Sunday, December 31, 2017

Ahed Tamimi, Poverty in America, the Arctic and more -- The Left Chapter Sunday Reading List December 24 - 31

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 24 - 31. 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) Extreme poverty returns to America

 Premilla Nadasen, Washington Post

Finish all your food,” my mother used to tell me. “There’s a child in Africa who would love to have that food on your plate.” It was an effective disciplinary approach, especially because my family is from Africa. But my experience is not unique. Images of poverty in the “Third World” — then and now — permeate American society, reassuring us about our country’s ostensible democratic promise and potential for upward mobility. What economists call “extreme poverty,” most Americans think, is a distant problem, a hallmark of the less developed world.

But could extreme poverty also be a feature of what is (although perhaps not for long) one of the richest and most powerful nations in the world? Quite possibly. To answer the question, the United Nations launched an investigation of extreme poverty in the United States.

Read the full article.

2) Poverty Is Both a Political and a Moral Choice Made By the Powerful

Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi, Common Dreams

The UN Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty reports that “the American Dream is rapidly becoming the American Illusion.” Isn’t it time to wake up, discard both dreams and illusions, and act on the basis of the truth?

Read the full article.

3) The problem with men who harass, and the men who enable them, is not a lack of training

Shawn Vestal, The Spokesman-Review

As a man, on behalf of men, speaking with the full power and authority of the patriarchy at my back, let me just say: We don’t need sexual harassment training.

None of us needs a seminar to learn not to swap a job offer for sex. None of us is just one bullet point shy of understanding he shouldn’t lock the door and start masturbating in front of a woman. No man requires a PowerPoint to get that he shouldn’t ask a subordinate to watch him take a shower or text you a nude picture of himself.

Read the full article.

4) Power to the People: In Italy, a new left-wing movement is born

Daniele Fulvi, Green Left Weekly

In Rome on December 17, the first national meeting of Potere al Popolo (Power to the People), a new grass-roots left-wing movement aiming at running for the next general elections in March. But the new group also aims at giving new lifeblood and a new perspective to Italy’s radical left.

Read the full article.

5) Stars of Oscar-nominated Palestinian documentary imprisoned by Israel

Asa Winstanley, Middle East Monitor

One of the most boring refrains of liberals on the rare occasions they talk about Palestine is, “Where is the Palestinian Gandhi?”

This tedious argument is periodically dredged up by some clueless know-it-all who seems to think it an original thought.

Read the full article.

6) This Should Freak Everyone Out: The Arctic Will Never Be Frozen Again

Eric Holthaus, Mother Jones

Last week, at a New Orleans conference center that once doubled as a storm shelter for thousands during Hurricane Katrina, a group of polar scientists made a startling declaration: The Arctic as we once knew it is no more.

Read the full article.

7) Black job seekers have harder time finding retail and service work than their white counterparts, study suggests

Ainslie Cruickshank, The Toronto Star

Black applicants may have a harder time finding an entry level service or retail job in Toronto than white applicants with a criminal record, a new study has found.

Read the full article.

8) "Heavy-hearted" colonizers—B.C. NDP tries to share Site C victims' grief while simultaneously causing it

Andrew Frank, The Georgia Straight

Proceeding with the Site C dam is a colonial political decision that yet again forces Indigenous communities to pay for the mistakes of the non-Indigenous majority. The B.C. NDP needs to own up to that, or do the right thing and cancel the dam.

Read the full article.

9) The Case Against a Basic Income

Daniel Zamora, Jacobin

A universal basic income would shore up the market. We need ideas that shrink it.

Read the full article.

10) What Happens When A Russiagate Skeptic Debates A Professional Russiagater

Caitlin Johnstone, Medium

Have you ever wondered why mainstream media outlets, despite being so fond of dramatic panel debates on other hot-button issues, never have critics of the Russiagate narrative on to debate those who advance it? Well, in a recent Real News interview we received an extremely clear answer to that question, and it was so epic it deserves its own article.

Read the full article.

11) Huge health gap revealed between UK’s rich and poor

Michael Savage and Dulcie Lee, The Guardian

Children from poor families are far more likely to end up in hospital A&E departments or need emergency treatment for conditions such as asthma and diabetes, according to shocking figures revealing the consequences of poverty in Britain.

Read the full article.

12) Girls are facing a mental health crisis – and it’s not just because of Instagram

Katharine Sacks-Jones, The Guardian

Above all, in 2018, we must not ignore this alarming crisis, and acknowledge that gender inequality is a key driver. We need to recognise the impact of violence, abuse and poverty on young women and girls, and act now to prevent it having a devastating impact on their lives.

