Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Who Makes the Products?

Who Makes the Products?

Click on image to enlarge

(Cartoon Source: The People's History of Cape Breton)

Found Art: Trinity (f. Good Night by The Rural Alberta Advantage)

Found Art: Trinity - Photography - Artist Unknown
Original at top with two interpretations.

(Click on images to enlarge)

Musical Accompaniment:

See also: Found Art: Is This Where it Ends? (featuring Hide and Seek by Imogen Heap)

See also: Found Art: The Fourth Corner (featuring The End's Not Near by The New Year)

Monday, May 29, 2017

The winner of the Sudbury NDP debate was the terrible format

If anyone can be said to have truly won the flat and very boring third NDP leadership debate in Sudbury this past Sunday it must surely be the debate organizers who delivered the dreary and dismally deadening format which produced a contest that would be a sure cure for insomnia.

Many questions were either peripheral or almost certain to lead to what would be more-or-less a consensus with softballs around Liberal ethics and how to handle the Trump administration as opposed to a set focused on the very real fault lines on important issues that exist between the candidates.

Equally awful is the insistence that the audience refrain from applause at any point until the end. This is fundamentally misguided. It kills any sense of excitement or enthusiasm, lessens the impact of a good or emotional line, makes it very hard for a candidate to create momentum in the debate, and also makes it difficult for either them or us to gauge audience reaction. It truly makes no sense at all and is detrimental to the purpose of a debate which is showing that a potential leader can create energy among people.

The whole affair had only a handful of moments or points to it.

One of them would have to be that those thinking that the entry of Jagmeet Singh into the race would bring some pizzazz or "excitement" to the contest must have been left disappointed. Given the high bar of expectations set, Singh clearly failed to deliver in this outing. His opening and closing statements were no more or less compelling than those of the other candidates and he seemed to lack an overarching theme or policy agenda to present other than beating the Liberals, a goal to which I think it likely that all the candidates can be said to aspire.

Even when asked (somewhat indirectly) by Niki Ashton to state where he stood on the Kinder Morgan pipeline he followed by talking about something else. His narrative was driven largely by platitudes.

Ashton's outing was not her best of the three debates though she stuck to her key themes, remained solidly on the left of the field, tried to challenge the other candidates on particulars at times and had a strong opening.

Perhaps in part due to the format the two more technocratic candidates, Guy Caron and Peter Julian, seemed at their strongest to date, though this is more relative than impressive. Julian also stuck to his principled stance against any pipeline expansion while Caron kept much focus on his central basic income plank.

Charlie Angus was very good at points, though his overly folksy pitch continues to grate as trying too hard for authenticity which ironically renders it inauthentic. Still, when he spoke of how the NDP had to make it clear it was not a part of the political establishment and to reach out to and include its base more, saying that people don't trust the party either, he was compelling. He was, as well, articulate and powerful on issues around native rights and his rhetorical focus of having the backs of the people came into its own and registered, perhaps through months of repetition, more forcefully.

Pat Stogran had the best line of the afternoon when he spoke of his mother's advice to“spit in one hand and wish in the other and see which one fills up first", a genuinely funny moment that stood out all the more in contrast to the general tone.

Otherwise, though, Stogran's first debate was something of a train wreck with him flubbing questions or not really answering them, basically admitting at one point that he did not have a solid grasp on social policy, thanking everyone for their patience after saying he had a lot to learn (endearing honesty perhaps, but unwise) and delivering the debate's low moment when claiming that millennials had been closed out of permanent jobs due to the labour movement which is an absurd and anti-union contention.

At any rate, after a second debate that was fairly lively this was a return to the doldrums that will likely leave many hoping that there will be something to wake them up when September comes.

See also: NDP's second debate a more lively affair with stronger performances

See also: The NDP's leadership debate begins not with a bang but a miserable whimper

Sunday, May 28, 2017

UK Election, Manchester, Kerala and more -- The Left Chapter Sunday Reading List May 21 - 28

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 May 21 - May 28. It is generally in order of the date of the article's release.

1) A Lynching on the University of Maryland Campus

Dave Zirin, The Nation

Richard Collins III was about to graduate from Bowie State University on Tuesday. He was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the US Army. He was airborne certified. He was a son, a friend, and active in his church.
To Sean Urbanski, a University of Maryland student, he was black. At around 3 am on  Saturday, May 20, Collins waited for an Uber ride along with two friends who were students at UMD at an on-campus bus stop. Urbanski walked up to them, and, according to witnesses, said, “Step left, step left if you know what’s best for you.” Collins simply replied, “No.” He stood his ground. Urbanski then stabbed him in the chest and fled the scene. Collins died at the hospital.

Read the full article.

2) Don’t Like Betsy DeVos? Blame the Democrats.

