Monday, October 16, 2017

United Action Can Defeat War Measures Act - Communist Party of Canada 1970

Vintage Leftist Leaflet Project

See the end of this post for details on the project.

Leaflet: United Action Can Defeat War Measures Act - Communist Party of Canada 1970 

On October 16, 1970 the federal Trudeau government used the pretext of two kidnappings by the extremist Quebec nationalist group the Front de libération du Québec (FLQ) (which supposedly constituted an "apprehended insurrection") to introduce the War Measures Act suspending the habeas corpus rights of Canadians and allowing police wide latitude to arrest people without the laying of charges. This was one of the most grotesque anti-democratic actions in modern Canadian history and was an enormous overreaction to the activities of fringe elements.

As Tommy Douglas said at the time, "The government, I submit, is using a sledgehammer to crack a peanut."

With the War Measures Act in place the Trudeau government rounded up hundreds of entirely innocent nationalist and leftist activists in Quebec, sought to deal a crippling blow to the emergent Parti Québécois and to interfere in the upcoming Montreal municipal elections.

While the introduction of the Act was very popular in the immediate climate of manufactured hysteria, there were a number of courageous Canadians (remembering that the Act allowed the arrest of anyone without the need of even a pretext of having actually committed a criminal act) who stood against it including 16 NDP MPs, many leftist activists across the country and much of the country's labour movement. They have been vindicated by history.

This circular and statement was released and distributed by the Communist Party of Canada in the days just after the War Measures Act was introduced. It outlines the groups resisting the act, the terrible and frightening consequences of it, as well as what the real targets and motives of the act were.

(Click on scans to enlarge)

When The Left Chapter began part of what I wanted to do on the blog was to show and highlight vintage public leftist election/political leaflets and booklets. While many of these have been offered with commentary to date, a very large collection of hundreds of them from several different sources remains and to preserve these often quite rare documents we will be posting them on a regular (almost daily) basis now often without or with minimal commentary so that people may have access to them as quickly as possible as an historical resource. 

While these will all be leaflets from a variety of different leftist viewpoints and countries, they are being posted as an historical/study resource and the views or opinions expressed in them do not necessarily reflect the views of this blog or blogger.

All of these posts (as well as posts made to date) will be listed on the page: Vintage Communist/Socialist Leaflets  (which is still being updated with past posts).

If you have any public, vintage leaflets or booklets you would like to contribute to this project please contact us via

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Harvey Weinstein, Sidney Crosby, Cuba and more -- The Left Chapter Sunday Reading List October 8-15

This week's list of articles, news items and opinion pieces that I see as must reads if you are looking for a roundup that should be of interest to The Left Chapter readers.

This list covers the week of  October 8 - 15. It is generally in order of the date of the article's release.

1) Against Mars-a-Lago: Why SpaceX’s Mars colonization plan should terrify you

Keith A. Spencer, Salon

Thomas Frank, writing in Harpers, once wrote of a popular t-shirt he sighted while picnicking in a small West Virginia coal town: “Mine it union or keep it in the ground.” The idea, of course, is that the corporations interested in resource extraction do not care whatsoever about their workers’ health, safety, or well-being; the union had their interests at heart, and was able to negotiate for safety, job security, and so on. I’d like to see a similar t-shirt or bumper sticker emerge among scientists and space enthusiasts: “Explore Mars democratically, or keep it in the sky.”

Read the full article.

2) Revisiting Star Trek’s Most Political Episode

Robert Green II, The Atlantic

“It’s not that they don’t care. It’s that they’ve given up.” This was how Commanding Officer Benjamin Sisko, played by Avery Brooks, described early 21st-century Americans in an episode from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. When it aired in 1995, “Past Tense” spoke to contemporary concerns about homelessness by telling a story set in 2024—the near future for viewers, but the distant past for characters. In the two-part episode, Sisko and two of his companions from the U.S.S. Defiant find themselves stranded in San Francisco, where they’re reminded that the federal government had once set up a series of so-called “Sanctuary Districts” in a nationwide effort to seal off homeless Americans from the general population. Stuck in 2024, Sisko, who is black—along with his North African crewmate Dr. Julian Bashir and the fair-skinned operations officer Jadzia Dax—must contend with unfamiliar racism, classism, violence, and Americans’ apparent apathy toward human suffering.

