Tuesday, April 24, 2018

We all could have seen Minassian's misogynist attack coming if we had wanted to look

Horrified. Disgusted. Angry. Those words and many others can accurately describe how myself and so many others feel about the terrible, senseless attack in Toronto that claimed the lives of 10 innocent people and seriously injured 14 others.

But what I am not is surprised.

If, as seems increasingly likely, the alleged killer Alek Minassian was motivated by a hatred of women and the ideas and philosophy of online misogynists, this is an attack that was all too predictable.

Minassian appears to have been an "Incel", an extreme wing of what has been described as the "manosphere", a loosely connected collection of misogynists of various stripes and incarnations. The Southern Poverty Law Centre said of this: "The so-called “manosphere” is peopled with hundreds of websites, blogs and forums dedicated to savaging feminists in particular and women, very typically American women, in general."

Toronto journalist Arshy Mann has posted a "primer" about Incels that is definitely worth reading if you are unfamiliar with the term.

After many years of writing about, researching and covering the "Men's Rights" movement and its assorted figures, websites and detritus, what I would say is that while Incels may well be particularly bad, they are simply a logical conclusion to an already dangerous extremism.

An extremism that turns reality on its head with lies about notions of "misandry" and absurd ideas that women and feminists (especially) are somehow oppressing men.

A remarkable number of what amount to terrorist acts are motivated by misogyny and the internet has allowed very angry, bitter, woman-hating men to find each other and various organizations and groupings that reinforce their views.

No doubt many, especially on the right, will write off this recent attack as the actions of a mentally ill man -- a label and attitude that among other things is profoundly unfair to people suffering from mental illness.

They will do this even as evidence is mounting that Minassian targeted women during his rampage.

The mainstream media "terrorist" narrative is not served by a story of terrorism against women. That horrific daily reality is just the background noise of the crime pages, rarely acknowledged even when it manifests itself in the most terrible brutality. Regularly men who commit acts of  depraved viciousness against women are portrayed sympathetically by the media. They supposedly suffered from PTSD, bullying, mental illness, or any number of other supposed mitigating factors. They often are remembered as "loving" or as having cared about their wives, partners or families, even when killing them all.

It is rare indeed that the essential issue of systemic misogyny is named. Rare indeed that the terrorist actions of men targeting women are acknowledged for what they are and that, god forbid, it is suggested that maybe men online spewing a constant stream of hateful vitriol about women and feminists might have something to do with, might even encourage, male violence. 

The online "manosphere" has been incredibly dangerous for a very long time. It actively promotes and facilitates the hatred and delusions of angry, exceptionally violent men.

It is important for people to understand this and the threat it poses.

It is important for all of us, collectively, to confront the profound danger that is male hatred of and violence towards women.

Further reading about the MRA and online mysogyny:

Lies our fathers told us: The men's rights movement and campus-based misogyny

A Voice for Men's new Canadian misogynist campaign, CAFE and Ryerson University

Dan Perrins, CAFE & Canada's Men's Rights movement

Mainstreaming misogyny: Canada's new charitable hate movement, CAFE

Guess what's coming to U of T: The Men's Rights Movement, Janice Fiamengo and Paul Elam

Diminishing legitimate 'male' issues: Gary Mason, the Men's Rights Movement and the myth of misandry


Anti-MRA Links & Resources

The Freedom of Your Right to Work! f. Billy Bragg

The Freedom of Your Right to Work!



There is power in a factory, power in the land
Power in the hands of a worker
But it all amounts to nothing if together we don't stand
There is power in a union - There is Power in a Union, Billy Bragg




See also: The Boss's Worst Nightmare...An Organized Working Class!

See also: The Economy, Neoliberal Style

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Miguel Diaz-Canel, Kinder Morgan, Starbucks & more -- The Left Chapter Sunday Reading List April 15-22

via Telesur on Facebook
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  April 15 - 22. It is generally in order of the date of the article's release.


This installment has four entries from before the period. They have been integrated into the post.

1) First Nations say Trudeau doesn't have their consent to build Trans Mountain

Hilary Beaumont, Vice News

Justin Trudeau’s government is inching closer to a head-on collision with opposing First Nations, mayors and the B.C. government over the Trans Mountain pipeline.