Diane Ravitch, The Nation

The Democratic Party paved the way for the education secretary's efforts to privatize our public schools.

Read the full article.

3) Jeremy Corbyn has defied his critics to become Labour’s best hope of survival

Gary Younge, The Guardian

His anti-austerity manifesto has been therapeutic, renewing his party’s identity and sense of moral purpose.

Mary Elizabeth Williams, Salon

“Mom, did you hear what happened in Manchester?” she asked me Monday night. Of course I had. Of course her older sister already had as well. But I’d wanted to keep the news from my younger daughter, aged 13, as long as I could. I’d wanted to wait till there was more information about the attack. And I also wanted to keep her a little more innocent a little bit longer. I was wrong, though, because what she needed that evening was exactly what she got — an outpouring of bewildered, reassuring messages among friends as the news trickled in.

 Christina Cauterucci, Slate

British authorities have identified a suspect in what appears to have been a suicide bombing and an act of terrorism outside an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England on May 22. Details are still emerging, but as of late Monday night, authorities had confirmed 19 people dead and more than 50 injured.

 Emily Crockett, Rolling Stone

We don't know the exact motivation behind Monday's horrifying terrorist attack in Manchester, England, which killed 22 people, including an 8-year-old girl. And given that the bomber died in the attack, we're unlikely to ever find out precisely what was going through his head as he detonated that device. But one thing we do know is the demographic he targeted: young girls and women. As is so often the case with acts of violence, misogyny was deeply woven into this attack.

Janey Stephenson, The Independent

Mass male violence is everywhere right now. First it was Orlando. Then Nice. And Bavaria. Munich. Kabul. Fort Myers. Sagamihara.
As each massacre is reported, ministers and media leap to unpick each individual attacker’s motivations. Immediately, the snap judgments come out: if they were brown, they were a terrorist. If not, they were mentally ill.

John Doyle, The Globe and Mail

The third season of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt is now streaming on Netflix. At this point, the series is a bit wobbly and repetitive, but it has its moments.
Created by Tina Fey and 30 Rock writer Robert Carlock, the comedy is dopey and daft but remains focused, mostly, on heroine Kimmy (Ellie Kemper). She spent years trapped in a doomsday cult and once freed is largely clueless about contemporary life. What the show amounts to is her education in existence as a modern young woman – the pleasures and pitfalls. This means plenty of satire aimed at everything in this digital age. While it can be arch, it is very much about this woman and the women around her.
The new season arrives just as the picture of the new fall TV season from the main networks is becoming clear. And what’s clear is that very few new productions are about women or feature women in leading roles. It’s a bizarre and troubling turn.

Jennifer Pagliaro, The Toronto Star

Half of Toronto Community Housing developments will be in “critical” condition in the next five years without additional funding for repairs, according to an internal database provided to the Star.

Rinaldo Walcott, NOW Magazine

Black community allies have adopted the language of class to define the struggles experienced by young Black people, as if race and class are not so intertwined as to be one thing.

PV Staff, People's Voice

One consequence of the change of leadership made at the 2014 Canadian Labour Congress convention was that the new CLC leadership felt confident enough to invite Angela Davis, a leading black liberation activist and former Vice-Presidential candidate for the Communist Party USA, to address the delegates and other social activists at the May 7 Human Rights forum on the eve of the 2017 Convention.

Vijay Prashad , AlterNet

The Left Democratic Front (LDF), the governing coalition in the Indian State of Kerala, will complete its first year on May 25. It came to power last year with a large majority, winning 91 seats in the 140 seat assembly of this Indian state, which is home to 34 million people (a million or so less than the total population of Canada).

Willow Fiddler  & Jorge Barrera, APTN National News

Thunder Bay’s police Chief Jean-Paul Levesque is facing charges of obstruction of justice and breach of trust in connection with allegedly disclosing confidential information about the city’s mayor Keith Hobbs, according to a court document.

Benjamin Shingler, Kalina Laframboise, CBC News

Major construction projects across Quebec are on hold indefinitely after unions representing 175,000 construction workers launched a general unlimited strike following months of failed labour negotiations.

CBC News

An Ontario Provincial Police constable who failed to respond to a dying woman's 911 call, cleared the call hours later despite never having gone to her home, and implied to a dispatcher that he had taken action when he had not, has been demoted for two years after pleading guilty to neglect of duty.

Nicholas Kristof, The New York Times

When she was a scrawny 11-year-old, Sherry Johnson found out one day that she was about to be married to a 20-year-old member of her church who had raped her.

Nina Lakhani, The Guardian

The US Drug Enforcement Administration lied about its role in a bungled anti-narcotics operation in Honduras that left four innocent villagers dead, then misled Congress, the justice department and the public as it tried to cover its tracks, a damning bipartisan investigation has found.

