Sunday, December 17, 2017

Roy Moore, Honduras, Site C and more -- The Left Chapter Sunday Reading List December 10 - 17

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  December 10 - 17. It is generally in order of the date of the article's release.

This installment has 3 entries that are from before the period. They have been integrated into the post.

1) Mainstream media silent as Jeremy Corbyn wins International Peace Prize

J.D McGregor, Evolve Politics

As the majority of the British mainstream media disingenuously fawns over Theresa May’s pitiful capitulation to the European Union’s Brexit demands, there has been an incredibly conspicuous radio silence regarding Jeremy Corbyn’s latest achievement.

Read the full article.

2) ‘Bibi to prison’: Thousands demand Netanyahu resignation over corruption in Israel

RT News

Thousands of Israelis took to the streets of Tel Aviv calling for the resignation of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over corruption charges.

Read the full article.

3) ‘Shocking’ toll of women killed by men renews call for safe spaces

Jamie Doward and Anna Menin, The Guardian

Of the 113 women killed by men in England, Wales and Northern Ireland last year, 85 died in their homes, according to the Femicide Census, an annual analysis by the charity Women’s Aid.

Read the full article.

4) Anita Hill on Sexual Harassment: ‘Today, More People Would Believe My Story’

 Ricardo Lopez, Variety

In the three decades that have passed since law professor Anita Hill first accused the then-nominee for the Supreme Court, Clarence Thomas, Hill said she was never discouraged by the outcome — seeing her harasser confirmed to the highest court.

Read the full article.

5) They say they suffered ‘cruel and sadistic’ abuse as kids at Ontario training schools — and the government paid them to keep quiet

Kenyon Wallace, The Toronto Star

The province has secretly settled 220 lawsuits alleging sexual, physical and emotional abuse by teachers and staff at its schools for troubled youth between 1960 and 1984, a Star investigation has found.

Read the full article.

6) Courting trouble

Matt Kwong, CBC News

The controversy over Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore sheds light on the fundamentalist Christian practice of marrying off teen girls.

Read the full article.

7) 'He got away with everything': Woman says court cared more about abuser's future than her safety

Janelle Kelly, CBC News

Being assaulted was bad enough, but what happened in the courtroom has caused one St. John's woman to lose all faith in the justice system.

Read the full article.

8) The Deadly Racism of Thunder Bay

Robert Jago, The Walrus

A series of stalled police investigations reveals a city that’s indifferent to Indigenous lives.

Read the full article.

9) Mario Batali Steps Away From Restaurant Empire Following Sexual Misconduct Allegations

Irene Plagianos and Kitty Greenwald, Eater

Four women accuse the chef of inappropriate touching in a pattern of behavior that spans at least two decades, according to dozens of Eater interviews.

Read the full article.

10) Most Dire Climate Change Predictions, Warns New Study, Are Also the Most Accurate

Julia Conley, Common Dreams

Climate change is occurring at a faster rate than has previously been predicted, according to a new study which suggests that the most extreme estimates of the effects of global warming are likelier than more optimistic predictions.

Read the full article.

11) So the Cat Person short story has made straight men feel uncomfortable. Good

Glosswitch, The New Statesman 

A story in the New Yorker offers an unforgiving look at the ways gender makes victims of us all.

Read the full article.

12) BC NDP folds like cheap tent in first test to Indigenous peoples with Site C decision

Windspeaker News

“When it comes to reconciliation and working with Indigenous leadership, look there has been over 150 years of disappointment in BC. I’m not the first person to stand before you and disappoint Indigenous people.”. BC NDP Premier John Horgan

Read the full article.

13) Venezuela Rejects US Interference in Municipal Elections


Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza condemned on Monday statements made by the U.S. government against the democratic system of the South American nation, where municipal elections were held on Sunday, the third elections in the last six months.

Read the full article.


Robyn Doolittle, The Globe and Mail

The trauma expert leading specialized sexual-assault training. The advocate pushing groundbreaking police oversight. The government lawyer who made that change possible, and the senior police officers who embraced it.

These are among the people who have been on the front lines of the sexual-assault policing reforms happening across the country in response to The Globe and Mail’s Unfounded investigation, which in February revealed that Canadian law enforcement has been dismissing sexual-assault allegations at a rate much higher than for other crimes. Through hundreds of Freedom of Information requests, it was determined that police were closing one out of every five sexual-assault files as “unfounded,” a term that means the investigating officer does not believe a crime occurred – nearly double the rate for physical assault.

Read the full article.

15) RCMP to review 25,000 more sexual assault cases

Alison Crawford, CBC News

The RCMP is set to dramatically expand its review of closed sexual assault cases.

