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This Construction Union Is Reaching Out To Undocumented And Non-union Workers

Popular Resistance - Fri, 01/06/2023 - 01:07

New York City, New York - Many workplaces are marked by a real tension between different types of workers: undocumented vs. citizens, union vs. non-union, and more. New York City’s Construction and General Building Laborers’ Union Local 79 has been working to overcome these divides by intentionally reaching out to undocumented and non-union workers in the construction trades. And the bosses are taking notice. Recorded in the spring of 2022 from the Local 79 headquarters in Manhattan, TRNN Editor-in-Chief Maximillian Alvarez conducts a Spanish-language interview with Alex Martinez, Walter Martinez, and José Rosas, who were all fired from their jobs at Alba Demolition after they were caught talking to Local 79 organizers on their break.

The post This Construction Union Is Reaching Out To Undocumented And Non-union Workers appeared first on PopularResistance.Org.

Categories: F. Left News

Learning From An Older Generation Of Troublemakers

Popular Resistance - Fri, 01/06/2023 - 01:05

One of the fun things about the 2022 Labor Notes Conference was the presence and enthusiasm of young people. To this labor veteran, it was encouraging to see the young blood and new faces; it was clear that we have a new generation of leaders emerging in the labor movement. And that is more than welcome!

That being said, there is a lot of experience that has already left and will leave over the next 20 or so years. It’s not that my generation—folks who came of age during the late 1960s and early ’70s—had all the answers or did everything correctly. But we did a lot; and there’s a lot that younger activists need to be exposed to so they can smell our victories, learn from our mistakes, and surpass our efforts.

The post Learning From An Older Generation Of Troublemakers appeared first on PopularResistance.Org.

Categories: F. Left News

It’s not drought, it’s plunder: Drought and the commodification of water in Chile

Red Pepper - Fri, 01/06/2023 - 00:00
Peñuelas Lake in Valparaíso, Chile. The lake, which is the main source of water for Valparaíso, was severely affected by the 2022 drought (Credit: Andrea Agostini)

A 13-year mega-drought is straining Chile’s freshwater resources to breaking point. 2022 has been the fourth-driest year on record and means more than half of Chile’s 19 million population lives in areas suffering from ‘severe water scarcity’. The situation is so critical that in the capital, Santiago, the city government has devised a rationing plan with rotating water cuts of up to 24 hours for 1.7 million inhabitants.

Today Chile is the only country in the world that says in its constitution water can be treated as private property. The commodification of water began during General Pinochet’s regime. The 1981 ‘water code’ legally categorised water as both an economic and public good, but was really geared toward accelerating privatisation.

Since then, water privatisation has intensified – even sanitation has followed suit. The impacts are huge.

Sold for profit

The country’s water supplies come mainly from rivers. Water for consumption by the country’s population is managed by private companies and sold for profit. Aguas Andinas, for example, a subsidiary of the transnational company Agbar and Suez, monopolises Santiago’s market, selling water to six million of the city’s 7.2 million residents at one of the highest tariffs in Latin America.

In addition, much of the country’s water supplies are used in industrial extraction, forestry, and the production of agriculture for export in the global market.

According to water rights NGO El Movimiento de Defensa del Agua, la Tierra y el Medioambiente (Modatima), water grabs by private actors are central to the ongoing drought. Rodrigo Mundaca, spokesperson for Modatima, says, ‘We formed Modatima to resist the dispossession of water. Initially the strategy was simple: make the problem visible and spread information. But it hasn’t been easy: members of our organisation have suffered criminalisation and censorship. From 2012-2014, I was taken to court 24 times.’

Today Mundaca is the elected governor of the water-scarce region Valparaíso, continuing his fight for water rights in the corridors of power. Yet the 2022 rejection of a proposed new constitution for Chile represented a huge blow to the cause. The new constitution would have brought water back into public ownership, declaring water rights ‘incomerciales’ (unsellable). Yet, in a crushing blow to Chilean progressives and the Boric government (which was elected after the new constitutional process had begun but is closely associated with the ‘yes’ vote), in September 2022 62 per cent voted to reject the new constitution.

Water intensive

Chile’s economy, South America’s largest by per-capita GDP, is built on water-intensive, extractivist industries: mining, forestry and agriculture. Supported by the state-sanctioned private rights system, about 59 per cent of the country’s water resources are currently dedicated to forestry, despite it making up just 3 per cent of Chile’s GDP. Another 37 per cent is designated for the agricultural sector, leaving only a tiny amount of Chile’s water for human consumption.

The rejection of a proposed new constitution for Chile represented a huge blow to the fight for water rights

Chile’s five ‘sacrifice zones’, as they have been dubbed by local and environmental groups, are areas across the country that were chosen in the 1950s for rapid industrialisation at the expense of wider public and environmental health. While Chileans are forced to rely on emergency tankers to deliver drinking water, extractivist companies siphon off water for their industrial needs.

Meanwhile, in Chile’s central basin lies the semi-arid Petorca, where avocado is grown for export and, as a result, has drained the area of drinking water. The avocado trade has grown exponentially thanks to free trade agreements signed in the late 1990s. It takes 389.5 litres to produce one kilo in Petorca and the monoculture of avocados means the Ligua river is now completely dry.

Rejecting reform

The effects of climate change are being felt across the globe and especially in the global south. In 2022, Chile has experienced below average rainfall. However, its water scarcity is equally, if not more, the result of government policy to commodify water and reroute freshwater supplies to the production of exports for the global market. Activists have coined the slogan ‘no es sequía, es saqueo’ (‘it’s not drought, it’s plunder’) to reflect this fact.

Again, the new constitution looked to rectify this trend. Yet even water-stressed areas such as Petorica voted by 56.1 per cent to reject the proposals. The reasons for the country’s rejection are complex. The ‘rechazo’ (reject) campaign was an effective misinformation machine, spreading outright lies about the proposals within the new constitution that fomented division. An early 2022 survey, for example, found that over half of voters had been subject to misinformation. The rechazo campaign was also well funded: 89 per cent of private donations flowed to their camp, reflecting the interests of big industry.

The central conundrum facing Chile’s progressives is that policies to alleviate the water crisis have now been rejected by those living in the very areas it affects most. Felipe Irarrázaval, a researcher at the Centre for Social Conflict and Cohesion Studies (COES) suggests that ‘the issue is that the constitutional process addressed many other issues beyond the environment, and this perhaps touched another nerve and other sensibilities that begin to explain the result’.

The issue of access to safe and affordable drinking water in Chile remains urgent. How will Chileans deal with this crisis? Despite the recent setback, activists across the country remain defiant in pursuit of water with the three c’s: cantidad, cualidad and continuidad (quantity, quality and continuity).

Either way, water rights campaigners fear that the outcome of the referendum will be used to mask the country’s water scarcity issues. The future remains uncertain. The Boric administration will look to renew the constitutional process but the decision lies with the Chilean congress.

Carole Concha Bell is a PhD student at King’s College, London and freelance writer

This article first appeared in issue #238, Winter 2022, Drought and Deluge. Subscribe today to get your magazine delivered hot off the press!

Categories: F. Left News

Stop sprawl groups amalgamate to fight Ford’s Greenbelt grab

Rabble - Thu, 01/05/2023 - 12:39

“The people have spoken. We won’t touch the Greenbelt,” Doug Ford (2018).

Ford may have heard the people, but it only took until November 2022 to renege on that promise. Late on a Friday, while the public was distracted by the educational assistants crisis, Ford announced his plan to remove 7,400 acres of land from the Greenbelt.

By December 14 the deed was done and these lands were officially removed from the protection of the Greenbelt and Oak Ridges Moraine legislation.

Ford does plan to swap in land from other places but that destabilizes the efficacy of Greenbelt designation and implies that any land can replace environmentally sensitive land that gives life to species at risk.

Not surprisingly, the Greenbelt grab helps facilitate Bill 23, More Homes Built Faster Act – also passed in November 2022. This bill effectively strips the conservation authority of its powers and allows the sale of conservation lands.

And, the bill does nothing to build affordable homes or increase densification within existing urban boundaries where infrastructure and public transit already exist.

Perhaps most egregiously, Bill 23 overrides decisions made by municipal and regional councils to limit urban boundary expansion in order to build 1.5 million homes in ten years.

Unifying to stop the sprawl

In response to these imposed changes, Stop Sprawl Halton (SSH) and Stop Sprawl Hamilton Ontario (SSHamOnt) have been holding rallies across the region.

The December 4 rally held outside Hamilton City Hall attracted over 1,000 people and had a long list of speakers including Burlington Mayor, Marianne Meed Ward; Halton Hills Councillor Fogel; eight Hamilton councillors; NDP MP Mathew Green; NDP MPP candidate for Hamilton Centre, Sarah Jama; and Mike Balkwill, Campaign Director with Water Watchers.

READ MORE: Ford uses bait and switch to sprawl onto farmland and Greenbelt

By maintaining the existing urban boundary, Halton Region saved 5,000 acres of farmland from development. With one swish of his pen, Ford added 8,300 acres for developers to sprawl over.

“The fact that he’s trying to do this under the guise of affordable housing is actually an insult to most intelligent Ontario residents,” said Kim Bradshaw in an interview with rabble.ca.

A SSH member, Bradshaw says that the group is looking to the federal government for some intervention because there’s no way Canada will make its carbon reduction commitments based on the amount of growth Ford is predicting.

Bradshaw points out that Ford’s initiative will also directly affect people’s health while endangering at risk species.

She believes the federal government should attack Ford’s legislation from those vantage points.

