Sunday, April 30, 2017

Smash the Klan -- Riverdale Action Committee Against Racism 1980

Vintage Leftist Leaflet Project

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


Leaflet: Fascism - Smash the Klan, Riverdale Action Committee Against Racism 1980

With anti-immigrant rallies occurring in Toronto and racist, bigoted newspapers that people have organized to try to stop the distribution of through the mail in the city's East End, this is another leaflet from the past that resonates far more than it should.

For more on the history of the committee and its quite effective actions see: Early Anti-Klan Organizing

For more on the history of the Klan in Toronto see: The grim history of the Ku Klux Klan in Toronto

(Click on images to enlarge)







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

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

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

If you have any public, vintage leaflets or booklets you would like to contribute to this project please send them to theleftchapter@outlook.com

Carding, Streaming, Police in Pride and more -- The Left Chapter Sunday Reading List April 23 - 30

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 23 - April 30. It is generally in order of the date of the article's release.

1) Party girl’ stereotype played role in acquittal of Halifax taxi driver, review suggests

Adina Bresge, CBC News

The stereotype of the “promiscuous party girl” may have factored into the acquittal of a Halifax cab driver accused of sexually assaulting a woman in his car, a review of the case suggests.

Read the full article. 

2) Why banning uniformed police at Pride will actually make the event more inclusive

Alex Verman  & Vincent Mousseau, CBC News

For many white, straight, or cisgender people, it's easy to forget what the uniformed police officers who dance on parade floats do on the other 364 days of the year.

Read the full article.

3) Carding not stopping anytime soon in Halifax

Robert Devet, The Nova Scotia Advocate

The Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission (NSHRC) will lead a narrow investigation into the practice of carding (or police street checks)  in Halifax. An expert will be hired to determine if discrimination actually occurs.

Meanwhile Black people will continue to be targeted.

Read the full article.

4) Black students in Toronto streamed into courses below their ability, report finds

Muriel Draaisma, CBC News

A new report has found that large number of black students are being streamed into applied instead of academic programs and they are suspended at much higher rates than their counterparts in Toronto.

Read the full article. 

5) Toronto’s art school students mostly white, from high-income families, study finds

May Warren, The Toronto Star

Students in Toronto’s arts-focused high schools are overwhelmingly white and come from high-income families despite living in one of the most diverse school districts in North America, suggests new research from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education.

Read the full article. 

6) 'I want someone to take my pain': Woman set on fire by husband denied home insurance payout.

Rachel Houlihan & Diana Swain, CBC News

Allstate puts up legal fight despite telling CBC News it would review its handling of such criminal cases.

Read the full article. 

7) The Handmaid's Tale has already come true - just not for white western women

Glosswitch, The New Statesman

Why, if the fate of the fictional Offred is so horrifying, is the fate of real-life women in surrogacy hostels causing so little outrage?

Read the full article.

8) Ryerson's racist history still riles students

Sophia Smith, NOW Magazine

Ryerson University takes pride in its progressive courses, forward-thinking policies and initiatives centred around social justice. It’s big on diversity, as seen in its multicultural student population and on-campus events.

But look at it through the lens of Indigenous people and your perspective changes. The university is named for Egerton Rayerson, an integral figure in the implementation of the residential school system in Canada. This system robbed Indigenous people of their culture and heritage, leaving many with irreparable psychological, emotional and physical damage.

Read the full article.

9) Kathleen Wynne’s basic income plan is bread without circuses

Thomas Walkom, The Toronto Star

Ontario's new scheme assumes poverty is an inexorable part of the gig economy.

Read the full article.

10) Sex robots epitomize patriarchy and offer men a solution to the threat of female independence

Meghan Murphy, Feminist Current

People love to pretend as though everything from prostitution to pornography to sex dolls are a solution to not only men’s supposed loneliness and unmet sexual “needs,” but to their violent, perverse desires. It being the future and all, “sex robots” are the natural next step. Similarly, men have claimed sex robots are the perfect solution to their apparent inability to stop raping and abusing women, as well as their inability to socialize with women as though they are actual human beings. One might ask how creating “realistic,” non-human dolls that men may project their desires onto and do whatever they wish with will impact women and men’s view of women, but capitalist patriarchy doesn’t ask questions so long as there is a product to sell and an erection to satisfy.

