Sunday, December 23, 2018

India, Hungary and Lebanon Protests, Cuba's Constitution, Ontario Austerity and more -- The Week in News, Opinion and Videos December 16 - 23

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

This list covers the week of December 16 - 23.

1) Former Workers Party President Sean Garland 'helped transform Irish republicanism'

Belfast Telegraph 

The former Workers’ Party president died from cancer on Thursday aged 84.

2) Canada-Israel Interparliamentary Group Supports Imperialism

Yves Engler, The Palestine Chronicle

Do New Democrat MPs who belong to the Canada-Israel Interparliamentary Group (CIIG) have carte blanche to flout party policy?

3) Jeremy Corbyn tables motion of no confidence in Theresa May

Lucy Middleton, Metro UK 

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has told MPs he will table a motion of no confidence in Theresa May over her handling of the Brexit deal vote.

4) Next left: Corbyn, Sanders and the return of socialism

Ben Tarnoff, The Guardian

Away from the Brexit and Trump headlines, the revival of socialism in the UK and US remains striking. Can Jeremy Corbyn and Bernie Sanders help to take it further?

5) Lebanese take to the streets to protest political stalemate

The Tribune

Hundreds of Lebanese took to the streets Sunday to protest against a political stalemate that has prevented the formation of a new government seven months after elections.

6) Anti-Muslim agitator gives video apology to owner of Paramount Fine Foods over ‘jihadist’ comments

Jennifer Yang, The Toronto Star

A year and a half after a well-known anti-Muslim agitator was videotaped claiming anyone who eats at a popular GTA Middle Eastern restaurant chain had to be a “jihadist” who rapes their wife, he is admitting his comments were “defamatory and disparaging” and is apologizing to the Muslim-Canadian businessman who owns the chain.

7) A Texas Elementary School Speech Pathologist Refused to Sign a Pro-Israel Oath, Now Mandatory in Many States — so She Lost Her Job

Glenn Greenwald, The Intercept

A CHILDREN’S SPEECH PATHOLOGIST who has worked for the last nine years with developmentally disabled, autistic, and speech-impaired elementary school students in Austin, Texas, has been told that she can no longer work with the public school district, after she refused to sign an oath vowing that she “does not” and “will not” engage in a boycott of Israel or “otherwise tak[e] any action that is intended to inflict economic harm” on that foreign nation. A lawsuit on her behalf was filed early Monday morning in a federal court in the Western District of Texas, alleging a violation of her First Amendment right of free speech.

8) Trump Turns the Ties Between Israel and U.S. Jews Totally Toxic

Chemi Shalev, Haaretz

Netanyahu’s government is increasingly perceived as the Kellyanne Conway of Trump’s race baiting and the Rudy Giuliani of his America First agenda.

9) Jury calls for end to segregation of mentally ill inmates

Laurie Fagan · CBC News 

The jury at a coroner's inquest into the death of a mentally ill inmate at Ottawa's jail has made sweeping recommendations aimed at preventing a similar incident from happening in the future.

10) Maduro Rejects Invite to Bolsonaro's Inauguration: Arreaza


"Venezuela would never attend the inauguration of President Jair Bolsonaro," Minister Jorge Arreaza said.

11) AMLO: Minimum Wage Up 16%, Biggest in 23 Years


President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO) followed through on a campaign promise Monday announcing a minimum wage hike of 16.21 percent, Mexico’s largest in 23 years.

12) Montreal must pay after removing posters during 2015 federal election campaign

Montreal Gazette 

The Communist Party of Canada and the Boycott, Désinvestissement, Sanction Québec movement will receive $12,860, a Quebec Court judge has ruled.

13) Amazon faces boycott ahead of holidays as public discontent grows

Jana Kasperkevic, The Guardian

A growing number of customers are fed up with the company, from its working conditions at warehouses to anti-tax lobbying.

14) Argentine Gov’t ‘Pressuring’ Labor Judges Who Protect Workers


Argentine authorities are seeking the dismissal of two justices who ruled against layoffs, which are an integral part of IMF-backed austerity policies.

15) Indigenous leader urges EU to impose sanctions on Brazil

Arthur Neslen, The Guardian

Brazil’s foremost indigenous leader has called on the EU to impose trade sanctions to prevent ecological disaster and a “social extermination” by her country’s far-right president-elect, who takes office on 1 January.

16) China produces Karl Marx cartoon series to mark 200th anniversary of his birth

Mandy Zuo, The South China Morning Post

The animation, co-produced by central government’s Marxism office, will be shown by video streaming website

(Related: The Leader -- Chinese Karl Marx Anime Bio Trailer)

17) Canadian yellow vest protests unlike French movement, despite similar attire: U of S prof

Kendall Latimer · CBC News

Charles Smith says Canada protests include 'concerning' anti-immigration message.

