The Greater Toronto Workers Assembly: A Hopeful Experiment

by Herman Rosenfeld

1. Some of the points raised here were previously included in, "A New Type of Political Organization? The Greater Toronto Workers Assembly" by Herman Rosenfeld and Carlo Fanelli, the Socialist Project Bullet, August 6, 2010, and "Toronto Assembly Ties Together Everyone Hammered by Recession," Herman Rosenfeld, Labor Notes, November 20, 2010.

2. There are different forms of anarchism involved in the movement in Toronto: some closely identify with the working class and work in the Assembly, others reject such identification.

3. "Lessons Learned: Assessing the 2009 City of Toronto Strike," Julia Barnett & Carlo Fanelli, Socialist Project Bullet, January 19, 2010, and "Toronto City Workers on Strike: Battling Neoliberal Urbanism," Greg Albo and Herman Rosenfeld, Socialist Project Bullet, July 2009.

4. The application of neoliberal principles and practices to the operation of the state at the city level. In this instance, there is a pretense of "progressive" politics, but it remains rooted in the dominance of private capital accumulation and elites rooted in the financial and real estate development sectors, and looks to reorganize city governing institutions to enhance the profit-making capacity of these elites. It also looks to reorganize communities and labor markets in order to accommodate these goals.

5. The term "consulta," originally described the large public consultations organized by the Zapatista movement in Mexico. A local Canadian reform project used the term to refer to their consultative processes, via the Canadian activist and author Judy Rebick. The SP appropriated it from them.

6. One of the principal municipal unions in Toronto has indeed learned many lessons from its political defeat in 2009 and has developed an educational and mobilizational campaign against privatization and in defence of public services. The Toronto Labour Council has also begun to organize against the right-wing agenda.