Read the full article.

11) Hundreds protest in support of safe access to abortion clinics

Gabriele Roy, The Ottawa Citizen

On Wednesday evening, hundreds of people gathered at the Human Rights Monument on Elgin Street to show their support for abortion rights.

The protest came after those at the Morgentaler abortion clinic on Bank Street had accused authorities of doing little to stop anti-choice demonstrators from constantly harassing and intimidating clients and staff members. The clinic’s director of operations, Shayna Hodson, told the Citizen that incidents such as verbal harassment and being spat on had been happening for years.

Read the full article.

12) No new cash for fixing social housing stock

Emily Mathieu, The Toronto Star

Toronto’s crumbling social housing stock will not receive any new money for desperately needed capital repairs as part of this year’s provincial budget.

Read the full article.

13) Responses to Serena Williams’ Pregnancy Are Steeped in the Racism and Sexism She’s Long Faced

Shireen Ahmed, Rewire

Serena Williams is the best tennis player—and arguably the best athlete—in the world. Her passion and determination make her a standout on the court, and her charisma constantly delights millions of fans. Last week, three months after winning the Australian Open, Williams announced via Snapchat that she is 20 weeks pregnant.

Read the full article.

14) Bombardier is corporate greed at its worst; nationalizing it could create the global leader we need

Dru Oja Jay, Medium

Bombardier, Quebec’s Ski-doo manufacturer-turned-aerospace and rail giant, has been getting some bad press. When the company was in trouble last year, Quebec’s provincial government bailed them out with a $1 billion investment. In 2017, the Federal government kicked in $372 million in loans. Bombardier then announced sweeping job cuts — 14,000 positions worldwide, 5,000 in Canada. Shortly thereafter, Bombardier executives offered themselves $32 million in bonuses (under pressure, they later delayed payment).

Read the full article.

15) Sex assault lawsuits seek culture change in Canada's military

Matthew Behrens, NOW Magazine

A recently announced review of military uniforms, ceremonies, badges and drills - part of a new diversity strategy aimed at making a broad swath of equity-seeking groups feel more welcome in the Canadian military - drew a chuckle from Navy veteran Nicola Peffers. She's one of two lead plaintiffs in sexual harassment and assault class actions filed against the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF).

Read the full article.

16) Internationalism and the Mexican Working Class

Jimena Vergara, Left Voice

Internationalism is a strategic necessity. As the Mexican working class begins to mobilize, workers in the US and Mexico must unite against the capitalists and the state.

Read the full article.

17) Europe’s youth don’t care to vote—but they’re ready to join a mass revolt

Aamna Mohdin, Quartz

Young Europeans are sick of the status quo in Europe. And they’re ready to take to the streets to bring about change, according to a recent survey.

Read the full article.

18) Big Corporations Win the French Presidential Elections

Adrien Welsh, Rebel Youth

On April 23rd, the French people were called to chose two out of the eleven candidates running for the Presidential elections who would make their way to the second round and aspire to be the next tenant of the Élysée palace.

Read the full article.

19) Le Pen Promotes Holocaust Denier and Plans to Ban Kosher Butchers and Yarmulkes

Robert Mackey, The Intecept

FRANCE’S JEWISH COMMUNITY is watching the second round of this year’s presidential election with profound unease, as Marine Le Pen of the far-right National Front has unveiled plans to ban the ritual slaughter of animals for kosher and halal meat and promoted a deputy who has been accused of praising an infamous Holocaust denier.

Read the full article.

See also: The British and French Elections, The West Wing and more -- The Left Chapter Sunday Reading List April 16 - 23

See also: Mélenchon, US Bombings, Christie Blatchford & more -- The Left Chapter Sunday Reading List April 9 - 16

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Fiery Veracruz Style Basa Fish

Today we are going to look at a way to prepare our perennial favourite inexpensive Asian catfish, basa, that is Mexican inspired and wonderfully fiery.

This recipe is based on a couple of different ones I have seen for making fish Veracruz style. You can also use other whitefish or red snapper to make it.

