Monday, October 30, 2017

The Eleventh Hour: Defeat the New Fascist Threat! -- Gus Hall, CPUSA 1964

Vintage Leftist Leaflet Project

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

Leaflet: The Eleventh Hour: Defeat the New Fascist Threat! -- Gus Hall, CPUSA 1964

This leaflet, written by American Communist leader Gus Hall (who we saw in a previous leaflet and who was later to run with Angela Davis on the CPUSA presidential ticket) is quite interesting in today's context.

It examines very old questions confronting the left when faced by a serious electoral threat from the far right. In this case the threat was from the Republican candidacy of Barry Goldwater in 1964.

(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, October 29, 2017

Ginger Jentzen, Pope Francis, Podemos and more -- The Left Chapter Sunday Reading List October 22-29

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  October 22-29. It is generally in order of the date of the article's release.

1) A Toronto imam was accused of hate-preaching against Jews. But that wasn’t the whole story

Jennifer Yang, The Toronto Star

Ayman Elkasrawy’s controversial prayers sparked outrage and condemnation from many, including members of his own faith. In the aftermath, he reached out to the Jewish community to educate himself and learn from his mistakes. Still, a key question remained unanswered: did he really say what he was accused of saying?

Read the full article.

2) Sexual Harassment is Old News for Women in Trades

tradeswomn musings

In the wake of harassment allegations against sexual predators including movie moguls and our president, tradeswomen applaud women who are telling their stories and rising up against this outrage.

Women in male-dominated occupations have been fighting this fight for as long as we can remember. We’ve been on the front lines of the feminist movement for decades defending our sisters, supporting legislation to protect women against sexual harassment and helping employers and unions see their responsibility on this issue. We and our fight have been invisible except to each other. Every female construction worker has experienced harassment and all of us can say #Metoo.

Read the full article.

3) CAMI Strike 2017: After Another Setback Can Unifor Move On?

Herman Rosenfeld, The Socialist Project Bullet

A four-week strike at the CAMI assembly plant, that began on September 17th, ended on October 16th. Members of Unifor Local 88 voted 86% in favour of the tentative agreement bargained with the stand-alone GM plant. Located in Ingersoll, Ontario, close to London, it is a former joint venture between Suzuki and GM. CAMI assembles hot-selling Chevrolet Equinox crossover vehicles.

Read the full article.

4) Why did Masuma Khan’s post invite censure from Dalhousie if free speech is so vaunted?

Shree Paradkar, The Toronto Star

Dalhousie University is facing scrutiny for investigating a student leader's polarizing social media comments as a group of law professors and a civil liberties group accuse the university of censoring political speech.

Read the full article.

5) Please turn up the volume on the #MeToo outrage

Susan G. Cole, NOW Magazine

Don’t buy the argument that smaller abuses aren’t harmful – there is a spectrum of abuse, and it has to be acknowledged.

Read the full article.

6) Quebec Gov't To Keep Crucifix Despite Banning Niqabi Women From Public Transit

Huffington Post

A crucifix that is prominently displayed in the room where members of the Quebec national assembly hold their regular sittings is staying put.

Read the full article.

7) Catholic school sex-ed plan as advertised won't ever be taught, premier says

The Canadian Press

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley says an alternative sex education curriculum being crafted by Catholic school officials will never be taught if it arrives as previously advertised.

Read the full article.

8) Labour leaders rally at Union Station to demand transit services be kept in public hands

Muriel Draaisma, CBC News

A handful of labour leaders launched a campaign at Toronto's Union Station on Tuesday morning to stop what they say is the privatization of public transit projects.

Read the full article.

9) James Toback: 200 more women allege harassment by director, reports LA Times

Gwilym Mumford, The Guardian

Julianne Moore among new accusers as paper says it has received hundreds of stories of unwanted sexual attention from Toback, who has denied earlier allegations.

Read the full article.

10) Fashion must now move on from female exploitation – and Terry Richardson

Namalee Bolle, The Guardian

The Harvey Weinstein scandal has triggered a wave of allegations, revelations and even confessions, via the #metoo campaign, across media and entertainment. I’m not the only one working in the fashion business wondering whether this will finally signal the end of our own disgraceful “hush hush” culture surrounding harassment.

Read the full article.

11) Woody Allen Keeps Telling Us Who He Is. Women Should Listen.

