Sunday, April 7, 2019

Ontario Student Walkouts and Rallies, "Dinner With a View of the Rich", Israeli Elections & more -- The Week in News, Opinion and Videos March 31 - April 7

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 March 31 - April 7.

The installment begins with a section and photos about to the student walkouts and rallies in Ontario, a look at the "Dinner With a View of the Rich" protest organized by the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty against the grotesque popup restaurant for wealthy diners in Toronto where homeless camps had been bulldozed by police and the city, and a section related to the disturbing Israeli election. It also ends with articles related to developments in Venezuela. 


Dave McKee, People's Voice

If you read, and trust, the mainstream corporate media, the Ontario government’s March 15 announcement that it will loosen restrictions on class sized is a straightforward change that will align Ontario schools with those in the rest of Canada. There will, the story goes, be no loss of jobs for currently employed teachers and little if any impact on students’ classroom experience. Current class sizes are based on an average student-to-teacher ratio of 22:1, and the government intends to change that to 28:1 in the provincial budget due in April.

“Sure,” say the Tories, “we’d all like our kids to have classes of 22 or fewer, but it’s a perk that Ontario’s deficit just can’t afford any longer. Besides, we’re only adding 6 students and that’s only in high school.” Sounds like good old common sense.

Except, that’s not the whole story.

2) Provincial memo lays out plan to cut 3,475 Ontario teaching positions in 4 years

CBC News

A provincial memo obtained by CBC Toronto lays out the Ford government's plans to cut thousands of full-time teaching positions in Ontario beginning this fall.

3) Students walk out from hundreds of Ontario schools to protest education cuts

Lauren O'Neil, Blog TO

An estimated 100,000 elementary and high school students in Ontario are walking out of their classrooms this afternoon in protest against the provincial government's recent cuts to education.

4) High school students carry the torch of resistance against devastating cuts!

Young Communist League

We know that education is an investment and not a cost. Together, we won’t let the Ford Government get away with screwing with our futures and the opportunities of future generations. The Post-Secondary Education walkout on March 20th and the high school walkout today are only the beginning of what will be an intense struggle for quality, public education, for everyone. Say no to cuts! Say yes to Public Education! Ford wants us to shut up, but instead we’ll shut him up!

5) Thousands of educators hold rally outside Queen's Park


Thousands of educators from across the province gathered at Queen’s Park on Saturday to protest the planned elimination of more than 3,000 teaching jobs over the next four years and call on the province to boost funding for education.

6) Doug Ford's tax break for minimum wage workers falls short, study reveals

Mike Crawley · CBC News

The Ford government left Ontario's lowest-paid workers with less money in their pockets by giving them a tax break instead of boosting the minimum wage, says Ontario's non-partisan fiscal watchdog.

Related: "We won't allow our future to become a budget cut" - Photos from the student walkout strike in Toronto

Related: Ford and all his MPPs took away your rights at work. Tell them how you feel about it!

7) Posh dome restaurant opens under Toronto expressway weeks after nearby homeless camp eviction

CBC Radio

"The city cleared out homeless people who are living under the Gardiner with no heat. They were evicted. Meanwhile, pop-up restaurants serving ritzy dinners in heated domes under that same highway are granted permits," Acharya, an organizer with the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (OCAP), told As It Happens host Carol Off.

8) Dinner With A View's burst bubble

Natalia Manzocco, NOW Magazine 

Activist group Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (OCAP) has since launched a counter-event, the snappily titled Dinner With A View Of The Rich, scheduled for Friday (April 5). As part of the event, organizers plan to serve a free, volunteer-cooked dinner to all attendees. "Together we'll eat, be lively and take in the view of the brazenness of the wealthy and the brutality of the city," they wrote on the event's Facebook page.

9) "Appalling": Toronto's Gardiner Expressway dining experience sparks backlash

Megan DeLaire, Yahoo News Canada 

A new pop-up restaurant under Toronto’s Gardiner Expressway bills itself as a “completely luxurious dining experience,” but one anti-poverty group calls it “appalling.”

10) Hundreds of people showed up to protest dome dining under the Gardiner

Tanya Mok, Blog TO

A posh dinner set beneath the Gardiner was disrupted last night after hundreds of people gathered around The Bentway to protest what they called "an obscene spectacle of opulence."

