• Magazine

    20 food initiatives to get excited about

    A recent study on the Canadian food movement found it to be uniquely decentralized and self-propagating in comparison to other social movements. Through phone and e-mail conversations with foodies across the country, Briarpatch learned about dozens of inter-connected but independent food-related initiatives that together are crafting a network of more sustainable, democratic and inclusive food systems that challenge our current corporate, industrial model. What follows is a small sampling of the most exciting initiatives we came across.

  • Magazine

    Feeding the revolution

    After years of working for cash-strapped environmental organizations, Rick Morrell founded an organic grocery store in 1996 with the goal of directing profits into the environmental movement. Fifteen years later, Morrell is still struggling to find those profits, but the store has become a mainstay in Regina’s activist community.

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    Peak oil for preteens

    Claudia Dávila’s debut graphic novel, Luz Sees the Light, sets Luz and her friends on a path to transform their fossil-fueled world.

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    Turning the tide

    The Conservatives won a majority in the recent federal election with a very simple core message. On the basis of their economic agenda and tough-on-crime program, Stephen Harper presented his party as the safe choice in difficult times.

  • Magazine

    Lebanon rising

    Farah Koubaissy lifts a megaphone to the cheers of a crowd in downtown Beirut. The 24-year-old student, blogger and community organizer sports a calm smile, a keffiyeh scarf and a camera.

  • Magazine

    Living among us

    On June 26, 2010, while the G20 summit was under way amid mass protests on the streets of downtown Toronto, a startling revelation was made that would reverberate through activist communities for months to come. Two undercover police officers had joined protest groups and been living among activists as part of a large-scale investigation that began more than a year earlier, in April 2009.

  • Magazine

    Our way to fight

    In this book, you’ll meet Palestinians and Israelis whose struggles for peace, justice and an end to more than half a century of illegal dispossession and brutal occupation, belie the racism and harmful homogenising of history that fuel the current policies of the Zionist state.

  • Magazine

    The Jaggi Singh trial

    Ideas are being put on trial in Canada. This became clear sitting in the courtroom at Toronto’s Old City Hall on Thursday, April 28. Jaggi Singh, one of the nation’s most prominent anti-capitalist activists, pleaded guilty to urging people to take down the $5-million G20 summit fence erected in downtown Toronto last June.

  • Magazine

    From the ground up

    On the West Coast, agriculture has always taken a back seat to logging, which has generated a lot of money for folks in these company towns. Now, as the export-the-trees-and-import-everything-else economy seems to be running out of steam, there’s renewed interest in small-scale farming as both a way to make a living and as a community resource. And in contrast to the decades of focus on the male-dominated forest industry, this movement is in many cases being led by women.

  • Magazine

    Letter from the editor

    The first step toward emancipation must be recognition of the shared struggle between all those considered less valuable by our state and social structures. Liberation can only happen collectively and across all communities simultaneously. Freedom at the expense of others’ freedom is not freedom at all, but a different and twisted kind of enslavement.

  • Magazine

    Hierarchies of worthiness

    In news coverage of violence, women are almost always portrayed as victims. Whether they are worthy, innocent victims in need of rescue (“virgins”), as in the case of Afghan women post-9/11, or unworthy, culpable victims to be ignored or incarcerated (“vamps”), as with Indigenous women in Canada, depends on their strategic value to the forces in power.

  • Magazine

    Lives less livable

    Butler’s theory of gender-as-performance remains her best-known contribution to academia, but for the last decade her attention has gradually shifted from gender to the politics of war. Now she’s struggling with questions like, whose deaths matter, and why are some deaths grievable but others not?

  • Magazine

    Safer sex work

    “In my view the law plays a sufficient contributory role in preventing a prostitute from taking steps that could reduce the risk of such violence.” With these concluding remarks by Justice Susan Himel, the laws that kept sex work illegal in Ontario were struck down in November 2010. The ruling, however, has been stayed, pending an appeal by the federal government that’s scheduled to begin in June, 2011.

  • Magazine

    Queer, undocumented and unafraid

    If passed, the DREAM Act would grant conditional permanent residency and a path to citizenship to undocumented students who arrived in the U.S. as minors. This article chronicles the lives of three queer undocumented activists who have risked deportation to fight for its passage.

  • Magazine

    Sanitizing Pride

    With Toronto’s 31st annual Pride Parade fast approaching, the legacy of last year’s controversial attempted banning of the group Queers Against Israeli Apartheid from the Parade continues to resonate today.

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    Fashioning a familiar feminism

    I remember the exact moment I realized I had just spent the last five years of my life building the wrong type of *F*eminism. I was on a conference call with my fellow women-of-colour organizers when my 10-year-old daughter interrupted me to declare that she had friends who were “hooking up” with older boys and men online.

  • Magazine

    Reconciliation on trial

    Nearly three years after Stephen Harper’s historic apology to residential school survivors, Canada’s iniquitous treatment of Indigenous children lives on. With over 27,000 First Nations children currently in foster care, there are more than three times as many Indigenous youth in state care than at the height of the residential school era in the 1940s.

  • Magazine

    Letter from the editor

    Spirituality and activism are not strangers. The intimate relationship between the two is evident in the work of icons like Gandhi, Harriet Tubman, Malcolm X and Desmond Tutu, for whom activism was part and parcel of their commitments to something or someone beyond the sensory world.

  • Magazine

    Solidarity in Islamophobic times

    With Islam having moved to the centre of North American political discourse since 9/11, Muslim practices, cultural formations, sectarian divides, religious laws and political histories are being publicly scrutinized as never before. Grandiose proclamations of a “clash of civilizations” are now commonplace, as are routine examples of racial profiling, hate crimes, polls documenting shockingly discriminatory public opinions, and inflammatory rhetoric from public figures across the political spectrum.

  • Magazine

    No priests, no temples

    Many activists practice yoga, but few would describe their yoga practice as a form of activism or treat their activism as an expression of their yoga practice. Michael Stone is working to change that.