Kali Holloway / AlterNet

Someone should invent a word for that moment when you realize an artist you love is a terrible person. The term could be used to succinctly describe the painful transition between before and after, that fracture in time separating carefree consumption from morally weighted knowledge. It would define the general discomfort of watching Last Tango in Paris versus the full-on horror of learning Bernardo Bertolucci and Marlon Brando conspired to commit verité sexual assault against Maria Schneider to get an authentically humiliating take. It would sum up the sudden creepiness that emanates from Cliff Huxtable with awareness that serial sexual abuser Bill Cosby is actually ensconced in that sweater. It’s the disturbing realization that sexually predatory thug Harvey Weinstein was involved in so many iconic films and incidents of sexual harassment dating back decades, it casts a shadow over an entire industry. Or the insight that R. Kelly—who will never face charges because this country doesn’t believe black women can truly be victims, as Weinstein also proved—was genuinely trying to sell us all on age-of-consent laws being useless.

Read the full article.

12) 'I will never not speak out again': Cindy McCormick killed in murder-suicide, says friend

Bobbi-Jean MacKinnon, CBC News

As Jennifer Gordon struggles to cope with the slaying of her best friend, Saint John dentist Cindy McCormick, in Alberta last weekend, she has made a promise to herself.

"I will never not speak out again," she said. "I will never stay silent."

Read the full article.

13) Revealed: oil giants pay billions less tax in Canada than abroad

Martin Lukacs, The Guardian

Canada taxes its oil and gas companies at a fraction of the rate they are taxed abroad, including by countries ranked among the world’s most corrupt, according to an analysis of public data by the Guardian.

Read the full article.


Zaid Jilani, The Intercept

A Group of about 20 Minneapolis residents huddled outside a downtown building on a recent Friday, some wearing T-shirts emblazoned with messages, like “Tax the Rich” and “Minneapolis Needs a Political Revolution.”

Read the full article.

15) A Harvey Weinstein Moment for the Restaurant Industry?

Jen Agg, The New Yorker

In September of 2015, I organized a conference in Toronto to discuss gender inequality in the restaurant world. Titled Kitchen Bitches: Smashing the Patriarchy One Plate at a Time, the conference was the first of its kind, and it came in the wake of several instances of women in the Toronto restaurant industry speaking out about the discrimination and harassment they’d faced.

Read the full article.

16) Ontario makes it illegal to protest outside and near abortion clinics

The Canadian Press

It will soon be illegal to protest outside and near abortion clinics in Ontario.

The legislature passed a bill Wednesday to create zones around the eight clinics in the province of between 50 and 150 metres in which anti-abortion protests, advising a person not to get an abortion, and intimidation or interfering with a woman's ability to access the services will be banned.

Read the full article.

17) Quebec police officers accused of trading money and drugs for sex with aboriginal women placed on leave

Postmedia News

Police officers trading money and cocaine for sex, a missing persons case that collected dust for months, and allegations of wanton cruelty against vulnerable women.

These are what indigenous people say they have encountered first-hand in their dealings with the Sûreté du Québec in the remote mining city of Val d’Or.

Read the full article.

18) Social media brings Pakistan's persecuted women rare justice after the violence

Farhad Mirza and Sophie Hemery, The Guardian

Sarah Gill, Suman Ali – aka Acid Survivor – and Khadija Siddiqi represent a growing movement using the internet to demand justice for the shocking crimes they have suffered. Will it trigger long-awaited change in Pakistan?

Read the full article.

19) Why deny the Ukrainian Nazi connection?

David Pugliese, Ottawa Citizen

The Russian Embassy in Ottawa has created quite the controversy with its latest tweets about Nazi monuments in Canada.

Read the full article.

20) Podemos Leader Pablo Iglesias Calls Catalan Independence Illegal

Left Voice

The repression of October 1 may be small compared to the immense repression that Rajoy could bring down on the Catalan people as a result of this independence vote and concrete move to separate from the Spanish State. Iglesias turns his back on those workers and students who are in the streets celebrating right now, and who may tomorrow be in the streets facing the Spanish police. All progressives must position themselves in opposition to Article 155 and against the repression of the Spanish State. Podemos must put its immense political weight on the side of the workers and youth instead of leaving the Catalan people isolated to face off against the Spanish State and its imperialist backers. They must call for a huge movement against Article 155, against repression, and against a possible occupation of Catalonia by the Spanish armed forces.

Read the full article.

21) The war against Pope Francis

Andrew Brown, The Guardian

Pope Francis is one of the most hated men in the world today. Those who hate him most are not atheists, or protestants, or Muslims, but some of his own followers. Outside the church he is hugely popular as a figure of almost ostentatious modesty and humility. From the moment that Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio became pope in 2013, his gestures caught the world’s imagination: the new pope drove a Fiat, carried his own bags and settled his own bills in hotels; he asked, of gay people, “Who am I to judge?” and washed the feet of Muslim women refugees.

