Sunday, August 20, 2017

#BlackOut protest movement seeks boycott of NFL over blacklisting of Kaepernick (with video)

With the obvious and shameful blacklisting of Colin Kaepernick by the NFL's owners continuing, a protest movement is growing that aims to expose and push back at this.

Kaepernick, as we all know, courageously refused to stand for the national anthem at NFL games to protest institutional and police violence against the African American community in the United States. His stance was followed by other players and provoked a much needed debate and discussion.

Since leaving as quarterback of the San Francisco 49ers, and despite his clear talent, no team has been willing to sign Kaepernick, not even as a backup.

As Jason Reid noted in The Undefeated:
Colin Kaepernick may never play in the NFL again. Let that sink in. A mobile, 29-year-old quarterback who in the past five seasons started in two NFC championship games and one Super Bowl and amassed a touchdowns-to-interceptions ratio that ranks among the best in NFL history is out of the league without an apparent opening to get back in...
...For some time, some African-American players have expressed anger that, in their opinion, Kaepernick is effectively being blackballed by owners because of his political stance. And there’s ample evidence to support that argument.

As Dria Roland put it about the rank hypocrisy of this blackballing:
Because in the NFL, it is OK:
  • for an athlete to be accused of sexual assault twice and keep working.
  • for an athlete to knock his fiancée out cold in an elevator and keep working.
  • for an athlete be convicted of assault, get signed to America's Team, and keep working.
  • for an athlete to abuse his wife for years and keep working.
  • for an athlete to kill someone in a DUI and keep working.
  • for an athlete to serve prison time for financing a dogfighting operation and keep working.
  • to name an entire team a racial slur.
  • to spy on other teams and deflate balls in championship games.
But in the NFL, it is not OK:
  • for players to advocate for same-sex marriage rights.
  • for a player to engage in silent protest, as Kaepernick has learned.
Some NFL players, notably Michael Bennett and Malcolm Jenkins have continued Kaepernick's protest on the field. A protest is also being organized at NFL headquarters on August 23 that has the support of some high profile backers like Spike Lee. Kaepernick even got support from an unexpected source as a group of New York City police officers rallied in his defense.

Now a group of African American civil rights activists and religious figures have started a #BlackOut movement that seeks to hit the NFL owners where it hurts -- in their pocketbooks. The group advocates for fans to "Boycott the NFL (no games, no fantasy football, no jerseys, no nothing)" as well as:
2. Commit to one-two hours during the NFL season to using the time you would have watching games to mentor young black boys and girls.
3. Spread the word to others.
4. “Take a knee” in prayer at 6 a.m. each morning.
They have released a powerful, moving video to backup their call:

The call to boycott really is the last weapon left for the public to not simply show solidarity with Kaepernick but to express their dismay and disgust at the McCarthyism and racism at work here.

It is time to #BlackOut the NFL and its products and to spread the word so that the owners are forced to listen to the only language that they understand, the language of money.

You can follow the protest and developments on their Facebook page.

 See also: Black Lives Matter is right -- The police are the oppressor

See also: You cannot 'discriminate' against the police. They are agents of discrimination.

Charlottesville Aftermath, the Rebel, Trump & more -- The Left Chapter Sunday Reading List August 13-20

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  August 13-20. It is generally in order of the date of the article's release.

1) James Damore, Google, and the YouTube radicalization of angry white men

Sam Levine, The Guardian

Damore became an ‘alt-right’ hero after Google fired him over his views on women. Did Google-owned YouTube play a role in reinforcing those ideas?

Read the full article.

2) How America Spreads the Disease that is Racism by not Confronting Racist Family Members and Friends

April Harter, Medium

As of today, the mother of the murder suspect who killed at least one person in Charlottesville Virginia during a white supremacist rally, told reporters that all she knew the last time she talked to her son, is that he was going to an “Alt-Right” rally. She had no idea her son was a racist — or did she?

Read the full article.


James Robb, A Communist at Large

It is easy to underestimate the current  ideological and political drive against women, and the degree to which it threatens the gains made in the struggle for women’s equality from the 1970s onward.

