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John Clarke

  • The dangerous rise of the anti-vax far-right

    A movement with a distorted sense of individual rights that would seek to hamper vaccination in the midst of a global health crisis is reactionary to the core and hostile to human life itself. The dangerous rise of the anti-vax far-right is a symptom of a sickness in this society that we will still be confronting well after the last wave of the pandemic has finally receded.

  • British Columbia floods reveal our system’s skewed priorities

    While those who hold political power drag their feet when dealing with the causes and impacts of climate change, it is instructive to consider the circumstances in which they demonstrate that they are perfectly capable of taking swift and decisive action. Indeed, when it comes to protecting fossil fuel interests, supporting corporate profits, crushing Indigenous resistance, their alacrity was fully on display in BC.

  • Sorry, Justin Trudeau: There is no equivalence between the extreme right and the extreme left

    The readiness to include the left in any crackdown on political extremism and the tendency to focus on the left more fixedly than on the far-right, is not simply a question of reactionary police attitudes or a readiness to blur lines on the part of the conservative right. There are very real reasons why even a liberal capitalist politician like Justin Trudeau would see left wing “extremism” as an existential danger to everything he cherishes.

  • Policing the poor

    The call to defund the police was put on the political agenda in Canada as well as in the United States in the wake of the killing of George Floyd last year, and its importance has not diminished. The vast resources that have been poured into bloated police budgets urgently need to be diverted into the public services to meet the needs of vulnerable communities under attack.

  • A left perspective on vaccine passports

    Refusing to be vaccinated has real and terrible consequences and it is not possible to view it as a personal choice that we must come to terms with. However, while measures taken by the state to increase levels of vaccination are something we must support, the last thing I want to suggest is that we should trust those in political power or leave it to them when it comes to the response to the pandemic.

  • Danger signs on the road to a post-pandemic future

    The official line that the pandemic is a temporary disturbance that will soon be behind us and that we will all build back better in its wake is tired and discredited. The post-pandemic austerity regime will demand new and bold forms of organizing. Similarly, as extreme weather becomes more common and intense, the defence of communities left in harm’s way will require a whole new level of audacity and solidarity.

  • Hounding Toronto’s homeless

    The neoliberal city needs its enforcers as a matter of great priority, writes CD columnist John Clarke. Those who are denied the right of housing must not be allowed to become too visible. If they seek shelter and safety in public parks, they will soon learn that, while there may be no housing or even adequate shelter available for them, there will be no lack of police batons to drive them from view.

  • Free speech on Palestine: Time to push back

    There is a need for bold and wide-ranging approaches to Palestine solidarity at this time. However, we must also confront a major barrier that stands in the way of such forward movement. In the last few years, Israel’s enablers have made progress in attacking the legitimacy of support for the Palestinian struggle by falsely equating it with anti-Semitism. These accusations have seriously obstructed the work of left movements and activists.

  • Defending the left case against basic income

    I don’t think my enemies are those who honestly feel that basic income is the best approach. Rather, they are those who maintain the system of colonialism, racism and poverty. The stakes are too high to set the debate aside, but I hope we can pursue it in ways that are useful and constructive. In that spirit, I offer this response to what is, in my view, the mistaken notion that basic income offers us a way forward.

  • A post-pandemic social peace accord?

    The key consideration is how the left should orient itself in the period that is now opening up. The concessions that employers and states make aren’t driven by wishes and hopes; they hinge on the willingness of those in power to provide them. The post-war approach was based on a capacity to broker social peace, while ensuring a robust flow of profits. There is no such prospect before us at present.

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