Read the full article.

3) Far-right protesters give fascist salutes in Madrid as thousands rally over Catalonia crisis

Chantal Da Silva, The Independent

Hundreds of thousands of people have taken to the streets in Barcelona and Madrid this weekend to protest for – and against – the Catalan government’s push for secession from the rest of Spain.

Read the full article.

4) Mike Pence’s NFL Walkout Was a Cheap, Transparent Stunt

Dave Zirin, The Nation

Vice President John Nance Garner once said that being the vice president was “not worth a bucket of warm piss.” (Many know this quote as “bucket of warm spit.” It’s “piss.”) The current holder of that office, Mike Pence, showed on Sunday that Garner, if alive, would owe an apology to piss buckets everywhere.

Read the full article.

5) Why Are Venezuela's Regional Elections So Crucial?

Mision Verdad

The regional elections (Governor and States Legislative Council) are a key importance issue in Venezuela’s current political situation. We might be tempted to treat them as trivial if they were just new elections after so many others. But that's not what they are.

Read the full article.

6) Conservatives are the real campus thought police squashing academic freedom

 George Ciccariello-Maher, The Washington Post 

By bowing to pressure from racist internet trolls, Drexel has sent the wrong signal: That you can control a university’s curriculum with anonymous threats of violence. Such cowardice notwithstanding, I am prepared to take all necessary legal action to protect my academic freedom, tenure rights and most importantly, the rights of my students to learn in a safe environment where threats don’t hold sway over intellectual debate. Alongside organizations like the Campus Antifascist Network, I will continue to challenge white supremacists in an effort to make Drexel and all universities safe space for an intellectual debate among equals.

Read the full article.

7) Jemele Hill is paid to opine, so why has she been silenced?

Jeff Pearlman, CNN

Jemele Hill has one job responsibility: To opine on the world of sports.

Read the full article.

8) Crosby, Penguins enjoy luxury of political indifference at White House

Emma Teitel, The Toronto Star

Sidney Crosby is a lucky guy. On Monday, the Stanley Cup champion told the CBC that he “grew up under the assumption” that politics “wasn’t something really bred into sports.” From his side of things, he told the broadcaster, “there’s absolutely no politics involved.” And why would there be? He quite literally has no skin in the game.

Read the full article.

9) Trump congratulates mostly non-American NHL team on being “incredible patriots”

 Zack Beauchamp, Vox

Ultimately, some people matter more than others — which is how white foreigners are “incredible patriots” while black Americans asking to be treated equally get labeled “sons of bitches.”

Read the full article.

10) Utah officer who handcuffed nurse in video after she refused to draw blood is fired

Lindsay Whitehurst, The Toronto Star

A Utah police officer was fired Tuesday after being seen on video roughly handcuffing a nurse because she refused to allow a blood draw in an incident that became a flashpoint in the national conversation about use of force.

Read the full article.

11) Over 80% of reserves have median income below poverty line, census data shows

Jordan Press, The Canadian Press

Four out of every five Aboriginal reserves have median incomes that fall below the poverty line, according to income data from the 2016 census that provides insight into the depth of poverty facing Indigenous Peoples in Canada.

Read the full article.

12) The Tragic Failure of Ken Burns’ “The Vietnam War”

Christopher Koch, Counterpunch

There is so much to love about this series. The uncompromising scenes of combat, the voices of both Americans and Vietnamese, the historical context, the exposure of the utter incompetence of our military leaders, the terrific music that is frequently exactly where it should be, the slowly revealed powerful still images and Peter Coyotes’ wonderful narrative voice. Its tragic failure is its inability to hold anyone responsible for their actions.

