Sunday, July 29, 2018

Toronto mayoral contest off to dispiriting start

By Nathaniel Laxer

The final day for mayoral nominations has passed, and, for all intents and purposes, we can say that the election has begun. So who are the candidates?

Well for starters, there is the incumbent: failed mayoral candidate, turned failed candidate for Premier, turned Mayor of Toronto, John Tory, whose fairly uninteresting rise to power in the 2014 election has resulted in a fairly uninteresting and stagnant tenure. This has been characterized by failures -- such as the joke of a transit plan that was SmartTrack -- and really not much else.

With Tory being pretty mediocre, who are the other choices? There is former Toronto chief planner Jennifer Keesmaat, who’s big “bold” ”policy” pledge so far to solve Toronto’s ill’s is to tweet that Toronto should somehow separate into its own province. What area would this province encompass? Is it just Toronto or the entire GTA? How would this be possible constitutionally? And how will this actually accomplish anything and genuinely help Torontonians with the issues of transit, housing prices and poverty?

Who knows? If Jennifer Keesmaat does we have yet to see it with her leading point for the idea being “why shouldn’t a city of 2.8 million have self governance?”. Using this same logic, there would be 20 new American states, ranging from New York to Orlando.

Needless to say, a "province of Toronto" would not actually solve systemic issues in this city. Who is to even say this new province would have progressive politics, given that this is the same city that elected Rob Ford only 8 years ago and has John Tory as Mayor with plenty of right wing councillors.

Who else is there? The only other candidate getting any real media attention at the moment is reactionary, islamophobic Rebel News contributor, turned “Euro-Canadian Catholic Nationalist” (weird way to spell fascist) Faith Goldy. Her main campaign plank is (surprise, surprise) to bring back TAVIS and carding. She also wants to end bike lanes and supports the usual racist anti-immigrant malarkey typical of her type. She has gone full steam ahead trying to capitalize on the tragic Danforth shooting to promote her brand of dangerous nonsense. She even tweeted in defense of the man recently arrested for his racist harassment and assault of a Muslim family at the Jack Layton ferry terminal.

This kind of disgusting candidate should not get any support, but unfortunately she just might in a climate of increasingly open racism in Canada and the west generally.

There are a couple of interesting and progressive candidates in the race such as community activists Sarah Climenhaga and Saron Gebresellassi (who has some solidly left platform planks). Unfortunately, as is to be expected, neither has received any major coverage from the media or pundits, and they are unlikely to going forward.

This may end up also being true for issues like poverty, income inequality and so many other important discussions we need to be having. This mayoral race is shaping up to be something of a dispiriting one, with a boring right wing "centrist", a faux progressive and a reactionary white nationalist getting all the attention and derailing serious debate.

Doug Ford, the Toronto Sun, European Austerity, Ahed Tamimi & more -- The Left Chapter Sunday Reading List July 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 July 22 - 29. It is generally in order of the date of the article's release.

1) Mesut Ozil cites 'racism and disrespect' as he quits Germany

Al Jazeera

Football star felt he was singled out as scapegoat for World Cup exit due to Turkish heritage and Erdogan meeting.

Read the full article.

2) Kavanaugh Could Tip Supreme Court Against Gun Control Laws

Nina Totenberg, NPR

In the battle over the Supreme Court nomination of Brett Kavanaugh, the usual suspects are lining up in support and opposition. At the grass roots, however, there is one new entry nervously eyeing the Kavanaugh nomination. It is March For Our Lives, started by high school students in Parkland, Fla., after the shooting there, and aimed ultimately at enacting more effective gun regulations.

Read the full article.

3) White man who shot black father in front of his kids over parking spot won’t face charges

Tess Owen, Vice News

Florida’s controversial “Stand Your Ground” law has spared a white man from criminal charges after he shot and killed a black father in front of his young children over a parking spot.

Read the full article.

4) Unions ask OSHA to protect workers as extreme heat spreads

Mark Gruenberg, People's Voice

For Peggy Frank, a Los Angeles letter carrier, any federal or California safety rule ordering her employer—and all other firms—to protect workers from the hazards of excess heat didn’t work.

Read the full article.

5) Steve Bannon wants to elect little Trumps all over Europe

Tim Hume, Vice News

Having helped spearhead the populist insurgency that helped deliver Donald Trump to the White House, Steve Bannon has set his sights on repeating the trick in Europe.

Read the full article.

6) Spring Is Springing Sooner, Throwing Nature's Rhythms Out Of Whack

Nathan Rott, NPR

There's a cycle that starts when the snow melts and the earth thaws high in Colorado's Rocky Mountains. It's a seasonal cycle based on timing and temperature, two variables that climate change is pushing increasingly out of sync.

Read the full article.

7) Israeli Troops Kill 15-year-old Palestinian in West Bank Raid


Israeli soldiers killed a Palestinian teenager during a raid in the occupied West Bank Monday, the Palestinian health ministry said.

Read the full article.

8) 'Putin's War on America' Is Nothing Compared With U.S. War on Democracy

Paul Street, Truthdig

The noted North Korean political commentator Kim Jong Un got it right last year: Donald Trump is a “mentally deranged dotard.”

Read the full article.

9) Canadian police dismissing fewer sexual-assault cases

Robyn Doolittle, The Globe and Mail

Police dismissed fewer sexual assault allegations as “unfounded” in 2017, after The Globe and Mail revealed that Canadian law enforcement disproportionately dismisses sexual offences as baseless compared with other crimes, new crime data from Statistics Canada show.

Read the full article.

10) 49 British Women Were Killed By Men They Previously Reported To Police

Sirin Kale, Broadly

Every year, women in the UK are killed by stalkers and domestic abusers—despite previously reporting them to the police. Unfollow Me is a campaign highlighting the under-reported issue of stalking and domestic abuse in support of anti-stalking charity Paladin's calls to introduce a Stalkers Register in the UK.

Read the full article.

11) 80% of teenage girls suffer serious mental illness after sexual assault

Denis Campbell, The Guardian

Four out of five teenage girls who have been sexually assaulted are suffering from crippling mental health problems months after their attack, new research has found.

Read the full article.

12) Justice for sexual-assault victims starts with police accountability

Holly Johnson, The Globe and Mail

Sexual-assault survivors have a troubled relationship with the police and courts in Canada. Trust has deteriorated to the point where just 5 per cent report to the police. This is not surprising given the poor treatment many receive at the hands of the police and truly abysmal treatment in court.

Read the full article.

13) Black community reps pen open letter to John Tory and Doug Ford on gun violence

Now Magazine

Black community activists, scholars and artists say initiatives to curb gun violence will only further barricade and quarantine Black communities already under economic pressure from government policies.

Read the full article.

14) The biggest purveyor of terror is the Toronto Sun

John Miller, Rabble

The purpose of terrorism is to spread fear and terror. This week, its biggest collaborator was the Toronto Sun.

