Articles Reviews

  • A wake-up call for radical communities

    Muhammed’s book states plainly that we must end capitalism or capitalism will end humanity. He dismisses Western democracy as the plutocracy the powerful that created it intended it to be, and calls for something radical to be instituted. Although emphasis is placed on broad mass movements and civil disobedience to bring along this change, Muhammed does not negate the importance of capturing state power.

  • It’s the economy, stupid!

    The impression of a region teeming with internecine enmities along bewilderingly archaic ethnic and religious lines hampers understanding of the Middle East. Stephen Gowans’s book on Syria contests this impression powerfully. It focuses on of four key actors: U.S. imperialism, secular Arab nationalism, the political Islam of the Muslim Brotherhood and its terrorist offshoots, and Saudi sponsored Wahhabism.

  • Nawrocki’s Displaced/Misplaced exposes plight of migrant workers

    Norman Nawroki, long a stunningly creative voice from out of Montréal’s anarchist community, combines spoken word with guitar, drum, piano and some very haunting violin in this compilation to benefit the city’s Immigrant Workers centre and Solidarity Across Borders. Nawrocki’s political poetry blends acute observation of the plight of migrant workers and refugees with musical and background voice arrangements.

  • Historical foundations of Aboriginal rights

    Having long ago established himself as a foremost scholarly interlocutor of Canadian Indigenous history, Arthur Ray, with a career that spans those ’70s books on my shelf (two magisterial studies: Indians in the Fur Trade and with Donald Freeman Give Us Good Measure) to new books including Aboriginal Rights Claims and the Making and Remaking of History, one would have thought he would be happy with what could be called “vanity projects.”

  • Addiction among the middle class

    In recent years, my newsfeed has played host to a steady trickle of articles documenting the alarming rise of opioid addiction rates in North America. Described by political pundits as a “quiet epidemic,” the explosion in the use and abuse of pharmaceutical opioids — substances with clinical names like oxycodone, fentanyl, hydromorphone — has gone largely unnoticed, media coverage often limited to celebrity overdoses and litanies of dreary statistics.

  • Exploring settler-colonial culture

    Lowman and Barker’s Settler really dwells on the dominant culture in Canada as a settler-colonial culture. Hence it is not “about” Indigenous peoples per se, but rather the bad faith of a culture constructed on ongoing colonial dispossessions. It is my own view that we do not yet have a fully developed theory of the specificity of settler colonialism, though such a theory no doubt is coming and can be found in nascent forms in earlier writing on colonialism.

  • First choice for a younger generation

    No doubt for a younger generation of activists, Palmater’s Indigenous Nationhood will be a first choice. Her cadences — and anger — capture the mood of an emerging generation of social justice, broadly Left-oriented, ground level activists. When she writes that one of her goals is to “help us kick the colonizers out of our heads,” (4-5) she puts her finger on an enduring problem within and around Indigenous social movements.

  • Criminal law ejects Indigenous peoples from the frontiers

    The book breaks from the constant examination of Indigenous peoples and instead rests its gaze on settler society and the system that upholds their material privileges. The focus on the justice system and its use of criminalization in the private property protection of the settlers reveals something important about the dominant economic systems operating in these two countries: there is, in fact, no “Indian Problem,” but rather a very real settler problem.

  • One girl’s trauma exposes plight of nations

    I received Indigenous author Katherena Vermette’s debut novel, The Break, as a gift over the holiday season. Having heard nothing of it, little did I know, upon turning its opening pages, that I would be carried from the comforts of my Winnipeg south-end suburban home into the north-end community where I had spent the previous two years working as a school counsellor to some of our Prairie city’s most vulnerable youth.

  • Mothers of colour challenge white feminism

    This book covers so much and ought to be read in its entirety. Much originally came from Reproductive Justice, first organized by African American feminists in 1994. They transformed the singular focus on abortion rights to include the right to become a mother and the “right to parent our children in safe and healthy environments.

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