Read the full article.

13) Protection order denied because danger wasn't 'imminent,' woman told

 Donna Carreiro, CBC News

A Manitoba woman — who says her ex-husband is stalking her, threatening her and has access to weapons — was denied a protection order, she says, because she is not in "imminent danger."

Read the full article.

14) UK gender inequality as bad as 10 years ago, EU league table shows

Daniel Boffey, The Guardian 

Britain has made zero progress in tackling inequality between the sexes in the past decade and lags behind Sweden, Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands and France in the EU’s latest gender equality league table.

Read the full article.

15) A Halifax Magazine Ran This Super Racist Cartoon Of A Local Black Poet

Ishmael N. Daro, Vice

A black poet and activist says a cartoon published by Frank magazine was meant to dehumanize her after she called out racism in Halifax.

Read the full article.

16) When a Predator runs for Public Office

Rylee Ann Schuhmacher, Medium

There are a lot of sides to the story of how I was raped in late August, and what happened before and after.

Read the full article.


Shaun King, The Intercept

IT’S STRANGE HOW some things really catch on and go viral and others don’t. These days, nothing quite makes a story blow up — no pun intended — like the president’s fixation with it. That’s why it’s so peculiar that what sure looks like an attempted terrorist attack was narrowly thwarted at an American airport this past Friday without so much as a peep from Donald Trump about it. No tweets. No nicknames for the alleged would-be-terrorist. Nothing. You’ll see why in a minute.

Read the full article.

18) Local labor union files complaint over Jerry Jones' anthem mandate

Todd Archer, ESPN

Local 100 of the United Labor Unions filed a complaint against the Dallas Cowboys on Tuesday, alleging owner and general manager Jerry Jones has violated the National Labor Relations Act by threatening players if they choose not to stand for the national anthem.

Read the full article.

19) Counter-Petition to Educate Anti-Seal Activist Jennifer N about Anti-Indigenous behaviour and Colonialism. Support Kukum Kitchen

Recently, a Canadian named Jennifer N. started a petition targeting an Indigenous-owned Toronto restaurant named Kukum Kitchen (whose doors recently opened in June). Jennifer’s "cause" petitions for seal meat to be removed from the menu, an Indigenous menu. As all educated Indigenous people and Canadians know, anti-sealing campaigns have had detrimental economic impacts for the Inuit (please watch Angry Inuk directed by Alethea Arnaquq-Baril or read any of the countless articles written on this topic).

Read and sign the petition.

20) Hollywood men silent over Weinstein allegations as women speak out

Sam Levin and Julia Carrie Wong , The Guardian

Meryl Streep, Judi Dench, Kate Winslet and dozens of other women in Hollywood have condemned the producer Harvey Weinstein amid a growing number of sexual harassment allegations. Most high-profile men in the industry, however, have remained silent.

Read the full article.

21) From Aggressive Overtures to Sexual Assault: Harvey Weinstein’s Accusers Tell Their Stories

Ronan Farrow, The New Yorker

Since the establishment of the first studios, a century ago, there have been few movie executives as dominant, or as domineering, as Harvey Weinstein. He co-founded the production-and-distribution companies Miramax and the Weinstein Company, helping to reinvent the model for independent films with movies including “Sex, Lies, and Videotape,” “The Crying Game,” “Pulp Fiction,” “The English Patient,” “Shakespeare in Love,” and “The King’s Speech.” Beyond Hollywood, he has exercised his influence as a prolific fund-raiser for Democratic Party candidates, including Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. Weinstein combined a keen eye for promising scripts, directors, and actors with a bullying, even threatening, style of doing business, inspiring both fear and gratitude. His movies have earned more than three hundred Oscar nominations, and, at the annual awards ceremonies, he has been thanked more than almost anyone else in movie history, ranking just after Steven Spielberg and right before God.

Read the full article.