Read the full article.

22) Marital rape myths have no place in Canadian law

Jennifer Koshan, Melanie Randall and Elizabeth Sheehy, The Globe and Mail

Since 1983, it has been a crime in Canada to sexually assault one's spouse. Yet marital rape too often remains effectively decriminalized, as shown in a recent Ontario decision. In R. v. H.E., an Ottawa man was acquitted of sexually assaulting his wife. Justice Robert J. Smith found that "the accused probably had sex with his wife on many occasions without her specific consent, as both he and she believed that he had the right to do so." With respect to the incident that led to criminal charges, however, the complainant testified she had told the accused to stop several times, and the judge found her to be credible. It is difficult to see how the accused could have honestly believed that his wife was consenting in these circumstances. It appears the accused was acquitted because he did not understand the law of consent, despite the fact that ignorance of the law is no defence.

Read the full article.

23) Judges failing women again on sex assault cases

Vicky Mochama, The Toronto Star

Companies and institutions will have to reckon with how they have created environments for predators to thrive but is the criminal justice system is ready for this change?

Read the full article.

24) 'An insult to women': Roman Polanski retrospective causes outrage

Agence France-Presse, The Guardian

French feminists have voiced outrage over a planned retrospective of the films of director Roman Polanski, who has been accused of several sexual assaults, calling it “an insult” to women following the Harvey Weinstein scandal.

Read the full article.

25) How Terry Richardson created porn ‘chic’ and moulded the look of an era

Richard Benson, The Guardian

The photographer, now ostracised by the fashion industry after many allegations of sexual harassment, shaped an aesthetic of exploitation.

Read the full article.

26) Iceland's centre-left opposition takes narrow majority in parliament

France 24

Icelanders, angry over a string of political scandals, ousted the centre-right government in an election that could pave the way for a young charismatic opposition leader to form a left-leaning coalition, final vote counts showed on Sunday.

Read the full article.

While this piece is from before the period covered, it is important and we are including it as we missed it before:


Natasha Lennard, The Intercept

On September 28, attorney Michael David filed notice of a claim against the New York Police Department, the City of New York, and two unnamed police officers, referred to as John and Jim Doe. These plainclothes cops, alleged the claim, “brutally sexually assaulted and raped” his 18-year-old female client. David told me that within a day, he needed to amend the claim: The officers had been identified by police in the press as Brooklyn South narcotics detectives Richard Hall and Edward Martins.

Read the full article.

See also: Bill 62, Harvey Weinstein, Climate Change and more -- The Left Chapter Sunday Reading List October 15 - 22

See also: Harvey Weinstein, Sidney Crosby, Cuba and more -- The Left Chapter Sunday Reading List October 8-15

Saturday, October 28, 2017

The Professions -- A Soviet Socialist Realist Art Portfolio for Children

Published in Moscow in 1983 this folder of Soviet socialist realist art was actually aimed at children. It was a portfolio of works by various artists that portrayed working people in the USSR farming, building subways, engaged in construction, sorting fish etc.

All of the art reproductions were fairly large at 8 by 11 inches and came with extensive text in Russian on the back about the piece. Unfortunately we have no translations for this text, but we have translated the names of the paintings. The folder originally came with 16 pieces of which we have 12 and the cover art.

The art here is truly compelling and interesting in terms of the professions that they chose to include. It is also not overly idealized but rather shows the important role that its subjects play and the nature of what they do.

Standouts to me are the deeply atmospheric take on Steelworkers in their foundry, the look at Uzbek women engaged in gold embroidery, the more idealized portrait of workers connecting tunnels of the Kharkiv Metro and the slightly surrealist piece of the artist as worker painting the day-to-day of port life.

What also comes through is the centrality of the worker in the Soviet cultural and social narrative.

(Click on images)

Caspian Fisheries

Artist and Port

Construction of the Kharkiv Metro

New District of Leningrad

Task Force


Waiting for the Brigade

Metro Construction Workers

Gold Gems of Bukhara

Steelworker Brigade

The First Kilometers

"Harness the Horses"

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Halloween Fun w. Spooky Sundaes, Witch's Brew and more - Vintage Cookbook #TBT

Vintage Cookbook: Halloween Fun, Judy Owens with illustrations by Kathryn Cole and Terry Brooks

Publication Details: Scholastic, 1971

Halloween Fun is a terrific, illustrated, and, indeed, very fun "how-to" book aimed at kids that was published in 1971. It was, of course, all about organizing the best possible Halloween night party for all your friends.