Read the full article.

15) Journalists Across Canada are Alarmed by the Toronto Sun’s Hate-Mongering and Conspiracy Theories

Press Progress

Many are taking notice that Toronto’s right-wing tabloid is steadily becoming more and more reckless and extreme.

Read the full article.

16) This ‘Fox & Friends’ segment about Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is beyond parody

Aaron Rupar, Think Progress

Fox & Friends on Tuesday featured an interview with Daily Caller associate editor Virginia Kruta about her experience attending an Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez rally in St. Louis that could have been mistaken for satire.

Read the full article.

17) Portugal Dared to Cast Aside Austerity. It’s Having a Major Revival.

Liz Alderman, The New York Times

At a time of mounting uncertainty in Europe, the country has defied critics who insisted on austerity as the answer to the Continent’s economic and financial crisis.

Read the full article.

18) Austerity, not just climate change, is to blame for Greece’s deadly fires

Yanis Varoufakis, The Globe and Mail

I expect crocodile tears to be shed in Brussels over our fire victims, and similarly hypocritical posturing by the Greek government. But I do not expect any reversal of the organized misanthropy afflicting Greece just because nearly 100 people died in a single day. Unless and until progressives across Europe get organized, accept local responsibility and band together to apply pressure at the EU level, nothing will change, except a further strengthening of proudly misanthropic political forces such as Greece’s Golden Dawn, Italy’s Lega, Germany’s Christian Social Union and Alternative fur Deutschland, Sebastian Kurz’s Austrian government and the Polish-Hungarian illiberal nexus. In this context, Greece’s forest fires are a tragic reminder of our collective responsibility as Europeans.

Read the full article.

19) Misogyny is a key element of white supremacy, Anti-Defamation League report finds

Maya Oppenheim, The Independent 

Misogyny is a key element of the so-called alt-right movement and there is a strong link between men’s rights activism and white supremacy, a report has found.

Read the full article.

20) Democratic Party Politics 101 with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and the Corporate Media

Danny Haiphong, Black Agenda Report

Some who read my writing may ask, “why don’t you criticize the Republicans as much as you do the Democrats?” My response to such a question is that it should be obvious by now which of the two corporate parties currently holds the Black polity and working class “constituencies” generally in a state of political captivity. That would be the Democrats. Political captivity within the Democratic Party has created a vast graveyard where social movements and revolutionary politics can be buried. With mid-term elections approaching and talks of who will run for the Democrats in 2020 becoming more intense, the Democratic Party has been scrambling to teach those who dare to deviate from their corporate rulers how to fall in line. Some are surprised by the Democratic Party’s progressive containment strategy, but not Black Agenda Report.

Read the full article.

21) Pakistan's Imran Khan Declares Victory in Election as Opponents Cry Foul


Supporters of jailed former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said the vote count was rigged and called it an assault on democracy in a country.

Read the full article.

22) Missouri ground zero on national so-called ‘right to work’

Mark Gruenberg, People's Voice

There’s only about one fact that both sides can agree upon in Missouri’s raging battle over a so-called “right to work” law: The Show Me State is “ground zero” in the radical right’s national campaign against workers’ rights and political power.

Read the full article.


Taylor Dolven, Vice News

After taking their kids away, immigration officials corralled dozens of detained immigrant parents into rooms together and gave them just minutes to decide whether or not to leave their children behind in the U.S. before being deported, the American Civil Liberties Union claims in a new court filing Wednesday.

Read the full article.

24) Multi-State Lawsuit Against Census Citizenship Question To Move Ahead

Hansi Lo Wang, NPR

A federal judge in Manhattan has ruled that the largest of the six lawsuits against the new citizenship question on the 2020 census can move forward in court.

Read the full article.

25) Cuba Accuses US of 'Fabricating' Sonic Attacks on Diplomats


The Cuban government accused the United States of trying to "fabricate a bilateral incident" with the "political manipulation" of alleged sonic "attacks" on its diplomats in Havana after examining the issue with three senior US officials.

Read the full article.

26) Israel to build 400 settler homes in occupied West Bank

Al Jazeera 

Israeli defence minister says new homes would be the 'best answer' to the killing of Israeli by a Palestinian.

Read the full article. 

27) Colombia's Teachers Strike to Demand Security and Budget


Teachers in Colombia held their third strike this year to demand improvements and to denounce threats and murders against them.

Read the full article.

28) Man arrested for ‘suspected-hate crime’ seen in viral video of confrontation at ferry terminal

Claire Floody, The Star

Toronto police have made an arrest after a video went viral showing a man yelling at a family at Jack Layton Ferry Terminal.

Read the full article.

29) 'I would kill your children': Police looking at confrontation as possible hate crime

Dan Taekema · CBC News

A Stoney Creek man has been charged with threatening death after a heated confrontation in a Walmart parking lot that police are also reviewing as a possible hate crime.

Read the full article.

30) Argentina Says 'NO' to Military In The Streets Again


Thousands of people marched today in Argentina in protest of president Mauricio Macri's decree that increases the participation of the military armed forces in internal security affairs, reminding of some of the worst years of the dictatorship.

Read the full article.

31) 1,800 children reunited with families, but 700 remain separated

Al Jazeera

US says 431 children couldn't be reunited by Thursday's deadline because their parents were no longer in the country.

Read the full article.

32) Trudeau gaslights Canadian women and ignores their safety

Matthew Behrens, Rabble

Two weeks ago, a new study by the Canadian Femicide Observatory for Justice and Accountability confirmed the state of domestic terrorism against women in this land. A woman is murdered by a man every other day in Canada, with at least 78 known acts of femicide up to July 1 (the numbers are likely higher given that it is based largely on media reports). A disproportionate number of those murdered were Indigenous women.

Read the full article.

33) 'A huge win': New Zealand brings in paid domestic violence leave

Eleanor Ainge Roy, The Guardian 

New Zealand has passed legislation granting victims of domestic violence 10 days paid leave to allow them to leave their partners, find new homes and protect themselves and their children.

Read the full article. 

34) New democratic trade union federation to be established in the Mexican automotive sector


Ten organizations representing over 25,000 Mexican workers announced on 13 July the imminent creation of a Federation of Democratic and Independent Unions in the automotive sector. Their hope is to participate in shaping labour and industrial policy in the country.

Read the full article. 

35) Russians protest proposal to hike pension age


The Communist Party leader said the proposed changes mean that people will get their "pension in their coffins.” The proposal to increase the pension age is widely unpopular.

Read the full article.

36) Protesters call Ford’s plan ‘outrageous’ and ‘unacceptable’

Gilbert Ngabo, The Star

Lisa Douglas came to city hall on Friday to send Premier Doug Ford a message: “Hands off Toronto elections.”

Read the full article.

