Thursday, May 24, 2018

Vote NDP to stop Ford...but don't try to sell it as supporting a leftist agenda

As the ONDP led by centrist neo-liberal Andrea Horwath rises to new heights in the polls thanks to being seen as the "least bad" alternative to the Doug Ford insanity or the history of corruption by the Liberals, one salient question remains.

Why on earth are some leftists lining up enthusiastically to support her after her history as leader and the ONDP's transparently opportunistic stances that only the careerists and the willfully blind cannot see through?

How can leftists be excited -- except about the idea that Ford might be defeated --with the possible election of a party and leader entirely of the same ilk as Dexter, Notley, Horgan, Romanow and Doer?

Is Horwath a better alternative to Ford? Unquestionably so.

Is she better than Wynne? Given the circumstances, perhaps mildly. Especially if she seems likely to stop Ford, which she now might due to a fluke of circumstance.

Can she or an ONDP government be trusted to deliver anything remotely like their already mundane platform let alone a left agenda?

Only if you are dreaming in an election group think haze induced orange.

The ONDP platform is, at best, a tiny smidgen to the "left" of Wynne's. Much of this platform -- including the atrocious, gets worse as you read the details, vague, phased in, means tested childcare plank -- was clearly drawn up on office napkins when these least imaginative of all social democrats were caught off guard by announcements by a liberal party they wish they could replace.

Even her most outwardly "left" plank of bringing back Hydro One into public hands is based on a nonsensical, years long "buy back" formula and will have little immediate impact on hydro rates which anyone who knows anything about how they are set would understand.

But why advocate for an actually radical vision of public ownership of a utility when you can delude folks with a totally nonthreatening one?

The NDP's pharmacare plan does not even approach "universality" while its dental care plan openly eschews it.

"Change for the Better" in this case really means no change at all, just liberal governance without the Liberals. In this specific context that might work well electorally, but it is not leftism.

After her support of two Liberal austerity budgets and her campaign in 2014 how anyone could think Horwath had some conversion to socialism on the road to Toronto is beyond me.

As to those who claim that the Liberals and the Conservatives -- in this era where the right has shifted to the very far right -- are the "same old story" while the NDP are some radical alternative, they are either being intellectually dishonest or are complete idiots. Take your pick.

Any ideological differences between the ONDP and the Liberals are minuscule. They do not even exist in a serious sense. Should Horwath win, it will take exactly no time for this to become apparent.

It is always easier for some leftists to take the lazy route when jumping on another dead end NDP bandwagon as they have done time after time after time -- all while demanding that everyone else also drop their critical lens to join the mindless stampede to nowhere new -- claiming "this incarnation will be different", than to take the intellectually consistent and honest step of  saying, "no it won't" even if advocating for a tactical NDP vote.

It won't be different.

You can rest assured, and so can Bay St., that should the NDP sweep to power on June 7th, little will change, especially versus the Wynne agenda of the last year or so.

There is a segment -- sadly rather sizable at times like this -- of the Ontario left that like to talk a good game about folks like Corbyn or Mélenchon, the need for the type of serious socialist politics we see emerging in so many other countries, the need to get past the old patterns of a fundamentally bankrupt and undemocratic NDP, but who then line up to bleat out like sheep in support of transparently third way leaders like Horwath.

They talk radical two years out but tow straight-up centrist lines at election time and demand everyone else do as well. They claim those who remain critical are somehow trying to undermine something noble or are cynics.

Yet there is nothing more cynical than trying to sell what the NDP is peddling as a seriously different or compelling radical vision for "change".

Vote NDP to stop Ford if that makes sense for you in whatever community you are in.

But don't try to pretend this is a vote for anything other than a liberal platform from a party that will govern in exactly the way such a platform implies.

See also: Horwath rises as Ford stumbles and other news -- The Left Chapter Ontario Provincial Election Roundup Week Two

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Horwath rises as Ford stumbles and other news -- The Left Chapter Ontario Provincial Election Roundup Week Two

While not the total fiasco out of the gate that was Tim Hudak's rapid derailment of the Conservative campaign in 2014, the scent of scandal and promises and pledges that simply don't add up seem to be putting a dent in what appeared to be an insurmountable Ford lead.