18) Brazil: Court Ruling Might Lead to Lula's Freedom


Supreme Court Justice Marco Aurelio Mello granted Wednesday a preliminary injunction to release people convicted in a second instance who still have appeals pending. This decision may lead to the release of President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who was arrested after being convicted in the Lava-Jato corruption case by a Federal Regional Court.

19) Alice Walker’s Conspiracy Theories Aren’t Just Anti-Semitic – They’re Anti-Black

Rebecca Pierce, Forward 

The end of Baldwin’s essay includes an important reminder for all of us in these discussions: “If today I refuse to hate Jews, or anybody else, it is because I know how it feels to be hated.”

20) Court of Appeal rules Uber drivers are entitled to minimum wage, holiday and sick pay

Peter Lazenby, Morning Star 

THE so-called “gig economy” suffered a huge blow today when the Court of Appeal ruled that tens of thousands of drivers working for cab firm Uber are employees entitled to the minimum wage, holiday pay, sick pay and other rights.

21) If you feel confident enough to challenge your bigoted uncle this Christmas, you're privileged – as the Femicide Census proves

Victoria Smith, The Independent 

139 women were killed this year, most by people they knew, and almost half died at the hands of a current or former partner. Many of us will be left wondering what it's like to be able to talk back to our relatives.

22) ’White’ hockey teams in Manitoba accused of forming league without First Nations

Canadian Press

A lawyer representing some Indigenous hockey teams in Manitoba is arguing in court that all the “white teams” got together and formed a new Junior B league which excludes First Nations.

23) Socialists seek official party status in Maine

Kevin Miller, The Press Herald

The Socialist Party of Maine is seeking official recognition as a political party in the state.

24) B.C. votes to keep first-past-the-post electoral system

CBC News

'I think electoral reform is finished,' says deputy premier Carole James.

25) Beto O’Rourke frequently voted for Republican legislation, analysis reveals

David Sirota, The Guardian 

Review of his six-year record in Congress shows Democrat frequently opposed own party, and supported bills that boosted the fossil fuel industry and Trump’s immigration policy.

26) Class-action lawsuit filed against northern RCMP over alleged Indigenous mistreatment

Bob Weber, The Canadian Press

A class-action lawsuit filed in an Edmonton court alleges RCMP in the three northern territories regularly assault and abuse Indigenous people.

27) Class action lawsuit proposed on coerced sterilization in Alberta

Kristy Kirkup · The Canadian Press 

A proposed class action lawsuit has been filed against the Government of Alberta on behalf of Indigenous women who say they were subjected to forced sterilization.

Soviet nostalgia is at it's highest point in 14 years and growing.

28) Can Canada’s Tar Sands Industry Be Profitable Without Government Subsidies?

The Real News Network

Todd Paglia of Stand Earth says Canadians taxpayers increasingly foot the bill for Canada’s fossil fuels industry.

29) Measles cases at highest for 20 years in Europe, as anti-vaccine movement grows

Sarah Boseley, The Guardian 

A growing anti-vaccine movement in Europe, fuelled by social media and anti-establishment populists, is putting lives at risk and may be to blame for measles outbreaks surging to a 20-year high, health experts are warning.

30) Spanish Elections Offer Another Lesson for the Left

Conn Hallinan, Foreign Policy in Focus

Again, the success of right-wing parties reflects less the rise of the right than the collapse of the center.

31) Democrats Just Blocked Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's Push For A Green New Deal Committee

 Alexander C. Kaufman, HuffPost US

Instead, Democrats are sticking to their original plan, and channeled Exxon Mobil in an announcement refusing to bar members who take fossil fuel money.

32) White House Orders Pentagon To Pull U.S. Troops From Syria

Laurel Wamsley, NPR

The U.S. plans to withdraw all of its troops from Syria, a senior Pentagon official tells NPR. About 2,000 U.S. troops are currently in the northeastern part of the country, near the Turkish border.

33) Trump wants to yank half the U.S. troops out of Afghanistan, too

Paul Vale, Vice News

President Donald Trump has asked the Pentagon to make plans to pull 7,000 U.S. troops out of Afghanistan, according to multiple reports published Thursday.

34) U.S. Supreme Court rejects Trump bid to enforce new asylum rules

Thomson Reuters

The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday dealt a setback to President Donald Trump by refusing to allow his administration to implement new rules prohibiting asylum for people who cross the U.S. border illegally, with conservative Chief Justice John Roberts joining the four liberal justices in denying the request.

35) India’s urban and rural working class to embark on two day nationwide strike in January

V. Arun Kumar, People's Dispatch

The shutdown in rural India coinciding with the trade union’s strike will unite the farmers and workers to challenge the pro-corporate and anti-people rule of far right BJP government.