Read the full article.

2) My Epiphany About the Problem With Apu

Jeet Heer, The New Republic

On last Sunday’s episode of The Simpsons, Marge and Lisa had an awkward mother-daughter conversation about a children’s book that Marge loved as a child, but which, upon revisiting, turns out to have an embarrassing colonial subtext. “Well what am I supposed to do?” Marge asked. “It’s hard to say,” Lisa said. “Something that started decades ago and was applauded and inoffensive is now politically incorrect. What can you do?” Then Lisa looks at a framed picture on her nightstand of Apu Nahasapeemapetilon, an Indian-American character at the center of a debate over racist stereotyping on the nearly 30-year-old show.

Read the full article.

3) Tesla says its factory is safer. But it left injuries off the books

 Will Evans and Alyssa Jeong Perry, Reveal News

But things are not always as they seem at Tesla. An investigation by Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting found that Tesla has failed to report some of its serious injuries on legally mandated reports, making the company’s injury numbers look better than they actually are.

Read the full article.

4) From Starbucks to Hashtags: We Need to Talk About Why White Americans Call the Police on Black People


Jason Johnson, The Root

As horrible as the realities of American policing can be for black America, we can’t ever forget that there are even worse people out there. They’re peering out from the curtains of their house, information kiosks and “liberal” coffee counters, surreptitiously dialing their phones, whispering the exaggerations and Trumped-up fears that make America’s violent policing possible.

Read the full article.

5) 2 black men arrested at Starbucks get an apology from police

Errin Haines Whack, AP News

On Thursday, they also got an apology from Philadelphia police Commissioner Richard Ross, a black man who at first staunchly defended his officers’ handling of the encounter.

Read the full article.

6) Why Starbucks shouldn't be praised for its misguided racism workshops

Hina Tai, The Guardian

There is a place for recognizing the critical role of implicit bias in racial disparities; it’s just not here. Bottom line – don’t be too quick to label Starbucks’ racial implicit bias trainings a victory. It’s far from it. The process for change is uncomfortable and if it’s not, then it’s probably not working.

Read the full article.

7) Was There a Civilization On Earth Before Humans?

Adam Frank, The Atlantic

By asking about civilizations lost in deep time, we’re also asking about the possibility for universal rules guiding the evolution of all biospheres in all their creative potential, including the emergence of civilizations. Even without pickup-driving Paleocenians, we’re only now learning to see how rich that potential might be.

Read the full article.

8) Call me radical, but journalists should be able to pledge support for Palestinian journalists 

Neil Macdonald, CBC News

Call me radical, but I've always thought there are at least two subjects on which journalists are absolutely entitled to express public opinions: freedom of expression, and attacks on journalists.

Read the full article.

9) North and South Korea reportedly set to announce official end to war

Sam Meredith, CNBC News

North and South Korea are in talks to announce a permanent end to the officially declared military conflict between the two countries, daily newspaper Munhwa Ilbo reported Tuesday, citing an unnamed South Korean official.

Read the full article.

10) How Doug Ford's pledge of 'zero income tax' leaves minimum wage earners worse off

Mike Crawley, CBC News

Doing the math reveals Liberal, NDP plan for $15 hourly rate puts more money in workers' pockets.

Read the full article.

11) These Appear To Be The Toronto Sun’s Provincial Election Plans

Jonathan Goldsbie, Canadaland

There’s nothing surprising about the fact the Toronto Sun might take an anti-Liberal line heading in to the June 7 Ontario election. What’s somewhat more remarkable, however, is that they’d feel the need to set that down on paper.

Read the full article.

12) The restaurant industry ran a private poll on the minimum wage. It did not go well for them. 

Lisa Graves and Zaid Jilani, The Intercept

The poll — which was presented on a slide deck obtained by The Intercept and Documented — found that seven in 10 Americans want to see the minimum wage raised even if it means that they’d have to pay more for meals. It also found that the industry’s various talking points against raising the wage are mostly falling flat with the general public.

Read the full article.

13) Syria airstrikes added $10 billion to missile manufacturer stock values

C. J. Atkins, People's World

War, who is it good for? Missile manufacturers, that’s who.

