Sunday, January 21, 2018

Martin Luther King Jr., Unifor, #MeToo and more -- The Left Chapter Sunday Reading List January 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  January 14-21. It is generally in order of the date of the article's release.

This installment has two entries from before the period. They have been integrated into the post.

1) Ex-FARC Members and Social Leaders Ask UN to Mediate with Govt


Ex-members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, now converted into a legal political party, need more guarantees for the reinsertion into civilian life, said Sunday the National Council of Reincorporation in a meeting with UN General Secretary Antonio Guterres.

Read the full article.

2) Abuse isn't romantic. So why the panic that feminists are killing eros?

Jessica Valenti, The Guardian

This moment isn’t about romance, it’s about abuse. Perhaps the fact that so many people can’t tell the difference is part of the problem.

Read the full article.

3) The Aziz Ansari accusations may not be about rape, but they are about rape culture

Meghan Murphy, Feminist Current

While the #MeToo movement has resulted in man after man being outed as rapists, serial harassers, or general creeps, we would be mistaken to view this as a kind of culling. The truth revealed via #MeToo is not that there are a lot of bad men in this world (though, of course, there are many), but that all men, in this culture, are socialized in a particular way, and that socialization is what leads to men’s disrespectful, unethical, and too-often violent treatment of women.

Read the full article.

4) Women deported by Trump face deadly welcome from street gangs in El Salvador

Mark Townsend, The Guardian

Hundreds of young women are killed every year and many face sexual violence in the world’s most dangerous land. Now the president wants to send 200,000 more Salvadorans back home.

Read the full article.

5) #MeToo isn’t enough. Now women need to get ugly

Barbara Kingsolver, The Guardian

Let’s be clear: no woman asks to live in a rape culture: we all want it over, yesterday. Mixed signals about female autonomy won’t help bring it down, and neither will asking nicely. Nothing changes until truly powerful offenders start to fall. Feminine instincts for sweetness and apology have no skin in this game. It’s really not possible to overreact to uncountable, consecutive days of being humiliated by men who say our experience isn’t real, or that we like it actually, or are cute when we’re mad. Anger has to go somewhere – if not out then inward, in a psychic thermodynamics that can turn a nation of women into pressure cookers. Watching the election of a predator-in-chief seems to have popped the lid off the can. We’ve found a voice, and now is a good time to use it, in a tone that will not be mistaken for flirtation.

Read the full article.

6) 'Change is slow': Female superintendent of police in India tackles sexual violence and harassment

Anna Maria Tremonti, CBC Radio

Rema Rajeshwari is a female superintendent of police in the Indian the state of Telangana — a rare figure in a country where women make up only 7 per cent of police officers, and 2 per cent of those in police leadership positions.

Read/listen to the full episode.

7) Aid in reverse: how poor countries develop rich countries

Jason Hickel, The Guardian

Poor countries don’t need charity. They need justice. And justice is not difficult to deliver. We could write off the excess debts of poor countries, freeing them up to spend their money on development instead of interest payments on old loans; we could close down the secrecy jurisdictions, and slap penalties on bankers and accountants who facilitate illicit outflows; and we could impose a global minimum tax on corporate income to eliminate the incentive for corporations to secretly shift their money around the world.

Read the full article.


Alice Speri, The Intercept

FLORIDA PRISONERS ARE calling for a general strike to start this week — marking the third mass action over the course of a year in protest of inhumane conditions in the state’s detention facilities. Detainees in at least eight prisons have declared their intention to stop all work on Monday — Martin Luther King Jr. Day — to demand an end to unpaid labor and price gouging in prison commissaries, as well as the restoration of parole, among other requests.

Read the full article.


Zaid Jilani, The Intercept

King’s slide in popularity coincided with his activism taking a turn from what Americans largely know him for — his campaign for civil rights in the American South — to a much more radical one aimed at the war in Vietnam and poverty.

Read the full article.

