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    Letter from the editor

    Our efforts to organize more co-operatively must go beyond inclusivity. For power to be truly re-distributed, we must pay particular attention to the voices that have been most silenced by global capitalism.

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    Reimagining revolution

    The Occupy movement has demonstrated a tenacious and effective commitment to non-violent, collaborative tactics. These photos, from various photographers, capture some of the ways in which the Occupy movements have helped us to reimagine how we organize and relate to one another within our collective struggle for justice.

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    Canadian mining on trial

    As a court battle ensues between the Salvadoran government and Canadian mining company Pacific Rim, the disappearances and murders of anti-mining activists are a tangible manifestation of the lack of respect for individual and collective rights in the face of highly lucrative development projects.

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    Letter from the editor

    As the Occupy movement continues to gather momentum, this moment presents an opportunity to re-evaluate the role of unions in social transformation and look beyond the reactive task of simply defending the working conditions of their members within the capitalist system, to which much of the labour movement has become resigned.

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    Homeplace as revolutionary front

    Homeplace is where we are grown and raised into social beings, where we receive our earliest definitions of humanity, where we first learn to recognize love, violence, justice and pain. Yet it has persisted in our imagination as a private sphere of emotional and material dependence, rather than as a front in revolutionary struggle.

  • Magazine

    The confines of compromise

    Has the labour movement become comfortable in a reactive, and even survivalist, mode of operating? What would a labour movement that strengthened and encouraged resistance and militancy, rather than managed it, look like?

  • Magazine

    From apple pie and mother’s milk to pop-tarts and formula

    Ninety per cent of pregnant families in Canada plan to breastfeed their children. After the recommended six months later, less than 25 per cent of those families are still exclusively breastfeeding. This is a story of severed cultural ties to breastfeeding knowledge; “breast is best” lip service by many care providers, hospitals and government funding models; and huge marketing dollars from the big multinationals that produce artificial human milk (marketed as the more genteel “formula”).

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    Open for business

    Afghanistan, and the surrounding region, has been in the crosshairs of imperial expansionists for centuries. In 1600, Queen Elizabeth I set the East India Company on its march northward through India. This expansion of the British empire was confronted in Afghanistan in the early 19th century by the southward expansion of the Russian empire, instigating a series of wars known as the “Great Game.”

  • Magazine

    Letter from the editor

    This summer marked the 75th anniversary of the Regina Riot, a landmark in the history of Briarpatch’s hometown and an event with political reverberations well beyond the city itself. On June 3, 1935, at the height of the greatest crisis of capitalism in the country’s history, 1,200 striking workers departed relief camps in British Columbia aboard eastbound boxcars to deliver demands for employment and fair wages to the federal government of R.B. Bennett

  • Magazine

    Reinventing resistence

    Globalization has propelled neoliberalism across borders, not just as an ideology or system of commerce, but as the primary determinant of the daily realities of where people live, what they eat, how they work, and what rights they enjoy.

  • Magazine

    Room and board

    There are three things a farmer can’t live without: a wheelbarrow, a dog and a pry bar.” Maggie called this to me from just outside the barn, where she stood offering me the said pry bar. The dog looked up from where she lay lounging in the shade, and I paused where I crouched, preparing to heave a sizable boulder into the aforementioned wheelbarrow.

  • Magazine

    Discipline and punish

    The dream of a benevolent welfare state may live on in social work theory, conference papers and mission statements, but as far as front-line bureaucracy goes, welfare is dead. Only its image remains, as faint as chalk on a sidewalk. No longer even pretending to be a right or social safety net, social assistance has mutated into a series of manipulative tactics to prod and intimidate its clients into jobs that no one wants. In other words, welfare has become workfare.

  • 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.

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    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.

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    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).