Sunday, March 19, 2017

The NDP Leadership Race, the Dutch GreenLeft, Gavin McInnes & more -- The Left Chapter Sunday Reading List March 12-19

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 March 12 - March 19. It is generally in order of the date of the article's release.

1) Raped, beaten, exploited: the 21st-century slavery propping up Sicilian farming

Lorenzo Tondo and Annie Kelly, The Guardian

Every night for almost three years, Nicoleta Bolos lay awake at night on a dirty mattress in an outhouse in Sicily’s Ragusa province, waiting for the sound of footsteps outside the door. As the hours passed, she braced herself for the door to creak open, for the metallic clunk of a gun being placed on the table by her head and the weight of her employer thudding down on the dirty grey mattress beside her.

Read the full article.

2) 'We are all doing it': Employees at Canada's 5 big banks speak out about pressure to dupe customers

Erica Johnson, CBC News

Employees from all five of Canada's big banks have flooded Go Public with stories of how they feel pressured to upsell, trick and even lie to customers to meet unrealistic sales targets and keep their jobs.

Read the full article. 

3) A court’s decision in a Maine labor dispute hinged on the absence of an Oxford comma

Thu-Huong Ha, Quartz

A Maine court ruling in a case about overtime pay and dairy delivery didn’t come down to trucks, milk, or money. Instead, it hinged on one missing comma.

Delivery drivers for local milk and cream company Oakhurst Dairy have been tussling with their employers over whether they qualify for overtime. On March 13, a US court of appeals determined that certain clauses of Maine’s overtime laws are grammatically ambiguous. Because of that lack of clarity, the five drivers won their appeal and were found eligible for overtime. The case now can be heard in a lower court.

The profoundly nerdy ruling is also a win for anyone who dogmatically defends the serial comma.

Read the full article.

4) Meet the woke misogynist

Nona Willis Aronowitz, Fusion

I usually stretch a Tinder chat over days or even weeks, warily circling a guy to make sure he seems like a decent human. But on that sticky summer night, Bob* put me at ease right away. He was in an open relationship, just like me. He talked frankly and respectfully about sex. He said he was a “giver.” He agreed on “no sexpectations” when we made plans for a last-minute date. I can’t say for sure because he would later unmatch me, but I think his Tinder profile boasted that he was a feminist.

Read the full article.

5) RCMP response leaves Alberta sexual assault victim wishing she never reported it

Sarah Kraus, Global News

Sexual assault victims often keep quiet because of fear, embarrassment or stigma, but a woman from Sherwood Park, Alta. said it was her interaction with RCMP that left her wishing she never reported what happened to her.

Read the full article. 

6) Canadian military police to review sex-assault cases

Robyn Doolittle, The Globe and Mail

The military’s top police officer says his service will review all sexual assault cases that were dismissed as unfounded going back to 2010, making the Canadian Forces Military Police Group one of more than 50 forces to commit to similar audits in response to a Globe and Mail investigation.

Read the full article.

7) No President who ever owned human beings should be honored

Shaun King, New York Daily News

From 1914 to 1918 during World War I, Adolf Hitler was a decorated and successful soldier in the German military. Later as Germany's leader, he developed one of the most effective anti-smoking campaigns in the world. Under his rule, Germany revolutionized the jet engine.

But you know, and I know, that those facts don't mean a damn thing. He was a monster of a human being. Millions of people were targeted and killed by his regime in one of the most horrific periods in human history. He was a hateful anti-Semitic bigot. Next year he'll still be a monster. In 2050, he'll still be a monster. Hundreds of years from now, he'll still be a monster.

Read the full article.

8) The Irish Potato Famine Was Caused by Capitalism, Not a Fungus

Ocean Malandra, Paste

Put on the U2 and The Cranberries and lets down some green brew folks, it’s that time of year again. But while St. Patrick’s Day is cause to celebrate everything Irish-American, it’s also a good time to ponder just why more than a million Irish were forced to leave Ireland while another million were dying of starvation in such a short period of time in the first place. The answer, which also explains why millions of children are currently going without enough food in the U.S., has much more to do with market systems than Mother Nature.

Read the full article.

9) Private member's bill calls for extension of rent control after CBC Toronto series

Andrea Janus, CBC News

A private member's bill to be put forward by NDP MPP Peter Tabuns aims to make rental housing more affordable in the province. It calls for the end of an exemption that removes rent control from nearly all rental units built after 1991.