Read the full article.

4) Tech companies turn on Daily Stormer and the 'alt-right' after Charlottesville

Julia Carrie Wong, The Guardian

For more than four years, The Daily Stormer has used the internet to dish up a daily menu of hate-fueled, neo-Nazi, white supremacist red meat to its readers. On Sunday, a handful of the companies involved in making that possible decided that enough was enough.

Read the full article.

5) Michael Bennett Sits For National Anthem After Charlottesville Violence

Barry Petchesky, Deadspin

Seahawks DE Michael Bennett became the latest NFL player to sit for the national anthem, ahead of Sunday’s preseason game against the Chargers. He referenced the still-unsigned Colin Kaepernick (of whom Bennett has said, “of course he’s being blackballed”), but Bennett said this weekend’s white supremacy rally in Charlottesville and accompanying violence is what spurred him to act.

Read the full article.

6) Black people have had a presence in our history for centuries. Get over it

David Olusoga, The Guardian

Africans have lived in Britain since the Roman empire. When a leading historian confirmed this, she was vilified.

Read the full article.

7) Events in Charlottesville, VA: Some Canadian Racists React

Anti-Racist Canada

I imagine that many of ARC's readers have been following the White Supremacist rally in Charlottesville, VA as well as the large counter protest opposing them. The anti-fascists, anti-racists, and faith groups, and others faced off against bigots who, in many cases, were armed. There were a number of people injured and at least one counter protester was killed when a car driven by an "alt-right" supporter and plowed into a large group.

Read the full article.

8) Foreign Farmworkers in Canada Fear Deportation if They Complain

Dan Levin, The New York Times

Desperate to provide for his family, Hilario Mendoza leapt at the chance to leave Mexico to pick cherries on a farm in British Columbia.

Read the full article.

9) ‘Why is this man in prison?’, judge asks government lawyer in immigration detention case

Brendan Kennedy, The Toronto Star

Refugee claimant with no criminal record has been locked up in maximum-security jail since October.

Read the full article.

10) Donald Trump has been a racist all his life — and he isn't going to change 

Mehdi Hasan, The Intercept

“RACISM IS EVIL,” declared Donald Trump on Monday, “and those who cause violence in its name are criminals and thugs, including the KKK, neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and other hate groups that are repugnant to everything we hold dear as Americans.”

Read the full article.

11) Neo-Nazi who says Heather Heyer’s murder was “justified” used to write for A Voice for Men

David Futrelle, We Hunted the Mammoth

One of the most chilling moments in Vice News’ new mini-documentary on the #UniteTheRight rally this past weekend comes at the end, when reporter Elle Reeve sits down with a well-armed white supremacist named Christopher Cantwell, who tells her, among other horrific things, that he thinks the ISIS-style car attack on counterprotesters that left activist Heather Heyer dead was “more than justified.”

Read the full article.

12) The Rebel exodus suggests just one ‘ism’ separates far right from alt-right hate

Shree Paradkar, The Toronto Star

The likes of Levant and other “white passing” Jewish people of the far right, are finally realizing white supremacy casts upon them the same contemptuous gaze as it does on Black and brown people.

Read the full article.

13) Bonfire of The Rebel

Sandy Garossino, The National Observer

It’s easy to forget that the firestorm engulfing America over Charlottesville began when a democratically elected local council, after full public debate, voted to remove a Confederate monument.

Read the full article.

14) An Injury to One is an Injury to All!

Socialist Project Bullet

Hate crawled up from the sewers of Charlottesville, Virginia on Friday and flooded the streets with thousands of white men baring torches and chanting unbelievable hatred.

Read the full article.

15) Neo-Nazi who talked coldly of the murder of antifa “animals” turns tearful at prospect of arrest.

David Futrelle, We Hunted the Mammoth

Call it a tale of two videos. On Monday, Vice News released a mini-documentary on “Race and Terror” in Charlottesville chronicling the #UniteTheRight march of this past weekend and the murder of antifascist activist Heather Heyer.

Read the full article.