22) How Top NBC Executives Quashed The Bombshell Harvey Weinstein Story

Yashar Ali & Lydia Polgreen

In mid-August, Ronan Farrow, an NBC News contributor, had secured an interview with a woman who was willing to appear on camera, in silhouette, her identity concealed, and say Harvey Weinstein had raped her, according to four people with close knowledge of the reporting. It was a pivotal moment in a testy, months-long process of reporting a story that had bedeviled a generation of media and Hollywood reporters.

Read the full article.

23) Harvey Weinstein expected Hollywood to keep protecting him, and why wouldn't he?

Holly Baxter, The Independent

The reasons why men may have worked to keep allegations of Weinstein’s sexual harassment out of the media – or at the very least remained silence on issues which clearly crossed a moral line – are most likely the same reasons why so many women who have now shared their stories didn’t do so before.

Read the full article.

24) My life has been marked by sexual harassment – just like all women

Suzanne Moore, The Guardian

I didn’t grow up in Hollywood. Far from it. But I did grow up a girl, and I remember. Because who can forget? We are in the park. Someone has “told” us about a funny man at the bus stop. We don’t know what this means really. We are 10. He comes over and starts chatting. He unzips his trousers and gets his penis out. We stare for what feels like a long time. Screaming, we run away. Next day he is outside our school and we are not sure who to tell because we think we shouldn’t have spoken to him.

Read the full article.

25) I am not shocked, you are not shocked, no one is shocked, stop pretending to be shocked

Meghan Murphy, Feminist Current

By now, most of us have heard about the ongoing allegations against Harvey Weinstein, one of the biggest movie producers in history and predator of the moment. But as stories of harassment and sexual assault continue to pour in, and as more and more actors speak out, relaying their “disgust” and “horror,” what has shocked me most is not Weinstein’s abusive behaviour, but the shock itself.

Read the full article.

26) Mass hysteria may explain 'sonic attacks' in Cuba, say top neurologists

Julian Borger and Philip Jaekl, The Guardian

Senior neurologists have suggested that a spate of mysterious ailments among US diplomats in Cuba – which has caused a diplomat rift between the two countries – could have been caused by a form of “mass hysteria” rather than sonic attacks.

Read the full article.

27) A tale of two islands

Vijay Prashad, Frontline

One island, a poor socialist state with infrastructure in grave need of modernisation, has slowly emerged out of the chaos caused by a hurricane’s wrath, while the other, a territory of the richest country in the world, cannot see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Read the full article.

See also: Las Vegas, Catalonia, Harvey Weinstein and more -- The Left Chapter Sunday Reading List October 1-8

See also: Puerto Rico, Hugh Hefner, Anthem Protests and more -- The Left Chapter Sunday Reading List September 24 - October 1

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Singh's victory was a direct repudiation of the left by the NDP -- It is pointless to pretend otherwise

In the two weeks since Jagmeet Singh was elected leader of the federal NDP in a first ballot landslide where nearly half of party members did not even bother to vote at all, the dust has settled to reveal a party that neither wanted nor embraced any serious change of course or path of introspection after the catastrophe of 2015.

It is often worth waiting to see the narratives that emerge in the days following a vote such as this one and these have varied from the predictable to the farcical.

Predictably the party pundits and establishment -- as well as, significantly, a variety of right wing or liberal media commentators outside of the party -- have embraced Singh's victory as the dawn of a new era of leadership that will be aimed at electorally besting Trudeau and that rejects any silly notions of radicalism or leftism.

Of course, the very same people also embraced Mulcair's victory in exactly the same way in the 2012 leadership contest.

Singh is regularly framed as a serious contender against Trudeau not due to his polices but due to his perceived charisma, good looks and even his hair. This is par for the course in a neoliberal politics that infantilizes voters and that intentionally seeks to dumb down the discourse and minimize differences between the parties.