37) Doug Ford’s attack on Toronto’s city council is a declaration of war

Edward Keenan, The Star

Doug Ford will have his revenge on Toronto. We did not vote for him for mayor, we did not — the majority of us — vote for him for premier, and so now he will mess us up. Because he can, and because many of his loudest supporters in other parts of the province like nothing more than to see us get the high hard one, and many more of his loudest supporters think the entire apparatus of government is useless and should be burned to the ground.

Read the full article. 

38) After decades of silence, nuns talk about abuse by priests

Nicole Winfield and Rodney Muhumuza, AP News 

The nun no longer goes to confession regularly, after an Italian priest forced himself on her while she was at her most vulnerable: recounting her sins to him in a university classroom nearly 20 years ago.

Read the full article. 

39) Les Moonves and CBS Face Allegations of Sexual Misconduct

Ronan Farrow, The New Yorker 

Six women accuse the C.E.O. of harassment and intimidation, and dozens more describe abuse at his company.

Read the full article. 

40) Brazil: Thousands Turn Out For 'Lula Livre' Festival In Rio


Exhibitions, live performances and cultural workshops dominated the day's agenda as people of all ages joined together to call for Lula to be released from prison.

Read the full article. 

41) Palestine: Ahed Tamimi Freed, Says Women Are Essential Part of Palestinian Cause


Ahed Tamimi became a significant figure of the Palestinian resistance after standing up to Israeli forces who arrested her along with other family members.

Read the full article. 

42) UNRWA job cuts in Gaza 'a massacre for employees'

 Maram Humaid, Al Jazeera 

Gaza employees shocked at UN agency job suspensions, leaving many facing an uncertain future.

Read the full article. 

See also: Israel's "Nation-State" Bill, Roe v. Wade, Ontario Hate Crimes & more -- The Left Chapter Sunday Reading List July 15 - 22

Saturday, July 28, 2018

That Ford's attack on Toronto is dangerous does not mean the status quo is healthy or democratic

It is pretty easy to show that Doug Ford's undemocratic attack on the city of Toronto has nothing at all to do with the council being somehow bloated and has everything to do with the vindictive settling of scores by a petty man.

Doug Ford never understood or liked Toronto outside of his frame of reference in his part of Etobicoke and the city rejected him in favour of a more stable conservative in John Tory. During his brother's years as mayor the council also prevented Rob Ford from implementing some aspects of his destructive agenda and ultimately stripped him of many of his powers.

A number of people have pointed to the lack of representation that residents of Toronto will now have versus other communities in the province and a quick table I made below shows that this will become very pronounced should the change go ahead.

Sault Ste Marie: 1 Councillor per 6,114 residents
Peterborough: 1 Councillor per 8,177 residents 
Niagara Falls: 1 Councillor per 11,008 residents
St. Catharines: 1 Councillor per 11,092 residents
Thunder Bay: 1 Councillor per 12,162 residents
Sudbury: 1 Councillor per 13,461 residents 
Whitby: 1 Councillor per 16,293 residents
London: 1 Councillor per 27,416 residents
Hamilton: 1 Councillor per 35,794 residents
Ottawa: 1 Councillor per 40,620 residents

Toronto AFTER Doug Ford's attack: 
from 1 Councillor per 58,119 to one per 109,263 residents

This is personal. It is not about anything else.

The changes Ford wants to bring in, as others have again pointed out, are also totally outrageous given that they are happening during an ongoing election, with absolutely no public consultation and having just come out of a provincial contest where he did not raise the idea even once.

But, as awful as Ford's destructive agenda is, the problem for his opponents is that there really are some very deep issues with municipal democracy in Toronto. These issues alienate many from their council and councillors and I suspect that Ford's line about Toronto's government as "dysfunctional" will resonate because it is not entirely false.

Toronto wards are like fiefdoms and the power of incumbency in the city is such that getting elected to one is akin to inheriting a feudal duchy. The narrow political visions this promotes lend themselves to NIMBYism, nepotism and cliques of city power brokers. These issues effect the city's political class across the board on the both its right and its often sad, milquetoast "left".

It is remarkable how profoundly ineffectual the council has been on issues of fundamental importance to Toronto residents from transit to housing to infrastructure. To not recognize this is to fuel resentment and detachment from civic government.

It is also pointless to try to claim these problems are due specifically to the individual councillors involved. They are clearly more systemic than that.

Ford's slashing of the council's size will not remedy this at all, of course. The power of incumbency will likely be increased by having larger wards as incumbents will be harder to challenge financially and tactically. There is no reason to think doubling the geographic and population size of the wards will make their representatives any less prone to NIMBYism or make the council any less dysfunctional.

Still, simplistic narratives resonate when only one side in a debate are willing to acknowledge that a real problem actually exists.

While the left should do what it can in Toronto against this attack on the city it should also be fighting for other reforms to make Toronto more democratic and its government more responsive to the residents of the city as a whole.

Three ideas, among several, we could be looking at are:

Ranked Ballots 

Ranked ballots were actually supposed to happen for this election, though predictably the idea was dropped in the end. While ranked ballots do not necessarily work against incumbents what they do do is hurt the city's power brokers and cliques as well as undermining nepotism.

They do this by allowing people to vote with their hearts by ranking the candidates in order of preference. If no candidate gets 50% of the vote based on first choices, second and then third choices, etc., are counted until someone does.

When people can vote with their hearts candidates can no longer make the ultimately ugly and disempowering claim that they are the only "realistic" alternative to either an incumbent or challenger.

This one step would promote a much greater diversity of voices and candidates coming forward and being taken seriously as it would no longer be possible to paint voting for any candidate as somehow "wasting" your vote.

City Wide Lists

While I agree that slashing the size of city council -- especially in such a reckless way -- is a mistake, that does not mean continuing with the narrow focus ward system exclusively is necessarily a good idea.

A very strong case can be made that municipal democracy would be greatly enhanced with the addition of a certain number of city wide councillors elected from a general list to either compliment or equal a number, possibly reduced, of neighbourhood based wards.

City wide councillors would not be anywhere near as likely to be beholden to the NIMBYist narratives or local power brokers of specific neighbourhoods as ward based politicians are, and this would help in creating policy that is aimed at benefiting residents across Toronto as a whole.

Term Limits

Term limits would be so obviously beneficial in ending the absurdity of councillors who hang around election after election after election that it is abundantly clear why those with power don't want to talk about them.

No single change to Toronto's municipal government would do more to make City Council more democratic, diverse, open to new ideas and visions, and less driven by a desire to get reelected for life, than would term limits.

It is for this very reason that we do not have them.

Leftists in Toronto absolutely need to mobilize to stop Ford's dangerous assault on Toronto's democracy. But we should not stop there. There is a reason that Ford's message will resonate with more city residents than some would care to believe. While even many progressive city politicians have a vested interest in stating otherwise, Toronto's municipal democracy is not terribly healthy, dynamic or diverse.

Whether we succeed in stopping this specific attack or not, we should acknowledge that change is needed and that we should be discussing what this could look like and working towards it as opposed to simply defending a deeply flawed status quo.