The anti-Ford vote, however, is not coalescing around the Liberals and Wynne but rather around Andrea Horwath and the New Democrats, exposing the bankruptcy of the government's re-election strategy.

As the NDP rises though so too do the attacks on them that are being made from predictable angles aimed at weaknesses of the NDP's own making.

In this, the second of our weekly The Left Chapter round-ups we look at this past week's themes, news and developments.

407 Scandal

There is a deep historical irony that it would be the 407 toll highway -- handed to the private sector for a relative song by Mike Harris in the 90s in one of the worst privatization deals in the history of the country -- that is causing the Conservatives to go off message and stumble just when they looked to be certain to form government again for the first time in 15 years.

Having based their campaign in no small part around the need to clean up alleged Liberal corruption, the dangers of doing so become apparent when scandal begins to hover over your own party and campaign as well.

In this case Ford and the Tories have come under scrutiny after a Brampton candidate was forced to resign due to the alleged inappropriate use of personal data gleaned from 407 users for political purposes. The question is how widespread this was and if other Conservative candidates used the data as well. Police and the province's privacy commissioner have launched investigations.

You can read more about it via these articles:

Police and privacy commission join investigation into Hwy. 407 customer data theft

PC Leader Doug Ford hammered over alleged data theft; police probe urged

Ford faces tough questions as NDP asks for probe into ex-PC candidate's alleged role in data breach

Ontario elections watchdog reviewing PC candidate campaigns

Doug Ford and other PC figures pictured with man at the centre of growing data-theft scandal

For Doug Ford math seems to be hard

When it comes to explaining how he plans to deal with the loss of billions of dollars in government revenues due to his proposed tax cuts of various kinds without slashing public sector jobs and social programs, Doug Ford simply does not have an answer.

Presumably Ford thought he could just coast along like his brother Rob did with pseudo-populist rhetorical nonsense about "gravy trains" and "efficiencies" but it seems Ontarians are paying a little more attention to reality than Torontonians did during the 2010 municipal election.

His so-called "middle class" tax cut -- which unsurprisingly appears to mostly benefit the wealthy -- will cost the province $2.6 billion.

His plans to cut gas taxes and scrap cap-and-trade will lead to the loss of at least $3.2 billion.

Then there is the corporate tax cut. That would see another $1.4 billion vanish. 

How is he going to make up for this lost revenue without a vicious austerity agenda? Who knows?

Ford, of course, has not been willing to seriously answer questions about this from day one. He began the campaign by acting like a defensive bully replying pathetically with “Very simple. You haven’t done it. I’ve done it. That’s the difference. Next question” to CBC reporter Robyn Bresnahan's totally legitimate question about how he could cut as much spending as he claims he can without cutting jobs.

He has been doing the smoke and mirrors deflection routine ever since.

It looks like it may have stopped working.

Related articles:

Doug Ford declines requests to explain his 'nonsense' $469 million estimate

For Ford fact and policy free is the way to go

NDP rises to new heights in polls

The NDP is quickly gaining on the Conservatives according to many recent polls. The CBC poll tracking data has them at 33.4% compared to the Tories at 38%. The Liberals remain mired in the doldrums at 23.1%.

One poll by Ipsos Reid and Global actually had the NDP one point ahead of the Conservatives with 37% support.

This allows the NDP to attempt to position themselves as the strategic, safe progressive alternative to the Conservatives, a strategy that is not without its risks as I touched upon last week.

But Horwath certainly looks to be benefiting from a series of possibly fatal self-inflicted wounds by her opponents and is perhaps becoming the default option for many who find they have nowhere else to go.

Not a bad place to be at this stage.

The public may simply be too tired of the Liberals to consider them, and with another party promising to deliver essentially the same programs -- in some cases in a more robust way, in others differing either slightly or slightly for the worse -- without the same faces and the history, it could be their time is up.

While I do not share his overall ideological perspective Adam Radwanski in the Globe and Mail had a pretty good take on why Horwath may be able fend off the attacks on her by her opponents in his piece:  Why the usual questions about the Ontario NDP’s competence are being set aside

Horwath's 'fiscal responsibility' nonsense comes back to haunt

Speaking of self-inflicted wounds, one that Horwath has brought upon herself is the recent questioning of the NDP's math and budgetary plans due to what was a $1.4 billion annual error in the party's platform.

