Sunday, September 8, 2019

Johnson Fiasco, Hurricane Dorian, the Amazon & more -- The Week in News, Opinion and Videos September 1 - 8

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 September 1 - 8.

1) Federal government walks away from bargaining, says union, prompting strike talk

The Canadian Press

The country's biggest public-sector union says it's preparing for potential post-election strike action after accusing the government of walking away from contract talks affecting more than 70,000 federal employees.

2) Zimbabwe Communist Party to hold Congress in December

Mandla Ndlovu, Bulawayo 24

The Zimbabwe Communist Party has announced that it will hold its inaugural congress in Bulawayo  on the 19th - 22nd December 2019.


Communist Party of Canada

This Labour Day, we rally and march in the shadow of the upcoming federal election. Without question, the stakes are enormous for the working class – issues of economic insecurity, environmental devastation, and the danger of widespread war are all on the line. This is a key moment for the labour movement to campaign for its own political, social and economic policies, and to make these a benchmark for all those seeking labour’s support.

"Stop imposing onto the third world lifestyles and habits of consumerism that damage the environment."

4) Community groups gear up to counter far-right propaganda in federal election

Nicholas Keung, The Toronto Star

It worries Janice Folk-Dawson when the veteran union leader sees hate posters popping up on university campuses and far-right supremacist groups showing up in her community.

5) There is no such thing as 'an ethical pimp'

Morgan Finnie, The Morning Star

Instead of listening to the vocal minority who believe “sex work is work,” we should be listening to the voices of the women and girls most at risk of being prostituted, and those that have survived the industry. Because believe me when I tell you, they will not have time for your individualist politics.

6) Why are people silent about the abuses and exploitation in porn?

Yomi Adegoke, The Guardian 

In the porn industry, there is a belief that anything can and, more importantly, should go. Discourse on how to regulate it is deemed diametrically opposed to its need to be “dirty”. A fear of appearing puritanical prohibits any genuine meaningful critiques of it from the left, leaving it to pearl-clutching Conservatives. A need to appear liberal and open-minded has left many modern feminists uncharacteristically quiet on the industry’s ethics. And because of this, it is held to a completely different standard to any other part of the entertainment industry. Sexual abuse at the hands of music managers is a scandal; in porn, it is seen as a hazard of the job. We chastise the film industry for racially stereotyping characters, but barely blink at the wildly racist caricatures in porn - in cuckolding porn, in which black men are portrayed as perma-erect, part animal “mandingos”; in overtly racist parodies that make light of ongoing atrocities such as “Black Wives Matter” or “Border Patrol Sex”- as though sexual desire mitigates any type of responsibility.

7) Auto union workers overwhelmingly vote to authorize strikes at GM, Ford, Fiat Chrysler

Michael Wayland, CNBC

United Auto Workers members overwhelmingly voted to give union leaders authorization to strike during contract negotiations this year with General Motors, Ford Motor and Fiat Chrysler, if needed.

8) The myth of the free speech crisis

Nesrine Malik, The Guardian 

This is the myth of the free speech crisis. It is an extension of the political-correctness myth, but is a recent mutation more specifically linked to efforts or impulses to normalise hate speech or shut down legitimate responses to it. The purpose of the myth is not to secure freedom of speech – that is, the right to express one’s opinions without censorship, restraint or legal penalty. The purpose is to secure the licence to speak with impunity; not freedom of expression, but rather freedom from the consequences of that expression.

9) Lombana running for Communist Party in Elmwood

Sheldon Birnie, Winnipeg Free Press

German Lombana brings a lifetime of fighting for social justice to the ballot.

(Related: In Manitoba consider a vote for the Communist Party -- A clear anti-capitalist alternative)

Ontario Communist Party leader Drew Garvie is running federally against the odious imperialist Chrystia Freeland,

That will be a debate worth attending. Full support.

