This year marks the sixth anniversary of Israeli Apartheid Week. Started as a small event at the University of Toronto, the annual week of educational events has grown to include over 40 cities around the world, and has played a major role in building a global anti-apartheid movement. As a result of its success, some university administrations in Ontario have stepped up repression of student activists who organize IAW.
Many of you know that for the last 18 years, February 14 has been set aside as a day to remember and honour the thousands of Aboriginal women who have been murdered or gone missing in Canada. According to NWAC 520 Aboriginal women are known to have gone missing or been murdered since 1980.
In Native communities across Canada, people know women who have disappeared - daughters, sisters, mothers, and friends. No one knows what has happened to them. Many other women are known to have been murdered. The deaths and disappearances of these women eat at the hearts of all who love them.
I thought it was weird last fall when, out of the blue, the National Post ran an editorial heaping praise on a discussion paper put out by the Gitxsan Treaty Office. My reaction at the time: clearly the right wing knows whose interests this proposal serves.
The Toronto Star's Public Editor, Kathy English, still doesn't get it. English, who has come under intense fire this week from right and left in the blogosphere and in letters to the Star, last week rushed to judgment with a poorly researched column in which she attacked Star journalist Antonia Zerbisias.
The federal NDP continues its quest for irrelevance. 7 out of 7 featured speakers at the convention are white; 6 of them are men. Check out this page. 9 out of 9 headshots are of white people. For that matter 18 out of the 18 people pictured on this page are white. Seriously?
The Obama-crazedness is also weird. Sorry, much as I don't like Obama, his campaign was not made out of tech how-tos. Who is the NDP's Obama?
Egale Canada, a national organization whose mission is to "advance equality and justice for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and trans-identified people and their families," is presenting its first ever leadership award to Jaime Watt, one of the main architects of Mike Harris's "Common Sense Revolution". Watt is also Egale's benefactor and landlord: his consulting firm, Navigator, donates office space to Egale.
What can explain this decision, other than turpitude or stupidity on Egale's part?
The Obama administration is standing by its "cash for trash" Public-Private Investment Plan, the latest attempt to disguise its reincarnation of the Bush administration's tax dollar giveaway to Wall Street. Under this scheme, the US government pays private "investors" to buy rotten assets from banks at highly inflated, artificial prices: the government subsidizes 90% of the purchase price of assets; but if the private buyer pays too much for the assets, the buyer can walk away and the government only gets the actual resale value of the assets. In other words, it's a one-way sure-loss bet in which the taxpayer pays private investors to get rich.
To recapitulate an argument I made earlier. The economic and financial crisis is not (yet) a crisis of capitalism. By that I mean there are policy choices that could save liberal-democratic capitalism from the present crisis, although this would require a turn left to social democratic compromise: nationalizing some of the banks, shutting down insolvent banks, and permanently nationalizing, in part, the utility function of banking; and funding a full-scale green industrial strategy to retrofit every home and produce green transport, green energy capacity, and new infrastructure.
I'm not talking about what Republicans are calling socialism. I'm talking about nationalising General Motors, or all of the big three, and permanently socialising the "utility" portion of the banking system, to start with. General Motors has now lost more money than it has made in its entire history. All of the big three are likely to go down, surviving only on a drip feed of public money.
We are in the midst of the greatest economic crisis since the 1930s. Yet our one supposed left-wing party has not taken the opportunity to raise questions about the nature of our economic system and how it could be more democratic. Let's face it, the NDP is no longer even a social democratic party. It's a liberal party slightly to the left (on most issues) of the Liberal Party. No one at the top of the party has a vision or commitment to alternative economics, building an activist cadre, or building an oppositional common sense that is deep, intelligent, and widespread.