Posts Tagged ‘revolution’

The Coming Revolution in the NBA (and the Woman Who Will Lead It)

Sunday, January 24th, 2016

When Marx and Engels penned the Communist Manifesto in 1848, Europe was in the midst of revolutionary change. The opening line of the Manifesto is “A spectre is haunting Europe—the spectre of communism.” The idea of an economy and society democratically controlled by working people was one that struck fear into the hearts of Europe’s ruling classes.

In the world of professional sports, the bourgeoisie hasn’t quaked in their loafers for some time now. In the past ten years, team owners have boldly locked out players in the NBA, the NFL, and the NHL (twice), weakening collective bargaining agreements in the process. In many ways, labour relations in pro sports mirrors the one-sided state of class struggle beyond the floodlights and scoreboards. Players’ associations, like other labour unions, have been in retreat. In Major League Baseball, the players’ share of league revenue has fallen close to 20 percent in the last 20 years. In the NFL, it’s down from 50 to 47 percent. And in the NBA, the last two rounds of collective bargaining saw a massive transfer of wealth from players to owners—some $3 billion over a decade.

Enter Michelle Roberts, pro sports answer to Angela Davis. Last July, the Harlem-based lawyer made history by becoming the first woman to lead a major North American professional sports union, the National Basketball Players’ Association (NBPA). Roberts is African-American and grew up in public housing in the South Bronx. According to a profile in the New York Times, her mother, Elsie, raised Roberts and her four siblings on her own, cleaning houses and selling home-cooked food to supplement the money she received on welfare.

After attending New York City public schools, Roberts earned a scholarship to a prestigious private school. From there, she went on to the University of California at Berkley, graduating with a degree in law. Roberts became a public defender, reflecting her belief that “poor people have the right to a good defense”, before earning a reputation as one of America’s fiercest trial lawyers. Oh and she picked up a side gig teaching at Harvard along the way.

Despite having no background in labour relations, Roberts beat out 300 other candidates to replace Billy Hunter as executive director of the NBPA. Hunter was considered a soft touch at the bargaining table and had long ago lost the confidence of basketball’s rank-and-file.

In her first big media interview, Roberts struck a markedly different tone than her predecessor. Throwing a verbal hand grenade into the normally polite discourse of NBA labour relations, she called the league’s billionaire owners “replaceable”. Channeling Marx, Roberts asked, “Why don’t we have the owners play half the games? There would be no money if not for the players. Let’s call it what it is. There. Would. Be. No. Money. Thirty more owners can come in, and nothing will change. [The players] go? The game will change. So let’s stop pretending.”

Then, when asked if she thought she would be underestimated in the male-dominated sports world, Roberts replied, “My past is littered with the bones of men who were foolish enough to think I was someone they could sleep on.” As New York magazine put it, “If you’re looking for the one person most likely to alter the world of sports most dramatically over the next decade … It’s this 58-year-old woman sitting in her office in Harlem, ready to watch the sports world burn.”

Although NBA team owners are crying poor—they always do—Roberts knows that the league has never been more profitable. The NBA is the midst of a revenue boom with a new $24 billion television contract, rising gate receipts, and strong merchandising sales. The average NBA franchise is worth $1.1 billion—and yet owners want to chip away at player gains in salaries, benefits, and working conditions (never mind continuing to squeeze city governments for taxpayer dollars, building shiny new arenas on the public dime).

Well Roberts is having none of this. With her at the helm of the NBAPA and a new round of collective bargaining on the horizon, the players are in a bolshie mood. Even the league’s wealthiest player, LeBron James, is sounding like a basketball Che Guevara and was recently elected to the union executive. A players’ strike could well be on the horizon.

But despite their resources, the players’ have always had one serious disadvantage vis-a-vis owners—a disadvantage somewhat unique to their occupation. When your career is five years long, losing a season’s salary to a strike is a serious financial hit. Roberts answer to this? Ruminating on the future of the NBA, she insisted that the players, if pressed, are capable of forming a league of their own; that is a league managed, owned, and controlled by the players themselves. With Michelle Roberts at the bargaining table, it seems a spectre is haunting the NBA.

A version of this article was published in Canadian Dimension Vol 49 No. 2 March/April 2015

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How Martin Luther King’s legacy speaks to our Canadian reality

Thursday, April 4th, 2013

My op-ed for The Toronto Star on the 45th anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.