Mitch Landrieu, Bill Moyers & Company

The last of four major Confederate monuments in New Orleans came down on Friday, the final step of a campaign launched in 2015 by Mayor Mitch Landrieu.
While construction workers were taking down the enormous statue of Robert E. Lee, Landrieu delivered a powerful speech about Confederate monuments, the reason they were erected — and why they must come down.

Lucy Pasha-Robinson, The Independent

Labour has slashed the Conservatives' lead in the polls to just five points, the latest YouGov/Times results show. 
The party has made consistent gains in recent weeks as leader Jeremy Corbyn claimed his message was finally getting through to voters. 

Martin Chulov, The Guardian

The Pentagon has admitted that airstrikes it carried out on a house in western Mosul killed at least 105 civilians in one of the deadliest attacks anywhere in Iraq since the 2003 invasion to oust Saddam Hussein.

Hilary Caton, Inside Toronto

Several eviction notices have been delivered to MetCap tenants in Parkdale this week. So what’s next for tenants?
The answer is simple: They keep on fighting, at least that’s what Bryan Daley intends to do.

Taina Bien-Aime, The Huffington Post

Nomonde Mihlali (“Mickey”) Meji is a program associate for Survivor Initiatives at Embrace Dignity in Cape Town, South Africa. Embrace Dignity is dedicated to ending all forms of sexual abuse of women and girls through legal advocacy, public education and exit services for trafficked and prostituted women. Mickey sat with me in New York during the UN Commission on the Status of Women in March 2017 to discuss her activism, from endorsing the full decriminalization of the sex trade to now advocating for a law that calls for its abolition.

There are also two articles missed from previous periods that are well worth sharing as well:

Louise Tickle, The Guardian

Natalie Hemming was killed by her partner after she tried to leave him – just one of many deaths in which a coercive and controlling partner is a significant factor. However, despite new laws, progress in raising awareness has been slow.

 Alice Marwick and Becca Lewis, New York Magazine

When you hear the word radicalization, what usually comes to mind is young people turning to Islamic fundamentalism. The internet has proven to be an effective platform for radicalization of this kind; ISIS has a host of YouTube channels, chat rooms, and Twitter accounts that are extremely effective at channeling the energy of disaffected and disenfranchised young people.
But the far right is doing virtually the same thing — and possibly even more effectively. In fact, a recent study shows that white-supremacist Twitter accounts have increased more than 600 percent since 2012, and outperform ISIS accounts by every possible metric. We’ve already seen the violence that can emerge from this trend: Dylann Roof and Elliot Rodger were both radicalized in online far-right communities before their respective shootings.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Salmon Fillets Slow-Baked with Dill Sauce

with Natalie

Today we are going to look at at an absolutely delightful way to cook perfectly moist salmon fillets that are served with a delicious baked on crust (with hints of Dijon) and a dill sauce.

While the technique is called "slow-baking" it actually takes very little time (one of the great things about cooking fish generally).

To begin you want to use salmon fillets with the skin still on the bottom.

The measurements we used for this recipe were for two large sized fillets.

First mix together 5 tablespoons of mayonnaise and 1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard. Set aside (separately to avoid any cross-contamination) 3 tablespoons of the mixture and, then, spread around 1 tablespoon of this mix in a thin, even layer across the top (skinless) part of each fillet.

Then mix together 4 tablespoons of seasoned bread crumbs and 2 teaspoons of olive oil and spoon half on each of the two fillets evenly on top of the mayonnaise-Dijon mix.

Place the topped fillets skin side down onto a shallow baking tray lined with parchment paper.

Put the tray on the middle rack of an oven preheated to 275 degrees and bake for approximately 20 minutes. Unless your fillets are unusually thick, that is all the time you will need.

While the fillets are cooking mix the the reserved mayonnaise-Dijon mixture with 2 tablespoons of chopped fresh dill and the juice of one lemon.

When done plate the fillets and spoon the dill sauce over them.

Slow-baking salmon ensures that it will not come out dry, while the addition of the breadcrumb spread adds nice texture that compliments the bold dill, mayonnaise and Dijon flavours.

An impressive dish that is easy to make.


See also: Montreal Steak Spice Salmon Fillets

See also: Smoked Salmon and Spaghetti with Capers

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Alberta CROWN corporation AIMCo moves to evict striking Parkdale tenants - Show your solidarity!

In a shocking turn of events, AIMCo (Alberta Investment Management Corporation) a CROWN corporation that manages the pension plans of Alberta's unionized government workers is taking steps to evict tenants in Toronto's Parkdale neighbourhood who are engaged in a rent strike due to that above guideline rent increases they are facing and to ongoing issues with outstanding repairs.

