Articles

  • The International Community Must Act to Stop Israel

    In the avowed aim of fighting terrorism, Israel has unleashed a reign of terror on innocent Lebanese nationals in flagrant violation of international law–for the second time in 25 years. An old hand at visiting collective punishment upon civilian populations, Israel is crucifying the sovereign state of Lebanon, bombing relentlessly, displacing more than half a million people, and wreaking death and devastation, ostensibly in retaliation for the capture of two Israeli soldiers by Hizbullah*. And this time around, inordinate Israeli aggression has cost the lives of nine Canadian citizens, four of them children and one a UN peacekeeper.

  • Why the Canadian Football League is the Sweden of the Sports World

    In the age of sports superstars with multi-million-dollar salaries, we tend not to think of professional athletes as workers. But, like other workers, professional athletes sell their labour to capitalists in return for a wage. With fame and fortune, they may be the most peculiar proletariat capitalism has ever produced, but it is important to remember that, throughout sporting history, athletes, like other workers, have had to form trade unions to fight for decent wages, benefits, and working conditions. And, like national economies, sports leagues vary in terms of their capital-labour relations. In some leagues athletes are still without the protection of a union and are thus subject to serious exploitation. In other leagues, players have a strong voice in the direction of their league and the future of their livelihoods.

  • Revisiting A Forgotten High-seas Struggle

    As filmmaker Elaine Brière tells it, the merchant seamen emerged from WWII with a strong, progressive union, publicly lauded for their war effort, straddling a hugely profitable public enterprise that gave Canada the fourth-largest shipping fleet in the world. Yet just five years later, the ships were sold, the union was broken and most of the seamen were blacklisted as “Communists.” How and why this was orchestrated – and the ways it was resisted unsuccessfully – is the remarkable and moving story told in Betrayed, mostly by the now-aging seamen themselves.

  • Rockers in a Straight Man’s World

    Galaxy is a very good band that happens to be made up of a trio of two lesbians and a bisexual. Vocalist/guitarist Katie Stelmanis explains: “I’m totally fine with being a gay band and having that label, just as long as people know that we’re just as good, if not better, than all the other rock bands.” Katie and her collaborator, Emma McKenna (vocals and guitar), understand the importance of identifying with a specific community while fighting their way through Toronto’s crowded indie scene, but they don’t always agree when it comes to how being gay women affects playing rock music.

  • Motherhood Organizing

    Of the many social movements that have struggled for social justice and equality, the history of activism by mothers of disabled children has been sorely neglected. Ever since the 1950s, when Pearl S. Buck wrote The Child Who Never Grew (1950) and Dale Evans Rogers wrote Angel Unaware (1953) about their respective disabled daughters, women’s narratives have provided a documentary trail to that history. Given the social stigma attached to disability at the time, the impact of two prominent mothers claiming disability in their family cannot be underestimated. By “coming out,” they boosted the many parent-led charities that were beginning to form to advocate for certain disabling conditions. Despite the “official” reference to parents, it was primarily young mothers who founded and joined these groups. They looked for mutual support to challenge century-old institutional provisions and establish services in the community. Right from the beginning, it was mothers who led the way. These activist mothers likely never considered themselves activists at all; they were just doing what needed to be done. Yet, they organized in the domestic space women occupied – their homes and, primarily, their kitchens.

  • Scouring Scum and Tar from the Bottom of the Pit

    Faced with the undeniable reality of “Hubbard’s Peak” in global conventional oil supplies, the world’s largest multinational energy corporations are now hell-bent on squeezing oil out of tar in northern Alberta, like junkies desperately conniving for one last giant fix in a futile attempt to quench America’s insatiable “addiction to oil” (described so eloquently by President George Bush II). Along the Athabasca River near Fort McMurray, a sub-arctic town almost 1,000 kilometres north of the U.S. border, tar literally seeps out of the riverbanks where Aboriginal peoples once used it to patch their birch-bark canoes. But most of the tar sands lie hidden below northern Alberta’s boreal forest, in an area larger than the state of Florida.

  • Canada’s Military Lobby

    In this country today a battle is being waged over Canada’s role in the world. On the one side is a powerful alliance between those who want Canadians to give up their sovereignty and integrate with the United States and those who reject a role as a peace-broker and embrace the Bush doctrine of military and economic totalitarianism. On the other side are the majority of Canadians, who steadfastly refuse to give up the idea that Canada should be an independent force for good in an increasingly unipolar and violent world.

  • Québec Solidaire’s Electoral Challenge

    Québec solidaire, the new progressive political party formed by the merging of the Union des forces progressistes and Option citoyenne, faced its first electoral trial during the by-election on April 10. The general elections expected for fall, 2006, or at latest spring, 2007, will without a doubt be a colossal challenge that will force the young and growing party to face matters head on, while still seeking to do politics differently.

  • Peak Oil and Alternative Energy

    The world is beginning to wake up to the fact that peak oil is real. Various financial institutions, as well as oil companies, independent geologists, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and a range of corporations eager to cash in on alternative energy sources have stressed its importance. Sweden and Norway have both initiated plans to be essentially free of fossil fuels by 2020, and a small number of municipalities are beginning to incorporate energy consumption and production into their core planning activities. In other words, plans are already underway to prepare for an energy future that no longer relies on cheap energy.

  • Labour Stands Up Against War

    The Canadian Labour Congress’s statement on Canada’s involvement in Afghanistan is clear and unequivocal; it calls for the troops to be brought home now. The statement marks a significant step forward for the labour movement concerning the development of policy with respect to the use the Canadian military.

    Not only does the CLC demand the “safe and immediate withdrawal of Canadian troops from Afghanistan,” it also challenges many of the arguments used by those who would have our troops die and kill to support the American war in the Middle East.

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