On April 4, 1968, Martin Luther King Jr. was shot dead while standing on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee. Most Canadians, even those with little knowledge of American history, will know King as a leader of the African-American civil rights movement, a Christian minister and a proponent of non-violent civil disobedience. And many will be acquainted with the public address with which King is most closely associated, the I Have a Dream speech delivered on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. in August 1963.

The version of King commemorated on the third Monday of January each year in the U.S. — the version Canadians will be familiar with — is that of a prophetic, revolutionary voice tamed and made safe for an America — and a world — still characterized by racial, economic and social injustice. As African-American philosopher Cornel West has said, “Martin has been deodorized, sanitized, sterilized by the right wing and neo-liberals to such a degree that his militancy is downplayed.”

On April 4, 1967, a year to the day before his death, King departed from his message of civil rights to deliver a speech against America’s war in Vietnam. Standing at the pulpit of Harlem’s historic Riverside Church, King denounced the war, connecting his government’s military adventures abroad to the failure of the war on poverty at home. The programs designed to house the homeless, feed the hungry and provide jobs for the unemployed — “the real promise of hope for the poor” — were starved for cash as the war effort was ramped up.

As King said that day, “I knew that America would never invest the necessary funds or energies in rehabilitation of its poor so long as Vietnam continued to draw men and skills and money like some demonic, destructive suction tube. So I was increasingly compelled to see the war as an enemy of the poor and to attack it as such.”

He argued that America must “undergo a radical revolution of values” for “when machines and computers, profit and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, materialism and militarism are incapable of being conquered.”

King’s criticism of U.S. imperialism, his commitment to ending poverty, and his belief that the promise of civil rights could not be fulfilled without economic and social rights did not endear him to a broad swath of the American public. In the months before his death, his disapproval rating stood at 74 per cent; among black Americans it was 55 per cent. In the wake of his Beyond Vietnam speech, some mainstream civil rights leaders distanced themselves from King, fearing he had aligned himself too closely with the radical left of the Black Power and peace movements. The Washington Post declared: “King has done a grave injury to those who are his natural allies . . . and . . . an ever graver injury to himself.” In denouncing the war, he had denounced a president — Lyndon Johnson — who had taken political risks in supporting civil rights legislation. Financial contributions to King’s civil rights organization dried up. “I’d rather follow my conscience, than follow the crowd,” King replied.

This is the King we seldom hear from today, the King who called for a “radical revolution of values.” His message is a moral beacon, a light whose source may have been the black church, a prophetic Christianity forged amid the struggle against American apartheid more than 40 years ago, but it illuminates the dark corners of Canadian democracy today.

In Canada, we have spent $11.3 billion on the mission in Afghanistan, yet in the latest federal budget there was little for the 3.2 million of our fellow citizens who live in poverty.

We can afford to spend upward of $25 billion on new fighter jets to patrol the skies, but do not have the money to address the crisis of affordable housing that leaves so many Canadians homeless or precariously housed.

We live with racial inequalities — for example, racialized Canadians are three times more likely to live in poverty than other Canadians and in Toronto black males are three times more likely to be carded by police — yet do little to address institutionalized racism in our labour markets and criminal justice systems.

One in five aboriginals lives in poverty and many live without access to basic necessities such as electricity and clean water. Schools on reserves face funding gaps between $2,000 and $3,000 per student each year compared with provincial schools. Yet we have a prime minister who is more eager to greet two visiting pandas from China than First Nations youth who have trekked some 1,600 kilometers to Parliament Hill.

Too many of our political leaders have become well adjusted to injustice. Too many are willing to sacrifice equality and dignity for all on the altar of free markets and the national security establishment.

In that same speech at the Riverside Church, King said, “These are revolutionary times . . . people all over the globe are revolting against old systems of exploitation and oppression, and out of the wombs of a frail world, new systems of justice and equality are being born.”

From the Arab Spring to the global movement to end violence against women and girls, from anti-austerity protests in Europe to Occupy Wall Street, from rebellions of urban youth in France and the U.K. to indigenous struggles in the Americas, once again people are on the move the world over. We are waiting for new systems of justice and equality to be born.

At home, student protests in Quebec, union demonstrations for labour rights and, perhaps most important, the Idle No More movement, have questioned a social and economic order that benefits the few at the expense of the many.

Martin Luther King Jr.’s vision of a world free from poverty, racism and militarism is a universal one. His is a legacy worth wrestling with as we forge the path to a more just society.

 

Published in The Toronto Star, April 4th 2013, p. A25.