Read the full article.

13) 'Honour' killings in Karachi shock Pakistan's largest city

Sune Engel Rasmussen, The Guardian

The night Ghani Rehman was condemned to die, his father asked if they could share a last meal together. But Ghani excused himself, preferring to wait in his room. His sisters came to see him, and he gave them each a small token to remember him by: a plastic-wrapped mint drop.

Read the full article.

14) Why do archive files on Britain’s colonial past keep going missing?

Siobhan Fenton, The Guardian

The National Archives are home to more than 11m documents, many of them covering the most disturbing periods of Britain’s colonial past. The uncomfortable truths revealed in previously classified government files have proved invaluable to those seeking to understand this country’s history or to expose past injustices.

It is deeply concerning, therefore, to discover that about 1,000 files have gone missing after being removed by civil servants. Officially, the archives describe them as “misplaced while on loan to a government department”.

Read the full article.

15) No Room in the Shelters During Toronto’s Christmas Cold Snap

Doug Johnson, goodgawdanotherblog

In spite of two votes by city council calling for 90% or less shelter occupancy for people without homes, Toronto bureaucrats with strong backing from Mayor John Tory are running a system effectively over 100% capacity. There is an increasingly real danger that multiple people may be found frozen to death while sleeping outdoors during a cold snap projected to last for the remainder of the twelve days of Christmas.

Read the full article.

16) Third Parties, Your Time Is Now

Lark Lo, Truthdig

For third parties in this country, educational campaigns and working within the Democratic Party has to stop.

Read the full article.

17) Caracas versus Ottawa: Who to trust?

Yves Engler, rabble

Lying is so common in diplomacy that it can be hard to tell heads from tails in international disputes. In the recent tussle between Caracas and Ottawa, for instance, Venezuela says it is trying to protect itself from "foreign interference" while Canada claims it is promoting "democracy and human rights." Given the ever-present possibility of a complete disregard for truth on both sides, which government might be more credible in this instance?

Read the full article.

18) Threats against Kelly Marie Tran highlight a fear of women who break sexist stereotypes

Nicole Karlis, Salon

It’s not just Tran’s race and gender: her character wasn’t hyper-sexualized, which infuriated some right-wing types.

Read the full article.

19) My vagina was badly injured after giving birth. Why was getting help so hard?

Christen Clifford, The Guardian

My vagina tore when I had my first child, but it took five years before I got the medical attention I needed. I’m not the only one.

Read the full article.

20) Why is the West praising Malala, but ignoring Ahed?

Shenila Khoja-Moolji, Al Jazeera

There has been a curious lack of support for Ahed from Western feminist groups, human rights advocates and state officials who otherwise present themselves as the purveyors of human rights and champions of girls' empowerment.

Read the full article.

21) Why Is the State of Israel So Afraid of 16-Year-Old Ahed Tamimi?

Ariel Gold & Taylor Morley, AlterNet 

Sixteen-year-old Ahed Tamimi was back in court Thursday, with the judge ruling for the third time that her detention is extended, this time for another five days. Over the past week and a half, Ahed has been shuffled between numerous Israeli prisons and police stations. She has been held in cold isolation cells with cameras pointed at her 24 hours a day. Repeatedly, without a parent or lawyer present, they have attempted to interrogate her. The reasoning for the judge’s rulings to extend her detention is that she “poses a risk” to the military and the Israeli government's case against her.

Read the full article.

22) And if Ahed Tamimi Were Your Daughter?

Gideon Levy, Haaretz

Israelis are no longer capable of identifying with a brave girl, even when she looks like their daughters, just because she’s Palestinian. There are no longer any Palestinians who can touch Israelis’ hearts. There is no injustice that can still rouse our conscience, which has been completely extinguished.

Read the full article.

23) Lorde set an example for young celebrities to follow

 Hind Awwad, Al Jazeera

In the growing tide of support for the cultural boycott of Israel, New Zealand music star Lorde's decision to cancel her Tel Aviv concert is precedent-setting in many ways.

Read the full article.

24) Facebook Says It Is Deleting Accounts at the Direction of the U.S. and Israeli Governments

Glenn Greenwald, The Intercept

In September of last year, we noted that Facebook representatives were meeting with the Israeli government to determine which Facebook accounts of Palestinians should be deleted on the ground that they constituted “incitement.” The meetings — called for and presided over by one of the most extremist and authoritarian Israeli officials, pro-settlement Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked — came after Israel threatened Facebook that its failure to voluntarily comply with Israeli deletion orders would result in the enactment of laws requiring Facebook to do so, upon pain of being severely fined or even blocked in the country.

