Articles Reviews

  • Pushing back on Canada’s war on drug users

    Every night that Overdose Prevention Ottawa ran its illegal supervised injection site, we opened with a ritual: a moment of silence for everyone we’d lost to the war on drug users and to recognize the shit disturbers who came before us — those who made our work possible. In his book Fighting for Space: How a Group of Drug Users Transformed One City’s Struggle with Addiction, Travis Lupick tells the story of those organizers and their incredible impact.

  • Capitalism: A Crime Story

    Harry Glasbeek is a real oddity — a lawyer and professor of corporate law who specializes in exposing the way in which law is manipulated to provide aid and comfort to the dubious maneuverings of corporate power. In this short but concise book he moves beyond his earlier critique of the shield provided by corporate personhood to examine the ways in which the spirit of liberal jurisprudence is undermined by the way courts interpret corporate malfeasance.

  • David Camfield’s We Can Do Better

    David Camfield’s We Can Do Better is a concise introduction to social theory that attempts to address this zeitgeist in general, and the newcomers to anti-capitalist politics in particular. Throughout, Camfield presents a case for what he calls “reconstructed” historical materialism. This is essentially a Marxist theoretical orientation incorporating aspects of feminist, anti-racist, and queer theory perspectives — an approach, argues Camfield, that can reveal to us both how we got into this mess and how we can get out.

  • A Marxist History of Capitalism

    Since the 1970s, Marxist discussion of how and when capitalism was born has been dominated by two competing academic currents. World-System Theory, first enunciated by Immanuel Wallerstein, locates the origin of capitalism in the expansion of world trade and the plunder of the new world in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. Political Marxism, developed by Robert Brenner, says the transition took place somewhat earlier, and only in rural England, where feudal lords converted themselves into capitalist landlords.

  • The cautionary tale of Superman

    Superman has always been identified as representing truth, justice and the American Way. He was an unambiguous superhero, no hints at darkness, not a trace of the anti-hero. Certainly, Superman has never been identified with any type of critique of capitalism. In a time where America represents neither truth nor justice (if it ever did) there may not be a rush to the bookstore to buy a graphic novel about the creator of the Superman mythos. However, that would be a mistake.

  • Parasites in paradise: behind the capitalist curtain

    The writer of this book is a journalist who, as a member of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, did yeoman work uncovering the Panama Papers. The most intriguing part of the book is the telling of the trials and tribulations of journalists from all over the world who collaborated to put disparate pieces of evidence together. They had to find outlets and overcome mainstream publishers who were reluctant to publish and, when persuaded to publish, to do so at times agreed-to by competitors who were given the same access to the stories.

  • The North End Revisited: Photographs by John Paskievich

    As an artist of his generation, Paskievich places himself within a Cold War discourse with Paskievich working primarily as an NFB director from the time he finished his studies in the 1970s. It is interesting to contemplate an artist with Paskievich’s observational talent were his family to remain in Europe after World War II, joining filmmakers like Sergei Parajanov in the Odessa film scene established by the visionary Dovzhenko.

  • We All Live in a Mediocracy

    Recall that mediocracy as a regime compels mediocrity as a form of self-preservation. Rather, Deneault quite correctly encourages us to resist the temptation to mediocrity by considering the ultimate form and manner in which our public deliberations take place, “whenever an attitude frees us from the harmful ways of mediocrity, whenever an idea helps us develop a justly instituted public life, these will be ways for us to move forward, without any guarantees”

  • Examining the American nightmare

    This new work by one of the world’s leading social critics, the founding theorist of critical pedagogy, represents an attempt to develop both a political discourse and call to action, by examining what is viewed as an impending crisis of authoritarianism, evident in the rise of Donald Trump and the so-called alt-right in the United States. The book highlights the emerging authoritarianism in the United States which the author sees as the “emptying of politics of democratic values.”

  • Trees and teargas: worldviews clash at Barriere Lake

    Events from a chilling October day in 2008, on a gravel road entering Algonquin First Nation bush territory, epitomize the contentious history of jurisdiction in what is now known as Canada. Riot cops teargassed the community standing at a blockade and arrested nine people, including two minors, an elder, and a pregnant woman. The alarming story of Barriere Lake reveals much about the tactics and devices used by the state to continue its dispossession of Indigenous peoples’ land.

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