10) Canada accused of promoting Holocaust revisionism with memorial in Ukraine

Levon Sevunts, Radio Canada International 

“It’s a blatant insult to the memory of the Jewish victims,” Eduard Dolinsky, head of the Ukrainian Jewish Committee, told Radio Canada International in a phone interview from Kyiv.

11) Analysis: Is TTC fare evasion worse than a parking violation?

Michael Ranger,

If you park your car and forget to pay or don’t display the receipt it could cost you $30. If you forget to tap your Presto card or grab a transfer on the TTC it could cost you nearly 10 times that amount.

12) Country Music Is a Man’s World. The Highwomen Want to Change That.

Natalie Weiner, The New York Times

The Highwomen’s first-ever public performance went off so well at the Newport Folk Festival in July that Nashville’s newest supergroup repeated its laid-back, harmony-rich lead single, “Redesigning Women,” as an encore. A standing ovation was inevitable: The audience had been on its feet before the quartet stepped onstage.

13) NDP’s living wage is a dead-end for workers

David Bush, Rank and File

It was a positive sign that on Labour Day the NDP came out in support of an immediate $15 minimum wage for federally-regulated workers. However, this one step forward was followed by another step backwards. The NDP’s Labour Day statement also tied further increases to the minimum wage to the concept of a “living wage”, saying they will raise the federal minimum wage to a living wage by the end of their first mandate. This only sows confusion in the fight to raising wages and workplace standards.

14) NYT Remembers David Koch More as ‘Philanthropist’ Than Polluter

Olivia Riggio, FAIR

David Koch may be dead, but his legacy of support for far-right politics and climate change denial lives on. The New York Times, however, chose to focus more on his love for the ballet than on his pollution and profiteering.

15) Denmark passes landmark consent-based rape laws

Lisbeth Latham, Left Green Weekly

Denmark’s Red-Green Alliance or Enhedslisten (United List) announced on July 14 that the governing Social Democrats and Social Liberals parties in Denmark’s parliament had agreed to pass consent-based rape laws.

16) Zimbabwe marks death of Robert Mugabe

Steve Sweeney, The Morning Star

ZIMBABWE mourned the “icon of liberation” and the country’s “founding father” Robert Mugabe, who died today at the age of 95.

17) Colonial heritage, socialist future? The complex history behind Hong Kong protests

John Bachtell, People's World

The causes of the protests are complex and involve democratic rights, national identity, a clash between China’s socialist system and the legacy of British colonialism (including the common law system and unfettered market economy), and deep dissatisfaction, anxiety, and anger over explosive social and class inequality.

18) Fascist AfD gains, but fails to enter governments in German elections

Victor Grossman & John Wojcik, People's World

Elections in two German states in eastern Germany Sept. 1 saw large gains by the fascistic Alternative for Germany party (AfD), though the party apparently failed to worm its way into either of the two state governments. Voters in both Saxony and Brandenburg did not give the AfD the number one position among the five leading parties that it has been aiming for.

19) Judge orders Unifor members back to work at Windsor Nemak plant; union refuses

Greg Layson, Automotive News Canada

A Superior Court judge has ordered protesting Unifor members outside a Nemak parts plant in Windsor, Ont., to deconstruct barricades, end their standoff and immediately head back to work, but the union refuses to comply.

20) Ottawa ordered to compensate First Nations children impacted by on-reserve child welfare system

Jorge Barrera · CBC News

Ottawa must pay potentially billions of dollars in compensation to First Nations children harmed by the on-reserve child welfare system, following a ruling Friday by the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal that also called for payments to some of their parents and grandparents.

21) Postmedia editorial staff in Vancouver disavow published commentary criticizing diversity, tolerance, and inclusion

Charlie Smith, The Georgia Straight 

This morning, the Province newspaper website is still carrying a widely condemned opinion piece that's been scrubbed from the Vancouver Sun website.

