Archive for the 'Feminism' Category

Victory! Marxist/Anarchist party wins seat in Quebec election!

The most successful far left party in all of North America (excluding Mexico) is, without a doubt a provincial party in Québec called Québec Solidaire.

As of tonight, QS has become the only party in North America containing various sub-party groupings which openly identify as: Anti-Stalinist Marxist, radical, pacifist, anarchist, socialist, environmentalist and feminist, to hold a seat at the state or provincial level.

chretien-strangling-clennettUnfortunately, the Québec Solidaire candidate in my riding (Hull), Bill Clennett, only placed third after the Parti Québécois and the Liberals.  Clennett, for those of you who don’t know, rose to fame in that quintessentially Canadian way:  he was once literally strangled by then Prime Minister Jean Chrétien on national television.

While I strongly disagree with Québec Solidaire’s sovereigntist leanings, the victory tonight in the provincial riding of Mercier is nothing short of one of the most important victories for the far left in the industrialized world.  This is one of the first times that I’m aware of since 1872 where anarchists and Marxists did that which commentators of all stripes had long claimed to be impossible:  They worked together within a single party structure and they succeeded.

red-flag-2If you want to see democracy in action, look no further than Québec Solidaire.

If you want to see the kind of anarchist/Marxist/social democratic co-operation that must characterize 21st Century struggle, look no further than Québec Solidaire.

If you want to see victory in the riding of Mercier, look no further than Québec Solidaire and Amir Khadir.

“Let the ruling classes tremble at a Communist revolution. The proletarians have nothing to lose, but their chains…  Workers of the world unite!”


See also:

Is Capitalism Justified?

Is socialism violent or is liberalism hypocritical?

Marx on religion: Dispelling more myths about socialism

Great Quotes: Marx

U.S. and Tanzania best at clawing back women’s rights

According to the 2007 annual report on the global gender gap, the United States and Tanzania have had the most success at clawing back women’s rights amongst the top-teir (top 35) of the ranked countries.

The World Economic Forum has just released its 2007 annual report on the global gender gap and, in addition to the data on the United States and Tanzania, the report illustrates some interesting trends.  Obviously the World Economic Forum is not exactly stacked with socialists, but interestingly enough, its data goes a long way towards showing that the countries which chose to be animated by socialist values (even though they may retain a capitalist system) tend to be the best places for women’s equality.

From the Associated Press:

“Women in predominantly Muslim countries are struggling to compete for jobs, win equal pay and hold political office, falling behind the rest of the world in eliminating discrimination, according to a report issued Thursday by the World Economic Forum. 

Nordic countries, by contrast, received the best overall grades for gender parity in education, employment, health and politics, according to the review of 128 countries.


Overall, Canada’s score on the categories studies improved slightly, but that wasn’t enough to prevent the country from slipping to 18th from 14th spot in the world rankings. The United States finished in 31st spot down eight places from last year.

Sweden, which has more women than men holding high political office, topped the list, followed by fellow Nordics Norway, Finland and Iceland.


Ex-Soviet states with a Muslim majority, such as Azerbaijan and Kyrgyzstan, were in the middle of the field, but nearly all countries in the Middle East placed in the bottom third.

[…] [W]omen in Sri Lanka, South Africa, Cuba and Lesotho all fared better – relatively speaking – than women in industrialized countries such as Japan, Switzerland and the United States.”

The top 35 country standings are:


This is Cuba’s first year being ranked in the report yet already women in Cuba are ranked a full 9 places higher than women in the United States (as well as women in Japan and in Switzerland where women only got the right to vote in the last Canton in the 1980s).

Among the top-tier 35 countries, the countries with the greatest relative decreasing standard of living for women are:

#1: Tanzania (women’s global standing decreased by 8 places)
#2: The United States (women’s global standing decreased by 6 places)
#3: Macedonia (women’s global standing decreased by 5 places)
#4: Moldova and Canada [tied] (women’s global standing decreased by 4 places)

You can access the entire (lengthy) .pdf document on the gender gap, including the table included above, here.

Not in my name!

