Showing posts from November, 2008

Join me at Just Christmas this weekend!

This weekend in Edmonton is the 25th annual Just Christmas fair trade market place. Just Christmas is a global marketplace for quality arts, handmade crafts and other goods.

You don’t need to shop at corporate sweatshops, when you can go to a fair trade giftshop whose products come from fair trade workshops. Clothing, jewelry, art, food and more from around the world await you at this holiday season multicultural shopping and dining experience.

Shop in confidence knowing that your money is supporting the building of healthy communities around the world.This year, look forward to hearing world music and stories told in different languages, as well as enjoying food from the international kitchen.As usual, I’ll be working at the kiosk for Humanserve International which provides relief for Palestinians and Palestinian refugees, and for the first time ever, we’ll be selling graphic novels.That’s right—copies of Joe Sacco’s funny, tragic, enraging and inspiring acclaimed journalistic graphic …

Obama's Cabinet: We told you we weren't socialists, or, Hawkmen, Assemble!

"The More Things Change, the More they Stay the Same"

by Ralph Nader

While the liberal intelligentsia was swooning over Barack Obama during his presidential campaign, I counseled “prepare to be disappointed.” His record as a Illinois state and U.S. Senator, together with the many progressive and long overdue courses of action he opposed during his campaign, rendered such a prediction unfortunate but obvious.

Now this same intelligentsia is beginning to howl over Obama’s transition team and early choices to run his Administration. Having defeated Senator Hillary Clinton in the Democratic Primaries, he now is busily installing Bill Clinton’s old guard. Thirty one out of forty seven people that he has named so far for transition or appointments have ties to the Clinton Administration, according to Politico. One Clintonite is quoted in the Washington Post as saying – “This isn’t lightly flavored with Clintons. This is all Clintons, all the time.”

Obama’s “foreign policy team is now …

*The Secret Life of Bees* sings honey-sweet and never stings

This is no B-Movie

Directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood
Screenplay by Gina Prince-Bythewood
Based on the novel by Sue Monk Kidd
Starring Dakota Fanning, Queen Latifah, Jennifer Hudson, Alicia Keys, Sophie Okonedo

In 1965, after receiving a vision involving bees, little Lily Owens (Dakota Fanning) runs away from her abusive Southern father and into the company of three African-American bee-keeper sisters producing a brand of honey called Black Madonna.

Wise August Boatwright (Queen Latifah) is the leader of this literal sorority; angry June (Alicia Keyes) and overwrought May (Sophie Okonedo) help watch over young Zach (Tristan Wilds of The Wire), August’s handsome pubescent godson with a Sam Cooke voice and a dream of being a lawyer, while offering refuge to Lily and her father’s housekeeper Rosaline (Jennifer Hudson).

At this quasi-commune, Lily begins learning how racially-privileged she’s been (as signified by her given name), despite her own abuse. She’s struck by the cultural sophistication…

TONIGHT ON THE TERRORDOME: Tariq Ali on Culture Against Empire

FM 88.5 Edmonton worldwide
6 pm Mountain time

Last week on the show, we heard my exclusive conversation with internationally renowned radical activist, film-maker and author Tariq Ali.

Tonight on The Terrordome, we’ll hear the closing keynote Ali delivered at the Parkland Institute Conference in Edmonton on Sunday, November 16, on how culture and art are critical to challenging the political and socially suffocating power of the Empire.

Born in Lahore, Pakistan, Ali lived in exile since the 1960s to opposition to Pakistan’s then-military dictatorship. A longtime editor at the New Left Review, Tariq Ali has authored and edited numerous books on history and politics including the classic The New Revolutionaries and the recent The Clash of Fundamentalisms which investigates US power and its role in the creation of global terrorism, and Pirates of the Caribbean: Axis of Hope on the progressive wave sweeping Latin America.