It is spicy with very bold flavours and accompanied by a hearty sauce that is almost a side dish in itself.

Here we used four relatively thinly cut boneless and skinless basa fillets.

To begin, season the fillets liberally with sea salt and black pepper and then squeeze the juice of one lime over them.



Let sit for about 15 minutes and then slice each fillet into about three approximately equally sized pieces.

Meanwhile, heat some olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. To the pan add 1 medium chopped red onion and 1 medium chopped yellow onion as well as 2 minced cloves of garlic.

Saute this for about 2-3 minutes.


Then add a small jar of capers (around 2-3 tablespoons), a large jar of sliced jalapenos, and 20-30 pimento stuffed green olives sliced in half or into thirds. 

Saute this with the onions and garlic for an additional 3-4 minutes.



Once this is done add 1 large can of whole Italian tomatoes with the juice. Add as well the juice of one more lime. Stir it all up and then carefully place the fish pieces around the pan so that they are submerged in the other ingredients and the tomatoes and juices. 

Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat and simmer for around 15 minutes.


This dish is great served with rice and nacho chips (as well as extra lime or lemon wedges) but it is hearty enough to eat on its own.

It is quite fiery so for a somewhat more mild version reduce the jalapenos to half a jar. 

Pairs perfectly with ice cold beer, a Riesling or a Vinho Verde. 

Enjoy. 


Fascism - The Socialist Answer, J.T. Murphy, The Socialist League 1935

Vintage Leftist Leaflet Project

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

Leaflet: Fascism - The Socialist Answer, J.T. Murphy, The Socialist League 1935


This leaflet from the last era of European fascism may resonate more than one would have hoped with today's reader. It talks of the dangers of terrible inequality, the reasons that the wealthy and big capitalists are attracted to fascism, fascist anti-feminism, and how socialism is ultimately the only permanent solution to the fascist threat, among other things.


Though of its time, it makes for interesting reading in the here-and-now. 


The leaflet also outlines what The Socialist League was and what it sought to achieve. 

You can access a brief outline history of the league here: The Socialist League

(Click on images to enlarge)






































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

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

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

If you have any public, vintage leaflets or booklets you would like to contribute to this project please send them to theleftchapter@outlook.com

Friday, April 28, 2017

The ONDP's timid 'pharmacare' plan played right into Liberal hands

As another provincial election looms the price of the Ontario NDP's timidity and lack of a serious transformative focus is coming to the fore even earlier than one might have expected.

This past weekend Andrea Horwath made a highly anticipated announcement at the party's provincial convention telling the faithful that the ONDP would head into the next election in the summer of 2018 with the promise of universal pharmacare as one of its banner policies.

It was a move that was greeted by widespread rejoicing by members who are likely thrilled to see any sign of a shift away from the disastrous and reactionary "pocketbook populism" campaign of 2014 that contributed greatly to the unexpected victory of the Wynne Liberals. It even garnered praise from the Toronto Star editorial board which is ironic given how much New Democrats love to vilify the paper as an organ of the Liberal Party.

But, as is generally the case with New Democratic policy proposals these days, once you delved into the details of the plan as revealed on the Monday after the convention, what Horwath and crew were offering was not really universal pharmacare at all, but the promise to begin to make a start towards it in 2020.

The NDP are promising to cover, in full and for all Ontarians, the 125 generally most commonly used drugs starting that year, and to then include more on an as yet undefined timeline. This would cost, according to the NDP, about $475 million annually.

Shortly after the NDP released its not-pharmacare pharmacare plank, the Liberal government tabled its budget and, of course, not to be outdone it included a not-pharmacare pharmacare plank.

The Liberal plan would cover basically all drugs -- around 4,400 of them -- but only for those under the age of 25. It will also actually come into effect prior to the next election and will launch in January, 2018.

And this spells very serious trouble for the NDP's "big idea".

It is amazing how it is that if you come out with what is only a partial "pharmacare" platform, someone else can then implement a different vision of a partial "pharmacare" program and really throw off your whole platform plank.