That being the platform that the NDP and Horwath repeatedly have sought to portray as fully costed and fiscally responsible, displaying a long-held and terribly self-defeating desire by mildly social democratic parties to appear as sound and reliable managers of the bourgeois state.

When you propose a fairly milquetoast, liberal platform that is so similar to the actual Liberal platform that you need a combination of a terrible Conservative leader and a titanically unpopular Premier to get your chance, it is easy to get tripped up by such minutiae. Especially given that it is the NDP themselves who have elevated it to importance with their fetishistic obsession with such neo-liberal policy detail that always proves to be fiction anyway.

Fortunately for them the public could be ready at this particular moment in time to get behind a liberal policy agenda without the Liberals as stated above. If a shift like that is occurring, these voters will likely not care about the error, especially given that Ford throws fictional numbers around daily as well as the long Liberal history of outlandish spending scandals and debacles.

Dave McKee's speech from the Communist Party launch

Ontario's Communist Party leader Dave McKee gave a terrific speech that touched on a number of important points when they launched their campaign in Toronto May 12. I reported on that launch already, but the speech has now been posted and it is definitely worth a listen.

Further news/article of interest about the campaign:

NDP Surges, Doug Ford Opposes Rent Control, Hydro One & more -- The Left Chapter Ontario Provincial Election Roundup Week One

Horwath’s NDP would ‘adjust’ Ontario cap and trade to fight climate-warming pollution

Ontario parties are ducking the issue of public auto insurance

Ontario NDP leader wouldn't introduce corner store sale of beer and wine

Ontario election campaign brings focus on nearly 2 million people living in poverty

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

The Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic 1982 - History, Art & Development w. Photos & Illustrations

Gleaned from the pages of the July 1982 issue of the Soviet English language publication Socialism: Theory and Practice are articles and blurbs taking a look at the Kazakh SSR. They review various aspects of its development within the USSR and a brief overview of its art.

It is a truly remarkable story of building industry, educational and scientific facilities, and cultural institutions in a nation that had been subject to the oppressive colonial enforced backwardness of Czarism. 

Interesting aspects touched on include the transformation of the Czarist military outpost Verni into the modern city of Alma-Ata (now Almaty), as well as the evolution of Kazakh painting.

As a bonus we have included some general "Information items" from the same issue such as the creation of a Soviet racing car, the building of a health resort in Lithuania and the construction of an airport in Yerevan, the capital of Armenia, that bears a striking resemblance to the core part of the station in the Star Trek TV series Deep Space Nine.

(Click on scans to enlarge)

See also: Soviet Tourist Ads of the 1960s - "Intourist wishes you happy touring in the USSR"

See also: Visit the USSR - A look at the Soviet Union in the late 1960s from Intourist (w. photos)

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Conservatives send grotesque fundraising email out in wake of Gaza massacres

"As mass killings horrify the world, Netanyahu’s circle dwindles" is the headline of a Doug Saunders article in The Globe and Mail...but that circle certainly still seems to include the Conservative Party of Canada (CPC).

At least 62 Palestinian protesters were massacred on Monday alone by Israeli forces. Thousands were wounded. Since March 30, 15 children have been killed by the Israeli army. As a result "The United Nations' top human rights body has voted to send a team of international war crimes investigators to probe" these actions.

Only two member states voted against this, the United States and Australia.

Speaking of the killings of children Genevieve Boutin, UNICEF's special representative said:
...there is no legal justification for anyone to shoot at children under any circumstance.
"According to international law, a child is a child, first of all, no matter what brought them there," said Boutin.
"At this point, the United Nations has been clear — many journalists have observed this — they're largely unarmed and they're quite far away from the soldiers. So for us, they're all child deaths that should have been avoided."
The Committee to Protect Journalists reports that at least seven Palestinian journalists were shot and wounded by the Israelis.

Canadian Dr. Tarek Loubani was shot and wounded despite the fact that he says he was "'clearly marked' as a doctor".

Doctors Without Borders called what happened this week "unacceptable and inhuman". They stated "The death toll provided this evening by Gaza health staggering. It is unbearable to witness such a massive number of unarmed people being shot in such a short time."