As such it included sections on decorations, costumes and games, and party foods. The food ideas, needless-to-say, were all Halloween themed and are very cute with names like Spooky Sundaes and Witch's Brew.

What really stands out among all the tips and ideas are the wonderful illustrations by Kathryn Cole and Terry Brooks. When these are combined with ideas like "Giggle Juice" the book is sure to bring a smile to any face.

Here we look at some of the food ideas as well as a few of the illustrations and tips.

Watch out for the ghosts and goblins and have a happy and safe Halloween!

(Click on images to enlarge) 

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Polling Success or Electoral Flop? Religious Neutrality Laws

by Ammario Reza

It may not necessarily 'mean' anything. It may not even be necessarily indicative of what we can expect to see in the future in electoral politics. It is, however, interesting to note that so far, whether one buys them as a genuine attempt at laicite/secularism or whether one sees them as a cynical display of pandering to xenophobia and people's basest instincts, provincial legislative attempts at "religious neutrality" have been electoral flops in Quebec. And this despite enjoying seemingly consistent popular support in opinion polling.

There was the Charte des valeurs (CdV) that was introduced by the Parti Quebecois when they were in power under former Premier Pauline Marois. This piece of legislation was supposed to be the golden key that would deliver the then minority PQ government a majority. The CdV had enjoyed widespread and consistent support in opinion polling in Quebec throughout this time period. This failed to translate into electoral success, however, and the PQ was heavily defeated in the 2014 provincial election.

Of course, this is not to say that the Charte des valeurs was the reason Pauline Marois' government was defeated. There were many angles to that election. Who can forget the infamous "fist-pump" incident of Pierre-Karl Peladeau vowing to have a sovereignty referendum, derailing the "sitting on the fence on the sovereignty issue" position that the PQ had officially decided to adopt throughout that election? Heck, perhaps the PQ government was defeated despite the CdV, rather than because of it. This is a debatable contention, with reasonable-sounding arguments from both sides.The point is the party that proposed it wound up being ousted.

After that, along came Bill 62, introduced (and now implemented) by the Quebec Liberal government of Premier Philippe Couillard that defeated the PQ. Like its predecessor (the CdV), the spirit and essence of Bill 62 appears to enjoy widespread popular support. However, Monday's federal by-election in Lac-Saint-Jean saw that riding fall into federal Liberal hands, despite talk and speculation that Bill 62's popularity in opinion polling could hand the seat to the Bloc Quebecois (BQ). The BQ, out of all the federal parties, seems by far the most in agreement with the essence and spirit of Bill 62, while the federal Liberals oppose it - albeit weakly.

Of course, it is again easy to counter this view with the fact that there are many angles that one could look at the federal by-election results from. Perhaps Bill 62 didn't even really play a significant part, given that it is a provincial issue.

One would think, however, that if solutions like the ones that Bill 62 purports to remedy enjoy such widespread polling support as to make the bill a high-priority item for the Quebecois -- as the actions of National Assembly politicians appear to imply -- that some of that would have found its way into the federal by-election results. The Liberals' stance on Bill 62 is that they oppose it. Trudeau was even questioned repeatedly on his stance during the Lac-Saint-Jean campaign. Yet the Liberal candidate ended up winning the by-election (albeit with just 38% of the popular vote as the non-Liberal vote was split 4-ways). Perhaps Bill 62 played absolutely no role whatsoever in Lac-Saint-Jean's federal by-election results? Who knows?

What is noteworthy is that while provincial legislation such as the Charte des valeurs and Bill 62 consistently seem to enjoy widespread support in public opinion polls, they never (so far) seem to deliver electorally. Could it be that politicians are simply overestimating the importance of this issue to voters? Could it be that, while it may be true that most Quebec voters agree with the spirit of such legislation, it simply isn't a vote-determining priority for them? Could it be that, perhaps, Quebec voters agree with the principle of secularism but aren't so much on board with the state legislating what people can or cannot wear? Could it be that Quebec voters genuinely want a demonstration of the religious neutrality of the state, but they want it done without the whiff of xenophobia that, according to many, seems to accompany recent attempts? It is difficult to tell.

The argument that voters simply aren't motivated by this issue at the ballot-box could be rebuffed by pointing out that the federal NDP lost a considerable amount of support in Quebec, during the last federal election, in part due to their opposition to the notion that religious face-coverings be banned. However, the federal Liberals at the time took a virtually identical position on the same issue, yet did not suffer a backlash.

