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What's Left? -- A CBC look at the NDP and the Waffle in 1969

Tue, 2019-06-18 00:12
This CBC documentary from 50 years ago at the dawn of the Waffle -- What's Left?  -- has been posted on You Tube and is a remarkable look back at the NDP of the time. Featuring figures like Tommy Douglas, Ed Broadbent, Stephen Lewis, Cy Gonick and Waffle leaders Mel Watkins, James Laxer and Krista Maeots, it takes us to an historic era and moment in Canada's social democratic and socialist movement.




(Original You Tube link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JRzNoaEw3xM&feature=share )

Winnipeg General Strike Leaders Arrested, June 17, 1919

Mon, 2019-06-17 21:52


On June 17, 1919 police arrested leaders of the Strike Committee of the Winnipeg General Strike. Among those they apprehended in raids around the city were A. A. Heaps, William Ivens, John Queen, R. B. Russell, R. J. Johns, George Armstrong, R. E. Bray and William Pritchard.

This came as government, media and business leaders attempted to portray the strike as the work of "foreign" radicals who were engaging in a Bolshevik or anarchist conspiracy.

The arrests would ultimately lead to the protests on June 21, Bloody Saturday, where police killed two and wounded at least 30.

Lula and Brazil, Gulf of Oman, MMIWG Backlash & more -- The Week in News, Opinion and Videos June 9 - 16

Sun, 2019-06-16 22:16

This week's list of articles, news items, opinion pieces and videos that I see as a must if you are looking for a roundup that should be of interest to The Left Chapter readers.



This list covers the week of June 9 - 16.

1) Secret Files Show How Brazil’s Elites Jailed Former President Lula and Cleared the Way for Bolsonaro

Democracy Now

A political crisis is growing in Brazil after The Intercept revealed that the judge who helped jail former Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva likely aided federal prosecutors in their corruption case in an attempt to prevent Lula’s Workers’ Party from winning the presidency. Leaked cellphone messages among Brazilian law enforcement officials and other data obtained by The Intercept point to an ongoing collaboration between Judge Sérgio Moro and the prosecutors investigating a sweeping corruption scandal known as Operation Car Wash. Lula was considered a favorite in the lead-up to the 2018 presidential election until he was put in jail and forced out of the race on what many say were trumped-up corruption charges. The leaked documents also reveal prosecutors had serious doubts about Lula’s guilt. The jailing of Lula helped pave the way for the election of the far-right former military officer Jair Bolsonaro, who then named Judge Sérgio Moro to be his justice minister. We get an update from Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Glenn Greenwald of The Intercept, whose reporting is based on a trove of internal files and private conversations from the prosecutorial team behind Operation Car Wash.

2) Leaked Messages Confirm: Imprisonment of Brazil’s Lula da Silva was Politically Motivated

The Real News

The website The Intercept received a massive archive of communications between prosecutors and judges, involving Brazil's corruption cases. Initial analysis reveals that former president Lula da Silva's prosecution and conviction were politically motivated. Mike Fox discusses the ramifications.

3) BERNIE SANDERS CALLS FOR BRAZIL’S JUDICIARY TO RELEASE LULA IN WAKE OF CORRUPTION EXPOSURE

Aída Chávez & Akela Lacy, The Intercept 

FORMER BRAZILIAN PRESIDENT Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva should be released from prison and his conviction should be annulled, said Sen. Bernie Sanders, an independent from Vermont, on Tuesday. Rep. Ro Khanna, D-Calif., meanwhile, is calling on the Trump administration to investigate the case that imprisoned the former president on corruption charges, following The Intercept’s exposé that showed Judge Sérgio Moro plotted with prosecutors to convict Lula and prevent the Workers’ Party from returning to power.

4) Lula Is Innocent. Free Him Now.

Tony Burke, Jacobin

The evidence is now overwhelming — Lula was the victim of a politically motivated campaign to keep him from returning to power. He must be freed.

5) Brazil: Bolsonaro to Suspend Senior, Disabled Benefits Programs

Telesur

A benefits program for Brazil's low-income disabled and senior citizens will be suspended as of June 25, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro tweeted Monday, citing a lack of federal funds.

6) Brazil Struggles To Replace Departed Cuban Doctors, Thousands of Lives at Risk

Telesur 

The Brazilian government is struggling to replace more than 8,000 departed Cuban doctors, despite promises made by President Jair Bolsonaro, according to a New York Times report published on Tuesday.

7) Brazil’s Universities Are Under Attack — And So Is Its Democracy

Daniel Peres, Public Seminar

Brazil’s democracy is on the edge of an abyss. Its new far-right government has begun an attack, first against humanities, sociology, and philosophy in general, and then on Brazil’s Public Universities in particular. First it was said that Philosophy and Sociology Programs should be defunded. Then, the government announced a 30% cut in the budget of three Universities, mine included, citing ideological bias. Eventually, the cut was extended to all federal Universities and after that to all public educational system.

8) Brazil cities paralysed as Bolsonaro faces first general strike

France 24

A nationwide strike called by Brazil's trade unions disrupted public transport and triggered road blocks in parts of the country Friday, ahead of protests against far-right President Jair Bolsonaro's pension reform.


9) Tanker owner seems to dispute U.S. account of Gulf of Oman attack

CBS News

The Japanese owner of the Kokuka Courageous, one of two oil tankers targeted near the Strait of Hormuz, said Friday that sailors on board saw "flying objects" just before it was hit, suggesting the vessel wasn't damaged by mines.