22) The hotter the planet grows, the less children are learning

Nsikan Akpan, PBS News Hour

The school year has barely started in Denver, and French teacher Tiffany Choi is already worried that her students are suffering from distraction.

23) As Rising Heat Bakes U.S. Cities, The Poor Often Feel It Most

Meg Anderson & Sean McMinn, NPR

Across Baltimore, the hottest areas tend to be the poorest and that pattern is not unusual. In dozens of major U.S. cities, low-income neighborhoods are more likely to be hotter than their wealthier counterparts, according to a joint investigation by NPR and the University of Maryland's Howard Center for Investigative Journalism.

24) Trees Are Key To Fighting Urban Heat — But Cities Keep Losing Them

Nora Eckert, Meg Anderson & Sean McMinn, NPR

Trees can play a huge role in the health of people living in cities, but across the country, cities are losing millions of trees year after year. And many poor urban neighborhoods — often home to a city's most vulnerable — are starting at a disadvantage.

25) Oil spill caused by Hurricane Dorian is 'catastrophic,' environmentalists report

Isabella O'Malley, The Weather Network

A Norwegian owned oil storage facility on Grand Bahama was damaged during Hurricane Dorian and has caused a 'catastrophic' oil spill, as reported by Bahamas Press.

26) Cuba Sends Doctors & Teachers to Hurricane Hit Bahamas


Cuba’s government confirmed on Wednesday that they have sent a number of doctors and teachers to areas of the Bahamas which have been hit by Hurricane Dorian. The Cuban workers will assist local authorities in emergency relief, though they will also stay afterwards to help rebuild the country’s medical and education services in the affected areas.

27) How much destruction is needed for us to take climate change seriously?

Kate Aronoff, The Guardian 

Whether human civilization stays intact amid this worsening weather depends on recognizing our shared humanity – and designing policy accordingly.

28) Amazon: Crocodile tears don’t put out fire

Pedro Marin | Revista Opera

There is already an Amazon Cooperation Treaty Organization, whose members are Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Suriname, Guyana, Peru and Venezuela, and which may well deal with the issue of fire. Bolivia, Venezuela and Peru have already called for a meeting, but apparently remain solemnly ignored by a Brazil seeking refuge in Trump. There is no solution for the Amazon that does not undergo a change in the Brazilian economic matrix. If the world expects us to be a big farm, and if we kneel to the world, it is the farm that will advance – even over the forest. Either Brazil turns first of all to itself and its people, or the agricultural frontier will continue to advance. This is the theme Macron, generals, “moderates”, Bolsonaro and Trump don’t want bring on – because they are all associates in the Brazilian dependency. They cry in front of the cameras, but behind the smokescreen toast and laugh as they move their pieces in political and geopolitical chess. Crocodiles do not fit in the Amazon; The Amazon River is home for alligators. Crying, fighting, or occupying it, they still represent a serious environmental imbalance: with each one of them seeking a gain, Brazil is the loser.

29) While the Amazon Burns, Cuba Increases its Forested Area


As fires rage across the Amazon in South America, a result of exploitation by agro-capitalists, Cuba has actually increased the percentage of its country covered by forest in the past year. A report published on Wednesday by Cuban media outlet Granma, reports the increase in forested area and examines how state environmental policies achieved it. The report also illustrates how today, Cuba’s forested area has almost tripled in the socialist period since 1959, despite mass deforestation in every other part of the world.

30) Ecuadorean Indigenous Demand Gov't Protect Amazon


Representatives of Ecuador’s Indigenous peoples staged on Wednesday a sit-in before the National Assembly's building in Quito, demanding the government of President Lenin Moreno to enforce local and international legislation protecting their rights and the country’s environment.


Akela Lacy, The Intercept 

THE DAY AFTER Joe Biden participates in CNN’s climate forum in New York, the former vice president will head to a high-dollar fundraiser co-hosted by a founder of a fossil fuel company.