Yet in the wake of this the CPC sent out a fundraising email yesterday -- yes, a fundraising email -- signed off on by MP Peter Kent saying that Canadians should donate to them because Justin Trudeau is not doing enough to support Israel!

Screenshots from email titled "This is shameful" 
sent from
Saturday May 19, 2018

Of course this letter does not note that Trudeau has hardly been a critic of Israel historically. In fact, a recent opinion piece in The Globe and Mail was titled "On Israel, Trudeau is Harper's pupil".  The letter does not note that even after the massacre his Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland refused to specifically condemn Israel saying instead: "All parties to the conflict have a responsibility to ensure civilians are protected."

It does not note that virtually every other major Canadian ally in the world opposed Trump's disgraceful decision to move the US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.

But, of course, nothing but unequivocal support for the Israeli regime and Benjamin Netanyahu is good enough for the Conservatives.

And even after the slaughter this week they are hoping you will send along $36 saying that you agree.


Gaza Massacre, Trump Pulls Out of Iran Deal, Venezuela & more -- The Left Chapter Sunday Reading List May 13-20

This week's list of articles, news items and opinion pieces that I see as must reads if you are looking for a roundup that should be of interest to The Left Chapter readers.

This list covers the week of  May 13-20. It is generally in order of the date of the article's release.

This edition leads off with a special section of articles and statements related to the horrific massacre of unarmed Palestinian protesters by Israeli forces early in the week.

Gaza Massacre: 

1) Defiance, then death: Gaza suffers most horrific day of violence for four years

Hazem Balousha and Peter Beaumont, The Guardian

Amid the wail of sirens and the urgent to and fro of ambulances from the front line, Gaza’s hospitals struggled on Monday to cope with the influx of dead and wounded after Israeli forces opened fire on Palestinian protesters.

Read the full article.

2) Hundreds Protest Opening of US Embassy in Jerusalem Today

Communist Party of Israel

Hundreds of Israelis marched through downtown Jerusalem Saturday night, May 12, to protest against the politically volatile moves of the United States next week that will increase tensions with the Palestinians and the Arab World.  The protesters marched from King George Street downtown to the Old City’s Jaffa Gate. Along the way, they chanted slogans: “We oppose an escalation [of the security situation],” “Jerusalem capital of two states – Israel and Palestine,” “End the occupation of east Jerusalem,” and “Netanyahu – resign! Peace is worth more [than the embassy move].”

Read the full article.

3) Trump threw a match into Jerusalem with no plan to put out the fire

Rachel Shabi, The Guardian

But with the embassy move, Trump has deployed that far-rightist trick of disruption for the sake of it. There is no follow-up, no renewed talks in the pipeline, no international diplomacy, just the usual, multipurpose mumblings from Trump about sealing a good deal. This is no Middle East policy, unless you count as policy the practice of being a fire-starter and appearing to sanction overwhelming Israeli violence. And as we are seeing today, it is those living in the region who will suffer the punishing consequences of his folly.

Read the full article.

4) Pastor who prayed at embassy opening is 'a religious bigot', says Mitt Romney

Martin Pengelly, The guardian

An evangelical pastor who former presidential candidate Mitt Romney denounced as a “religious bigot” delivered a prayer at the opening of the US embassy in Jerusalem on Monday.

Read the full article.

5) Call it what it is: Israel massacred 58 Palestinians

Red Flag

What happened yesterday was a massacre. What happened the week before was a massacre. And the week before that. But you wouldn’t know it from the press coverage in the West.

Read the full article.

6) Global protests grow after Israeli killing of Palestinian demonstrators

Oliver Holmes, Hazem Balousha and Peter Beaumont, The Guardian

International condemnation of Israel’s killing of 60 Palestinian protesters in Gaza has escalated as tens of thousands of people rallied in the coastal enclave to bury the dead.

Read the full article.

7) “Unacceptable and inhuman” violence by Israeli army against Palestinian protesters in Gaza

Doctors Without Borders

This bloodbath is the continuation of the Israeli army’s policy during the last seven weeks: shooting with live ammunition at demonstrators, on the assumption that anyone approaching the separation fence is a legitimate target. Most of the wounded will be condemned to suffer lifelong injuries.