Read the full article.

25) Erica Garner, Black Lives Matter activist, dies aged 27

Martin Pengelly, The Guardian

The Black Lives Matter activist Erica Garner has died, after a week in hospital following a heart attack. She was 27. Garner was the daughter of Eric Garner, a man who died in a police chokehold in New York in 2014.

Read the full article.

See also: Nepal, Israel, Venezuela, Honduras and more -- The Left Chapter Sunday Reading List December 17 - 24

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

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Etobicoke Park Stairs, Niki Ashton, Jagmeet Singh & more -- 2017 on The Left Chapter in review

2017 saw over 300 posts of various kinds on The Left Chapter. We also saw record numbers of hits and readers including the top piece in The Left Chapter's history.

It also saw the launch of new pages and features such as the Vintage Leftist Leaflet Project.

Consistently popular as well were our vintage postcard and photography posts such as Leningrad During the Days of the War and in Peacetime -- A Photographic Exposition of Resistance, Victory and ReconstructionVintage Vegas 1958 - A Colour Postcard Folder of the Classic Hotels and Toronto Working Class and Immigrant Life 1910 - A Photographic Exposition. 

I want to thank all of our readers and contributors very much for their feedback, support, criticisms and engagement.

The year had many posts that came very, very close to making this list including posts like John Horgan lets the facade drop with cynical, ugly comments after green-lighting Site CIn the shadow of October -- Reflecting on the USSR and Soviet power, If there is no left, there is no left -- A short note on the politics of appeasement and socialist ideology and Omar Khadr is 'innocent' even if he is 'guilty'

We also had contributions from other writers that were widely read and shared and included Scotty Hertz's trenchant and brilliantly titled The Constant Image Gardeners, Marko Velimir Kobak's The Meaning of October on its Centenary looking at the Russian Revolution's legacy, and Ammario Reza's Polling Success or Electoral Flop? Religious Neutrality Laws that asks if bills like Quebec's C-61 are really as popular as people think they are.

Thank you so much to everyone who contributed this year and I look forward to seeing what interesting viewpoints and arguments we see next year!

(Remember that if you have a left point-of-view or opinion, a recipe or a story you want to share or if you want to share a petition/appeal or upcoming event you can send them to The Left Chapter via!)

Here, without further ado, are the top ten posts (in terms of hits) on The Left Chapter in 2017:

1) Etobicoke "park stairs" story is a perfect example of the crass, reactionary, anti-regulatory nonsense that led to the Grenfell disaster

By now almost everyone in  Toronto would have heard the story of newly minted Etobicoke folk hero  Adi Astl and how he built stairs quickly in a park for only $500 when city officials said building the stairs would cost $65,000 or more.

Read more!

See also: John Tory's austerity regime triumphs in latest Toronto budget

2) James Di Fiore's hatchet job on Niki Ashton deserves nothing but contempt

No doubt many have seen the inane hatchet job James Di Fiore wrote on the Huffington Post attacking Niki Ashton in deeply sexist, reactionary and over-the-top terms that lead to his absurd assertion from the title on that her "Obsession With Identity Politics Could Destroy The NDP".

Read more!

See also: The backlash against Niki Ashton from anti-Black Lives Matter commentators is what is really off base

See also: The sexist insults about Catherine McKenna are not acceptable because sexism is not acceptable

3) Don't be fooled -- The campaign against so-called small business tax reform is class warfare by the wealthy

Census data released today from 2016, according to Andrew Jackson of the Broadbent Institute, confirms "rising income inequality" in Canada.

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.

Have you heard the news?

The "left" is "out of touch" with the pulse of what is going on in the United States and North America more broadly because insert left academic or commentator/insert left publication says this must be true due to Trump's victory in the US Presidential race.

Guest Editorial by Robert McCarthy

My name is Robert McCarthy from Sudbury, Ontario and I am supporting Niki Ashton to become the next leader of the New Democratic Party of Canada. Like myself, Niki is a proud Democratic Socialist. She is the candidate that I most identify with. Her vision includes free tuition and student debt forgiveness, opposing pipelines where they infringe on Indigenous rights and endanger the environment, and the expansion of public healthcare to include dental care, pharmacare and access to mental health services for all Canadians. These policies are perfectly in line with what I believe.

The sins of the mother or father, grandmother or grandfather, should never be held against the child...unless they then appear to lie about and celebrate those sins.

What a difference a night and an imperial missile strike makes. Especially to those who jockey for position within the shadow of an empire.

