• Magazine

    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

    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

    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

    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.

  • Magazine

    Reluctant renegade

    Four years ago I left my job and, overnight, became a “stay-at-home mom.” If I ever say these words out loud, my toes curl under. A stay-at-home mom is something I never expected, or aspired, to be. I had grown up thinking that my mother’s generation had blasted a hole through the glass ceiling, and I always thought I would waltz along the path they had cleared to the highest levels of my chosen field.

  • 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

    Finding our own voices

    Jocelyn Dulnuan, 27 years old, was murdered on October 1, 2007, at the mansion in Mississauga, Ontario where she worked as a live-in caregiver. Dulnuan had lived in Canada for just under a year, working at the $15 million, 30,000-square-foot mansion for two months to serve the needs of her employer Dr. Jaya Chanchlani, her husband, Vasu, and their three children.

  • Magazine

    Cashing in on the border

    On March 29, 2010, the Conservative government introduced new legislation designed to reform Canada’s asylum system, which governs the protection of refugees and their settlement in Canada. A key element of the proposed reform is the ability to deport individuals more quickly when their claims for asylum are denied.

  • 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

    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

    Teamsters and turtles

    Turtles and teamsters, together at last. Ten years after the anti-globalization movement shut down the World Trade Organization negotiations, that slogan, and the vision it embodied of trade unionists and environmentalists joining forces to halt neoliberal globalization in its tracks, continues to inspire activists in both camps.

  • Magazine

    Days of smoke and roses

    Every year from May until August, initial attack crews are deployed from Canadian district fire bases to help contain fires (and occasionally conduct prescribed burns) in Canada’s boreal forest. Like intelligence operatives, fire rangers often work in isolation and obscurity, in a remote and dangerous world hidden from public view. Welcome to the Big Wild.

  • Magazine

    Will write for food

    It’s an unremarkable Tuesday evening in mid-October and I’ve just entered a second-floor meeting room at the Northern District Library in downtown Toronto. I’m feeling optimistic.

  • Magazine

    Women fight for a minimum wage

    Lin Shiu, 65, walks into the small Hong Kong Women Workers’ Association office, still sweating from her morning shift. Wearing a blue suit, baseball cap and fluorescent green mesh vest, she gratefully accepts a glass of water. In an hour, she must get back to work cleaning a luxurious Hong Kong mall.

  • Magazine

    Two-tier workforce

    South Korea’s export-led economy has been hard hit by the global economic crisis, and the country’s migrant workforce has made a particularly easy target for politicians looking for scapegoats. South Korea has historically been ethnically homogeneous and has had a tepid relationship with outsiders even in prosperous times; during times of hardship, these workers face even greater scrutiny and discrimination.

  • Magazine

    Saints or scabs?

    It’s not easy getting a cab to the Lower Ninth Ward. Even now, with most of the former population cleared out, some drivers still won’t cross the Claiborne Avenue Bridge unless it’s to take a carload of tourists to gawk at Hurricane Katrina’s Ground Zero. So when the third cab stops, it’s with some impatience that I ask if he knows the way.