See also: Chaos Theory: For Doug Ford disruption will be the plan

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Nelson Mandela on the anniversary of the revolutionary attack on the Moncada Barracks, Cuba

Today is the 65th anniversary of the historic attack on the Moncada Barracks in Santiago de Cuba by a band of Cuban rebels led by Fidel Castro -- an event seen as the beginning of the Cuban Revolution that would culminate in the overthrow of the Batista regime and the liberation of Cuba from American imperialist domination in 1959.

Earlier this month was also the 100th anniversary of the birth of the legendary freedom fighter Nelson Mandela. 

Mandela was a tremendous admirer of socialist Cuba, its accomplishments, Jose Marti, Che and Fidel Castro. On this date in 1991 Mandela gave a speech in Cuba honouring the revolution, its transformation of Cuban society and its incredible record of solidarity with the oppressed peoples of the world including the African National Congress in South Africa.

This is the text of that speech:

Friend, Secretary of the Communist Party, President of the Council of State, and of the government of Cuba, President of the socialist Republic of Cuba, Commander in Chief, Comrade Fidel Castro; Cuban Internationalists, who have done so much to free our continent; Cuban people, comrades, and friends:

It is a great pleasure and honor to be present here today, especially on such an important day in the revolutionary history of the Cuban people. Today Cuba commemorates the 38th anniversary of the storming of the Moncada. Without Moncada, the Granma expedition, and the struggle in the Sierra Maestra, the extraordinary victory of 1 January 1959 would never have occurred.  Today this is revolutionary Cuba, internationalist Cuba, the country that has done so much for the peoples of Africa. We have long wanted to visit your country and express the many feelings that we have about the Cuban revolution, the role of Cuba in Africa, southern Africa and the world. The Cuban people hold a special place in the heart of the people of Africa. The Cuban internationalists have made a contribution to African Independence, freedom and justice, unparalleled for its principles and selfless character.

From its earliest days, the Cuban Revolution has also been a source of
inspiration to all freedom-loving people.  We admire the sacrifices of the
Cuban people in maintaining their independence and sovereignty in the face of
the vicious imperialist-orchestrated campaign to destroy the impressive gain
made in the Cuban Revolution. We too want to control our own destiny. We are
determined that the people of South Africa will make their future, and that
they will continue to exercise their full democratic rights after liberation
from apartheid. We do not want the popular participation to sit at the moment
when apartheid goes. We want to have the moment of liberation open the way to
ever-deepening democracy.

We admire the achievements of the Cuban Revolution in the sphere of social
welfare. We note the transformation from a country of imposed backwardness
to universal literacy. We acknowledge your advances in the fields of
health, education and science.

There are many things we learn from your experience. In particular, we are
moved by your affirmations of the historical connections with the continent and
people of Africa. Your consistent commitment to the systematic eradication of
racism is unparalleled. But the most important lesson that you have for us is
that no matter what the odds, no matter under what difficulties you have, you
had to struggle. There can be no surrender. It is a case of freedom or death.

I know that your country is experiencing many difficulties now but we have
confidence that the resilient people of Cuba will overcome these as they have
helped other countries overcome theirs.

We recognize that today's revolutionary spirit began long ago and that this
spirit has been nurtured with the efforts of those who fought for the freedom
of Cuba and, in fact, the freedom of all who were suffering under imperialist
domination. We also find inspiration in the life and example of Jose Marti who
is not only a Cuban and Latin American hero, but an admired symbol for all
those who fight for freedom. We also honor the great Che Guevara whose outstanding revolutionary efforts, even on our continent, were of such magnitude that no prison nor censorship could conceal him from us. His life is an inspiration for all those who love freedom. We will always honor his memory.

We are humbled and full of emotion to be here. We have come here today
recognizing our great debt to the Cuban people. What other country has such a
history of selfless behavior as Cuba has shown for the people of Africa? How
many countries benefit from Cuban health care professionals and educators? How many of these volunteers are now in Africa? What country has ever needed help from Cuba and has not received it? How many countries threatened by imperialism or fighting for their freedom have been able to count on the support of Cuba?

I was still in prison when I first heard of the massive help which the
Cuban international forces were giving to the people of Angola. The help was of
such a scale that it was difficult for us to believe it, when the Angolans were
under attack by the combined forces of South Africa, the FALA [Armed Forces for
the Liberation of Angola] who were financed by the CIA, mercenaries, UNITA
[National Union for the Total Independence of Angola], and Zaire in 1975.

In Africa we are used to being victims of countries that want to take from
us our territory or overthrow our sovereignty. In African history there is not
another instance where another people has stood up for one of ours. We also
acknowledge that the action was carried out by the masses in Cuba and that
those who fought and died in Angola are only a small portion of those who
volunteered to go. To the Cuban people internationalism is not only a word but
something which they have put into practice for the benefit of large sectors of
mankind. We know that the Cuban forces were ready to retreat after driving back
the invasion in 1975 but the continued aggressions of Pretoria did not allow
them to do so.  Your presence there and the reinforcements sent for the battle
of Cuito Cuanavale has a historical meaning. The decisive defeat of the racist
army in Cuito Cuanavale was a victory for all Africa. This victory in Cuito
Cuanavale is what made it possible for Angola to enjoy peace and establish its
own sovereignty. The defeat of the racist army made it possible for the people
of Namibia to achieve their independence.

The decisive defeat of the aggressive apartheid forces destroyed the myth
of the invincibility of the white oppressor. The defeat of the apartheid army
served as an inspiration to the struggling people of South Africa.  Without the
defeat of Cuito Cuanavale our organizations would not have been legalized. The
defeat of the racist army in Cuito Cuanavale made it possible for me to be here
with you today. Cuito Cuanavale marks the divide in the struggle for the
liberation of southern Africa. Cuito Cuanavale marks an important step in the
struggle to free the continent and our country of the scourge of apartheid.

Apartheid is not something that started yesterday. The origins of the
racist white domination go back three and a half centuries from the moment that
the first white colonizers began the process of division and eventual defeat of
the Khoi-Khoi, the San, and other African peoples, the original inhabitants of
our country. This process of conquest, from its beginning, engendered a series
of resistance wars which are the origin of our national liberation struggle.
Fighting under great disadvantages, the African peoples tried to defend their
lands, but the material base and the firepower of the colonial aggressors led
the divided kingdoms and tribal chiefs to defeat. This tradition of resistance
is still alive and serves as an inspiration to our current struggle. We honor
the figure of the great prophet and warrior Machana who died while trying to
escape from the prison on Robin Island in 1819.  Insa, Secumpune, Dingaan,
Moshesh, Mambata, are other resistance heroes from the anticolonial struggle.

