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Other Voices: The Connexions Newsletter

September 25, 2015


This Issue: Stop Harper!

With Canada’s October 19 federal election rapidly approaching, we’re featuring a number of items related to the election.

We always invite you to share this newsletter, either by forwarding this email to people you know, along with a note, or by giving them the link to the Other Voices page on the Connexions website at www.connexions.org/Media/CxNewsletter.htm. We particularly encourage you to share this issue, because it contains information intended to help in getting out the anti-Harper vote.

There’s a link to a single-sheet, two-sided flyer designed to be printed and handed out. It’s targeted at undecided voters. We encourage you to print out some copies and hand them out, and to encourage others to do so. We’ve got an article by Nick Fillmore about the importance of making sure that potential voters are registered to vote, with the proper ID, and that they know what polling station they should go to. This is something that everyone can help with.

Our Topic of the Week is Voter Suppression, an important part of the Conservative strategy in Canada, and an increasing issue in other countries like the U.S. We’ve got three websites of the week this time round, all of them concerned with getting people out to vote to defeat the Conservatives. There are items related to voter suppression in the People’s History and From the Archives sections.

Other issues spotlighted this week are The Age of Imperialistic Wars that we’re living in, Conserving Soil, and “Foodies and farmworkers: Allies or enemies?”

As always, your feedback is appreciated – and so are donations to keep us doing what we’re doing!

Topic of the Week: Voter Suppression

Voter suppression is an immediate concern in the current federal election in Canada, and, more generally, an important but little-discussed feature of politics in most countries that use elections to legitimate power. In countries with a supposedly universal franchise, certain kinds of voters – typically, those most likely to vote against the ruling party(ies) – are discouraged, obstructed, and prevented from voting in various ways. Learn more.

This Week on Connexions.org

What is Stephen Harper doing to Canada? How can we stop him?

This is a two-sided flyer designed to be printed and used as an election handout. It is targeted at voters who might be considering voting for the Conservatives in the October 19 Canadian federal election. If you live in Canada – especially in a constituency where the Conservatives have a serious chance of being elected – we encourage you to print some copies of this flyer and distribute it as you see fit, for example, by handing it out at transit stops, on the street, community events, door-to-door. The flyer doesn’t call for a vote for any particular party. It provides a brief overview of some of the things that Harper Conservatives have done. (Many important things are left out, because it needed to fit on a single sheet of paper.) It’s available in several different print-ready formats, including booklet format PDF, and ordinary black-and-white format PDF.

Keywords: Organizing

Strong voter registration campaign could mean the end for Harper

Nick Fillmore says that the primary objective of Stephen Harper’s absurdly mis-named Fair Elections Act is to prevent hundreds-of-thousands of Canadians from voting. It targets those sectors who are less likely to vote Conservative. To counter this, we need to work hard over the next few weeks to make sure that as many people as possible are on the voters list and have the ID required to be able to vote. Both groups and individuals can and should work on this, now. Read more

Keywords: Voter Suppression - Voters Lists

Canada’s prime minister wants to make it harder for people to vote against him

The British newspaper The Guardian reports on Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s legal changes designed to keep voters who oppose him from the polls. Read more

Keywords: Voter Suppression - Voting Procedures

Foodies and farmworkers: Allies or enemies?

Can the ‘buy local food’ movement support both sustainable farming and justice for farmworkers? Read more

Keywords: Agriculture/Food - Farmworkers

Conserving soil: precious, finite and under threat

Human existence relies on healthy soils. But all over the world they are being lost and degraded by inappropriate land use, reducing their capacity to produce food and store water, nutrients and carbon. We need to create incentives for sustainable practices. Read more

Keywords: Soil Conservation - Sustainability

The Age of Imperialistic Wars

According to James Petras, wars and military threats have replaced diplomacy, negotiations and democratic elections as the principal means of resolving political conflicts. Throughout the present year wars have spread across borders and escalated in intensity. Read more

Keywords: Imperialism - War

Organizing

Why voters aren’t motivated by a laundry list of positions on issues

There is a faulty view of voting behaviour – widely held by political strategists on the left – that people already know what they want. All you have to do is conduct a poll to find out where they stand on the issues, then build a platform of positions that accords with the polls, and they will vote for you. Missing from this view is the importance of cognitive policy – the ideas necessary to understand what the issues are and how they should be addressed. Read More

Keywords: Framing Issues - Politics/Rhetoric/Reality

People’s History

A Short History of Black Voter Suppression

An expose of the Right’s organized movement to suppress the votes of African Americans and Latin Americans, and the urban and rural poor by means of the passing of voter ID (Poll Tax) laws in states, an ongoing offensive that receives no mention in the dominant media. Read more

Keywords: Election Laws - Voter Suppression

The day the Klan messed with the wrong people

Instances of armed resistance to the Ku Klux Klan from the late 1950s. Read more

Keywords: Ku Klux Klan - Resistance

From the Archives

Why aren't people voting?

