The American Crucible: Slavery, Emancipation and Human Rights By Robin Blackburn Verso, 2011 502 pp Robin Blackburn has written another masterful book on the history of the slave order in the Americas and the emancipation struggle that ultimately vanquished it. The American Crucible is described by the author as, “an overview of the entire rise and fall of the slave regimes of the Americas from the early sixteenth century to the end of the nineteenth century”.
The incumbent Conservative Party sailed to victory in Canada’s federal election on May 2 with the first majority government in the federal Parliament since the 2000 election. There was celebration in the boardrooms across the country. The victory caps a decades-long drive by much of Canada’s business elite to fashion a strong national government around a hard-right agenda.
Haiti finds itself with a president-elect with ties to the extreme right — thanks to a concerted effort by foreign powers to continue thwarting the social justice aspirations of the Haitian people. President-elect Michel Martelly is closely associated with the forces that overthrew elected governments in 1991 and 2004. He told Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) Radio’s The Current on April 7 that Haiti has been “going in the wrong direction for the last 25 years”.
In the lead-up to the one-year anniversary of Haiti’s January 12, 2010 earthquake, a brutally frank account of the plight of its people was delivered by a highly placed diplomat. Ricardo Seitenfus, the representative to Haiti of the Organization of American States, delivered a hard-hitting assessment of the foreign role in that country in an interview in the December 20 Swiss daily Le Temps. Seitenfus, a Brazilian, was immediately recalled from his posting.
Of all the commentaries and interviews coinciding with the anniversary of Haiti’s earthquake, none are likely to exceed in significance the interview granted by OAS Representative to Haiti, Ricardo Seitenfus, to the Swiss daily Le Temps on December 20.
Those who counselled against holding a national election in Haiti in the midst of a catastrophic humanitarian crisis will take no comfort in the debacle it became. Our thoughts rest squarely with the tens of thousands of people afflicted with cholera, or the hundreds of thousands of earthquake victims still without shelter, clean water and hope. How much suffering could have been alleviated with the tens of million of dollars spent on a wasted electoral exercise?
Seventy-five people staged a noisy rally in Vancouver on September 11 in support of 492 Tamil asylum seekers who landed on Canada’s west coast in August. The rally was organised by the Vancouver chapter of No One Is Illegal. The rally was held outside the Burnaby Youth Detention Center where many of the 63 women and 49 children who were on board the MV Sun Sea were held. (Burnaby is a suburb of Vancouver). Noisemakers and loud music were deployed to send a message to the asylum seekers that they have strong support in Canada for their claim for refugee status.
When police in Jamaica launched a bloody assault in May on poor neighbourhoods in the country’s capital city, news outlets in Canada responded with an ignorance and insensitivity that is all too common in their coverage of the Caribbean islands. As with Haiti, Jamaica is portrayed as incomprehensibly violent and not quite civilised.
The Canadian province of Alberta is well known as a climate-destroying behemoth. The tar sands developments in its north are the single largest source of greenhouse gas emissions on the planet. Less well known are the ambitions of its neighbouring province, British Columbia. It shares similar fossil fuel reserves and ambitions as Alberta. Vast coal and natural gas reserves are being opened at breakneck speed. Construction is underway or planned for accompanying road, rail, pipeline and supertanker transport routes.
Five thousand people took to the streets of Vancouver on February 12 to protest the opening of the corporate spectacle known as the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics.
On February 12, the corporate sporting behemoth known as the 21st Winter Olympic Games will open to great fanfare here. In a time of economic hardship and government cuts to social programs across Canada, huge sums of public money have been spent to stage this uber spectacle.
January 15 — Evidence of monstrous neglect of the Haitian people is mounting following the catastrophic earthquake on January 12.
“Climate Inaction Costs Lives.” That's the message Greenpeace activists delivered during a spectacular protest action in Ottawa on December 7, the opening day of the United Nations’ climate conference in Copenhagen.
The Unite union is New Zealand’s newest trade union and one of its most dynamic.
The world's largest manufacturer of newsprint, AbitibiBowater, has filed for bankruptcy protection in the US and Canada. The company employs 11,000 workers in Canada.
Five years ago, on February 29, 2004, Haiti’s popular, elected president, Jean-Bertrand Aristide, was overthrown by a right-wing paramilitary rebellion that received essential material and political backing from the United States, France, Canada and neighbouring Dominican Republic.