Read the full statement

8) "I would recommend FREEDOM"

Jewish Voice for Peace

Do yourself a favor and listen to Noura Erakat as she brilliantly responds to CBS News on Gaza and the U.S. embassy move.

Watch the full video.

9) How the UK's wall of silence gives Israel impunity for its actions

Peter Oborne, Middle East Eye

Those who shout loudest about Labour Party anti-Semitism have nothing to say about Israel maiming and killing unarmed protesters in Gaza.

Read the full article.

10) Canadian shot in Gaza says he was 'clearly marked' as a doctor

CBC Radio

Dr. Tarek Loubani decided not to use the tourniquet in his pocket to stop the bleeding when he was shot in the legs at the Gaza border on Monday.

Read/listen to the full story.

11) As mass killings horrify the world, Netanyahu’s circle dwindles

Doug Saunders, The Globe and Mail

“You have made history,” Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli Prime Minister, said to U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday as the two leaders, flanked by a discomfiting alliance of far-right politicians, ultra-Orthodox rabbis and evangelical preachers who have declared that Jews are doomed to burn in hell, officiated over the U.S. embassy’s move to the contested city of Jerusalem.

Read the full article.

12) Killing Gaza

Chris Hedges, Truthdig

Israel’s blockade of Gaza—where trapped Palestinians for the past seven weeks have held nonviolent protests along the border fence with Israel, resulting in scores of dead and some 6,000 wounded by Israeli troops—is one of the world’s worst humanitarian disasters. Yet the horror that is Gaza, where 2 million people live under an Israeli siege without adequate food, housing, work, water and electricity, where the Israeli military routinely uses indiscriminate and disproportionate violence to wound and murder, and where almost no one can escape, is rarely documented. Max Blumenthal and Dan Cohen’s powerful new film, “Killing Gaza,” offers an unflinching and moving portrait of a people largely abandoned by the outside world, struggling to endure.

Read the full article.

13) Seven Palestinian journalists injured by gunfire in Gaza protests

Committee to Protect Journalists 

The Committee to Protect Journalists condemned the use of gunfire by Israeli forces against journalists covering protests today in the Gaza Strip. At least seven Palestinian journalists have been injured by Israeli gunfire while covering today's demonstrations, according to the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate (PJS), reports shared on social media by media outlets and journalists, and CPJ interviews with local journalists Saud Abu Ramadan and Moneeb Saada.

Read the full statement.

14) Palestinians bury those gunned down by Israel

Steve Sweeney, People's World

Palestinians buried their dead yesterday as thousands of people took part in protests to mark the 70th anniversary of the Nakba, or “Catastrophe”—the mass expulsion of more than 700,000 Palestinians from their land that accompanied the foundation of Israel in 1948.

Read the full article.

15) Israeli communists call on allies around the world to help Gaza's hospitals

The Morning Star

ISRAEL’S communists have written to other communist and left progressive parties, asking them to examine how best to generate material assistance to hospitals in Gaza after this week’s horrific massacre.

Read the full article.

16) CPUSA condemns Gaza massarcre

Communist Party USA

The Communist Party USA reacts with anger and sorrow to the killing of at least 62 Palestinian demonstrators in Gaza by Israeli security forces on Monday, May 14.  The CPUSA directly blames the Israeli government of Prime  Minister Benyamin Netanyahu and the U.S. government of President Donald Trump for this tragedy.

Read the full statement.

17) UN votes to send war crimes investigators to Gaza

Al Jazeera

The United Nations' top human rights body has voted to send a team of international war crimes investigators to probe the deadly shootings of Gaza protesters by Israeli forces.

Read the full article.

18) On Trump, Gaza and white supremacy in South Africa

Tafi Mhaka, Al Jazeera

From South Africa to Palestine to the US, there is a systematic attempt to whitewash the crimes of white supremacy.

Read the full article.

Other Issues/Articles:

19) By ending the Iran deal, Trump has put America on the path to war

Bernie Sanders, The Guardian

Last week, Donald Trump made one of the most reckless moves of his presidency:  (JCPOA), also known as the Iran nuclear agreement. With this decision, the president discarded years of hard work by our diplomats, who had obtained an extremely rigorous set of restrictions and inspections guaranteeing that Iran would not obtain a nuclear weapon. He also slammed the door on a once-promising possibility of detente between the US and Iran.

