Here at rabble we’re taking a couple of weeks off. If you are too, this is your chance to have a look back at some of the stories and columns you might have missed in the past year. If you find something you’d like to discuss, go to babble — oops, babble is closed too. We’ll all be back on January 5, 2004. Happy holidays, everyone.

News and features:

Porto Alegre, Canada?
January 7, 2003

Many of us in Canada are inspired by the spirit of Brazilian participatory democracy. But we generally know few details. At the upcoming World Social Forum in Porto Alegre, activists and organizations from around the world will gather to learn more. Having trouble getting that flight to Brazil? You’re in luck. A rabble interview with Professor Daniel Schugurensky. >by Angie Gallop

A movement is reborn
January 20, 2003

Normally, protests are like the old guy with his sandwich boards in front of Old City Hall, screaming about some lawyer he hates. He was there on Saturday, but he’s there every day. I don’t even know why he’s angry, because he’s become part of the scenery. That’s what most protests are like — part of the background noise. Not this protest. >by Corvin Russell

There’s a new leader in the House
February 10, 2003

No, not Jack Layton. It’s Libby Davies. It may be hard to believe but Davies made history last week when she entered the House of Commons as the first female NDP House Leader, and the second women ever to hold that position in any party. rabble caught up with Davies after her first week on the job. >by Leisha Grebinski

Shielding against war
February 19, 2003

Rodney Dinner will soon be a human shield. A couple of weeks ago, he was sitting on a streetcar, on his way to the University of Toronto where he’s studying to be a teacher. He picked up a copy of a transit newspaper and read an article about the Human Shields. Now, he’s on his way to Baghdad. >by Krystalline Kraus

Let’s talk about death
March 10, 2003

Iraqi soldiers, many if not most of them unwilling warriors, are the people who are caught in this potential war’s Catch-22. The pro-war crowd says they want to set these Iraqis free. In the “war of liberation,” however, these same Iraqis will be enemy targets. To be set free, they must survive a rain of hellfire from their would-be liberators. >by J.B. MacKinnon

Called to kill the children
March 14, 2003

You can talk about democracy. You can talk about the threat of elusive weapons of mass destruction. But if any solider can hear: what will you say to Iraq’s 13-million children as they stare down the barrel of your historic intentions? For them, this looming war promises a familiar blend of death, starvation, disease and psychological trauma. >by Magie Dominic

Tell all
April 4, 2003

I kicked myself for chickening out. I felt like one of those idiots I frequently chide for not being gay enough or out enough or resistant enough to stupid discrimination. On a usual day, arm in arm with my transsexual boyfriend, I don’t care what other people think. I take pleasure in the idea that we shake up a few assumptions. But face to face with someone who has the power to curtail my travel freedom, or restrict my access to the toaster, I waffle. >by Christina Starr

More Canadian soldiers heading to Iraq
April 30, 2003

As Canada pledges more troops and resources to the reconstruction of occupied Iraq, military watchdogs are asking what “peacekeeping” means under the New World Order. “I am very concerned about Canada going in and making a contribution, essentially, to consolidating and legitimating the occupying forceâe(TM)s position when itâe(TM)s really an illegal occupation that exists now,” says Project Ploughshares’ Ernie Regehr. >by Daron Letts

The Gay Divorcé
May 6, 2003

With the good comes the bad, and with new rights for gay marriage come, well, gay marriage breakdown. In fifteen years, both will be as common as, um, straight marriage breakdown. Not to fear. It’s just a matter of having the right papers drawn up at the right time. And rabble‘s here to help forge the way in this uncharted territory. >by R.M. Vaughan

Does Canadian culture really matter?
May 30, 2003

In a series published in the National Post last fall, historian Michael Bliss made a tremendous amount of hay out of his observation that Canadians had become culturally almost indistinguishable from Americans. And if that is so (goes the argument), then surely we might want to consider a North American political union? But the argument only gets whatever plausibility it has from that implicit folk-sociological theory about culture being in the driver’s seat, and there is a great deal of evidence that the theory is wrong. >by Andrew Potter

Politics rules the Atlantic fishery
May 21, 2003

When the fish start to disappear and science doesn’t have the answers, the department of fisheries and oceans turns its sights on the people who fish — and that’s when politics enters the picture. Once again, the Atlantic fishery rises up against federal government control. >by Jack MacAndrew

Books and ideas: A threat to aviation security?
June 6, 2003

When Baijayanta Mukhopadhyay was delayed boarding his flight because of a certain book in his backpack, he began to question whether there are some concepts that produce such insecurity that an attempt must be made to stamp them out. >by Baijayanta (Baj) Mukhopadhyay