AIMCo is a partial owner of the buildings, which means that a crown corporation -- in a province with a social democratic NDP government -- that claims to be a "socially responsible" manager of the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees' (AUPE) pension funds has started working to throw what are primarily working class and immigrant tenants out of their homes!

This is inexcusable.

Yesterday, rent strike organizers released the following statement:
May 23 – The Alberta Investment Management Corporation (AIMCo) has initiated evictions against tenants on rent strike in Toronto's Parkdale neighbourhood. To bring attention to their situation tenants have launched the website
AIMCo, a crown corporation of the government of Alberta which manages Alberta government workers’ pensions plans, owns three of six Parkdale mid-rise apartment buildings facing rent increases above the Ontario rent guideline.
“Instead of negotiating, AIMCo wants to evict us,” said tenant Diane Rajaram, of 87 Jameson Avenue, “I don't believe working Albertans want to see their pension money being used to push my neighbours and I out of our homes.”
Two hundred tenants in six Parkdale apartment buildings commenced a rent strike on May 1. The rent strikers are withholding their rent to demand the withdrawal of applications for above guideline rent increases at the buildings and do necessary repairs in their units.
“AIMCo claims socially responsible investment practices. We fail to see what is socially responsible about evicting low-income people from their homes in the middle of a housing crisis,” said Cole Webber of Parkdale Community Legal Services
You can visit their website

You can also directly help by sending an email to James Ridout, Director, Private Equity for AIMCo at this link  and by donating to their Rent Strike Fund campaign.

This disgraceful situation can and must be stopped. AIMCo and AUPE must end any support not just for possible evictions but also for the above guideline rent increases.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Jobs! Jobs! Jobs! - J. B. Salsberg MPP Labor-Progressive Party (Communist Party) 1950

Vintage Leftist Leaflet Project

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

Leaflet: Jobs! Jobs! Jobs! -  J. B. Salsberg MPP Labor-Progressive Party (Communist Party) 1950

A leaflet calling for a national employment strategy and for a more humane unemployment insurance policy that was written by the Communist Ontario MPP, J. B. Salsberg who we have looked at before on this blog.

(Click on scans 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 contact us via

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Fifteen Days

Fifteen days...

Went to the wedding not sure why I was there she had told me long ago even before the loss and the ceremonies

But Hey Ya right Hey Ya

As I walked over her husband arrived

My friend maybe I suppose

We go to the Burger King and

Fourteen days...

Forgetting that I ever cared I was at the Crown and Cork but they shut the thing down and when we finished that shift Ricardo was marching across the courtyard but Steven held him back and I remember the violence and I remember the shot glasses and I remember that

Thirteen days...

Sleeping late on Sundays, the screen door banging gently but I don't want to wake up

You are snoring but it is kinda cute a gentle snore and I want to reach over and touch you

I see him arising I cannot escape him

Do you know where he came from this man now here looming over us

Twelve Days...

There is a car coming up the driveway and Cheri is in the front seat smiling

I have missed her so much so many years so many paths traveled

Fried chicken in the back yard and she is drinking a really terrible white wine

Bill comes over and kisses her ear and she lights up

It has been too long since I have seen my sister seem happy but as Bill moves away the rain starts and we have to pack it all up and rushing to carry all the plates back in I think she spilled that wine

That cheap fucking wine

Eleven Days...

At the park and they are raising the flag all these folks saluting and crying like somehow it is going to bring em back

News that night is not good and Jacob was deployed over there just a few weeks back

It is very dark in the backyard and is that him again down by the shed I can't really tell

But it seems weird here now with empty rooms and empty closets and

Ten Days...

Why can't I get these ideas out of my head these angry ideas like waiting furiously impotently at the end of the bed screaming at the bedroom TV what is the fucking use in that still I am feeling better now that I started smoking again I guess and as the cop show gunshots almost echo I wonder if maybe I should have been nicer to her you know maybe I should have tried harder but I just had so little going on then it was not a good time

Jimmy sticks his head in the door such a nice kid dad is everything ok were you yelling


Nine Days...

What is that Captain Kirk says we were younger I guess it is true we were even younger even younger once but not really now I don't think

She laughs for sure

The bar is almost empty but I don't care I really don't she is the only reason I am here

Trains passing shake the whole joint from time to time as a cover band does its best and she is trying to say something to me but I can't hear her

I can't hear her

Eight Days...

Traffic is heavy trying to get out of the city everyone is always trying to get out of the city so why the fuck do we all live and work here to begin with

Seven Days...

Do you see that truck over there and they look up at me and at it and I say your daddy helped build that and their eyes open wide in amazement they are young enough that they believe me and it is true though not anymore of course not anymore of course

Why would it be true they just do it somewhere else now with different people now

But I built that I remember that I did and that my sisters and brothers did and they really can't take it away or can they anyway the kids love it and then they see the ice cream guy by the park and they are running and laughing like only kids can the trucks don't matter anymore

Six days...

