Since March 2013, the main Kersplebedeb website has been migrated to a primarily wordpress format.
What this means in practical terms is that everything you are used to seeing on Sketchy Thoughts is now being posted straight to Kersplebedeb and simply being automatically mirrored here. So in general, you will probably have a better reading/viewing experience if you head over to Kersplebedeb.
For those who prefer the Sketchy Thoughts blogger layout for whatever reason, this page will continue to be automatically updated whenever something is posted to Kersplebedeb, for at least the short-term future. However, as additional functionality is added to the Kersplebedeb site via wordpress, the Sketchy Thoughts page will probably begin to show its age more and more.
Saturday, April 08, 2023
Since March 2013, the main Kersplebedeb website has been migrated to a primarily wordpress format.
Wednesday, April 16, 2014
On April 8, two Islamophobic attacks were carried out in Montreal. In the first case, in the early morning hours, an axe was thrown through a window the Centre communautaire islamique Assahaba with the words “Fuck Liberals” and “we will exterminate Muslims” written on it. Then, later that day, someone rode up on their bicycle, took out a baseball bat, and smashed the windows of three cars in front of the Madani mosque as their owners were inside saying their evening prayers.
The April 8 attacks came the day after the right-wing Liberal Party had defeated the equally right-wing incumbent Parti Quebecois in a provincial election. The PQ’s election campaign was built on racism and xenophobia, specifically targeting Muslim women, a bogus “Charter of Quebec Values” having been central to its failed attempt to win a majority government.
In the context of the “Charter debate”, which began in the summer of 2013 and snowballed as autumn turned to winter, countless acts of violence and harassment were directed at “foreign” groups in Quebec, identified by their adherence to specific “foreign” religions. (The proposed legislation actually made this explicit, exempting religious symbols and names that form part of Quebec’s “heritage.”) The primary targets throughout were Muslims, especially Muslim women, who were accosted while taking the metro or walking down the street, insulted, told to “go home”, and physically assaulted, often by people trying to forcibly remove any head covering they might be wearing. (An informal online survey of Muslim women in the province in December found that of 338 respondents, 300 said they had suffered verbal abuse since the charter controversy began.) Muslim women daycare workers in Montreal’s St-Henri neighbourhood received death threats and threats of rape after a photograph of them wearing niqab went viral on facebook; halal butcher shops were vandalized, as were mosques (with spraypaint and pig’s blood). Pro-Charter forces held demonstrations of tens of thousands of people mixing secularist, feminist, anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant concerns. For many people in Montreal, our longest winter in years was a season of constant racist aggression and harassment.
Meanwhile, the internet, mass media, and government public hearings all provided a bully pulpit for racist conspiracy theories and hatemongering; i.e. the idea that there is a secret “Kosher tax” imposed by Jews, or that Saudi Arabia and Iran are funding feminist organizations that opposed the Charter, or that religiously-mandated circumcision is somehow the equivalent of rape – and the list just goes on. In one particularly horrendous case, when 47-year old Montrealer Naima Rharouity fell and died in a freak accident in the city’s metro system (her winter clothing got caught in an escalator and she was strangled to death), the Quebecor media machine reported for days that she was in fact killed by her hijab.
For all the pain and suffering that they caused with their racist ploy, the PQ’s gambit failed, and the Liberals won last week’s election.
In some quarters, the election results are viewed as a shift “back” to the right, the Liberals having been the proud architects of austerity measures and repression for years. Others see this as an “anti-racist” vote against the Charter, the Liberals having been the only political party to take a strong position against the racist legislation. (On the “left”, Quebec Solidaire completely failed in the most basic way to show solidarity with the targets of racism in Quebec, opportunistically criticizing the PQ’s charter while reassuring Islamophobic voters that it would pass a charter of its own if elected. Those comrades who are still enthusiastic about this Frankenstein’s monster clearly understand the concept of “anti-racist solidarity” in a very creative way.)
But explanations reading the PQ’s defeat in such clear-cut terms are overly simplistic, and ignore the fact that many different people voted for many very different reasons. More than that, such “all or nothing” analyses ignore several inconvenient facts, for instance that it was the Liberals who from 2006 to 2008 presided over a similar racist crisis with their “Reasonable Accommodations” hearings; that a majority of those polled just before the election (including many who did not vote for the PQ) still supported the idea of legislating discrimination against specific religious minorities; or that there was no effective opposition to neoliberalism during the 18 months that the PQ held power, while austerity measures continued to be introduced without pause.
There is a tendency – understandable and perhaps inevitable in movements where a small number of activists are trying to respond to a large number of pressing issues – to speak out and organize public opposition to oppressive projects when they are on the table and being discussed by the government or other social actors, but when they are seemingly defeated (as is the case now with the Charter) we redirect our meagre energies to other areas. Broadly speaking, this makes sense.