Read the full article.

20) Trump, Iran sanctions and the danger of war

Mazda Majidi, Liberation

On May 8, President Trump announced that the United States would violate the nuclear agreement with Iran and re-impose sanctions. Trump claimed that Iran was continuing its pursuit of nuclear weapons, contradicting 11 certifications of compliance by the International Atomic Energy Agency and ignoring U.S. government intelligence. Standing reality on its head, Trump said, “We will not allow American cities to be threatened with destruction.”

Read the full article.

21) The Coming War Against Iran

John Kiriakou, Canadian Dimesion

I spent nearly 15 years in the CIA. I like to think that I learned something there. I learned how the federal bureaucracy works. I learned that cowboys in government – in the CIA and elsewhere around government – can have incredible power over the creation of policy. I learned that the CIA will push the envelope of legality until somebody in a position of authority pushes back. I learned that the CIA can wage war without any thought whatsoever as to how things will work out in the end. There’s never an exit strategy.

Read the full article.

22) More than half of NDP candidates are women, a first for Ontario political parties

CBC News

Some 56 per cent of the NDP's candidates in the upcoming spring election are women, the party said Sunday, the first time in Ontario that a major political party has fielded more women than men.

Read the full article.

23) A right on paper, not in reality: More severe attacks on abortion rights in 2018

Nathalie Hrizi, Liberation

Over 40 years ago, a 21-year old mother wanted to terminate her third pregnancy. Her life wasn’t in danger which was the only legal reason she could get an abortion. The abortion provider who would provide an illegal termination had been shut down. While this is thought of as history, she was in the position that many many women today find themselves–unable to access abortion care.

Read the full article.

24) Choking women is all the rage. It's branded as fun, sexy 'breath play'

Gail Dines, The Guardian

Choking seems to be in fashion, and I don’t mean the type where you need the Heimlich maneuver. Since the #MeToo movement, we’re learning just how many men seem to see choking women as a legitimate form of “sex play”, as it is often euphemistically referred to in porn.

Read the full article.

25) The lives of Grenfell tower

The Guardian

Portraits of all 72 people who died in Grenfell Tower, based on exclusive, moving testimony from family and friends.

Read the full article.

26) Right-wing charities report zero political activity…again

Press Progress

For at least the fifth year in a row, right-wing organizations report no political activity while uncertainty remains for many progressive charities.

Read the full article.

27) Exclusive: how rightwing groups wield secret 'toolkit' to plot against US unions

Ed Pilkington, The Guardian

Rightwing activists are launching a nationwide drive to persuade public-sector trade union members to tear up their membership cards and stop paying dues, posing a direct threat to the progressive movement in America.

Read the full article.

28) 'Tax Amazon': Seattle passes plan for corporate wealth tax to fund housing

Levi Pulkkinen, The Guardian

A parade of hardhat union workers and threats from hometown-behemoth Amazon did not stop Seattle leaders from passing on Monday a “head tax” meant to fund housing projects and homeless services.

Read the full article.

29) First female Communist elected in Iraq's holiest city calls for 'social justice'

Alex MacDonald and Mustafa Abu Sneineh, Middle East Eye

 Iraqis appear to have broken with the political establishment in response to what they see as rampant corruption and incompetence.

Read the full article.

30) North Korea threatens to cancel Trump summit over nuclear demands

Julian Borger and Justin McCurry, The Guardian

North Korea has abruptly cancelled high-level talks with Seoul and threatened to pull out of a planned summit with Donald Trump if the US continues to insist on the regime giving up all of its nuclear weapons.

Read the full article.

31) Beyond the headlines: here’s North Korea’s actual statement on Trump meeting


“Kim Jong-un Shows True Colors by Threatening to Cancel Trump Meeting.” This was how the New York Times headlined its recent “news” article, throwing any pretense of objectivity into the wind. This is typical of the imperialist media, which never accurately presents the perspective of countries that have been targeted for regime change, giving instead only the most sensational and selective soundbites that assist their demonization.

