Sunday, November 5, 2017

Weinstein Aftermath, Catalonia Crackdown, the USSR and more -- The Left Chapter Sunday Reading List October 29-November 5

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  October 29 - November 5. It is generally in order of the date of the article's release.

1) Majority of Houston Texans kneel in response to owner's 'inmates' comments

Tim Booth, The Associated Press

All but 10 members of the Houston Texans took a knee during the national anthem Sunday, as the vast majority of the team protested the owner's "inmates running the prison" comment.

Read the full article.

2) The Visual Language of Oppression: Harvey Wasn’t Working in a Vacuum

Nina Menkes, Filmmaker

Like many others who work in the film business, I find none (zero) of the revelations about Harvey Weinstein’s behavior even remotely surprising.

Read the full article.

3) How dare you, Kevin Spacey? You’ve fuelled a vicious lie about gay men

Owen Jones, The Guardian

How dare you, Kevin Spacey. One of the age-old tropes deployed against gay and bisexual men is that they pose a threat to children, that they are synonymous with paedophiles and pederasts. This vicious lie has long proved useful in justifying the systematic persecution of gay and bisexual men. And that is why Spacey’s statement is so utterly contemptible. He has been accused of attempted sexual assault against actor Anthony Rapp, who was a 14-year-old child at the time. The Oscar winner denied any recollection of the incident – and then chose to take the opportunity to come out.

Read the full article.

4) Linda Nochlin, Trailblazing Feminist Art Historian, Dies at 86

Andrew Russeth, Art News

Linda Nochlin, the perspicacious art historian who brought feminist thought to bear on the study, teaching, and exhibition of art, reshaping her field, has died, according to people close to her family. She was 86.

Read the full article.

5) Hamilton Fish of The New Republic Goes on Leave After Women’s Complaints

Sydney Ember, The New York Times

Hamilton Fish, the president and publisher of The New Republic, is taking a leave of absence pending an investigation into complaints by female employees at the magazine, according to a letter sent to its staff on Sunday night.

Read the full article.

6) Halloween costumes weren't intended to offend, law enforcement group says

Ariana Kelland, CBC News

A Newfoundland and Labrador law enforcement group that holds fundraisers for Special Olympics NL is apologizing for uploading photos of its members and party guests dressed in offensive Halloween costumes.

Read the full article.

7) Prison guards accused of using inmates as weapons to cover up alleged sexual harassment

 Marion Warnica , CBC News

Two major investigations are underway and several employees have been suspended after what the federal corrections service calls "very serious" allegations of harassment, intimidation and inappropriate employee conduct by staff at Edmonton's maximum-security prison.

Read the full article.

8) Citing The Bible, The EPA Just Changed Its Rules For Science Advisers

Zahra Hirji, BuzzFeed

Referencing the Book of Joshua, EPA head Scott Pruitt announced sweeping changes to the agency's science advisory boards, opening the door to more input from the business world.

Read the full article.

9) Anti-abortion protesters are trying to force this doctor out of a job, but he just opened a new clinic

Rachel M. Cohen, The Intercept

For seven years, protesters had targeted LeRoy Carhart and his abortion clinic in Maryland, one of just three places in the country where women could go for late-stage abortion care. Two months ago, the protests finally worked, as Carhart’s landlord abruptly bowed to pressure and shuttered the clinic, selling the space to anti-abortion protesters instead.

Read the full article.

10) New ranking trashes public transit in Toronto

Michael Ott, Blog TO

A new ranking of transit systems around the world has put Toronto in a spot that runs at least somewhat counter to the TTC's highly advertised status as APTA's Transit System of the Year.

Read the full article.

11) Dustin Hoffman Sexually Harassed Me When I Was 17

Anna Graham Hunter, Hollywood Reporter

The author, who slapped away the star's butt grabs and laughed off his vulgar language on the set of 1985 TV film 'Death of a Salesman,' still feels conflicted: "I loved the attention. Until I didn't."

Read the full article.

12) 'It's hurting everyone': the truth about sexual misconduct in the art world

Nadja Sayej, The Guardian

He is being called the Harvey Weinstein of the art world. Artforum magazine publisher Knight Landesman, 67, has been accused of sexual misconduct by nine younger women, which caused him to resign last week.

Read the full article.

13) This Woman Devoted Her Life To Keeping Women Safe. And Then A Man Killed Her.

