October 26, 2014


It’s been a hard week. There was violence in Ottawa, Winnipeg, Longueuil, St-Jean-sur-Richelieu, and we, as a country, sent forces to war, without public debate or consultation. There has been a lot of talk and commentary on these issues this week, here are a few things that broke through for us.

  • After Monday’s hit and run attack on two soliders, Glenn Greenwald issued a stark reminder that we cannot simply expect our country’s peace to last eternally while we wage wars on other countries:

    “It is always stunning when a country that has brought violence and military force to numerous countries acts shocked and bewildered when someone brings a tiny fraction of that violence back to that country. Regardless of one’s views on the justifiability of Canada’s lengthy military actions, it’s not the slightest bit surprising or difficult to understand why people who identify with those on the other end of Canadian bombs and bullets would decide to attack the military responsible for that violence.”

  • On Wednesday evening, Nora Loreto recalled the need for public debate, and for care and caution:

    “Today’s events demonstrate the importance of public debate. Stephen Harper committed Canada to go to war in Iraq before holding a debate; before we had the opportunity to balance the dangers with the mission’s goals. When we go to war, we say that we’re willing to put soldiers into harm’s way. We say that we will support them when they return, or support their families if the worst-case scenario were to emerge.”

  • And in the aftermath of these events, Sara Ahmed’s piece on “Making Strangers” is even more resonant, and frightening:

    “to made into a stranger is to be blurred …  Stop and search, for example, is a technology that makes this bluntness into a point: Stop! You are brown! You could be Muslim! You could be a terrorist! The blurrier the figure of the stranger the more bodies can be caught by it.”

  • This caution is echoed and amplified in Molly Crabapple’s review of Laura Poitras’ Citizenfour, where she reminds us that “Surveillance leaves scars”, and those that have been under watch the longest are racialized groups and women. “If power has already decided people like you are guilty, even the smallest transgressions can be disastrous.”
  • Meanwhile, in New Brunswick, there have been 19 days (and counting!) of inaction on reproductive justice by the new government. Women can’t wait, however, for the government to figure out what it already knows (there is insufficient access to abortion throughout the province) and are heading to Maine to access the services they need. Something is very wrong with this picture.
  • “We will move ahead on violence against aboriginal women with or without the federal government.” Indigenous women will not let Harper’s stalling stop them.
  • A compelling piece on sex work without blame or forgiveness.

    “The first time a man offered me money for sex it was just after dawn. We were a part of the 7 am public library crowd, shivering and waiting for the doors to open. He was eating yogurt. How strange is that? It’s part of what shakes me, now, part of what makes it all sound absurd, or invented. Yogurt! I think it was peach. I had .78 cents in my bank account. Afterward, I checked out a copy of Fight Club, because I was fifteen and did not yet know better.”

  • If you’re voting in Toronto this Monday and are still undecided, think about who is discussing women’s issues (hint: it’s not Doug Ford) and if you’re voting in any of the Ontario municipal elections, check out our very own Ella Bedard on the labour endorsements in your riding.
  • We love The New Inquiry’s Dicks issue, from this piece on sucking dicks: “If there is something long, and an opening, look hard enough and eventually there is a dick and it has been sucked”, which also gives us the excellent coinage ‘heteronormcore’, to this Dicks mixtape. There ARE dicks everywhere!
  • This article on Gamergate shows the absurdity of a powerful majority group insisting on its own persecution. The men are scared.

    “These insecurities have allowed some gamers to consider themselves a downtrodden minority, despite their continued dominance of every meaningful sector of the games industry, from development to publishing to criticism. That demonstrates a strange and seemingly contradictory “overdog” phenomenon: The most powerful members of a culture often perceive an increase in social equality as a form of persecution.”

  • Looking to update your library holds collection? Here’s a great list of feminist reads from many of our favourite contemporary feminists, and although there’s lots of classics here, we’re sure there’s something on it you haven’t read yet. We love Anne Carson, bell hooks, Audre Lorde, Vivian Gornick and Margaret Atwood, what about you? Check it out and let us know!

Image from Al Aumuller, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, New York World-Telegram and the Sun Newspaper Photograph Collection


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