Read the full article/statement.

32) Indigenous rights activist Vernon Harper dies in Toronto

The Canadian Press

A Cree elder who was a co-organizer of a cross-Canada trek to raise awareness of broken treaties and grievances against the federal government has died, according to an organization that advocates for dozens of First Nations communities in Ontario.

Read the full article.

33) 'CEOs don't want this released': US study lays bare extreme pay-ratio problem

Edward Helmore, The Guardian

The first comprehensive study of CEO-to-worker pay reveals an extraordinary disparity – with the highest gap approaching 5,000 to 1.

Read the full article.

34) Mysterious rise in banned ozone-destroying chemical shocks scientists

Damian Carrington, The Guardian

A sharp and mysterious rise in emissions of a key ozone-destroying chemical has been detected by scientists, despite its production being banned around the world.

Read the full article.

35) Newfoundland and Labrador under new pressure to cover abortion pill

The Canadian Press

Newfoundland and Labrador — the only province that does not provide at least partial coverage of the abortion pill — is under renewed pressure to do so.

Read the full article.

36) 43 Percent of American Households Can’t Afford Basic Needs

Ilana Novick, Truthdig

Donald Trump may be celebrating the fact that America’s unemployment rate is at its lowest level in nearly two decades, but that’s not enough for the alarming number of American families still struggling to put food on the table and pay their rent.

Read the full article.

37) This great-grandmother was forced from her home of 31 years. Hers is the face of a broken public housing system

Jennifer Pagliaro and Emily Mathieu, The Toronto Star

Edna Rose is exhausted.
The great-grandmother is piling everything she owns into cardboard boxes while a large white moving truck parks outside next to her beloved garden where decades ago she planted peach and nectarine trees, then later flowers in honour of family.

Read the full article.

38) Nepal: Ruling Leftist Parties Merge into Marxist Leninist Party


Nepal's two ruling communist parties merged Thursday to form a unified Nepal Communist Party, or NCP, after winning a parliament majority in last December's elections as a coalition of left-wing parties.

Read the full article.

39) PC candidates are skipping debates in ridings all over Ontario

Press Progress

PC candidates have reportedly skipped debates in at least 23 ridings so far.

Read the full article.

40) Chilean villagers claim British appetite for avocados is draining region dry

Alice Facchini and Sandra Laville, The Guardian

UK demand for fruit increased by 27% last year alone, prompting accusations that growers are illegally diverting rivers and leaving locals without water.

Read the full article.

41) Even ‘nice guys’ don’t have a right to sex – and On Chesil Beach shows why

Hanna Flint, The Guardian

There are no end of movies about the “nice guy” getting the girl, but nowadays Hollywood is showing us that he might not be so nice after all. It began last year with Nacho Vigalondo’s Colossal and the character Oscar, played by Jason Sudeikis. He’s the quintessential “nice guy” throughout the film until he doesn’t get his own way, at which point his inner monster – both figuratively and literally – comes out. And how many of us recognise that pattern of behaviour from real life? Everything’s sweetness and light until the man in question doesn’t get something he wants.

Read the full article.

42) York police probe Highway 407 data breach that led PC candidate to quit

CBC News

York Regional Police's fraud unit is investigating the "internal theft" of customer data from 407 ETR, the company that oversees Highway 407, CBC News has learned.

Read the full article.

43) PC incumbent praises Donald Trump, cites his tax policies as a model for Ontario

Press Progress

The Trump tax cuts for the rich have been called the biggest wealth grab in modern history.

Read the full article.

44) The Forgotten Filipino American Activist Behind the Delano Grape Strike

Paula Mejia, Gastro Obscura 

A children’s book about Larry Itliong aims to rectify history.

Read the full article.

45) ‘Many grievances, one solution!’ - huge union rally in Melbourne, Australia

Kat Galea, Socialist World 

Upwards of 60,000 people hit the streets of Melbourne, on May 9, in the biggest union protest in over a decade. Some estimates put the figure in excess of 100,000. Seeing the streets flooded with union flags was a sight to behold and gave just a glimpse of the potential power of the workers’ movement. It was clear that many unions had mobilised for the ‘Change the Rules’ rally in a way they have not done for years, with many unions represented by large contingents.