10) Organise now to avoid war with Iran

Chris Nineham, Counterfire 

Neither the US nor Iran really wants war we are told, because the reality of such a conflict is too horrific to contemplate. But the Gulf tanker crisis and the US response shows that we are alarmingly close to open hostilities. It is true that there are voices in the US defence establishment calling for restraint. It appears to be the case too that the Iranian government is operating on the assumption that the US doesn't want a war. But there are several reasons why such assumptions are not a sound basis for judgement.

11) Greek Communist Party Demand Closure of US Bases in Country in Wake of US Threats Against Iran

Sputnik News

The Communist Party of Greece (KKE) said on Friday that the United States' plans against Iran would bring nothing good for nations in the region and urged for all US and NATO bases in Greece to be closed.

Related: Don't let the Americans lie their way into another disastrous war

12) Mike Pompeo Threatens To Intervene In British Democracy To Stop Corbyn Becoming Prime Minister

Alex Tiffin, Medium

US Secretary for State Mike Pompeo has come under fire after a recording emerged of him saying he’d intervene to stop Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn becoming Prime Minister. In the recording first reported by the Washington Post, Pompeo suggests he won’t wait for Corbyn to be elected, rather he’ll attempt to stop it from being possible.

13) B.C. Green’s anti-worker biases expose the party’s contradictions on climate change

Alex Cosh, Canadian Dimension 

After making vague promises in its 2017 election platform to “modernize” provincial labour standards, the British Columbia Green Party recently blocked two important reforms to the province’s labour code, showing that, in practice, Canada’s mainstream Green movement harbours anti-worker biases that negatively impact the struggle against climate change.

14) Aung San Suu Kyi in Hungary: A chilling sign of global Islamophobia

Peter Oborne, Middle East Eye

The spectacle of the Burmese Nobel Laureate's meeting with Viktor Orban highlights the monstrous threat posed to Muslims around the world.

15) IF IT SEEMS AS IF CANADA’S CONSERVATIVES HAVE LOST IT, GUESS AGAIN: THEY’VE JUST ADOPTED THE TRUMP PLAYBOOK IN ITS ENTIRETY

David Climenhaga, Alberta Politics 

“Huge pothole on #StAlbert Trail right now! This is a preview of Canada’s future if Justin Trudeau is re-elected as prime minister, as he continues to implement his terrible anti-automobile agenda.”

16) Workers With Disabilities Are Making Cents Per Hour — and It’s Legal

Jack Delaney, Truthout

Imagine making cents on the dollar to toil in a warehouse, separated from the broader society, while repeatedly piecing together widgets or engaging in manual labor for some multinational corporation with which you’ve never interacted. For many Americans, the concept of making nickels and dimes for your labor in the richest nation in human history is incomprehensible. But for the tens of thousands of Americans making far less than minimum wage due to their disabilities, it is an all too familiar reality.

17) Rebel Media’s Jason Kenney Coverage is Being Funded With Foreign Money From an Anti-Muslim Billionaire

Press Progress 

It turns out Rebel Media’s coverage of Jason Kenney is funded with foreign money.

18) Jurors refuse to convict activist facing 20 years for helping migrants

The Guardian 

A US jury could not reach a verdict on Tuesday against a border activist who, defense attorneys say, was simply being kind by providing two migrants with water, food and lodging when he was arrested in early 2018.

19) Canadian Communist leader: Extreme right danger looms over fall election

Liz Rowley, People's World 

Developments in Canada this spring have been disturbing. Tory (Conservative) governments have been elected in Alberta, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island, joining Tory governments in Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, and the right-wing CAQ in Quebec.

20) Colombia: increasing violence against union leaders

IndustriALL

Colombian trade union leaders Igor Díaz and Dibeth Quintana have again received death threats. Since Iván Duque became president last year, violence against union and social leaders has been on the rise.

21) The Left’s Failure to Envision a World Without Capitalism

Conor Lynch, The New Republic 

There is a common saying on the left, usually attributed to the Marxist critic Fredric Jameson, that “it is easier to imagine the end of the world than it is to imagine the end of capitalism.” The late writer Mark Fisher once described this as “capitalist realism,” or the “widespread sense that not only is capitalism the only viable political and economic system, but also that it is now impossible even to imagine a coherent alternative to it.”

22) Breaking Point: Violence in Long Term Care

Zaid Noorsumar, Rank and File

Punched. Groped. Kicked. Killed. Violence in long-term care homes has to stop.

23) Is it Time to Care Yet?

 Zaid Noorsumar, Rank and File

On Jan. 23, 2007, 73-year-old Betty Moseley-Williams testified to the legislative standing committee about Bill 140, the Long-term Care Homes Act.

24) Swiss women strike for more money, time and respect

 Imogen Foulkes, BBC News

Women across Switzerland have taken to the streets to protest against what they say is the country's unacceptably slow pace to equality.

25) The Real Face of Prostitution

Julie Bindel, Truth Dig

The research could make a difference, by providing more evidence of the harms of prostitution, and by helping those struggling with the polarized debate on whether we are talking about “sex workers’ rights” and “women’s agency,” or the commercial sexual exploitation of vulnerable, prostituted people. What is needed, alongside such research, is for every one of us to imagine a world without prostitution, and to ask the question, “Why does it exist?” In a world where women and girls were liberated from male supremacy, in which we could live as equal human beings, prostitution would be starved of oxygen.

26) Study Linking US Sanctions to Venezuelan Deaths Buried by Reuters for Over a Month

Joe Emersberger, FAIR

I emailed Stephanie Nebehay of Reuters on May 22 about her article, “Venezuela Turns to Russia, Cuba, China in Health Crisis” (5/22/19). Her article depicted the impact of US sanctions as an allegation that Venezuelan government officials are alone in making.

