Canadian Dimension: Trees and teargas: worldviews clash at Barriere Lake

Grounded Authority: The Algonquins of Barriere Lake against the State Shiri Pasternak University of Minnesota Press, 2017 Events from a chilling October day in 2008, on a gravel road entering Algonquin First Nation bush territory, epitomize the contentious history of jurisdiction in what is now known as Canada. Riot cops teargassed the community standing at ...

Canadian Dimension: Where Are the Riots of Yesteryear? Remembering May 1968

May Made Me: An Oral History of the 1968 Uprising in France Mitchell Abidor AK Press, 2018 This month marks the 50th anniversary of the wave of radical revolts and revolutionary uprisings that startled the world in 1968 and which – although ultimately crushed by the forces of reaction that dominate the world to this ...

Canadian Dimension: The Mirage of Pension-Fund Activism

The Rise of the Working-Class Shareholder: Labor’s Last Best Weapon David Webber Harvard University Press, 2018 In her 2016 book No Shortcuts: Organizing for Power in the New Gilded Age, union organizer Jane McAlevey argued that unions have repeatedly and fruitlessly searched for quick fixes to the long decline of organized labour. This hunt for ...

Canadian Dimension: Indian Horse is a Film All Canadians Must See

Indian Horse Stephen Campanelli Elevation Pictures, 2017 Indian Horse, a film based on the late Richard Wagamese’s bestselling novel, opens in theatres nationwide on April 13th. Wagamese was a masterful storyteller as well as a long-time columnist for Canadian Dimension; however, people (especially settler Canadians) should gather to watch and witness the film for another ...

mark a rayner: Review: My Hands Were Clean

Tom Bradley is one of those writers who sends me running to the dictionary. That is praise and damnation at the same time, but more of the former. Because like John Fowles, who also does this to me, I’m always impressed by the precision and rightness of the word in question. Bradley is one of ...

mark a rayner: Review: The Cache and Other Stories

I thoroughly enjoyed this new collection of short stories and poems, by Sherry D. Ramsey. As always, her fiction is rooted in authentic human emotions, problems and foibles, even when we’re reading about aliens or fairies. In particular, I really enjoyed “B.R.AN.E., Inc.”, which read like the beginning of a new binge-worthy TV series. Seriously, ...

Canadian Dimension: Marx at the Movies

The Young Karl Marx Raoul Peck Diaphana Films, 2017 Raoul Peck’s The Young Karl Marx opened on Friday, February 23 at the Metrograph in N.Y. and the Laemmle Royal in L.A. It is the story of how the youthful Marx and Engels became fast friends and worked together as a team to overcame the obstacles ...

Kersplebedeb | Kersplebedeb: New Classes for a New Class Politics (Gabriel Kuhn)

I spent the past weekend writing a German review of the new Kersplebedeb edition of David Gilbert’s Looking at the U.S. White Working Class Historically, originally published in 1984. While the original piece mainly consisted of reviews of three relevant publications – Ted Allen’s pamphlet White Supremacy in the U.S./Slavery and the Origins of Racism, W.E.B. DuBois ...

mark a rayner: Roundup of more great reviews of The Fatness

Reviews continue to get posted about my new book. If you haven’t already checked out Joe Mahoney’s funny video review of The Fatness, you definitely should. There’s also a new review up on IndieReader.com: IR VERDICT: Easy to devour in one sitting, this tongue-and-cheek account of a BMI-obsessed society is both laughable and cringe-inducing. Unfolding in ...

mark a rayner: Assorted Nonsense Reviews The Fatness

My buddy and fellow-writer, Joe Mahoney, has done a charming and funny video reviewing The Fatness. In addition to having wonderful taste, Joe writes fiction himself. You can check out his debut novel, A Time and a Place, here on Goodreads. Oh, and I’m sure he’d appreciate it if you purchased a copy of both ...

Canadian Dimension: Hué Back When: the Bloodbath in Vietnam Was Us

Hue 1968: A Turning Point of the American War in Vietnam Mark Bowden Atlantic Monthly Press, 2017 For Mark Bowden, author of Hué 1968, the pivotal battle of the War in Vietnam did not follow the script most Americans were used to scanning in their newspapers or visualizing on the evening news. The war Americans ...

Canadian Dimension: Force of Evil: Abraham Polonsky and Anti-Capitalist Noir

Force of Evil Abraham Polonsky The Enterprise Studios, 1948 Years ago I worked in the law office of attorney Leon Despres, former Alderman for Chicago’s Fifth Ward, which comprehends Hyde Park and the University of Chicago. Despres was a Chicago legend, famous for his opposition to the regime of Richard J. Daley and for his ...

Kersplebedeb | Kersplebedeb: Escaping the Prism – Fade into Black, by Jalil Muntaqim: Book Review by Phyllis Taub Greenleaf

This book is a powerful tapestry of Scholarship, Activism and Poetry. The Personal with the Political gives this book balance and magnetism! During the time when key leaders of the Black Panther Party were assassinated by FBI operatives while asleep in their beds, Jalil Muntaqim, a new member of the BPP, was arrested just before ...

