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Columnists

Chalk one up for democracy: U.S. wins victory over TPP trade deal

Photo: Stop FastTrack/flickr

A teenager who knows me too well says I'm obsessed with endlessly refighting the battle against free trade. That rings pathetically true. And now who wins a small victory over the ancient foe? Them. The U.S.! History is cruel.

It happened last week. President Barack Obama backed the latest in free trade, the Trans-Pacific Partnership -- or TPP. The august Senate backed him. But the House of Representatives, the elected body nearest the people, voted No. It took a savvy, impassioned, grassroots campaign to make that happen and even so, it's not over. Pro-free traders are already attempting a TPP resuscitation. Victories over free trade should be celebrated swiftly. But what explains even that hiccup?

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Binyamin Netanyahu's government insists that Israel must be recognized as a "Jew
| June 17, 2015
Image: Voices-Voix
| June 16, 2015
| June 10, 2015
Columnists

Harper's trade deals are a poison pill for democracy

Photo: Backbone Campaign/flickr

Opponents of so-called free trade deals have always struggled with the question of why these international treaties don't generate more alarm and vocal opposition from Canadians. These treaties, after all, trump all other Canadian authority to make laws -- provincial legislatures, Parliament, the courts and even the Constitution. If, instead of being bored by news of another ho-hum "trade deal," Canadians were told that a panel of three international trade lawyers would be reviewing all new laws and determining, in secret, which ones passed muster by meeting with the approval of their giant corporate clients, would they react differently?

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| May 18, 2015
Columnists

Documentary follows cartoonists under threat of jail, attacks, censorship and lawsuits

Photos from Cartoonists: Foot Soldiers of Democracy.

"I wanted more than anything to denounce terrorism," is the plaintive explanation from the Danish cartoonist whose infamous caricature of the Prophet Muhammad with a bomb under his turban sparked violent protests around the world in 2005.

Kurt Westergaard is one of many cartoonists featured in the French documentary Cartoonists: Foot Soldiers of Democracy (director: Stéphanie Valloatto), which has its Ontario premiere March 27 and 28 at the Reel Artists Film Festival in Toronto.

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Image: anticapitalistes.net
| March 2, 2015
Columnists

The World Social Forum: Building alternative forms of globalization

Photo: Amine Ghrabi/flickr

The greatest progressive innovation of our century -- to this point -- has been the World Social Forum (WSF). In the book Another World is Possible: popular alternatives to globalization at the World Social Forum, William Fisher and I first contended that the World Social Forum represented the beginning of building a new left and a new global civilization, grounded by a desire for participatory, radical democracy.

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Columnists

Downsizing democracy: The end of the world as we know it?

Photo: Charlie Owen/flickr

If you are searching for significant anniversaries for 2015 one that you might find illuminating is the publication of a book published 40 years ago entitled The Crisis of Democracy. The title would seem fitting today but that's not the crisis its authors had in mind. It was commissioned by a new international boys' club of finance capitalists, CEOs, senior political figures (retired and active) and academics from Europe, North America and Japan.

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