Sunday, May 27, 2018

Nicolas Maduro Wins, Ireland Votes to Repeal the 8th, the Ontario Election & more -- The Left Chapter Sunday Reading List May 20-27

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 20 - 27. It is generally in order of the date of the article's release.

There are two articles from prior to the period included. They have been integrated into the post.

1) Venezuela: After Victory, Maduro Calls for Lasting Dialogue


Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro called for a lasting dialogue with all the country's opposition parties and for citizens to leave behind the strife and make way for reconciliation with all sectors of the country.

Read the full article.

2) Brazil's Left Congratulates Maduro, Denounces US, Lima Group


Brazil’s Workers' Party (PT) and its Communist Party of Brazil congratulated Maduro and slammed the U.S. and Lima Group for inciting government overthrows like Temer did.

Read the full article.

3) Maduro Declares Top US Diplomat 'Persona Non Grata,' Gives Him 48 Hours to Leave


Maduro,  in rejection of Washington's interventionist policies, has given Chargé d'Affaires Todd Robinson 48 hours to leave Venezuela.

Read the full article.

4) Ten attempts to destabilize the recently re-elected Venezuelan government

 Iramsy Peraza Forte, Granma

While thousands of people gathered around Miraflores Presidential Palace to greet the re-election of President Nicolás Maduro, opposition sectors, the United States, the European Union and the Latin American right launched a predictable destabilization plan against the most recent democratic electoral process undertaken on Sunday, May 20, in Venezuela.

Read the full article.

5) The United States’ Hand in Undermining Democracy in Venezuela

Alexander Main, Canadian Dimension

The Trump administration’s foreign policy toward Venezuela includes supporting a boycott of Sunday’s elections in Venezuela, hinting at the possibility of a coup, and enacting harmful economic sanctions, with consequences for democracy in the country beset by poverty and unrest.

Read the full article.

6) Palestinian Liberation Group Congratulates President Maduro


The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine said, they will "never forget" support they received from the Venezuelan government.

Read the full article.

7) 'World is Not Trump's Estate': Bolivia's Evo Morales Condemns US Sanctions on Venezuela


"We condemn the unilateral decision that imposes a new economic blockade to suffocate the Venezuelan people, in retaliation for having defeated the coup, boycott against President Nicolas Maduro democratically. Trump must understand that the world is not his estate," Morales said in a tweet posted late Monday.

Read the full article.

8) New bill will give ultra-secret spy agency extensive powers

Yves Engler, Canadian Dimension

The Trudeau government is seeking to empower an influential, if little-known, arm of Canadian imperialism.

Read the full article.

9) Pro-war pundits on US airwaves

Various Contributors, Al Jazeera

In 2008, the New York Times revealed a secret Pentagon programme which trained and briefed former military generals to push pro-Pentagon talking points to a compliant news media. Today, former military personnel are still regular contributors on every major cable news network despite some of them being the very same figures who pushed for the Iraq war.

Read the full article.

10) Death in the sun: Australia's 88-day law leaves backpackers exploited and exposed

Anne Davies, The Guardian

The 2017 death of Olivier Caramin joins a growing list of problems backpackers can face in rural jobs, including rape, harassment and underpayment.

Read the full article.

11) Supreme Court Decision Delivers Blow To Workers' Rights

Nina Totenberg, NPR

In a case involving the rights of tens of millions of private sector employees, the U.S. Supreme Court, by a 5-4 vote, delivered a major blow to workers, ruling for the first time that workers may not band together to challenge violations of federal labor laws.

Read the full article.

12) Bosses win, workers lose in High Court arbitration ruling

Mark Gruenberg, People's World

Bosses won and workers – especially non-union workers – lost when the 5-man GOP-named majority on the U.S. Supreme Court ruled mandatory arbitration trumps workers’ rights.

Read the full article.

13) 'Who are you?' Iran hits back at US demands

Al Jazeera

President Rouhani rejects US demands while Iran's foreign minister dismisses Pompeo's conditions as 'sham' diplomacy.

Read the full article.

14) No Plan B: New US demands on Iran 'set stage for war'

 Zaheena Rasheed, Al Jazeera

New Iran strategy harks back to decades of failed US policy and raises spectre of conflict in Middle East, critics say.

Read the full article.

15) Humans just 0.01% of all life but have destroyed 83% of wild mammals – study

Damian Carrington, The Guardian

The world’s 7.6 billion people represent just 0.01% of all living things, according to the study. Yet since the dawn of civilisation, humanity has caused the loss of 83% of all wild mammals and half of plants, while livestock kept by humans abounds.

Read the full article.

