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by Editors — last modified Nov 16, 2014 01:32 PM
Contributors: Faiz Ahmed, JBB, Graham H. Cox, R. Dubois, JA Cox

Privacy and Democracy: What Geeks Understand that the Left Doesn’t

by JBB last modified May 30, 2015 09:33 AM
by Corvin Russell | Canadian Dimension | "The Left has produced very little clear thinking about privacy and its importance to democracy, including the freedom of dissent, freedom of association, and freedom to organize. Far from valuing privacy, except when tactically useful, the traditional Left, particularly the Leninist Left but including many anarchists, has been hostile to privacy, considering it an expectation produced by bourgeois individualism that would be overcome in any socialist utopia. Maoist and Stalinist regimes were explicitly hostile to privacy, and Communist states engaged in egregious violations of privacy through mass surveillance and eavesdropping, precisely because this was an effective means of controlling dissent."

The link address is: https://canadiandimension.com/articles/view/privacy-and-democracy-what-geeks-understand-that-the-left-doesnt

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The Right and Wrong Questions About the Iraq War

by JBB last modified May 30, 2015 09:26 AM
by James Fallows | The Atlantic | These “knowing what we know now…” questions are driving me crazy. They should make you mad too.

The link address is: http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2015/05/the-right-and-wrong-questions-about-the-iraq-war/393497/

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Is Another Crisis Looming?

by JBB last modified May 30, 2015 09:23 AM
by Sam Gindin | There’s much talk of stagnation in the American economy. But radicals shouldn’t assume capitalism is on its last legs.

The link address is: https://www.jacobinmag.com/2015/05/federal-reserve-secular-stagnation-investment-recession/

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EmpowerGAZA: Solar Power for Gaza Hospitals

by Graham H. Cox last modified May 29, 2015 10:39 AM
"Power outages remain a daily reality in the Gaza strip, lasting more than 16 hours a day. Sick patients are especially vulnerable in hospitals, where insufficient power often decides between life or death. Patients in Gaza are needlessly suffering. We believe there has to be a better way. Along with doctors and policy-makers in the Palestinian territories and internationally, we have taken a hard look at this problem. The problem is complex, but lots of people have been thinking about it for a long time. We know the solution, and now is the time to implement it – modelled after projects in other parts of Gaza and the world."

The link address is: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/empowergaza-solar-power-for-gaza-hospitals#/story

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Landmark human rights ruling highlights systemic abuse of temporary foreign workers | Unifor

by R. Dubois last modified May 29, 2015 10:22 AM
"The Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario has found Presteve Foods Limited discriminated against two women from Mexico working under the Temporary Foreign Worker program. One of the two remaining complainants out of 39 received the highest damages award in the Tribunal's history‎. The Tribunal found that the women were exposed to sexual solicitation, sexual harassment, discrimination in employment, and a sexually poisoned work environment."

The link address is: http://unifor.org/en/whats-new/press-room/landmark-human-rights-ruling-highlights-systemic-abuse-temporary-foreign

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Tories Scramble After Joe Oliver's Call For Looser Labour Laws At G7

by JA Cox last modified May 28, 2015 06:25 PM
"Finance Minister Joe Oliver said Wednesday he believes relaxing labour laws to make it easier to lay off workers would help spur economic growth."

The link address is: http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2015/05/28/joe-oliver-labour-reform-comments_n_7463424.html

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As corporate charity replaces social programs, where are governments? | Stephen Kimber

by Graham H. Cox last modified May 28, 2015 02:04 PM
"Far be it from me to suggest corporations shouldn't show social responsibility or provide community benefits. They should. But it is worth asking why private companies seem able to do what our governments no longer can. And to wonder whether we really want decisions about important social concerns -- who deserves financial help with their education, which among the many important and needy social service providers, should get inevitably scarce funds -- turned into bread-and-circuses online popularity contests and corporate marketing campaigns masking as charity?"

The link address is: http://stephenkimber.com/corporate-charity-who-is-it-good-for-them/

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Hope betrayed? The Nova Scotia NDP's rocky fall from power | new book

by Graham H. Cox last modified May 28, 2015 12:27 PM
"In Rise Again, author and former MLA for Halifax Chebucto Howard Epstein gives us his explanation, in irrepressible detail, of why the Nova Scotia NDP fell from power in 2013 after only one term in office."

The link address is: http://rabble.ca/books/reviews/2015/05/hope-betrayed-nova-scotia-ndps-rocky-fall-power

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Precarious work tops agenda as reports highlight long-term risks | What's Left

by Editors (What's Left) last modified May 29, 2015 01:20 PM
The conclusions of a flury of reports on precarious work released this week in Ontario couldn't be clearer: as precarious works becomes more prevalent, inequality grows.

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First, Poverty and Employment in Southern Ontario (PEPSO), in conjunction with researchers at MacMaster University, and funded by the United Way Toronto, released The Precarity Penalty. Second, a report was released by the United Way Toronto and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) shows that youth getting trapped in precarious work has a negative impact on economic growth.

As more and more people seek to explain the causes of rising inequality in advanced capitalist countries, the focus has turned to precarious work as a major contributing factor. There are two ways to explain the rise of precarious work, the first being as part of the collapse of the industrial manufacturing sector resulting from liberalization of international trade (and reduced tariff-protected jobs). The artificially maintained difference in exchange rates between countries and the four decades long neoliberal monetary policy prioritizing finance capital and consumption over production has helped to maintain this situation.

The second reason for the rise in precarious work is the growth of human service sectors. As the overall population ages, and as services once provided by the public sector become casualized and privatized, the jobs themselves become more fragmented. When high-skilled and/or large industrial work in Canada gets replaced with lower-skill and informal work environments, there is increased competition for jobs and an increase in exploitative practices because protections for precarious workers are limited.

The gendered history of part-time work is of great importance when understanding the entrenched attitudes towards temporary work. Temporary agencies rose in prominence in the 1950s attempting to sell employers the a more flexible workforce and increased profits. However, to get around the push-back from male-dominated unions who were opposed to their jobs being undermined, the agencies targeted middle-class women who were not considered a threat to male-dominated full-time jobs. This marketing history of Never-Never Girls explains part of the reason that it took until the 2000's for Canada to pass legislation partially regulating precarious work.

The economic impacts are also concerning as precarious workers are less likely to spend their earnings because of the perceived risk of losing their job. Precarious workers are also less likely to have retirement savings. Needless to say, the long-term economic implications of precarious work is an increased strain on social service programs.

More: The Precarity Penalty

More: Precarious jobs holding back young workers, OECD finds

More: Never Never Girls

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The gig-economy: Uber good or Uber bad? | CLC

by Graham H. Cox last modified May 27, 2015 09:38 AM
"Consumers believe Uber gives them choice between regulated taxi cab companies and other forms of transportation. Drivers for Uber see opportunities for flexible and independent jobs. Sounds good: cheaper and more readily available transportation with a no-fuss app on your phone and flexible work for drivers. But there is a caveat. And this is why the labour movement is involved. Beyond the obvious concerns for public safety and accessibility, it’s also part of a much broader debate around rising precarious employment and how to protect labour standards under new trends of non-standard working conditions, the growth of the service sector, and technological change. "

The link address is: http://canadianlabour.ca/issues-research/gig-economy-uber-good-or-uber-bad

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