Sunday, May 21, 2017

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

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