Read the full article.

14) There’s dumb, and there’s Alberta dumb—and Rachel Notley’s Bill 12 is both

Martyn Brown, The Georgia Straight

The emperor has no clothes, I suggest. Be it the one occupying the prime minister’s office in Ottawa, or the tiny Tories of all political stripes in Edmonton.

Read the full article.

15) Prof. Mike Davis: “There Was Once A Generation of Lions”

Mohsen Abdelmoumen, American Herald Tribune

A 'triage' of humanity is in progress and in such times one must take a stand for the species not for the nation, for the necessary not for the immediately realistic.   The key question is not the growing inequality of wealth and income as the Occupy movements maintain, but the privatization of economic power that ensures such inequalities.  Future survival for the majority of the world's population requires that the economic surpluses generated by the information revolution and globalization are invested wisely in rebuilding our living environments and equalizing a high quality of living (which is not the same as rampant consumption).  How to democratize economic power?  Socialists may not yet have found the path, but they are the only ones urgently looking.

Read the full interview.

16) Dozens of American Jews arrested protesting Gaza violence

Edo Konrad, 972 Magazine

From Boston to San Francisco, young activists from IfNotNow demonstrate outside the offices of prominent Jewish institutions and senators, demanding they condemn Israel’s violence against Gaza protesters.

Read the full article.

17) Natalie Portman Says ‘Jewish Values’ Caused Her To Scrap Israel Visit For Genesis Prize

Dave Goldiner, Forward

Oscar-winning actress Natalie Portman has refused to travel for Israel to accept a $2 million award, citing her “Jewish values” as an imperative to stand up for justice amid an increasingly deadly conflict with the Palestinians.

Read the full article.

18) Likud MK: Strip Natalie Portman of her citizenship

Arutz Sheva 

MK Hazan calls on Interior Minister to strip Portman of her citizenship, Culture Minister Regev says Portman fell into hands of BDS.

Read the full article.

19) Portman’s V for Vendetta Against Netanyahu Touches Raw Nerve for Israel

Chemi Shalev, Haaretz

Natalie Portman’s decision to withdraw from the Jerusalem ceremony to mark her acceptance of the $2 million Genesis Prize is, not to put too fine a point on it, a very big deal.

Read the full article.

20) Tory leadership candidate worries weed will make Nova Scotians lazy like Jamaicans

Jacob Boon, The Coast

One of the candidates hoping to lead the Progressive Conservative Party is concerned legalized cannabis could have the same impact on Nova Scotia's productivity as she assumes it's had on Jamaica's economy.

Read the full article.

21) B.C. First Nation wins right to its own commercial fishery

The Canadian Press

A group of West Coast First Nations has won the right to harvest and sell fish commercially after a 12-year court battle.

Read the full article.

22) Kevin Taft on what turned Rachel Notley from crusading critic to big oil crusader

Kevin Taft, The National Observer

I spent four years in the Alberta legislature with Rachel Notley, from 2008 to 2012. I liked and admired her and was delighted when she became premier in 2015. Today when I watch her on pipeline and oil issues I ask myself, what happened to the Rachel Notley I knew? And I wonder if the same thing will happen to John Horgan.

Read the full article.

23) Stop the Kinder Morgan bailout

Lead Now

Right now, Trudeau is considering using your tax dollars to bail out Texas oil giant Kinder Morgan’s floundering pipeline and tanker scheme. 

Read/sign the petition.

24) The gender pay gap is not a myth. Here are 6 common claims debunked

Marilisa Racco, Global News  

This fact (and the figures that back it up) are consistently argued and even denied by many people. In the spirit of clarification, Global News has broken down the common misperceptions around the gender pay gap and answered some of the most popular claims from opponents.

Read the full article.

25) 'One day that door will open': Women of colour talk about racism on campaign trail

Sherri Borden Colley · CBC News

One woman was asked if she was lost when she filed her papers to run; another heard refugees 'were a threat'.

Read the full article.

26) Anti-Abortion Leader Emerges As White Nationalist

Laura Bassett, The Huffington Post

Anti-abortion groups are distancing themselves from a prominent writer, activist and thought leader in the movement who has leaned into white nationalism since Donald Trump’s election.