Footage from the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty protest, where hundreds of people registered their disgust over $550 dinners being served below a highway near where homeless people had recently been evicted.

11) San Francisco: residents of wealthy area shout down mayor over homeless shelter

Gabrielle Canon, The Guardian 

“The optics on this are stunning. You have very affluent land owners who are fighting against impoverished San Franciscans whose very lives are at risk because of the housing crisis,” she says. “And who are we talking about? Who is homeless? Primarily people of color, primarily folks who have disabilities or who are elderly people. To equate an entire class of people with crime is the foundation of prejudice.”

12) The Israeli Election Choices: Apartheid or Ethnic-Cleansing

The Palestine Project, Medium 

“Whether Netanyahu and his coalition with the fascist Jewish Power party — that openly advocates the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians — or Gantz, who prides himself on bombing Gaza back to the ‘Stone Ages,’ none of the major parties support a two-state solution or equality for Palestinians in a single state.”

13) Israel Is Voting Apartheid

Gideon Levy, Haaretz

There will be one certain result from Tuesday’s election: Around 100 members of the next Knesset will be supporters of apartheid.

14) Netanyahu Says Will Begin Annexing West Bank if He Wins Israel Election


Netanyahu tells Channel 12 three days before election that he will not 'evacuate any community' nor divide Jerusalem: 'A Palestinian state will endanger our existence'

15) How the Israeli Army Shot Dead a Palestinian Paramedic in a Refugee Camp

Amira Hass, Haaretz 

Sajed Mizher, a volunteer paramedic, planned to arrive at school in time for a test. But as he walked over to a man wounded by a gunshot, he was shot himself.

16) The weaponising of antisemitism

Alex Snowdon, Counterfire 

The smears against Corbyn and the left are part of a concerted effort to undermine a potential left government and must be opposed.

17) More Than 750,000 Could Lose Food Stamps Under Trump Administration Proposal

Pam Fessler, NPR

Three-quarters of a million people would likely lose their food stamps later this year under a new proposal by the Trump administration. The goal is to encourage able-bodied adults to go to work and get off government aid. But opponents predict people would go hungry instead, if the rule goes into effect.

18) Thousands of workers at US factories in Mexico are striking for higher wages

 Alexia Fernández Campbell, VOX

Dozens of Coca-Cola workers are camping out at a major bottling plant until they get a raise. More than 8,000 Walmart employees were prepared to walk off the job, until management met some of their demands. And 30,000 striking factory workers have finally returned to work after a month-long strike.

19) GM Squeezed $118 Million From Its Ohio Workers, Then Shut The Plant

David Welch, Bloomberg 

The union hall in Lordstown, Ohio, is a hive of confusion, anxiety and anger. Mostly anger.

20) Protesters call for an immediate ban on police street checks

Robert Devet, Nova Scotia Advocate 

Some 80 people attended a powerful community meeting, and several hundreds marched through downtown Halifax this afternoon, calling for an immediate and unconditional ban on the racist practice of police street checks.

21) Canada warming up twice as fast as rest of the world, and it’s ‘irreversible’: report

The Canadian Press

Canada is warming up twice as fast as the rest of the world and that warming is “effectively irreversible,” a new scientific report from Environment and Climate Change Canada says.

22) Two-Thirds of All Assets in Canada’s Economy Are Now Owned By Under 1% of All Companies

Press Progress 

Less than 1% of companies operating in Canada control over two-thirds of its assets,  new figures from Statistics Canada show.

23) With new position on secularism, Quebec Solidaire redefines left-wing politics in the province

Jonathan Montpetit · CBC News

By a wide margin, party members voted instead to adopt a new, and what is these days, more radical position: it's now opposed to any restriction on what religious symbols a public-sector worker can wear.

24) Homes on remote First Nations are mouldy before they're even built, experts say

Marina von Stackelberg · CBC News 

Drywall is transported to remote communities on ice roads and then left outdoors for months, making the material mouldy before the construction of a new house begins.

25) Michael Brown’s Mother Loses City Council Race in Ferguson, Where Her Son Was Killed by Police

John Eligon, The New York Times

Nearly five years ago, Lesley McSpadden appeared distraught before the world after finding out that a grand jury had declined to indict a white police officer in Ferguson, Mo., in the fatal shooting of her teenage son, Michael Brown, who was black.