16) The rise and humiliating fall of Chris Cantwell, Charlottesville’s starring ‘fascist’

Avi Selk, The Washington Post

The white supremacists, nationalists and far-right trolls who starred in last weekend’s violent Charlottesville rallies have suffered no lack of humiliation in the days since.

Read the full article.

17) Polish police forcefully removes feminist and anti-fascist activists to clear way for far-right march on Army Day

Chloe Farand, The Independent

Polish police broke up a feminist rally and forcefully removed activists to clear the way for a march for far-right extremists.

Read the full article.

18) Centrists attack the left, but they are the true ideologues

Owen Jones, The Guardian

If a new so-called centrist party is to be set up, why not call it Denial, or perhaps Hubris? Self-described centrists believe that they are the besieged remnants of political sanity in a world gone mad. To be a centrist, so this story goes, is to be above ideology: pragmatic, focused on “what works”, being grown up. They are the moderate stabilisers, or according to this narrative it is their marginalisation that has opened the way to the extremes. In this centrist worldview, the xenophobic, racist or indeed fascist right are deemed to be politically and morally equivalent to the radical left.

Read the full article.

19) Here’s what Chinese takeout menus can teach us about immigration

Dolly Li, Medium

There’s a funny bit of insider knowledge hidden in the Chinese takeout menu above. Take a minute to find it. If you haven’t figured it out yet, here it is:

Read the full article.

20) Men’s-Rights Activism Is the Gateway Drug for the Alt-Right

David Futrelle, The Cut

Christopher Cantwell has a knack for getting himself noticed. The 36-year-old white supremacist with an internet radio show and a long history of violent rhetoric was one of the most visible figures at this past weekend’s #UniteTheRight rallies in Charlottesville.

Read the full article.

21) How Trump Ruined My Relationship With My White Mother

Panama Jackson, VSB

Like most of America, I’ve had a week. Whereas Charlottesville, Va., touched off a week of necessary discussions, debates and arguments centering largely on our president’s ignorance and emboldening of the very real problems in America, I’ve had exhausting, draining and, ultimately, disappointing arguments about America’s race problem within my own house with my mother.

Read the full article.

22) Mother of Charlottesville victim refuses to talk to Trump ‘after what he said about my child’

Elizabeth Wasserman, The Toronto Star

The mother of Heather Heyer, the woman killed while protesting Saturday’s white-supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va., said she won’t talk to U.S. President Donald Trump “after what he said about my child.”

Read the full article.

23) Charlottesville rally organizer calls Heather Heyer’s death ‘payback’

Matt Pearce, The Toronto Star

A Twitter post from the account of Jason Kessler, the far-right activist who organized the Charlottesville, Va., “Unite the Right” rally, insulted the protester who was killed at the event, saying late Friday night that her death was “payback time.”

Read the full article.


Julia Glum, Newsweek

A controversial Free Speech Rally in Boston fell apart Saturday afternoon when thousands of counter-protesters showed up and drowned it out. Journalists at the Boston Common, a downtown park, tweeted about an hour into the planned rally that many, if not all, of the attendees left the bandstand where they were due to hear speeches from several prominent conservative figures.

Read the full article.

25) Vancouver anti-racism rally spread a message of love, tolerance

The Canadian Press

Messages of love, tolerance and understanding were shared by thousands of people who gathered on Saturday to protest racism and hate.

Read the full article.

26) Will ‘BlackOut’ Be the Movement to Shut Down the NFL?

Angela Helm, The Root

This should be an interesting football season, and year, for that matter, as many American institutions are messily having their come-to-Jesus moments.

Read the full article.

See also: Charlottesville, Mary Beard, North Korea & more -- The Left Chapter Sunday Reading List August 6 - 13

See also: Dunkirk, Venezuela, Israel, Baltimore & more -- The Left Chapter Sunday Reading List July 30 - August 6

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Let's Go to the Ex -- A Left Chapter look at some of the sights and food of the 2017 CNE!

This year's edition of the Toronto end-of-summer institution the Canadian National Exhibition (otherwise known as "The Ex") kicked off today and runs until Labour Day as always.