10) Martin Luther King’s Radical Anticapitalism

Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, The Paris Review

In a posthumously published essay, Martin Luther King, Jr. pointed out that the “black revolution” had gone beyond the “rights of Negroes.” The struggle, he said, is “forcing America to face all of its interrelated flaws—racism, poverty, militarism and materialism. It is exposing the evils that are rooted deeply in the whole structure of our society. It reveals systemic rather than superficial flaws and suggests that radical reconstruction of society itself is the real issue to be faced.”

Read the full article.

11) Jeremy Corbyn just got even more control of the Labour Party

Ashley Cowburn, The Independent

Jeremy Corbyn’s influence on Labour’s governing body has received a significant boost after left-wing candidates won all the positions up for grabs in a crucial set of elections.

Read the full article.

12) ‘It’s not the laws that kill our women. It’s not the streets that kill our women. It’s the men’

Rahila Gupta, Feminist Current

Prostitution or sex work? Your choice of words gives the game away, marks out where you stand on the issue. Violence against women or just a job? It is a serious battleground for the soul of feminism.

Read the full article.

13) Why won't the so-called 'sex workers' rights movement' help ex-teenage prostitutes have their convictions wiped?

Julie Bindel, The Independent

I have never met anyone during my decades of campaigning against the sex trade who supports the criminalisation of prostituted people, and yet it has proved impossible to put aside our differences and form a united front.

Read the full article.

14) Why we shouldn't call it 'sex work'


A woman who was forced into prostitution at 15 wants to see her permanent criminal record erased.

Watch the clip.

15) Real estate industry provided 75% of Vision Vancouver's by-election campaign donations

Jen St Denis, Metro Vancouver

Campaign finance filings show that 75 per cent of recent donations to Vancouver’s ruling civic party, Vision Vancouver, came from just one industry.

Read the full article.

16) Alberta payday loan crackdown shrinks industry

 Reid Southwick, CBC News

The payday loan industry is shrinking in Alberta after the province cracked down on the businesses often accused of predatory lending, though dozens remain in Calgary.

Read the full article.

17) Niagara pro-choice campaign gains traction

Richard Harley, Niagara Now

An unofficial group called Niagara for Women’s Rights has started an online fundraising campaign to put up pro-choice billboards across the region.

Read the full article/donate.

18) Mass expulsion under way as Israel begins deporting 40,000 Africans

Tessa Fox, Middle East Eye

Eritrean and Sudanese asylum seekers in Israel will be forced to accept a plane ticket to unsafe countries or face indefinite prison.

Read the full article.

19) The NHL Flips Off Its Fans Again

Acting the Fulemin, SB Nation

More than anything, this is just tiring. If I’m left to follow my uncool, fourth-place league, that’s okay, I love hockey and I love watching it. I’d rather the league not go out of its way to show that it neither gives a shit about improving its popularity beyond its current demographic, nor about a lot of the fans it already has. But hey, I guess that’s too much to ask.


With no solution in sight regarding infant mortalities, residents of Chicago's South Side, home to numerous predominantly Black neighborhoods, have resorted to mentors from the Cuban Ministry of Public Health for help.

Read the full article.

21) Wynne’s Liberals gut their own affordable housing policy

John Lorinc, Spacing Toronto

Remember when inclusionary zoning was going to solve Toronto’s affordable housing crisis, or at least take a big step towards ameliorating it?

Read the full article.

22) Indefinite solitary confinement in Canadian prisons ruled unconstitutional by B.C. court

Jason Proctor, CBC News

A B.C. Supreme Court judge has ruled that the practice of prolonged and indefinite solitary confinement in Canadian prisons is unconstitutional.

Read the full article.

23) Notice to Members on Unifor’s Disaffiliation from the Canadian Labour Congress


Over the course of the past year Unifor has been vocal and public about our concern with US-based unions trampling on the rights of workers and their democratic right to choose their own representation or to express dissent. In light of the ongoing lack of action and will by the affiliates of the Canadian Labour Congress to address the aggressive and undemocratic tactics shown by US-based unions towards workers in Canadian locals, a decision was made by the leadership of our union.