However, as evidenced by the April 8 attacks, it would be dangerous to assume that the explosion of racism that accompanied the Charter “debate” has run its course. This will depend on how various parties – our side, the far right, the PQ, the Liberals, and the targeted communities themselves – all choose to respond to the changes in the political terrain.
Even if the level of racist aggression and propaganda does temporarily subside, we should also remember a certain Prussian general’s military observation that “the most decisive losses on the side of the vanquished only commence with the retreat.”1 In a society where racist, patriarchal, and capitalist ideas are hegemonic, in and of itself the “retreat” of the Charter as the result of an election campaign will do nothing to weaken the social and cultural context from which this racist offensive sprang. In order for the Charter’s “retreat” to translate into an antiracist victory, it needs to be capitalized upon by ongoing antiracist organizing, propaganda, and analysis. Those of us who don’t vote should know: like all other struggles the fight against racism will be won or lost in in struggle between people – in our streets, neighbourhoods, communities, schools and workplaces, and even in our families. Now is the time in which we have to inflict those “decisive losses” on the enemy – or in which we fail to do so, and as such play our part in preparing the stage for the next racist upsurge.
It would be nice if someone had issued a public statement of solidarity with the people who attend and work at the Assahaba community centre and Madani mosque. Maybe someone will. i hope so. Now more than ever, i think we have to prioritize being loud about our intention to fight for a world in which all forms of colonial, capitalist, and patriarchal violence and oppression finally come to an end – and about the fact that to be effective, this is a fight that has to be waged without police or politicians, outside of and against their governments and rival capitalist agendas.
- Carl von Clausewitz, On War: “Now it is known by experience, that the losses in physical forces in the course of a battle seldom represent a great difference between victor and vanquished respectively, often none at all, sometimes even one bearing an inverse relation to the result, and that the most decisive losses on the side of the vanquished only commence with the retreat, that is, those which the conqueror does not share [page] with him.”
on the main Kersplebedeb website: http://ift.tt/1qKejFg
Saturday, April 05, 2014
Starting today, dozens of the IISH’s leading archives are fully available to view free of charge via the institute’s catalogue. Celebrated collections can now be studied from anywhere in the world, including the papers of Pieter Jelles Troelstra and Ferdinand Domela Nieuwenhuis, Lev Trotsky, the German Social Democrat politicians Eduard Bernstein and Karl Kautsky, and the French anarchist Louise Michel, as well as the archives of political parties as the Dutch Social-Democratic Party.
The digitalized documents can be browsed and each piece can be viewed in full screen mode. By adjusting the size and contrast, or rotating, it will be possible to consult the material easily. The documents can also be downloaded as a pdf file or printed out.
The Institute has digitalized its archives in recent years using Metamorfoze, a national programme that aims to preserve the printed materials that form part of our heritage. SNS Reaal has also made an important contribution: for the last two years, the company has been supporting a major project undertaken by the Institute to digitalize the most famous and important archives that were purchased between 1935 and 1940 using funds from the ‘Centrale’ life insurance company (a precursor of SNS Reaal). In the coming years, many more IISH collections, including the archives of Marx and Engels, will be made available online.
Look into the archives of
Bakunin at http://ift.tt/1hrQzhJ
Lev Trotsky at http://ift.tt/1hrQzhN
Alexander Berkman at http://ift.tt/1hNlPwa
Eduard Bernstein at http://ift.tt/1hrQzhS
Domela Nieuwenhuis at http://ift.tt/1hNlPwc
Frank van der Goes at http://ift.tt/1hrQzy9
Alexander Herzen at http://ift.tt/1hrQzyd
Karl Kautsky at http://ift.tt/1hrQB9s
Labour and Socialist International at http://ift.tt/1hrQzyh
Louise Michel at http://ift.tt/1hNlPwj
Henriette Roland Holst at http://ift.tt/1hrQzyk
SDAP at http://ift.tt/1hNlPwl
Troelstra at http://ift.tt/1hNlPMD
List of online available archives at <http://ift.tt/1hNlRnP>
on the main Kersplebedeb website: http://ift.tt/1hNlRnU
Tuesday, March 25, 2014
Tuesday, March 18, 2014
Urgent need for money to cover legal fees for Tyendinaga Warriors.