Land cannot be ‘replaced’

Ford mistakenly thinks he can swap pieces of the current Greenbelt for land in other parts of the province. But the Duffins Rouge Agricultural Preserve, located between Scarborough and Pickering, is actually a feeder into the Rouge National Urban Park. This national reserve is home to several species at risk including Blanding’s turtles, red-headed woodpeckers and monarch butterflies.

“You can’t put a fence on it. You can’t stop animals. It must be continuous and uninterrupted to work. This land cannot be ‘replaced’ with other land in the Greenbelt,” observed Bradshaw.

Over 1,965 acres of Hamilton land will no longer have Greenbelt designation. Add to that, 5,435 acres of farmland the provincial government is opening up for development and Hamilton is losing 7,400 acres of irreplaceable land.

“We need to dispel the myth that there is not enough land to build the homes we need,” commented Hamilton Ward 12 councillor, Craig Cassar via email.

He went on to say, “From this perspective, Bill 23 is entirely redundant. The City of Hamilton has granted enough permits for housing construction for the next decade and already had plans to accommodate projected growth through 2051 – all within the existing urban boundary.”

Cassar indicated that Bill 23 is harmful to residents on many levels from destroying farmland and natural heritage to perpetuating urban sprawl and car dependency rather than walkable cities that are healthier, cheaper to live in and include a more diverse mix of housing.

He highlighted the fact that, “Bill 23 also robs municipalities of revenue from development charges and forces the construction of more costly urban infrastructure, so residents will be burdened with high property taxes for generations to come.”

SSHamOnt was instrumental in convincing city council to maintain a firm urban boundary. Now, they have undertaken a province-wide campaign to help educate and mobilize people.

SSHamOnt spokesperson, Lilly Noble, told rabble.ca that means focusing on PC MPPs  Donna Skelly and Neil Lumsden because as Nobel sees it, “These are the two people who let Ford do what he wanted and didn’t disagree.”

Noble maintains Ford has not been following democratic norms for some time. His policies have been harming people and the environment and eventually, it’s going to cost Hamilton both financially and through environmental degradation.

SSHamOnt is looking for volunteers to do lit drops – deliver post cards and flyers — in the MPPs ridings of Flamborough-Glanbrook and Hamilton East.

They are also asking constituents to phone Skelly and Lumsden to share their concerns for Bill 23 and to ask them why they overruled city council’s decision to establish a firm urban boundary.

In addition, SSHamOnt is supporting Environmental Defence (ED) and Democracy Watch (DW) as they call on the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) to investigate insider information leaks to sprawl developers in advance of Greenbelt land removals.

In the fall of 2021, Hamilton city council voted 13 to 3 to maintain the urban boundary and saved over 3,300 acres of farmland from development. Ford not only wants to usurp that essential farmland, but he has bumped it up to 5,436 acres.

That has left SSHamOnt wondering what they can do to combat a provincial government that is using its unprecedented power to rewrite laws.

The present city council seems amenable to maintaining the current urban boundary but Noble observes, “If they try to ignore builders’ demands to build in these new areas, we’re afraid they’ll just go to the Ontario Land Tribunal (OLT) and they’ll say, ‘fine, do it,’ because Ford wants it to happen.”

Hamilton currently has designated land within its urban boundary that the municipal government wants to use for development before sprawling out. That’s because this land is close to existing municipal services.

According to Noble, “There’s no need to leap frog into farmland.” She went on to say, “It’s a slippery slope with him [Ford]. The farmland thing is one little favour to his buddies. And, of course, the Bradford Bypass and the 413. But the rest of it is just an erosion of democracy.”

New stop the sprawl movements forming

Tapping into the existing momentum of stop sprawl groups across the province, new organizations are emerging to ensure information gets out to a broader audience.

Waterloo based 50by30WR is a grassroots, community-led campaign advocating for Waterloo Region to commit to a 50 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2030.

The group wants to ensure that Waterloo creates a green recovery from the COVID pandemic centered on human well-being and innovation while building a socially just, sustainable and climate-smart region.

50by30WR member, Barbara Schumacher, told rabble.ca via email, “With Bill 23 and subsequent regulations for carveouts to the Greenbelt, we organized awareness raising zoom meetings and opened registration across the province. We have joined the Ontario Climate Emergency Campaign and are working with a diverse groups of climate activists across our region and the province to demand that our government keep its Greenbelt Promise, stop urban sprawl, restore the powers of the Conservation Authorities and end destruction of our natural heritage and prime farmland.”

The Greenbelt Guardian initiative — an offshoot of sorts from 50by30WR — is the result of grassroots anger and sense of betrayal. The collective responded by creating the space for people right across Ontario who feel betrayed and enraged to gather.  

“What is happening is very much a rising up of people who normally would not think of going to a rally, or striking, but this government’s action is propelling them to a higher level of resistance and action,” said Schumacher.

In that space, people identified regional teams and committed to organizing themselves to monitor and survey what is happening on the ground.  Their intent is to post signs of destruction on social media and to hold pop-up rallies that draw media attention while continuing to show the government the extent of public opposition to Bill 23, forced urban sprawl and Greenbelt cutouts.

Bradshaw shared, “We know there’s one spot on the Hamilton Whitebelt that has a drill on it. This was being done under the cover of the holidays when folks were too busy to get things going.”

“The key is to make sure we break out of our echo chamber. We have a lot of people who are upset about his, but you can still find lots of people who haven’t clued in to the fact that there’s this [land] grab going on and that Ford is attacking democracy through Bill 23,” added Bradshaw.

Municipalities have to announce when they’re going to discuss development requests at council. So, Bradshaw encourages people to keep an eye on municipal alerts. It’s a way to see all of the requests coming in from developers and to find out which lands they are trying to develop.

She also suggests speaking with municipal councillors to ensure council understands the importance of preserving these lands.

Bradshaw acknowledges these land issues intersect with climate change, food security, sustainability and livability as well as health and education and hopes these folks join the movement.

SSH has also been collaborating with Indigenous groups because they recognize this movement is part of Truth and Reconciliation.

Bradshaw would like to see a liveable Ontario that holds governments accountable for their actions to ensure they act in the best interests of the people — not their own party’s interest.

“It’s really frightening to imagine what Ontario will become if Ford is successful. All of these commons issues should be beyond one party’s reach. Our government should be treating them that way and they’re not,” said Bradshaw.

To sign the ED/DW OPP investigation petition click here.

The post Stop sprawl groups amalgamate to fight Ford’s Greenbelt grab appeared first on rabble.ca.

Categories: F. Left News

Brazil’s new president offers renewed chance to save the Amazon

Rabble - Thu, 01/05/2023 - 11:53

The Amazon rainforest is often called the lungs of the planet, covering more than three million square miles across nine South American countries. It is an immense carbon sink, drawing carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere, storing it as biomass and releasing oxygen. Other tropical rainforests do the same, from the Congo Basin to New Guinea and Indonesian-occupied West Papua and Malaysia. But the Amazon is on a scale of its own, and, with human activity driving catastrophic global heating, protecting the climate-healing power of the Amazon is vital.

Which is why the victory in Brazil’s recent presidential race by Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva may be one of the most momentous events in modern world history. Known as Lula, voters returned him for a third term after he left office more than a decade ago. He has pledged to protect the Amazon and the Indigenous communities that have long stewarded the forest.

Lula defeated the racist, far-right-wing incumbent president Jair Bolsonaro, an autocrat who made unrestrained Amazon deforestation and the elimination of protected Indigenous zones a central pillar of his single term in office. Before Lula’s January 1 inauguration, Bolsonaro fled to Orlando, Florida, reportedly to the vacation home of Brazilian Jose Aldo, a champion mixed martial arts fighter.

“This is the first time that a Brazilian president, since the end of the dictatorship in Brazil, was not there to pass the presidential sash to the incoming president,” independent journalist Michael Fox said on the Democracy Now! news hour. “It was actually this diverse group of Brazilian people — a Black trash collector, a cook, a handicap activist — who passed that sash on to Lula, and it showed the Brazilian people coming together. So it was huge.”

Lula was a metalworker and union organizer during Brazil’s military dictatorship. A co-founder of the Workers Party, he was first elected president in 2002. During his two successive terms, policies he championed like the “Zero Hunger” program lifted millions of Brazilians out of poverty and food insecurity. His successor, Dilma Rousseff, a Workers Party member and former guerilla, was impeached in a legislative coup in 2016. Lula himself was imprisoned in 2018 for 580 days on trumped up corruption charges. He was released when a court ruled the judge in his case was biased against him.

Bolsonaro has been called the “Tropical Trump,” and, like Donald Trump, refused to concede his election loss, claiming that “only God” could remove him from office. Concerns of potential violence from Bolsonaro supporters during Lula’s inauguration prompted the Brazilian Supreme Court to ban legal firearms from the capital city of Brasilia until after the event.

“The last few years, we undoubtedly lived in one of the worst periods in our history, an era of shadows, doubt and a lot of suffering,” Lula said in his inauguration speech. “But this nightmare came to an end with the sovereign vote in the most important election since the country’s return to democracy, an election that has shown the Brazilian people’s commitment to democracy and its institutions.”

Lula’s government is a radical departure from Bolsonaro’s authoritarianism. Key ministerial appointments include Goldman Prize winner Marina Silva, a defender of the Amazon rainforest, as Minister of the Environment and Climate Change; Black activist, journalist and educator Anielle Franco as Minister of Racial Equality – in 2018, Anielle’s sister Marielle Franco, a human rights activist and member of Rio de Janeiro’s city council, was assassinated; and Sônia Guajajara as Brazil’s first-ever Minister for Indigenous Peoples.

In September, 2019, Sônia Guajajara was in New York City, marching in the youth-led climate strike.