26) Eight years of “spring”

Ana Laura Palomino García, Granma 

What happened? A well-aimed formula of manipulation, lies and “humanitarian intervention,” designed by the United States government and supported by the European Union (EU), was applied against Libya, which sounds suspiciously familiar given the situation facing the Venezuelan people today.

27) “We Are Your Citizens”: Trump Keeps Repeating Lies About Puerto Rico

Nidhi Prakash, BuzzFeed News 

The president has inflated how much disaster money Puerto Rico has received and falsely claimed that the island has gotten “more money than has ever been gotten for a hurricane before.”

28) Democratic socialists now control one-tenth of the Chicago City Council

Ryan Smith, Chicago Sun-Times

By the time the 35th Ward Alderman took the stage at Rosanna Rodríguez-Sánchez’s election-night party at Chief O’Neill’s in Avondale, Chicago had experienced the biggest electoral victory for socialists in modern American history. Members of the group now control one-tenth of the City Council’s 50 seats.

29) Historic Win: Communist Candidate Wins Municipality in Turkey


Communist Party of Turkey’s (TKP) candidate Fatih Mehmet Maçoğlu won the Dersim municipality, which makes the city the first to be governed by communists in the history of Turkey.

30) Erdoğan’s grip on Turkey slips as opposition makes election gains

Bethan McKernan, The Guardian 

Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s grip on the country has been challenged by a resurgent opposition in local elections, with his ruling Justice and Development party (AKP) losing control of Ankara and on track to lose Istanbul, according to unofficial local election results.

31) Canada's probable next PM is courting the far right to win

Andrew Mitrovica, Al Jazeera 

It is said that you can take the measure of a man by the company he keeps.

By that objective calculus, the toxic company that Canada's Conservative leader, Andrew Scheer, stubbornly keeps ought to disabuse anyone of the silly notion that Canada is an antidote to the pestilence of white nationalism infecting other, Western "liberal" democracies.

32) Warning from 'Antarctica's last forests'

BBC News 

Scramble across exposed rocks in the middle of Antarctica and it's possible to find the mummified twigs of shrubs that grew on the continent some five million years ago.


Theto Mahlakoana, EWN

The Socialist Revolutionary Workers Party (SRWP) says that nationalising the South African Reserve Bank is one of the key policy objectives that it will lobby for.

34) 'People are fleeing the city': How 'renovictions' are forcing renters to the edge of bankruptcy

Michael Smee · CBC News

A Toronto credit counselling firm is warning of a surge in so-called renovictions — landlords ousting tenants so they can upgrade and re-rent their apartments at jacked-up prices.

35) Cash-strapped Yorkshire school forced to teach without electricity once a week

Peter Lazenby, The Morning Star 

The unnamed school took the extreme measure to introduce ‘dark days’ due to the funding crisis affecting educators nationwide.

36) Neo-fascist violence keeps Roma out of Rome neighbourhood

Lorenzo Tondo, The Guardian 

Hundreds of neo-fascists, far-right activists and local residents took to the streets of a Rome suburb on Tuesday in a violent protest against 70 Roma people, including 33 children and 22 women, who were to be temporarily transferred to a reception centre in the area.

37) Footage of Italian boy who stood up to fascists goes viral

Lorenzo Tondo, The Guardian 

A 15-year-old boy who stood up to far-right activists during violent protests in Rome has won plaudits across Italy.

38) Let’s build the kind of Left that demands Canada withdraw from NATO

Yves Engler

Though it would elicit howls of outrage from the militarists, withdrawing from NATO would not be particularly radical. European countries such as Sweden and Finland aren’t part of the alliance, nor are former British dominions Australia and New Zealand, not to mention Canada’s NAFTA and G7 partners Mexico and Japan. Still, withdrawing from NATO would dampen pressure to spend on the military and to commit acts of aggression in service of the US-led world order. It’s long past time to do so.

39) The Anti-Democratic Roots of NATO

The Real News Network 

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) must be understood from its roots, which is anti-democratic says Yves Engler, while discussing his four part print series on The Real News.

