Other Voices: The Connexions Newsletter
May 28, 2017

This Issue: Challenging Injustice

In this issue, we look at the relentless persistence of people challenging injustice and entrenched power in places around the world, including Palestine, Korea, China, Canada, and the United States.

We spotlight the ongoing hunger strike by Palestinian political prisoners languishing in Israeli prisons, workers’ strikes in China, and people in South Korea taking on a corrupt government. In the United States, the Equal Justice Initiative is collecting soil from places where blacks were lynched as a way of remembering their lives and the brutally racist society that murdered them.

An article on recent terrorist attacks in Britain asks what underlies ideological violence and sociopathic rage. Ralph Nader asks why people who are supposed to be professional questioners avoid asking hard questions of those in power. An article on the Korean War relates the history of that war, and the U.S. role in it, to the attitude of North Korea to the United States today.

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Topic of the Week

Media Bias

The mainstream media – the corporate and state-owned media – are anything but reliable. Their reporting may well contain accurate information, but even when (some of) their facts are correct, the overall framing and context are shaped by their ideological function of supporting the capitalist system of which they are an integral part. Explore some of the dimensions of media bias via the Connexions Subject Index here

This Week on Connexions.org

The Prisoners’ Revolt: The Real Reasons behind the Palestinian Hunger Strike

According to prisoners’ rights group, Addameer, more than 800,000 Palestinians have been imprisoned under military rule since Israel commenced its occupation of Palestinian territories in June 1967. The current protests igniting across the Occupied Palestinian Territories to support 1,500 hunger strikers are not merely an act of solidarity with the incarcerated and abused men and women who are demanding improvements to their conditions. The prisoners held captive in Israeli jails are also a symbol of the life of every Palestinian, trapped behind walls, checkpoints, in refugee camps, in Gaza, in cantons in the West Bank, segregated Jerusalem, waiting to be let in, waiting to be let out. Read more

Keywords: Palestine - Political Prisoners

History and Hypocrisy: Why the Korean War Matters in the Age of Trump

The hard truth is that North Korea [DPRK] has been under myriad sanctions by the US for the vast bulk of its existence, with the fixation on the recent nuclear issue being a sideshow to gloss over an ongoing policy to ostracise and isolate the DPRK. The fact that Korea has been divided by an invading force is rarely scrutinised, nor are the frequent attempts to intimidate Koreans into obedience, from incessant military exercises on its borders to proposals to withhold food aid and potentially starve millions of people. The current tensions can only be understood within the context of this very unequal, very predatory, context. Read more

Keywords: Korea - Korean War

Ideological Violence and Sociopathic Rage

The character of ideological violence has degenerated and rage has become a feature of public life. The social and moral boundaries that act as firewalls against such behaviour have weakened. Western societies have become socially atomised. The influence of institutions that once helped socialise individuals and inculcate them with a sense of obligation to others, from the church to trade unions, has declined. So has that of progressive movements that gave social grievance a political form. Read more

Keywords: Terrorism - Violence Against Civilians

Climate Change As Genocide

Is this what a world battered by climate change will be like -- one in which tens of millions, even hundreds of millions of people perish from disease, starvation, and heat prostration while the rest of us, living in less exposed areas, essentially do nothing to prevent their annihilation? Read more

Keywords: Climate Change - Climate Justice

We should weep for broke but lying mainstream media

Corporate media whines that others are responsible for its woes. But a big part of the problem is, now that Canadians are able to access a great many information sites, many have grown to mistrusts mainstream media. Read more

Keywords: Canadian media - Media industry

Self-Censored Questions by Career Questioners

“I’ve always been intrigued,” says Ralph Nader, “by the major questions not asked by reporters at press conferences, not asked by legislators at public hearings or even the questions citizens at town meetings don’t ask public officials. It’s not that they do not know about or could not easily become informed enough about a given issue and ask substantive questions. It’s just that so many taboos are packed into these questioners’ ideological mindset.” Read more

Keywords: Media Bias - Self-Censorship

Website of the Week

John Pilger

The journalism and films of John Pilger: http://johnpilger.com. Pilger’s work has ranged from reporting from Cambodia in the aftermath of Pol Pot’s reign, to coverage of East Timor when it was suffering under the brutal Indonesian occupation, to investigative reporting about Thalidomide. His films include Year Zero: The Silent Death of Cambodia; Nicaragua: A Nation's Right to Survive; The Secret Country: The First Australians Fight Back; Death of a Nation: The Timor Conspiracy; Paying The Price: Killing the Children of Iraq; Palestine Is Still The Issue; Breaking the Silence: Truth and Lies in the War on Terror; The War on Democracy; and Utopia. Find John Pilger’s website here

Keywords: Human Rights/International - Wikileaks

Book of the Week

China on Strike

By Edited by Eli Friedman, Zhongjin Li, and Hao Ren

China has been the fastest growing major economy in the world for three decades. It is also home to some of the largest, most incendiary, and most underreported labour struggles of our time. China on Strike, the first English-language book of its kind, provides a revealing window into the lives of workers organizing in some of China’s most profitable factories, which supply Apple, Nike, Hewlett Packard, and other multinational companies. Drawing on dozens of interviews with Chinese workers, this book documents the processes of migration, changing employment relations, worker culture, and other issues related to China’s explosive growth. Read more

