• Magazine

    Reorganizing the workplace

    In a society where we must work to live, work is at the very core of our existence. Without work, we are deemed meaningless — non-citizens, outcasts. In the face of such dogmatic, almost religious, devotion, putting forward an alternative perspective on how to organize production and exchange seems almost heretical. It is no small task, but it is a necessary one

  • Magazine

    Pubs, pulpits and prairie fires

    Between 1929 and 1935, the Great Depression triggered Canada’s descent into what remains the worst economic downturn in the country’s history. By 1935, the number of jobless had topped one million. On June 3, 1935, over 1,200 unemployed and single men from British Columbia relief camps left Vancouver to “ride the rail” to Ottawa and deliver demands for work and wages to the Conservative government of Prime Minister R.B. Bennett.

  • Magazine

    In defense of universal health care

    There’s nothing universal about an insurance-based system, and Canadians concerned about the future of medicare would do well to understand the problems inherent in the American system.

  • Magazine

    Commodification

    Consumer culture is having significant repercussions on our physical and mental well-being. One hormone-injected cheeseburger or the placement of an offensively loud advertisement where a tree once stood will not singularly ruin one’s health. But all of these intrusions into our physical and mental space, experienced routinely and en masse, are devastating to our collective quality of life.

  • Magazine

    In sickness and in wealth

    In Canada and around the world, the health of the poorest people is far worse than the health of the richest – and new evidence suggests we all suffer as a result. In order to address the fundamental unfairness of this situation, we need to completely rethink not just how we do health care, but how we do politics.

  • Magazine

    Letter from the editor

    I’ve undergone 19 years of schooling, but I’d say my real education came the summer after I finished my graduate degree. I spent that growing season, and the next, as part of a frontline literacy program in Ontario, working and living on farms alongside migrant workers from Mexico and the Caribbean, picking tomatoes and sweet corn, priming tobacco, harvesting ginseng.

  • Magazine

    Creative class struggle

    Two downtown neighbourhoods in Hamilton, Ontario – James St. North and Landsdale – have recently been the site of several skirmishes in a gentrification war waged in the media, art galleries and on the streets themselves.

  • Magazine

    Sex work, migration and anti-trafficking

    Nandita Sharma is an activist, scholar, and the author of Home Economics: Nationalism and the Making of ‘Migrant Workers’ in Canada (University of Toronto Press, 2006), and “Anti-Trafficking Rhetoric and the Making of a Global Apartheid” (_NWSA #17, 2005).

  • Magazine

    Empire of illusion

    The theme of Pulitzer Prize-winning author Chris Hedges’ new book is pretty straight­forward: no matter how you look at it, we’re hooped. “Our way of life is over” Hedges writes. “Our profligate consumption is finished. The good news, however, is that he looks at these desolate prospects from some awfully interesting perspectives, even if he is a bit short on solutions.

  • Magazine

    Canada’s imperialist project

    Canada has been active indeed on the world stage of late, but hardly as the force for good many Canadians imagine their country to be. Since June 2009, Canada has supported a coup in Honduras; three Salvadoran activists who were organizing against Canadian mining company Pacific Rim Mining Corporation have been assassinated…

  • Magazine

    Unfinished business

    For the last 10 years, Juana López Nuñez (not her real name) has spent most of her waking hours making T-shirts for the Canadian company Gildan Activewear at the company’s San Miguel factory in Honduras. Today, at age 44, she has little use of her arms and experiences constant pain in her shoulders, neck and hands. She takes painkillers throughout the day, and has had one surgery, which didn’t ease the chronic tendonitis that keeps her up at night.

  • Magazine

    Six pillars of a progressive Canadian foreign policy

    High-minded rhetoric aside, Canadian foreign policy is largely designed to serve hegemonic Canadian corporate interests abroad. To bring Canada closer to the status of a “peacekeeper” or “honest broker” here are some specific policies that the peace and social justice movement should pursue.

  • Magazine

    Letter from the editor

    This issue of Briarpatch is about opening our activism to new voices and new perspectives. As Naomi Wolf recently observed, “our (Western) moment of feminist leadership is over now, for good reasons… . [T]he leadership role is shifting to women in the developing world.”

  • Magazine

    Forging ahead

    Even after the doctors had left, the Peruvian alpaca sweaters lay neatly folded in the large suitcase near the entrance. The clothing had been carefully selected, packed and transported to the edge of town the previous day in the hope that a group of foreign doctors who were passing through the area might take an interest. After perusing the collection, however, the foreigners purchased the inexpensive finger puppets in lieu of the pricier sweaters, hats and mittens.

  • Magazine

    Cupcakes, gender, nostalgia

    In the summer of 2009, on a humdrum Edmonton afternoon, three of us went out for cupcakes. Fellow sociologists, knitting buddies and feminist reading group pals, we found ourselves at Fuss, a cupcake, gelato and coffee shop all rolled into one. It was there that we began to ponder the phenomenon of cupcake shops that seem to be popping up everywhere.

  • Magazine

    No one answer

    Marilyn Waring’s decades-long career has been as varied as it has been influential. She was the youngest woman elected to the New Zealand Parliament, is a long-time activist for lesbian and gay rights, and has tended her own goat farm for many years. Waring recently spoke with Briarpatch about the state of women’s rights in the Global South and how women in the North can support southern resistance to economic inequality.

  • Magazine

    Mass protests and the future of convergence activism

    Ever since tens of thousands of people converged on the streets of Seattle and successfully shut down the World Trade Organization in November 1999, convergences have been the tactic of choice for confronting global capitalism.

  • Magazine

    Collective power

    I have been covering demonstrations, protests and sit-ins as a photojournalist for many years. Documentation of protest was part of my work as the coordinator of the East Timor Alert Network between 1986 and 1992. One of the salient features of the modern state is the disconnect between the centralized bureaucracy of government and its largely fragmented citizenry, who have very little influence on decision-making between elections.

  • Magazine

    Boosters’ millions

    The latest estimate of the cost of the Olympics to be borne by the public is $6.1 billion. This figure includes the expansion of the Sea-to-Sky Highway, the construction of the Richmond-Airport-Vancouver rail link, the expansion of the Vancouver Convention Centre, the construction of an athletes’ village and various venues, and a ballooning security budget. The two-week sporting event is set to be the most expensive entertainment spectacle in B.C.‘s history.

  • Magazine

    Government and the global jobs crisis

    Various talking heads have proclaimed that the worst of the global recession may be over, but the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) maintains that “employment is the bottom line of the current crisis,” which has the potential to turn “into a long-term unemployment crisis.”