In this 2011 article, Marjaleena Repo looks into why people in Canada don’t vote. She looks at the ways voters are discouraged and obstructed, by the elimination of voter enumeration, by ID requirements which seemed designed to make it as difficult for aboriginal people, old people, poor people, and young people to vote. This was before the introduction of the so-called Fair Elections Act, which has made the situation much worse. Read more

Keywords: Voter Suppression - Federal Elections

Marx & Engels papers completely available online

The original papers of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels have been digitized and are now accessible online. The papers can be consulted from anywhere and by anyone who logs into the catalogue website of the International Institute of Social History. Access is open and free. Read more

Keywords: Friedrich Engels - Karl Marx

Websites of the Week:

Council of Canadians - LeadNow - Our Right to Know

These three organizations are all working to educate voters and get out the vote for the October 19 Canadian federal election.

The Council of Canadians has a Ballot Toolbox which they are working to hand out to 50,000 students across the country. The Ballot Toolbox explains where the parties stand on important issues, and it includes a step-by-step guide on the where, how, and when of voting. The Council is also asking each voter to approach at least two other eligible voters to encourage them to vote.

Vote Together (a project of LeadNow) is trying to stop vote-splitting in this election. They are focused on Conservative swing ridings where a few thousand votes could be all that decides whether or not Harper is Prime Minister again.

They say “In 2011, a majority of people voted for a change in government, but our broken voting system gave the Harper Conservatives 100% of the power with just 39% of the vote. This time, if we vote together, we can stop the riding-by-riding vote splitting that lets Harper win.”

Our Right to Know is working to make public knowledge an election priority. Their focus is the government’s attacks on science and knowledge.

Keywords: Voter Education - Voter Turnout

Book of the Week: Canada After Harper: His Ideology-fuelled Attack on Canadian Society and Values, and How We Can Resist and Create the Country We Want

Essays documenting the breadth and depth of the Harper government's attack on institutions, policies, and programs that embody values and principles shared by most Canadians: education, health care, women's rights, science and research, the economy, labour unions, water and natural resources, and Aboriginal affairs.

Keywords: Conservative Party - Neo-Liberalism

Film of the Week: This Changes Everything

Directed by Avi Lewis, and inspired by Naomi Klein’s book This Changes Everything, the film presents portraits of communities on the front lines, from Montana’s Powder River Basin to the Alberta Tar Sands, from the coast of South India to Beijing and beyond. Interwoven with these stories of struggle is Klein’s narration, connecting the carbon in the air with the economic system that put it there. Klein suggests that we can seize the existential crisis of climate change to transform our failed economic system into something radically better.

Keywords: Climate Change - Economic Alternatives

Song of the week: Canadian Lies

Canadian Lies is a parody song written and performed by Helen Austin in protest against Harper's many rotten policies. After being online for just three days it has already recieved almost 250,000 views! Why not add yours to that number? https://www.facebook.com/helen.e.austin/videos/10153094086941570/?fref=nf

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Bequests

Many of us have made working for social justice a lifetime commitment. If you are thinking about leaving a legacy for social justice that will live on, you might want to consider leaving a bequest to Connexions in your will. If you'd like to discuss this option, please contact us: Connexions Archive and Library, 812A Bloor Street West, Suite 201, Toronto, ON M6G 1L9, 416-964-5735 or see the Bequest page..

Connexions Calendar

September 25, 2015 to September 26, 2015: Transatlantic Days of Action Against CETA

September 25, 2015 to September 27, 2015: Youth Summit for Biodiversity and Environmental Leadership

September 26: International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons



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.

Read more →

Seeds of Fire

Sept 24, 1968

Anti-Vietnam War activists destroy thousands of draft files in Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Sept 26, 1905

The theory of relativity: The physics journal Annalen der Physik publishes “On the Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies”, a paper submitted by a 26-year-old employee of the Swiss Patent Office, a recent physics graduate who has so far been unable to find a job in his field. In his paper, the author, Albert Einstein, outlines what will become known as the special theory of relativity.

September 27, 1962

Publication of Silent Spring: Silent Spring, Rachel Carson’s landmark study documenting the detrimental effects of pesticides on the environment, particularly on birds, is published.

September 28,1864

Founding of the First International: An international meeting of workers’ delegates meets in St. Martin's Hall, London, and agrees to form an international organization of workers. The organization becomes the International Workingmen’s Association – (also known as the First International).

September 28, 1943

Evacuation of the Danish Jews: In Denmark, hearing of imminent plans by the Nazi occupation forces to arrest and deport Danish Jews, anti-Nazi activists begin planning to smuggle Danish Jews to Sweden. In just three weeks, all but 481 of Denmark’s 8000 Jews are moved to safety.


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Thanks to Ulli Diemer and Darien Yawching Rickwood for their work on this newsletter.


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