November 30th, 2014


On Burnaby Mountain, in New Brunswick, in Toronto, in Hong Kong, in Ferguson, brave people are working to change broken systems. They face incredible barriers: arrest, police violence, indifference, lack of institutional support, and governments that are insistent on maintaining the status quo. And yet they continue to fight for a better world, and their work makes a difference: on Burnaby Mountain, Kinder Morgan is removing its equipment from the test site, and in New Brunswick, some barriers to abortion access have been lifted. These are small steps in a much bigger journey, but they inspire all of us to keep fighting.

Thank you to those who risk themselves to fight for a just world for us all.

  • In Toronto, 5 women were arrested while fighting for adequate shelter options and 24-hour drop-ins for women and trans people. Why we need to demand “safe space for all”.
  • Wednesday was the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, and the beginning of 16 days of action against gender-based violence. Learn more here.
  • After Darren Wilson was acquitted in the murder of Michael Brown, people across the country were filled with sadness and anger. As the protestors in Ferguson wrote in this open letter, “The results are in. And we still don’t have justice.” They show how the system, and being asked to ‘have faith’ in this system, is insulting and injuring: “this same system in which you’ve told us to trust–this same system meant to serve and protect citizens– has once again killed two more of our unarmed brothers: Walking up a staircase and shot down in cold blood, we fight for Akai Gurley; Playing with a toy after police had been warned that he held a bb gun and not a real gun at only twelve years old, we fight for Tamir Rice.”
  • Brittney Cooper writes in Salon:

“Did you expect me to call for peace? Did you expect me to condemn looting and property damage? Did you expect me to preach at the people about being constructive rather than destructive?

Peaceful protests have been happening for over 100 days. But white folks only really pay attention if they fear they have something to lose. Smoke flares in their nostrils, because then they are confronted with the possibility of charred, burning, white flesh. No more water. The fire next time.”

  • Here is an excellent list for further reading on Ferguson.
  • “I’ve asked myself more than once this week, why is there more outrage in American and Canadian societies over property damage than toward the state sanctioned violence that is normalized in the everyday lives of Indigenous and Black peoples? I believe that our lives matter more than a burnt police car even if the state and other narratives do not.” Leanne Simpson writes about the connection between Black and Indigenous resistance to oppression, and the importance of rage.
  • In Fredericton, some brave high school students have been suspended after protesting their school’s dress code, which places the burden of appropriate conduct on girls and their dress. They advocate instead for a sexual assault policy for the school. The administration’s response: lock the students out of school all day, suspend them, and ban them from all extracurricular activities.
  • As an illustration of what that disciplinarian school system looks like, Jia Tolentino has a beautiful piece in Adult Magazine about the hypocrisy of what was allowed and what was outlawed in her Texan Baptist school: “You could be expelled for getting drunk, getting pregnant or being gay, among other spiritual offenses. Even what they called “free dress” was strict: no visible shoulders, no skirts above the knee…my school was the kind of place where bad behavior meant you had to pick between sex or lying.”
  • “Three days after the incident, I had trouble sitting down without being in pain.” The NDP MP who spoke to Justin Trudeau about sexual harrassment by two members of the Liberal caucus speaks out about the incident, and the choice to come forward.
  • “The big career costs, like one partner quitting a job to move to a place where the other partner has a job, are obvious. But combining your life with another person’s, at its core, has a time cost. And, like many other aspects of domesticity and caretaking…the woman often absorbs the bulk of this time cost.” What it means that women are most often the ones to make sacrifices for the career of their partner, and the obvious and subtle ways that holds them back.
  • Jian Ghomeshi was arrested on Wednesday – he appeared briefly in court to plead not guilty to 4 counts of sexual assault and one of “overcoming resistance”. His lawsuit against the CBC has been dropped, and he will have to pay their legal fees.
  • Check out A Tribe Called Red’s “Burn your Village to the Ground”.
  • Our friends at Hook&Eye talked about how and why to queer their feminism, and thus to close “the rift, however simplistically conceived, between “frumpy, sex-phobic feminists” and their “kinky, stylish queer cousins.”
  • Suzanne Cote has been named as Stephen Harper’s latest appointment to the Supreme Court, which brings the court to four women of nine members – a good start. However, the way that Harper made the appointment – without any Parliamentary consultation – leaves much to be desired.
  • “I was mad as hell. And one of the things that pushed me to the point of feeling like I had a case was that my girlfriends had been trying to find me before they left that party. There are always guys guarding the stairs, and they asked about me—they said, she was with [this guy], we need to find her. The stair guards were like, “They didn’t go upstairs.”” A followup to the Rolling Stone article about the University of Virginia’s response to rape on campus, an interview with a survivor who went through the process of a Title IX trial at the school.
  • Pamela Palmater writes urgently about Bill C-27, Stephen Harper, and the myth of the “Crooked Indian”.
  • In these dark, cold times, we’re all in need of some self-care: while wine and Beyonce are good first steps, check out this zine and these articles for a few more tips on what to do when getting out of bed feels way too hard: learning about self-care in theory and in practice, what other folks do to make themselves feel better, and this toolkit from the CAMH.
  • Finally, next Saturday is December 6th, and this year will mark the 25th anniversary of the Montreal Massacre. Your community will very likely be holding a vigil – please contact us if you’d like to promote an event in your community, or if you’re not sure where a memorial will be taking place.

Image: still from the NFB film After the Montreal Massacre by Gerry Rogers, 1990


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