Sam is leaning back remember the strike four years ago that is what did it that is why we are done it was all the union and shut the fuck up Paul is getting so mad I don't know what difference would it have made

Hockey is on the TV

Five Days...

I see them in my mind sometimes those were good days

The dances the birthday parties even the funerals the parties the backyard drunks the boys nights out the girls nights out never went on those just would have a few beers at home with kids asleep and watching action movies on that cable channel

Nothing ever lasts though right or can it maybe don't know now Jimmy is worried because Curly got out of the yard and we haven't seen the dog this afternoon

Four Days...

The high school did Les Miserables one year it was crazy what were we all thinking it was fun and I was one of those background characters that no one notices still we went out afterwards and were fucking around in the park

That was when I first held your hand I think and that is when it all sorta began so how can I be sad about it now though I am you know I am sad it is just like so long ago that it seems it never happened if you were here you would tell me to shut up about that and stop being a shit but you're not so you can't I guess

Three Days...

I loved you so much I am sure of that

They finally closed the cinema in town a few years ago I went to the last show it was great to see it even though I had moved to the city it had been thirty years I was thinking you might show up silly right

I drove up the other day to see it all again but there is nothing there now just condominiums

Two Days...

You turned to me I am so certain that you did and you looked that last time

Why can't we feel good about anything anymore I often wonder bringing flowers to mark bad memories what else can you do one day the markers of our lost lives will be forgotten and the grave stones even will be dust and all that will remain of us will be the distant echoes right the distant impressions I guess right all that will be left will be these bright thoughts we try to keep of each other for as long as that lasts

So I went to visit you the other day and I would have brought the kids but they have all left now and I think of you a lot though that does not help much you would have liked that Jimmy got into university he is going to study sociology or something he thinks

Anyway I wrote a letter to you yesterday and mailed it to myself can't wait until it arrives it will be a surprise

One Day

Cultural Appropriation, the UK, Brazil, Venezuela and more -- The Left Chapter Sunday Reading List May 14 - 21

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 May 14 - May 21. It is generally in order of the date of the article's release.

1) Labour climbs to highest poll rating since start of election campaign

Niamh McIntyre, The Independent

Labour have climbed to 32 per cent in two new polls, the party's highest rating for 180 days.

Significantly, this is higher than the vote share Labour received in the 2015 general election, when Ed Miliband won over 31.2 per cent of voters.  

Read the full article.

2) It’s now clear what Corbynism represents – so what does the centre do next?

Paul Mason, The Guardian

The leak of Labour’s manifesto last week was accompanied by so much political white noise that its true significance was missed. In the Blair and Brown era, the “clause V” meeting was a filter whereby any radical proposals that slipped through the party conference could be jettisoned from the manifesto. But Jeremy Corbyn turned the filter inside out: he used the meeting to make party policy on a scale, and with a rapidity, no annual conference has achieved since he took office. Labour pledged not just to reverse cuts to public services; it pledged itself to a universalist concept of the welfare state, including a Nordic-style childcare system. It pledged to renationalise railways, energy companies and the postal service. And it adopted the philosophy of taxing wealth, not just the incomes of companies and high earners, to pay for it.

Read the full article.

3) Former Toronto Star columnist Michele Landsberg calls out paper's bosses for Desmond Cole "blunder"

Michele Landsberg, NOW Magazine

In pushing out Cole, the paper has dishonoured the work of its pioneering reporters who had documented the harms of police carding – and lost its strongest voice on race issues, writes Landsberg

Read the full article.

4) Forced into pornography: Japan moves to stop women being coerced into sex films

Justin McCurry, The Guardian

Reports of women tricked into X-rated appearances has prompted authorities to confront the booming porn industry.

Read the full article.

5) Do black female writers feel valued in Canadian media?

 Vicky Mochama, Metro News

When Desmond Cole left the Toronto Star he wondered if black writers, particularly women, will be able to thrive in Canadian media. Vicky Mochama asked some.

Read the full article.

6) ‘I Want My Disability Living Allowance Back!’ Voter Cathy Rips Into Theresa May Over Tory Benefit Cuts

Paul Waugh, The Huffington Post

Theresa May has been subjected to a tongue-lashing by a voter complaining about Tory cuts to disability benefits.

Read the full article.

7) Credit union employees say high-pressure sales targets turn 'members' into 'marks'

Erica Johnson, CBC News

Dozens of employees from credit unions across the country tell Go Public they feel the same pressure as bank employees to meet high sales targets, often to the detriment of their members.

Read the full article.