Karla Zabludovsky, BuzzFeed

Before #MeToo went viral this month, there was #NiUnaMenos — a campaign to highlight femicide in Argentina. Two years later, the movement is stalling — and one of its leading voices is dead, at the hands of a man.

Read the full article.

14) Catalonia: Government raids on region's police spark fears of wider crackdown

Kim Sengupta, The Independent

The acrimony and recriminations which followed Catalonia’s declaration of independence shows little sign of defusing following the fleeing of president Carles Puigdemont to Brussels. Spain’s civil guard raided the headquarters of the regional police, Mossos d’Esquadra, today drawing accusations of starting a crackdown.

Read the full article.

15) Here in Catalonia, people no longer feel like they live in a democracy

Kim Sengupta, The Independent

The turmoil of the past weeks, with Catalonia proclaiming independence, and Madrid stamping it down, amid bitterness and violence, has been a reminder of dark days gone by.

Read the full article.

16) Catalonia crisis: Spain jails eight sacked Catalan ministers

Jon Stone, The Independent

Eight sacked Catalan ministers have been jailed by a Spanish judge over their role in the region's declaration of independence.

Read the full article.

17) 'This is our birthright': Indigenous senators call on PM to end discrimination against women in Indian Act

Anna Maria Tremonti, CBC Radio

Since it was created in 1876, the Indian Act has enshrined discrimination against Indigenous women, who have been less able to pass on their Indian status to their descendants than Indigenous men.

Read the full article/listen to the interview.

18) Fight for girls’ hockey rights led to some dark corners

Paul Hunter, The Toronto Star

A young Justine Blainey’s battle began with a letter to the Sunday Star, led to a long legal saga, and eventually to a victory allowing girls to play on boys’ teams. Along the way, there was a lot of pain and viciousness.

Read the full article.

19) Ontario College Educators Are on Strike for Their Students

Maxine Simon, The Walrus

There’s enormous agreement among Ontarians when it comes to the issue of a college education. A 2014 poll by Vector Research found that, when asked whom they trust most to ensure the quality of that education—professors, administrators, or government—the vast majority of Ontarians put their faith in professors. They also agreed, overwhelmingly, that professors should have academic freedom to determine the content, design, and delivery of their courses and should also be free to criticize college administrators without fear of reprisal.

Read the full article.

20) Shocking New Investigation Links Berta Cáceres’s Assassination to Executives at Honduran Dam Company

Democracy Now

We look at shocking revelations released Tuesday that link the assassination of renowned Honduran indigenous environmental leader Berta Cáceres to the highest levels of the company whose hydroelectric dam project she and her indigenous Lenca community were protesting. We speak with New York Times reporter Elisabeth Malkin, who has read the new report by a team of five international lawyers who found evidence that the plot to kill Cáceres went up to the top of the Honduran energy company behind the dam, Desarrollos Energéticos, known as ”DESA.” The lawyers were selected by Cáceres’s daughter Bertha Zúniga and are independent of the Honduran government’s ongoing official investigation. They examined some 40,000 pages of text messages. The investigation also revealed DESA exercised control over security forces in the area, issuing directives and paying for police units’ room, board and equipment.

Read the full article.

21) Missing and murdered Indigenous women inquiry calls for police to reopen cold cases

Alex Ballingall, The Toronto Star

The national inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls is calling for a special police task force to reopen cold cases dug up during its hearings across the country.

Read the full article.

22) Accused triple murderer never attended domestic violence program despite 2013 order

 Kristy Nease, CBC News

A man accused of murdering three of his former partners was ordered two years earlier to attend a 12-week partner abuse response program after threatening the family of one of the victims, but didn't attended a single session, his trial heard Wednesday.

Read the full article.

23) What if Kevin Spacey's accuser had been a woman?

Jennie Hill, The Sydney Morning Herald

Something strange has happened amid the recent allegations levelled at Kevin Spacey by actor Anthony Rapp, who claims Spacey assaulted him (then aged 14) at a 1986 Hollywood party.

Read the full article.

24) As veil of silence falls, Weinstein effect keeps growing

Jake Coyle, Yahoo Entertainment

In the three weeks since the string of allegations against Harvey Weinstein first began, an ongoing domino effect has tumbled through not just Hollywood but at least a dozen other industries. It's open season on open secrets.

Read full article.

