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Simon Black

  • A Decade of Playing Left-Wing: Sports Heroes of the 2010s

    While I admit to being a sucker for these “best of” exercises, as a decade came to a close the stakes were high but the “Athletes of the 2010s” lists were so utterly predictable. But here at Canadian Dimension, winning takes a back seat to building a better world. So here are my nominations for those figures at the intersection of sport and politics that mattered most in the 2010s.

  • A union of women’s hockey players looking for a league of its own

    The Dream Gap Tour of elite hockey players put the women’s game back in the news this fall. Some of the world’s best players — including more than 35 Olympians — played in the four-team exhibition tournament that travelled to Toronto, Chicago and Hudson, N.H. A few months earlier, professional women’s hockey seemed to be in crisis.

  • Open Letter to CLC President Hassan Yussuff on labour opposition to Canada-Saudi arms deal

    In April 2016, the Canadian Labour Congress endorsed an open letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, which expressed profound concerns about the issuance of export permits for Canada’s arms deal with Saudi Arabia, “despite flagrant incompatibilities of this contract with the human rights safeguards of our export controls.” The letter urged Prime Minister Trudeau to rescind this “immoral and unethical” decision. Since then, the silence of the CLC has been deafening.

  • MMA’s Norma Rae

    Leslie Smith is a mixed martial arts (MMA) athlete and a former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) top-ten fighter. But the biggest fight of her career isn’t in the octagon — it’s the fight to unionize the sport she loves. Smith is interim president of Project Spearhead, a fighter-driven effort to organize the UFC. Smith also recently gave a speech during a conference for the Economic Policy Institute regarding Project Spearhead. CD sports writer Simon Black’s interview with Leslie printed here has been edited for length.

  • The World Cup is a Crime Scene

    But it’s because the World Cup, much like the Olympics, has become a profit-hungry corporate behemoth. Its crimes are not unique but those endemic to global neoliberal capitalism; a gangster capitalism of “free” markets, lax state regulations, and low taxes that enriches the global 1% and leaves the rest of us behind. Here’s a rundown of the World Cup’s crimes.

  • Race, Class, and the Revolt of the Black Athlete

    The Black Freedom struggle has always been a class struggle; for the US context, just read WEB Dubois on the “general strike of the slaves” that turned a war to save the Union into a war to end slavery. In short, in a multibillion-dollar business highly dependent on Black labour, the revolt of the Black athlete is not a race struggle or a class struggle; it’s both.

  • The athletes’ revolt

    In the billion-dollar sports industry, players seem aware of the power of their voices and their labour. The director of the NBA players’ association, Michele Roberts, put it best when she said: “There would be no money if not for the players. Let’s call it what is. There. Would. Be. No. Money.” With Donald Trump in the White House and the right on the rise, a growing number of athletes know which side of history they intend to be on.

  • Olympics, debt and repression

    One thing that’s going to happen — it’s already happening in Rio — is that you are going to get a lot more repression during the Olympic Games; you’re going to get a militarization of the streets. Rio will have 85,000 security personnel trying to make sure there is no disruption and it’s going to be very regimented and very harsh.

  • The Importance of Making Trouble: In conversation with Frances Fox Piven

    Frances Fox Piven is Distinguished Professor of Political Science and Sociology at the City University of New York Graduate Center and past president of the American Sociological Association. She has co-authored, with her late husband Richard Cloward, classic studies of American politics, social welfare, and social movements, including Regulating the Poor (1971).

  • When it Comes to Poverty Reduction, Budget 2016 Earns Failing Grade

    Not simply an example of the moral callousness of the Wynne government, Budget 2016 is a reflection of the current weakness of our movement. If the provincial Liberals are to earn better grades, we will need to encourage them—with protests, rallies, organizing, activism, and effective advocacy—to go back to school.

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