8) Jonathan Kay Is Going to Be Just Fine

Sarah Hagi, Vice

He left The Walrus this weekend over the appropriation controversy, but he’s not going to leave Canadian media anytime soon.

Read the full article.

9) What cultural appropriation is, and why you should care

Shree Paradkar, The Toronto Star

The first time I came across appropriation was when I came face to face with Gwen Stefani. It was 1997, and the white pop star with the bindi was in Bangalore, taking questions from reporters before her concert.

The bindi didn’t bother me too much. I thought it just meant India had arrived in the West — and, to my own colonial mindset, this was a good thing. But her condescension toward the reporters left me uneasy. Could she respect a cultural symbol if she didn’t respect the people?

Read the full article.

10) On Cultural Appropriation, Canadians Are Hypocrites

Robert Jago, The Walrus

Citizens of this country believe in the value of protecting one’s culture—except when it comes to Indigenous people.

Read the full article.

11) Cue the eye rolls: this is a piece about cultural appropriation

 Jessica Deer, CBC News

When a handful of editors and senior staff in Canadian media took to Twitter last week to seemingly mock Indigenous peoples' concerns with cultural appropriation, it was discouraging for many like myself who are a) Indigenous, b) trying to make a living in the demanding media field and c) have seen the negative effects of appropriation through a variety of forms.

Read the full article.

12) If The Cultural Appropriation Prize Is A Joke, We Are The Punchline

Asam Ahmad, The Huffington Post

Noting the tendency of Canadians to retort, "At least we're not like Americans!", when faced with evidence of Canada's racist treatment of black and racialized people and the ongoing structural oppression of indigenous life, Junot Diaz recently noted that such a proclamation is akin to saying "At least I'm not like my murdering cousin!" --- meaning the United States. It might be very well and good that we are not like our murdering cousin down south, but how does that do anything to make us more accountable to our own shit?

Read the full article.

13) This is what emboldened white supremacists look like

Douglas Williams, The Guardian

It was a scene out of the darkest days of the civil rights movement. A couple of dozen white supremacists rallied around a statue of Robert E Lee, a Confederate army general, in Virginia, carrying torches and chanting: “You will not replace us.”
But this was no black-and-white newsreel, relaying the horrors of a time long since past. This grotesque scene played out on Saturday, at a rally headlined by the white supremacist Richard Spencer.

Read the full article.

14) Nova Scotia NDP platform unapologetically embraces deficit spending

 Jean Laroche, CBC News

Party is promising almost $1B in extra spending in first mandate alone.

Read the full article.

15) Canadian journalism group calls for public inquiry after journalists arrested in Hamilton

Nick Westoll, Global News

As journalists cover breaking news, a working relationship with emergency services personnel is essential in order to keep residents informed of incidents that impact families, neighbourhoods and communities.

Read the full article.

16) The everlasting effects of homophobia and why it's not just gay people that suffer

Ryan E. Thompson, CBC Life

I am a man. In September of 2015 I married another man. Something I never thought possible in my youth. Something I never thought I would allow myself to do for one simple reason: homophobia – internalized to the Nth degree. Declaring my love and kissing a man in public, in front of my family… was my worst fear for a time. The moment I publicly said "I do" was a personal triumph, putting aside decades of hiding, fear and self consciousness in the name of love. I had done it. I had overcome my big gay demons for good.

Read the full article.

17) Ensure safe access for all to the Morgentaler clinic in Ottawa.


WHEREAS all people in Ontario are entitled to access to health care, including abortion services;
AND WHEREAS all people who use the Ontario health care system, and who provide services for it, should be treated with courtesy and with respect for their dignity and privacy;
We the undersigned, petition the City of Ottawa to:
1) Ensure that the Ottawa Police are enforcing by-law 2001-260 in order to ensure the safety and protect the rights of clinic services providers, doctors, and patients.

2) Provide financial grants to the Morgentaler clinic in order to assist with court costs associated with fighting for a necessary bubble injunction.

Sign the petition.

18) Toronto Council Gearing Up For Another Battle Over Pride Funding

Alex Verman, Torontoist

Straight politicians keep trying to dictate to Pride who should be welcome at the parade.

Read the full article.

19) Major Decisions Face Québec Solidaire at its Forthcoming Congress

Richard Fidler, The Bullet

Quebec's broad party of the left, Québec solidaire (QS), will open a four-day congress on May 19 in Montréal – the 12th congress in its 11-year history. The delegates face a challenging agenda. It includes the final stage of adoption of the party's detailed program, a process begun eight years ago; discussion of possible alliances with other parties and some social movements including a proposed fusion with another pro-independence party, Option nationale; and renewal of the party's top leadership.

Read the full article.