The decision comes after an examination of 2,225 files from 2016 where Mountie investigators had concluded the complainants' allegations were unfounded.

Read the full article.

16) Alberta Conservative House Leader Fired Single Mother After She Complained of Sexual Harassment

Press Progress

A company owned by United Conservative Party house leader Jason Nixon was fined by British Columbia’s Human Rights Tribunal for firing a woman after she complained she was being sexually harassed at work.

Read the full article.

17) Halifax fire department admits to systemic gender discrimination

Stephanie vanKampen, CBC News

Female firefighters in Halifax have faced systemic historic gender discrimination at work, according to a settlement involving the city, the Halifax Regional Fire and Emergency Service and former firefighter Liane Tessier.

Read the full article.

18) Child-care fee hikes outpace inflation with Toronto parents hardest hit

Laurie Monsebraaten, The Toronto Star

Toronto continues to be the most expensive city in Canada for child care across all age groups, according to a new Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives report.

Read the full article.

19) Canada and Honduras: Election Fraud is Only the Latest Outrage in Eight Year Nightmare

Tyler Shipley, Socialist Project Bullet 

The dictatorship that rules Honduras is in the process of stealing another election, and the Canadian government is doing precisely what it has done the last two times the Honduran dictatorship stole an election: nothing.

Read the full article.

20) Canada Must Stop Support to Honduras Regime following Botched Election & Fraud in Honduras and the Future of Fair Elections

Jen Moore & Laura Carlsen, Socialist Project Bullet

In the chaos following national elections in Honduras on November 26, Canadian authorities must take a strong public stand and forcibly denounce evidence of electoral fraud and violent repression of public protests. Across Honduras, tens of thousands of people have been demonstrating their discontent over evidence of electoral fraud by the government-controlled electoral tribunal. As widely reported, while early trends in the vote count indicated that opposition presidential candidate Salvador Nasralla was on track to win, delays, irregularities and evidence of vote-rigging since then favour the incumbent National Party candidate, Juan Orlando Hernández (JOH).

Read the full article.

21) Roy Moore’s stunning defeat reveals the red line for Trump-style politics

Richard Wolffe, The Guardian

The shock election results saw a Democrat make rare inroads in deep-red Alabama – and will hasten the existential question facing the Republican party.

Read the full article.

22) 'Suck it, Bannon': former Trump strategist has bad night in Alabama

David Smith, The Guardian

It was Meghan McCain, the daughter of Senator John McCain, who summed up the feelings of many in a three-word tweet: “Suck it, Bannon.”

Read the full article.

23) Québec Solidaire Clarifies Its Support for Independence

Richard Fidler, Socialist Project Bullet

There were two main tasks on the agenda at the congress of the left party Québec solidaire (QS), meeting in Longueuil December 1-3. One was the adoption of the party's platform for the next Quebec general election, to be held in October 2018. The other was ratification of a proposed fusion with Option nationale (ON), a small party originating in a split from the Parti québécois in 2011 after the PQ had put its goal of Quebec independence on the back burner for the foreseeable future. The fusion may add several hundred ON militants to QS's membership of 18,000.

Read the full article.

24) No evidence any Montreal mosque asked women be barred from work site, construction board finds

CBC News

An investigation by Quebec's construction board has confirmed confirmed that no Montreal mosque sought to exclude women from a nearby work site during Friday prayers.

Read the full article.

25) TVA apologizes for mosque story, says it will investigate 'journalistic process'

René Bruemmer, Montreal Gazette

The TVA news network apologized Friday for a controversial and since debunked report on mosques banning women from a nearby construction site, but a national Muslim organization says the network needs to go further.

Read the full article.

26) Mexico: murders of women rise sharply as drug war intensifies

Associated Press

Of more than 50,000 killings of women since 1985, nearly a third took place in last six years, official report says.

Read the full article.

27) Woman who says her employer docked pay for washroom breaks will have human rights hearing

Jaren Kerr, The Toronto Star

Laurie Bates says she was singled out for having irritable bowel syndrome. In a complaint, she says the company docked her pay and alerted coworkers when she used the washroom.

Read the full article.

28) Why toys are more divided by gender than ever before

Amy Dempsey, The Toronto Star

For years, parents and researchers have challenged the blue/pink divide in the toy aisle. But the split has only become starker. And what we play with as a kid can have a lasting influence.

Read the full article.

29) Hayek's accusations about the making of Frida make us question nudity in movies

Stephanie Merry, The Age

Salma Hayek has become the latest woman to come forward with allegations of sexual harassment and bullying against producer Harvey Weinstein. In an oped for The New York Times, she wrote, "for years, he was my monster", and detailed how he allegedly propositioned her again and again. "With every refusal came Harvey's Machiavellian rage," she wrote. "I don't think he hated anything more than the word 'no.'"