To ring in the New Year The Walrus magazine decided to run a rather long, and very odd piece about the Canadian Association for Equality (CAFE) and the attempts by its leader, Justin Trottier, to allegedly mainstream men's rights activism (MRA) in Canada.

Given the truly inspiring turn of events within the Labour Party in the UK under Corbyn over the last couple of years it is not at all surprising that leftists in Canada are hoping that perhaps these conditions can be recreated here and within the country's mainstream social democratic party the NDP.

Have a happy and safe New Year! See you all in 2018. 

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Nepal, Israel, Venezuela, Honduras and more -- The Left Chapter Sunday Reading List December 17 - 24

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

This installment has 2 entries that are from before the period. They have been integrated into the post.

1) The problem with consent

Tamar Dina, The Coast

Women’s role in sex is still primarily framed—in the legal system and in society—as gatekeeper to men’s desires.

Read the full article.

2) Pleasure Machines: What Sex Robots Tell Us About Men and Sex

Caitlin Roper, ABC

In a culture of institutionalised male dominance, men have created replicas of women for the express purpose of enacting their fantasies.

Read the full article.

3) Reckoning with a culture of male resentment

 Dayna Tortorici, The Guardian

In the face of a male backlash to the recent debate over sexual harassment, is it time to accept that some will find the world less comfortable in the process of making it habitable for others?

Read the full article.

4) Society still has a problem with women speaking out. Look at Kate Maltby

Abi Wilkinson, The Guardian

Women have long paid a price for confronting these sorts of issues. Following sexual harassment allegations against Damian Green, Maltby’s already facing trial by media.

Read the full article.

5) Ta-Nehisi Coates is the neoliberal face of the black freedom struggle

Cornel West, The Guardian

Ta-Nehisi Coates’ We Were Eight Years in Power, a book about Barack Obama’s presidency and the tenacity of white supremacy, has captured the attention of many of us. One crucial question is why now in this moment has his apolitical pessimism gained such wide acceptance?

Read the full article.

6) Vindicated Halifax firefighter Liane Tessier: I want the truth out there, I want to expose the structure of misogyny

Robert Devet, The Nova Scotia Advocate

It’s been a long and difficult battle for justice for former HRM firefighter Liane Tessier, but this coming Monday the City of Halifax and Halifax Regional Fire and Emergency will finally issue an apology. As well, Tessier will receive a settlement of an undisclosed amount.

Read the full article.

7) Communists Sweep the Nepali Elections

Vijay Prashad, Socialist Project Bullet 

You might as well imagine a large red flag fluttering from the summit of Mount Everest. That’s what the outcome of the parliamentary and provincial elections in Nepal suggests. The Communists have won both decisively. In the parliament, the Communist alliance will hold close to a two-thirds majority. The government that this majority forms will not only be able to last the full five year term – the first time this would have happened since Nepal adopted parliamentary democracy in 1990 – but it will be able to revise the 2015 Constitution.

Read the full article.


Zaid Jilani, The Intercept

Weeks before the Republican-led Congress moved toward final passage of its corporate tax cut bill, major companies had already begun a surge of stock buybacks — confirming critics’ fears that the windfall of lower rates will be used for self-enrichment rather than job growth.

Read the full article.

9) The Israeli Military First Took His Legs, Then His Life

Gideon Levy, Haaretz

The Israeli army sharpshooter couldn’t target the lower part of his victim’s body — Ibrahim Abu Thuraya didn’t have one. The 29-year-old, who worked washing cars and who lived in Gaza City’s Shati refugee camp, lost both legs from the hips down in an Israeli airstrike during Operation Cast Lead in 2008. He used a wheelchair to get around. On Friday the army finished the job: A sharpshooter aimed at his head and shot him dead.

Read the full article.

10) McCarthyite Witch Hunt Comes For Jill Stein

Caitlin Johnstone, Medium

Two days ago I happened to write an article about the amazingly stupid conspiracy theory that the Green Party, which has run a presidential candidate every election since 1996, ran a presidential candidate in 2016 because of a Russian plot to sabotage American democracy. Today, Buzzfeed News reports that the Senate Intelligence Committee has asked Jill Stein’s campaign to comply with a document search.

Read the full article.

11) How Tough Is It to Change a Culture of Harassment? Ask Women at Ford

Susan Chira and Catrin Einhorn, The New York Times

Decades after the company tried to tackle sexual misconduct at two Chicago plants, continued abuse raises questions about the possibility of change.

Read the full article.