A novelist, Ali has published four books of his “Islamic Qui…

"Post-racial" US and Canada, Part 4: Racial supremacy makes your crazy

From Wednesday's Globe and Mail, November 19, 2008 at 3:37 AM ESTE-mail Margaret Wente "Canada's growing population of immigrants and visible minorities face mental health challenges that are often very different from those of other citizens. Although many are at increased risk of mental illness, they have poorer access to care, and their issues are often poorly understood.

"Dr. Kwame McKenzie is a psychiatrist and researcher who specializes in redesigning mental health services for visible minority groups. Last year he moved to Toronto from London, England, to join the staff of the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health. This week Margaret Wente asked him to explain why understanding ethno-cultural differences is so important for improving mental health care...."What are some of the distinct problems experienced by minority groups?"They vary with the group. People from areas where there has been torture and war are more likely to suffer from post-traumat…

"Post-racial" US and Canada, Part 3

In 2002, an Edmonton columnist wrote an opinion piece in reference to the television show Survivor, claiming that racism is a figment of Black folk’s imaginations. I countered that article with a detailed response proving the obvious falsehoods of his claim. Not surprisingly, that Edmonton paper declined to print any of my response.

The following is the first publication of what I wrote, placed online now to address the absurd claims of a “post-racial America” and to confront the rabid, sub-intellectual attacks on figures such as Reverends Jackson, Sharpton and Wright, which claim that the Obama electoral victory is proof that human rights activists who advocate for Afrikans in America are no longer needed.
I’ve changed the name of the writer to “Mr. Columnist” to avoid giving him any further undeserved press, and I’ve deleted the name of the paper the same reason.
***Mr. Columnist either doesn’t comprehend much about race, or agrees with the elite agenda of network TV--namely, to obscur…

"Post-racial" US and Canada, Part 2

Despite a Canadian tendency to see ourselves as self-abasing and polite to a fault, there’s an ugly self-righteousness in Canadian culture, perhaps most visibly embodied by the likes of Rick Mercer, whose fame is largely based on televised antics to make Americans look stupid. Too often, too many Canadians force-feed an undernourished patriotism by bashing Yanks; witness Molson’s “I am Canadian” ads, an entire advertising campaign based on our alleged superiority to our southern neighbours.
That very arrogance serves as cover for a vicious fact about Canada in 2005: racist attitudes are widespread, and racial profiling across Canadian life is both widespread and destructive.
According to an Ipsos-Reid poll published in time for March 21, the United Nations Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, nearly one in six Canadian adults--around four million people--has been the victim of racism. And one in ten Canucks wouldn’t want someone from another race living next door.
Charlene …

"Post-racial" US and Canada, Part 1

Racism is a system of power, and racial profiling is one of the tools that a race-based system uses to maintain control.
Racial profiling doesn’t work at catching criminals. The Toronto Star (November 25, 2002, “Laws needed to ban racial profiling”) reported that “African Canadians were much more likely to be charged with traffic-related offences that [aren’t obvious from a distance], such as driving with an expired license [which is consistent with] African Canadian drivers [being] racial[ly] profil[ed].... For [people being] profiled, the indignity is real....
"The cumulative effect on individuals of bearing this burden... would be enormously damaging on their self-respect. It would also undermine fundamental principles of equal dignity and worth and respect for the presumption of innocence.”
According to a Statistics Canada report entitled “Visible Minorities in Canada - Profile Series,” people of colour are less likely than other Canadians to be employed. “More than 1 in 3 [vis…

I never liked Shelby Steele

Shelby Steele is a right-wing negro stooge at the Hoover Institute. And while Obama is a right-wing, neoliberal Democrat (find far more extensive examples of what's wrong with Obama in the Bro-Log links on the left and in the discussion threads on my Facebook page), I will take this moment of schadenfreude to post the cover to one of Steele's books.

Check out that subtitle!

The Telegraph reports: "A Bound Man: Why We Are Excited About Obama And Why He Can't Win, has been stuck at number 202,884 on the best seller list for quite some time."