Read the full statement.

24) Unifor-CLC split demands unity from below

 Doug Nesbitt, Gerard Di Trolio, Evan Johnston and David Bush, Rank and File

Unifor, Canada’s largest private sector union, has left the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC). Unifor’s website says the decision was made by its National Executive Board on January 16. In a letter to CLC President Hassan Yussuff dated January 17, Unifor President Jerry Dias states that Unifor’s Executive Board has voted to cease affiliation to the CLC “immediately.”

Read the full article.

25) CLC head accuses Unifor of leaving lobby group to raid another union

Aleksandra Sagan, The Canadian Press

Severed ties between the Canadian Labour Congress and Unifor have culminated in the head of the national lobby group for the labour movement accusing Canada's largest private sector union of raiding another union for members.

Read the full article.

26) Cape Town at risk of becoming first major city in the world to run out of water

Geoffrey York, The Globe and Mail

Cape Town, one of the biggest cities in South Africa and a famed tourist attraction, is warning its residents that they will soon have to queue for water.

Read the full article.

27) Coral Reefs Have Reached 'Make-or-Break Point': Scientists


"Today I appeal to every single person on Earth to help us. We must replace the present culture of abuse," said Fiji Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama.

Read the full article.

28) Toronto's rental market now the most expensive in Canada

Derek Flack, Blog TO

Anyone searching for an apartment in Toronto already knows just how expensive rent is in this city, but to start the year we've now reached a troubling milestone. When it comes to one-bedroom apartments, Toronto is now the most expensive city in the country.

Read the full article.

29) Dear Gal Gadot: #TimesUp for Invisible Girls, Too

Amani Al-Khatahtbeh, Muslim Girl

Dear Gal,
When I was 16 years old, my main concern in life was figuring out how to get a class with my high school crush. My afterschool occupation involved locking myself in my computer room to design my perfect MySpace profile and rearrange my Top 8. I’d spend hours chatting on AOL Instant Messenger until dark and my mom would tell me it was time to cut the lights. That was the year before I created, to create a space for girls like me to feel like our voices mattered in the real world.

Read the full article.

30) Protesters swarm Tim Hortons locations across Toronto

Lauren O'Neil, Blog TO

Protesters are out in full force today across Toronto and much of Ontario to tell Tim Hortons what they think of its response to the province's minimum wage increase.

Read the full article.

31) Want to understand the problems with minimum wage? Talk to people who earn it

 Nick Purdon, CBC News

The National's Nick Purdon and Leonardo Palleja went to St. Francis Table in Toronto, a restaurant for the poor where meals cost $1. The restaurant is run by the Capuchin Franciscan Friars of Central Canada and has served more than a million meals since it opened in 1987. The homeless, people on social assistance and seniors have traditionally been the main customers, but the Friars are increasingly seeing people on minimum wage frequenting St. Francis Table.

Here are three of them, talking about the realities of working hard and trying to live on minimum wage.

Read the full article.

32) Liane Tessier at the Halifax Women′s March: Speaking out has been the sanest thing I have ever done

Liane Tessier, The Nova Scotia Advocate

My name is Liane Tessier. I was once a firefighter, but I was targeted and forced out of a job that I loved and was good at, because I spoke out against the discrimination I faced as a woman.

Read the full article.

33) 'We've kept the ball rolling': Canadians mark 1 year since Women's March

Meagan Fitzpatrick, CBC News

One year ago Sara Bingham was part of a caravan of Canadians on buses heading to Washington, D.C., for the historic Women's March in protest of Donald Trump's inauguration as U.S. president.

Read the full article.

See also: Tim Hortons, BDS and Israel, Donald Trump and more -- The Left Chapter Sunday Reading List January 7 - 14

See also: Ontario Minimum Wage, Black Mirror, Woody Allen and more -- The Left Chapter Sunday Reading List December 31 - January 7

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