12) Chavista vs. Chavista: Class Struggle Comes to the Forefront Following Local Elections

Chris Gilbert, Venezuela Analysis

This past Sunday, on the 187th anniversary of Simón Bolívar's death, grassroots leader Angel Prado voiced the concern that he and his supporters had, like the Venezuelan independence hero, been abandoned by the very state that they helped to build. The reasons for this worry are obvious: Prado, who is a popular Chavista candidate for mayor in Lara state's Simón Planas township, won a landslide victory on December 10 against the government's candidate, only to see that victory taken away by decree.

Read the full article.

13) Russian victims of domestic abuse forced to pay perpetrator’s fine

Marianna Spring, The Guardian

Russian women who are victims of domestic abuse are being forced to pay fines handed down to their abusers, campaigners have said.

Read the full article.

14) Thirty years after Morgentaler ruling on abortion rights, Canada ‘still dealing with the same issues’

Brett Bundale, The Toronto Star

Only one in six hospitals in Canada performs abortions and some provinces have no standalone abortion clinics at all. New Brunswick, meanwhile, continues to refuse to fund abortions at the province’s only clinic.

Read the full article.

15) Israel Tackles Existential Threat Posed By 16-Year-Old Palestinian Girl

Robert Mackey, The Intercept

On Wednesday, an Israeli military court extended the detention of Ahed Tamimi, a 16-year-old girl who has become the face of Palestinian resistance to Israel’s military occupation of the West Bank for many who follow the weekly protests in her village through social media.

Read the full article.

16) 'Long live the Catalan Republic': Secessionists claim victory

Thomson Reuters

The absolute majority won by separatists in a regional election on Thursday was a victory of the "Catalan republic" over the Spanish state, said secessionist leader Carles Puigdemont as the final vote count rolled in.

Read the full article.

17) How Long Does It Take a Southern White Democrat Elected by Black Voters to Shift to the Right? Less Than a Week. 

LaTosha Brown, Rewire

This strategy and faulty thinking by Southern Democrats is short-sighted, unsustainable, and politically ineffective.

Read the full article.

18) Secretive cabinet decision limits sick days for autoworkers

Cristina Howorun and Jessica Bruno, City News

It’s one of the most important sectors in Ontario’s economy, but thanks to a behind-the-scenes government decision, auto workers aren’t getting the same protections as most other people working in this province.

Read the full article.

19) Sweden plans change in law to require explicit consent before sexual contact

Associated Press

Under proposed legislation rape could be proved if accuser had not given verbal agreement or clearly demonstrated desire to engage in sexual activity.

Read the full article.

20) ‘No rapists on our streets’: Hundreds, mostly women, rally in Sweden & demand action over gang rapes

RT News

Hundreds of Malmo residents reportedly gathered on Tuesday to demonstrate against violent gang rapes that have shaken the city in recent weeks. The protestors demanded that the government takes decisive steps to protect women.

Read the full article.


Sam Adler-Bell, The Intercept

On Thursday, a jury acquitted six defendants charged with felonies stemming from their arrests at protests surrounding Donald Trump’s inauguration on January 20. The acquittal is a blow to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia: a jury rebuke in the first tranche of 194 defendants the government is seeking to collectively punish for the acts of a handful of individuals.

Read the full article.

22) Toronto Const. James Forcillo charged with perjury, attempting to obstruct justice

CBC News

Toronto police Const. James Forcillo, who was convicted of attempted murder in the 2013 shooting death of Sammy Yatim, has been charged with perjury and attempting to obstruct justice.

Read the full article.

23) More than 100 human rights activists killed in Colombia in 2017, UN says


More than 100 human rights defenders have been killed in Colombia this year, according to the United Nations, which urged more accountability and better protections.

Read the full article.

24) All I want for Christmas is an end to porn culture sold as empowerment

Meghan Murphy, Feminist Current

In case you were so lucky to have missed it, Love magazine has been unveiling its annual advent calendar throughout the month. And, surprise! We’ve been gifted with a full month of objectification.

Read the full article.

25) $1B class action filed against Loblaws for bread price-fixing

CBC News

A woman from Elliot Lake, Ont. has filed a $1 billion class-action lawsuit against Loblaw Companies Ltd. after the company revealed it participated in industry-wide price-fixing of bread for 14 years.

Read the full article.


Danielle Marie Mackey, The Intercept

On the night of December 2, 2017, a Honduran woman in the rural province of Olancho was protesting what she saw as a stolen election. The woman, eight months pregnant, stood in the streets in violation of a national curfew, and she screamed alongside a rebellious multitude, “Fuera JOH!” (“Out JOH!”), referring to the incumbent president, Juan Orlando Hernández, who many believe fraudulently rigged the elections in his favor to maintain power. The Honduran military and police forces had flooded the streets to enforce the curfew, and the woman was shot in her abdomen, reportedly by a soldier. She was rushed to a nearby clinic where her baby was delivered by emergency cesarean. The child was born with a gunshot wound to the leg.