In the Set/Usir department, ironically, Steele's twin brother is progressive academic Claude Steele, a leading proponent of the critical sociological concept "stereotype threat." (Thanks to Algernon Austin for introducing me to the term.)

"Post-racial America," or, "ATVing forth to Bethlehem to be born"

Democracy Now! reports:
Hundreds of Race-Based Incidents Reported Since Election of ObamaMark Potok of the Southern Poverty Law Center said there have been “hundreds” of race-based incidents since the election.The Associated Press has compiled a list of other possible hate crimes over the past two weeks. Crosses were burned in yards of Obama supporters in Hardwick, New Jersey and Apolacan Township, Pennsylvania.In the Pittsburgh suburb of Forest Hills, a black man said he found a note with a racial slur on his car windshield, saying, “Now that you voted for Obama, just watch out for your house.”A black teenager in New York City said he was attacked with a bat on election night by four white men who shouted “Obama.”In Standish, Maine, a sign inside the Oak Hill General Store read, “Osama Obama Shotgun Pool.” Customers could sign up to bet $1 on a date when Obama would be killed.At North Carolina State University, four students admitted writing a sign on the campus that called for shooti…

TONIGHT ON THE TERRORDOME: Minister Faust speaks with Tariq Ali

FM88.5 Edmonton worldwide
6 pm Mountain Time

According to David Barsamian of Alternative Radio, the Rolling Stones wrote the song “Street Fighting Man” to honour the internationally renowned radical activist, author and atheist Tariq Ali.

Born in Lahore, Pakistan, Ali lived in exile since the 1960s to opposition to Pakistan’s then-military dictatorship.

A longtime editor at the New Left Review, Tariq Ali has authored and edited numerous books on history and politics including the classic The New Revolutionaries and the recent The Clash of Fundamentalismswhich investigates US power and its role in the creation of global terrorism.

A novelist, Ali has published four books of his “Islamic Quintet" which portray Islamic civilisation counter to Western orthodoxy, and the first two volumes in his "Fall of Communism" trilogy. Tariq Ali has also written stage- and screenplays, and he is currently writing an opera about the late Iranian Ayatollah Khomeini. His most recent boo…

TONIGHT ON THE TERRORDOME: Bill Fletcher and Lester K Spence on Obama’s Win

6pm Mountain Time
Tonight’s discussion is on the election of Barack Obama as US president, a victory has thrilled literally hundreds of millions.
What may be lost in the jubilation is substance instead of style. What policies will an Obama administration enact? How will it be substantively different from a Bush or a Clinton government? How hawkish will it be in international affairs, especially with Iran, Somalia and Venezuela? How will it deal with the US and global economic crisis? How will it deal with America’s multicultural and multireligious population, in an era of right wing Christianist reaction?
To answer these questions and more, I spoke with Bill Fletcher, Jr. and Lester Kenyatta Spence.

“Bill Fletcher, Jr., is a longtime labor and international activist and the former President and chief executive officer of TransAfrica Forum, a national non-profit organization organizing, educating and advocating for policies in favor of the peoples of Africa, the Car…

On US election day, Nader's open letter to Obama

In the Public Interest
Between Hope and Reality
by Ralph Nader

Dear Senator Obama:

In your nearly two-year presidential campaign, the words "hope and change," "change and hope" have been your trademark declarations. Yet there is an asymmetry between those objectives and your political character that succumbs to contrary centers of power that want not "hope and change" but the continuation of the power-entrenched status quo.

Far more than Senator McCain, you have received enormous, unprecedented contributions from corporate interests, Wall Street interests and, most interestingly, big corporate law firm attorneys. Never before has a Democratic nominee for President achieved this supremacy over his Republican counterpart.

Why, apart from your unconditional vote for the $700 billion Wall Street bailout, are these large corporate interests investing so much in Senator Obama? Could it be that in your state Senate record, your U.S. Senate record and your presidential…