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If organizing is the weapon of the oppressed, why are we stuck on mobilizing?

Photo: flickr/Jorene Rene

The rebellion in Ferguson, Missouri, against the killing of unarmed Afrikan American teenager Michael Brown has inspired me to reflect on the question of the organizing model versus mobilizing or mobilization model in the struggle for Afrikan liberation in North America as well as the broader humanistic fight for liberation from various forms of oppression. Organizing the oppressed for emancipation is the preferred approach to engaging them in the fight for their liberation as opposed to merely mobilizing them.

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On the rebellion in Ferguson, Missouri: Organizations are the lifeblood of social change

Photo: flickr/Jorene Rene

The people of Ferguson, Missouri, have mobilized in a rebellion over the killing of the unarmed Afrikan American teenager Michael Brown by white police officer Darren Wilson. In order to sustain the resistance against racial and class domination in Ferguson and elsewhere for the long haul, the people who are currently mobilized need to organize.

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'Responsible Capitalism' makes no sense: The Left must offer a real alternative

Photo: flickr/net_efekt

Ed Miliband's challenge to "the manufactured, the polished, the presentational" practice of politics, where democracy is reduced to "showbiz, a game, who is up and who is down," deserves to be discussed in terms that go beyond the effect this may have on his own electoral prospects. It should open up a larger debate on what's wrong with the practice of democracy today. For it is indeed the case that "people's sense of the artificiality, the triviality, the superficiality of politics is more highly tuned than ever," not only in the U.K., but in one country after another.

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Did Canada cave on the pharmaceutical patent ISDS issue in CETA?

Photo: flickr/Stephen Harper

For the second time in less than a year, Canada and the EU have announced that they reached agreement on the Canada – EU Trade Agreement. Back in October 2013, there was an announcement of an agreement "in principle." The announcement did not include a release of the text and the parties said there was still further work to be done on drafting and legal analysis. Tuesday brought another announcement of an agreement on the text.

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Noam Chomsky: Nightmare in Gaza

Photo: flickr/Joe Catron

Amid all the horrors unfolding in the latest Israeli offensive in Gaza, Israel's goal is simple: quiet-for-quiet, a return to the norm.

For the West Bank, the norm is that Israel continues its illegal construction of settlements and infrastructure so that it can integrate into Israel whatever might be of value, meanwhile consigning Palestinians to unviable cantons and subjecting them to repression and violence.

For Gaza, the norm is a miserable existence under a cruel and destructive siege that Israel administers to permit bare survival but nothing more.

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Noam Chomsky: How many minutes to midnight? Hiroshima Day 2014

Photo: wikimedia commons

If some extraterrestrial species were compiling a history of Homo sapiens, they might well break their calendar into two eras: BNW (before nuclear weapons) and NWE (the nuclear weapons era). The latter era, of course, opened on August 6, 1945, the first day of the countdown to what may be the inglorious end of this strange species, which attained the intelligence to discover the effective means to destroy itself, but -- so the evidence suggests -- not the moral and intellectual capacity to control its worst instincts.

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Gaza: Operation Déjà vu

Photo: flickr/DAVID HOLT

In her speech for the 70th commemoration of the Warsaw Ghetto rebellion, the last Ghetto survivor, Chavka Folman Raban, revealed her understanding, from personal experience, of the plight of Gaza and all Palestinians by calling on Israeli youth to rebel against the occupation: 

"It is forbidden for us to rule over and oppress another people," she said. "The most important thing is to achieve peace and an end to the blood cycle. My generation dreamed of peace. I so want to achieve it. You have the power to help. All my hopes are with you." 

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Sexism in tech: An overheard conversation about discrimination against women

Photo: flickr/Andrew_Writer

Gender-based discrimination in the workplace doesn't surprise me, least of all in tech-based industries. Recent examples like the alleged sexual harassment by Tinder's co-founder Justin Mateen, and a diversity report finding only 30 per cent of Google's employees to be female, underline the undeniable fact that women are treated to a different set of rules in this male dominated atmosphere.

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Political ideology is not a map, grid, graph or chart

Photo: flickr/Joe Cressy

We see them in every election campaign: lines, grids and maps of all kinds. We fill out a form with a few or a lot of questions and find ourselves represented as a dot, usually on a grid opposing social (up or down) and economic (left or right) liberalism or conservatism. We shrug our shoulders at the result, maybe share it on Facebook, and then forget about it. But this idea that we can plot every political ideology and set of beliefs on a simple grid has become such an ordinary way of talking about politics that we take it for granted, even as it's dangerously misleading. When we think of political concepts and policies this way, we all lose. Here's how.

Moving to the 'centre' to appeal to 'right' voters

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Defending Canada's anti-spam law: Consumer protection and privacy law in disguise

Photo: flickr/g4ll4is

My first post defending Canada's anti-spam law focused on why spam remains a problem and how the new law may help combat fraudulent spam and target Canadian-based spamming organization. Most would agree that these are legitimate goals, but critics of the law will argue that it still goes too far since it covers all commercial electronic messages, not just fraudulent or harmful messages.

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