Sunday, April 8, 2018

Gaza Massacre, Jewdas, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela & more -- The Left Chapter Sunday Reading List April 1 - 8

This week's list of articles, news items and opinion pieces that I see as must reads if you are looking for a roundup that should be of interest to The Left Chapter readers.

This list covers the week of  April 1 - 8. It is generally in order of the date of the article's release.

This installment has one entry from before the period. It has been integrated into the post.

1) Denmark Gets First Public Statue of a Black Woman, a ‘Rebel Queen’

Martin Sorensen, The New York Times

The statue of the woman is nearly 23 feet tall. Her head is wrapped and she stares straight ahead while sitting barefoot, but regally, in a wide-backed chair, clutching a torch in one hand and a tool used to cut sugar cane in the other.

Read the full article.

2) Gaza is Soweto revisited

Andrew Mitrovica, Al Jazeera

We're angry because strutting liberal hypocrites like Canada's equally effervescent foreign minister, Chrystia Freeland, issued a "blistering" statement denouncing Russia's alleged nerve gas poisoning of an ex-spy and his daughter on English soil as a "despicable, heinous and reckless act [that] represents a clear threat to the rules-based international order," but, like her boss, remains silent as unarmed Palestinians were murdered on Palestinian soil by "our friends" in the Middle East.

Read the full article.

3) Israel Kills Palestinians and Western Liberals Shrug. Their Humanitarianism Is a Sham.

Mehdi Hasan, The Intercept

There is no other conclusion: The ongoing and glaring refusal of liberal interventionists in the West to say even a word about the need to protect occupied Palestinians from state-sponsored violence is a reminder of just how morally bankrupt and cynically hypocritical the whole “liberal intervention” shtick is.

Read the full article.

4) Debunking Israel's Talking Points on Deadly Gaza Protests

Marilyn Garson, Haaretz

In 1988 at the gates of Jerusalem’s Old City, I watched Palestinian youths face down Israeli soldiers. The soldiers held rifles, while the Palestinians held stones. That asymmetry sent the Judaism of my childhood crashing headlong into my sense of justice. The stones demanded that I ask, “What could make a young man risk his life this way?"

Read the full article.

5) Palestinian Journalist Wearing Press Jacket Killed by Israeli Fire in Gaza

Jack Khoury and Yaniv Kubovich, Haaretz

The photographer Yaser Murtaja was shot in the chest and four additional journalists were injured by live fire. Israeli army: We did not intend to shoot journalists, circumstances under investigation

Read the full article.

6) In Wake of Gaza Massacre, Israeli Leaders Should Be Prosecuted for War Crimes

Marjorie Cohn, Truthout 

On March 30, Israel Defense Forces (IDF) soldiers shot 773 unarmed Palestinian protesters in Gaza, killing 17 and wounding 1,400. Twenty remain in critical condition. The protesters were marching to demand the internationally mandated right of return of refugees to their cities and villages in what now constitutes Israel.

The Israeli leaders who ordered the massacre were in clear violation of international law. They should be prosecuted for war crimes.

Read the full article.

7) Teacher Strikes Are Spreading Across America With No End in Sight

Josh Eidelson, Bloomberg

One month after a teachers’ “wildcat” strike ended with a deal to hike pay for all West Virgina state employees, teacher strikes are spreading fast across the country, with no clear endgame in sight.

Read the full article.

8) Wave of teachers' wildcat strikes spreads to Oklahoma and Kentucky

Mike Elk, The Guardian

On Easter Sunday in Tulsa, Oklahoma, those not found in the church could be found touring the Woody Guthrie center downtown. Easter weekend is a time for families and this weekend Oklahoma’s have one thing on their mind: on Monday, teachers in over 100 school districts in Oklahoma are poised to go on strike, demanding higher pay.

Read the full article.

9) Jeremy Corbyn celebrated Passover with us. It’s a simple good news story

Jewdas, The Guardian

As a radical Jewish collective, we were delighted Corbyn came to our seder. To claim we are not ‘real’ Jews is offensive and antisemitic.

