rabble blogs are the personal pages of some of Canada's most insightful progressive activists and commentators. All opinions belong to the writer; however, writers are expected to adhere to our guidelines. We welcome new bloggers -- contact us for details.

The Activist Toolkit's summer reading list

Please chip in to support more articles like this. Support rabble.ca today for as little as $1 per month!

Photo: Born 1945/Flickr

August is here. It is time to think of the fights that will be coming up when legislatures come back into session. Schools will resume soon, minus hundreds of classes in Ontario and with cuts in provinces across Canada. Every time I watch the news, I know I need to educate our kids and keep them from becoming small-minded. For me, it is also a time to learn more about how to be more effective as I try to help amplify the work of people on social media. Therefore, here are my summer reading suggestions. If you can, save a tree and get an ebook or even better use the public library to find these books. As always, please send me your lists.

Climate change

According to poll after poll, climate change is the most important issue of our time. Piecemeal and regressive policies have meant that climate change is progressing at an alarming rate. There are three books which are currently helping reshape the conversation and push for bolder action. Read them and get involved in local actions like the global climate strike from September 20 to 27

Teachers organizing

Public schools and public school teachers across Canada are in the crosshairs of conservatives. Ontario Premier Doug Ford has already attacked schools and unions but Alberta, Saskatchewan and most of the provinces with conservative governments are facing cuts and attacks. A timely book, Red State Revolt: The Teachers' Strike Wave and Working-Class Politics, takes a detailed look at how the recent round of teachers' strikes were organized and were successful in the United States.

If you have time, it is also important to learn how teachers' strikes in the past were manipulated to push for privatization and a charter school agenda. Teacher Strike! Public Education and the Making of a New American Political Order provides an important cautionary tale.

Children's books

For the summer, I found this list of 31 children's books to support conversations of race, racism and resistance, a very useful guide when finding books for the kids in my life. These however are American books.  When I was looking for Canadian books I found the Canadian Children’s Book Centre. They have some great Canadian books about progressive values and offer a series of programs and publications.

Online activism

So many of us work to amplify our work through social media. But how do we do it more effectively? I have been making my way through Mining the Social Web and found it very useful to organize my contacts (despite the fact that Facebook has become a bit harder to mine). If you are far more tech savvy than I am, here is a list of free books on ethical hacking, to step up your online activism.


rabble.ca has been delighted to support Pam Palmater's Reconciliation Book Club. Listen to her interview with the rabble.ca podcast network here and find out more about the book club here.

From our activist sheroes

No list would be complete if I did not mention the memoirs that longtime rabble.ca contributors and longtime activists Cathy Crowe and Libby Davies just published. Please read A Knapsack Full of Dreams and Outside In: A Political Memoir and join the conversations about the books on babble.

Photo: Born 1945/Flickr

Thank you for reading this story…

More people are reading rabble.ca than ever and unlike many news organizations, we have never put up a paywall – at rabble we’ve always believed in making our reporting and analysis free to all, while striving to make it sustainable as well. Media isn’t free to produce. rabble’s total budget is likely less than what big corporate media spend on photocopying (we kid you not!) and we do not have any major foundation, sponsor or angel investor. Our main supporters are people and organizations -- like you. This is why we need your help. You are what keep us sustainable.

rabble.ca has staked its existence on you. We live or die on community support -- your support! We get hundreds of thousands of visitors and we believe in them. We believe in you. We believe people will put in what they can for the greater good. We call that sustainable.

So what is the easy answer for us? Depend on a community of visitors who care passionately about media that amplifies the voices of people struggling for change and justice. It really is that simple. When the people who visit rabble care enough to contribute a bit then it works for everyone.

And so we’re asking you if you could make a donation, right now, to help us carry forward on our mission. Make a donation today.


We welcome your comments! rabble.ca embraces a pro-human rights, pro-feminist, anti-racist, queer-positive, anti-imperialist and pro-labour stance, and encourages discussions which develop progressive thought. Our full comment policy can be found here. Learn more about Disqus on rabble.ca and your privacy here. Please keep in mind:


  • Tell the truth and avoid rumours.
  • Add context and background.
  • Report typos and logical fallacies.
  • Be respectful.
  • Respect copyright - link to articles.
  • Stay focused. Bring in-depth commentary to our discussion forum, babble.


  • Use oppressive/offensive language.
  • Libel or defame.
  • Bully or troll.
  • Post spam.
  • Engage trolls. Flag suspect activity instead.