16) Facing the Past in Montgomery: Beyond the Nakba to historical justice

 Sandra Tamari, Mondoweiss

Rain had fallen the night before in Montgomery, Alabama. We had traveled there to visit the National Memorial for Peace and Justice, an ambitious project by the Equal Justice Initiative to give witness to formerly enslaved Black people terrorized by lynching in the South.  By the time we made our way to the newly landscaped memorial site, a brilliant sun and clear skies were heating the earth. We entered the solemn space, heavy with mourning for the over 4,400 people who were executed simply because they were Black. The memorial is composed of hundreds of steel monuments. As we made our way through the memorial, we recognized a hauntingly familiar scent. Steel, as it rusts, smells like blood.

Read the full article.

17) Benefit sanctions found to be ineffective and damaging

Patrick Butler, The Guardian

Benefit sanctions are ineffective at getting jobless people into work and are more likely to reduce those affected to poverty, ill-health or even survival crime, the UK’s most extensive study of welfare conditionality has found.

Read the full article.

18) 'Be realistic, demand the impossible!'

C J Polychroniou, Al Jazeera

This week, 50 years ago, France was going through the biggest labour strike in its history. Two-thirds of its labour force were out in the streets demanding better working conditions. Workers had taken control of factories, set up barricades, organised sit-ins and fought off attempts by the police to disperse them. Thousands of students who had rebelled against conservative university administrations had also joined them.

Read the full article.

19) Ontario election campaign brings focus on nearly 2 million people living in poverty

Laurie Monsebraaten, The Toronto Star

As Liberal Leader Kathleen Wynne, Green party Leader Mike Schreiner and representatives from the Progressive Conservatives and NDP watched from the front row, Lawless and other anti-poverty activists called on all parties to make Ontario a fair and equitable place where everyone belongs.

Read the full article.

20) Austria cracks down on far-right Identitarian Movement

Patrick Strickland, Al Jazeera

A slew of charges against several members of the far-right Identitarian Movement in Austria could be a "major blow" to the organisation's ability to mobilise, experts and analysts say.

Read the full article.

21) Indigenous and female: Idaho gubernatorial candidate Paulette Jordan making history

Mark Maxey, People's World

A fierce sense of urgency prompted Paulette Jordan to run for governor of Idaho. Her brazen approach worked with her Democratic primary run last Tuesday, May 15th. It will be a first on two levels if she wins in November—as a female governor and as an Indigenous tribal member. Jordan belongs to the Schitsu’umsh, Coeur d’Alene Nation. Schitsu’umsh translates to “Those who were found here.”

Read the full article. 

22) Almost half of Toronto tenants paying ‘unaffordable’ rent, study finds

Emily Mathieu, The Toronto Star

Almost half of Toronto tenants are paying too much in rent and are one health emergency or lost job away from losing their homes, in a city where rental rules favour profits over people, according to a new study.

Read the full article.


Sam Adler-Bell, The Intercept

CHIEF JUDGE Robert E. Morin of the D.C. Superior Court found on Wednesday that federal prosecutors suppressed potentially exculpatory evidence against six Inauguration Day protesters. In a motion filed late last night, attorneys for the defendants accused the government of withholding evidence that could have exonerated their clients — a serious violation of pretrial discovery rules. Attorneys allege that the state withheld evidence by editing a video of a protest planning meeting. Defense attorneys called on the court to sanction Assistant U.S. Attorney Jennifer Kerkhoff for “blatant hiding of evidence” and requested that the indictment against their clients be dismissed.

Read the full article.

24) Kaepernick Effect: NFL Bans Players From Kneeling During Anthem


The owners of NFL teams agreed on a new policy banning players from kneeling down when the national anthem is played, directly aiming at protests against police brutality and racism that were the center of national debate in 2016 after former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick kicked off the peaceful protest.

Read the full article.

25) NFL’s new anthem policy shows what a gutless lot its owners are

Shree Paradkar, The Toronto Star

“Winning,” tweeted U.S. vice-president Mike Pence on Wednesday, with an emoji of the American flag, soon after the National Football League owners stooped just low enough to brown their noses.

Read the full article.

26) Free public transport is launched across Estonia


Estonia is set to implement free transport for its residents across much of the country as of July 1. The free fare zone will run 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Read the full article.


Lee Fang, The Intercept

A BIG PART of Carol Miller’s campaign to represent West Virginia’s 3rd Congressional District in Washington was to present herself to voters as carbon copy of President Donald Trump. A senior state-level lawmaker, Miller spent big on television spots declaring her loyalty to the president and repeating his campaign promises to build a wall and cut foreign aid — now cast as part of Miller’s “America first” principles. The pro-Trump rhetoric helped Miller clinch the May 8 primary for the congressional seat, emerging victorious from a field of seven candidates by a slim 1,616-vote margin.

Read the full article.