Keywords: China - Strikes

Film of the Week

Untold History of the United States

A 2012 documentary series directed, produced, and narrated by Oliver Stone. It covers "the reasons behind the Cold War with the Soviet Union, U.S. President Harry Truman's decision to drop the atomic bomb on Japan, and changes in America's global role since the fall of Communism. The series is a reexamination of some of the underreported and darkest parts of American modern history, using little-known documents and newly uncovered archival material. The series looks beyond official versions of events to the deeper causes and implications and explores how events from the past still have resonant themes for the present day. The ten-part series is supplemented by a 750-page companion book. Find out more

Keywords: United States History - United States Foreign Policy


How candlelight protests impeached a president and created spaces for direct democracy

An account of the massive candlelight protests in South Korea, which brought millions of people into the streets to protest corruption and to demand the resignation of the President and the dissolution of corrupt power structures. The protests succeeded in bringing about the impeachment of the President, and elevated citizens’ consciousness. The protests became an agora where workers, farmers and minorities could share their issues and people could show solidarity by signing petitions and joining campaigns. Read more

Keywords: South Korea - Mass Action

People's History

A History of American Lynchings

A soil collection project launched by the Equal Justice Initiative is commemorating the forgotten victims of lynching and helping to tell their stories. Read more

Keywords: Jim Crow - Racism

From the Archives

When Canada Invaded Russia

When the Russian Revolution overthrew the old regime and established the Soviet Union, imperialist powers were appalled, and went all-out to overthrow the new order. English, French, American, and other powers sent troops to assist the Russian monarchists (the whites) in their fight against the new Soviet republic. Among the forces who invaded Russia were six thousand Canadian troops. Read more

Keywords: Intervention - Russian History

Connexions Calendar

May 28, 2017
Remembering Workers' Struggles in Toronto

Join the Toronto Workers' History Project for an interactive day of presentations and discussion about important workers' struggles in Toronto! A day long event featuring discussion, lectures, film, theatre and more!

May 30 - June 2, 2017
Congress: Socialist Studies 2017

This year, the Society for Socialist Studies turns fifty, and we look forward to welcoming colleagues to our annual conference at Congress 2017, hosted by Ryerson University, Toronto, Ontario from May 30 – June 2 2017. The theme of the Conference is ‘Liberation Here and Now: Continuity and Change in Socialist Studies at 50 Years and Beyond.’

June 8, 2017
World Oceans Day

The ocean is the heart of our planet. Like your heart pumping blood to every part of your body, the ocean connects people across the Earth, no matter where we live. The ocean regulates the climate, feeds millions of people every year, produces oxygen, is the home to an incredible array of wildlife, provides us with important medicines, and so much more! In order to ensure the health and safety of our communities and future generations, it’s imperative that we take the responsibility to care for the ocean as it cares for us.

June 16 - 18, 2017
United National Antiwar Coalition Conference

A National Conference: “Stop the Wars at Home & Abroad: Building a Movement Against War, Injustice & Repression!” – Hosted by the United National Antiwar Coalition (UNAC - unacpeace.org). Join activists from the many domestic and international struggles as we build unity against the Trump Regime and the underlying system responsible for imperialist wars, poverty, racism, sexism, the oppression of LGBTQ people, attacks on undocumented immigrants, environmental destruction and all forms of injustice.

The Connexions Calendar is an online calendar that exists to advertise events that support social justice, democracy, human rights, ecology, and other causes. We invite you to use it to promote your events. Adding events to the Connexions Calendar is FREE. We’ll give you a username and password which you use to log on. Use the contact form to arrange for a username and password.

Seeds of Fire

May 27, 1907
Birth of Rachel Carson

A biologist, environmentalist, and author, Carson is best known for her 1962 book Silent Spring, which alerts the general public to the dangers posed by indiscriminate spraying of pesticides.

May 27, 1917
French army mutinies

A widespread mutiny breaks out among French army troops serving on the Western Front in the Great War (World War I). On May 27, some 30,000 soldiers leave the front line. The soldiers believe, rightly, that their lives are being squandered in futile offensives ordered by incompetent commanders safely in the rear who are indifferent to the casualties suffered by soldiers at the front. The mutiny spreads in the following days.

May 30, 1431
Joan of Arc

Joan of Arc is burned at the stake after being condemned of heresy by the Roman Catholic Church. The reasons for her persecution and execution are political, not religious, but the technical grounds used to convict her of heresy are her habit of wearing male clothing and a male hairstyle, in violation of Biblical edicts.

June 1, 1649
Sumuroy Revolt

Start of the Sumuroy Revolt: Filipinos in Northern Samar led by Agustin Sumuroy revolt against the polo y servicio (forced labour) imposed on them by the Spanish colonial authorities. The revolt spreads to Mindanao and other regions. In the mountain regions of Samar, inhabitants set up an autonomous government free of Spanish control.

June 3, 1936
On to Ottawa Trek

Hundreds of men board railway boxcars in Vancouver and start heading east on the On to Ottawa Trek. The Trekkers are unemployed workers, part of a group of thousands who have walked out of federal relief camps protesting dismal conditions and dangerous work.

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Other Voices: The Connexions Newsletter, is available online here

This issue was edited by Ulli Diemer.

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