Read the full article.

30) Think our governments can no longer control capitalism? You’ve been duped

Larry Elliott, The Guardian

In reality there has been a class war, in which the right has spent decades using the state to undermine workers. We can fight back.

Edward Helmore, The Guardian

Actor calls former co-star’s remarks about ‘spectrum of behaviour’ in sexual misconduct ‘Orwellian’ and questions defence of disgraced comedian Louis CK.

Read the full article.

See also: The #MeToo Movement, Jerusalem, Honduras and more -- The Left Chapter Sunday Reading List December 3 - 10

See also: Honduras, the #MeToo Movement, the OFL & more -- The Left Chapter Sunday Reading List November 26 - December 3

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Lift Every Voice! The People's Song Book 1957 Part One: Songs of Peace and Labor f. Paul Robeson

Vintage Leftist Leaflet Project

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

Leaflet: Lift Every Voice! The People's Song Book 1957 Part One: Songs of Peace and Labor f. Paul Robeson

Lift Every Voice! The Second People's Song Book was first published in 1953 and went on to have several reprint editions. With a forward by the great Paul Robeson (see our post from April In Honour of Paul Robeson's Birthday - Music and Resistance) this is an exceptional collection of songs related to peace, labor, historic struggles, real people and freedom.

Today in the first of two parts we look at the sections with Songs of Peace and Songs of Labor. There are many true, towering classics here, such as the Strangest Dream, Bread and Roses, Joe Hill and Which Side Are You On?

Scroll to the end for a video of Paul Robeson singing the wonderous American sailor's song,  Shenandoah, the lyrics and music of which you can also find in this installment.

(Click on scans to enlarge)

See also: I.W.W. Songs of the Workers

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 send them to

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Easy Spinach Mushroom Beef Slow Cooker Lasagna

By Natalie 

Perfect for the season and really easy to make, today we are going to take a look at a way to cook "lasagna" in a slow cooker that uses ravioli in place of noodles. This dish is both very satisfying and full of the familiar lasagna flavours we all love so much.


1 1/2 lb. ground beef
1 large bag (750-850 grams) frozen spinach & cheese ravioli
3 - 500 ml. can of crushed tomatoes
1 to 2 cups chopped brown mushrooms
1 medium onion
4 cups grated mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
1 tablespoon garlic powder
salt and pepper to taste

In a large saucepan saute the mushrooms and onions over medium-high heat for 7-8 minutes or until golden. Remove from pan and set aside.

Add the beef to pan and brown. Once the beef is browned, stir in the tomatoes and seasonings and then add the sauteed mushrooms and onions.

Once everything has been stirred together, get out your slow cooker. This recipe works best with a 6 qt. or larger slow cooker.

Ladle a layer of the sauce into the bottom of the slow cooker. Then top with a layer of the frozen ravioli. You can use any cheese ravioli you like though I used spinach and cheese.

Cover the ravioli with a layer of mozzarella cheese.

Repeat these layers until you have used all the ravioli and then make the final layer a layer of the beef and mushroom sauce. Top this with the mozzarella and the Parmesan.

Put the slow cooker cover on and cook on low for 4 hours.

Simple and delicious fare. Serve with garlic bread and red wine.

See also: Clay Baked Lasagna

See also: Deep Dish Pizza Sandwich

Monday, December 11, 2017

John Horgan lets the facade drop with cynical, ugly comments after green-lighting Site C

By now the news that the British Columbia NDP government has betrayed the (sorta) promise it made to stop the building of the Site C dam is rippling like a shock wave through those New Democrats left who still take the party's pledges and claims to be a real alternative seriously.

The decision to green-light Site C is, indeed, a terrible one. It hurts the Horgan government's claims to want to be an environmental leader and will without doubt undermine the highroad approach it has tried to stake out in opposing the pipeline expansion supported by NDP oil industry hack Rachel Notley one province over in Alberta. It reeks of the long tradition the party has of promising the bare minimum and then failing to deliver even that, especially as this government had already backpedaled on its minimum wage pledge. It smacks of a sad pandering and cowardice.

None of this should be terribly surprising from the government of a party that has shifted as far as it has towards the Third Way centrism that parties like the Labour Party in the UK are now abandoning. The NDP outside of possibly Nova Scotia has become little more than a debased echo of a social democratic party whose increasingly tenuous connection to a now almost mythical socialist past consists of celebrating the fact that Tommy Douglas was voted the "Greatest Canadian" a few years ago.