Both of these plans are clearly inadequate plans. I think it is easier to make an argument for the NDP plan being the better one than the Liberal plan for a couple of fairly significant reasons, not the least of which is that the NDP plan -- as limited as it is and assuming that they would actually follow through on it -- makes far more sense as a transitional stage to real pharmacare than does the Liberal one. There is also the fact that relatively few of the 4,400 to be covered are actually used regularly by children and youth who tend to be in the best health of any demographic.

But here is the thing; the Liberal plan will actually be in place before the next election while the NDP's partial plan would not happen even in its present form for another three years and only if they were to be elected.

When Horwath waxed poetic about how "Seeing a doctor just doesn't mean much if you need a prescription, but you can't afford to fill it", the obvious rhetorical flaw is that her plan will not change that in a great many cases. Given that only the most common drugs will be covered most of the most expensive medications -- which are not that common  -- will not be, which means that those who face the greatest economic challenges due to a lack of coverage will not get any serious relief or benefit and will continue to face crippling costs and destitution.

As a result even Horwath had to acknowledge that they were only going to "start building universal pharmacare right here in Ontario" which is exactly what the Liberals can now also claim to be doing with the added bonus that people and parents in Ontario are going to start seeing the benefits very shortly.

In addition this means that the NDP will either have to expand their plan to include what the Liberals will have created with all of the associated costs (which would, of course, not be the full amount of the Liberal plan, but still a significant portion of it) or they will have to say that they would rollback the coverage for those under 25 to 125 medications.

I assume even the ONDP is wise enough to do the former -- perhaps not a safe assumption -- but yet again we see how easy it is for liberals to blunt the rhetoric and ill-conceived plans of 'social democrats' who continue to insist on playing the "responsible managers" card.

The clever move for the ONDP would have been and now would be to put out a serious, comprehensive timeline -- that will not take decades -- towards the implementation of total and actual universal pharmacare for everyone. This would be inspiring and transformative though it would almost certainly have to be backed by tax increases including personal tax increases.

I am not going to be holding my breath though and expect we will, instead, see the ONDP try to carry forth with what they have already laid out and then have to spend months defending one partial and inadequate plan against another, learning again that there is no milquetoast 'social democratic' chimeric concoction that a liberal cannot simply steal away by watering it down slightly.

See also: Liberals, social democrats and union leaders have to stop helping to normalize Trump

See also: When it comes to opportunistic hypocrisy on the environment, Rachel Notley is right up there with Trudeau

B.C. Needs a New Economic Policy - Communist Party of British Columbia 1980s

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 theleftchapter@outlook.com

Today, rather arbitrarily and with a BC election going on, we begin with this BC Communist leaflet from the 80s

Leaflet: B.C. Needs a New Economic Policy - Communist Party of British Columbia 1980s


(Click on images to enlarge)


















Thursday, April 27, 2017

1978's Eat Your Heart Out with Corn Dogs, Tomato-Cheese Strata, Cannelloni & more -- Vintage Cookbook TBT

Vintage Cookbook: Eat Your Heart Out - Patricia B. Sirrine, Norma B. Leavitt and Elaine B. Kiester

Publication Details: Eat Your Heart Out Publishing Co., 1978

"Eat Your Heart Out" is a quintessentially 70s Canadian cookbook. Published in 1978 it was something of a best seller with several printings over the next couple of years. It was put together by three sisters from Alberta and has over 200 pages of recipes.

These cover all the standard bases from soups, to breads (it has a very large selection of bread recipes in fact), to main dishes, etc. As always with cookbooks from this era there are a lot of classics, some reasonable takes on different meat recipes, some attempts at Chinese or Mexican style recipes that are of very mixed value, and some hilariously awful ideas like having a "jello salad" with Chimichangas! (Please don't do this.)

Many of the pages had little jokes or folksy quips at the bottom and the entire book has a very informal and actually quite charming feel.

Here we take a look at all the recipes associated with the (very) period photography in the cookbook. Sometimes the photographs have one recipe tied to them and sometimes they have several. But this is a large book and there are many recipes that would make it worth seeking out if you are a fan of classic, homestyle North American dishes from casseroles to roasts to a wide array of desserts.

(Click on images to enlarge)







(A previous contributor from BC, Chris Green might debate the title here!