36) 180 million workers may join 2-day trade union strike in January against Modi government

Saubhadra Chatterji, Hindustan Times

Trade union leaders also cited a Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE) report that says the unemployment rate in October rose to 6.9% and nearly 30 million youth are unemployed.

37) Protesters just blocked a major Toronto intersection over Indigenous rights

Lauren O'Neil, Blog TO

Hundreds of Indigenous Rights activists are gathered in Yonge Dundas Square this afternoon among throngs of last-minute holiday shoppers to protest the first draft of Canada's long-promised Indigeous Rights Framework.

38) Opposition in Hungary Demonstrates Against Orban, in Rare Display of Dissent

Patrick Kingsley, The New York Times

Opponents of Hungary’s far-right prime minister, Viktor Orban, demonstrated on Sunday for the fourth day in the past five, in what has become one of the most sustained displays of street opposition to Mr. Orban since he entered office eight years ago.

39) Anti-government protesters mass for 5th day in Hungary

Kester Eddy, KFDA

A few thousand demonstrators gathered in freezing temperatures outside Hungary's state broadcaster Monday night in a fifth day of protests against the right-wing government of Prime Minister Viktor Orban.

40) Hungary: Stop the slave law

Act Now Petition

On December 12 the Hungarian Parliament adopted the "Slave Law" which could require workers to do overtime work up to 400 hours a year. Further, the reference period is increased to 36 months. The law was passed without proper consultation with social partners, through misuse of the Parliamentary procedures.

41) Left-wing opposition calls for joint candidate for Budapest mayor

Hungary Today

Parties of the opposition should field a joint candidate for the post of Budapest mayor in next year’s municipal elections, representatives of the Socialist, Democratic Coalition (DK), Párbeszéd parties and of the Solidarity movement told a press conference on Thursday.

42) Hungary protests give opposition a chance to work together

Eldar Emric & Pablo Gorondi, The Salem News

The recent protests in Hungary have given the fragmented opposition a real opportunity to work together as they challenge Prime Minister Viktor Orban, who has an overwhelming majority in parliament.

43) Ontario government cuts millions of dollars for tutors and student leadership programming

Alanna Rizza, The Globe and Mail

The Ontario government is slashing millions of dollars in funding for programs that are aimed at providing students with extra skills and support, leaving school boards to figure out how students will be affected.

44) Toronto school board says layoffs coming after province cuts $25M in funding


A major Toronto school board said the province's decision to cut specialized programs will result in some 95 part-time student workers immediately losing their jobs.

45) Ron Taverner staying with Toronto police despite appointment as OPP chief — for now

CBC News

Ron Taverner, who's tapped to be the next chief of Ontario Provincial Police, has rescinded his resignation papers as a superintendent with Toronto police.

46) Ford is trampling workers’ rights again with back-to-work legislation, says OFL

Ontario Federation of Labour

Ontarians should be deeply concerned at the speed and the manner with which the Ford government brushes away Charter rights by using back-to-work legislation, says the Ontario Federation of Labour. The Charter of Rights and Freedoms protects the rights of all Canadians.

47) 'It's heartbreaking': Indigenous artists mourn possible cuts to culture fund under review by PCs

CBC News

The Ontario government says it is reviewing a fund for Indigenous culture that was set up in response to calls for action from Canada's Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

48) Restoration of normal delivery times proves backlog was ‘fiction,’ says postal worker’s union

Terry Pedwell, The Canadian Press

The restoration of delivery service guarantees by Canada Post — three weeks after striking postal workers were forced back to work — proves the shipment backlogs Ottawa used to justify legislating an end to rotating walkouts were "fiction," says the Canadian Union of Postal Workers.

49) Protesting Santas picket in front of Canada Post in Victoria

Shalu Mehta, Sooke News Mirror

A group of protesters dressed as Santa picketed in front of the Canada Post on Glanford Avenue Saturday morning in support of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers.

50) Cuban Baseball Federation and MLB reach historic agreement

Oscar Sánchez Serra & Sigfredo Barros Segrera, Granma 

“Today is a happy day for Cuban baseball, for the world, the people of Cuba and the United States,” stated Higinio Vélez Carrión, president of the Cuban Baseball Federation (FCB), referring to the agreement to allow Cuban players to sign with the Major Leagues.

51) Cuba reinserts 'communism' in draft of new constitution


Cuba has reinserted the goal of “advancing toward a communist society” into the draft of the country’s new constitution after its removal from the first version had sparked concern among thousands of citizens, state-run television said on Thursday.

52) Cuban Lawmakers Approve Revised Draft of New Constitution


Cuban lawmakers Saturday unanimously approved a revised draft of the new Cuban constitution.

See also: Cyntoia Brown, Taverner, Yellow Vests & more -- The Week in News, Opinion and Videos December 9 - 16

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