“The Amazon is burning,” she told Democracy Now! “Lots of territories are on fire. We attribute the increase in the fires to the rhetoric of the government of Jair Bolsonaro, that incites attacks, that incites invasions and incites deforestation. The practices of the Bolsonaro government are consolidating this government as the biggest enemy of Indigenous people and the environment.”

She continued, “We’re in a time of awakening…to the urgent need to fight for the environment. For that, it’s necessary for people to have political and ecological consciousness, to call out and pressure the governments in their countries in order to adopt sustainable policies.”

Brazil is the largest country in Latin America and the 12th-largest economy in the world. Lula’s presidency with its historically diverse cabinet opens the door to progressive change, to challenge the rising global tide of authoritarianism and fascism. Saving the Amazon rainforest is one of Lula’s principal goals, but the task is too large and too urgent for one nation or one administration alone. The Amazon is at a tipping point, and we all must tackle this existential threat, together.

This column originally appeared in Democracy Now!

The post Brazil’s new president offers renewed chance to save the Amazon appeared first on rabble.ca.

Categories: F. Left News

Alberta NDP sees high level of fundraising off of unpopular UCP

Rabble - Thu, 01/05/2023 - 10:25

It is remarkable by any measure that the Alberta New Democratic Party raised $7.1 million in 2022, not to mention that $3.2 million of that sum was donated during the fourth quarter, and more than a quarter million dollars on the last night of the year.

The NDP’s fund-raising success speaks to deep unhappiness in Alberta – which a lazy New York Times piece about Premier Danielle Smith’s so-called Sovereignty Act described misleadingly as “heavily conservative” – with the United Conservative Party (UCP) under both former premier Jason Kenney and Smith. 

That’s not to say the next Alberta general election, whenever it takes place, will be a cake walk for the NDP. But there’s no way it will be a slam dunk for the UCP either, especially with Smith at the helm and the radical Take Back Alberta group tightening its hold on the party and its constituency associations. 

Yes, there are important caveats about the opacity of UCP fundraising, whose constituency associations don’t have to report their fund-raising results until the end of the year thanks to the previous UCP government’s changes to Alberta election financing laws. (The NDP raises all of its money centrally and reports it each quarter.)

This was undoubtedly done to give the UCP some kind of strategic advantage in fundraising, although the effect, presumably unintended, seems to have been to establish a narrative that the NDP is raising far more money than the government party and has more momentum as a result.

Still, the UCP probably has more cash on hand that the quarterly reports make it appear. 

The UCP will also have effective access to funds from corporate financed, U.S.-style political action committees that, despite the province’s election financing law, obviously co-ordinate their campaigns with the governing party. The upcoming election campaign will make this fact clearer than ever. 

Further, the electoral map in Alberta is undoubtedly weighted in favour of conservative parties and politicians, no matter how unpopular they make themselves in large urban areas. 

Still, the fact remains the NDP was able to raise more than $7 million, 80 per cent above the UCP’s official reported fundraising take for all of 2021. Official party fundraising fourth-quarter 2022 figures for all parties are scheduled to be published by Elections Alberta next month.

Remember, this was in a year when it was still illegal for unions or corporations to make donations to political parties. So this fundraising success by the NDP can certainly be taken as a powerful indicator of just how strong the desire is among Albertans for a return to former NDP premier Rachel Notley’s more thoughtful approach to governing this supposedly heavily conservative province.

That the NDP could raise $265,000 in a single day, on New Year’s Eve before the drinks really started to flow no less, truly says both that the party has figured out how to do political fundraising, and the anger, fear and disgust the UCP’s demonstrated incompetence under Kenney during the pandemic and its bizarre sovereignty-association campaign under Smith have aroused among many Albertans.

The NDP’s success was driven by small donors. Contributions came from more than 30,000 Albertans, including 3,500 first-time donors.

Opposition Leader Notley’s pitch is tuned to this reality: “Alberta’s NDP will end the chaos in health care, we will take real and long-term measures to address the cost-of-living crisis and we will deliver on an economic strategy that creates good-paying jobs and drives billions in new investment opportunities,” she said in the party’s news release.

Expect to hear more like that during the campaign. 

“We have seen a noticeable surge of support since Danielle Smith took office,” noted NDP Provincial Secretary Brandon Stevens in the news release. “It’s clear Albertans are taking a stand against her chaotic and destructive policies.”

Premier Smith was sworn in on October 11 after she was chosen in a party leadership race in which about three per cent of Alberta’s electorate voted. Unexpectedly, she has never pivoted away from the radical sovereignty-association and anti-vaccine platform she advocated to the UCP’s far right base when she was seeking the leadership. 

Beyond popular disdain for the government’s response to the pandemic and the chaos in the health care system, University of Calgary political scientist Lisa Young argued in a Substack column yesterday that while in Opposition the NDP has engaged in “a disciplined campaign to build the party machine since the 2019 election.”

“Fundraising has improved each year,” she wrote. “Candidates have been nominated well in advance of the election. This will give the party a presence ‘on the ground’ that it lacked in previous elections.”

Not only that, but the NDP has nominated serious candidates with sound credentials of a sort that were much more difficult to recruit during the party’s many years in the wilderness before Notley’s unexpected majority victory in May 2015. 

Once the election campaign gets officially under way during the 28-day election campaign period expected to begin on May 1, parties will be limited to spending about $3 million, and candidates to about $53,000 each, Young noted. 

“But spending is unlimited before May 1, so residents of Calgary, Lethbridge, Red Deer and a few other places should expect to be bombarded with election advertising for the next four months,” she said. 

Voters can also count on the UCP to pull out all the stops to hang onto government, regardless of the inadequacies of their leader. So expect a harshly negative campaign from the government. 

All of this, of course, assumes the next Alberta election will take place as scheduled next May 29. As has been said here before, this is not a sure thing if the UCP continues to poll poorly, as changing the province’s fixed-election-date law would require only a majority vote of the Legislature, easy for a majority government. 

The post Alberta NDP sees high level of fundraising off of unpopular UCP appeared first on rabble.ca.

Categories: F. Left News

With climate targets on the horizon, urgency reaches new heights

Rabble - Thu, 01/05/2023 - 08:32

With 2022 in the rearview mirror, time is running out to combat the climate crisis.

In November, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) released a report showing the past eight years are on track to be the warmest eight on record.

The WMO attributes the record-breaking temperatures to the continued rise of greenhouse gas concentrations and accumulated heat from years of above average conditions.

The State of the Global Climate in 2022 report found the climate crisis affected millions and cost billions over the course of the year, with extreme heat waves, widespread drought, and severe flooding displacing people from their homes, communities and even countries.

According to the WMO, the rate to which sea levels are rising has doubled since 1993. It rose by nearly 10 millimeters since January 2020, marking a new record high.

“The past two and a half years alone account for 10 percent of the overall rise in sea level since satellite measurements started nearly 30 years ago,” the report reads.

Among the worst effects of the climate crisis in 2022 were on glaciers in the European Alps, which saw an unprecedented melting rate, while the Greenland ice sheet lost mass for the 26th straight year. 

Even more concerning is that the region saw rainfall for the first time in September.

While the report suggests 2022 will likely “only” be the fifth or sixth warmest on record, the long-term trends show the next warmest year on record isn’t far off. 

In the report, WMO Secretary-General Prof. Petteri Taalas warns that it’s already too late to stop much of the glacial melting across the globe, resulting in major implications for water security.

“The rate of sea level rise has doubled in the past 30 years,” Taalas wrote in the report. “Although we still measure this in terms of millimetres per year, it adds up to half to one meter per century and that is a long-term and major threat to many millions of coastal dwellers and low-lying states.”

Taalas noted that regions least responsible for causing the climate crisis are the same regions that will suffer most, pointing to the widespread flooding in Pakistan and deadly drought in the Horn of Africa.

“Increasingly extreme weather makes it more important than ever to ensure that everyone on Earth has access to life-saving early warnings,” Taalas added.

Nova Scotia could warm by nearly five degrees by 2100: report

2022 marked the first time Nova Scotia published climate projections since 2011 and the conclusions are damning.

The report, conducted by the Department of Environment and Climate Change, warned that Nova Scotia could warm by nearly five degrees by 2100 “in a scenario with high levels of greenhouse gas emissions.”

While that projection remains more than 75 years away, the ramifications of the climate crisis are already ramping up.

By the 2030s, widespread flooding is expected to be the top concern, before warmer temperatures make wildfires the biggest threat in the 2050s.

READ MORE: Climate scientists take climate activism into their own hands

As the average temperature soars into the 2080s, essential aspects of life are expected to be jeopardized, from food production and infrastructure to human health and ecosystems. 

While the projections look specifically at Nova Scotia, a peninsula of one million people, they offer a glimpse at what regions around the world will have to adapt to in order to both survive and reverse the climate crisis.

The report also looked at who is most impacted by ramifications of the climate crisis and the result is concerning.

“People already facing disadvantages will be at greater risk,” the report reads.

Those communities include African Nova Scotians, Mi’kmaq, immigrants, women, older Nova Scotians, low-income earners, and individuals living with disabilities. 

Canada’s National Adaptation Strategy

In November, the federal government announced Canada’s National Adaptation Strategy, a comprehensive plan to address the primary systems at stake in the climate crisis, including health and well-being, infrastructure, nature and biodiversity, economy and workers, and disaster resilience.
“The fight against climate change has reached our doorstep,” Guilbeault said in a November 24 press conference, adding “adaptation is a cost-effective and positive investment in the present and future.”

The strategy will see an additional $1.6 billion committed by the federal government to protect communities across Canada. Funds are set to help adapt public infrastructures like roads and bridges to withstand extreme weather events like flooding.