Read the full article.

10) Whitewashing Freeland’s Silence

Henry Srebrnik, Sheldon Kirshner Journal

I’ll lay my cards on the table: I have never been particularly fond of Chrystia Freeland’s attitude towards the Russian Federation. And when, reading her biography on Wikipedia, and noting that her mother was born in a displaced persons’ camp in postwar Germany, I felt this probably meant that her own grandparents had most likely fled Ukraine ahead of the returning Soviets.

Read the full article.

11) Senator Lynn Beyak stands by residential school remarks, cites 'fake news'

John Paul Tasker, CBC News

Conservative Senator Lynn Beyak says she has received much support after she defended residential schools in the Senate last week, and is ignoring calls to apologize to survivors of the system who have branded her remarks insensitive and inaccurate.

Read the full article.

12) Bad boy gone worse: Vice co-founder Gavin McInnes slides from right-wing provocateur to the neo-Nazi fringe

Amanda Marcotte, Salon

For those who admire the current iteration of Vice, a hip-but-professional news and culture website that invests in things like investigative journalism and a feminist vertical, it may come as something of a surprise to find out that one of the site’s founders, Gavin McInnes, has a post-Vice career (after leaving the company in 2008) as a right-wing provocateur.

Read the full article.

13) The Dutch GreenLeft party shows new ideas can turn the tide of populism

Rutger Bregman, The Guardian

Extreme rightwing ideas have been gaining ground in the Netherlands for decades. Jesse Klaver’s success suggests only radical alternatives can fight them

Read the full article.

14) NDP leadership debate fails to mention Canada's foreign policy

Yves Engler, Rabble

Is the NDP establishment scared to have party members discuss Canada's international posture?

At the party's first leadership debate last weekend there wasn't a single foreign policy question despite a host of contentious recent party positions on international affairs.

Read the full article.

15) Debunking a Myth: The Irish Were Not Slaves, Too

Liam Stack, The New York Times

It has shown up on Irish trivia Facebook pages, in Scientific American magazine, and on white nationalist message boards: the little-known story of the Irish slaves who built America, who are sometimes said to have outnumbered and been treated worse than slaves from Africa.

But it’s not true.

Read the full article.

16) How Alcohol Complicates Sex-Assault Cases

Robyn Doolittle, The Globe and Mail

As many as half of all sexual-assault cases involve alcohol. Yet cases that hinge on questions of consent face an uphill battle – despite Canada having some of the most progressive laws in the world.

Read the full article.


Mike Freeman, Bleacher Report

It's more than a week into free agency and Colin Kaepernick is still unemployed. Remember, this is a quarterback who played in the Super Bowl only four years ago, yet now it appears he can't get a look from teams. So I set out to discover, once and for all, what teams think of the 29-year-old former Niner.

Read the full article.

18) Sid Ryan, Ex-Union Leader, Inches Closer To Decision On NDP Leadership Race

Althia Raj, The Huffington Post

Canadian labour leader Sid Ryan says he’ll announce before the end of the month if he will run for the NDP leadership.

Speaking to The Huffington Post Canada’s politics podcast “Follow-Up,” the former president of the Ontario Federation of Labour said he’s concerned about dividing votes on the left. He wants to see whether one or several of the four candidate so far in the contest — MPs Niki Ashton, Peter Julian, Guy Caron and Charlie Angus — will adopt some of the bolder progressive ideas he’s championing.

Read the full article.

While from the previous period, this article from March 9th is also well worth reading and I missed it at the time it came out:

19) Scarborough subway boosters let residents’ imaginations overtake reality

Edward Keenan, The Toronto Star

Neethan Shan, the newest member of Toronto city council, trumpeted as a progressive by members of city council’s left, is fond of speculating on how much time the Scarborough subway extension could save people in his neighbourhood. He estimated “half an hour each way” earlier this month, and at the end of a debate at city council on Tuesday, he was saying it’d be 20 to 30 minutes faster each way than the status quo.

As my colleague Jennifer Pagliaro has pointed out, this number appears not to come from any study of the proposal at hand, but instead from the councillor’s imagination.

Read the full article.

See also: Chrystia Freeland, IWD, the British Empire & more -- The Left Chapter Sunday Reading List March 5 - 12

See also: Judge Lenehan, Dr. Seuss, Berta Cáceres & more -- The Left Chapter Sunday Reading List February 26 - March 5

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