As I have noted before, it is no mystery why the mainstream media to a degree celebrates folks within the NDP like Singh and Mulcair as they represent a non-threatening, centrist oriented version of "social democracy". If there is no real left, there is no real left and there is nothing that makes the notion that truly anti-capitalist or socialist ideas are absurd or not to be taken seriously more creditable then when what used to be a socialist party itself repudiates these ideas.

New Democrats and "progressives" should stop feigning surprise when the mainstream media casts a spotlight on politicians in the NDP like Singh. It makes perfect sense that they would.

The NDP's marginalized left supporters were reduced to trying to claim a "moral" victory that is not at all readily apparent to anyone who is not looking to desperately seek out any reason at all why socialist or anti-capitalist activists should continue to support or work within a party that would have been best abandoned a generation ago.

The line that emerged from this quarter was not that the leadership results showed yet again the futility of trying to shift the party left -- a tactic that has failed for over 40 years with ever decreasing results -- but rather that somehow the "left" and the candidacy of Niki Ashton had pushed all the candidates to take more socialistic positions in the wake of the ouster of Mulcair.

But this position is silly and simply ignores the fact that events both outside the NDP and outside of Canada played a far greater role in what little ramping up of the left rhetoric that there was. Justin Trudeau's outmaneuvering of Tom Mulcair on the "left" in the federal election, as well as the campaigns of Sanders in the United States and Corbyn in the UK framed a context where any candidate was going to strike a more mildly "left" tone.

This is indicative a new and broader shift to the left in the progressive wing of the public both domestically and internationally that, sadly, the NDP had basically nothing at all to do with.

It is more than a bit a humourous -- as well as a sign of its total irrelevance within the party -- to see what is left of the NDP's left framing the leadership contest as showing its "influence" when the sole candidate running on anything remotely like a serious leftist platform only got 17.4% of the votes of the 52.8% of New Democrats who got around to casting a ballot.

If this signals that the "left" is a serious force in the NDP, I fail to see how. Especially as there is no evidence at all the Ashton or most of those who backed her will try to set themselves up as an opposition within the party.

There was not much of a left socialist case for continuing with the NDP going into the leadership race (and whatever one there was rested rather tenuously on Ashton)  and any serious analysis of the results would indicate that there is even less of one now, especially in light of the party's total repudiation of a shift akin to that occurring in the British Labour Party.

The notion that Ashton or any other campaign pushed the party to the "left" is fanciful at best, diversionary at worst, and is more wishful thinking than so-called analysis. I think this will be borne out rather quickly.

Now, with the former deputy leader of the odious ONDP in charge, and with the focus being on the most shallow of charismatic electoral considerations,  you can look forward to an exceptionally light and entirely rhetorical version of "social democracy".

The left in Canada seems trapped in a feedback loop of either insisting that the NDP is or can be a vehicle that it is not and never will be, or of suicidally eschewing left electoral vehicles or coalitions outside of the NDP altogether. Singh's easy victory and the total absence of a cohesive and significant left alternative to it either within the NDP or in federal Canadian politics more broadly shows that while the conditions are clearly there to directly challenge neoliberal austerity capitalism ideologically and politically on the larger stage of party politics, leftists and socialists continue to be either unwilling or unable to take the steps necessary to do so.

See also: Conundrum: Niki Ashton and the NDP leadership campaign

Thursday, October 12, 2017

My Recipes are for the Birds w. Cardinal Casserole, Jay Jambalaya & more -- Vintage Cookbook TBT

Vintage Cookbook: My Recipes are for the Birds

Publication Details: Doubleday 1976

Published in 1976 this vintage cookbook is something of a departure for us, as it is not a "cookbook" for humans at all! Rather, as it name indicates, "My Recipes are for the Birds" provides a variety of concoctions aimed at keeping our winged friends alive and well during the months of fall and winter.

The book begins with a few pages of practical advice on feeders, ingredients etc, and then moves on to its recipes for individual birds from "Blueberry Betty" to "Wren Wrolls". Each recipe is accompanied by a charming illustration. The book ends with some pages detailing the winding down of the feeding season. 