It was with this history of taking lands that the South African Union was
created in 1910. From the outside, South Africa looked like an independent
country. But, in reality, the British conquerors gave power to the whites who
had located in the country. Thus, the new South African Union could formalize
the racial oppression and the economic exploitation of the blacks. After
creating the union, the adoption of the Law on Territories, which legalized the
land seizures of the 19th century, accelerated the process that would lead to
the creation of the African National Congress [ANC] 8 June 1912.

I am not going to relate to you the history of the ANC other than to say
that the 80 years of our existence have witnessed the evolution of the ANC from
its beginnings, when it attempted to unite the African peoples, until it became
the principle force in the struggle of the oppressed masses to end racism and
establish a nonracial, nonsexist, democratic state.  Its membership has evolved
from a small group of professionals and leaders to a true mass, popular
organization. Its objectives have evolved from the search for improved
conditions for the African peoples to the fundamental transformation of all of
South Africa into a democratic state. The methods used to obtain the main goals
have acquired over the years a greater mass character, which is reflected in
the growing popular participation in the ANC and in the campaigns carried out
by the ANC. At times, some say that the initial objectives of the ANC and its
original composition were those a reform organization. The truth is that, since
its birth, the ANC has had profound revolutionary implications.  The formation
of the ANC was the first step in the creation of a new South African nation.
With time, this concept developed until it found, 36 years ago, clear
expression in the Freedom Charter where its says that South Africa belongs to
all who live there, blacks as well as whites. This constituted both an
unequivocal rejection to the racist state and the affirmation of the only
alternative that is acceptable: that racism and its structures be, finally,

It is well known that the response of the state to our legitimate
democratic demands was, among others, to accuse our directors of treason and
subject our people during the 1970's to indiscriminate massacres. These facts,
and the banning of our organization, left us no other road than the one
followed by any self-respecting people, including Cuba, that is, to rise up in
an armed struggle to retake our country from the hands of the racists.

I should mention that when we wanted to take up arms, we approached
numerous Western governments in search of help and we could only talk with the
lowest level officials. When we visited Cuba we were received by the highest
authorities who immediately offered anything we wanted and needed.

That was our first experience with Cuban internationalism.  Even though we
took up arms, it was not our preferred option.  It was the apartheid regime
that forced us to take up arms.  Our preferred option has always been to find a
peaceful solution to the apartheid conflict. The combined struggle of our
people in the country, as well as the growing international battle against
apartheid during the 1980's made possible a negotiated solution to that
conflict. The decisive defeat in Cuito Cuanavale changed the status of forces
in the region and reduced considerably the capacity of the Pretoria regime to
destabilize its neighbors. This fact, along with the struggle of our people
within the country proved to be crucial so Pretoria would understand that it
had to go to the negotiating table. 

It was the ANC that initiated the current peace process that we hope will
lead to a negotiated transfer of power to the people. We have not initiated
this process for goals any different from that when we pursued the armed
struggle. Our goals remain the achievement of the demands of the people and we
will settle for nothing less than that. No process of negotiations can succeed
until the apartheid regime realizes that there will not be peace unless there
is freedom and that we are not going to negotiate away our just demands. They
must understand that we will resist any constitutional scheme that aims at
continuing white privileges. There is reason to believe that we have not yet
succeeded in bringing this home to the government and we warn them that if they
do not listen we will have to use our power to convince them.  That power is
the power of the people. And ultimately we know that the masses will not only
demand, but win full rights in a nonracist, nonsexist, democratic South Africa.
But we are not merely seeking a particular goal. We also propose a particular
route for realizing it, and that is a route that involves the people all the
way through. We do not want a process where a deal is struck over the heads of
the people and their job is merely to applaud.

The government resists this at all costs, because the question of how a
constitution is made, how negotiations take place, is vitally connected to
whether or not a democratic result ensues. The present government wants to
remain in office during the entire process of transition. Our view is that this
is unacceptable. This government has definite negotiation goals. It can not be
allowed to use this power as a government to advance its own cause, and that of
their allies, and to use those same powers to weaken the ANC. And this is
exactly what they are doing. They have unbanned the ANC, but we operate under
conditions subtantially different from that of other organizations. We do not
have the same freedom to organize as does Inkatha and other organizations
allied to the apartheid regime. Our members are harassed and even killed. We
are often barred from holding meetings and marches.

We believe that the transition process should be controlled by a capable
government that has the will to create and maintain the conditions necessary
for free political activity. A government that works with the goal of assuring
that the process be an effort to create a true democracy and nothing less. The
current government has not shown the willingness and has been incapable of
creating a proper climate for negotiations. It is hedging on its agreement to
free political prisoners and to permit the return of exiles. Recently, it
permitted the creation of a situation in which a true reign of terror and
violence was unleashed against the African communities and the ANC as an
organization. In this scenario of violence, 10,000 people have been killed
since 1984, 2,000 of those in this year alone. We always said that this
government, which glories in its professional police forces, is perfectly
capable of putting an end to the violence and judge those responsible. But,
they do not only not demonstrate the willingness to do that, but now we also
have irrefutable evidence, and this has been published in the independent
press, of their complicity in the violence. Violence has been used a systematic
effort to strengthen Inkatha as a potential ally of the National Party. Now, we
have evidence that proves the payment of monies by the government to Inkatha.
Money that comes from its contributors.

All of this proves the necessity of creating an interim government of
national unity that can preside over the transition.  We need a government that
enjoys the widest popular confidence so it can govern during this delicate
period to assure that they do not permit the counterrevolutionaries to change
the process and that can guarantee that the constitution is written in a
climate that is free of repression, intimidation, and fear. We believe that the
constitution itself ought to be written in the most democratic form possible.
In our opinion, the best way to achieve this is through the election of
representatives to a constituent assembly with the mandate to write a proposed

There are organizations that reject the claim of the ANC to be the most
representative group in the country. If this is certain, let them show their
popular support at the ballot box. To assure that the popular masses are
included in this process, we are distributing and discussing our own
constitutional proposals and a proposed law of rights. We want these to be
discussed by all the organizations in our alliance, that is, the ANC, the South
African Communist Party [SACP], and the Congress of South African Labor Unions,
as well as by the people in general. In this way, when the people vote for the
ANC to represent them in a constituent assembly they will know not only what
general principles the ANC defends, but they will also know what type of
constitution we want. Naturally, these constitutional proposals are subject to
revision upon the basis of consultations with our members, with the rest of our
alliance, and with the people generally. We want to achieve the writing of a
constitution that receives wide support, loyalty, and respect. This can only be
achieved if we truly go to the popular masses.

In an effort to stop these just demands, various efforts have been made to
undermine and to destabilize the ANC.  Violence is the worst of the efforts.
But there are other, more insidious methods.