On March 8, following a week of action demanding a national inquiry into the at least 825 missing and murdered indigenous women across Canada, warriors from Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory blocked the CN mainline. This action, which fell on International Women’s Day, came the day after the release of a Parliamentary report which attempted to dismiss and deny the crisis of missing and murdered indigenous women and prevent any meaningful response or action. This is a continuation of colonization and its inherent violence against Indigenous communities, particularly Indigenous women. For more information on missing and murdered women in Canada, please visit: missingjustice.ca
During the rail blockade, Shawn Brant, Matt Doreen, and Marc Baille were arrested and are facing charges ranging from mischief for blocking the tracks and blocking a road to assault police, and possession of weapons. Steve Chartrand was arrested on the Thursday following the blockade on charges of mischief. Other charges have been announced in court, but have yet to be formally laid.
Marc Baille remains in custody, after refusing to sign restrictive bail conditions that he deemed to be unreasonable and unlivable. These court-ordered conditions would effectively ban him from the Tyendinaga community and prevent him from associating with members of his family, and further keep him from working at the motorcycle shop where he has worked for four years, causing a significant financial strain on his family and on the motorcycle shop.
The two others arrested on Saturday were released on bail Sunday morning. Shawn Brant reported becoming violently ill after a meal provided to him while in detention in the OPP detachment at Napanee, where he received no medical assistance despite alerting an officer to his condition. For more information, click here.
Currently, there is an urgent need to raise money in order to retain lawyers, to run bail reviews and superior court appeals on the non-association conditions, to order court transcripts, to cover transportation costs to and from court and jail, and to cover canteen fees and collect calls for those in detention, and to support families as necessary..
Please consider donating what you can…
Please make your cheque out to “Solidarité sans frontières” and write “Tyendinaga Support” in the memo line. Mail or drop off cheque at:
Solidarité sans frontières / Tyendinaga Support
1500 de Maisonneuve West, #204 Montréal, QC H3G 1N1
(*please write a note to specify that it is for Tyendinaga)
Meanwhile, the Canadian government remains complicit in the murder and disappearances of hundreds of indigenous women. Actions to demand justice for these women, their families, and their communities are as important now as ever!
on the main Kersplebedeb website: http://ift.tt/1cWJ9ro
Sunday, January 12, 2014
So University of California Press has just made 700 of its books available for online reading (to read on a tablet you have to copy paste into some other program and do some conversions). One of these titles, which i can’t recommend highly enough, is Carol Devens’s Countering Colonization: Native American Women and Great Lakes Missions, 1630-1900 , a title which has been out of print for some time now.
Countering Colonization provides an important snapshot of how some Indigenous women dealt with colonialism and patriarchy in canada, providing rich details of resistance in various forms. Strongly recommended!
on the main Kersplebedeb website: http://kersplebedeb.com/posts/countering-colonization-and-other-great-books/
Thursday, January 09, 2014
Letting you all know, the Kersplebedeb blogroll has been fixed and is now up and running. Dozens of blogs and other websites are indexed and will have their articles automatically listed.
The godawful wait time that the blogroll has had for the past year – up to several minutes to load! – is a thing of the past.
Of course, don’t assume just because something is linked to that it is something i have read or even am aware of. It is an automatic feature on my site, and lots shows up there and disappears again without my ever being aware.
on the main Kersplebedeb website: http://kersplebedeb.com/posts/blogroll-overhauled/
So here’s the deal: until January 17th (next Friday), everything at leftwingbooks.net is 20% off, so long as you order $10 or more. This discount can be used as many times as you like, even on items that are already discounted. (Tho it cannot be extended to stores who already get an even bigger cut)
And the, after January 17th… we will not be fulfilling any orders until the end of February. That’s right, we’re going on vacation. Will let you know when we get back.
So if you need anything anytime before then, now’s the time to order!
on the main Kersplebedeb website: http://kersplebedeb.com/posts/20-off-at-leftwingbooks-net-and-then-vacation/
Saturday, January 04, 2014
Saturday, December 21, 2013
Sunday, December 15, 2013
Saturday, December 07, 2013
It’s December, and it has been a busy year here at Kersplebedeb – getting this new site off the ground, publishing several new books and pamphlets, and just continuing with all the other little tasks, duties, and pleasures that this work brings
As will happen every so often, our storage space is now overflowing with books, and so we need your help to get rid of some. So for a very limited time only, we are reducing prices on over a hundred books and pamphlets, in some cases way below half the regular price – be sure to take advantage of this now, because this sale will not last for long!
The fine print: if you are ordering for a store, you will not be provided with a discount on the sale price. You will either get your regular discount, or the sale price, whichever is lower.
Sale ends December 14th. In order for packages to be delivered to the united states by December 25th, please order by December 9th at the latest or else choose express post. Within canada order by December 11th or choose express post.
OK, so here’s the fun part, the cheap books (hover over a cover to see the special, click to order):
on the main Kersplebedeb website: http://kersplebedeb.com/posts/one-week-sale-at-kersplebedeb-leftwingbooks/