A People’s History of the Yonge Street ‘Riot’

Saturday, September 22nd, 2012

May 4th 1992. Los Angeles was burning and Public Enemy’s Shut ‘Em Down sat atop the rap singles chart, its opening lyrics delivered in Chuck D’s booming baritone:  “I testified/my mama cried/Black people died/When the other man lied”. This sentiment underscored a sense of injustice when Los Angeles police were acquitted in the beating of Rodney King. Closer to home, two Toronto cops implicated in the shooting death of Black teenager Michael Wade Lawson walked from the courtroom free men on April 7th. A year prior to the Lawson shooting, Lester Donaldson had been shot as he stood unarmed in his rooming house, leading to the formation of the Black Action Defense Committee. A year later cops shot and paralyzed 23 year-old Sophia Cook, the third Black person shot by Toronto Police in the space of 15 months.

Just days after the uprising began in LA, 22-year -old Raymond Lawrence was shot and killed by Toronto police. And so on May 4th  the Black Action Defence Committee (BADC) and its supporters amassed on Yonge Street, just south of Bloor,  to protest the killing of Lawrence, the Lawson verdict, the intense and ongoing police harassment of Toronto’s Black communities, and to stand in solidarity with Rodney King and the LA uprising.  The demonstration was initially small, numbering 50 to 60 people, primarily young Black men and women. But as they began to march, the numbers grew. Aboriginal youth, homeless youth, white youth, youth from other racialized communities joined the demonstration following BADC’s lead, chanting “No justice, no peace!” as they moved through the streets to the US Embassy—in solidarity with King—and on to Nathan Phillips Square. After speeches decrying the police and their allies at City Hall, the march doubled back on Yonge, heading northwards. BADC leadership drew the formal demonstration to a close, concluding with a rousing version of the Black anthem “Lift Every Voice and Sing”. The crowd, however, remained; young, angry and insistent that the demonstration continue.

As the protesters moved up Yonge Street, windows were smashed and the cops were pelted with bottles and stones by an increasingly militant crowd. The police attempted to block the march at Bloor, parking two buses across the road. But the crowd was not for turning, gathering pace as young people strode towards the roadblock with intent. The cops moved the buses and backed up, beating a retreat westward down Bloor.

Lennox Farrell, a co-founder of BADC and veteran organizer, recounts the growing anger of the young demonstrators: “A youth came up to me and said “Mr. Farrell this is our time. We have to get back at them for how they hurt us, they hurt us; we have to get back at them”.

The demonstration turned left on Bay Street from Bloor, heading towards police headquarters. According to Farrell, “Every single window pane on Bay St. was broken. The police knew where the youth were going and must have thought, ‘Nah this can’t take place.’ Anything could have happened.” Police horses and the riot squad met the march, batons lashing out at the protestors. After a long standoff — police headquarters under siege by the young and militant –the crowd dissipated, some protestors moving back down Yonge.

The media called it a ‘riot,’ but in the words of Farrell it was “a rebellion more than a riot.” A mass demonstration, a mobilization, an uprising against police brutality and the fashionable indifference to injustice displayed by the city’s political elite.

“The moment was surreal but necessary,” says hip hop intellectual and march participant Dalton Higgins. “You read the history of social movements, about moments of resistance like the Brixton or Watts Riots, moments driven by oppressed peoples,” says Higgins. “It was like a scene out of a movie, out of a documentary on the civil rights movement. This was the feeling; the same kind of rage and anger.” And hip hop was central to the political awakening: Higgins remembers, “That generation was weaned on Public Enemy, X Clan, Brand Nubian, KRS One, and Queen Latifah. It was cool to be versed on one’s culture, one’s history; you know, to be conscious. We rocked t-shirts and medallions with messages of Black pride.”

“The powers that be were shocked”, recalls Farrell. “We had had long demonstrations before, long speeches and so. And the police would harass you on the way home; give you a parking ticket and that sort of nonsense. But this time, the police had to move their buses, shifted out of the way of these youth; youth totally incensed, angry. The event was a political catharsis. A cathartic moment, even for the city, because what happened was a log jam broke; a log jam of denial of the authorities, a logjam of delusion by the political establishment. That riot broke that logjam.”