27) Legal clinic cuts aim to quash resistance to province's agenda, Hamilton director says

Adam Carter · CBC News 

A series of "targeted" and "politically motivated" cuts to legal clinics across Ontario are the provincial government's way of making sure its agenda can't be challenged, says the head of the Hamilton Community Legal Clinic.


28) To beat Scheer, fight Ford

John Bell, International Socialists 

As the fall federal election looms, the strategic voting rhetoric is coming to a boil. Not surprisingly, most of the talk originates with the Liberals who are anxious to erode Andrew Scheer’s lead in the polls.

29) One Million More Reasons to Mobilize Against Ford

Jeff Noonan, Socialist Project Bullet 

The public sector “salary restraint” legislation expected by public sector union leaders was formally introduced on June 5th (Protecting a Sustainable Public Sector for Future Generations Act, 2019). I will get to the criticism in a moment. First, I have to acknowledge the Orwellian chutzpah of this government: without a climate change plan, it cheekily appropriates the language of “sustainability” and concern for “future generations.” They could have topped themselves by tipping their hat to the indigenous traditions they are also ignoring by adding “seven” in front of “generations.” Perhaps the next spending restraint bill can be more inclusive.



30) 'Genocide' is a loaded word

Doug Cuthand, Saskatoon Star Phoenix

 It’s a shame that the reporting on this important report got stuck on one word and became defensive rather than proactive. According to the 1948 convention, Canada is guilty of committing genocide against the Indigenous people.

31) Canada's treatment of Indigenous peoples fits the definition of 'genocide'

Michael Spratt, Canadian Lawyer

Some people believe the earth is flat. Some people believe climate change is a myth. Some people believe the justice system is colour-blind. All of those people are dangerously wrong.

33) Blowback to the word genocide proves the national inquiry report was right

Tanya Talaga, The Toronto Star

I should have anticipated the blowback to the final report of the National Inquiry into Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women and Girls.



34) 'It's torturous': Young mother joins calls from MMIWG advocates to stop apprehensions at birth

Erin Brohman · CBC News

A young mother who was on Manitoba's birth alert system is joining calls from advocates, researchers and the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls demanding that the province stop taking babies from mothers at birth.

35) Andrew Scheer rejects use of ‘genocide’ in reference to Indigenous women, girls

Kerri Breen, Global News

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer is disputing the use of the word “genocide” in reference to missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls in Canada.

36) ‘It’s a farce’: No Indigenous women named to civilian advisory panel overseeing the RCMP

 Kathleen Martens, APTN

Just days after the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls released its final report, the federal government announced an interim civilian advisory board to oversee the RCMP.

37) Civil Disobidience Empties Streets in Sudan’s Capital

Telesur

A campaign of civil disobedience to demand civilian rule left the streets of Sudan’s capital Khartoum largely deserted as the working week began Sunday, while police fired tear gas to disperse protesters in Khartoum North, witnesses said.

38) Sudan’s generals launch renewed crackdown to defeat general strike

Jason Burke and Zeinab Mohammed Salih, The Guardian 

The military regime in Sudan has launched a new wave of arrests and violent intimidation in an effort to undermine opposition plans for a widespread campaign of civil disobedience.

39) Sudanese troops raped protesters at sit-in, doctors report

 Zeinab Mohammed Salih in Khartoum and Jason Burke, The Guardian

Doctors believe paramilitaries carried out more than 70 rapes during an attack on a protest camp in Khartoum, the capital of Sudan, a week ago.

40) Arctic Permafrost Is Going Through a Rapid Meltdown — 70 Years Early

 Grant Currin, Live Science 

In the Canadian Arctic, layers of permafrost that scientists expected to remain frozen for at least 70 years have already begun thawing. The once-frozen surface is now sinking and dotted with melt ponds and from above looks a bit like Swiss cheese, satellite images reveal.

41) Don’t waste any more money on the Trans Mountain pipeline

Gordon Laxer, The Toronto Star

Justin Trudeau is in over a barrel. In 2015, he made a deal with Alberta. He would get an oil pipeline built to a coast if the province joined his pan-Canadian climate plan. After his election this past April, Conservative Alberta Premier Jason Kenney ripped up Alberta’s side of the bargain and declared war on Trudeau‘s climate plan.

42) The Uninhabitable Earth: A grim portrait of the future of climate change

CBC News

Floods in Ontario. Wildfires in Alberta. A mass species die-off. According to scientists, all of these phenomena are caused or exacerbated by our warming climate.

43) Near-record 'dead zone' predicted in the Gulf of Mexico this summer

Doyle Rice, USA Today

The annual Gulf of Mexico "dead zone" – a region of oxygen-depleted water off the Louisiana and Texas coasts that's harmful to sea life – will be the second-largest on record this summer, scientists announced Monday.

44) Plant extinction 'bad news for all species'

Helen Briggs, BBC News 

Almost 600 plant species have been lost from the wild in the last 250 years, according to a comprehensive study.

45) 'Eye-Popping': Analysis Shows Top 1% Gained $21 Trillion in Wealth Since 1989 While Bottom Half Lost $900 Billion

Jake Johnson, Common Dreams

Adding to the mountain of statistical evidence showing the severity of U.S. inequality, an analysis published Friday found that the top one percent of Americans gained $21 trillion in wealth since 1989 while the bottom 50 percent lost $900 billion.

See also: MMIWG Report, Climate Emergency, Cuba Blockade, Sudan & more -- The Week in News, Opinion and Videos June 2 - 9

Don't let the Americans lie their way into another disastrous war

Sat, 2019-06-15 21:44
As the hawks in the Trump administration try to build the case for war against Iran it is worth reflecting on the countless lies that the United States has used over the decades to justify conflicts that have killed millions of people.

