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Simon Black

  • ‘We the North’ and the marketing of blackness

    In the interests of profit, the Raptors market a commodified blackness while, as a franchise, remaining silent on the policing, state-sanctioned violence, and other forms of institutionalized racism to which Black bodies are subject to in the city on a daily basis. There are some aspects of the Black experience in Toronto that just don’t fit the Raptors’ “redefined brand identity.”

  • Racism and Anti-Racism in Canadian Sport: An Interview with Dr. Janelle Joseph

    Strengthening the anti-racism struggle both in and out of sport will facilitate the creation of a more ‘level’ playing field. Just as there are many examples of racism from individuals, institutions, and media sources, there are also many examples of resistance to racism in online commentary and news reporting.

  • On Sport

    In sport, ideas are in a state of play. We cannot afford to yield sport to the forces of the right — to the free-market fundamentalists and the socially reactionary conservatives — any more than we can afford to yield religion, education, the family or the media.

  • How Martin Luther King’s legacy speaks to our Canadian reality

    From the Arab Spring to the global movement to end violence against women and girls, from anti-austerity protests in Europe to Occupy Wall Street, from rebellions of urban youth in France and the U.K. to indigenous struggles in the Americas, once again people are on the move the world over. We are waiting for new systems of justice and equality to be born.

  • The Shock Doctrine, Toronto Style

    The Ford agenda has very little to do with resolving a crisis, real or perceived, and everything to do with remaking Toronto in a right-wing image: a leaner, meaner city, where the market is free and the public sector and its unions disciplined.

  • The Spirit Level: Why More Equal Societies Always Do Better

    The Spirit Level’s argument is simple: In rich countries, a smaller gap between rich and poor means a happier, healthier, and more successful population.

  • Economics For Everyone

    Economics For Everyone is an invaluable book and a necessary addition to the library of popular educators, trade unionists, activists, or any person trying to make sense of the conundrum that is modern capitalism. And as Stanford makes clear, the first step to transforming the system is knowing how it works and for whom. To this end, Stanford’s book has made a vital contribution.

  • The Global Gang Thang

    With A World of Gangs: Armed Young Men and Gangsta Culture, author John Hagedorn heeds Antonio Gramsci’s call for “pessimism of the intellect, optimism of the will.” “Gangs aren’t going away soon … no matter what we do,” Hagedorn says gloomily, but with Gramscian optimism he continues, “this means we better figure out how to reduce the violence and encourage gangs and others in ghettoes, barrios, favelas, and townships to join movements for social change.”

  • The Mirror and the Hammer

    To paraphrase Bertolt Brecht, art can be a mirror to reflect reality or a hammer with which to shape it. The same could be said of sport. For a brief moment in July, Iraq was one: no Sunnis or Shiites, Arabs or Kurds, Christians or Muslims. United in their hopes of soccer glory, it was a moment that encapsulated the potential of sport to be a force for good – the Brechtian hammer.

  • Don Cherry for Prime Minister?

    I admit to cheering (almost crying) when Tommy Douglas was announced as our Greatest Canadian on the popular CBC show. Hey, it’s gloomy times for the Left, and we take any victory we can get, no matter how small. Yet my celebrations were cut short when host Wendy Mesley conveyed the bad news: Don Cherry ranked seventh in the contest, just pipping Sir John A. and Alexander Graham Bell. I’ve always thought that the Rock’em Sock’em videos make a great contribution to nation-building, but surely they don’t surpass Confederation or the telephone?

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