Read the full article.

27) At Christmas, families on the edge of homelessness must choose: gifts or rent?

Erin McCormick, The Guardian

For those living hand to mouth, the holiday season brings added stress: ‘Every time you get an extra penny, something comes along that costs a nickel more’.

Read the full article.

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

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

From All Of Us At The Left Chapter, Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas!

From All Of Us At The Left Chapter, Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 23, 2017

In the #MeToo era defending the ads in the back of magazines like Now has got to end

So everyone is allegedly on board with the idea that disgraceful misogynist pigs like Harvey Weinstein need to be held to account.

And yet we continue to labour under the illusion that these attitudes emerged out of nowhere.That they are not part and parcel of a society in which the bodies of women and some men are allowed to be sold and commodified for the sexual gratification of men generally. We get dealt an inane libertarian line that somehow the rules we would apply in any other context should not apply in the case of prostitution which liberals and their useful idiots like to frame as "sex work".

If you actually believe in ending misogyny and racism in the workplace and still seek to claim the extreme exploitation that is prostitution is a "job like any other" you are engaging in a willful blindness and perpetuating a fraud.

It is simply impossible to construct a framework for so-called "sex work" that would even remotely comply with labour laws let alone one that did not pander to the most debased racism and misogyny.

Never mind the facts around street prostitution -- which will not be solved by liberalizing laws at all --  all you have to do to see this reality is to simply look at the so-called "sex worker" ads in the back of that male fantasy and power enabling rag Now Magazine in Toronto.

The tiny fraction of the ads shown here all came from the Now Magazine website within one hour of midnight on Monday December 18. A magazine which has profited off these ads while publishing articles in support of them that seem to rather obviously show an editorial conflict-of-interest.

These ads are full of backward and overtly racist views. They celebrate and encourage male sexual exploitation of young women including teenagers. "Please Call Me NOW Daddy" is par for the course.

Even spending these few minutes here shows you exactly the kind of vicious, ugly, anti-woman, anti-human vision the pro-prostitution lobby is peddling.

Anyone defending the language and content of these ads has no business commenting on issues around racism, misogyny and worker exploitation at all.

If we are serious about women's liberation,ending racism and ending a rape culture where men feel entitled to women's bodies, every single ad you see here is incompatible with that.

And as long as men and some women on the left defend this, their commitment to ending these abuses is a farce.

The 20 Best Songs of 2017 ft. Hurray For The Riff Raff, Arcade Fire, Jay-Z, Jessie Reyez and more!

Our annual list of the 20 best songs of the year. For the first time we have also added two "Honourable Mentions". From Jay-Z to Arcade Fire to Jamila Woods to Jessie Reyez, Hurray For The Riff Raff and so much we go!

Starting the list at #20...great, angst ridden, intense stuff that features the awesome Angel Olsen:

Hamilton Leithauser - Heartstruck (Wild Hunger) ft. Angel Olsen

This is a year unusually heavy with great country songs on the list and at #19 is a terrific song about a very bad day that gets a whole lot better for two people:

Ashley McBryde - A Little Dive Bar In Dahlonega

A beautiful song about community, survival and resistance...features the awesome Chance the Rapper (who will make a return appearance on this year's list)...the LSD here does NOT refer to the drug!

#18 Jamila Woods - LSD ft. Chance The Rapper

#17 Joey Bada$$ - Land of the Free

An intense and justly angry song with powerful lyrics and an equally powerful video.

#16 Lady Lamb - Salt

This deeply felt ballad is both sad and affecting. Beautifully written and made compelling all the more by her exceptional vocals.

This is a deeply moving song about the diminishing and undermining of the expectations and confidence of girls and women, objectification and sexism.

Heartbreaking and beautiful, it has largely fallen through the cracks but deserves a wide audience.

#15: "Softball" - Caroline Spence

This song kicks ass...great tune, great lyrics from "You're talkin' to me like a child, Hey I've got news, I'm not a little girl, And no, I won't give you a little twirl" to "I'm like nobody else, so you can just go fuck yourself" which may be the line of the year...

#14 The Regrettes - "Seashore"

#13: Lana Del Rey - Love

Lana Del Rey is back with this terrific tune that manages to be wistful, oddly haunting and even somewhat disturbing in that way that only she can do.

#12 Future Islands - Ran

In a list this year heavy with sad songs, this is another one perfectly realized by this terrific Baltimore trio.