Given that Trump himself apparently "said 10,796 things that were either misleading or outright false" during his first 869 days in office it is pretty clear that a critical approach should be taken to anything his administration asserts on any front. Yet we have already seen that despite this culture of lies the American mainstream media and Democratic politicians almost all got on board with Trump's attacks on Venezuela and have stayed on board even after various incidents -- such as the fabricated burning of aid trucks on a bridge from Colombia -- were proven to be false.

When it comes to its imperialist adventures in the interests of American business and capital abroad, however, there is almost always unity within the American ruling political class and its pundits.

Now Trump's bombastic, truth averse Secretary of State Pompeo -- fresh off of implying that the United States would intervene in upcoming British elections to prevent a victory by Jeremy Corbyn -- is trying to use an alleged attack on Japanese oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman as justification for action against Iran that could easily escalate into full blown war.

Already Pompeo's claims regarding this incident are being thrown into doubt by the owner of the tankers himself. "Company president Yutaka Katada said Friday he believes the flying objects seen by the sailors could have been bullets. He denied any possibility of mines or torpedoes because the damage was above the ship's waterline. He called reports of a mine attack "false.""

When placed in historical context, moreover, it is impossible to escape the likelihood that whatever happened in the Gulf of Oman, the version we are getting from the Trump administration is almost certainly untrue.

The most obvious parallel is with the Gulf of Tonkin incident in 1965 that was used by the Johnson administration to greatly escalate the war in Vietnam. It is widely known now that the incident was fabricated and as a US Navy Lieutenant Commander put it in an article for the US Naval Institute, it is "clear that high government officials distorted facts and deceived the American public about events that led to full U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War."

Then there was the allegation made in 1990 that Iraqi forces had removed babies from incubators in Kuwaiti hospitals and left them to die on the floor that was used as one of the major propaganda points to get Americans on board with the first Iraq War. The problem was, of course, that is was totally made up and the 15 year old girl "Nayirah" who tearfully recounted it to the Human Rights Caucus of the US Congress was actually the daughter of the Kuwaiti ambassador who had been coached by a public relations firm to lie to the caucus. 

Not to be outdone the Bush administration notoriously lied its way to the second war on Iraq. This is so well known that there really is no need to belabour it, but two key things to remember are the entirely false assertions that were made by the then Secretary of State Colin Powell to the United Nations in 2003 and the fact that John Bolton, now the national security adviser to Trump, was a major hawk calling for war with Iraq back in that administration.

Given this long and sordid history of imperialist lies and fabrications by the Americans over the decades, and given the fact that the Trump administration has a proven track record of lying on an almost daily basis about even minor issues, it is astounding that anyone would take anything Pompeo says seriously.

One does not have to embrace or be an apologist for the Iranian regime to know that a war in Iran would be catastrophic for the Iranian people. Given the terrain and the strength of the regime it would likely make the war in Iraq -- which has destabilized the entire region -- look relatively mild in comparison. It would be certain to result in the deaths of hundreds of thousands, if not millions of people, and lead to further destabilization and radicalization in the Middle East. American forces would likely have to occupy the country for many years. They are still in Afghanistan 18 years later.

It is imperative that the Americans not be allowed to lie their way into another terrible conflict.

Happy Birthday Che!

Fri, 2019-06-14 20:09

Immortal Che - Vietnamese Poster
-Above all, try always to be able to feel deeply any injustice committed against any person in any part of the world. It is the most beautiful quality of a revolutionary
For more Che quotes see our post: Today is the 90th anniversary of the birth of the great internationalist, communist and revolutionary Ernesto "Che" Guevara. We celebrate it with some of his quotes.

Don't Fall for American Lies

Fri, 2019-06-14 02:37

"Mr. Pompeo did not present any evidence of Iran’s involvement when announcing the findings at a news conference in Washington." - New York Times, June 13, 2019

After all the lies from the Gulf of Tonkin to WMD in Iraq, why would anyone believe an American warmonger like Pompeo about anything?  

Three Portraits of Lenin 1922 - 1927, Hugo Gellert

Thu, 2019-06-13 03:08

Lenin: The Union of the Workers and Peasants - Hugo Gellert, 1927
Hugo Gellert was a member of the Communist Party in the United States who rose to fame in the 1920s and 1930s through his political posters and art as well as illustrations he did for socialist and communist magazines. He was blacklisted during the McCarthy era and opened a gallery for blacklisted artists in New York. Gellert died in 1985.
These are three of his exceptional portraits of Lenin.


Lenin - Hugo Gellert, 1924

He's Well Again - Hugo Gellert, 1922
Portrait done when it appeared that Lenin had recovered from being shot during an assassination attempt. 

Tommy Douglas was never about "fiscal responsibility"

Tue, 2019-06-11 22:02



Tommy Douglas was not about "fiscal responsibility" and it is the NDP that is responsible for framing him that way. 

Now we see why that was a stupid idea.





For an excellent analysis of why the idea that Douglas was fixated on "fiscal responsibility" is simply false see Fraser Needham's 2015 piece The NDP and budget deficits: Not the Tommy Douglas vision

Among other things Needham notes: 
Douglas and Blakeney sought to make transformative changes to the capitalistic economy in order to level the playing field, bring stability to the Saskatchewan economy and finance social programs. Balanced budgets happened to be part of the process but were not the main goal in and of themselves. Neither Douglas nor Blakeney would ever have advocated balancing a budget regardless of the economic circumstances.
Balancing a budget regardless of the economic fallout is a more recent and right wing mantra. It falls into the belief that government should never intervene in the economy and government finances should be operated like an accounting ledger – surpluses should always be spent and deficits never incurred.