But even with its recent history both in BC and across the country, Premier John Horgan still managed to surprise by, almost uniquely, actually dropping the facade and pretense of being something better or a part of a fundamental shift by saying:
When it comes to reconciliation and working with Indigenous leadership there has been over 150 years of disappointment in British Columbia. I’m not the first person to stand before you and disappoint Indigenous people."
"There has been over 150 years of disappointment in British Columbia. I'm not the first to stand before you and disappoint Indigenous people"

Let that comment sink in for a moment.

It is where you see the real face, motives and feelings of Horgan and his government come through in all of their cynicism and ugliness.

Remember it the next time you are yet again peddled the line that the NDP is fundamentally different from the other mainstream capitalist parties, that we have "no choice" on the left but to support it and that it remains a party committed to real change and a new type of society and politics.

No, Mr. Horgan, you are not the first to stand before us and disappoint Indigenous people. And you are likely not the last. But you can no longer have the benefit of the doubt from anyone on the left. Your true colours are on full display.

See also: The Constant Image Gardeners

See also: To Rachel Notley -- Climate change is destroying millions of workers jobs and lives around the world, so please, smarten up

The Constant Image Gardeners

By Scotty Hertz

As the somewhat freshly minted, seatless leader of the federal NDP, Jagmeet Singh is on a continuing mission to “visit communities to build momentum for the party’s brand and ideas” whilst compiling an extensive photo op folder. Singh is as photogenic as Trudeau Jr., perhaps more so, with social media forever bringing an end to the previous political style era of tragic comb overs, rumpled Eaton’s blazers and public smoking. Singh’s recent foray into the fruit and vegetable mines of southwestern Ontario was a beautifully framed masterpiece of visual symmetry; the eager well manicured rookie stands tall among the irrigation hoses, nary a leaf out of place. This image suggests at any minute he will be shedding the jacket to fill the flats behind him to the brim, ready for shipment by the skid load to warehouse shopping members nationwide. Undoubtedly on this day the ventilation system was cranked full bore before his arrival and the insecticide spraying put on hold for a while. The temporary foreign workers have been cleared off and given a brief respite from their work while their potential saviour gets the perfect shot for the growing Instagram portfolio. Was their pay docked during the stoppage?

A group that represents the workers who slog it in this environment (so you don’t have to) are not particularly happy with Singh’s sunshine and lollypop spin on his fact finding mission. “This industry has basically been built on the blood sweat and sacrifices of low wage, racialized, precarious workers,” Justicia for Migrant Workers advocate Chris Ramsaroop said in the Toronto Star. Beyond the well worn Farmer/Labour mojo that Singh is trying to harness here, the history of agriculture in Canada has a dimension that remains hidden for the most part, until an event such as the carbon monoxide poisoning of 42 greenhouse workers in Delta BC grabs a headline for the weekend. An aerial view makes it very clear that this isn’t some Little House On The Prairie Ma and Pa outfit, it’s a factory that just happens to have plenty of natural light and colourful edibles within it instead of widgets and punch presses.

Our agri-food system doesn’t like it when temporary foreign workers have down time. Injured and sick labourers are regularly taken off the job and sent back home if they can no longer cope with the grunt work that they were hired to do. Complaints about conditions, pay and ill treatment can lead to varying degrees of punishment. Harassment is rife both on the job and in the community. Gangsters regularly take a cut of some of the hardest earned wages in the nation. TFWs pay into Canadian benefits that they can never claim or access. There will be a fee for every ambulance ride required during this recent emergency which will put a divot in meagre savings, if there are any savings at all. It’s a tough, segregated, shitty life, with the potential of becoming a full fledged Canadian well out of reach of the majority. This award winning primer, Migrant Dreams, will make you pause for a moment the next time you are among the bags of peppers and poly pacs of on-the-vine tomatoes:

Moments like this add fuel to the great, never ending internal debate of the NDP; do they align with the workers and risk being branded unelectable pinkos or do they schmooze with the bosses and alienate the traditional base? With the temporary foreign workers out of the frame and unable to vote, it’s clear who the target was on this brand building mission. Here is a shot of some berry pickers in Milton from the Toronto Star a decade ago, the only mainstream media outlet in the nation to give the TFWs any regular ink. If the goal is to be firmly on the side of the working class in Canada, Singh will need to get the sleeves up and physically step into the gritty frame with the sweat, tears and toil. Until then his party should be prepared for the grumbling to continue.

Related Links:

This piece originally appeared on the Spannerbook blog and is reprinted here with permission.

Scotty Hertz is the co-host of Open Sources Guelph, CFRU-FM’s weekly political news and affairs show. He has appeared on Beyond the Ballot Box, The Working Week, Election Radio and developed The Labour Show podcast for, one of the first of it’s kind in Canada. He has contributed to, Canadian Dimension and blogs at Hertz is the former bass player of The Rebel Girls and can be seen with The Paper Candidates on occasion.

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