August 2, 2015

by CJ

It’s very likely that by the time you read this Harper will have called the election and we’re planning to provide some coverage on the blog over coming weeks. If you want to write about election issues, or have a story you want to see covered, send us a pitch at And we’re also still accepting submissions to our FOOD/LAND issue — more info here

Last Monday Black Lives Matter-Toronto Coalition organized a day of action seeking justice for Andrew Loku, Jermaine Carby, and so many others who have been targeted by policy violence and aggression in the city because they are black. The demo shut down the Allen Road  and sent a list of demands to Mayor John Tory. Read Anthony Morgan’s “The suffocating experience of being black in Canada.

After a routine traffic stop, twenty-eight-year old Sandra Bland died in police custody on July 13. Bland is one of at least five black women to have died in a prison cell this month. In the wake of these tragedies, here are some important recent pieces: 

Cincinnati officer Ray Tensing was charged with murder on Wednesday after the narrative justifying his fatal shooting of Sam DuBose, supported by two fellow officers, was proven false by a body cam. Jay Smooth considers the questions that need to be asked and answered in a justice system built on lies and concealment.

Phoenix, an inmate at Burnside Correctional Institute, on Halifax poet, teacher, and activist El Jones and her efforts to intervene in the lives of prison inmates:  

El may be slight of stature physically, but spiritually she is greater than that statue they want to put up in Cape Breton. The government should save their money on that eyesore and give El Jones an honorarium so she can continue her work in this province.

This week marked a big step for reproductive justice in Canada: Health Canada approved the RU-486 abortion pill this week, which is expected to be for sale in the winter of 2016.  While the pill will undoubtedly improve access to abortions for many Canadians, it’s also true that availability will vary provincially. Here’s a list of things to know about RU-486

If you haven’t done so already, read and listen to these 35 women’s brave and upsetting testimonies about being assaulted by Bill Cosby. And dudes if you are reading please also see this note from Teju Cole about improving on silence.

Want to know more about the unionization of Gawker, and what that means for the future of alternative media? Last week Michelle Chen and Sarah Jaffe talked with Writers Guild of America director of organizing Justin Molito about what online journalism and the labour movement can learn from each other in the digital age. Listen to the Belabored podcast here. 

Torontonians: go check out the new 18-metre mural project created by a group of teens from Nunavut at Church and King. It’s an incredibly vibrant image and we’re so excited it found a home in the city. Learn more about the artists who created it here.

The death of a young black journalist. 

Ugh. Celebrity feminists speaking on behalf of sex workers and getting it all wrong. These sex workers’ tweets, however, are bang on.  

Finding it impossible to get a place in Toronto? Here’s an incredibly helpful breakdown of everything you need when looking at places. 

How London’s housing crisis is not simply the result of the free market, but the outcome of a carefully legislated dismantling of the welfare state.

The Burrow Central Station cafe in Edmonton says they are facing safety problems in the LRT station and has decided to institute reduced hours due to high rates of vandalism, loitering, and confrontational customers. As the Edmonton Metro suggests, perhaps the Burrow, which is said to “symbolize Edmonton’s developing downtown,” should try to be better neighbours to the people who are slowly being squeezed out by the city’s ongoing revitalization projects.

I really liked this Dissent piece on the labour abuses behind what we eat. It’s appealing to think about the food movement in terms of a boycott of monoculture, herbicides and pesticides, pollution, poor labour practices, mistreatment of animals–and a general call for transparency in the production and processing of the food we eat. But it’s also important to acknowledge that food is part of a global economy and, as Erik Loomis points out:

food movements also need to be justice movements and connect to bigger issues. If we are serious in thinking about a democratic food system, we have to support good working conditions throughout the food industry. It means we need to support farmworker and meatpacker unions. We have to end the tipped minimum wage and demand greater funding for OSHA and the FDA to inspect our food factories.

Moira Weigel explores activity trackers and the eroticization of exercise in, “Fitted”:

Do what you love and you will never work a day in your life. When the guidance counselors say this, they suggest that if you work, you will be loved—or at least deserve love. Make yourself lovable first, they say, and sure as day you can trade that strange coin, ability, in for happiness later. They do not tell you the principle that follows. Love work above all and you will never rest.

Your time of the month playlist.


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