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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
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.
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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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
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ecology, and other causes. We invite you to use it to promote your
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Read more →
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
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.
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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Connexions 2015. Contents are licensed under a Creative Commons
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Other Voices: The Connexions Newsletter, is available online here
Thanks to Ulli Diemer and Darien Yawching Rickwood for their work on this newsletter.
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