Currently, both in the press and among our political adversaries, and many
Western governments, there exists an obsession concerning our alliance with the
South African Communist Party [SACP]. The press constantly publishes
speculations over the number of communists that are in our National Executive
and says that we are directed by the SACP. The ANC is not a communist party,
but rather a broad liberation movement which has among its members communists
and non-communists. Whoever wants to be a loyal member of the ANC, whoever
accepts the discipline and the principles of the organization, has the right to
join its ranks. Our relation with the SACP, as an organization, is based upon
mutual respect. We are united with the SACP in those objectives that we have in
common. But we respect each other's independence and individual identity. There
has been no attempt whatsoever on the part of the SACP to run the ANC. To the
contrary, we have gained strength through the alliance. We do not have the
slightest intention of paying attention to those who suggest and counsel us to
break away from this alliance. Who are those who offer these unsolicited
suggestions?  They come, mainly, from those who have never given us any
assistance whatsoever. None of these counselors have ever made the sacrifices
that the communists have made for our struggle.

This alliance has strengthened us and we will make it even more firm. We
are now in a phase of our struggle in which we can smell the victory. But we
have to assure that this victory is not stolen from us. We have to assure that
the racist regime feels the greatest pressure down to the end so that it
understands that it has to cede power; that the road to peace, liberty and
democracy is inevitable. This is the reason why sanctions should be maintained.
This is not the moment to hand out awards to the apartheid regime.  Why should
they be rewarded for repealing laws that are recognized as international
crimes? Apartheid still exists.  The regime must be obliged to eliminate it.
Only when this process is irreversible can we begin to evaluate the removal of

We are profoundly concerned by the attitude that the Bush administration
has adopted on this matter. This was one of the few governments that was in
close contact with us on the question of sanctions. We made them see clearly
that the elimination of sanctions would be premature. Despite that fact, this
administration, without even contacting us, simply informed us that the U.S.
sanctions were going to be lifted.  We consider this as totally unacceptable.

It is in this context that we value our friendship with Cuba very, very
much. When you, Comrade Fidel, yesterday said that our cause is your cause, I
know that that sentiment came from the bottom of your heart and that that is
the feeling of all of the people of revolutionary Cuba. 

You are with us because both of our organizations, the Communist Party of
Cuba and the ANC, are fighting for the oppressed masses to insure that those
who make the wealth enjoy its fruits. Your great apostle, Jose Marti, said, and
I quote: ``With the poor people of this earth, I want to share my fate.''

We in the ANC will always stand with the poor and rightless. Not only do
we stand with them, we will ensure sooner rather than later that they rule the
land of their birth. That, in the words of the Freedom Charter, the people
shall govern. And when that moment arrives it will have been made possible not
only by our own efforts, but through the solidarity, support, and encouragement
of the great Cuban people.

I must close my remarks by referring to an event of which you all have
witnessed. You have witnessed the event in which our Comrade Fidel Castro
conferred upon me the highest honor this country can award. I am very much
humbled by this award. Because I do not think I deserve it. It is an award that
ought to be given to those who have already won the freedom of their people.
But, it is a source of strength and hope that that award is given for the
recognition that the people of South Africa stand on their feet and they are
fighting for their freedom. We sincerely hope that in the days that
lie ahead we will be proved worthy of the confidence which is expressed in this

Long live the Cuban Revolution! Long live Comrade Fidel Castro!

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Soviet Era Riga 1980, Latvian SSR -- Tourist Photos and Overview

Printed in 1980 this postcard folder contained 18 cards devoted to Soviet era Riga in the Latvian SSR. Many of the cards have multiple images and they look at the streets, monuments, stores, attractions and other aspects of the city at the time. 

By 1980 the population of Riga had risen to just over 800,000. By 1990 it would reach the 900,000 mark though it has since declined to around 650,000. 

Standouts in the collection include the terrific shot of the Sakta Gift Shop, the city panoramas and the powerful monument to the victims of fascism in Salaspils, where the Nazis and their collaborators had constructed a concentration camp. 

There are also views of the resort town of Jurmala, near Riga. This was a hugely popular tourist destination in the Soviet Union. Included is a photo of the "control room" of the famous Soviet night club the "Juras Perle" in Jurmala as well as of its structure which jutted out over the beach. 

I have translated the text on both the folder and on each of the cards and have provided it.

Folder text:

The capital of Soviet Latvia - Riga - is always unique.

The history of the city is rich in events and the names of the heroes who gave their lives for the freedom and happiness of the people. Their names are immortalized in many monuments and in the names of streets, squares and ships. There is the Monument to the Latvian Red Riflemen who fought in the revolution and whose names are inscribed in the history of the socialist homeland.

Nobody is forgotten, nothing is forgotten. The Eternal Flame and monuments at Salaspils where during the Great Patriotic War in this camp the Nazis killed more than 100,000 people. Here the elderly and children, mothers and soldiers, people of different nationalities and from different countries were martyred. In the place of the former concentration camp now stands a memorial.

For many of the years of its history, Riga did not know such a fast growth and prosperity. In the post-war period the capital of Soviet Latvia has changed beyond recognition. Wounds caused by the war are healed. Now it is a highly developed industrial city and a scientific and cultural center of the republic. 

Seventy-five thousand students study in seven universities of the city. Every year seven theaters of the city put on dozens of new performances which are visited by about 2 million spectators. The best works of Latvian Soviet writers are recognized in the fraternal republics all across the country. They can be read in more than 50 languages.

There are also the concert programs in the halls of the State Philharmonic. There is not an empty seat during performances of the Riga circus. A large army of fans gather for hockey battles at the Riga ice palace, as well as for international competitions of the masters of figure-skating.

The traditional hobby, passed from generation to generation, of choral singing is popular and the same can be said about outdoor dances. On the republic's holidays, songs, colorful and poetic, can be heard on a large variety of cultural tours and at recreational events. There are choirs, dancing ensembles and brass bands that will draw crowds of more than 30,000 people.

The squares, streets and architecture of Old Riga. Here the spire of  St. Peter's Church rises. Its height is more than 123 meters. The unique wooden tower collapsed repeatedly. Last time it burned in the summer of  1941 due to artillery fire. Rebuilt it is now a characteristic sign of a new time in the life of an ancient city.

There are huge new residential areas: Yugla. Kengarags. Imanta, Purvciems, Krasta. For the people of Riga Soviet power successfully developed the many branches of the national economy. From the highways, to the Riga diesel and electric trains, to the "Latvia" minibuses.

In all corners of our country and in many countries of the world, can be found the telephones, radio receivers, refrigerators, mopeds, washing machines, lamps and industrial products of Riga. Perhaps most popular are the radio receivers and telephone sets.

Riga is a city of scientists. Now in the institutions of the Academy of Sciences of the Latvian SSR, higher educational institutions, branch scientific research institutes and laboratories are working thousands of scientists, including many candidates and doctors of science.

Latvia is proud of having creating a powerful energy sector. Once again the old Kegums hydroelectric power station on the Daugava was reconstructed as the largest in the Baltic States. Riga has other hydroelectric power stations. In Riga there is the united dispatcher-management of the power system of the whole Northwest of our country.

