#Egypt passed on the Dragon-flavored Kool-Aid

On Monday night I went to an excellent talk by George Galloway here in Toronto. Listening to him reminded me that I am lucky to live in a time of revolution after so long a silence. I grew up in a time when people thought women had enough rights, and people with disabilities were told that not being institutionalized should be enough as well.

I think in some ways the western world has been pacified by the silence, hypnotized by a false notion of peace. Like prisoners whose minds have numbed to the routine and boundaries that surround them, and unable to see any other possibilities beyond those walls.

Within these boundaries the strange and ridiculous become acceptable. Democracy becomes a commodity to be bought and sold, with human rights losses as collateral damage. The economy has become an idol worshiped by the rich and the powerful, but this idol is as false as a tyrant’s concern for the people he rules. It was human beings who created the economy. We seem to have forgotten that we have the power to change what makes an economy, and question it’s purpose. We fear it like those before us who feared monsters and dragons. Personally I think dragons were a much better use of human creativity, at least in some ways they offer inspiration. Dragons have existed throughout the world, but at least they consume fairly indiscriminately.

While the powerful of the western world struggle to maintain their notion of reality, the lines blurring to the point that “they don’t know which dictator to back, and which to sack”, as Galloway said. The revolution in Egypt proved that the world is not entirely dependent on western flavoured democracy. Meanwhile, the oppressed peoples of the world can find hope in the true reality that “all tyrants must pass, all it takes is a single spark”.

To see Galloway’s latest project, check out Viva Palestina Canada

To the people of Japan, my heart goes out to you as well.

 

 

#Harper’s #Canada – a list of defunded organizations

Unofficial tentative list of organizations whose funding has been cut or
ended by the Harper government, including government agencies that supported
civil society groups. *

*Organizations/ watchdogs whose staff have been fired, forced out,
publically maligned, or who have resigned in protest: *

·          Canada Firearms Program (Chief Supt. Marty Cheliak, Director
General)

·          Canadian Wheat Board (Adran Measner, President and CEO)

·          Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (Linda Keen, chair)

·          Foreign Affairs (Richard Colvin, diplomat)

·          Military Police Complaints Commission (head, Peter Tinsley)

·          Ombudsman for the Department of National Defence and the Canadian
Forces (Yves Coté)

·          Parliamentary Budget Officer (Kevin Page) (funding cut)

·          RCMP Police Complaints Commission (Paul Kennedy, chair)

·          Rights & Democracy  (International Centre for Human Rights and
Democratic Development – Rémy Beauregard, President)

·          Statistics Canada (Munir Sheikh, Deputy Minister)

·          Veterans Ombudsman (Col. Pat Stogran)

·          Victims of Crime, Ombudsman (Steve Sullivan)

* Community organizations, NGOs and research bodies reported to have been
cut
or defunded*

·          Action travail des femmes

·          Afghan Association of Ontario, Canada Toronto

·          Alberta Network of Immigrant Women

·          Alternatives (Quebec)

·          Association féminine d’éducation et d’action sociale (AFEAS)

·          Bloor Information and Life Skills Centre

·          Brampton Neighbourhood Services (Ontario)

·          Canadian Arab Federation

·          Canadian Child Care Federation

·          Canadian Council for International Cooperation

·          Canadian Council on Learning

·          Canadian Council on Social Development

·          Canadian Heritage Centre for Research and Information on Canada

·          Canadian International Development Agency, Office of Democratic Governance

·          Canadian Labour Business Centre

·          Canada Policy Research Networks

·          Canadian Research Institute for the Advancement of Women

·          Canada School of Public Service

·          Canadian Teachers’ Federation International porgram

·          Canadian   Volunteerism   Initiative

·          Centre de documentation sur l’éducation des adultes et la condition feminine

·          Centre for Equality Rights in Accommodation (CERA.)

·          Centre for Spanish Speaking Peoples (Toronto)

·          Child Care Advocacy Association of Canada

·          Childcare Resource and Research Unit, Specialink

·          Climate Action Network

·          Community Access Program, internet access for communities at libraries, post offices, community centers

·          Community Action Resource Centre (CARC)

·          Conseil d’intervention pour l’accès des femmes au travail (CIAFT)

·          Court Challenges Program (except language rights cases and legacy cases)

·          Davenport-Perth Neighbourhood Centre Toronto: (Funding cut by CIC in December 2010).