#11 Brandi Carlile - The Mother

A simply stunning song about motherhood and a mother's love for a daughter. It is wise, funny and brought me to tears. Powerful and lovely:

"They’ve still got their morning paper and their coffee and their time
They still enjoy their evenings with the skeptics and their wine
Oh but all the wonders I have seen I will see a second time
From inside of the ages through your eyes

You were not an accident where no one thought it through
The world has stood against us, made us mean to fight for you
And when we chose your name we knew that you’d fight the power, too

You’re nothing short of magical and beautiful to me
I would never hit the big time without you
So they can keep their treasure and their ties to the machine
Cause I am the mother of Evangeline"

As I said at the start this year there are two "Honourable Mentions"...the first is for the incredible video released in 2017 for Elton John's 70s classic Tiny Dancer.

It is almost as if they brought back Robert Altman to direct it, with intersecting stories, multiple narratives and great imagery. Funny, perfectly shot and even at times really sad, it is easily one of the best videos of the year.

The second "Honourable Mention" is for Jay-Z's Moonlight. While not for the song itself (though a Jay-Z song is on this list) it is for the video which is an incredible commentary on media, racism and pop culture. A remarkable take on an iconic episode of a show that many love despite its utter banality, Jay-Z does something here that is both subversive and incisive.

"We stuck in La La Land
Even when we win, we gon' lose"

#10 Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit - If We Were Vampires

An unflinching song about loss, aging and death, If We Were Vampires is beautifully written and profoundly haunting and sad.

"If we were vampires and death was a joke
We'd go out on the sidewalk and smoke
And laugh at all the lovers and their plans
I wouldn't feel the need to hold your hand

Maybe time running out is a gift"

#9 Iron & Wine - Call It Dreaming

Beautifully written and performed this is the best thing Iron & Wine has done since Flightless Bird, American Mouth.

An uncompromising look at the end of love...lyrically and musically this is country music at its very best, greatly aided as well by incredibly strong vocals.

#8 Chris Stapleton - Either Way

#7 Benjamin Booker feat. Mavis Staples, “Witness”

Powerful, powerful song that not only sees the return of Booker but also features the exceptional gospel vocals of the iconic Mavis Staples. Packs a hell of an emotional and lyrical punch in under 3 minutes.

#6 May I Have This Dance - Francis and the Lights feat. Chance the Rapper

An incredible song that is bittersweet in the best sense as well as being a duet with a standout middle act from Chance the Rapper that steals the show.

#5 Arcade Fire - Everything Now

Arcade Fire has unequivocally exploded back on to the scene with their new releases that include this deceptively mainstream sounding song that belies underling dark themes. Terrific on every level and not the last Arcade Fire entry on this list.

#4 Jessie Reyez - Great One

A haunting meditation on loss and death this song heralds the arrival of a tremendous new talent. If you have not heard or seen this, prepare to be wowed.

#3 JAY-Z - 4:44

Part mea culpa, part art piece, part social commentary, part existential anthem, Jay-Z's 4:44 is a remarkable song with a stunning video.

#2 Arcade Fire - Creature Comfort

Visceral, challenging, intense and breathtaking...a stunning song that is both a throwback and an announcement while also a devastating piece of social commentary.

#1: Hurray For The Riff Raff - "Pa'lante"

Comrades, Sisters and Brothers, Friends...THIS is the song we have been waiting for and, especially now in this time of great challenges, needed.

A beacon of hope and revolt in the face of darkness.

Anthemic, rousing, revolutionary, sad, despairing, hopeful, it even features a sample of Pedro Pietri’s poem “Puerto Rican Obituary”.

Profoundly moving it is sure to become a leftist anthem:

"From el barrio to el assyeo, ¡Pa’lante!
From Marble Hill to the ghost of Emmett Till, ¡Pa’lante!
To Juan, Miguel, Miradros, Manuel, ¡Pa’lante!
To all who came before, we say, ¡Pa’lante!
To my mother and my father, I say, ¡Pa’lante!
To Julia, and Sylvia, ¡Pa’lante!
To all who had to hide, I say, ¡Pa’lante!
To all who lost their pride, I say, ¡Pa’lante!
To all who had to survive, I say, ¡Pa’lante!
To my brothers, and my sisters, I say, ¡Pa’lante!
To all came before, we say, ¡Pa’lante!"

Power to the People!

See also: The Top 20 Songs of 2016 w. Beyonce, Vic Mensa, Drive-By Truckers & more!

See also: The 50 Best Songs of the Decade...So Far -- The Top Ten!

