Today is the first day of our world after the Nelson Mandela era.
We don’t need to canonize him or consider any messiah characteristics, but we should stop today and reflect on what kind of Mandela legacy we want to carry forward.
Here are a few ideas to consider.
Chances are you didn’t wake up every day by meditating on a Mandela quote. Aside from people like Rob Anders, though, most people found Mandela to be an inspiring person.
But one Mandela characteristic we need to hold close to our hearts is that he worked hard. Very hard. So (Read more…)
Nelson Mandela, in about 1964.
Nelson Mandela is the father of modern South Africa, but he belongs to all humanity now, and all of humanity seems ready to embrace him at last.
The New York Times accurately observed that Mr. Mandela, who died today at the great age of 95, had become “an international emblem of dignity and forbearance.”
But we need to remember that Mr. Mandela is a towering figure in humanity’s memory not simply because of what he achieved, but because he achieved it despite the bitter opposition of people who hated who he was and what (Read more…)
Greed is a powerful thing. It motivates the greedy to convince workers that they should hate any efforts to make their work better and reduce the level of abuse and oppression they suffer.
If you’d like a list of why they want us to hate our unions, click through to enjoy this brilliant cartoon.
And while you enjoy this light, graphic representation, remember that the list isn’t exclusive. We can also add in this idea that non-union workers are trained to hate unionized workers who make more money than them. The goal, apparently, is that if you’re suffering with pay (Read more…)
This is what solidarity looks like; make sure it’s authentic!
Lots of us care about deepening relationships with and social/economic/political justice for first peoples. It’s hard to come in, though, sometimes as a person from an oppressor or settler class. But there is a good checklist to make sure we’re actually contributing effectively.
It’s hard to know how to live humility, sincerity and really really good listening to make sure we are not a hindrance, but this Ally Bill of Responsibilities does a good job of helping us be mindful of humility, and maintaining a sincere focus on assisting those (Read more…)
The Prime Minister’s slow clap.
It could be racism.
It could be concern that over time too many first nations citizens may get too educated and start demanding more in terms of inter-national justice.
It could be just that he thinks keeping government spending down is good for his neoliberal agenda and that first nations will likely just roll over and take it when he sends his dismissive, condescending unilateral funding fiats.
But sometimes I wonder about Harper’s soul. How do you sleep at night knowing that a certain race/culture of people get 1/3 to 1/2 less education funding. (Read more…)
I am not a parent. It’s not that I didn’t want to be, I love children, and they seem to tolerate me well enough; events in my life have thus far prevented me from being a father. Which, of course, does not preclude it from happening in the future, and as time marches on, I […]
A panel of three Supreme Court Justices has decided that the Supreme Court of Canada will, in fact, hear the case of the SFL et al, in the matter of the constitutionality of the Government of Saskatchewan’s Bills 5 and 6 – so-called “essential services” legislation and amendments to Saskatchewan’s Trade Union Act.
“It is extremely unfortunate that we find ourselves in this position,” said Saskatchewan Federation of Labour President, Larry Hubich. “Obviously, we would rather not be forced into taking our government to court. Unfortunately, however, Bills 5 and 6 represent significant infringements upon the fundamental rights of Saskatchewan (Read more…)
In the USA today, a black youth was jailed for life after a jury trial convicted him of a March 2013 shooting. The time from homicide to related conviction: 5 months and 22 days.
In British Columbia today, prosecutors announced they will seek to appeal the acquittal of Const. Bill Bentley on a charge he gave perjured testimony to an inquiry after he and three other RCMP members killed Robert Dziekanski. Perjury charges against the three others are unlikely to proceed until the Bentley case is finalized. That might take years and taxpayers are paying for both the prosecution and (Read more…)
Banks as predators? Surely, no!
Temporary foreign workers have become a lightning-rod topic in Canadian labour in recent months with the high-profile news of the Royal Bank of Canada replacing staff with TFWs. But the issue is not about RBC, which is merely the latest flashpoint. The temporary foreign worker issue is wrapped up in a number of intersecting topics, including minimum and living wages, the role of the market in setting wages, immigration and job training.
Despite some of the spin we are seeing, the TFW controversy is not an issue of jobs for Canadians versus foreigners, and it (Read more…)
I recently read the Canadian Bar Association report Reaching Equal Justice (I ran out of mysteries) and was surprised at the strength of the language. A sampling of the phrases describing justice in Canada today includes, “abysmal state of access to justice” and “huge discrepancies between the promise of justice and the lived reality.”
Some of the statistics presented don’t flatter this country
I worked for Reuters back in the 80s and 90s, and still get email sometimes about things that happen to Reuters employees. I got one today concerning the murder of Reuters journalists that was exposed by Pfc Manning, the US soldier recently convicted of leaking confidential documents to WikiLeaks. The email contained a press release from Amnesty International calling on President Obama to pardon Manning, and included a link to a YouTube video: Iraq shooting exposed by Manning and WikiLeaks.
The video is difficult to watch. The dispassionate attitude of the military personnel is offset by the incredible force of (Read more…)
In a follow-up to the previous entry I’m posting a Democracy Now interview with Lavabit owner and operator Ladar Levison.