It is all presented in a spiral format that is both handy and adds to the charm.

Here we look at some of the introduction and conclusion, as well as at a few recipes for some of my favourite birds.

(Click on scans to enlarge) 


The Truth About Wage Concessions

The Truth About Wage Concessions 

(Source: CUPE: The Facts Bulletin, April 1984)

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Religion and Communism, Earl Browder CPUSA 1939

Vintage Leftist Leaflet Project

See the end of this post for details on the project.

Leaflet: Religion and Communism, Earl Browder CPUSA 1939

In this leaflet -- which is a transcript of a speech he gave at the Community Church in Boston in 1939 -- Earl Browder, the then leader of the Communist Party USA, tries to address issues around religion and communism both ideologically and in the context of the Soviet Union and the US party. Browder led the party from the mid 1930s until 1945. (Browder was eventually expelled from the party in 1946.)

The booklet is interesting in its historical context against the backdrop of the Spanish Civil War and Nazism, both of which it references. It is also notable for its very obvious attempts to appeal to Catholics specifically. Browder also tries to frame the campaigns against the Greek Orthodox Church in the Soviet Union as the repudiation of what had been a state religion under the Czars and thus akin to the overthrow of the stranglehold of the Catholic Church on life in France during the French Revolution or the desire of Americans to be free from a state religion and to favour the separation of church and state.

 One notable quote: "The fascists have so terribly revived the cannibalistic anti-Semitism of the Middle Ages, and intensified it, precisely under the completely false identification of the Jewish religion with Communism". 

(Click on scans to enlarge) 

When The Left Chapter began part of what I wanted to do on the blog was to show and highlight vintage public leftist election/political leaflets and booklets. While many of these have been offered with commentary to date, a very large collection of hundreds of them from several different sources remains and to preserve these often quite rare documents we will be posting them on a regular (almost daily) basis now often without or with minimal commentary so that people may have access to them as quickly as possible as an historical resource. 

While these will all be leaflets from a variety of different leftist viewpoints and countries, they are being posted as an historical/study resource and the views or opinions expressed in them do not necessarily reflect the views of this blog or blogger.

All of these posts (as well as posts made to date) will be listed on the page: Vintage Communist/Socialist Leaflets  (which is still being updated with past posts).

If you have any public, vintage leaflets or booklets you would like to contribute to this project please contact us via

Kharkiv 1975 -- A Vintage Soviet Postcard Folder

Kharkiv (or Kharkov) is the second largest city in the Ukraine and was the capital of the Ukrainian SSR until 1934. This postcard folder from the Soviet era shows the city and it various sights and institutions in 1975.

When looking at these photos it is worth remembering that around 70% of the city had been completely destroyed during the Second World War. 

I am very fond of this particular folder as it has an interesting variety in its subjects and also has some well framed streetscapes which are always a favourite subject of our vintage photography posts. The photograph of what was Rosa Luxemburg Square stands out as does the oddly classical and monumental appearance of the airport.

Transit nerds will see in several of the photos the Tatra T-3 tramcars that were manufactured in Czechoslovakia during the Communist era and that were noted for their exceptional reliability. We had some photos of these in our look at vintage postcards of the city of Ulyanovsk.  Kharkiv had a very extensive tram network and these were the primary trams that operated on it until the late 1980s.

The folio cover has the city name in Ukrainian, which is Ха́рків.

The cards have descriptions of what each card is of in Ukrainian, Russian, French and English. 

(Click on images to enlarge)

Gorky State University

Monument to the Fighters for Soviet Power

Monument "Star" in Kharkiv Divisions Street

University Hill

Monument to A. S. Makarenko

Monument to T. G. Shevchenko

Zone of Rest

Glass Stream Fountain in Victory Square

Department Store

City Soviet of Working People's Deputies

View of the Lopan River

Everyday Services Building

F. Dzerzhinsky Square


Monument to Lenin

Rosa Luxemburg Square

G. Byron Street

The Ukraine Concert and Cinema Complex