“Climate change is the single biggest threat to human health,” said Minister of Health Jean-Yves Duclos in a news release. “Adapting to and mitigating the inevitable effects of a changing climate is crucial to improving public health.”

Minister of Natural Resources Jonathan Wilkinson also laid bare the dizzying costs of impacts related to the effects of climate change.

Wilkinson noted that Canadian taxpayers are projected to $25 billion by 2025, before reaching an annual cost of approximately $100 billion by 2050.

According to the strategy, every dollar spent on adaptation measures saves taxpayers between $13 and $15. New flooding and wildfire guidelines alone could save the country nearly $5 billion per year, or $12 per every $1 invested.

The post With climate targets on the horizon, urgency reaches new heights appeared first on rabble.ca.

Categories: F. Left News

Airlines continue to lack accountability during extreme weather events

Rabble - Thu, 01/05/2023 - 07:27

Leading up to the holidays, severe winter storms and arctic outflows across B.C. left Vancouver International Airport (airport code YVR) in a state of chaos. Airlines delayed and cancelled flights which affected thousands of passengers—some were stranded and forced to sleep in the airport for days. 

While others were stuck on inbound aircrafts for hours, with some passengers waiting nearly 12 hours to disembark the aircraft. Throughout the week, lack of communication and organization from YVR airport and major airlines left passengers in a state of disarray.

Adam and Renee Souter, who were travelling with their three children for their annual ski trip, flew into Vancouver International Airport from Auckland, Australia on Saturday, December 17. They were booked on a connecting WestJet flight to Kelowna scheduled to depart on December 18. After multiple delays, their WestJet flight was canceled.

“They rebooked us back for Tuesday (December 20), which was a bit late. So, then we booked another flight on Lynx [Air] for the Monday (December 19). Then they did the same thing—they delayed, delayed, delayed, and finally canceled at 1 a.m. on Tuesday morning,” said Renee.

After their flight was cancelled, Adam and Renee went to retrieve their checked-in luggage which was supposed to be dispatched onto the baggage carousels. Past 2 a.m., Lynx Air did not provide any further baggage updates or communication. By the time they realized that they weren’t going to get their bags back, it was too late for the Souters to secure a hotel room. In the end, they spent the night at the airport until their rebooked flight at 5 p.m. the same day.

“It’s a budget airline and we understand that. It was the only airline available and you kind of get what you get—but the minimum you should get as a human is communication,” Adam said.

Nathan Drew and Jordan Hegwood, a couple who flew in from Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas, found themselves in a similar situation. Drew and Hegwood were also travelling to Kelowna, B.C. via Lynx Air. While the couple was lucky enough to find a hotel room, they said that it was nearly impossible to leave the airport. With the SkyTrain out of service due to the cold weather, they’re only options were Uber or cab. The minimum wait time for a cab was an hour and a half, leaving Drew and Hegwood along with other delayed passengers to wait out in the cold.

“The day before that we had to pay $100 just to get an Uber—that was for a 12-minute drive. It was ridiculous money just to get where we had to get to,” added Hegwood.

Just like the Souters, Drew and Hegwood were unable to retrieve their bags.

Then there were passengers who were trapped in aircrafts for hours. In the case of Cheuknam Ho, he was travelling on an Air Canada flight from Hong Kong to Vancouver, a long-haul flight that is about 11 hours and 30 minutes long. Upon landing, there were no gates available for the aircraft.

“I landed in Vancouver and stayed in the plane for more than five hours—just to wait to get to the gate,” said Ho.

While stuck on the aircraft, Ho said he tried to ask the Air Canada flight crew for more information, but they couldn’t provide any.

Along with the lack of communication, passengers questioned whether or not Vancouver International Airport was properly prepared for heavy snowfall conditions. Adam and Renee expressed that YVR airport should have better contingency plans in place.

“At least for me, just being better prepared for weather phenomena in the area. At least from what I’ve been hearing from people here is that Vancouver’s not prepared at all for any sort of snow—and they’re in Canada. I know it doesn’t happen often here, but you need something in place,” said Drew.

Adam also questioned how the flight cancellations and heavy snowfall was handled by both airlines and YVR airport authority.

“It’s unusual because of the snow, but then it’s how it’s managed and I don’t think it was managed very well. It sounds like there’s increasing amounts of big snow here and it doesn’t wash away as quickly as it used to. Maybe they need to just resource it better or have better contingencies for it,” said Adam.

An email statement from Air Canada noted that they are continuing to monitor the weather situations across Canada and even pre-cancelled flights on Friday, December 23 in response to extreme weather warnings in eastern Canada. WestJet has also taken precautionary measures and pre-cancelled flights.

“The decision to stand down more flights was extremely difficult, but it was necessary, so that we could be best prepared to safely fly as many guests, with as little disruption as possible this weekend,” said WestJet’s chief operations officer, Diederik Pen in a media statement.

Understanding air passenger rights

Gábor Lukács, president and founder of Air Passenger Rights, was closely watching the events unfold, observing a lack of accountability—especially from the major airlines like West Jet and Air Canada.


“Obviously airlines don’t control the weather. That’s not their fault. Even as a bloodthirsty air passenger advocate like myself would not hold them accountable for that. That’s not reasonable—how they react to the weather is a different matter,” said Lukács.

Two major issues that Lukács noticed concerned flight rebookings and tarmac delays. According to the Air Passenger Protection Regulations (APPR), when a flight cancellation or delay occurs and is outside of an airline’s control (such as weather conditions), delayed passengers must be booked on the next available flight operated by the airline itself or any of its commercial partners. The flight must fall within 48 hours of the passenger’s original departure time. If an airline is unable to book a flight within that time frame, they must get the passenger to their destination at all costs even if it means booking a ticket with a competing airline.

READ MORE: Climate Change, Christmas and Capitalism: The Great Southwest Airlines Meltdown

“That was not happening. WestJet was just telling people to take a flying leap—telling them, ‘well sorry, we’re not able to rebook you. Goodbye,’” said Lukács.

Furthermore, for flight cancellations and delays caused by weather conditions, the APPR does not require airlines to provide compensation—this means that the airlines are not obligated to provide food vouchers or overnight accommodations to affected passengers.

Then there were the numerous and lengthy tarmac delays. The APPR states that once a tarmac delay reaches three hours, the airline must allow passengers to disembark the aircraft. Airlines are allotted an extra 45 minutes if it is likely that the flight will take-off. At YVR Airport, tarmac delays lasted nearly 12 hours. 

“I have seen a lot of fingers pointed to the Vancouver Airport. Airlines love to blame the airports because that means, ‘oh, it wasn’t us, it’s them,” Lukács said.

“The decision to board passengers, to leave the gate without having a backup plan of what happens if it’s not possible to take off—for whatever legitimate reasons, that’s the airline’s decision. The airline decided to keep passengers on the tarmac for that long. I don’t see any evidence that they have been going out of their way to try to get stairs to the aircraft that they failed to provide food and water to passengers on board.”

With multiple tarmac delays, ongoing investigations by the Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA) are currently underway. At this time, the CTA is unable to confirm when the investigations will be complete.

With little repercussions for airlines, Lukács said it’s important for passengers to understand their rights and to take action when those rights are violated. 

“The most important advice is don’t be a pushover. Stand up for your rights and fight for your rights. Take airlines to small claims court. Don’t let them get away with this,” said Lukács.

YVR International Airport extending care for passengers, too late for some

On Friday December 23, YVR International Airport announced that their staff will be extending care and comfort services for delayed passengers. Passengers affected by overnight delays were offered up to four nights free-of-charge at local hotels and restaurant gift cards. These hotel accommodations and meal vouchers were offered until December 27.

“Our primary focus is to safely get passengers on their journey. When extreme weather disrupts those plans for extended periods of time, we understand that passengers face immense challenges–especially if they don’t call Vancouver home,” said Tamara Vrooman, president and CEO of Vancouver International Airport. 

For delayed passengers who remain at the airport, YVR airport set up a designated resting area on Level 3 departures. It was set up with cots, blankets, hygiene kits and other basic supplies. Additionally, YVR staff and volunteers were distributing food, water, hand-warmers and other items throughout the airport.

As for passengers who were travelling before these measures were put in place, this offer of goodwill comes way too late as many have already moved on.

After five nights in Vancouver, the Souter family opted to take a shuttle bus to Kelowna, rather than taking their chances flying again. For future trips, Adam and Renee plan to avoid YVR International Airport altogether.

Drew and Hegwood were rebooked on a recovery flight by Lynx Air and finally arrived in Kelowna, B.C. early afternoon on Wednesday, December 22. Although the couple is relieved that they made it to their final destination, they are left without their checked-in luggage and personal belongings. Tracked by an Apple Tag, Drew and Hegwood’s luggage remained in Vancouver Airport.

According to YVR International Airport’s latest operational update on December 30, the airport was back on track with about 97 per cent of scheduled flights operational. As the weather continued to improve, YVR airport said they were sending passengers on their way. In the meantime, YVR’s designated comfort area was been extended and was available to delayed passengers until January 3.
Lynx Air did not reply to rabble’s request for an interview by the time of publication.

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Categories: F. Left News

There’s still time for Singh and Trudeau to reform the electoral system

Rabble - Wed, 01/04/2023 - 12:21

Here’s a New Year’s resolution for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his governing partner, New Democratic Leader Jagmeet Singh: Revive the idea of electoral reform for Canada.

Replacing Canada’s first-past-the-post voting system was a signature promise for Trudeau when he first got elected, with a majority, in 2015.

For a while during his first term Trudeau acted as though he meant to fulfill the promise. Then, after a fairly protracted preparatory process, he pulled the plug. 

Trudeau’s explanation, at the time, was that there was no consensus as to what kind of reform Canadians wanted.

