, and has worked in Toronto and South Africa in the areas of health, anti-poverty and anti-racist issues.

  El Jones is the Halifax Poet Laureate, a teacher, community worker, and spoken word activist. Her poetry is particularly committed to political causes and social justice and has worked extensively with organizations around Halifax performing and presenting on issues of social change. She currently teaches in the African Canadian Transition Program at NSCC and in the Women’s Studies program at Acadia.
Chris Frazer is an associate professor in history at StFX, an activist in labour and queer organizing, a drag performer, and a founder of the Canadian Federation of Students. An expert in the history of bandits, Chris is currently researching the history of drag in Halifax. Chris is also known by the stage name C. Leah Cruise.

Pat Kipping has engaged in women’s, peace and environmental activism since the early 1970s. She made a film about women’s peace activist Muriel Duckworth and currently serves on the board of Ecology Action Centre and started the reBoom Housing Boomers Study Group.

Sherry Pictou has volunteered and worked in various capacities for a number of First Nations organizations and for her home community the Bear River First Nation, Nova Scotia in particular. Much of this work has involved political and activist work in ascertaining the right to initiate community approaches to natural resource harvesting and management as well as several community learning projects regarding small scale and indigenous fisheries. Currently, Sherry is an Interdisciplinary PhD student at Dalhousie University and is serves as a co-chair of the World Forum of Fisheries Peoples.

Evan John T. Coole is a trade unionist, anti-poverty activist and socialist who has been involved in campaigns for LGBTQ equity and racial justice. His politics were greatly impacted by growing up in a coal mining family in Industrial Cape Breton. That experience shaped his views on class consciousness, union politics, divisions amongst the working class and struggle. He will be speaking on the miners’ strikes of the 1920s and the African Nationalist movement in Cape Breton. Register today!

Lynn Jones grew up in Truro, NS, where from a young age she struggled against explicit racial segregation. As a university student, she was active against the Vietnam War, she worked in solidarity with struggles for self-determination elsewhere in the world, and fought for programs that gave Black and indigenous students access to post-secondary education. Later she became active in her union, the Public Service Alliance of Canada, and went on to become the first woman of colour to be Vice-President of the Canadian Labour Congress.
Tony Tracey is a longtime trade unionist and social justice activist living in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Hyper-caffeinated at all hours of day and night, he works closely with unions and social justice coalitions throughout Nova Scotia.