25) It seems that no matter what women do to deal with assault or harassment, it is wrong

Meghan Murphy, CBC News

The accusations against Harvey Weinstein have catalyzed a seismic shift, prompting millions of women to come forward with their own stories of sexual assault and harassment under the #MeToo hashtag.

Read the full article.

26) Don Draper Rules: Russian Ads and American Madness

Chris Floyd, Counterpunch

So we’ve finally seen some of the social media ads which we are told skewed the entire election in 2016 and constituted a key part of the internet assault on America launched by Vladimir Putin’s “troll army.” Scary stuff blazoned across front pages and screen scrolls everywhere. But before going on, perhaps we should find out what makes a social media account part of Putin’s invasion force?

Read the full article.

27) Brayden Bushby now charged with 2nd degree murder in death of Barbara Kentner in Thunder Bay, Ont.

Matt Prokopchuk, CBC News

The man accused of throwing a trailer hitch at an Indigenous woman in Thunder Bay, Ont., in January has now been charged with second degree murder.

Read the full article.

28) NFL owners called for depositions, cellphone records in Colin Kaepernick collusion case


Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft and Houston Texans owner Bob McNair, among others, will be deposed and asked to turn over all cellphone records and emails in relation to the Colin Kaepernick collusion case against the NFL, a league source told ESPN's Adam Schefter.

Read the full article.

29) Why is the U.S. at war in West Africa?

Eddie Haywood, Monthly Review

The October 4 killings of four U.S. Green Berets in Niger has provided a rare glimpse into the far-reaching American military operations throughout the African continent which have been conducted almost entirely in secret.

Read the full article.

While the three following articles are from before the period covered here we are including them as worth reading in the lead up to the 100th anniversary of the Russian Revolution.


David F. Ruccio, Socialist Economist

Economist David F. Ruccio shows how income inequality was radically reduced under the regime of the USSR - from its very beginning to its very end, "and finally rose back to very high levels after the fall of the Soviet Union". But there's more; several economists seem to agree that the USSR reduced income inequality (and increase social welfare) in other countries, even among its adversaries (Western Europe, the United States). Ruccio explains why.

Read the full article.

31) Before October: The Unbearable Romanticism of Western Marxism

Roland Boer, Monthly Review

Most Western Marxists suffer from a deep resentment: they have never experienced a successful communist revolution.  For some unaccountable reason, all of those successful revolutions have happened in the ‘East’: Russia, Bulgaria, Romania, Yugoslavia, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Poland, China, Vietnam and so on.  And none of the few revolutions in the ‘West’, from Finland to Germany, were successful.  The only exception, Cuba, proves the rule, for the turning of the Cuban revolution to communism and Russian support happened after the revolution.

Read the full article.

32) Left Anticommunism: the unkindest cut

Michael Parenti, The Greanville Post

In the United States, for over a hundred years, the ruling interests tirelessly propagated anticommunism among the populace, until it became more like a religious orthodoxy than a political analysis. During the Cold War, the anticommunist ideological framework could transform any data about existing communist societies into hostile evidence. If the Soviets refused to negotiate a point, they were intransigent and belligerent; if they appeared willing to make concessions, this was but a skillful ploy to put us off our guard. By opposing arms limitations, they would have demonstrated their aggressive intent; but when in fact they supported most armament treaties, it was because they were mendacious and manipulative. If the churches in the USSR were empty, this demonstrated that religion was suppressed; but if the churches were full, this meant the people were rejecting the regime’s atheistic ideology. If the workers went on strike (as happened on infrequent occasions), this was evidence of their alienation from the collectivist system; if they didn’t go on strike, this was because they were intimidated and lacked freedom. A scarcity of consumer goods demonstrated the failure of the economic system; an improvement in consumer supplies meant only that the leaders were attempting to placate a restive population and so maintain a firmer hold over them. If communists in the United States played an important role struggling for the rights of workers, the poor, African-Americans, women, and others, this was only their guileful way of gathering support among disfranchised groups and gaining power for themselves. How one gained power by fighting for the rights of powerless groups was never explained. What we are dealing with is a nonfalsifiable orthodoxy, so assiduously marketed by the ruling interests that it affected people across the entire political spectrum.

Read the full article.

See also: Ginger Jentzen, Pope Francis, Podemos and more -- The Left Chapter Sunday Reading List October 22-29

See also: Bill 62, Harvey Weinstein, Climate Change and more -- The Left Chapter Sunday Reading List October 15 - 22

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