It's the end of a year marked by extraordinary struggles for social justice. Across the country and around the world, everyday people -- citizens, neighbours, activists, community members -- have been working in solidarity to address inequality and push for social change. This year we saw action on a number of fronts. There was pushback against an emerging politics of hate in Canada, collective efforts to prevent climate breakdown, steps to address gendered online violence, human rights challenges, Indigenous resistance, uprisings, and more. In 2018, people continued to come together with hope in the face of powerful forces to fight for a better world.
rabble columnists were there to document the struggles for social justice, describing the issues and bringing us the stories of the people behind them. Read on for a look back at the year as seen by our columnists, who cast a spotlight on the top issues concerning progressives in 2018. To follow our columns in the year ahead, check out rabble's columns section.
- Valve-turners challenge climate crimes with non-violent direct action. Climate activists in the U.S. and Canada are manually closing the emergency shut-off valves on oil pipelines in acts of nonviolent civil disobedience. Brent Patterson tells the inspiring story of valve-turners' resistance to neoliberalism and climate change.
- Why are people destitute in Canada? A social safety net to ensure that every individual has enough to live on should be standard in a liberal democracy. Canada had such a social safety net, Duncan Cameron points out, until it was abolished nearly 25 years ago.
- A tar sands travelogue blends comic book art with investigative stories. Global Warming and the Sweetness of Life: A Tar Sands Tale is an important, accessible look at the tar sands problem and what it means for Indigenous communities, Alberta, and Canada. June Chua interviews co-author Am Johal about the stories behind the book’s journey.
- The rise of a politics of hate in Canada. Hate crimes in Canada have increased by 47 per cent in 2017, reports Monia Mazigh, yet both Quebec Premier François Legault and Ontario Premier Doug Ford remain silent about the disturbing surge in numbers.
- Nicaragua's agrarian reform and revolution 40 years on. To better understand present-day events in Nicaragua, we need to revisit the 1979 Sandinista Revolution and the agrarian reform which was to have lifted the poorest citizens out of poverty. Lois Ross takes us back to the revolution and talks about Canada's role in supporting it.
- The cost of free expression online for women. With online platforms increasingly being a site of public discourse in democratic societies, gendered online violence is destructive, says OpenMedia's Marianela Ramos Capelo, because it silences and makes invisible a key sector of society in the public sphere.
- Trudeau chooses oil over national interest in Kinder Morgan pipeline buyout. The Ford government's decision to revert back to the 1998 sex-ed curriculum has produced considerable backlash from educators, parents, and students -- and has also triggered four separate legal challenges. Safia Lakhani walks us through the applications, due to be heard by the courts in 2019.
- Federal plan for Canadian media funding not all it's cracked up to be. In the past 10 years, about 16,000 Canadian journalists lost their jobs, and over two dozen daily and 220 weekly newspapers have merged or been shuttered. Wayne MacPhail questions whether $600 million in media funding will help.
- Trudeau chooses oil over national interest in Kinder Morgan pipeline buyout. How can something be in the national interest when it would significantly contribute to the destruction of the very planet that sustains us? Linda McQuaig interrogates the Trudeau government's Kinder Morgan pipeline purchase.
- Resisting the terror of cultural genocide at Muskrat Falls. Matthew Behrens details the actions taking place in solidarity with the Labrador Land Protectors, a group of Indigenous and non-Indigenous people who are trying to stop the massive Muskrat Falls megadam, which threatens residents with methylmercury poisoning as well as mass drowning from a potential catastrophic dam break in Labrador.
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