20) A Union of Pimps and Johns

Julie Bindel, Truthdig

During a trip to Cambodia in the summer of 2015 I came across a well-funded NGO that purported to run the largest union of “sex workers” in Southeast Asia. In Phnom Penh, I had arranged to meet a group of women who were, I was told, members of the “sex workers” union that had been founded by the Women’s Network for Unity (WNU). The WNU, which received funding by the Open Society Foundation, a multibillion-dollar fund set up by the investor George Soros, has a clear pro-prostitution agenda.

Read the full article.

21) There is no way to save the inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women from its fatal flaws

Pamela Palmater, Rabble

It looks like those who advocated for the long-awaited national inquiry into murdered and missing Indigenous women and girls will be waiting a little while longer.

Read the full article.

22) Seattle's Socialist Councilwoman encourages Seahawks to sign Kaepernick

Seattle’s socialist City Councilwoman Kshama Sawant sent a letter to Seahawks coach Pete Carroll and owner Paul Allen encouraging them to sign San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick.

Read the full article.

23) Black man will spend six years in Georgia prison despite jury finding him 'not guilty'

Niamh McIntyre, The Independent 

A black man who was found not guilty of armed robbery will still serve up to seven years behind bars after a judge ruled he had breached the rules of his probation sentence for another crime.

Read the full article.

24) As Brazil Faces Crisis, IMF Suggests Neoliberal Austerity


The International Monetary Fund, IMF, urged Brazil to maintain austerity measures in a report released Friday, one day after scandal-ridden and unelected President Michel Temer refused to step down in the face of widespread strikes and protests.

Read the full article.

25) Arctic stronghold of world’s seeds flooded after permafrost melts

Damian Carrington, The Guardian

It was designed as an impregnable deep-freeze to protect the world’s most precious seeds from any global disaster and ensure humanity’s food supply forever. But the Global Seed Vault, buried in a mountain deep inside the Arctic circle, has been breached after global warming produced extraordinary temperatures over the winter, sending meltwater gushing into the entrance tunnel.

Read the full article.

26) The Strategy Behind Washington’s Destabilization Of Venezuela

 Eric Draitser, Mint Press News

Venezuela represents everything that the U.S. opposes in the region: socialism, anti-imperialism, economic independence via energy exports and a viable ally for China, Russia, Iran and other countries that oppose the hegemonic designs of Washington.

Read the full article.

27) Murder In The Mediterranean – The Perils Of Fishing In Gaza

Ian Berman, Mint Press News

On Al Nakba Day of all days, the Israeli Navy killed another Palestinian fisherman, Muhammad Majid Bakr.  The second in this year alone.  The Israeli Navy claims Bakr’s fishing trawler responded neither to their calls, nor warning shots, after deviating “from the designated fishing zone in the northern Gaza Strip.”

Read the full article.

28) Nunavut's Food Insecurity Is 'Far Greater' Than The Rest Of Canada: Report

Maham Abedi, The Huffington Post

Food insecurity in Nunavut needs "remedial action," according to a new report.

Read the full article.

Also, while from a period previous to this one, the powerful and moving article is being included in this roundup as well:

29) My Mother Wasn't Trash

Joshua Wilkey, This Appalachia Life

My mother died the day she turned 55.
 This Sunday will be my first Mother's Day without her, but nearly a year after she died, I still find it impossible to be heartbroken over her passing. As I wrote in her obituary, she suffered from both mental and physical illness for much of her life. However, despite her struggles, she selflessly loved and supported those who meant the most to her. In so many ways, she loved those who society deemed outcast and unloveable, and through her relentless love of others, her relationship with God was readily apparent. While I miss her dearly, it would be selfish of me to wish that she were still alive and suffering rather than at peace.

Read the full article.

See also: Corbyn, Cultural Appropriation, Colombia and more -- The Left Chapter Sunday Reading List May 7 - May 14

See also: Jordan Edwards, Uber, Bernie Sanders and more -- The Left Chapter Sunday Reading List April 30 - May 7

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Toussaint Louverture, Haitian Revolutionary Leader and Hero Born May 20, 1743

Toussaint Louverture, Haitian Revolutionary Leader and Hero
Born May 20, 1743

"Toussaint Louverture was the finest product of that greatest period in human history: The Age of Enlightenment" -C. L. R. James

"In overthrowing me, they have only felled the trunk of the tree of black liberty in Saint Domingue [Haiti]. It will regrow from the roots because they are deep and many"
-Toussaint Louverture upon  realizing he had been betrayed by Napoleon who had him imprisoned, shortly after which he died.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Nova Scotia NDP leader Gary Burrill makes powerful closing debate statement truly worth watching

If you are old enough you may perhaps still dimly remember a post-war time when, even in the capitalist countries, it was a standard political assumption across much of the political spectrum that society was progressing and that the evils of hunger, inequality and injustice could and would be ended (at least to some degree) one day by the actions of governments.