The Party and the Komsomol Have One Goal - Communism

Tue, 2019-06-11 03:56


The Party and the Komsomol Have One Goal - CommunismSoviet Poster, c. 1980

Marinated Charcoal Grilled Lamb

Mon, 2019-06-10 04:35
Today we are going to take a look at grilling lamb on the charcoal barbecue after marinating it for a few hours to give it bold flavours and make it very tender.

The marinade uses curry powder, rosemary, hot sauce and dill weed among other ingredients and compliments the lamb perfectly.


It works best with bone-in shoulder chops. Here we used around 6 or 7 chops.

Marinade Ingredients: 

3/4 cup dry white wine
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons curry powder
1 - 2 teaspoons hot sauce (I used the very fiery Wolf's Bite Pepper Sauce made by Irie, but any West Indian or Indian style hot sauce you like will work just fine)
2 teaspoons garlic salt
2 teaspoons black pepper
juice of 1/4 of a lemon
1 teaspoon mustard powder
1 teaspoon dill weed
Sea salt to taste
2 chopped sprigs of fresh rosemary

Combine all of the ingredients in a smaller bowl except for the rosemary. Pour over the cops in a large bowl. Then sprinkle the copped rosemary over them and toss to coat the chops thoroughly. Cover and place in the fridge.



You want to marinade the lamb for 3-4 hours but not for longer than that. After about an hour and a half toss the lamb again to make sure all of it is coated in marinade. Bring the lamb out about a half an hour before cooking to bring to room temperature.

Prepare your charcoal barbecue as usual. Just before putting the lamb on the grill toss one or two sprigs of fresh rosemary onto the coals.


Once prepared place your chops on the grill and spoon any leftover marinade over the chops. This is ok to do as the lamb is still to be cooked. Discard any marinade you are not going to do this with.



Grill the lamb to your liking. I like lamb rare which takes only 3-4 minutes a side for most chops. (For the record Health Canada recommends cooking to medium rare which is to an internal temperature of 145 degrees).

When done place the lamb on a platter and let sit for around 3-5 minutes. Top with some chopped fresh parsley.



The lamb will be spectacularly moist and is perfect with a side of rice or a Greek salad. And, of course, your favorite red wine.

Enjoy.

See also: Curried Clay Baker Lamb and Onion Stew

See also: Boneless Leg of Lamb on the Charcoal BBQ

MMIWG Report, Climate Emergency, Cuba Blockade, Sudan & more -- The Week in News, Opinion and Videos June 2 - 9

Sun, 2019-06-09 22:17

This week's list of articles, news items, opinion pieces and videos that I see as a must if you are looking for a roundup that should be of interest to The Left Chapter readers.



This list covers the week of June 2 - 9.

1) Inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women issues final report with sweeping calls for change

John Paul Tasker · CBC News

After more than three years, dozens of community meetings and testimony from well over 2,000 Canadians, the missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls inquiry delivered its final report to the federal government at a ceremony in Gatineau, Que., today.

2) MMIWG cases continued at same rate even after national inquiry began, data shows

Jorge Barrera · CBC News

The rate of violence against Indigenous women and girls continued unabated during the mandate of the national inquiry created to investigate the root causes of the issue, according to figures in two separate databases provided to CBC News.

3) Conservative senators obstructing Indigenous rights bill

Dennis Gruending, Rabble

A group of Conservative senators are attempting to prevent an important piece of legislation from becoming law. Bill C-262 would ensure Canadian laws are consistent with the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP). This bill passed resoundingly the House of Commons on May 30 by a vote of 206-79, with only the Conservatives voting against. It was then sent to the Senate for ratification.




4) Former Harper-era minister doubles down on calling MMIWG inquiry report 'propagandist'

Jorge Barrera · CBC News

A former federal Aboriginal affairs minister under the Stephen Harper government is doubling down on his social media claim that the finding of "genocide" by the National Inquiry into Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women and girls was "propagandist."

5) We fact-checked a viral claim about who's killing MMIWG. It was wrong.

Emma McIntosh, The National Observer 

After the national inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women released its final report this week, you may have seen a statistic claiming Indigenous men killed 70 per cent of murdered Indigenous women.

6) MMIWG findings and recommendations deserve full support

Communist Party of Canada

The report issued on June 3 by the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, Reclaiming Power and Place, is a stunning indictment of the genocidal record and policies of the Canadian state, and a powerful call for immediate action towards justice and equality. The Communist Party of Canada extends our solidarity to all those who courageously testified to the Inquiry over the last three years, and supports their demands for a genuine transformation of this society.

7) MMIWG report calls for public inquiry into allegations of racism, sexual assault by Manitoba Hydro workers

Sean Kavanagh · CBC News 

The final report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls says Manitoba needs to look much deeper at the impact of its hydroelectric projects — not behind closed doors, but through a public inquiry.

8) The long fight against sex discrimination in the Indian Act

Scott Neigh, Rabble

Lynn Gehl is an Algonquin Anishinaabe-kwe, an advocate and a writer  based in Peterborough, Ontario. Through her own decades-long court battle as well as her involvement in political mobilizations, she is a long-time participant in the fight against sex discrimination in the federal Indian Act. Scott Neigh interviews her about the history of that struggle and about the current "6(1)(a) All The Way" campaign that is putting pressure on the Trudeau government to remove the last elements of sex discrimination from the act.

9) 'Truths are piling up': The legal and moral imperatives behind the MMIWG's calls for justice

Chantelle Bellrichard · CBC News

In the wake of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Firls' final report, attention is now turning toward whether its 231 recommendations will be acted upon.