Read the full article.

10) Jewdas, Corbyn and the policing of Jewishness

Eleanor Penny, Red Pepper

Last week, Israeli soldiers opened fire on Land Day protesters at the Gazan border wall, killing 17 and injuring hundreds more. They were demonstrating against the occupation, and against a decade-long blockade that has brought the territory to its knees – starving it of food, power and basic medical supplies. Some might want you to think that being a ‘real Jew’ means turning a blind eye to the daily tyrannies of life under Israeli occupation. There are many, many Jews who disagree – and who are (say it with me) no less Jewish because of it. If anything, the lesson of Passover is that the struggle for liberation still continues – not in some heavenly paradise, but right here on earth.

Read the full article.

11) Jeremy Corbyn attacked for celebrating Passover with Jews - but apparently Jewdas are the wrong sort of Jews

Ben Gelblum, The London Economic

Tonight in perhaps the most bizarre chapter in the Jeremy Corbyn anti-Semitism row, he has come under criticism from the usual suspects for celebrating Passover with Jews in his constituency. But these are the wrong sort of Jews apparently. – Left wing Jews.

Read the full article.

12) Tariffs Aren’t the Best Way To Protect U.S. Steelworkers. Global Solidarity Is.

Katy Fox-Hodess, In These Times

The enthusiasm with which the AFL-CIO and United Steelworkers (USW) greeted Trump’s announcement of a global tariff on steel and aluminum exports raises significant questions about the U.S. labor movement’s commitment to international solidarity.

Read the full article.

13) For women, kids and families — we need universal child care

Joshua Ostroff , CBC News

Daycare not only allowed us to develop careers, but also helped us raise a son who is smart and empathetic, even though it came at a financially punishing cost for our young family. That's an important piece of this puzzle and why we need universal child care.

Read the full article.

14) Ottawa woman facing blindness pleads with province to cover sight-saving procedure

Ashley Burke, CBC News 

"The Ontario government needs to step up," Boich agreed. "They need to wake up and see this is not an elective surgery. It's something that needs to be done. My vision is worth so much more than the pricetag."

Read the full article.

15) It’s not Winnie Madikizela-Mandela but the Western gaze on her that’s tarnished

Shree Paradkar, The Toronto Star

It’s a hypocritical world that condemns violence selectively, and the New York Times, the fireplace around which liberal-minded elites gather to claim their progressive nonracist bona fides, provides a classic example of it.

Read the full article.

16) So-called ‘intellectuals’ can’t let go of “The Bell Curve”

Alex Nichols, The Outline

Murray, Sullivan, Harris, and Peterson are all enamored with the authority imbued in the word “science,” but they balk at the reality of scientific research, which includes empirical testing, transparency of methods, and a lengthy process of peer review. If the science were truly as established as they seem to think it is, they wouldn’t need to rely on sophistry, deflection and debunked studies by neo-Nazi affiliates whenever critiques arise. Oddly enough, given the numerous parallels between their belief systems, Murray and Harris are agnostic and atheist, respectively, while Sullivan and Peterson are committed Christians. Peterson even once gave a lecture criticizing Harris’ militant opposition to religion titled “The Problem with Atheism.” It would seem that religious belief or lack thereof is largely irrelevant to what really motivates all these men and their overwhelmingly white and male fans — a desire to defend an indefensible status quo from which they psychologically and materially benefit. As long as they get there, the path they take to that conclusion is unimportant.

Read the full article.

17) Punishing women with the death penalty would cut abortions, Idaho candidate says

Kimberlee Kruesi, Idaho Statesman 

A Republican lieutenant governor candidate on Tuesday softened his stance that women who get an abortion should be punished if it is ever criminalized in Idaho, a day after saying the punishment should include the death penalty.

Read the full article.

18) Canada Continues to Meddle in Venezuela's Elections

Yves Engler, Venezuela Analysis

Is there no voice in Parliament willing to denounce Canadian interference in another country’s electoral process?