One the successes achieved in the development of the national economy is that the old capital has been restored. The appearance of the past was preserved though instead of wooden structures they are now metal. 

The rooster on the spire of the Dome Cathedral shows the direction of the wind. The construction of the cathedral and monastery began in the 12th century. At the end of the nineteenth century it had one of the largest organs in Europe with 6768 pipes. Now the Dome Cathedral is a concert hall that is visited by thousands of Soviet and foreign guests.

Rigans and guests of the republic's capital like to walk and rest in the city's cozy parks. The park of culture and recreation occupies an area of ​​about 400 hectares on the shore of Lake Kish. In it are held exhibitions of achievements of the Latvian national economy, as well as a children's railway and zoo which attract a large number of visitors.

Jurmala is a favorite recreation place for Riga residents and their guests. The city stretches along the coast of the Gulf of Riga for 30 kilometers. This resort is famous for its white sandy beaches. Over recent years, Jurmala has become an all-union resort of the entire USSR. There are many medical institutions, sanatoriums, recreation houses, children's camps, and cultural, domestic and sports facilities.

If you look from the observation platforms of the tower of St. Peter's Church, from this bird's eye view the labyrinths of the streets will be well visible with the roofs of houses, towers and spires of Old Riga, as well as the new buildings.

Here you will see that this ancient city has a spring mood of eternal renewal and eternal youth.

(Click on images to enlarge)

Sakta Gift Shop

 View of the central part of the city /
Front of the building of the Academy of Arts of the Latvian SSR

 The building of the State Philharmonic Society of the Latvian SSR /
Fragment of the arch decoration of the Riga Castle

Memorial Museum-Monument Latvian Red Riflemen

Performance of ballet dancers /
The building of the State Academic Opera and Ballet of the Latvian SSR

Dome Concert Hall /
View of the Dome Cathedral and Pardaugava

City panorama

Monument to the victims of fascism in Salaspils

One of the quarters/
Monument to PI Stuchka (Latvian Bolshevik)

 In Jauniela Street /
Gate of the Riga Castle

Control panel and the control room of the restaurant "Juras Perle" (famous Soviet night club and bar) /
Management of the power system of the Northwest USSR 

 In one of the city parks

At the Riga Lenin State Electrotechnical Institute

Monument to the national poet of Latvia Jan Rainis /
The building of the new Art Academic Theater of Latvian SSR named after J. Rainis

Participants of the Song Festival

 Jurmala on the beach /
Juras Perle Restaurant

Part of the ensemble of medieval living houses the "Three Brothers" /
Old Town Houses

A new residential area - Imanta /
On Lenin Street

Monday, July 23, 2018

In the wake of another mass killing in Toronto we have to keep talking about male violence

An horrific act of mass violence in Toronto last night. It is hard to find the words. The victims include an 18 year old woman who was celebrating her birthday and heading to university in the fall and a ten year old girl. The cruelty of it is unimaginable.

The motives of the killer are not clear and they may never be fully clear. According to his distraught family -- for whom we should have solidarity as their lives have been destroyed as well --  he suffered from serious, long-term mental illness.

Many commentators have raised the fact that we, as a society, have to do more to truly help those suffering from mental illness and their families and this is, without question, true.

Others have raised the need to deal with the many root causes of mass violence and gun violence including poverty, marginalization and social isolation, which is also, without question, true. As is the need for much stricter gun control.

But there is another factor that is rarely brought up after these appalling outbreaks of mass violence and that is, regardless of all the other factors, that almost always the perpetrators are men. Nearly 100% of the time.

Women suffer from mental illness as well. They also live in poverty (at higher rates then men) and they also suffer from marginalization and social isolation. Should they wish to they have the same access to guns as men.

And yet mass shootings committed by women are so rare as to be virtually unheard of.

In the United States -- where mass shootings have become tragically commonplace and are alarmingly on the rise -- only 2 of the 158 shooters who killed four or more victims at one time since 1966 were women who acted on their own. 

Men are disproportionately responsible for violent crime generally and for sexual violence especially where 97% of perpetrators (regardless of the gender of the victims) are male.

As we come to grips with this terrible crime it is important to remember that among all of the critical issues that are going to be raised in the wake of  these incidents there is this one that must be as well. 

The pervasive, toxic, violent masculinity that is an exceptionally dangerous outgrowth of societal systemic misogyny.

The next time you hear about someone wounding or killing five or ten or fifteen people in a community in Canada or the United States you won't even have to think about one aspect of it.

And that is that the killer will have been a man.

Why this is the case is a discussion that we as a society have to have.

See also: We all could have seen Minassian's misogynist attack coming if we had wanted to look

See also: The grotesque absurdity of left-liberal support for porn and prostitution needs to be questioned after Minassian's misogynist attack

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Israel's "Nation-State" Bill, Roe v. Wade, Ontario Hate Crimes & more -- The Left Chapter Sunday Reading List July 15 - 22

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 week's edition opens with a selection of articles related to developments in Israel.

This list covers the week of July 15 - 22. It is generally in order of the date of the article's release.

There is one article from prior to the period that has been incorporated into the post.

1) Israel in turmoil over bill allowing Jews and Arabs to be segregated

Oliver Holmes, The Guardian

Israel is in the throes of political upheaval as the country’s ruling party seeks to pass legislation that could allow for Jewish-only communities, which critics have condemned as the end of a democratic state.

Read the full article.

2) Thousands of Protesters March in Tel Aviv against “Nation-State” Bill

Communist Party of Israel 

Seven thousand protesters marched through central Tel Aviv on Saturday night, July 14, to protest the controversial, government-sponsored “nation-state bill,” calling it racist and discriminatory. Under the banner “This is home for all of us,” public figures, MKs from Hadash and Meretz, and peace and social activists addressed the demonstration, in which participants marched from Rabin Square to Dizengoff Center. The bill is expected to be brought before the Knesset tonight (Monday) for a final vote.

Read the full statement.

3) Israel Approves Nationality 'Apartheid' Law


Israel’s Parliament, the Knesset, approved the controversial nationality bill Thursday declaring Israel a nation-state for the Jewish people and downgrading the status of Arabic from official language to “special status.” Arabs make up 21 percent of Israel’s population.

Read the full article.

4) Birthrights Walk Off Tour In Israel, Join Peace Now Activists


Another group of Taglit-Birthright Israel participants left the tour opting instead to take part in solidarity visits with Peace Now activists who advocate for a two-state solution.

Read the full article.

5) The Real Reason People Are Upset About Birthright Walkouts

Batya Ungar-Sargon, Forward

The Jewish world is in an uproar over what are being called “Birthright walkouts”.

Read the full article.

6) Israel Strikes Targets Cultural Heritage: Gaza Museum Official


Israeli airstrikes Saturday have injured hundreds of civilians and killed two Palestinian teens who were at a public park next to an unfinished building.

Read the full article.

