• Magazine

    Law & order

    Irvin Waller, a professor of criminology at the University of Ottawa, has made it his career and mission to get governments throughout much of the world to shift their emphasis from law enforcement to prevention, with some limited success. His book is a plaintive cry for movement by government in the direction of more attention to crime preventive approaches.

  • Magazine

    Dark days

    Dark Days is about the imprisonment and torture of four innocent Canadians in Syria in the furtherance of the so-called “war on terror” launched by George W. Bush. The four men, all Muslims, are Maher Ahar (361 days in Syrian detention), Abdullah Almalki (more than 22 months in Syria), Ahmad El Maati (two years, two months and two days in Syria and Egypt) and Muayyed Nureddin (34 days in Syria). Not one of them was ever charged with any crime.

  • Magazine

    Modest investments, immodest returns

    Everybody’s looking for a lifeline to pull themselves out of the global downturn. But with giant bailout packages failing to provide stability in the U.S. and grim predictions for the remainder of 2009, what are the emerging opportunities for secure and lucrative investment?

  • Magazine

    Letter from the editor

    This issue of Briarpatch is a temporary androgynous zone in the no-man’s land between male and female. It is addressed neither (just) to women nor (just) to men, but to anyone who is serious about putting principles of social justice into practice.

  • Magazine

    Polyamory in practice

    Conversations about polyamory – the practice of having more than one intimate partner at a time – are slowly finding their way into public consciousness. Two newly published books (Open: Love, Sex, and Life in an Open Marriage and Opening Up: A Guide to Creating and Sustaining Open Relationships) reflect an increasingly popular postmodern view of love and relationships led by post-second-wave feminist and queer communities.

  • Magazine

    Queering the scene

    On the third Saturday of every month, a throng of self-identified queers descend on an East Vancouver community centre in search of cheap drinks, good music, and the chance to dance off the month’s drudgery in a safe and inclusive environment.

  • Magazine

    Change your name, boy

    On a snowy November day in 2007, my husband and I walked into the office of our local Manitoba Public Insurance representative and spread our birth certificates, marriage certificate, and SIN cards across her desk. We were determined to disrupt the cycle of male domination and hoped to gain the government’s support. Eric and I had spent four years as de Waals before realizing that identifying ourselves with his birth name didn’t reflect either our convictions or our relationship. So we decided to become Penner de Waals.

  • Magazine

    A pound of flesh

    Yesterday I received a long-awaited item in the mail: an application package for admittance to the Gender Identity Clinic at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto. This is the golden ticket for Canadian transsexuals who are in need of medical care (including hormones, surgeries and counselling) and who can’t afford to pay for it themselves. Toronto’s Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, commonly referred to as CAMH, is the gateway to it all.

  • Magazine

    Villages without women

    The small woman moves lightly across the concrete floor. Wearing socks and sandals, she carries glasses of mud-coloured milk tea, which she sets on an ankle-high table. There are no chairs in this room, so she kneels on the floor, waiting to speak. The woman’s face is worn and crossed with lines pointing to a frown. She pulls a black shawl over her head for warmth, leaving only her damp, anxious eyes exposed. She looks old enough to be a grandmother, but guesses her age to be 26 or 27.

  • Magazine

    Cruising the red meat district

    Carol Adams’ The Sexual Politics of Meat is an indictment of the gender politics inherent in a meat-eating culture. It’s also an indispensable resource for those who want to delve into the complex relationship between consumption, hierarchy and domination. With great clarity, Adams lays out the interconnectedness of meat eating and male dominance, of animal oppression and the oppression of women – in short, the sexual politics of meat.

  • Magazine

    Sex work and the state

    Kara Gillies is a sex worker and activist who has been advocating for sex workers’ rights and well-being for the past two decades. She co-founded both the Canadian Guild for Erotic Labour and the former Toronto Migrant Sex Workers Advocacy Group. Gillies hosted a sex worker rights radio show on CIUT 89.5 FM called The Shady Lady and was a health worker at the Hassle Free Clinic. She has been involved with Maggie’s (www.maggiestoronto.ca), a Toronto-based sex worker-run organization, for 18 years and currently coordinates its education program.

  • Magazine

    Letter from the editor

    From the outbreak of listeriosis in Canada to the eruption of food riots across the global south, from the eating of mud cakes in Haiti to stave off hunger pangs to the growing of Canadian crops to fuel our vehicles, there is perhaps no more politically charged issue today than food – how it is grown, who controls its processing and distribution and who eats what (or who doesn’t eat at all).

  • Magazine

    From the world’s breadbasket to the empire’s fuel tank

    In the first half of 2008, Parliament Hill was the scene of a heated battle over the future of agriculture in Canada. The victor’s spoils: Bill C-33, an Act that would amend the Canadian Environmental Protection Act to give the federal government the power to mandate five per cent ethanol content in gasoline and two per cent biodiesel in transportation and home heating fuel.

  • Magazine

    The small-print revolution

    If you are like most people, you don’t wonder much about the foods you pick up at the supermarket. You trust that they’re as straightforward as meat and potatoes, and nothing you’re going to find on the labels is likely to change that.

  • Magazine

    The activist cookbook

    How to make five foods you thought you had to buy, how to can tomatoes, how to live without a fridge… and more!

  • Magazine

    Genetic modification “inherently unsafe”

    Jeffrey M. Smith is the Executive Director of the Institute for Responsible Technology and is an international bestselling author on the health risks of genetically modified foods.

  • Magazine

    Feeding the world and cooling the planet

    They numbered almost 650, from 86 countries and five continents, when they arrived in Maputo, the capital of Mozambique. They were delegates, support teams and special guests of the Fifth International Conference of La Vía Campesina, which took place from October 16 to 23, 2008. To reach Maputo, most of the delegates had made a considerable economic and human effort. Maputo is not a city you get to easily.

  • Magazine

    Learning from success

    Being an activist has a way of teaching you how to lose gracefully. Or, at least, how to lose. In my activist career I’ve worked in many different campaigns on a diverse array of issues, but virtually every single campaign I’ve been involved in has been a losing battle, with the particular problems we were fighting against becoming measurably worse despite our efforts. There has been one exception: the movement to build local, ecologically sound food systems.

  • Magazine

    Eat, play, live

    The origins of Food Not Bombs are somewhat mysterious: some report that a bake sale to benefit the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament led activists to call for spending on food, rather than bombs; other stories mention a mock soup line being used as street theatre when demonstrators asked the First National Bank of Boston to stop investing in a nuclear power station.

  • Magazine

    Cow powder

    Raindrops slam against the windows of the little shop on Bay Street in Victoria. The glass is littered with white-lettered slogans boasting the lowest supplement prices in town. Inside I wipe my feet on the face of the store’s muscle-bound mascot, Popeye, who winks up at me from the doormat. The walls are lined with rows of rainbow tubs, all sealed and packed with supplement powders.