Friday, December 22, 2017

This Holiday Season Remember Just What We Could Build Together With Peace on Earth

This Holiday Season Remember Just What We Could Build Together 
With Peace on Earth

For a reminder of just how much is squandered by our governments on the instruments of death, destruction and war see: Military spending: As wasteful as it is dangerous

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Slow Cooker Salsa Verde Southwestern Pulled Beef and Tacos

This recipe for southwestern style pulled beef for tacos is so good you will have a hard time going back to ground beef.

It uses salsa verde, seasonings and slow cooking to make beef that is incredibly flavourful and very moist. While it is delicious on rice or on a bun, it is perfect for tacos.

It also uses more inexpensive beef roasts like sirloin tip or eye-of-round.


3-4 lb. sirloin tip, eye-of-round or other beef roast
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon cumin
2 teaspoons red chili pepper flakes
2 teaspoons Tex-Mex or Taco seasoning
10-15 jalapeno slices
1 bottle salsa verde

To begin, take your roast out and season it liberally (or to taste) with salt and pepper. Let stand at room temperature for around 30 minutes.

Heat some olive oil to medium high in a large saucepan and brown the roast on all sides.

Once the roast has been browned, place it in the bottom of your slow cooker.

Cover with all of the seasonings, the jalapeno slices and the bottle of salsa verde. You can use any salsa verde you wish (or make your own) at whatever spice level. I used Herdez Medium Salsa Verde.

Put on the slow cooker lid, set the cooker to low and cook for 7 hours.

After the 7 hours, remove the roast from the liquid and place on a large platter. Keep the liquid heating, on low, in the cooker.

Remove any string/netting and using two forks pull the roast apart into small, stringy pieces. This should be quite easy to do. When the roast has been pulled apart, add the meat back into the liquid. Taste and add salt and/or pepper as desired. Cover and continue to cook on low for another hour.

After an hour it is ready to serve.

Place in taco shells and top with your favourite toppings, such as cheese, tomato, sour cream, hot sauce etc. This size roast will serve several people.

Goes great with red wine or beer. A real crowd-pleaser.


See also: Taco Soup

See also: Jerk Style Pulled Pork Sandwiches with Coleslaw & Jalapenos

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Spanish-Style Fried Chicken Strips w. Spicy Mayo

Today we are going to take a look at making Spanish-style fried chicken strips. These are crunchy and spicy with bold flavours that are perfect served with a side mayo based dipping sauce and lemon wedges.


3 lb. skinless chicken breast or thigh cut into strips
4 garlic cloves, smashed
4 cups buttermilk
4 tablespoons paprika
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
2 teaspoons red chili pepper flakes
2 cups all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons cayenne pepper
salt and pepper to taste

To start mix together the buttermilk, garlic cloves, 3 tablespoons of the paprika, the cumin, coriander, red chili pepper flakes, salt and pepper in a large bowl.

Add the chicken making sure that all the pieces are fully submerged in the buttermilk marinade. Cover and let sit in the fridge for 4-12 hours.

When ready to cook, mix together the flour, cayenne pepper and last tablespoon of paprika in a new bowl. Discard the remaining buttermilk marinade.

Remove the chicken pieces from the buttermilk marinade and roll in the flour mix until evenly battered.

In a large saucepan heat 2 inches of vegetable oil until it reaches cooking temperature (around 350 degrees if you have a deep frying thermometer). In batches add the battered chicken pieces and fry until golden brown and done through, turning once halfway. This should generally take 3-5 minutes total.

When done, plate on a large platter and dust with a little more salt to taste. These are great just as they are with some lemon wedges on the side, but they are also really terrific with dipping sauces. One excellent one that is easy to make is to mix a cup of mayonnaise with a tablespoon or two (or three!) of your favourite hot sauce. I like to use the El Yucateco Salsa Picante de Chile Habanero.

Goes perfectly with white wine or beer. It is also an excellent party dish.


See also: Panko Encrusted Homemade Chicken Fingers

See also: Southern Style Chicken Wings Stove-top Deep Fried

Monday, December 18, 2017

Lift Every Voice! The People's Song Book 1957 Part Two: Songs of Historic Struggles, Real People and Freedom 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 Two: Songs of Historic Struggles, Real People and Freedom 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 we present the second of two parts looking at the sections with Songs of Historic Struggles, Songs of Real People and Songs of Freedom. (See also the first part: Lift Every Voice! The People's Song Book 1957 Part One: Songs of Peace and Labor f. Paul Robeson) This part is fascinating for its internationalist tone with songs from around the world as well as anti-slavery, anti-fascist and other resistance songs.

Scroll to the end for a video of Paul Robeson singing the great leftist classic Joe Hill, the lyrics and music of which can be found in the first 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