In the wake of the rebellion, the Ontario government appointed Stephen Lewis to report on the state of race relations in the province. In his findings, Lewis stated “what we are dealing with, at root, and fundamentally, is anti-Black racism…It is Blacks who are being shot, it is Black youth that are unemployed in excessive numbers, it is Black students who are being inappropriately streamed in schools, it is Black kids who are disproportionately dropping-out, it is housing communities with large concentrations of Black residents where the sense of vulnerability and disadvantage is most acute, it is Black employees, professional and non-professional, on whom the doors of upward equity slam shut. Just as the soothing balm of ‘multiculturalism` cannot mask racism, so racism cannot mask its primary target.” The province’s anti-racism secretariat was expanded, employment equity legislation introduced, and funding for existing programs like the now legendary Fresh Arts was forthcoming from both the municipal and provincial government. The JobsOntario Youth program enabled programs like Fresh Arts, as well as private businesses, to hire youth. “The sad reality of the Yonge St. Riot,” according to human rights lawyer and community elder Julian Falconer “is that the only time government attention is focused on racial problems is when they reach crisis point.”

At a BADC press conference the morning after, as broken glass still glittered on the sidewalks of Yonge and Bay streets, the late, great Dudley Laws summarized events this way: “What we saw yesterday was the frustration and the anger of the people coming out. We have waited for the justice system to deal justly with our community and it has failed.”

American historian Howard Zinn once wrote, “There is an underside to every age about which history does not often speak, because history is written from records left by the privileged.” The privileged have called the events of May 4th 1992 a ‘riot’. It is a ‘riot’ in police records and in the pages of the city’s newspapers. It is a ‘riot’ in the minds of those politicians whose rule was, and remains premised upon the marginalization of the city’s urban ‘others’ and whose power depends upon the suppression of the historical memories of the rebellious, the resistant, and the resilient, upon the active containment of their struggles, their stories and narratives.

But a people’s history cannot be contained, hidden, or erased. While the ‘official’ history of the Yonge Street Rebellion gathers dust in the dead spaces of government office buildings and newspaper archives, a people’s history of anti-racist organizing is being preserved and honoured. This is happening in bookstores on Bathurst and the Eglinton strip, in the minds and teachings of elders, in grassroots newsletters committed to truth-telling. It is in blogs, which realize the power of insurgent knowledges, in the scribblings of playwrights and poets, and on stages and community radio. And it is also in the actions and radical dispositions of new generations, committed to honouring their past, to dreaming freedom dreams, and to making histories of their own.

 

Sources:

Interviews with Lennox Farrell and Dalton Higgins

Toronto Missing Plaque Project

Wasun. 2008. A Short History of Community Organizing Against Police Brutality in Toronto: The History of B.A.D.C. and Beyond<http://basicsnews.ca/2008/03/a-short-history-of-community-organizing-against-police-brutality-in-toronto-the-history-of-b-a-d-c-and-beyond/>

Wright, Lisa. 1993. “A Year after the Yonge St. riot frustrations still simmering.” Toronto Star, May 3: A1.

*Acknowledgements: Thanks to Verle Thompson for sharing her knowledge of Fresh Arts and JobsOntario Youth. Thank you to Lennox Farrell and Dalton Higgins for sharing their memories of the rebellion. And much respect to Wasun for documenting the history of police brutality and BADC organizing in Basics Community Newsletter.

 

A version of this article was published in Manifesto Festival of Community and Culture 2012

paying tribute to Socrates

Sunday, December 11th, 2011

The following piece was published back in 2008 in the November/December issue of Canadian Dimension magazine. Socrates died last Saturday. He was one of the greatest footballers of his generation, but more importantly, he matched sporting talent with a commitment to justice and egalitarian politics; a rare thing in the hyper-corporate sports culture of today. Farewell to a giant of football and a giant of the Brazilian left.  Check his obituary in the Guardian here.


Searching for Socrates

I’m not disappointed by Canada’s performance at the Summer Olympics.  Socialists ought to be internationalists by definition and as unconcerned with the patriotic displays of sporting prowess of their own countries as they are with that of any other.  Besides, the Olympics was originally conceived to demonstrate individual achievement, athletes as representations of their own commitment and excellence, not that of their nations. But I am seriously dismayed at the lack of political protest that marred – at least from a radical’s standpoint – the Beijing Games.

Despite all the hype that preceded the Games – and resulting Chinese concern with the potential to be politically embarrassed by dissenting athletes – these Olympics were unusually quiet and the athletes disappointingly quiescent. As I wrote in my last CD column, the Olympics and protest go hand in hand; so why so few voices of dissent when the Games are held in one of the most oppressive states in the world? This absence cannot be solely attributed to the authoritarian management of the Games (and the athletes themselves) by the Chinese government.  Sure, the iron fist Beijing employs to rule its unruly migrant workers was put to use for the Games, but visiting athletes had ample opportunity and diplomatic protection to carry out acts of dissent.