Just as we did last year, The Left Chapter paid a visit to track down some new food items, sights and sounds, as well as to return to some old favourites!

I must say that I wanted to like the Last Samurai sandwich a lot. Just like I wanted to like the One Love Burger two years ago. Available at the Yatai (by Liberty Noodle) booth in the Food Pavilion it is a cheeseburger and a battered, deep fried chicken burger on a ramen noodle bun topped with lettuce and sauced red cabbage.

The thing is that the cheeseburger works, the chicken burger is great (crispy and with a slightly sweet, flavourful batter) and the toppings and sauce are fine, but the "bun" leaves much to be desired. The combination, also, works less as a taste than as a concept.

This booth is worth trying, but either get the burgers or special fries and perhaps skip the marquee specialty in my opinion.

The Last Samurai 
The Tokyo Fried Chicken booth makes a number of different fried specialties including the very tasty "Nashville" fried chicken dish which is slightly spicy, battered pieces of fried chicken served on a bed of rice and topped with a sauce of your choosing. I had the spicy sesame sauce and enjoyed the whole meal quite a bit.

One of the most talked about items is the Deep Fried Chicken Feet. So I tried it and while the $5 price may seem low by Ex standards, you really don't get much. It is a single chicken foot, battered in a quite sweet batter, and there is very little meat. It also looks off-putting! Other than for its novelty value the booth that serves these also has deep fried pickles and corn dogs that are much tastier.

It tastes about as good as it looks!
Many of the classic booths that we looked at in our 2015 and 2016 roundups are back, such as Ali's West Indian, the Montreal Smoked Meat booth, the Canadiana with its bison burgers, etc. You can read about these at those links.

Also back is San Francesco Sandwiches with all of their delicious veal, chicken and eggplant Italian sandwich options. But this year they have added a second colossal sandwich option so that for $15 you can get one of these two to either stay full on all day or, perhaps, share with a friend!

This year at the Arts and Crafts Pavilion is the very impressive Quilt of Belonging display. This is a 120 foot long quilt, years in the making, that is meant to celebrate inclusion and internationalism.

It is really quite beautiful and well worth checking out. 

Also at the Arts and Crafts building the Spice of Life booth returns with is excellent range of hot sauces. As I did last year I picked up the phenomenal (and phenomenally hot) Million Pepper Sauce, but I also got a jar of their Spicy Green Tomatoes. These are, indeed, spicy, but also delightfully tart and vinegary. A great garnish or side flavour.

Also back at the International Pavilion is the Russian History booth which is primarily dedicated to Soviet collectibles. From stamps to hats to shirts to busts of Lenin this amazing booth is a must for anyone keen about the subject.

My son picked up three Lenin pins and I scored a Soviet postcard folder that will be coming to a blog near you in the close future!

Bridging the At Home and International pavilions was an exhibition dedicated to Canada 150. This included a very fun origami  display of Canada "coast-to-coast" and, while impossible to photograph, a virtual reality feature involving the music of A Tribe Called Red. You put on a headset and immerse yourself in a 360 degree music video of theirs that moves as you do. It is really great and was one of the highlights of the CNE for me.

And, as always, there are the Farm Pavilions, the midway, the rides, and countless other attractions and food kiosks to part you from your money!

See you next year!

See also: Let's Go to the Ex -- A Left Chapter look at some of the sights and food of the 2016 CNE!

See also: Let's Go to the Ex -- A Left Chapter look at some of the sights and food of the 2015 CNE!

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Havana 1978 -- 18 Streetscapes and Vistas

Today we take a look at a lovely set of postcards printed in 1978 that were aimed at Soviet tourists who were visiting Havana, Cuba. While the cards have text entirely in Russian, they include many well known hotels, streetscapes and attractions such as the Karl Marx Theatre.

What is particularly attractive about these cards are the colour tones and the many with beautiful blue skies or waters framing their subjects. They capture the allure of one of the world's great cities.

(Click on images to enlarge)

See also: Fidel Castro 1926-2016 w. Photos from Revolutionary Cuba 1975

See also: Sochi 1978 -- A Postcard Visit to a Soviet Resort City