Read the full article.

19) Dance, Dance, Revolution: Exploring Soviet Disco

Jordy Cummings, Red Wedge

The legacy of 1917 could indeed be carried out, so thought its practitioners, in particular the dedicated space disco of Zodiac, by bleeping synths and pounding polyrhythms. It may not have been fully luxury but it certainly was automated “communism.” The idea that a cultural producer would take the responsibility not merely to make bodies move on the dance floor, but to further the great legacy of non-capitalist, dialectically elegant art of the early Soviet avant-garde may seem distant, and contradictory to our understanding of the late Soviet Union as a highly repressive society. But an expression of the possibility of other worlds in Soviet disco was intrinsic to the role it played, both in the history of dance music, but also in the history of Soviet culture. It retains its charm not merely by being kitsch, but is every bit a legacy of Soviet culture as are the films of Tarkovsky. And unlike the ‘high art’ of Tarkovsky, one can indeed imagine Soviet people from all walks of life, including of course, the happy-go-lucky Putin, letting their regimented bodies go loose and wild on the dance floor. As DJs continue to dig in the crates for new textures for their sonic tapestries, let’s hope for a deeper revival of Soviet disco music.

Read the full article.


Tim Marcin, Newsweek

Forty percent of white Americans think black people would be just as well off as white people if they worked harder, according to a new poll from YouGov on Wednesday.

Read the full article.

21) Martin Luther King Jr was a radical. We must not sterilize his legacy

Cornel West, The Guardian

The major threat of Martin Luther King Jr to us is a spiritual and moral one. King’s courageous and compassionate example shatters the dominant neoliberal soul-craft of smartness, money and bombs. His grand fight against poverty, militarism, materialism and racism undercuts the superficial lip service and pretentious posturing of so-called progressives as well as the candid contempt and proud prejudices of genuine reactionaries. King was neither perfect nor pure in his prophetic witness – but he was the real thing in sharp contrast to the market-driven semblances and simulacra of our day.

Read the full article.

22) What does the Belfast rape trial tell women? Make a complaint and you'll be vilified

Hadley Freeman, The Guardian

Last week, women got a reminder that if they say they were assaulted on a night out, they will almost certainly be blamed, from what they wore to the text messages they sent. This time, the reminder came courtesy of what the media have dubbed the Belfast rape trial, in which Irish rugby players Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding were cleared of raping a 19-year-old woman, and two of their friends, Blane McIlroy and Rory Harrison, were cleared of indecent exposure and perverting the course of justice, respectively.

Read the full article.

23) Skripal poisoning: deleted Foreign Office tweet leads to awkward questions

Pippa Crerar, The Guardian

Boris Johnson is facing embarrassing questions over his claims that Russia had produced the Salisbury nerve agent after it emerged that the Foreign Office had deleted a tweet blaming Moscow for the attack.

Read the full article.

24) Why Doug Trump and Donald Ford are cut from the same froth

Martin Regg Cohn, The Toronto Star

There are no two Doug Trumps, and Donald Ford is truly unique. True enough. But truthfully, can we tell them apart?

Read the full article.

25) Richard Poplak sets Jordan B Peterson’s house in order: a (scorching) review of 12 Rules For Life

Richard Poplak, The Johannesburg Review of Books

Imagine a self-help book written by the Darth Maul of tenured campus bad boys, an act of trahison des clercs so severe that it calls into question the entire five-thousand-year academic project—a book that seeks to make accessible to a general audience a mélange of mysticism, philosophy, psychology and dietary recommendations, assembled into a package so intellectually low-cal that it would be hilarious were it not basically a to-do list for a generation of tiki torch-wielding neo-Klansmen.

Read the full article.

26) Deadly force: Fatal encounters with police in Canada: 2000-2017

Jacques Marcoux and Katie Nicholson, CBC News

In the absence of a national accounting of such encounters between Canadian citizens and law enforcement, a team of CBC researchers spent six months assembling the first country-wide database of every person who died or was killed during a police intervention.