40) Worst deal ever? The 407 is worth $30B today – Ontario sold it for $3.1B in 1999

Alicja Siekierska, Yahoo Finance Canada 

At the time, it was the largest privatization of a public asset in Canadian history. But in hindsight, it may be considered one of Ontario’s biggest financial missteps, considering the SNC-Lavalin sale pegs the value of the highway at at least $30 billion.

41) SA sex worker activist speaks out at international conference

Duncan Guy, IOL

“Prostitution is neither sex, nor work, nor is it a free choice”

 42) Communist Party of India (Marxist) exhorts people to defeat BJP

The Sentinel 

Hamen Das, former MLA and State Secretariat Member, Communist Party of India (Marxist) who addressed a number of election meetings at Chabua, Sadiya and Doomdooma LAC said that people of Assam were never communal, nor they are communal now or will be so in future. So he exhorted people to defeat ‘communal’ BJP in view of their current activities to demolish the very fabric of the society by trying to divide people on communal line.

43) The Picture of Dorian Trudeau

John Clarke, Counterfire 

The neoliberal centre's cover boy cannot protect Canadians from hard edged austerity or the racist right.

44) Berlin activists march to demand city seize housing from landlords

Caroline Copley, Reuters 

Thousands of Berlin residents took to the streets on Saturday to vent anger over surging rents and demand the expropriation of more than 200,000 apartments sold off to big private landlords, which they blame for changing the character of the city.

(Related: Problems of the Construction of Social Housing, International Symposium on Social Housing Construction, World Federation of Trade Unions, Prague, 1975)

45) From Middle Power to Regime Change Specialist: Canada and the Venezuela Crisis

Donald Kingsbury, NACLA 

Canada’s image as a moderate force seeking multilateral dialogue on the situation in Venezuela is little more than rhetoric veiling Ottawa’s increasingly interventionist role in Latin America.

46) Hundreds march in Washington, DC to protest against NATO, US interference in Venezuela

RT News 

Hundreds of people have taken to the streets of Washington, DC to oppose the upcoming NATO ministerial meeting in the US capital. The demonstrators also decried the continued US involvement in the Venezuelan political crisis.

47) Venezuela: Why is Maduro Still in Power?

Federico Fuentes - Green Left Weekly

For many, it is impossible to understand how, despite presiding over the country’s worst economic crisis and facing such intense international and domestic opposition, Maduro remains in the presidential palace.

48) Washington Concerned Over Maduro's Stay in Power


Maduro's stay in power has Washington as well as various regional neighbor countries worried about the situation. It seems that Venezuela's neighbors followed a false promise to get rid off the Venezuelan President rather quickly. According to the report, allies of the U.S. are disappointed with the result and are now questioning their decision to recognize Juan Guaido as interim president.

49) Venezuelan Gov’t Authorizes Expansion of Red Cross Aid

Lucas Koerner, Venezuela Analysis 

Venezuela’s Maduro government has reached an agreement with the International Federation of the Red Cross (IFRC) to scale up the humanitarian organization’s activities in the Caribbean country.

50) Venezuela: The US empire is on the march again

Rob Winkel, Counterfire 

It doesn’t matter how many ultimatums the US or European leaders put to Venezuela. Venezuelans don’t need their former imperial masters and others to tell them to hold elections. Who leads the country is determined only by the population. It doesn’t matter how many countries support the opposition - it doesn’t give them a mandate to rule.

51) Venezuela’s Constituent Assembly Removes Guaido's Immunity


The National Constituent Assembly (ANC) of Venezuela approved on Tuesday a decree to lift parliamentary immunity and the continuation of the prosecution of self-proclaimed opposition deputy, Juan Guaido.

(Related: Yet again the NDP shows its true colours as lapdogs of American Imperialism. Time for the Canadian Left to notice

52) Venezuelan Chavistas Stage Anti-Imperialist March in Cacaras


Venezuela's Bolivarian people took the streets Saturday to carry out the sixth consecutive anti-imperialist march, an event aimed at backing President Nicolas Maduro administration and rejecting the interventionist policies by the United States and its regional allies.

See also: Israeli Attacks, Venezuela Resists, Climate Change & more -- The Week in News, Opinion and Videos March 24 - 31

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