There are the beginnings of a growing grassroots movement underway in the blogosphere which I felt was necessary to add my voice to.

The nature of the growing controversy stems from a pro-life rally which was held in Ottawa this past week.  It’s not the ideological content of the march which stirred the controversy since it was pretty much what one would expect from this sort of rally:  anti-choice, super-philosophies seeking to authoritaritatively impose their morality on everyone else.

No, what was unexpected about this rally, however, was that the trademarked Government of Canada logo (so-called “wordmark” with the Canadian flag over the final “a” in the word “Canada”) would show up on the pro-life rally’s banners.

Take a look for yourself:

According to the Federal Identity Program (FIP) legal standards, the “Canada” wordmark can only be used by the Government of Canada or by non-governmental partnerships sponsored by the Government of Canada.  So the question is: did the Government of Canada sponsor an anti-abortion rally or did the rally plagerize and illegaly display Government of Canada property?

Here’s where the plot thickens.  I did some hunting around, and I found a Government of Canada website (here) which documents some specifics about how/when the “Canada” workmark ought to be used.  Interestingly, this Government of Canada page links to the specific section of the FIP Manual (Section 1.1) which details the legality of displaying the wordmark, however, when you attempt to click on the hyperlink pointed to by this governmental website, you see that the .pdf file has either been moved or deleted and you get an error message.

It could just be a coincidence, but the Conservatives have deleted websites in the past to avoid embarrassment, so it’s possible that it’s something more as well.

Either way, the grassroots movement is attempting to get the government either to admit that they funded an anti-abortion rally or to get them to state publicly that they did not support this anti-abortion rally.  The highest profile blogger to take up this cause is maverick MP Garth Turner (here), however JimBobby has a really good piece on this (here) as does the Unrepentant Old Hippie (here).

It seems to me more likely that the logo was used without permission.  However, even if it was the group which was at fault for illegally brandishing the legitimizing symbol of the collective,  the government must still be pressed to prosecute these usurpers to the fullest extent of the law.  Irrespective of whether the government funded this or not, the illegal attachment of a government logo — our logo — to this movement cannot be allowed to go unprosecuted.

Not in my name.

Fun with google

I recently came across two interesting posts which both used google in what I considered to be an ingenious fashion to demonstrate interesting points about the superficiality of our society and the marginalization of women in dialogue.

First, Uncorrected proofs had a post last week on using google to discern the “he”/”she” ratio of a given website or blog.  The idea, borrowed from Philipp Lenssen (here), in my mind is elegant in the simple and straightforward way in which it not only demonstrates, but quantifies, the marginalization of women in our discourse.

There are two ways of calculating the “he”/”she” ratio of a website or blog, you can use Lenssen’s application above, or you can do it manually via a google advanced search yourself.

Paulitics: Paul’s Socialist Investigations, has a “he”/”she” ratio of 59%/41%

As an interesting exercise, I decided to compare websites on both ends of the spectrum to see whether there’s a difference.

Le Revue Gauche “he”/”she” ratio = 83%/17%

Dr. Roy’s Thoughts “he”/”she” ratio = 81%/19%

Accidental Deliberations “he”/”she” ratio = 81%/19%

Stageleft “he”/”she” ratio = 77%/23%

Calgary Grit “he”/”she” ratio = 72%/28%

Jason Cherniak “he”/”she” ratio = 73%/27% “he”/”she” ratio = 86%/14% “he”/”she” ratio = 79%/21% “he”/”she” ratio = 78%/22% “he”/”she” ratio = 64%/36% (most “she” references refer to Elizabeth May)

News Media:

Far Right:

CanWest Global ( “he”/”she” ratio = 76%/24%

Right-Wing: “he”/”she” ratio = 72%/28%

Globe and Mail “he”/”she” ratio = 77%/23%


Toronto Star “he”/”she” ratio = 67%/33%


Democracy Now! “he”/”she” ratio = 48%/52%


Second, Surplus Value had an interesting post wherein google was used to attempt to quantify the value our society places on abstract concepts and then to rank-order these abstract terms in terms of their supposed ‘worth’.  I’ve added to the list linked to above in order to come up with a larger ranking of what we apparently value in our society:

