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Against our petro-state's war on women, Iran and the Earth

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Anti-racism demonstration in Montreal, Nov. 2017. The placards read, “Without Fear, Without Hate,” “Fraternity Without Borders." Photo: Scott Weinstein

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Happy Father's Day.

Let's note where shitty patriarchal ideas and capitalist values have left us today -- a dying planet of winners and losers. Then imagine global socialism. Imagine men changing roles.

This weekend, Quebec's majority Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ) government forced through Bill 21 -- directed squarely against Muslim women. It forbids teachers and government employees in authority (but not political office holders) from wearing religious symbols, yet this ban against "religious extremism" (as Quebec Premier Legault explains), is deliberately Islamophobic and misogynist.

As the Roundtable Against Systemic Racism explains, "Ultimately ... one liberticidal legislation legitimizes another, and yet another -- as was the case in France, Belgium, and Switzerland. In doing so, the government opens the door to more discrimination and racism [...]." Independent Jewish Voices Canada and others have called for civil disobedience to challenge implementation of the law.

The CAQ also passed Bill 9 shredding a several-year backlog of immigration applications from 50,000 immigrants and refugees. Many of these families fled oil wars and destabilization in the Middle East, and are a minute fraction of 68 million people who are refugees or displaced.

Today also, Canada is quietly enabling U.S. and Israeli threats of a full-blown war on Iran after years of backing violent sanctions and destabilization. Remember that the Venezuelan and Iranian people have been targeted because their oil-producing countries remain semi-independent of the Western world order. 

Canadian oil sands, pipelines and tanker politics are sabotaging our inadequate commitment to reduce carbon emissions and meet the Paris Climate accords. Liberal governments which have simply been the inept smiley-face managers of capitalism are being replaced by rightist governments beholden to Big Oil. Despite our maple syrup and hockey player exports, Canada is essentially a petro-state.

There is a relationship between these local and global acts of violence, because capitalism goes fist in glove with white supremacy, patriarchy and of course the alienation of people from the Earth. From the family to the state, we are taught reactionary ideas and values that fuel this catastrophe.  

Imagine a global socialist culture. We would need to understand what our values are, and spread our ideas while resisting. A nurturing socialism would champion empathy (solidarity) with all peoples. It would have to be anti-racist and anti-sexist. Our values would support sustainable societies, and our institutions would grow good ideas for appropriate technology and policies. We would be striving to live in harmony with the planet, the creatures and fauna. 

Let's stay focused that we have only 12 years to stop irreversible climate catastrophe. Our vision for the future requires urgency, and common-sense radical solutions to repair the Earth for our children, their children and unlimited future generations with the opportunity for abundant life.

Scott Weinstein is a Quebecer active in Independent Jewish Voices Canada.

Photo: Scott Weinstein

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