Read the full article.

46) Belgium: Massive demonstration against pension reform

Socialist World

Six months after a huge trade union demonstration with 40,000 in Brussels, a new demonstration mobilised two times as many on Wednesday 16 May: 80,000. The anger against previously taken measures and new plans of the right wing government on the pensions is huge. The pension age went up from 65 to 67, access to early retirement was limited and now the government is planning to go even further by slashing pensions with a new calculation method aimed at forcing people to work longer.

Read the full article.

47) Consistent, Free, Fair: Venezuela's Election History Analyzed

Erin Fiorini and Monica Sabella, Telesur

Since Venezuela announced plans in January to hold early presidential elections, world leaders and factions of the opposition have condemned President Nicolas Maduro and his administration, branding the elections 'illegal' and claiming the vote will somehow be 'rigged.'

Read the full article.

48) Maduro: Development, Respect for the Sovereignty of Venezuela


Maduro commented that he leads the charge in the battle for Venezuela's independence, sovereignty, democracy and the right for peace.

Read the full article.

49) Where marital rape is legal: Sudanese teen's death sentence fuels wider fight

Mohammed Amin, Middle East Eye

In Sudan, a story of forced marriage, marital rape and murder has shone a spotlight on the country's personal status law and the vulnerabilities women and girls face every day.

Read the full article.

50) 'I'll be asked to clear out': how Harry and Meghan's wedding affects Windsor's homeless

Harriet Sherwood, The Guardian

Four months after Simon Dudley, the council leader, attracted national attention with his demand that police use legal powers to clear rough sleepers off the streets before the royal wedding, little has changed for the town’s homeless residents.

Read the full article.

51) 'Royal Parasites': Activists, Citizens Protest the Elites' $42M Royal Wedding As Population Faces Austerity


Many disagree with the people paying for a lavish event for the elites, especially in the United Kingdom, which has implemented a hash program of austerity that has affected essential public services for the many.  

Read the full article.

52) The Communist Party's Ontario Election Kickoff

Dave McKee, Communist Party of Ontario

On May 12th, supporters of the Communist Party of Canada (Ontario) met in Toronto to kick off the 2018 Ontario election. Speech by leader Dave McKee

You Tube link.

See also: Corbyn and the Media, Doug Ford, Teacher Revolt & more -- The Left Chapter Sunday Reading List May 6 - 13

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Documents of the 3rd Conference of Communist and Workers' Parties of the Region of the East Mediterranean, Near and Middle East and the Red Sea, 1987

Vintage Leftist Leaflet Project

See the end of this post for details on the project.

Leaflet: Documents of the 3rd Conference of Communist and Workers' Parties of the Region of the East Mediterranean, Near and Middle East and the Red Sea, 1987

Documents and declarations from a regional conference of Communist and Workers' parties that included parties from countries such as Greece, Turkey, Israel, Palestine, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq and others. The conference was held in Athens in October 1987.

An interesting glimpse of the issues facing the region at the time. The conference also issued solidarity messages to the African National Congress and the Sandinistas. 

The document ends with a declaration related to the 70th Anniversary of the Great October Socialist Revolution that was coming up in less than a month at that point. It spoke of the tremendous significance of the revolution in world history as well as the critical role played by the USSR in the anti-colonialist and anti-imperialist struggles of the 20th century. It makes for pretty tragic reading now, given the events that would unfold over the next four years. 

(Click on scans to enlarge)

When The Left Chapter began part of what I wanted to do on the blog was to show and highlight vintage public leftist election/political leaflets and booklets. While many of these have been offered with commentary to date, a very large collection of hundreds of them from several different sources remains and to preserve these often quite rare documents we will be posting them on a regular (almost daily) basis now often without or with minimal commentary so that people may have access to them as quickly as possible as an historical resource. 

While these will all be leaflets from a variety of different leftist viewpoints and countries, they are being posted as an historical/study resource and the views or opinions expressed in them do not necessarily reflect the views of this blog or blogger.

All of these posts (as well as posts made to date) will be listed on the page: Vintage Communist/Socialist Leaflets (which is still being updated with past posts).

If you have any public, vintage leaflets or booklets you would like to contribute to this project please contact us via