10) India weather: Temperature passes 50C Celsius in northern India

news.com.au

Temperatures passed 50 degrees Celsius in northern India as an unrelenting heatwave triggered warnings of water shortages and heatstroke.

11) How long could it take to clean up Alberta’s oilpatch? 2,800 years, Alberta Energy Regulator official warns

Emma McIntosh, Star Calgary & Mike De Souza, National Observer

It may take more than 2,800 years to clean up some of the decommissioned oil and gas wells currently dotting Alberta’s landscape, internal regulatory documents say.

12) FIRE ALARM: THIS IS NOT A DRILL

Emma McIntosh, Star Calgary 

Alberta won’t stop burning. Neither will B.C., Ontario, Quebec, the Prairies, the territories, the Maritimes nor any of the 96 per cent of Canada’s communities near forest and grassland.

13) Climate crisis seriously damaging human health, report finds

Damian Carrington, The Guardian 

A report by experts from 27 national science academies has set out the widespread damage global heating is already causing to people’s health and the increasingly serious impacts expected in future.

14) Earth's carbon dioxide has jumped to the highest level in human history

Andrew Freedman, Axios 

The monthly peak amount of carbon dioxide in the Earth's atmosphere in 2019 jumped by a near-record amount to reach 414.8 parts per million (ppm) in May, which is the highest level in human history and likely the highest level in the past 3 million years.

15) Deforestation of Brazilian Amazon surges to record high

Jonathan Watts, The Guardian

Deforestation of the Brazilian Amazon surged last month to the highest May level since the current monitoring method began, prompting concerns that president Jair Bolsonaro is giving a free pass to illegal logging, farming and mining.

16) Accused of Plagiarism, Biden Campaign Admits Lifting 'Carbon Capture' Section of Climate Plan From Fossil Fuel-Backed Group

Jake Johnson, Commons Dreams

Sections of the former vice president's plan, noted an observant climate campaigner, "looked like the type of thing the coal industry, trade groups, and coal companies themselves say."

17) Extreme Flooding Across Midwest 'Exactly In Line' With Scientific Warnings of Climate Crisis: Experts

Julia Conley, Common Dreams

Farmers and residents across the Midwest are currently "living climate change," according to experts and scientists who are observing catastrophic flooding from one of the rainiest springs on record.

18) Finland pledges to become carbon neutral by 2035

Jon Henley, The Guardian 

Finland’s new left-leaning coalition government has pledged to make the country carbon neutral by 2035 as part of a policy programme that includes a major increase in public spending on welfare and infrastructure.



19) How Venezuelans Turn to Collective Action to Defy US Blockade

Telesur

As the United States government intensifies its unilateral coercive measures against Venezuela, its people have turned to one another to push ahead and deal with economic sanctions. Local Colectivos (Collectives) and demonstrations of popular support have come to represent the unbreakable will of the Bolivarian Republic.


20) Conservative Witness for ‘Online Hate’ Hearing Was a Recent Guest on a White Nationalist’s YouTube Channel

Press Progress

One of the witnesses slated to testify at a hearing on “online hate” appeared on a white nationalist’s YouTube channel last month.

21) SPOTLIGHT: IN A STUDY OF COPS’ FACEBOOK ACCOUNTS, 1 IN 5 HAD POSTED RACIST, VIOLENT CONTENT

Vaidya Gullapalli, The Appeal

On Saturday, Injustice Watch and BuzzFeed News published an investigation into racist and violent social media posts by current and retired police officers. The article by Emily Hoerner and Rick Tulsky came out of a collaboration with the Plain View Project, which examined the Facebook accounts of police officers from eight departments across the county.

22) ‘The workers have chosen to fight’: Romanians strike for living wage

Patricia Gorky, Liberation News 

Workers across Romania are on strike. From Satu Mare in the northwest corner to Targoviste in the south, workers are demanding a living wage from the multinational corporations that reap mega-profits from the country.

23) Opposition parties submit bill to legalize same-sex marriage in Japan

Japan News

The bill by the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan, Japanese Communist Party and others states that marriage would be established on the basis of marriage equality.

24)  Westminster shut down as tens of thousands protest against Trump

Ceren Sagir, The Morning Star

TENS of thousands of protesters shut down Westminster today to show their opposition to US President Donald Trump’s state visit.

25) West Virginia Senate passes sweeping education bill to ban teacher strikes

Elham Khatami, Think Progress

The West Virginia State Senate on Monday passed a sweeping education overhaul bill that would deem teacher strikes unlawful.

26) Dozens of Children Forced to Spend Up to 39 Hours in Hot Vans After Botched ICE Family Reunification

Democracy Now

Reports emerged this week of a botched attempt to reunite separated migrant families in Texas last July, which saw 37 migrant children spend up to 39 hours waiting in vans to see their parents. The 37 children were between 5 and 12 years old, and most of them spent at least 23 hours in a van during one of the hottest months of the year. Emails obtained by NBC News from BCFS Health and Human Services—the government contractor responsible for transporting the children—reveal a lack of proper planning by Immigration and Customs Enforcement and senior officials at the Department of Health and Human Services.

27) Man faces 20 years in prison for ‘giving migrants food, water and shelter’ near US border

Tom Embury-Dennis, The Independent

A man who says he gave food, water and shelter to migrants is facing up to 20 years in prison for “shielding” the men from US authorities.

28) Social Democrats win Danish general election, ousting right wing

Johannes Ledel, AFP

Denmark's opposition Social Democrats won Wednesday's general election after a campaign focused on concerns over the climate, welfare and immigration, as support plunged for the far right and surged for the main green party.