1.  1,500,000,000 – Business
2.  1,360,000,000 – “Man” OR “Men”
3.  1,260,000,000 – TV
4.  1,100,000,000 – Music
5.  1,060,000,000 – Company
6.  976,000,000 – Life
7.  951,000,000 – Love
8.  892,000,000 – Sports
9.  826,000,000 – Family
10.  785,000,000 – Technology
11.  768,000,000 – Education
12.  702,000,000 – “Woman” OR “Women”
13.  670,000,000 – Money
14.  644,000,000 – Friends
15.  636,000,000 – Food
16.  575,000,000 – Beauty
17.  508,000,000 – Fitness
18.  441,000,000 – Hope
19.  414,000,000 – Sex
20.  313,000,000 – Success
21.  272,000,000 – Rich
22.  258,000,000 – Hate
23.  249,000,000 – Religion
24.  241,000,000 – Failure
25.  234,000,000 – Career
26.  231,000,000 – Politics
27.  204,000,000 – Meaning
28.  197,000,000 – Goals
29.  174,000,000 – Fear
30.  94,600,000 – Integrity
31.  55,000,000 – Happiness
32.  51,900,000 – Equality
33.  27,600,000 – Compassion
34.  6,980,000 – Fulfilment

Read what other socialists think

There is a new Paulitics resource that has been added to the sidebar which I would like feedback on.  Right now I’m calling it “Read what other socialists think”.

This resource arose out of discussions which occurred on this blog here and here about the need for a ‘hard left’ feed aggrigator.  Now I tried using feedbite a few weeks ago and I reported that it was not filing the blog entries chronologically.  This seems to have been fixed (although how, I haven’t the slightest clue).

The virtues of this system, as I see it, is that it allows comments on the sidebar and it allows voting which seems to address Red Jenny’s concerns (although I don’t know if it’ll show how many comments each post has received).

On the negative side, I have tried customizing the header and the sidebar, but it only shows up when I log in and not when somebody just clicks on the site.  Thus it is very amaturish and lacks any amount of customization.  Moreover, with this plan we do not control very basic aspects of the site and as such are at the mercy of feedbite.

Also, while this may not be a concern to all, this aggrigator does not address Doug’s desire for a system wherein each blogger submits only specific posts on specific subjects.

Personally, I can definitely see the virtues of Doug’s suggestion (as I too don’t want to sift through a bunch of fluff) but logistically, I don’t know how it would work.  If we chose a system akin to what The Canadian Blog Exchange has, then I don’t know how a) to set it up; b) to prevent non-hard-lefties (I know we haven’t discussed what that term means, but I’m just using it because it’s easy right now) from posting – ie. on the Canadian Blog Exchange, anybody and everybody can post and I don’t believe there’s a way to stop Tories, Liberals, capitalists etc… from posting; and c) how to deal with bloggers who want to post everything they write regardless of quality.  This isn’t to say that Doug’s suggestion wouldn’t work (in fact, on the contrary, I think it’s a good idea), but I’d just need somebody to go over how it could be done.

Lastly, there are other issues beyond merely the actual aggrigator that need to be discussed.  For instance, how do we decide which new members to admit to the site – majority vote of multiple moderators, majority vote of all bloggers, or some other system?  How do we deal with racist, homophobic, sexist or otherwise intolerant posts?  There are certainly other matters which need to be discussed, but those are just the ones which come to mind at the moment.

To lay my bias on the table, I would personally rather take MrvnMouse offer of assistance than use feedbite even though it would mean no option for voting on blog posts and no comments on the sidebar.  Although I’m not without flexibility on this point.

I’ve disabled comments on this post just to keep all the comments in one place.  To access the new Paulitics resource and ‘hard left’ pilot project (and to leave comments) click here:

The Urban Feminist on Racism

Just wanted to point everyone reading this blog to a really great comment on Racism in light of the Michael Richard incident by The Urban Feminist.  I know I’ve got her blog listed under my links, but this specific post is really worth a look.


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