·          Democracy Council

·          Department of Foreign Affairs, Democracy Unit

·          Elspeth Heyworth Centre for Women Toronto: (Funding cut by CIC in December 2010).

·          Environment: Youth International Internship Program

·          Eritrean Canadian Community Centre of Metropolitan Toronto (Funding cut by CIC in December 2010)

·          Feminists for Just and Equitable Public Policy (FemJEPP) in Nova Scotia

·          First Nations Child and Family Caring Society

·          First Nations and Inuit Tobacco Control Program

·          Forum of Federations

·          Global Environmental Monitoring System

·          HRD Adult Learning and Literacy programs

·          HRD Youth Employment Programs

·          Hamilton’s Settlement and Integration Services Organization (Ontario)

·          Immigrant settlement programs

·          Inter-Cultural Neighbourhood Social Services (Peel)

·          International Planned Parenthood Federation

·          Kairos

·          Law Reform Commission of Canada

·          Mada Al-Carmel Arab Centre

·          Marie Stopes International, a maternal health agency — has received only  a promise of “conditional funding IF it avoids any & all connection with abortion.

·          MATCH International

·          National association of Women and the Law (NAWL)

·          Native Women’s Association of Canada

·          New Brunswick Coalition for Pay Equity

·          Northwood Neighbourhood Services (Toronto: (Funding cut by CIC in December 2010).

·          Ontario Association of Interval and Transition Houses (OAITH)

·          Ontario Association of Transitional Housing (OAITH)

·          Ontario Coalition for Better Child Care

·          Pride Toronto

·          Réseau des Tables régionales de groupes de femmes du Québec

·          Riverdale Women’s Centre in Toronto

·          Sierra Club of BC

·          Sisters in Spirit

·          Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada

·          South Asian Women’s Centre

·          Status of Women (mandate also changed to exclude “gender equality and political justice” and to ban all advocacy, policy research and lobbying)

Tropicana Community Services

·          Womanspace Resource Centre (Lethbridge, Alberta)

·          Women’s Innovative Justice Initiative – Nova Scotia

·          Workplace Equity/Employment Equity Program

·          York-Weston Community Services Centre Toronto

Compiled primarily by Judith Szabo and by Pearl Eliadis for “Voices”, a
coalition of organizations and individuals “united in defence of democracy,
free speech and transparency in Canada”.

FROM EGYPT TO WISCONSIN: THE FIGHT AGAINST AUSTERITY


Cairo_to_Wisconsin.jpg
Tuesday, March 1, 6pm
Bahen Centre, room 3004
40 St. George Street
The spirit of Egypt has arrived in Wisconsin, as tens of thousands of workers stand up against austerity measures and inspire a region. Join a discussion of Wisconsin’s radical labour history, the current fightback and prospects for the future.

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International Socialists – Toronto District

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Some follow up to the post I made earlier about the #disabled man who stood up for #student rights in the #UK

Following the interview I posted earlier this week, complaints have been made to the BBC. McIntyre has posted his thoughts on the interview to his blog, and says he finds the whole situation not that surprising. As for me, the whole situation has inspired me to keep tabs on how austerity measures are impacting people with disabilities, so look forward to more on that soon.

#Amputee Has His Artificial Leg Ripped off by Police and Is Slammed in Makeshift Cell during #G20 Summit

by Doug Draper / July 7th, 2010

John Pruyn wasn’t much in the mood for celebrating Canada Day this year.

How could he be after the way he was treated a few days earlier in Toronto by figures of authority most of us were brought up to respect, our publicly paid-for police forces who are supposed to be there to serve and protect peaceful, law-abiding citizens like him.

The 57-year-old Thorold, Ontario resident – an employee with Revenue Canada and a part-time farmer who lost a leg above his knee following a farming accident 17 years ago – was sitting on the grass at Queen’s Park with his daughter Sarah and two other young people this June 26, during the G20 summit, where he assumed it would be safe.

As it turned out, it was a bad assumption because in came a line of armoured police, into an area the city had promised would be safe for peaceful demonstrations

during the summit. They closed right in on John and his daughter and the two others and ordered them to move. Pruyn tried getting up and he fell, and it was all too slow for the police.