Read the full article.

27) Sexual Harassment Was Rampant at Coachella 2018

Vera Papisova, Teen Vogue

I interviewed 54 women at Coachella, and they all said they had been sexually harassed.

Read the full article.

28) Don’t be fooled by Emmanuel Macron the ‘moderate’

Owen Jones, The Guardian

The French president is hailed as a centrist saviour, a bulwark against extremes – even as he cuts taxes for the wealthy, attacks workers’ rights and demonises refugees.

Read the full article.

29) Canada’s Wealthy Elites Are Dodging More Taxes Through Loopholes Than Previously Thought

Press Progress

It’s a wonderful time to be a wealthy tax dodger in Canada, new data from Finance Canada suggests.

Read the full article.

30) Trudeau not ready to join British PM's ban on single-use plastics

CBC News

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau stopped short today of echoing British Prime Minister Theresa May's call for Commonwealth members to ban single-use plastics — but pointed to a planned discussion at the next G7 summit, being hosted by Canada later this year.

Read the full article

31) Blackface is free speech but anti-Bush tweet is not at California university

Sam Levin, The Guardian

The divergent responses have provided a stark illustration of what some critics say is a double standard that has emerged in the fraught campus free speech debates of recent years. That is, in the face of conservative outrage over controversial leftwing views, colleges are quick to condemn and censor. But when racism, hate speech and pro-fascist views emerge, university presidents regularly declare their unwavering commitment to free speech rights – no matter the content.

Read the full article.

32) Yanis Varoufakis: Marx predicted our present crisis – and points the way out

Yanis Varoufakis, The Guardian

The Communist Manifesto foresaw the predatory and polarised global capitalism of the 21st century. But Marx and Engels also showed us that we have the power to create a better world.

Read the full article.

33) Miguel Diaz-Canel Elected as Cuba's New President

Telesur

The council of 31 deputies – made up of workers, students, women and peasants – confirmed the nomination of Miguel Diaz-Canel.

Read the full article.

34) Who Is Miguel Diaz-Canel, Cuba's New President?

Telesur

The Cuban National Assembly elected Miguel Mario Diaz-Canel Bermudez, a 57-year-old Cuban born two years after the island’s socialist revolution, as the country's new head of the Council of State and therefore the president of the Caribbean country. During his speech after he was sworn-in, Diaz-Canel vowed to be faithful to the legacy of late Cuban President Fidel Castro and his revolution.

Read the full article.

35) Cuba's New President Vows to Defend Socialist Revolution

Telesur

Cuba's new president, Miguel Diaz-Canel, began his term on Thursday with a promise to defend the socialist revolution led by the Castro brothers since 1959, giving a sober speech that also emphasized the need to modernize the island's economy.

Read the full article.

36) UN's Mideast Envoy Blasts Israel Over Gaza Deaths: 'Stop Shooting at Children'

Noa Landau and Jack Khoury, Haaretz

War of words erupts between Nickolay Mladenov and former IDF spokesman over fatal shooting of 15-year-old Palestinian during border protest. Trump envoy Greenblatt says Israel has launched investigation of the incident.

Read the full article.

See also: The Notley-Trudeau Pipeline Axis, Syria, Doug Ford & more -- The Left Chapter Sunday Reading List April 8 - 15

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Visit the USSR - A look at the Soviet Union in the late 1960s from Intourist (w. photos)

Published in the late 1960s by Intourist, the Soviet tourist bureau and company, this comprehensive brochure encouraging people to visit the USSR reads almost like a "State of the Union" leaflet.


A really fascinating glimpse into the Soviet Union of the time (as well as how it saw itself) it has a very detailed section on Moscow and its attractions, then looks briefly at all the other major cities of the USSR, and follows all of this with sections on labour conditions, country life, and finally overall standards of living, education and rights and freedoms of citizens.


Full of interesting facts and photos, it shows a society bursting with energy and optimism after decades of turmoil, war and civil war.

(Click on scans to enlarge)






























Note that there is a typo here as Lvov had a population of at least 500,000 at this time.