Liberals favoured a ranked ballot; New Democrats, a system with a good measure of proportionality; and Conservatives wanted a country-wide referendum on any change. 

The only realistic option, Trudeau argued, was to put the whole matter to rest and focus on other priorities. Among those were legalization of cannabis. 

READ MORE: Liberals’ online survey is a tactic to derail electoral reform

Now would be a good time to bring the ghost of electoral reform down from the attic and breathe some life into it.

Current electoral system is unsuited to Canada

The drawbacks of Canada’s current first-past-the-post system, which Trudeau quite accurately perceived in 2015, still persist. 

The two principal flaws of our winner-takes-all voting system are: it exaggerates regional political differences, and makes it possible for political parties to narrowcast to a minority of the population yet still win a majority of seats.

To get an understanding of how first-past-the-post unfairly creates the sense that regions of the country are more uniform in their political preferences than they really are look at federal elections over the past six decades.

During that period, we frequently had results where the Conservatives and New Democrats were almost or completely shut out in Quebec, despite each winning well over 10 per cent of the votes. That meant a quarter or more of Quebec’s voters had minimal or no representation.

Similarly, in some western provinces, Conservatives have routinely won all or almost all the seats with not much more than half the votes, sometimes less than half. That meant fully half of the electorate in those provinces had virtually no voice in Parliament.

Arguably, first-past-the-post contributes to national disunity. 

It makes us seem as though we are more different from each other, province to province, region to region, than we are.

Our electoral system rewards parties that focus narrowly on one or more region, not the whole country.

The most extreme case is the Bloc Québécois. 

In the last election, the Bloc ran candidates only in the 78 Quebec ridings. It won less than eight per cent of the national popular vote, far less than half the New Democrats’ 17.8 per cent. But the Bloc’s geographically concentrated vote gave it 32 seats as opposed to the NDP’s 25. 

On the whole, first-past-the-post too often motivates federal politicians to focus excessively on their own regions, especially the grievances of their own regions, to the detriment of the national interest.  

That flaw should be sufficient condemnation of our current system, but the other flaw of first-past-the-post is even more dangerous.

Unlike the United States, Canada is a not a two-party country. 

We are a multi-party democracy, and have been so for more than a century, since the rise of the now-defunct Progressive party following World War I. 

The first-past-the-post system, in a multi-party context, can quite easily deliver a majority of seats to a party that wins fewer than four votes out of ten. That has happened quite often in Canada, especially in recent elections. (See under: Harper and Chrétien majorities.)

Such results might not seem too awful when they benefit a centrist party which seeks to govern in a consensual manner. But they can be scary when they disproportionately reward a party which has more than a passing familiarity with extremism. 

That latter outcome is a real possibility the country faces in the next election.

But it is not too late to make it much harder for a narrow-casting, divisive, extremist group to ever win a majority of seats with only a bare plurality of votes. 

It is not too late to fire up the electoral reform process once again and come up with a better voting system – a new system most of us could live with, even if it were not our favoured option.

The NDP could accept Trudeau’s favoured option

The New Democrats could make electoral reform finally happen if they decided to put water in their wine and opt for the system Trudeau has long favoured, the ranked ballot, or instant run-off.

Currently, we vote for one candidate and the one with the greatest number of votes wins, even if that number is way below 50 per cent. 

In a ranked system, we would indicate our first choice, but also our second, third, fourth, etc., choices as well. When a candidate fails to win 50 per cent plus one of the first choices, the electoral officials count second choices, and, if necessary, even third or fourth choices. 

In this system, a candidate cannot win without gaining more than half the total votes.

Such a system would force parties to play nice with each other, to some extent at any rate, because they want the second choices of other parties’ supporters. 

It would also make it difficult for candidates whose extreme positions attract an enthusiastic hardcore but repel the majority to win.

New Democrats and many electoral reform advocates oppose the ranked ballot option because they say it would excessively favour a centrist all-things-to-all-people party, like the Liberals. 

In some elections that might be the case, but not in all, and likely not in the one that’s coming in 2025. 

In a situation where the party of the centre has been in power for a while and has earned more than its share of battle scars, the ranked ballot system might, in fact, work to the advantage of another party which is ideologically close to the centre, but unscathed by the scandals and missteps of the governing party. 

And then there’s this fact, which New Democrats should consider.

Aside from its two principal flaws, first-past-the-post also encourages the unfortunate practice known as tactical or strategic voting. 

Many Canadians have in recent times held their noses and voted for the less-than-perfect Liberals rather than their first choices, to prevent the party they truly feared from winning.

The ranked ballot would take away the need for such aberrant voting behaviour. 

It would allow, say, Green and New Democratic supporters to select their favoured option, then guard against the party they truly loath and fear by selecting the big-tent-party-of-the-middle as their second choice.

If Jagmeet Singh were to champion a switch from our current system to the ranked ballot now it would be a visionary act of true leadership. 

Adopting the governing party’s favoured option would break the logjam on electoral reform. It would result in change to the way we vote for the first time in our history, but not radical change. 

We would still have the same number of MPs, and we would still have one MP per riding. So, a ranked ballot wouldn’t be something difficult for Canadians to adjust to. 

As an administrative matter it would take some time to fully implement any change to our electoral system. 

But the 2025 election is more than two and a half years away. 

There is still time to make this reform happen, if the two government partners put their heads together and get started on reform as soon as parliament resumes at the end of January.

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Categories: F. Left News

The Sacred Balance: Learning from Indigenous Peoples

Rabble - Wed, 01/04/2023 - 08:39

The following is adapted from the prologue to the 25th anniversary edition of The Sacred Balance: Rediscovering Our Place in Nature (Greystone Books), released in December.

As host of the long-running television series The Nature of Things, I learned of the battle over clearcut logging on Haida Gwaii, off the coast of British Columbia, in the 1970s. For thousands of years, the islands have been home to the Haida. Forest companies had been denuding much of the islands by clearcut logging, which had generated growing opposition.

In the early 1980s, I flew to Haida Gwaii to interview loggers, forestry officials, government bureaucrats, environmentalists and Indigenous people. One of the people I interviewed was a young Haida artist named Guujaaw who had led the opposition to logging for years.

Unemployment was high in Haida communities, and logging generated desperately needed jobs. So I asked Guujaaw why he opposed the logging. He answered, “Our people have determined that Windy Bay and other areas must be left in their natural condition so that we can keep our identity and pass it on to following generations. The forests, those oceans, are what keep us as Haida people today.”

When I asked him what would happen if the logging continued and the trees were cleared, he answered simply, “If they’re logged off, we’ll probably end up the same as everyone else, I guess.”

It was a simple statement whose implications escaped me at the time. But on reflection, I realized that he had given me a glimpse into a profoundly different way of seeing the world. Guujaaw’s statement suggested that for his people, the trees, the birds, the fish, the water and wind are all parts of Haida identity.

Ever since that interview, I have been a student learning from encounters with Indigenous Peoples in many parts of the world. From Japan to Australia, Papua New Guinea, Borneo, the Kalahari, the Amazon and the Arctic, Indigenous people have expressed to me that vital need to be connected to the land. They refer to Earth as their Mother, who they say gives birth to us. Moreover, skin enfolds our bodies but does not define our limits because water, gases and heat dissipating from our bodies radiate outward, joining us to the world around us. What I have learned is a perspective that we are an inseparable part of a community of organisms that are our kin.

With this realization, I also saw that environmentalists like me had been framing the issue improperly. There is no environment “out there” that is separate from us. We can’t manage our impact on the environment if we are our surroundings. Indigenous people are absolutely correct: we are born of the Earth and constructed from the four sacred elements of earth, air, fire and water. (Hindus add a fifth element, space.)

Once I had finally understood the truth of these ancient wisdoms, I also realized that we are intimately fused to our surroundings and the notion of separateness or isolation is an illusion. Through reading I came to understand that science reaffirms the profundity of these ancient truths over and over again.

We are no more removed from nature than any other creature, even in the midst of a large city. Our animal nature dictates our essential needs: clean air, clean water, clean soil, clean energy. This led me to another insight, that these four “sacred elements” are created, cleansed and renewed by the web of life itself. If there is to be a fifth sacred element, it is biodiversity itself. And whatever we do to these elements, we do directly to ourselves.

At the most basic level, we require the five sacred elements to live rich, full lives. But when those basic necessities are met, a new set of needs arises. We are social animals, and the most profound force shaping our humanity is love. And when that vital social requirement is fulfilled, then a new level of spiritual needs arises as an urgent priority. This is how I made the fundamental re-examination of our relationship with Earth that led to The Sacred Balance.

The challenge of this millennium is to recognize what we need to live rich, rewarding lives without undermining the very elements that ensure them.

David Suzuki is a scientist, broadcaster, author and co-founder of the David Suzuki Foundation.

Learn more at davidsuzuki.org.

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Categories: F. Left News

Social conservative activist John Carpay charged with obstruction of justice

Rabble - Wed, 01/04/2023 - 07:28

Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms President John Carpay has been charged with obstruction of justice by Winnipeg Police and was arrested after turning himself in to Calgary Police Friday, the social conservative legal advocacy organization said in a statement. 

According to the New Year’s Day statement published on the JCCF website, the charges “apparently” stem from a 2021 incident in which Carpay, a lawyer and social conservative activist, admitted hiring a private detective to snoop on the chief justice of the Manitoba Court of King’s Bench.

The JCCF founder and president admitted on July 12, 2021, that his organization hired the private investigator to spy on the judge, who was presiding over a case conducted by the JCCF on behalf of seven rural Manitoba churches that objected to public health orders made early in the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Calgary-based lawyer, who for many years was a friend and political ally of former Alberta Premier Jason Kenney, made the admission after Manitoba Chief Justice Glenn Joyal revealed during a hearing into the JCCF’s case that he had been followed by a private detective.