Global documentary slams Concordia
July 3, 2003

It is no secret that Israel Asper has never looked too kindly on a place like Concordia, where Palestinians have united with Jews like myself and other allies to raise public awareness about the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land. Yet the end result, the one-hour Confrontation at Concordia, re-broadcast with much fanfare on July 2, defied my wildest imaginings. >by Aaron Maté

Making the case for Al-Jazeera
July 17, 2003

The point is not that the jingoist, “our-boys” CNN should be banned from Canadian airwaves — though that might not be such a bad idea — but that Canadians should have access to as many different viewpoints as possible. The case for making Al-Jazeera available to Canadian cable companies is made by a Halifax journalist. >by Stephen Kimber

Superficial similarities, draconian differences
August 1, 2003

There are many Canadians and Australians who share a common heritage. Often, that’s where the similarity ends. An Australian immigrant to Canada takes a sharp look at the politics, culture, media, education — and people — of the two nations. >by Peter Noakes

Sunset of the Sally Ann
August 18, 2003

Since 1865, the Salvation Army has championed the downtrodden and saved countless lives. Sally Ann is the largest social service network in Canada, after the Canadian government. No wonder it has been the charity of choice for so many. Until now. >by Susanne Shaw

Fresh fried to frozen
September 19, 2003

A year ago, Tim Hortons built a 230,000 square-foot plant in Brantford, Ont. It has the capacity to supply all Canadian and U.S. Tim Hortons outlets with doughnuts, cookies and croissants. From one central factory, all Tim Hortons snacks can be shipped to the hinterlands. >by David Swick

Martin sings Mulroney tunes
September 26, 2003

As the coronation of Paul Martin approaches, a political quiz going the rounds poses the question: is Paul Martin actually to the right of Brian Mulroney? There is some pretty compelling evidence suggesting the answer is yes. >by Murray Dobbin

Are nukes making you fat?
October 7, 2003

Is Americaâe(TM)s nuclear policy making you fat? This is a deadly serious question. Nuclear materials emit radioactive iodine, which has been linked with thyroid damage. Thyroid disorders, recently discovered to occur twice as frequently as previously believed, are linked with weight gain. Therefore, this question: is U.S. nuclear policy adding inches to our waistlines? >by Penney Kome

Art and lies: thoughts on Leni Riefenstahl
October 24, 2003

A small news item about Winnipeg filmmaker Guy Maddin caught my eye recently. It seems that Leni Riefenstahl, the master propagandist of the Third Reich, had liked one of his films so much she’d sent him a hand-written fan letter. Maddin had the letter framed. >by Stan Hister

CUPE slams yellow dog tactics
October 31, 2003

In an extraordinary show of support and solidarity, 2,000 delegates at the Canadian Union of Public Employees conference in Quebec City unanimously passed a resolution putting the IWA (Industrial, Wood & Allied Workers) on notice that CUPE will use all its resources to stop the IWA from signing yellow dog contracts with private health care multinationals. >by Judy Rebick

A gallery of dissidents
November 25, 2003

Harold Wolpe had worked for years as a solicitor for the African National Congress in cases brought by the government, and in an illuminating interview he outlined how impossible had been that task. If they ever won a case, which they frequently did, the government immediately changed the law so that such a case could never again be brought. This went on until every avenue of political expression for blacks in South Africa was closed off, and they had no option but to move to armed rebellion. (A book excerpt. . .) >by Boyce Richardson

A fight to the finish
December 1, 2003

Jean Charest’s seven-month old Liberal government argues that its plan to “re-engineer” Quebec will modernize it and bring it into line with the rest of North America. Ordinary Quebecers, meanwhile, look west to Ontario, Alberta and B.C., and realize that they are quite pleased with their distinct state and have little interest in being brought into line. >by Chad Lubelsky

Free speech shut down at Toronto school
December 17, 2003

Last week, a showing of the film Jenin Jenin at Northern Secondary School in Toronto was cancelled after the Canadian Jewish Congress intervened, suggesting that the film could incite hatred. The student organizer of the film series recounts the events of that week which led to the cancellation. >by Max Silverman


Nazi pandas are no mistake
January 6, 2003

Tiny plastic panda bears wearing caps with swastikas were found in Christmas crackers in Alberta and Ontario, and when the first news article about the Nazi Pandas came out, just after Christmas, my mind was immediately made up. The hair, the mustache, the salute, the hat, the swastika: Nazi Panda. >by Jane Kansas