Whether the oppression of the Chinese working class, the denial of basic civic and political rights, the suppression of religious groups, or the imprisonment of dissidents, there were no shortage of issues to protest at the Games. And of course, Tibet, which I leave last only because its popularity as a political cause celebre has as much to do with the fad of Buddhism amongst the North American middle class as with concerns for the national liberation of a people (Americans in particular seem attracted to Tibet while peculiarly the U.S. anti-war/anti-occupation movement is waning, but I digress). Maybe the lack of protest at the Games merely signifies the decline of the political athlete.

This brings me to one of my own sporting heroes, the Brazilian soccer player, Socrates.  If ever there was a model of the politically engaged athlete, Socrates was it (with Muhammad Ali a close second). He was a man of contradictions. Considered a late-bloomer he made his debut for the Brazilian national team at the age of 25 and continued to play well into his forties. Despite being 6 foot 4 he was one of the most elegant midfielders to ever grace the game. And although he studied to be a medical doctor he smoked a pack-a-day throughout his career.

Like in many countries, in Brazil politics and soccer overlap: the personalities, the players, and the fans. Socrates captained the club Corinthians during some of the darkest days of the Brazilian dictatorship. Historically, Corinthians are the working class club of Sao Paulo and count the nominally socialist president Lula da Silva amongst their fans. But during the days of authoritarian rule, ownership of the club was controlled by right-wing elites close to the military. From 1978 to 1984, Socrates organized the Corinthians Democracy movement, an informal players association that demanded players’ rights but was understood by fans and players alike to be a symbolic challenge to the dictatorship.

The movement wrestled effective control of the club from the team’s management and installed a workers democracy with players voting on club matters. In one of the bravest acts of politico-sporting history, in 1982 the players voted to print “Vote on the 15th” on the back of their team uniform in the hopes it would motivate Brazilians – and particularly Corinthians’ working class and socialist support who had felt the brunt of authoritarian right-wing rule – to vote in the November 15th election. The election turned out to be a pivotal moment in the democratization of Brazil and Corinthians Democracy is widely regarded as an important factor in the country’s transition to democratic rule.

While Canada has never produced its very own Socrates, Canadian basketball player and two-time NBA MVP, Steve Nash, risked ridicule and scorn to vocally oppose America’s war on Iraq. It’s too bad our national basketball team didn’t qualify for the Beijing Olympics. And it’s too bad the Games have past with the Chinese people still searching for their very own Socrates.

Published in Canadian Dimension Nov/Dec 2008 42 (6)

An Imperial Liberation?

Sunday, November 6th, 2011

Some musings on Libya from my Politics as Usual blog for POUND magazine (www.poundmag.com).

Muammar Gaddafi is dead. Forty years of dictatorship has come to an end. Hundreds of political prisoners have been freed. The Libyan people are in control of their own destiny. Or are they?

The promise of the Arab Spring is contained in a truth that the West has denied for so long: The Arab people want democracy, want freedom, and are capable of bringing it about on their own terms, of their own volition.

This truth has been realized in Tunisia, which has just elected its first democratic government since achieving independence in 1956. Egypt, on the other hand, is still very much in the hands of the military; the revolution stands incomplete.

But in Libya, it appears that the West has reasserted control over an Arab nation, re-imposed its imperial will, and checked the historical forces which have the potential to threaten its interests in the region and beyond.

Yes, it can be said that the NATO intervention in Libya may have stopped a massacre or a prolonged civil war. In the early days of the revolt, Gaddafi’s troops amassed on the city limits of Benghazi poised to viciously beat back rebel forces. NATO intervened and the tides were turned back in the rebel’s favour. Could the Libyans have toppled Gadaffi’s regime without NATO’s backing? We will never know.

Those who supported the intervention argued that a game of historical ‘what ifs’ cannot be played when the lives of thousands are at risk (Check Makaya Kelday’s article in the latest issue of POUND for an excellent account of the positions for and against Western intervention in Libya). Those who oppose Western intervention should not easily dismiss the question of when force can be justifiably used to prevent or stop mass slaughter; though many recognize that the interests of imperial powers are almost always hidden behind the mask of ‘humanitarian intervention’ (The DR Congo – where civil war has led to the death of more than 5 million people – serves as a tragic counterpoint to the arguments of the humanitarian interventionists. It seems that as long as the resources continue to flow out of a country and into Western pockets, and geopolitical interests are not threatened, the West is happy to rely on diplomacy in the case of humanitarian crises).