It is a bit short-sighted to view the niqab issue as the reason for the collapse in NDP support in Quebec in 2015. Many other factors played a part, like the party's promise to balance the budget within their first year in power. The niqab issue was likely a catalyst, rather than a cause, to already-waning support in Quebec during the last federal election. In addition, the parties that most aggressively promoted the niqab-ban (the Tories and Bloc Quebecois) were not rewarded for their stances in that federal election.

We now live in a political age where voters generally tend to dislike, and are not afraid of repudiating, politicians at the ballot box who they perceive to be "too cute by half"/acting too explicitly calculatingly and cynically. Could it be that Quebec voters didn't see the motives behind the PQ's Charte des valeurs as being actually based on genuine principle, but rather as a cynical vote-buying move? Could the same be said regarding the Couillard Liberals' Bill 62, providing a possible explanation as to why opposing it didn't appear to hurt the federal Liberals?

We will be able to discern some kind of pattern as this issue is put to the electoral test a few more times. Until then, we have yet to see an example of provincial legislation like the Charte des valeurs or Bill 62 deliver unquestionable electoral success, despite what public opinion polling appears to indicate.

Ammario Reza is the co-founder of NDP Grassroots-Ralliement populaire NPD, with a background in Political Science. He is a writer, commentator and activist primarily based in Ottawa. He works varying contract positions for various NDP and other progressive campaigns, in addition to being a liaison for author Linda McQuaig's speaking engagements.

Do you have a left point-of-view or opinion, event or petition, a recipe or a story you want to share?

Send them to The Left Chapter via!

Simmered Beef in Gravy

This easy and tasty recipe uses a small "cheat" to create a beef dish that has been simmered in gravy until very tender and is then served over egg noodles, fettuccine, rice or even a toasted baguette.


2 lb. cubed stewing beef
4 cloves minced garlic
1 medium chopped onion
2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons mustard powder
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
4 cups/900 ml. beef stock
1 packet powdered beef or brown gravy mix
chopped fresh parsley
sea salt to taste

To begin, heat some olive oil in a large and deep saucepan. Add the beef, onion and garlic and saute for around 3-5 minutes or until the beef cubes are browned. While browning them, season with the sea salt, mustard powder and cayenne pepper.

Once the beef has been browned add the beef stock. You want the stock to just cover the beef. For 2 lbs. this is generally going to take around 4 cups/900 ml. of stock. Then add the soy sauce and Worcestershire sauce and the packet of dry gravy mix. Stir until the mix is dissolved.

Bring the stock to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for 1 1/2 to 2 hours or until beef is tender. If you feel the gravy is reducing too much for your liking, you can add a small amount of water or beef stock as required.

After the beef has finished simmering, serve with the gravy atop a bed of egg noodles, fettuccine (as pictured above) or rice. It is nice to sprinkle some chopped fresh parsley over top once you have plated it. It can also be served as an open faced "hot beef" sandwich on top of toasted baguette halves.

Simple and delicious.


See also: West Indian Style Beef Short Ribs and Potato

See also: Beef Roast with an Onion Jus

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

The Afghanistan Crisis - Imperialist Threat to Peace and Socialism - The African Communist 1980

Vintage Leftist Leaflet Project

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

Leaflet: The Afghanistan Crisis - Imperialist Threat to Peace and Socialism - The African Communist 1980

We have already looked at a couple of leaflets (Onward March of Afghan Revolution and On the 20th Founding Anniversary of the PDPA) related to the Saur Revolution in Afghanistan. This one is a statement taken from a 1980 issue of the African Communist quarterly. 

The leaflet looks at the Soviet intervention in support of the Afghan revolution from a very different perspective than the one we are used to in North America. It also notes that the Afghan PDPA government was trying to modernize Afghan society -- fighting illiteracy, working towards women's equality rights, redistributing land and other essential reforms -- in the face of a CIA and US financed campaign of imperialist destabilization that backed deeply reactionary and obscurantist forces that would go on to form groups like the Taliban.

We all know how that turned out.

Two noteworthy passages:
Babrak Karmal stressed that the objectives of the revolutionary council were not to introduce socialism, for which the basis did not yet exist because of the backwardness of the country, but to strengthen the social and political foundations of Afghanistan and ultimately secure the victory of the anti-feudal, democratic, anti-imperialist and anti-exploiting forces. The new government, Karmal said, would strive to end poverty, disease, backwardness, illiteracy, and ignorance, unemployment, and national and social oppression. 

Everywhere America is to be found on the side of reaction and against the forces of liberation, though everywhere she claims to be defending "freedom" and "democracy".
Some things have yet to change. 

(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