It’s always a challenge to find like-minded folks in a city, particularly one like Halifax where so much information is spread informally through word of mouth and by friends of friends. So in a modest effort to help folks find like-minded organizations and individuals I’ve begun compiling a list of broadly “left” organizations in the city.
A problem with compiling a list like this is that it involves an inherent process of selecting who does and does not qualify as left. I am explicitly attempting to be as inclusive and non-sectarian as possible with this list and I am defining (or not defining) left as broadly as possible. My goal is not to provide opinions or analysis on the politics or actions of any of these groups, but simply to help folks find groups they might be interested in supporting or working with.
Different groups operate under different structures – some are membership based, some are political parties and others are collectives. Some are non-profits and some are informal clusters of friends or comrades. Some do no have clear structures at all. When possible I try to identify the basic structures of the groups below.
This list is a work in progress and is not meant to be exhaustive. It is limited to groups I know about. If you know of a group that you think should included (or if I misrepresented a group) please post in the comments section or contact me on twitter @cultureofdefeat
Explicitly Marxist, Anarchist, or broadly Anti-Capitalist Organizations
Solidarity Halifax (SolHal) – Non-sectarian, pluralist anti-capitalist organization. Membership based with a dues structure and several dozen current members. Campaigns work includes Power to the People (campaign to public ownership of NS Power) and labour solidarity work. (Disclosure: I am a member of SolHal)
STAND – Libertarian communist organization. Membership based with a dues structure. Describe themselves as “a Halifax-based organization aimed at transforming our social order through mutual aid and direct action, building towards worker and community control of all aspects of our lives.” Have a detailed manifesto and political program.
Platypus Affiliated Society – Dalhousie – Campus based affiliate of the Platypus Society. A Marxist intellectual project based around reading groups, discussions, lectures and publishing. Goal is to spur on debate on the left but not itself action oriented.
Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist) (CP-ML) – Maoist/Hoxhaist political party. Last Halifax remnants of the New Communist Movement. Very small Halifax membership. Primary activity is participation federal elections and organizing the Halifax May Day celebrations (in past years the “Halifax May Day Organizing Committee” was a CP-ML committee).
Nova Scotia Public Interest Group at Dalhousie (NSPIRG) – Campus and community based organization which provides support for research and action projects through a working group structure. Though its mandate is not explicitly left, the working groups it supports have tended to lean leftwards. Current working groups include Queers Against Israeli Apartheid and READ (Reclaim Education and Democracy).
Robert’s Street Social Centre – plays host to a variety of DIY and anarchist cultural projects including access to screen printing, a zine library and event space.
Labour and Worker’s Rights
Halifax-Dartmouth & District Labour Council – A representative organization made up of all the union locals active in the HRM. Not itself radical as an organization its actions and rhetoric (including adopting the slogan “Capitalism isn’t working for workers”) put them as far left as any district labour council in the country. Individual locals and unions also have political action committees which may lean to the left.
Stepping Stone – sex worker’s advocacy organization. While not explicitly left, they provide support for a marginalized group of workers and include the decriminalization of sex worker as among their goals. Seems rad to me!
Race and Immigration
No One is Illegal Halifax – radical immigration rights work and anti-border activism. Operate as a collective. Part of a wider national network of collectives.
Ujamaa – Not leftist per se, but some experienced left organizers are involved and they are providing a space for left discourse on issues affecting the African Nova Scotian communisty in Halifax. A project of the Greater Halifax Partnership (I know, I know).
Radical sexual and gender politics
Hot Times Collective – collective organizing safe space for the expression of queer sexuality.
Halifax Dyke and Trans March Organizing Committee – currently organize once a year. A committee that organizes a march during Pride Week which is separate from official events and aims to provide a non-corporate, politicized and radical alternative to mainstream events.
Queer and Rebel Collective – A collective organizing a radical alternative to mainstream gay and lesbian politics.
Prison Justice/Prison Abolition
Books Beyond Bars – an almost decade old organization which provides reading material and writing programs for prisoners.
Previously active organizations which are currently dormant
Feminist League for Agitation Propaganda (FLAP) – Exactly as the name suggest. Active within the last few years, but no recent activity. A network of like-minded individuals.
Halifax Peace Coalition – Long running coalition of peace activists in the city. One of the city’s most prominent activist organizations during the early 2000s invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan. Currently defunct.
Occupy NS – Nova Scotia version of the North America wide tactic that rose to prominance in the fall of 2011. Evicted by the city in November 2011. No current physical occupation. Small number of activists remaining involved. Open, consensus based decision making structure.
Reduce Tuition Fees Halifax – Group allied with the Canadian Federation of Students (social democratic national students organization) but open to non-CFS members. Organizing around education issues.
Halifax Media Co-Op – Again, not explicitly left in name, but pretty left in practice. Cooperative, member funded website and monthly newspaper. Publish extensively on poverty, racism and social movements.
Various temporary groups spring up on occasion surrounding specific issues, particularly government funding cuts or international summits. Those defunct groups are too numerous to name and unlikely to re-appear under their previous names.