So in the name of “protecting civilians” and under the cover of a UN resolution, NATO imposed a no-fly zone over Libya, crippled Gadaffi’s air force and carried out numerous attacks that weakened the regime’s infrastructure and military capabilities.

Yet as Seamus Milne of the Guardian newspaper recently argued, if NATO’s intervention was to protect civilian life, it has failed miserably in its mandate. According to reports from Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, the victorious rebels have engaged in mass detention, beatings, torture and execution; exactly the type, and the degree of violence that NATO claimed to be preventing when it intervened.

Now it is reported that rebel troops are engaging in ethnic cleansing as migrant workers from neighbouring countries (who are identified as black Africans and not Arabs) try to flee. And black Libyans are subject to racist attacks as rebel troops question their loyalty to the new government. One has to ask where NATO’s human rights rhetoric is now. As with any imperial adventure, duplicity and hypocrisy are the order of the day.

In a turn of events that summed up the whole Libyan episode, it was a NATO fighter jet that attacked Gadaffi’s convoy, leaving Libyan rebels on the ground the easy work of detaining and subsequently murdering the dictator. After a video of his killing went viral, the Americans and Brits cried foul, calling for an investigation into Gadaffi’s death, maintaining the imperial posture of ‘civilization’ and ‘the rule of law’. But surely they didn’t want Gadaffi to stand trial in the International Criminal Court, giving him a platform to tell the world about his long friendships with Western powers; friendships that lasted right up until the first NATO missiles were launched destined for Libyan soil. And now in typical imperial fashion, French, British and Italian oil companies are negotiating contracts with their new friends in Tripoli.

It appears then that in Libya, the West has wrested control of the Arab Spring from the Arab people.

It remains to be seen whether the Arab people can take it back.

Published on POUNDMAG.COM

Occupy Wall Street!

Tuesday, October 4th, 2011

Here’s my latest Politics As Usual blogpost for POUND. More on Occupy Wall Street to come…

I doubted them; I really did. After so muted a reaction to the housing foreclosures, Wall Street’s robbery of the public purse, the disappointment of a Yes We Can President consistently uttering No We Can’t, the record number of their fellow citizens falling into poverty, the hunger, the unemployment, the homelessness, the Tea Party, the bullshit media…I didn’t think our American brothers and sisters had it in them to mount a mass protest movement which calls out the injustice being foisted on them by the rich and powerful, that names names, that challenges the oligarchs, and demands a better world…but they have. Single mums, trade unionists, college students, the unemployed, Vietnam vets, Democrats, socialists, anarchists, liberals…they have taken a downtown Manhattan park and made it their Tahrir, their Liberation Square. Could the Arab Spring be followed by an American Autumn?

With Occupy Wall Street in its third week, and showing no signs of abating (even after pepper spray and 700 arrests), the movement has begun to spread. ‘Occupy (name of American city here)’ are popping up all over the US. And now we can look forward to October 15th when Occupy Toronto makes its debut. I’ll be there; will you?

The mainstream media has done such a piss poor job of covering this movement but at the least The Toronto Star’s Mitch Potter got things somewhat right with this piece. Check the link here.

Discussing the UK riots on DisRespect Radio

Thursday, September 15th, 2011

Thanks to host Geoff Langhorne for inviting me on DisRespect Radio to discuss the UK riots. We had a great conversation that covered the sources of urban unrest and the prospects for future riots in the UK and beyond. Here’s a link to the podcast. 

1763-1-disRSept1LondonRiotsVol1to58m50.mp3

Viva la revolucion!

Tuesday, February 15th, 2011

Some of the best commentary on the Tunisian and Egyptian revolutions:

Rober Fisk on the historical context of the uprisings and the future of Arab-Israeli relations:

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/africa/robert-fisk-a-tyrants-exit-a-nations-joy-2212487.html#

Tariq Ali on the meaning of the Eyptian revolution and fall of Mubarak:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/feb/11/egypt-cairo-hosni-mubarak

Noam Chomsky on the imperial motives of the US:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2011/feb/04/radical-islam-united-states-independence

During such a eventful week I’m somewhat saddened by the thought that the late Edward Said is not around to bare witness.  Gary Younge pays tribute to Said here:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/feb/13/west-no-longer-honest-broker-peace

Robert Fisk on Tunisia, Egypt, and the Palestine Papers

Tuesday, January 25th, 2011

http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/fisk/robert-fisk-a-new-truth-dawns-on-the-arab-world-2194488.html