Read the full article.

27) Alberta to introduce 'safe zones' around abortion clinics

Michelle Bellefontaine, CBC News

The Alberta government will introduce a bill Thursday to establish "safe zones" around abortion clinics, a move aimed at protecting women, staff and physicians from being harassed by protesters.

Read the full article.

28) Free speech fear-mongering is the elite equivalent of ‘It’s OK to be white’ posters

Shree Paradkar, The Toronto Star

Are we really upset over free speech rights? Or as, Shree Paradkar writes, is it about censoring the protests, for fear that the gatekeeping role on what topics are OK to debate be taken away from groups that have traditionally had that power?

Read the full article

29) Why did Canada expel four Russian diplomats? Because they told the truth

Thomas Walkom, The Toronto Star

The Russians are being punished for saying that Freeland’s grandfather was a Nazi collaborator during the Second World War. He was.

Read the full article.

30) INTERVIEW: Marian Hatcher sets the record straight on the new U.S. anti-trafficking bill, SESTA-FOSTA

Meghan Murphy, Feminist Current

The new anti-trafficking bill in the US has gotten a lot of bad press in the media, as well as from sex work lobbyists and civil liberties organizations. Meghan Murphy spoke with Marian Hatcher, a survivor turned activist, to get the real story.

Read the full article.

31) How the tragic killing of an American teenager halted the military border presence in 1997

Samantha Schmidt, The Washington Post

It was a cloudy afternoon in May 1997, on a desolate hill of rugged desert and alfalfa fields along the Rio Grande known as “El Polvo,” Spanish for dust. Esequiel Hernandez Jr., a high school sophomore who had just turned 18, ventured out with his herd of 43 goats near his family’s home, guiding them through the brush to graze. As usual, to protect his flock from wild dogs or coyotes, he carried with him his .22-caliber rifle.

Read the full article.

32) What About “The Breakfast Club”?

Molly Ringwald, The New Yorker

Earlier this year, the Criterion Collection, which is “dedicated to gathering the greatest films from around the world,” released a restored version of “The Breakfast Club,” a film written and directed by John Hughes that I acted in, more than three decades ago. For this edition, I participated in an interview about the movie, as did other people close to the production. I don’t make a habit of revisiting films I’ve made, but this was not the first time I’d returned to this one: a few years back, I watched it with my daughter, who was ten at the time. We recorded a conversation about it for the radio show “This American Life.” I’ll be the first to admit that ten is far too young for a viewing of “The Breakfast Club,” a movie about five high-school students who befriend one other during a Saturday detention session, with plenty of cursing, sex talk, and a now-famous scene of the students smoking pot. But my daughter insisted that her friends had already seen it, and she said she didn’t want to watch it for the first time in front of other people. A writer-director friend assured me that kids tend to filter out what they don’t understand, and I figured that it would be better if I were there to answer the uncomfortable questions. So I relented, thinking perhaps that it would make for a sweet if unconventional mother-daughter bonding moment.

Read the full article.

33) Slovakia: Thousands rally to demand police chief step down over journalist's murder


Tens of thousands of Slovaks have rallied to demand the country's police chief be fired following the murder of Jan Kuciak. Thursday's march was the largest since protests forced prime minister to resign last month.

Read the full article.

34) Ford’s comments on black community prompt call for apology

Marieke Walsh, iPolitics

A call for an apology and widespread condemnation met Doug Ford’s comments about the black community on Friday.

Read the full article.

35) Richest 1% on target to own two-thirds of all wealth by 2030

Michael Savage, The Guardian

The world’s richest 1% are on course to control as much as two-thirds of the world’s wealth by 2030, according to a shocking analysis that has lead to a cross-party call for action.

Read the full article.

See also: Gaza Massacre, Parkland Survivors, Doug Ford & more -- The Left Chapter Sunday Reading List March 25 - April 1

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