32) Kenney Government Orders Alberta Public Schools to Remove the Word ‘Public’ From Their Name

Press Progress

Jason Kenney’s United Conservative Party government has quietly ordered Alberta school boards to remove the word “public” from their formal names.

33) Investigations Of Fatal Shootings On The Border Can Drag On For Years

John Burnett, NPR

Federal agents were patrolling the Rio Grande in an airboat between Laredo, Texas, and Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, in September 2012. They say a group of men in a park on the Mexican side of the river began throwing rocks at them.

34) Amazon's 'Jack Ryan' TV series lambasted for promoting Venezuela 'invasion'


Venezuela’s culture minister has accused Amazon television series “Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan” of promoting an invasion of the South American nation, following a trailer for the second season that appears to put Caracas at the center of a global conspiracy involving nuclear weapons.

35) Washington Intensifies Its Collective Punishment of Venezuelans

Kevin Young – NACLA

On August 5, the Trump administration issued an executive order escalating its sanctions against Venezuela. The order froze all Venezuelan government assets in the United States and threatened third parties around the world with punitive action if they trade with the Venezuelan government.

36) Venezuela Points Finger at Duque for Breakdown of Colombian Peace Process

Paul Dobson, Venezuela Analysis 

The Venezuelan government has blamed Colombian President Ivan Duque’s policies for the reignition of the armed conflict in the country.

37) Venezuela’s people must decide future – not Trump

Bill Bonnar, The National

I VISITED the Venezuelan capital, Caracas, for a week last month in my capacity as international secretary of the Scottish Socialist Party. The SSP see ourselves as an integral part of the independence movement here in Scotland and the visit allowed me to witness first-hand another struggle for national self-determination.

38) Britain: Protests grow as Boris Johnson loses his grip

Susan Price, Green Left Weekly 

Hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets of London on August 31 to oppose British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s plan to prorogue parliament and force through his Brexit agenda. More national mobilisations have been planned for September 7–8.

39) Johnson’s rottweiler: the toxic tactics of Dominic Cummings

Sean Ledwith, Counterfire

The implosion of Boris Johnson’s reckless power grab in Parliament this week is being blamed by many observers on Dominic Cummings, his controversial senior advisor in Number 10. Cummings is widely perceived as the malign intelligence that is concocting, behind the scenes, much of the belligerent and confrontational tactics that have characterised Johnson’s premiership since he was installed in July. Many pundits see Cummings as currently the most powerful man in British politics.

40) Don’t overestimate Boris Johnson…

John Rees, Counterfire 

Working class voters will punish any Labour delay in taking down the Tories, argues John Rees

41) Boris Johnson loses majority as Tory MP Phillip Lee crosses floor to join Lib Dems

Rob Merrick, The Independent 

Rebel Tory MP Phillip Lee has dramatically defected to the Liberal Democrats – depriving Boris Johnson of his Commons majority.

42) Johnson has reneged on Good Friday agreement vows, says EU

Jennifer Rankin, The Guardian 

European officials have accused Boris Johnson of reneging on pledges to uphold the Good Friday agreement, ahead of the prime minister’s first meeting with his Irish counterpart.

43) Boris Johnson 'will be forced from power if he defies no-deal law'

Toby Helm, Michael Savage, Andrew Rawnsley and Daniel Boffey, The Guardian 

Boris Johnson would trigger a legal and constitutional crisis that would force his resignation as prime minister if he failed to obey a law mandating him to seek another extension to Brexit, according to high-level legal advice obtained by Labour.

44) Military deal makes Australia complicit in Palestine’s oppression

Mark Govier, Green Left Weekly 

An Israeli government-owned military company has joined forces with an Australian firm to produce precision-guided missiles and other equipment for Australia’s military. Supporters of Palestinian rights and anti-war activists must seek to break this contract.

See also: Boris Johnson, the "Manosphere", Amazon & more -- The Week in News, Opinion and Videos August 25 - September 1

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