29) Let’s not leave the Soviet Union out of our D-Day history

John Wojcik, People's World 

On the 75th Anniversary of D-Day today, there are ceremonies honoring the American heroes who landed on the beaches of Normandy and defeated the Nazis. This is as it should be. What is not right, however, is that rarely are we honoring in our ceremonies the Soviet heroes who bore the brunt of the battles to defeat fascism in World War II.

30) Ten things they don't tell you about D-Day

Lindsey German, Counterfire 

As the commemorations of the 75 year anniversary of D-Day take place, Lindsey German reminds us of the truth about the end of the Second World War.



31) In Turkey, the right to freedom of association and unionisation remains under threat

Marion Fontenille, Equal Times

With their faces wrapped in traditional white scarves, they spend hours in silence at the gates of the country’s prisons: more than 45 days outside the Maltepe Prison in Istabul, and 25 outside Bakırköy on the outskirts of the city. In the last few months these peaceful gatherings have quickly turned into violent clashes with the police, the latest example of the increasing repression against any gatherings organised by Turkey’s associations and activists. “The police threaten to tear off their veils and tread on them. They began their sit-in in front of the prisons, without slogans,” says Sinan Zincir, a lawyer.

32) This playwright is trying to unionize Foodora — while writing about one of Canada's biggest strikes


Graham Isador · CBC Arts

Thomas McKechnie and I lived together for about a year. Several days a week, McKechnie would stumble home after a nine-hour shift as a Foodora bicycle courier, crash onto our couch and sprawl across the cushions. After an hour of pure exhaustion McKechnie — like clockwork — would open up his laptop and begin typing away at some script. He'd continue working on his writing late into the night. At around 2 in the morning he'd roll a cigarette, smoke on our porch then head off to bed. I rarely saw my roomate in the mornings. By the time I'd wake up he'd already be out the door on his bike, off to make a living delivering more food.

33) Two-tier minimum wage will cost older workers their jobs

Alexander Shevalier, Calgary Herald 

Premier Jason Kenney’s cavalier approach to the minimum wage has led to one of Bill 2’s most regressive changes in a piece of legislation filled with them.

34) ‘We must not accept homophobic and misogynist violence in our society,’ Corbyn says

The Morning Star

Melania Geymonat and her partner Chris were attacked in the early hours last week by four young men.

35) Even in 2019, lesbian couples are still made to fear for their lives by men

Eleanor Margolis, New Statesman 

It’s about seven in the evening and I’m on a London overground train with my girlfriend. Tired, I’m leaning on her shoulder and she’s stroking my head. On a scale of one to ten, one being looking lovingly at each other and ten being sixty-nining in the middle of Leicester Square, this level of PDA is probably a 2.5. 

36) Argentina's women protest for legal abortion, against violence

France 24

Thousands of Argentine protesters flooded the streets of Buenos Aires on Monday in a show of force for the abortion rights movement, and to denounce violence against women.

37) Lies pave the way for anti-abortion laws. To defeat the laws we must fight the lies

Rebecca Solnit, The Guardian 

A wave of new laws banning and restricting abortion could not have been passed without misleading the public about what abortion actually is.

38) US abortion policy is 'extremist hate' and 'torture', says UN commissioner

Liz Ford, The Guardian 

The US policy on abortion is a form of extremist hate that amounts to the torture of women, the UN deputy high commissioner for human rights told the Guardian.

39) Biden campaign confirms he supports Hyde Amendment

Morgan Gstalter, The Hill

Former Vice President Joe Biden’s presidential campaign confirmed that he still supports a controversial ban prohibiting the use of federal funds for certain abortion services.

40) Honduras deploys security forces as doctors and teachers demand president's resignation

Nina Lakhani, The Guardian 

Honduran security forces with teargas and live bullets have been deployed to quell a wave of nationwide protests led by doctors and teachers demanding the resignation of the country’s president.

41) Honduras Gov't Backtracks on Neoliberal Laws Amid Large Strike

Telesur 

President of Honduras Juan Orlando Hernandez (JOH) announced Sunday that two decrees related to education and health will be repealed. The decrees have been rejected by the teachers and public sector doctors who are in an indefinite strike since Thursday.

42) Corbyn to drop social mobility as Labour goal in favour of opportunity for all

Heather Stewart, The Guardian 


Jeremy Corbyn is dropping the idea of social mobility as a goal for the next Labour government, saying he would instead create a “social justice commission” with the power to audit policy.

43) Canadian FM plays good cop to US, promising Cuba 'part to play' in Venezuelan democracy

RT News

Cuba will have a "part to play" in restoring democracy in Venezuela, the Canadian foreign minister – a supporter of the coup-minded US-backed opposition – has declared after meeting with her Cuban counterpart.

44) Canada must resume visa processing in Cuba

Communist Party of Canada 

The Communist Party of Canada denounces the decision of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to cease the issuance of visas to Cubans to visit Canada from its embassy in Havana.

45) Cuba is not intimidated by measures adopted to reinforce the blockade

Granma 

The Revolutionary Government of the Republic of Cuba repudiates, in the strongest terms, measures announced by the United States government on June 4, 2019, reinforcing the economic blockade imposed on Cuba for more than 60 years, at a cost to the Cuban economy that in 2018 exceeded 134 billion dollars at current prices, or 933 billion dollars, when considering the depreciation of the dollar as compared to the value of gold on the international market.As is known, this new escalation, effective June 5, further strengthens the stringent restrictions U.S. citizens face in order to travel to Cuba, and adds full prohibitions on travel by sea from the United States, of all types, and prohibits cruise ship stops in our country immediately.The objective continues to be pressuring the Cuban nation to make political concessions, by strangling the economy and causing damage at the population’s level. In this particular case, the measures also seek to prevent the people of the United States from learning about Cuba’s reality, and thus undermining the slanderous propaganda campaigns against our country that are fabricated on a daily basis.