Levison made the difficult decision to shut down the encrypted email service, Lavabit, after an apparent bid by the U.S. government to gain access to customer data. As mentioned in the previous post, it’s been reported that Lavabit was a service used by NSA whistleblower, Edward Snowden.
Also check out a Democracy Now interview with Nicholas Merrill, who operated a New York-based internet service. Merrill was the recipient of a “national security letter” that ordered him to hand over (Read more…)
Sweatshops ‘R Us!
Ripping off employees by paying them less than a living wage [the Metro Vancouver 2013 living wage is $19,64], all to pad shareholder profits, is the glory of exploitative capitalism!
Long live capitalism!
Oh wait, what happens when your own employees can’t afford to shop at your own store?
That’s what sweatshops are like.
And that’s what The Bay has become. Sign the petition below and let The Bay and its new American owners that living wages matter!
According to its employment website, Hudson’s Bay wants to hire only sales associates with at least two (Read more…)
Which tax haven is right for you?
Class war is alive and well.
I have this rose-coloured, nostalgic dream of history. Once upon a time we emerged from feudalism with a democratic revolution. All were equal. Well, most.
But the hope of democracy was to rid the world of the despot rule of aristocracy. But then we got corporations. Many of the aristocratic elite ended up entrenching their power through these fake humans. And we still have the aristocrats today. And for centuries, the rest of the elite have wielded power through corporations.
So this year when data was leaked (Read more…)
Solidarity means an attack on one is an offense to all!
So if you have sent your letter to IKEA explaining why you are boycotting them for locking out their Richmond workers for 10 weeks, you may have received this precious reply from the corporation, below. I will re-spin it down there, but first I need to talk about words.
For IKEA, “strike” is Swedish for “lockout.”
It thinks it’s being clever disputing the word, but it has locked out its employees for 10 weeks now. It started as a one-hour lockout after which the workers were invited back, (Read more…)
The acquittal of George Zimmerman on charges of murdering Trayvon Martin may have met the requirements of law in the eyes of some Americans, but was nonetheless a travesty of justice. The not-guilty verdict saw the self-appointed watchman-on-a-mission walk away a free man – his hands forever stained with the blood of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.
Lack of culpability on grounds of self-defense, pays scant regard to the indisputable fact that the chain of events leading up to the shooting of Trayvon was initiated by the armed, vigilante-like Zimmerman. It was Zimmerman who profiled an innocent 17-year-old as a likely (Read more…)
Is Walmart Ikea’s labour relations mentor?
Ikea, that family-friendly darling of home decor and Swedish innocence is trying to break its union, Teamsters Local 213.
They have locked out their Richmond, BC workers for two months now, while deciding to bargain in reverse: Start with a pathetic offer, then as time goes by, if locked out workers don’t come back, the concessions and contract stripping INCREASE!
Tia reviewed Ikea’s anti-social shenanigans when the lockout hit Day 17. Her piece detailed some of the issues and helped us understand what we can do to help the workers while Ikea tries to (Read more…)
by: Métis Nation of Alberta | Press Release:
EDMONTON, July 4, 2013 – Today, the Alberta Court of Appeal refused to overturn the conviction of Métis harvester Garry Hirsekorn for hunting in the Cypress Hills in 2007. The case―R. v. Hirsekorn―is a harvesting rights “test case” for Alberta Métis as a part of the Métis Nation of Alberta’s (“MNA”) ongoing “hunt for justice” in the courts. A copy of the decision is available at www.albertametis.com or www.albertacourts.ab.ca.
MNA President Audrey Poitras stated, “While we are disappointed with today’s decision, we are not deterred. Similar to the Manitoba Métis (Read more…)
A banner drop during last night’s Canada Day celebration in Toronto’s Mel Lastman Square. (Photo: IdleNoMore.ca)
Canadians are so nice. We have such a happy, positive self-concept. This makes it quite hard to address the quiet genocide of first peoples that our nation has conducted for centuries.
What is genocide? The UN’s Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide includes this [I've bolded a few that stand out for me]:
…any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as (Read more…)
In the weeks following the Boston bombing, an icon of the black liberation struggle in the U.S., Assata Shakur, has turned up on the FBI’s most wanted terrorist list. The timing is far from coincidental. It’s the first time a woman has been placed on the bureau’s terrorist list… in this case a black woman… for many a legendary figure in the fight against American racism and injustice.
Assata Shakur’s inclusion on the FBI list in part stems from the shooting death of a state trooper in 1973, for which she was wrongly convicted. It’s been (Read more…)
The faces in this powerful video represent the millions around the world who are united against Israeli apartheid. The faces represent all of us… the eyes, the ears, the collective memory. These performers speak for us even as the US and other powers and agencies seek to give greater legitimacy to a state that hasn’t begun to repay what it owes and that continues its policies of brutal oppression. But the people of the world won’t play their game or look away… until reparations are made… until justice is fully served.
Published on Feb 18, 2013
This (Read more…)