Carpay later said the decision to have the gumshoe follow the judge was his alone.

Yesterday’s statement by the JCCF seemed to imply Mr. Carpay was at least partly inspired to hire the private detective by the actions of Kenney and other senior members of his cabinet when they were caught in June 2021 by a still-unidentified photographer as they violated Alberta COVID-19 restrictions at a dinner meeting on the patio of the notorious “Sky Palace” atop an Alberta government office building in Edmonton. 

“Mr. Carpay’s decision to conduct surveillance of Manitoba government officials followed a number of high-profile instances where those who imposed and enforced lockdown restrictions were themselves found violating their own rules, partying on rooftops, ignoring rules about face masks and social distancing, and jetting off to exotic holiday locations to countries without COVID restrictions,” the JCCF statement said. (Emphasis added.)

According to the statement, the JCCF learned of the Winnipeg warrant on Friday and that Mr. Carpay thereafter “immediately turned himself into (sic) Calgary Police Services.”

“This charge is unexpected and without explanation,” the statement complained. “The events at issue took place over 18 months ago, and police have not previously contacted Mr. Carpay nor the Justice Centre. 

“Mr. Carpay has been cooperating with the investigation of this matter by the Law Society of Manitoba,” the statement continued. “At the time of the events, the Justice Centre Board of Directors also took appropriate steps to strengthen governance and oversight of the organization while Mr. Carpay took a seven-week leave of absence.”

“The Justice Centre is deeply disappointed by the decision of Winnipeg Police to lay a criminal charge for events that took place more than 18 months ago and that are already being dealt with appropriately,” the statement said. “It is doubly disappointing that it was decided that these actions should take place during the holiday season when Mr. Carpay is spending time with his family.”

A similarly worded fund-raising email sent yesterday to JCCF donors, headed “Urgent News for Our Justice Centre Supporters,” included the claim Carpay “was held in jail for 23 hours in an isolated cell without a cot, mattress, blanket, or even a pillow!”

This turn of events does not seem as shocking as it apparently was to the JCCF. There was plenty of discussion about possible repercussions in media and legal circles at the time Carpay’s actions came to light, including the view such activities could be perceived as obstruction of justice. 

At the time of Chief Justice Joyal’s revelation, the University of Alberta’s vice-dean of law described the situation as “obviously a tremendous, tremendous lapse of judgment by the legal team involved, it seems to me, and one really that’s without precedent as far as I’m concerned.”

“It takes your breath away, the mindset that an individual would engage in to take that course of action,” Eric Adams, a noted constitutional scholar, told the CBC. “I mean, for what purpose would that information be gathered except for an improper one? It’s hard to imagine.”

In an editorial the morning after Justice Joyal’s courtroom revelation, the Winnipeg Free Press newspaper argued that “hiring a PI to follow a judge – not just any judge, but the judge handling the case that you are currently arguing in court – suggests very few possible motivations other than an effort to intimidate the judge in order to affect the outcome of the case.”

Manitoba’s justice minister at the time, Cameron Friesen, said in a press release that “as Attorney General, I have written to the Law Society of Manitoba to request that it initiate an investigation into the conduct of lawyers associated with the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms.”

“This is an obvious invasion of privacy and it is difficult to believe that these actions were not intended to influence the outcome of the court case,” Friesen stated in the terse release. “The lawyers involved must be held accountable for their actions, in order to maintain public confidence in the administration of justice, to protect the integrity of our independent judiciary and uphold the rule of law in Canada.”

As noted in yesterday’s JCCF statement, Carpay took what was described at the time as an indefinite leave from his job as JCCF president after the story broke and the organization’s board published a statement condemning the action, stating it was not informed, apologizing to the judge, and promising “all such activity has ceased and will not reoccur in future.” 

That statement is no longer found at its original link on the JCCF website. 

However, the interim president appointed by the JCCF board served only seven weeks before Carpay returned at the end of August 2021. 

In an August 30, 2021, story, the Toronto Star quoted a former JCCF board member saying: “When a compromised president leaves and then the board seemingly, suddenly, anyway, to those of us looking from the outside, nearly vaporizes and the offending president returns, that tells me that there was kind of a putsch.”

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Categories: F. Left News

Getting back on track: The case for railway nationalisation

Red Pepper - Wed, 01/04/2023 - 00:00
Darlington railway station in July 2021 (Credit: Matt Buck)

In 2022 Britain’s rail infrastructure owner Network Rail, whose £56.1 billion debt mountain is underwritten by UK taxpayers, spent more on interest on loans than maintaining and improving Britain’s railways. Network Rail is a legacy of New Labour. Following the bankruptcy of Railtrack plc in 2002, then chancellor Gordon Brown wanted historic debt off public expenditure balance sheets. His solution, a privately-financed ‘company limited by guarantee’, reintegrated some engineering systems fragmented by Tory rail privatisation.

Unfortunately, the rail industry retained the privatised character bequeathed by the Tories. Major capital expenditure projects are outsourced to private contractors, and a plethora of contractual interfaces ensure each company maintains a bureaucracy dedicated to delay attribution and managing staff across multiple agencies and employers.

Cash cow

New Labour’s addiction to private finance models also created a cash cow for commercial lenders. In September 2014, the Office for National Statistics reclassified Network Rail as a central government body in UK national accounts and public sector finances. Private debt to commercial banks was no longer ‘off the books’.

The Tory/Lib Dem coalition then decided Network Rail should borrow directly from government, signing a £30.3 billion loan facility to cover its financing to March 2019. By 2017, Tory ministers, already panicking at the prospect of Network Rail’s future financing needs, anticipated £47.9 billion rail expenditure for 2019-24, comprising 72 per cent of government funding (£34.7 billion) with the rest from increased fees on train operators and income from Network Rail’s property portfolio.

As costs rose and heroic assumptions of increasing passenger revenue failed to materialise, train operators Stagecoach and Virgin handed contracts back to government, while in 2020 Northern Trains collapsed and was taken into public ownership. Even before the strain of Covid-19, private operators lobbied to replace rail franchises with a management-fee system to safeguard their profits. Emergency recovery management agreements introduced in 2020 have now been replaced by permanent management contracts, which RMT calculates will pay private train operators £955 million in dividends by 2027.

Unhappy passengers

After a decade of above inflation fare increases, with falling real wages, by January 2018 real terms rail fares were 20 per cent higher than in 1995. In January 2019, Transport Focus reported overall passenger satisfaction at a ten-year low.

Privatised rail’s structural fragmentation led to a timetable crisis in 2018 with mass cancellations of train services. The transport select committee ascribed the chaos to ‘the astonishing complexity of a disaggregated railway in which interrelated train companies operating on publicly owned and managed infrastructure have competing commercial interests’. An evidence paper presented to the Williams review, published in May 2021, setting out Tory intentions to reform rail, noted: ‘Distrust of the rail industry has worsened among passengers… only second-hand car dealers are more distrusted by consumers’.

Distrust of the rail industry has worsened among passengers… only second-hand car dealers are more distrusted by consumers

The position of the rolling stock companies is even more egregious. From 2016 to 2020 train leasing costs rose by more than 90 per cent. Three rolling stock leasing companies between them own 88 per cent of Britain’s trains and paid out £949 million in dividends in 2020 alone.

Shadow transport secretary Louise Haigh’s commitment at Labour’s 2022 conference – that a Labour government will take rail services into public ownership as existing contracts expire – is therefore a rather tepid recognition of the failure of 27 years of rail privatisation. Any proposal that allows rampant profiteering by cartels and foreign governments to continue to contract expiry, at passengers’ and taxpayers’ expense, is not serious about the need to reform ownership and control of our railways.

Renationalisation

Keir Starmer’s casual attitude to pledges recalls Labour’s 1995 conference, where the party committed itself to ‘A publicly owned, publicly accountable railway.’ No sooner did Labour enter government than it turned the meaning of public ownership on its head to promote a public-private partnership to privatise London Underground in Europe’s largest-ever private finance initiative (PFI) deal. Labour’s current commitment is unclear and lacks a worked-out plan to renationalise Britain’s rail industry within a realistic timeframe. But such a plan exists and was published as an opposition white paper in 2020. Then-shadow transport secretary Andy McDonald proposed a publicly owned railway company, GB Rail, to operate railway infrastructure and train services as part of a single unified company. This vertically integrated company would be the guiding mind for the whole railway and a sole employer for all rail workers.

There is a consistent long-term consensus among rail users and the general public alike for an integrated, publicly owned railway. Opinion polls and surveys show a substantial majority in favour of renationalisation for good reason.

Publicly owned rail enables transparent costing and sustainable funding. It would mean public investment in rail services and properly staffed trains and stations, rather than serving privately owned train operating companies extracting profit.

In 2015 the Rail Delivery Group reported 44 per cent of railway stations were entirely unstaffed and a further 45 per cent were unstaffed at some times of the day. In 2022 the same group was exposed for plans to close all railway ticket offices across the network. It is clear this is not the future that the public or passengers want.

Compared to privatised railways, a publicly owned railway, not driven to maximise profits by staff cuts, could reflect accessibility needs of a diversity of rail users, including disabled people. This is particularly pertinent following the resignation of an advisor from the government’s disabled persons transport advisory council (DPTAC) last year, in protest at plans to close ticket offices and bring in more driver-only trains, saying it would make an already unacceptable situation worse.

