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  • 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.

  • Folk Music’s Radical Patron: Remembering Mitch Podolak

    We all have much to thank him for. The world is a better place because of Mitch Podolak, and I am a far better, richer person after so many years of friendship with my Comrade. Mitch will live on in the years to come through the power of his inspiration and his contributions to those of us who knew him — and, indeed, to all those who, because of him, came to hear the music.

  • Colonization, resistance and popular culture

    It is perhaps naïve to assume that Premier Horgan or Prime Minister Trudeau are simply misunderstanding the history of Indigenous people. It is more realistic to frame our political leaders as willfully ignorant. But, that does not mean that we have to be. Simply watching a film … or reading a comic will not bring about reconciliation on its own. However, it is a much needed start.

  • Islamophobia is practically enshrined as public policy in Australia

    Australia now has a public collection of open white nationalists – from antisemitic podcasters to would-be infiltrators of mainstream conservative parties. They need to be understood in their proper context: the decades-long drumbeat of xenophobia and Muslim-hate, which has issued from some of the most powerful institutions in the country. This is the environment in which Muslims, refugees and immigrants have come to be understood as enemies of Australia. It may be an environment that has nurtured white supremacist terror.

  • The politics of the popular

    “Racialized oppression and dehumanization is woven into the very fabric of our nation — the effects of which can be seen in the lawful lynching of Black and brown people by the police, and the mass incarceration of Black and brown lives in the prison-industrial complex.” Nike, by trying to capitalize on Kaepernick’s image, also amplified his powerful critique of systemic white supremacy. In this way, the ad embodies both the commodification of resistance while simultaneously pointing to the resistance itself. Nike is not revolutionary — but their new ad might be.

  • Dialectics of Christmas

    To smash the institutionalisation of happiness is to release m en from myth, from the need to displace salvation on to Gods or charity, and to realign man’s hopes on conscious historical action. Within the apparently innocuous shell of Christmas is found both oppression and the longing for liberation and revolution. The Puritans banned it; the Cubans postponed it; we can transcend it.

  • Does ‘anti-racism’ contribute to racism?

    Until these sources of racism are addressed, all that will remain is a moralistic policing of its inevitable expressions. Eventually, individuals and groups will feel increasingly emboldened to transgress these norms of comportment. And, because the antiracist Left has targeted “Whiteness” (often in ways that make it inextricable from white people as such) it has from the outset disqualified itself from building cross-racial class-based alliances.

  • Media are complicit in the sexual exploitation of women

    Toronto Sun contributor Sabrina Maddeaux wrote recently that Canada will not truly be part of the #metoo/timesup movement until (really) big names begin to fall. But a higher, louder circus of blame will achieve little. When corporate media surrenders its massive and profitable investment in the sexuality of women, when Victoria’s Secret disappears and the Sunshine Girls put their clothes on, then we can begin the journey to safety for women.

  • Professional Sport as Sacrifice

    Athletic labour provides an important part, although not the only part, of the emotional sustenance fans need. There is a tremendous cost to the athlete who performs this social reproductive labour. The body becomes so damaged that it is unlikely to ever fully recover its former capacities. The toll is also mental/emotional, for the loss of the physical capabilities that once served as the foundation for the athlete’s identity is profoundly dispiriting.

  • In defense of free speech

    This crisis of free speech and academic freedom runs very deep and suggests that something profoundly disturbing is afoot in North American universities. It can scarcely be denied that the far-right has effectively taken hold of free speech as its cause célèbre, however, this cannot but be seen as profoundly cynical insofar as right-wing governments globally have seized every available opportunity to crack down on dissent.

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