Enough talk, now govern
January 23, 2003

The square surrounding the Mercado Central in old Porto Alegre is a noisy and jumbled mess of booths, stalls, street vendors, foot peddlars and barbecues on wheels. It is typical of a marketplace in the South, with all the dirt and garbage such open-air activities tend to produce. As the sun sets, teams of young municipal employees appear. The vendors roll up their wares and the brooms of the clean-up brigade go furiously to work. >by Gil Courtemanche

Do something for peace
February 12, 2003

Action canâe(TM)t stop with Saturday. We have to speak up, even if it makes people uncomfortable or gets us into trouble. Talk to taxi drivers and hair stylists and bartenders about the war. Tell jokes with an anti-war spin — &#-147;How does the U.S. know that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction? They kept the receipts.” >by Scott Piatkowski

We never hear of a ‘tax cut’ spree
February 25, 2003

One can appreciate the frustration of the business types. They’ve put years of effort into convincing Canadians we canâe(TM)t afford much in the way of social programs, that life in the age of globalization must be a survival-of-the-fittest kind of affair. Now, after all that effort — here we go again, getting dangerous thoughts in our heads about how the law of the jungle doesn’t have to apply to us. >by Linda McQuaig

So, Bush wants civil disobedience?
March 3, 2003

The U.S. President is urging Iraqis to rise up against Saddam Hussein. It’s time to turn the domestic tables, and — voilà! — escalate the war against the war. >by Naomi Klein

March madness
March 28, 2003

It’s been a week of war, and basketball. As both a journalist and an avid gambler, I was pumped. Upsets, heartbreak and endless statistical comparisons. With day two of Operation Iraqi Freedom seeing the Americans putting a full-court press on Iraq and my channel surfing going back and forth, it became increasingly difficult to discern which event I was watching. >by Ryan Kennedy

Battle for the West
April 7, 2003

You never know when the old paradigm is going to shift on you. Now, it’s hitting Stephen Harper up-side the head. The resurgence of the NDP, with its anti-war position and support for “activist government” will make for very interesting politics in Western Canada until the next election. >by Murray Dobbin

Canada and the U.S. military ‘team’
May 12, 2003

Canadian soldiers feel that they have let “the team” down by not participating in the war on Iraq. This is a dangerous sentiment. It transfers loyalty to a team that serves the interests of the United States, not Canada. >by Jerry West

History awaiting acknowledgement
May 19, 2003

Nova Scotia’s history is not devoid of compassionate white individuals who made, in view of the prevailing racist attitudes of their day, courageous efforts to help the Mi’kmaq survive. Shouldn’t the truth from their writings be taught in school? >by Daniel Paul

R.I.P. Gregory Peck and Pierre Bourgault
June 20, 2003

Hollywood’s Gregory Peck, who died last week, and Pierre Bourgault, who died in Montreal this week at 69, both embodied past struggles that are still around, in different forms, today. >by Rick Salutin

Burning Bush
July 24, 2003

George W. Bush could be the first one-term U.S. President since, well, George H.W. Bush. In 1991, in the wake of the first Gulf War, Bush the elder set records in approval ratings — reaching 91 per cent in one poll. Less than two years later, Bill Clinton was in the White House. The elements for a Bush defeat are in place, save one. Will the Democrats be able to deliver a credible and dynamic alternative? >by Adrian Dix

What went wrong with the PQ?
September 12, 2003

Jean Claude Labrecque’s latest film, A hauteur d’homme, is about Bernard Landry campaigning during the Quebec election last April. A few weeks before the election, the PQ was very confident that it would become the first Quebec government in 70 years to win three elections in a row. Then suddenly the wall crashed on Landry and his crew and the result was what we know. Quebec’s foremost “documentarist” reflects, in this beautiful film on the sadness of politics, on the cynicism of the media, on the drift of liberal democracy. >by Pierre Beaudet

When spirits become demons
October 3, 2003

“My name is Rachel and I’m an alcoholic.” I have used that line many times in jest, to break the ice during presentations. It always gets a laugh, as well as a few “Hello Rachels.” There was a time, though, when it was no laughing matter. My battle with alcohol is not unlike that of many in my generation, with roots in residential schools, the uprooting of Inuit culture, dysfunctional family, a low sense of overall worth. From the inside, looking out, I somehow felt alone and different in my problems. >by Rachel Qitsualik

Protocols of Zion’s critics
December 12, 2003

My young friend, Max, is having a rough week. “This morning, my worst fears became reality,” he wrote on Wednesday. “Freedom of speech has been blocked at our school.” This week they planned to screen Jenin, Jenin, a film on Israel’s invasion of that camp and whether a “massacre&#-148; occurred. But the Canadian Jewish Congress weighed in on behalf of parents concerned about anti-Semitic implications. >by Rick Salutin

Can’t get enough of Here she is