Critically, privatised rail’s primary need to generate profits is incompatible, with Britain’s climate change targets to remove diesel-only trains from the network by 2040 and achieve net zero by 2050. Privatisation has lumbered Britain’s rail industry with ageing rolling stock technology brought in with the intention of cutting staff and with competing interests that hold back innovation.

A single, integrated, publicly owned railway that sees rail workers as an asset, can rebuild our knowledge and skills base and engage in proper workforce planning and development with unions to ensure new green jobs, instead of leaving employment in the hands of companies hell-bent on destroying good jobs in shareholders’ interests.

This article has been amended from its print version to reflect the fact that The Labour Party committed itself to public ownership of the railways as part of its 1995 party conference. The original article claimed the quote came from its 1997 election manifesto.

Alex Gordon is the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union national president

This article first appeared in issue #238, Winter 2022, Drought and Deluge. Subscribe today to get your magazine delivered hot off the press!

Categories: F. Left News

Resignations leave two Calgary ridings without an MP nor an MLA

Rabble - Tue, 01/03/2023 - 12:36

Happy New Year! Welcome to 2023! Oh, and say goodbye to Calgary Heritage Member of Parliament Bob Benzen, who announced last fall he’d be resigning his seat in Parliament on the final day of 2022 to return to private life.

In his mostly undistinguished Parliamentary career, Benzen was probably best known for being one of the Conservative MPs who started the ball rolling to skid former federal Opposition leader Erin O’Toole last January.

While he’d initially supported O’Toole, Benzen later complained the Conservative leader had supported “a de facto carbon tax,” flip-flopped on opposing gun control during the federal election campaign, and failed to “stand up for the Charter rights of Canadians during a pandemic” – by which he obviously meant the right to be a vaccine refusenik, which is not actually protected by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms

He also voted against the federal ban on conversion therapy, which, since we don’t have a Conservative government in Ottawa, passed anyway.

Reasonably enough, I suppose, in his farewell tweet Benzen didn’t mention any of that controversial stuff, but merely thanked his constituents for electing him in the 2017 by-election after former PM and Calgary Heritage MP Stephen Harper quit, and in the general elections of 2019 and 2021.

But enough about Mr. Benzen! His resignation, though, has resulted in a small oddity worth keeping in mind by those of us who pay attention Alberta politics.

The resignation, naturally, leaves residents of the southwest Calgary federal riding without representation in Ottawa until either a by-election or a federal election takes place. 

Since despite the federal Conservative Party’s profound wish for an election before even more Canadians grow to dislike their new leader, Pierre Poilievre, a by-election seems more likely assuming the confidence and supply agreement between the federal Liberals and New Democrats holds. 

The oddity is that Benzen’s resignation has left a couple of corners of the riding without either federal or provincial representation.

Most egregiously, a small block of Calgary’s North Glenmore neighbourhood is also the southernmost part of the provincial Calgary-Elbow electoral district, which once upon a time was represented by Progressive Conservative premier Ralph Klein. 

That provincial riding has been without a Member of the Legislative Assembly since United Conservative Party MLA and cabinet minister Doug Schweitzer resigned effective August 31, 2022. 

As readers will recall, residents of the provincial riding were outraged when Alberta’s new UCP premier, Danielle Smith, refused to call a by-election to replace Schweitzer on the fatuous grounds it would cost too much – even though she immediately called a by-election in the Brooks-Medicine Hat riding for November 8 to ensure she had a seat in the Legislature.

Former Books-Medicine Hat MLA Michaela Frey had quit to give Smith a safe seat in which to run. Schweitzer, a former UCP leadership candidate, gave no explanation for why he was quitting – although it was pretty obvious he wanted nothing to do with any government run by Smith. 

“There has been a convention that when a leader is chosen who does not have a seat there’s an expectation that she will seek a seat at an early opportunity, so I think the exception can be made for this by-election, but there is also a convention as well that if you’re within a year of having a general election that you don’t need to call by-elections,” Smith glibly told reporters at the time. 

The real reason, everyone understood, was that Smith knew the NDP had a good chance of winning a by-election in Calgary-Elbow, which in turn would have entrenched the narrative that an NDP victory in the next general election was inevitable.

Notwithstanding Smith’s chatter about Parliamentary conventions, there is also a law in Alberta that a by-election to fill a vacancy like the one left by Schweitzer must take place within six months of the member’s resignation

Presumably, the Smith Government could eventually be in violation of that law, or have to hastily change it, if the premier decides she daren’t risk the scheduled May 29, 2023, election.

In the meantime, though, it’ll be interesting to compare how the residents of the 250 or so homes in the little square of Calgary-Elbow, illogically located on the south side Glenmore Trail, have to wait to be represented again in Parliament and to be represented in the Alberta Legislature in Edmonton.

An even bigger hunk of the Calgary-Lougheed electoral district is also now in the same state, although only since former Alberta premier Jason Kenney resigned his seat at the end of November. 

Don’t count on Smith calling a by-election there either, although it would probably be a somewhat safer bet for her. 

By-election results can often be interesting, as former Globe and Mail managing editor Geoffrey Stevens pointed out in a recent column, but the one in Calgary Heritage isn’t likely to be. Calgary-Elbow has more potential in that department, and even Calgary-Lougheed might have the potential for a surprise.

Regardless, my money’s on the folks in both provincial ridings having another MP long before they get an MLA from whatever party.

While they wait, I suppose, they can take some comfort that their City of Calgary councillors remain in office.

The post Resignations leave two Calgary ridings without an MP nor an MLA appeared first on rabble.ca.

Categories: F. Left News

The Alberta politics story of 2022 was the decline & fall of Jason Kenney

Rabble - Tue, 01/03/2023 - 08:45

Looking back over the Alberta political stories of 2022, one theme dominates all others: the fall of Jason Kenney.

Kenney, the former federal cabinet minister who had united Alberta’s fractious right and seemingly restored the Tory Dynasty to power in 2019, may have entered the year with serious political problems caused principally by his own mishandling of the COVID-19 pandemic and his tendency to pick fights with everyone, but his cause was far from lost.

Indeed, notwithstanding the rumblings from the anti-vaccine crusaders in the United Conservative Party’s rural base and the then mostly marginalized rural MLAs who supported them, it was hard to believe in January 2022 that Kenney wouldn’t still be leader and premier a year later with a better-than-decent shot at winning the election scheduled for the following spring. 

Now nobody even knows where he is, let alone cares. Danielle Smith is the premier and the real crazies, by and large, seem to be in charge. 

Yet it remains your bloggers’ opinion that had Kenney stayed on as premier after the underwhelming 51.4-per-cent support he received in the party’s leadership review last May, he could not only have beaten the NDP Opposition, but might well have done so handily. 

At the time, the prevailing opinion in the UCP’s legislative Caucus was thought to be that Mr. Kenney had a real chance of losing to the NDP’s Rachel Notley in the provincial election scheduled for May 29, 2023.

But while cause for concern among UCP MLAs was justified, last spring’s conventional wisdom did not account for the fact that a virtual palace coup of the party by the Q-adjacent Take Back Alberta anti-vaccine political action committee was under way, as it continues to be at the riding-association level. 

With benefit of hindsight, the UCP would have been better off if Kenney had stuck to his guns and insisted that a vote of 50 per cent plus one was good enough for him to remain on the job. Instead, he threw up his hands and immediately announced he would resign. 

TBA then successfully engineered the second stage of its coup and imposed Smith, long a vaccine skeptic and enthusiastic conspiracy theorist during her career as a right-wing talk show host, as its most ideologically acceptable choice to run the UCP. 

Any of cabinet minister Travis Toews (Kenney’s obvious first choice), minister Rebecca Schulz, or party rebel Brian Jean, who won a by-election in March by campaigning to dump Kenney and like Smith was a former Wildrose Party leader, would have done better against Notley and the NDP than Smith is likely to do. 

The decline of Kenney’s control of his caucus and party can be tracked through the months. 

In January, he all but gave up trying to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 – too late to weaken the rabid anti-vaccine faction in caucus. 

In February, anti-vaxxers, emboldened by the stumbles by then federal Conservative leader Erin O’Toole and the occupation of Ottawa and border blockades by the so-called Freedom Convoy, set their sights on unseating the premier. 

In March, Jean won his by-election, campaigning to replace Kenney; Smith announced she’d run to lead the UCP if Kenney was rejected by party members in the leadership vote; and Kenney, in an accurate but unfortunate Basket of Deplorables Moment, dismissed the UCP’s anti-vaxx fringe as “lunatics.”

In April, in a sign of weakness and fear of the anti-vaxxers, Kenney sacked Alberta Health Services’ capable president and CEO, Dr. Verna Yiu. That same month, in the year’s funniest Alberta political moment, Kenney, a former Ottawa bigshot, was caught on video not knowing how to gas up the Big Blue Dodge Pickup he drove around in to demonstrate his Albertan credentials. 

In May, setting himself up for the 60-plus per cent leadership review victory he is said to have expected, Kenney went to Washington, hobnobbed with Democrat-in-Name-Only Senator Joe Manchin (now also irrelevant, as predicted in this space), and returned to that 51.4-per cent vote. He announced he would quit, sealing his own fate. Smith announced her intention to run for the UCP leadership. 

In June, while the government was obviously transitioning to something, the belligerent communications style Kenney brought to Alberta politics continued. UCP social media “issues managers,” and press secretaries – always inappropriately aggressive in their responses to anyone who dared to criticize the government for any reason, ordinary citizens and political partisans alike – seemed to get worse. True to form, ignoring his new lame duck status, Kenney took personal credit for the sudden surge in world petroleum prices. 

In July, with the premier having clearly established his own irrelevance, Smith took the UCP leadership campaign down a dark Trumpian road – from which, really, the party has never returned. She promoted conspiracy theories about AHS management conspiring against the government. Other candidates shamelessly jumped on her vaccine denial bandwagon. 