28) Indian police accused of killing at least 11 protesters

 Zeenat Saberin, Al Jazeera

Rights groups and residents demanded an investigation after police in southern India opened fire and killed at least 11 people during a protest over alleged environmental pollution by a UK-owned copper smelter.

Read the full article.

29) Israel detains Palestinian teen with severe head injury, again

Jaclynn Ashly, Mondoweiss

As Mohammad Tamimi, 15, walked to the market near his home in the occupied West Bank village of Nabi Saleh Sunday morning, he passed by a new white Hyundai.

Read the full article.

30) The plight of farm workers in Canada

Lois Ross, Rabble

The days are long, and the physical work can be heavy and exhausting. Often, particularly on smaller family farms, the monetary rewards are nowhere near what a regular urban salary provides.

Read the full article.

31) Abrams wins in Georgia; could be first black female governor

John Wojcik, People's World

Stacey Abrams, a declared supporter of the national resistance to Trump, handily defeated Stacey Evans in Georgia’s Democratic gubernatorial primary yesterday. Abrams, considered the “insurgent” candidate, will make history in November if she becomes the nation’s first black female governor and Georgia’s first woman governor.

Read the full article.

32) Ontario PC candidate Andrew Lawton: gender and racial discrimination should be legal

Press Progress

"I think if someone wants to open a business and only hire people of one race...I think they should have that right."

Read the full article.

33) Landmark study reveals ‘clear evidence’ of mercury’s toll on health in Grassy Narrows

Jayme Poisson & David Bruser, The Toronto Star

More than four decades after mercury was dumped upstream from Grassy Narrows First Nation, the physical and mental health of the people there is by many key measures “considerably worse” than that of other First Nations in Canada, according to a landmark new government-funded survey.

Read the full article.

34) Liberals claim Ford participated in 'bogus' membership sales, intimidated a PC nominee

City News

The Ontario Liberal party alleges that audio it says it obtained and verified shows Progressive Conservative Leader Doug Ford broke election rules by participating in “bogus” membership sales for his party’s nomination in Etobicoke Centre in 2016.

Read the full article.

35) Talk to Deliveroo couriers. See a dystopia that could be your future

Owen Jones, The Guardian

A Black Mirror existence: that’s how trade unionist Mags Dewhurst describes working as a rider for Deliveroo, the pre-eminent online food-delivery company. Here is a story of workers branded as entrepreneurs, which has the effect of stripping away their rights; of a race to the bottom in terms and conditions; of being managed by algorithms and apps. I sit with five Deliveroo couriers in the headquarters of the Independent Workers Union of Great Britain (IWGB), a union that has successfully fought for particularly low-paid migrant workers. They are currently classed as self-employed independent contractors, or cycling micro-businesses, and therefore lack rights all workers should be able to take for granted: the minimum wage, paid holidays, pensions, protection from discrimination, and trade union rights.

Read the full article.

36) Workers ready to shut down entire Vegas strip

Mark Gruenberg, People's World

Las Vegas casino owners’ threats to subcontract or automate thousands of workers’ jobs – among other issues — forced the workers, employed by Unite Here Locals 226 and 165, to vote almost unanimously to authorize a strike if bargainers fail to agree on a new pact by June 1.

Read the full article.

37) Elon Musk Blasts Labor Unions: They 'Destroyed Once Great US Auto Industry'

Sahid Fawaz, Labor 411

Tesla's CEO is on a rampage against labor unions as he fights to keep workers from organizing.

Read the full article.

38) Haifa activists vow to continue protests following ‘brutal’ police crackdown

Jaclynn Ashly, Mondoweiss

Enraged and saddened by images from Gaza last week, when the Israeli military killed at least 62 people in a single day, Palestinian citizens of Israel protested on Friday in the coastal city of Haifa to demand an end to Israeli violence and the more than decade-long siege that has strangled Gaza into a humanitarian crisis.

Read the full article.

39) Brazil Comes to Halt as Truck Drivers Strike for 4th Day


Truck drivers in Brazil have entered their fourth day of strike, blocking major highways in at least 24 states, including the Federal District. The move comes despite Petrobras, the state-owned oil company, temporarily cutting diesel prices by 10 percent on Wednesday in an attemp to curb the protests.

Read the full article.

40) The failed Trump-Kim summit: the story of a trainwreck foretold

Julian Borger, The Guardian

The short, turbulent history of the Trump-Kim summit, from its surprise announcement in March to its abrupt cancellation on Thursday, is the chronicle of a trainwreck foretold.

Read the full article.

41) North and South Korean leaders meet as US indicates summit may yet happen

Benjamin Haas and Lauren Gambino, The Guardian

The North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, met his South Korean counterpart on Saturday, two days after Donald Trump cancelled a planned summit with Kim.