Partly this was due to threat that was posed to the capitalist system by Communism with its promise of the eradication of poverty and of full employment, but it was also due to the existence of large currents of thought and mass political parties that were committed to a vision of society that was either explicitly or implicitly anti-capitalist, including parties like the NDP.

That era is long gone now and, until recently, the notion that governments could bring any kind of transformative change at all has been buried by short-term political electoralism, rank careerist opportunism and a fixation on enabling and reinforcing neo-liberal austerity principles of fiscal "responsibility" that are entirely detached from any sense that we can change things through taxation, spending and social justice policy.

In the ongoing Nova Scotia election the Gary Burrill led NDP has the distinction of being the first wing of the party in some time to, however cautiously, truly try to move away from this bankrupt Third Way embrace of perpetual retreat.

They released a relatively solid policy platform that returns more to a traditional (and not terribly radical even just thirty years ago) reformist social democratic idea and that is not framed in either neo-liberal terms or neo-liberalism's version of "populism", the "pocketbook populism" that was the hallmark of the Ontario NDP's disgraceful, shortsighted and reactionary 2014 provincial campaign.

These themes reached a notable conclusion at the end of the leader's debate on Thursday. Burrill gave a closing statement that spoke powerfully to how our society has abandoned any notion that the future will be better, more equal, more fair or more secure for our children and our children's children.

We have, indeed, sold both the generations entering the workforce and adulthood now as well as future generations out to selfish and self-serving narratives centred on tax cutting and a mindless austerity that benefits only the corporations and the wealthy.

He directly says, as so many NDP leaders have failed to for so long, that the economics and social policy framework of the future are not inevitable but are based, instead, on the choices that our governments make and that we make as a society. Our hands are not tied.

Whether this will signal any meaningful shift in the party more broadly and whether Burrill himself and the NSNDP will continue along this road or not remains to be seen of course.

But it is a moving statement worth watching that reminds that it is, as my comrades in the Socialist Party of Ontario used to say, never too late to write the future.

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

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

In our hands is placed a power greater than their hoarded gold,
Greater than the might of armies, multiplied a thousand-fold.
We can bring to birth a new world from the ashes of the old
For the union makes us strong.

Click on image to enlarge.

(Cartoon Source: The People's History of Cape Breton)

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Best of the Best from Arkansas Cookbook w. Catfish, Chicken Fried Steak, Cornbread and more -- Vintage Cookbook TBT

Vintage Cookbook: Best of the Best from Arkansas Cookbook

Publication Details: Quail Ridge Press, 2005

The "Best of the Best" US state themed cookbook series is a terrific set of cookbooks that compile recipes from a variety of sources to put together a culinary portrait of each place.

Some of these are more interesting than others as some American regional cuisines are more interesting than others.

The Arkansas installment is a terrific and very large (close to 300 pages) cookbook full of interesting and, in some cases, weird recipes, a great many of which I would like to make or, in some cases like Chicken Fried Steak (not this version specifically, though they are all similar), already have.

It even has a recipe that purports to be a Hillary Clinton favourite from the Clinton days in the state...and it is a recipe that looks pretty darn good!

(Click on images to enlarge) 

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

Vintage Cookbook TBT List 

Swan Nests and Turtle Families at Sam Smith Park -- The Lakeside Parks of South Etobicoke VI

In a previous post about the wonderful lakeside park, Sam Smith Park, that lies at the foot of Kipling Ave. in Etobicoke, we looked at the new outlook that was built in it.

Now it seems that a pair of swans have built their nest right beside this outlook and the mother is tending to her eggs there.

This is a really amazing sight and a unique opportunity to see this up close!

Please don't disturb them if you do go to check it out.

Also here we share a few other park photos...including one of a turtle family sunning themselves.

Spring at Sam Smith is pretty great!

(Click on images to enlarge)

Sam Smith Park is on the 501 Queen St. streetcar line. You get off at the Kipling stop and walk a very short walk south. From downtown you can expect an off-peak ride of about 45 minutes to an hour to get to Kipling.

Alternately you can take the subway to Kipling station and the 44 Kipling South or the new 180 Kipling Express bus to the park. Simply stay on the bus to the very end of its route. You will get off the bus right at the northern end of the park.

If you are driving you exit at the Kipling exit of the Gardiner Expressway and go south.

For more information on the park see the City of Toronto website.

You can also learn more about the history of and efforts to preserve the park at the Friends of Sam Smith Park blog.

All photos by Michael Laxer

See also: The New Outlook @ Sam Smith Park -- The Lakeside Parks of South Etobicoke I

See also: Marie Curtis Park & Beach -- The Lakeside Parks of South Etobicoke IV