In August, Smith’s ridiculous Sovereignty Act idea was picked by on the provincial political radar. Kenney dismissed the idea as “nuts” – but few paid attention to him. By the end of the month he was rambling on about subjects that really mattered to him – John A. Macdonald’s and Winston Churchill’s historical legacies. 

In September, in what had to be the year’s weirdest political moment, Kenney went to London and lined up to pay obeisance at Queen Elizabeth’s coffin, live tweeting all the while. If it hadn’t been so strange, no one would have paid attention. He also went to Toronto, stood in a subway station, and touted Alberta as a great place for yuppies to move, a pitch greeted by passers-by with yawns.

In October, with Smith sworn in as premier, Kenney became a garden variety MLA again. Premier Smith appointed every candidate who ran against her for the leadership but one to her massive cabinet. Kenney fell silent.  

In November, he resigned his seat in Calgary-Lougheed. 

In December, about all we’ve heard from him is crickets. It is not known if anyone has filed a missing-person report or sent out a search party. 

But fear not, Alberta, he’s bound to resurface one of these days, if only in an unsatisfying role as the member of a corporate board or two, or the author of a pious op-ed. 

But for a man who once stood astride Alberta in triumph, Jason Kenney has become utterly irrelevant, and all but invisible.

Who saw that coming? 

Happy New Year, everyone! 

The post The Alberta politics story of 2022 was the decline & fall of Jason Kenney appeared first on rabble.ca.

Categories: F. Left News

‘Schemes for profiting’: Privatizers lick their chops as medicare totters

Rabble - Tue, 01/03/2023 - 07:46

Ontario Premier Doug Ford is hoping you’ll see his health-care fight with Ottawa as just more federal-provincial mud wrestling, rather than as a battle for the country’s heart and soul.

That may sound lofty, but if anything could be said to represent this country’s heart and soul, it’s our public health-care system.

In 2004, when the CBC ran a six-week TV series to determine who could be crowned “the Greatest Canadian” in history, more than 1.2 million votes were cast. In the end, Canadians passed over prime ministers, wartime generals and inspirational figures like Terry Fox, to select Tommy Douglas, the father of medicare.

Canadians appear to have a special fondness for a system that, quite simply, enshrines access to health care as based on need, not money.

In an age dominated by billionaires and their extravagance (and idiocy), this unadorned, egalitarian principle of medicare shines like the brightest star in a dark and deranged firmament.

But, beloved as it is, medicare has always been endangered, threatened by those who prefer that the vast health-care field be open for private profit.

Back in 1960 when Douglas, then premier of Saskatchewan, introduced the first public medical insurance system in North America, local doctors staged a bitter, three-week strike. They had backing from business, the Canadian Medical Association, and strong financial support from the American Medical Association, which was determined to prevent public medicine from establishing a beachhead in North America.

Remarkably, Douglas prevailed and, in 1966, Parliament voted for a Canada-wide medical insurance system by a stunning margin of 177-2.

But the privatizing forces have never given up. Over the years, they’ve launched pricey court challenges to medicare and enlisted support from politicians — both Conservative and Liberal — who’ve helped by underfunding the public system.

Now, with hospitals overwhelmed by the pandemic and years of underfunding, Ford and other premiers see a splendid opportunity to shift the blame for today’s serious health-care crisis to Ottawa, and advance their privatization agendas in the process.

The premiers argue, correctly, that the federal contribution to health care has dropped significantly over the years. The Trudeau government accepts that Ottawa must increase its contribution. The real battle is over whether there will be strings attached. The premiers don’t like strings.

But without strings, the floodgates will open to privatization. This is particularly true in Ontario and Alberta, where staunchly pro-business premiers appear to have learned nothing from the disastrous privatization results in areas like long-term care, which is now dominated by corporate nursing home chains. Care is often so inadequate that, at the height of the pandemic, the Canadian military was brought in to manage some of the worst private facilities.

Privatizers basically subscribe to a theory sometimes called “the tragedy of the commons” — the notion that humans are, by nature, purely self-interested, so society should be organized around private property and the marketplace, with everyone looking out for themselves.

But the anthropologist Karl Polanyi (as well as the ancient philosopher Aristotle) came to a different conclusion: while it’s true that humans are self-interested, we are social animals first and foremost, reliant on society for our survival, sustenance and well-being. Yes, we fight — but mostly we co-operate.

At our best, we devise collective solutions which benefit us all — like public health care and education — to ensure we all have a chance to live healthy, educated lives and that each of us has a shot at developing to our fullest potential.

Rather than tragedy, our public health-care system represents the triumph of the commons.

This isn’t just wishful thinking. Most advanced nations, Canada included, have developed successful public health-care systems. Imagine how much more successful these systems would be if they weren’t constantly undermined and sabotaged by privatizers and their political allies.

We must never let the privatizers rob us of what we can achieve collectively. We must never allow their limited view of human nature — and their schemes for profiting from it — confine us to the grim, every-woman-for-herself world of the private marketplace.

The post ‘Schemes for profiting’: Privatizers lick their chops as medicare totters appeared first on rabble.ca.

Categories: F. Left News

Ajamu Baraka: The Left Must Draw Clear Political And Ideological Lines

Popular Resistance - Mon, 01/02/2023 - 18:39

As 2022 comes to an end and major crises abound, Clearing the FOG spoke with Ajamu Baraka, a long time human rights defender and co-founder of the Black Alliance for Peace, about the big picture of what is happening politically and upcoming opportunities to organize for change. Baraka discusses the continued move to the right in the United States by both of the major political parties and their voting bases, including those in the liberal class, the complicity of the corporate media and the rise of censorship and repression against those who do not adhere to the manufactured narrative. Baraka explains why the Left in the US must organize an authentic radical opposition to the ruling class and have a clear political program rooted in a people-centered human rights framework and where that work is happening.

The post Ajamu Baraka: The Left Must Draw Clear Political And Ideological Lines appeared first on PopularResistance.Org.

Categories: F. Left News

Eradication Of Poverty And Hunger Key Priorities For Lula Government

Popular Resistance - Mon, 01/02/2023 - 13:55

On Sunday January 1, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva of the Workers’ Party of Brazil (PT) gave his first speech to the Brazilian people as president at the National Congress. In the speech, he presented a brief diagnosis of the situation and conditions of the country that he will govern over for the next four years.

“It’s appalling,” said Lula, about the conditions in which he receives the country from his predecessor, former president Jair Bolsonaro of the Liberal Party, who abandoned the country and went to the US just before the inauguration. “They have emptied out the resources for health. They have dismantled the Education, Culture, Science and Technology [sectors]. They destroyed environmental protection. They left no resources for school lunch, vaccination, public security.”

The post Eradication Of Poverty And Hunger Key Priorities For Lula Government appeared first on PopularResistance.Org.

Categories: F. Left News

US Spreads Misery By Imposing Sanctions On A Third Of Humanity

Popular Resistance - Mon, 01/02/2023 - 13:50

On November 14, the Biden administration announced yet another round of sanctions on Russia, targeting this time Russia’s military supply chains by imposing sanctions on 14 individuals and 28 entities that it said were part of a transnational network that procured technology to support Moscow in its invasion of Ukraine.

One of the companies blacklisted was Milandr, a Russian microelectronics company that Washington says is part of Moscow’s military research and development structure.

The sanctions additionally targeted several aviation-related companies and two individuals—Abbas Djuma and Tigran Khristoforovich Srabionov—who facilitated the Russian mercenary Wagner Group’s acquisition of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) from Iran, which have been used in the Ukraine War.

The post US Spreads Misery By Imposing Sanctions On A Third Of Humanity appeared first on PopularResistance.Org.

Categories: F. Left News

The FBI Wants To Put Me On Trial For Fighting For Black Freedom

Popular Resistance - Mon, 01/02/2023 - 13:45

There are strong indications that in early 2023, I, Omali Yeshitela, Chairman of the African People’s Socialist Party (APSP), founder of the Uhuru (“Freedom”) Movement, will be indicted, along with other Uhuru leaders and members, by the federal government of the United States.

Using the bogus and slanderous charge that we are “Russian agents,” the U.S. government and its “Department of Justice” will attempt to put us on trial and imprison us for fighting for the liberation of African people in the U.S. and around the world.

But they will fail. We will win.

I am 81 years old. My political work for the last 60 years or so is influenced by the fact that in my entire life, nearing 100 years, I have not known a single day when my people were not experiencing oppression, exploitation and humiliation. 

The post The FBI Wants To Put Me On Trial For Fighting For Black Freedom appeared first on PopularResistance.Org.

Categories: F. Left News

New Documentary On Late Sixties Civil Unrest Is A ‘Rosetta Stone’ For Decoding The Modern Day Police State

Popular Resistance - Mon, 01/02/2023 - 13:40

Minneapolis, Minnesota – A new documentary film shines light on the history of the militarization of American police in an era defined by civil unrest, drawing sharp parallels to today.

Without mentioning recent events in the entire film, Sierra Pettengill’s new documentary “Riotsville, USA” still invokes striking parallels between the late 1960s and the George Floyd protest uprisings in 2020. The film was produced during 2015-2021, premiered at Sundance Film Festival in January 2022 and was widely released in September by Magnolia Films; it’s attracted more coverage in lists of top documentaries for the year. [See our editor’s note below for more Unicorn Riot original reporting on domestic military and police training programs.]

The post New Documentary On Late Sixties Civil Unrest Is A ‘Rosetta Stone’ For Decoding The Modern Day Police State appeared first on PopularResistance.Org.

Categories: F. Left News

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