7) Palestinian paramedic Razan al-Najjar was ‘deliberately and fatally shot’ by Israeli sniper — B’Tselem

 Jonathan Ofir, Mondoweiss 

The Israeli human rights NGO B’Tselem today released a report about the killing of Palestinian paramedic Razan al-Najjar (20), who was fatally shot in the chest while nursing the wounded in Gaza on the 1st of June during the Great March of Return.

Read the full article.

8) ICC Urges Palestinians To Testify About Israeli War Crimes


The International Criminal Court (ICC) announced it would begin the pretrial phase of the war crimes case brought by the Palestinian Authority (PA) against Israel.

Read the full article.

9) US establishment rattled by socialist’s primary win

James Plested, Red Flag

The victory of socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in the Democratic Party primary in New York’s 14th Congressional District on 26 June has put the US political establishment in a spin.

Read the full article.

10) First direct Ethiopia-Eritrea flight in 20 years takes off

Al Jazeera 

Ethiopian Airlines conducted the first direct passenger flights between Addis Ababa and Asmara, reconnecting Eritrea and Ethiopia after a 20-year military standoff.

Read the full article.

11) NYPD gives the feds an ultimatum on Eric Garner: Charge the officer who choked him to death, or we will

Tess Owen, Vice News

Exactly four years ago, Eric Garner, a black man, died in a police chokehold after they approached him for allegedly selling loose cigarettes in Staten Island. His final words, “I can’t breathe,” became a rallying cry against police brutality and a slogan for the burgeoning Black Lives Matter movement.

Read the full article.

12) My grandfather wasn’t a Nazi-fighting war hero — he was a brutal collaborator

Silvia Foti, Salon

Eighteen years ago, my dying mother asked me to continue working on a book about her father, Jonas Noreika, a famous Lithuanian World War II hero who fought the Communists. Once an opera singer, my mother had passionately devoted herself to this mission and had even gotten a PhD in literature to improve her literary skills. As a journalist, I agreed. I had no idea I was embarking on a project that would lead to a personal crisis, Holocaust denial and an official cover-up by the Lithuanian government.

Read the full article.

13)  'Hate is alive here': Wife of beaten Mississauga man speaks out after attack

Shanifa Nasser · CBC News 

It was supposed to be a peaceful summer evening outdoors with friends, but things took a frightening turn when a Mississauga, Ont., father of two was severely beaten in what Peel Regional Police confirm they are investigating as a hate-motivated crime.

Read the full article.

14) ‘I want to leave. Stop assaulting me.’ Hate crime unit reviewing race-related incident at London grocery store

Bryann Aguilar, The Star

The police hate crime unit in London, Ont., is reviewing a race-related incident between two men inside a grocery store after video of a white man calling another man an “illegal alien” and preventing him from leaving the store went viral this week.

Read the full article.

15) A Quarter of Global Land Surface Belongs to Indigenous Peoples


A new study published by the journal Nature Sustainability shows that Indigenous people own or have tenure rights over at least a quarter of the global, inhabited land surface, reaffirming their important role in nature conservation and the fight against climate change.

Read the full article.

16) Peru Begins Operation At Its Biggest Wind Farm


The Peruvian government starts up its biggest wind turbine project on Wednesday near Nazca with the potential to create 132 megawatts of energy per day.  

Read the full article.

17) Tracy Latimer's killer does not deserve a pardon

Carmela Hutchison, Rabble

I would be deeply concerned for the protection of women and girls with disabilities if Tracy Latimer’s killer is pardoned. 

Read the full article.

18) Demand That Wendy’s Support Farmworkers’ Rights

Nation Action

This week’s Take Action Now is focused on a campaign to end human-rights abuses in the supply chain of fast-food giant Wendy’s, next steps in the fight to end family separation and detention, and events to save net neutrality.

Read the full article.

19) The Trump administration asked 70 babies who can’t talk to make their case in immigration court

Taylor Dolven, Vice News

The Trump administration has asked at least 70 babies under the age of 1 to come to court in 2018 and personally make their case to an immigration judge about why they should be able to stay in the U.S.

Read the full article.

20) Picket lines expected at Exhibition Place after board locks out workers ahead of CNE

David Rider, The Star

Picket lines are expected at city-owned Exhibition Place after its board locked out a union less than a month before the start of the Canadian National Exhibition.

Read the full article.

21) American Baby Trump Blimp Set To Breeze Onto Namesake's Home Turf

Amy Held, NPR

Like any tantruming toddler, the 20-foot-tall baby Trump blimp hovering above Friday's protests in London was difficult to ignore.

Read the full article.

22) Thousands of Canadian mothers were forced to give up their babies. Some were told to ‘get a puppy’ instead

Amanda Coletta, The Washington Post

Their stories would not seem out of place in an episode of “The Handmaid's Tale”: pregnant women shuttered away, violently restrained during childbirth, banned from looking at their babies — and, finally, coerced by social workers into signing adoption papers.

Read the full article.

23) Photojournalism is having a long overdue #MeToo moment

Daniella Zalcman, CNN

A special report published in the Columbia Journalism Review this week exposed the photojournalism industry's long-time problem with sexual harassment. Writer Kristen Chick interviewed more than 50 people over a period of five months, compiling testimony that details rampant sexual misconduct in all corners of the business.

Read the full article.


Carter Sherman, Vice News

Massachusetts lawmakers must answer a question on Wednesday: Do you support NASTY Women?

Read the full article.

25) The “NASTY Women” act just passed in Massachusetts to prepare for the death of Roe v. Wade

Carter Sherman, Vice News

President Donald Trump nominated conservative judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court only a few weeks ago, but states have started preparing for the potential death of Roe v. Wade. And Massachusetts just became one of the first to act on those plans.

Read the full article.

26) Mothers outraged as boys arrested for sharing explicit photos are allowed to return to school


Six boys who were suspended from their private high school in Quebec City and arrested for allegedly sharing explicit photos of their female classmates will be allowed back into the school in the fall, a decision the girls' mothers are condemning.

Read the full article.

27) Something in the Air

Eyal Press, The Intercept

Jessica Robertson Got Sick Working as an Inspector at a Poultry Plant. Now She’s Speaking Out to Defend Workers Exposed to Chemicals.

Read the full article.

28) This Washington State Ballot Measure Fights for Both Jobs and Climate Justice

Sasha Abramsky, The Nation

Initiative 1631 would put a carbon fee on big polluters, using the revenue to invest in clean energy and protections for workers in fossil-fuel industries.

Read the full article.

29) Macron Faces 'Watergate' Level Crisis From Bodyguard Scandal


Emmanuel Macron's presidency faces its deepest crisis since he was sworn in due to the Benalla affair, which was described by left-wing 'France Unbowed' party leader as being "of the level of Watergate."

Read the full article.

See also: Brett Kavanaugh, Doug Ford's Moves, Trump Protests & more -- The Left Chapter Sunday Reading List July 8 - 15