Canadian Dimension: Wormwood and a Shocking Secret of War: How Errol Morris Vindicated My Father, Wilfred Burchett

Wormwood Errol Morris Fourth Floor Productions, 2017 We see a wall with murky brown floral wallpaper and a door with a peephole and the number 1018A. A man is talking on the phone. He says: “See you tomorrow. I love you, Alice.” The camera pans out and reveals another man, sitting on the twin bed ...

mark a rayner: IndiePicks Magazine Loves The Fatness

Great review in the January 2018 edition of IndiePicks Magazine! Keelan Cavanaugh has been sentenced to a very different kind of prison. Uncomfortably installed at the Calorie Reduction Centre (CRC) — also known as the Fatness, or the Girth Gulag — he will lose weight, whether he wants to or not. In Rayner’s newest work ...

Canadian Dimension: Alexander Payne’s take on climate change, overpopulation, social inequality, and more

Downsizing Alexander Payne Paramount Pictures, 2017 Alexander Payne’s new film Downsizing, is an uneven, but engaging science-fiction satire that proposes to solve the earth’s ecological and other problems by “downsizing,” or physically shrinking, human beings. The creator of such noteworthy films as Election (1999), About Schmidt (2002) and Nebraska (2013), Payne employs, in Downsizing, a ...

Canadian Dimension: Roman J. Israel, Esq.: Rebel with a cause

Roman J. Israel, Esq. Directed by Dan Gilroy Sony Pictures, 2017 Dan Gilroy, writer-director of Nightcrawler (2014)—about a ruthless, amoral crime photographer—and now the legal drama Roman J. Israel, Esq., has something to say about contemporary society: “[We] have entered a time of hyper-capitalism, and for me it’s sort of the law of the jungle. ...

Canadian Dimension: A wake-up call for radical communities

Confronting Injustice: Social Activism in the Age of Individualism Umair Muhammed Haymarket, 2014 Drawing on his years of activism and academic research, Umair Muhammed delivers a compelling case for change within activist communities in his book, Confronting Injustice. The book is a quick read and constructed cleverly; it unites political anecdotes, historical facts, quotes from ...

Canadian Dimension: It’s the economy, stupid!

Washington’s Long War on Syria Stephen Gowans Baraka Books, 2017 The impression of a region teeming with internecine enmities along bewilderingly archaic ethnic and religious lines hampers understanding of the Middle East. Stephen Gowans’s book on Syria contests this impression powerfully. It focuses on the origins, motivations and interactions of four key actors: U.S. imperialism, ...

Canadian Dimension: Nawrocki’s Displaced/Misplaced exposes plight of migrant workers

Displaced/Misplaced Norman Nawrocki Les Pages Noires, 2017 Norman Nawroki, long a stunningly creative voice from out of Montréal’s anarchist community, combines spoken word with guitar, drum, piano and some very haunting violin in this compilation to benefit the city’s Immigrant Workers centre and Solidarity Across Borders. There were other instruments I couldn’t even recognize. Nawrocki’s ...

Canadian Dimension: Historical foundations of Aboriginal rights

Aboriginal Rights Claims and the Making and Remaking of History Arthur J. Ray McGill Queen’s University Press, 2016 Having long ago established himself as a foremost scholarly interlocutor of Canadian Indigenous history, Arthur Ray, with a career that spans those ’70s books on my shelf (two magisterial studies: Indians in the Fur Trade and with ...

Canadian Dimension: Addiction among the middle class

Opium Eater: The New Confessions Carolyn Zwarenstein Nonvella Publishing, 2016 In recent years, my newsfeed has played host to a steady trickle of articles documenting the alarming rise of opioid addiction rates in North America. Described by political pundits as a “quiet epidemic,” the explosion in the use and abuse of pharmaceutical opioids — substances ...

Canadian Dimension: Exploring settler-colonial culture

Settler: Identity and Colonialism in 21st Century Canada Emma Battell Lowman & Adam J. Barker Fernwood Publishing, 2015 Lowman and Barker’s Settler really dwells on the dominant culture in Canada as a settler-colonial culture. Hence it is not “about” Indigenous peoples per se, but rather the bad faith of a culture constructed on ongoing colonial ...

Canadian Dimension: First choice for a younger generation

Indigenous Nationhood: Empowering Grassroots Citizen Pamela Palmater Fernwood Publishing, 2015 No doubt for a younger generation of activists, Palmater’s Indigenous Nationhood will be a first choice. Her cadences — and anger — capture the mood of an emerging generation of social justice, broadly Left-oriented, ground level activists. When she writes that one of her goals ...

Canadian Dimension: Criminal law ejects Indigenous peoples from the frontiers

Fragile Settlements: Aboriginal Peoples, Law, and Resistance in South-West Australia and Prairie Canada Amanda Nettelbeck, Russel Smandych, Louis A. Knafla and Robert Foster UBC Press, 2016 A legal system designed to settle new territories and eject the resident population. A security apparatus installed to monitor the movements of dissenters. Collective punishment meted out with cruel ...