Read the full article.

42) Carleton PC candidate says she doesn't believe climate change is man-made

Matthew Kupfer · CBC News

The Ontario PC candidate for Carleton said she doesn't believe climate change is man-made at an all-candidates forum in the south Ottawa community of Greely Wednesday night.

Read the full article.

43) The electoral system is designed to serve the powers that be

Nicolas Lalaguna, The Morning Star

Those who seek radical change must be aware that the ruling class that has used violence and coercion to control the working people of Britain for centuries.

Read the full article.

44) Donald Trump’s Words Are a Green Light to Dictators and Torturers Around the World

Mehdi Hasan, The Intercept

DONALD TRUMP’S WORDS are no laughing matter. They get people in faraway countries tortured, raped, and killed.

Read the full article.

45) Unjust US blockade cost Cuba over $130 billion

Michael Kowalchuk, Liberation

In a stunning vindication of the Cuban government’s assertions that the Cuban economy has been drastically distorted due to the aggressive foreign policy of the United States, the head of a UN agency visiting the island confirmed that the U.S. blockade of Cuba has cost the country over $130 billion in the past 56 years.

Read the full article.

46) Letter from the Co-Chairs of the Danforth Jewish Circle, Multifaith Committee about NDP candidate Tasleem Raiz


As Jews, we believe that allegations of Anti-Semitism and hate against any group should be taken very seriously. In this case, the accusations against Tasleem are a dishonest distraction being spread for political reasons. We do not know what caused this photo to be shared on her Facebook profile, although false information has certainly been spread on the internet and social media before. We certainly do know Tasleem Riaz’s true character: she is a woman of integrity, compassion, and respect for all faiths and cultures.

Read the full article.

47) Marxism: More relevant than ever

John Bachtell, People's World

Communist Party USA leader John Bachtell will address the international conference “Marxism of the 21st Century and the Future of World Socialism,” sponsored by the Communist Party of China on May 28 in Shenzhen. This is the text of his remarks, as prepared for presentation.

Read the full article.

48) The Social Shaming of Racists Is Working

Laila Lalami, The Nation

Now, when white people assert private authority over public space, there’s a cost.

Read the full article.


Henriette Chacar, The Intercept

BASHAR MASALHA LAY subdued on a strip of grass along the beachfront promenade of Jaffa, Israel, the ancient Mediterranean port that was swallowed up by the development of Tel Aviv. The injured Masalha was under the gun of an Israeli volunteer police officer. Onlookers cheered the officer on, urging him to shoot Masalha in the head. Seconds later, shots rang out. Masalha was dead. Some bystanders congratulated the officer, but one yelled, “Stop it! He’s lying there neutralized, why shoot for no reason?”

Read the full article.

50) The women of Kurdistan stand in solidarity with the women of Ireland – and call for a Yes vote to Repeal the 8th

Rosa Gilbert, The Morning Star

AS Ireland prepares for its referendum tomorrow on the constitutional amendment prohibiting free, safe, legal abortion, women and health workers in Rojava have expressed their solidarity with Irish women’s right to choose.

Read the full article.

51) Ireland has changed utterly: the cruel eighth amendment is history

Ivana Bacik, The Guardian

Ireland has spoken – and we have made history. The clause inserted into our constitution in 1983 that bestowed on the “unborn” a right to life equal to that of a pregnant woman can at last be removed. Exit polls project and official results are expected to confirm later on Saturday that the referendum to repeal the eighth amendment has been passed by a resounding majority.

Read the full article.


Jordan Smith, The Intercept

THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION launched its latest attack on women’s rights this week, introducing a so-called domestic gag rule for providers that receive Title X family planning funding. The rule would encourage providers to withhold potentially life-saving medical information from their patients and bar them from referring patients to an abortion provider. It also seeks to cut the single largest provider of Title X services, Planned Parenthood, from participating in the program altogether.

Read the full article.

53) Venezuela: 'Colombia Joining NATO A Threat To Regional Peace'


Venezuela has rejected the announcement by Colombia's President Juan Manuel Santos that his country will be entering the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) as a "global partner."

Read the full article.

54) CP Rail union formally serves strike notice


Union members representing Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd's conductors, locomotive engineers and communications employees have served a notice to strike as early as May 29, according to a union statement released on Saturday.

Read the full article.

55) Colombia: Can leftist Gustavo Petro become president?

Alessandro Rampietti, Al Jazeera

Even if he doesn't become Colombia's first-ever leftist president, Gustavo Petro has already made history by managing to arrive alive at Sunday's vote.

Read the full article.

See also: Gaza Massacre, Trump Pulls Out of Iran Deal, Venezuela & more -- The Left Chapter Sunday Reading List May 13-20

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