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Austerity

Bypassing Dystopia could free Canada from the clutches of neoliberalism

in About Books by

The people in Canada who are intelligent, open-minded, and not ideologically conservative would probably number at least a million. But if only one in twenty of them—50,000—were to read Joyce Nelson’s latest book—Bypassing Dystopia: Hope-filled Challenges to Corporate Rule—the outcome could be a grassroots uprising that would free Canada from the corrosive clutches of neoliberalism. Canada would become the idyllic country of economic, social, and environmental well-being that our corporate and political leaders hypocritically boast it already is. For anyone who hasn’t read this book and doesn’t intend to do so, my prediction of its revolutionary effects may seem impossibly grandiose. Most of those who do read it, however, will almost certainly share my enthusiasm. Its stunning exposure of how neoliberalism has worsened poverty and inequality, while supplanting democracy with plutocracy, will both infuriate and motivate readers not yet aware of these and many other “free market” iniquities. A brief…

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We need solidarity now more than ever

in Opinion/Uncategorized by

“Power goes to two poles – to those who’ve got the money and those who’ve got the people.” — Saul Alinsky May 1st marks May Day, also known as International Workers’ Day, when countless workers across the globe take to the streets to commemorate the sacrifice and struggle of a strong labour movement that faced state-sanctioned violence to bring us the 8-hour work day, wages, benefits, and safe working environments, while continuing to hold institutions and governments accountable in what shouldn’t be an uphill battle for fair working conditions and living wages but often is. As a student at Memorial University for the past six years, I am no stranger to the immense contribution workers on our campus make, to allow students to learn in a safe and supportive environment. Despite the crumbling infrastructure due to years of upper level mismanagement, a profound amount of effort goes into keeping classrooms,…

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What’s a budget for, anyway?

in Featured/Journalism by

Finance Minister Tom Osborne used the words “methodical, fair and responsible” to describe the recent budget, but representatives of civil society and community organizations said that Budget 2018 failed to provide a vision for a sustainable future for Newfoundland and Labrador. Debbie Forward, head of the Nurses’ Union, referred to it as “a flat budget.” She said while there’s not a lot to be upset about, there’s not much to be excited about either. Mary Shortall, President of the Newfoundland and Labrador Federation of Labour said she was looking for a jobs strategy from the budget, but couldn’t find one. “There’s nothing in this that indicates there’s any plan ahead for that. I didn’t see a vision in this budget for what’s going to happen for our population going forward,” she said. The March 27 budget “doesn’t inspire confidence with respect to what we have been able to observe today,”…

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It’s time for serious talk about the NL fiscal bail-out

in Featured/Opinion by

The news is full of prognostications of doom and gloom these days. Province set to go bankrupt, unassailable debt, unpayable power bills. What are we to do? For one, we need to start talking seriously about what a bail-out of this province’s crippled finances would look like, if it happens. More and more people (such as the economist cited in this CBC story) think it’s likely to happen. A country like Canada, which espouses to first-world status, does not simply allow an entire province to go bankrupt and shut down. What we should be focusing serious public discussion about, is not if there will be a bailout, but what the terms and conditions of that bailout will be, and how it will happen. On whose terms, and with what end-goal in mind. We need to be having that discussion now, and it is deeply troubling the government has not made…

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Who benefits from government policies? Usually just the rich and powerful.

in Opinion/The Nonagenarian’s Notebook by

“When it can be said in any country in the world, “My poor are happy; neither ignorance nor stress is to be found among them; my jails are empty of prisoners, my streets of beggars; the aged are not in want; the taxes are not oppressive . . . When these things can be said, then may that country boast of its constitution and its government.” –Thomas Paine. Lucius Cassius, a consul whom the people of ancient Rome revered as a wise and honourable judge, was often required to adjudicate disputes involving the laws or policies of the Senate. Time and again, his first question was “Cui bono?” which can be translated as “Who benefits?” or “To whose benefit?” His reasoning was that no political action could be explained unless it was first ascertained who gained from it. The even more illustrious Roman orator and statesman Cicero often quoted this…

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Measuring progress toward a better future

in Featured by

It’s time to look ahead toward the next provincial budget.

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The rise of nativism in NL politics

in To Each Their Own by

Our provincial and post-secondary leaders are playing with a dangerous idea.

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The Independent’s Top Stories of 2016

in Journalism by

Indigenous rights and economic inequality dominated The Independent’s coverage of Muskrat Falls and Budget 2016.

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Navigating sexism within a class divide

in Uncategorized by

Cathy Bennett recently came out about the unfair sexist harassment she received, but it’s a more tangled mess than it seems.

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Ball Government’s new vision buries N.L. residents in gobbledygook

in To Each Their Own by

But cutting through the spin doesn’t inspire any greater confidence.

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Why do we love hard times so much?

in Uncategorized by

The “we’ll come through this” mantra is not helpful for those expecting organization, protest, and change.

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The big ones get away

in Uncategorized by

Why aren’t we doing more to prevent rich people and corporations from hiding their money to avoid paying taxes while people in N.L. and elsewhere suffer in the name of ‘necessary’ austerity?

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Budget backlash continues with anti-violence protest

in Journalism by

Women’s rights advocates hold rally outside closed-door discussions on domestic violence at Confederation Building, say Budget 2016 puts women at risk.

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The Government Game going strong in 2016

in Journalism by

St. John’s songwriter rewrites classic Newfoundland song “The Government Game” in response to the Liberal government’s austerity budget.

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Plan B: Borrow to build, borrow to survive

in Uncategorized by

The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador should immediately tap the international bond markets and borrow $3 billion.

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Liberals face mounting scorn as anti-austerity movement matures

in Journalism by

As residents and groups ramp up direct action efforts while resistance to austerity grows, some observers are calling for movement to embrace mutual aid.

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Kirby unveils proposal for one-room schools

in To Each Their Own by

The Liberal government says multi-grade classrooms won’t work, announces new plan to eliminate grades altogether and finance K-12 system with child labour.

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The revolution will not be broadcast

in Republic of Oil by

The courage of one MHA has brought the Liberals to a tipping point at precisely the moment the people of Newfoundland and Labrador have united and found their collective voice. So where’s the coverage?

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Time to close the wage gap

in Uncategorized by

Women in Newfoundland and Labrador are more likely to be university educated and substantially more employed than men in the province, yet face higher rates of poverty and lower rates of pay.

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Open letter to the People of Newfoundland and Labrador

in Letters by

“Thomas Jefferson once said, ‘When injustice becomes law, resistance becomes duty.’ Every act of resistance counts against this province-killing budget and this government’s destructive policies and ignorant behaviour.”

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