46) UN Praises Cuba as Model for Sustainable Policies

Telesur 

Cuba is a world reference for its constant efforts to preserve and take care of the environment, and for prioritizing a model of sustainable development,  Consuelo Vidal-Bruce, resident coordinator of the United Nations' (U.N.) System in Cuba said on Wednesday during a visit to Santa Clara whilst celebrating World Environment Day.

47) Trump administration bans educational and recreational travel to Cuba

PBS

The Trump administration on Tuesday imposed major new travel restrictions on visits to Cuba by U.S. citizens, including a ban on many forms of educational and recreational travel.

48) French Police Crack Down on 30th 'Yellow Vest' Protest

Telesur

French police violently clashed with protesters Saturday at the 30th consecutive weekend of "yellow vest" demonstrations, using tear gas and water cannons in the southern city of Montpellier.

49) 40 bodies pulled out of the Nile as bloodbath continues in Sudan

Steve Sweeney, The Morning Star

SUDANESE opposition groups pulled more than 40 bodies from the River Nile today as the country descended further into a bloodbath after the feared Janjaweed militia instigated a massacre.

50) Solidarity with the people’s struggle in Sudan

Communist Party of Canada 

Delegates to the Communist Party of Canada’s 39th Central Convention send greetings of solidarity to the people of Sudan, who are waging a massive struggle for better living standards, democracy and progressive social change.

51) Sudan: 'The people want a transition to a civilian government'


Susan Price & Osama Yousif, Green Left Weekly 

Green Left Weekly’s Susan Price spoke to Osama Yousif, a member of the Sydney Sudanese community, who has recently returned from visiting Sudan, about the events leading up to the massacre of more than 100 protesters in Khartoum on June 3.

52) Sudan security forces tear-gas protesters

BBC News

Sudanese security forces have fired tear gas and live ammunition to disperse protesters setting up barricades in Khartoum.

53) Yet Another Pro-Israel Circus in Canada’s Parliament

Dimitri Lascaris

Yesterday, Canada’s Parliament treated us to yet another, pathetic spectacle of bipartisan adoration for Israel’s apartheid regime.

54) Why Should Immigrants ‘Respect Our Borders’? The West Never Respected Theirs

Suketu Mehta, The New York Times

There is a lot of debate these days about whether the United States owes its African-American citizens reparations for slavery. It does. But there is a far bigger bill that the United States and Europe have run up: what they owe to other countries for their colonial adventures, for the wars they imposed on them, for the inequality they have built into the world order, for the excess carbon they have dumped into the atmosphere.

55) 10 Cruel and Unusual Ways Doug Ford Has Made Life Worse ‘For the People’ of Ontario Since Last Year’s Election

Press Progress

Premier Doug Ford campaigned under the slogan: ‘for the people'. But one year later, it’s ‘the people’ who are paying the price.

56) Province tables legislation to cap public sector wages

City News

The province of Ontario has tabled legislation to cap public sector wages at one per cent over the next three years.

See also: Climate Emergency, Ontario's Cuts, Venezuelan Sanctions, the KKE & more -- The Week in News, Opinion and Videos May 26 - June 2

Riding the rails of the Soviet Union in 1984 - A look at the railway system of the USSR

Sat, 2019-06-08 07:46
"Building the Railway of the Century!" The BAMToday we are going to take a trip on the railways of the USSR in 1984 via the pages of Soviet Life Magazine. In their November issue of that year they took a look at the remarkable railway network in the Soviet Union as well as at its history and development.

Here there is an account of a trip on one of the world's most famed rail lines, the Trans-Siberian Express from Moscow to Vladivostok. The article relates the atmosphere of the train, the various different people who were taking it and why and the lively discussions they had along its route.

There are also fascinating facts about the system in other articles including that at 143,000 kilometers it made up nearly 11% of the entire planet's rail network at the time, that the USSR had the world's largest network of electrified track as well as its largest electrification program,  the new types of engines being developed and things like the usage of the system by freight versus passenger rail and the evolution of stations.

We look back at the Soviet railways of the 1920s via excerpts from the famous tale, The Twelve Chairs.

Notable as well are the references to the Baikal-Amur Mainline, one of the more impressive transportation accomplishments of Soviet socialism in the 1970s and one that we have looked at before in Road of Courage and Heroism -- Building the BAM in the USSR 1979.


(Click on scans to enlarge)












































See also: Trams and buses in the USSR -- A look at public transit in the Soviet Union, 1976

Born Ballerina

Fri, 2019-06-07 20:50

Born Ballerina - Yuri Abramochkin, photographerSoviet Life Magazine, March 1983
Abramochkin, who died in 2018, was known for his iconic photos of various Soviet and international leaders and figures, but his extraordinary talent at capturing a moment in life really shines through in the this lovely photograph. 

Solidarity with Cuba!

Fri, 2019-06-07 03:07

The bigoted, imperialist Trump regime has been intensifying the criminal and illegal economic war and blockade against both Venezuela and Cuba. 

Despite decades of economic warfare against it Cuba has resisted all American attempts to destroy its independence and its fight to create a socialist society. It will continue to resist.

"They intend to strangle the economy and damage Cubans’ standard of living, to wrest political concessions from us. They will fail once again. " - Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla June 4, 2019

“Work, creativity, effort, and resistance is our answer. They have not been able to asphyxiate us. They cannot stop us. We will live and we will triumph" - Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez, Granma June 5, 2019

Solidarity with Cuba! 

(Quotes from Granma June 5, 2019)