As Sarah began pleading with them to give her father a little time and space to get up because he is an amputee, they began kicking and hitting him. One of the police officers used his knee to press Pruyn’s head down so hard on the ground, said Pruyn in an interview this July 4 with Niagara At Large, that his head was still hurting a week later.

Accusing him of resisting arrest, they pulled his walking sticks away from him, tied his hands behind his back and ripped off his prosthetic leg. Then they told him to get up and hop, and when he said he couldn’t, they dragged him across the pavement, tearing skin off his elbows, with his hands still tied behind his back. His glasses were knocked off as they continued to accuse him of resisting arrest and of being a “spitter,” something he said he did not do. They took him to a warehouse and locked him in a steel-mesh cage where his nightmare continued for another 27 hours.

“John’s story is one of the most shocking of the whole (G20 summit) weekend,” said the Ontario New Democratic Party’s justice critic and Niagara area representative Peter Kormos, who has called for a public inquiry into the conduct of security forces during the summit. “He is not a young man and he is an amputee. . John is not a troublemaker. He is a peacemaker and like most of the people who were arrested, he was never charged with anything, which raises questions about why they were arrested in the first place.”

Pruyn told Niagara At Large that he never was given a reason for his arrest. When he was being kicked and hand-tied, police yelled at him that he was resisting arrest. Then a court officer approached him two hours before his release on Sunday evening, June 27, and told him he should not still be there in that steel-mesh cage. So why were Pruyn and his daughter Sarah, a University of Guelph student, who was locked up somewhere else, detained in a makeshift jails for more than 24 hours, along with many other mostly young people who, so far as he could hear and see, had nothing to do with the smashing of windows and torching of a few police cars by a few hundred so-called ‘Black Bloc’ hooligans that weekend?

Why was Pruyn slammed in a cell without his glasses and artificial limb, with no water to drink in the heat for five hours and only a cement floor to sit and sleep on before his captors finally gave him a wheelchair? Why was he never read his rights or even granted the opportunity to make one phone call to a lawyer or his family – the same rights that would be granted to a notorious criminal like Clifford Olsen or Paul Bernardo?

He never received an answer to these questions and, he said, “I was never told I was charged with anything.” Neither were many of the others who were penned up in that warehouse with him, including one person who was bound to a wheelchair because he was paralyzed on one side and begging, over and over again, to go to the washroom before finally wetting his pants.

Pruyn said others in the warehouse begged for a drink of water and younger people made futile pleas to call their parents to at least let them know where they were. In the meantime, Pruyn’s wife, Susan, was frantically trying to find out from the police and others what happened to her husband and daughter. She found out nothing until they were finally released 27 hours after she was supposed to meet back with them at a subway station near Queen’s Park.

So what was this all about and why were John and Sue Pruyn arrested if they were part of the gathering of peaceful demonstrators in the Queen’s Park area?

Was their crime to dare to come to Toronto in the first place and join with those who express concerns about the G20 and whether it has any concern at all for the environment, for people living in poverty, for fair access to health care and other issues important to people around the world who fall into the category of ‘have nots’?

Pruyn wonders if the idea of the crackdown was to send a message to the public at large that gatherings of opposition to government policies won’t be tolerated. “That is (Prime Minister Stephen) Harper’s attitude,” he said. “He doesn’t like dissent in his own (party) ranks.”

Kormos said some might respond to the crackdown against the G20 summit demonstrators by saying that they should have stayed home or they should not have been there, or that if they were swept up by the police, they should have nothing to worry about if they did nothing wrong. But that misses the point, he said. It misses the possibility that this was another example of the province and country sliding down a path of clamping down on citizens’ right to gather together and express views that may not be popular with the government of the day.

Kormos stressed again that a public inquiry is needed, not only for those demonstrators arrested and roughed up during the summit, but for those shop owners in Toronto that had their stores vandalized by a horde of hooligans with little apparent presence of police officers to prevent it.

Asked if there was any possibility a few hundred black-clad vandals were allowed to run wild to make the thousands of people there to demonstrate peacefully look badly, Kormos responded; “That’s why we need a public inquiry.”

Susan Pruyn agreed. “We need a public inquiry for all of the people who went (to Toronto) with good intentions and who ended up suffering that weekend,” she said.