In this article Anne Dagenais discusses why we must move away from the conversation about national security and towards human safety.
“While the threat to civil liberties has only grown over the last 20 years, recent events have led to renewed concern: the push for the adoption of new domestic terrorism laws in the United States, the expansion of the Terrorist Entities List in Canada, the ever-growing definition of “national security,” and endless increases to the powers and resources of national security agencies,” she says.
“Governments attempt to justify their actions in the name of “security,” but none actually go to the root causes of the violence they purport to address.
“What we need is to shift away from national security — the preservation of the sovereignty and thus the power of the state — towards human safety — the condition of individuals being empowered and free from want and harm.”
“As the country heads into a pandemic election, knowing how to vote, where to cast your ballot, and voting safely are more important than ever for first-time voters,” Stephen Wentzell writes in this article.
The Canadian Labour Congress has a plan for a post-pandemic recovery focused on workers. An interview with the president of the CLC, Bea Bruske, discusses how this election will help with that recovery. Listen to it here.
“While the climate crisis was featured among the six debate topics, it continues to be presented politically as an issue on its own, rather than something that is intersectional and crucially informs other issues like the economy and health care,” Stephen Wentzell writes in this article.
“The lack of details and specifics on offer last night on the questions on the increasingly hard-to-ignore climate crisis brings into question how, exactly, party leaders will prioritize climate justice in their platforms.”
Maybe that’s because I was a Canadian toddler, rather than American, or was just too young — but opening to the first story in Everything On (The) Line: 20 Years of Social Movement Stories from rabble.ca I am transported back by the moving words of Monia Mazigh and Barâa Arar, mother and daughter of Maher Arar, a Syrian-Canadian who was arrested on September 26, 2002.
This transportive ability — to travel back in time and to live something you have a different memory of — is the primary accomplishment of rabble.ca’s compilation of stories from the last twenty years.
rabble.ca is an independent, nonprofit award winning left wing media outlet with 1M unique readers annually worldwide, based in Vancouver (original territory of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh nations). They aim to extend and amplify the work of social movements and front-line activists in Canada.
Everything On (The) Line is a collection of stories, but also the fossilized voices of journalists and activists during high-intensity moments in Canadian politics. Editors S. Reuss and Christina Turner have unearthed articles from rabble’s archives which capture the concerns and opinions of the activists, feminists, and fighters before us —concerns that still exist today.
The articles speak from Indigenous rights to climate change; personal accounts of protests and violence; outrage and critique for the government. The collection focuses on the personal lives of Canadian citizens impacted by these threats, while also panning out to inspect the governments of the early 2000’s, tying traumas from the violent injustices occurring around the world together: uniting pain but also hope across two decades.
The aim of the collection is not only to celebrate the twentieth anniversary of Rabble, but to allow the past and present to converse; articles from 2001 in tandem with essays from 2020.
It is an opportunity for readers to “reflect on the social movements that challenged capitalism, racism, settler colonialism, and patriarchy over the past two decades.” (5)
Readers hear the personal stories from Monia Mazigh and Barâa Arar, to personal accounts of when Black Lives Matter Toronto turned the Pride Parade into a protest. Words from protestors of the G8 Summit burn with anger still, 19 years later.
In her piece “What Do We Want and Where Are We Headed?” Pamela Palmater expresses how “ultimately, we want to be free to govern ourselves as we choose; free to enjoy our identities, cultures, languages, and traditions; free to live the good life as we see fit.” (129) This desire for freedom and respect echoes throughout the twenty-four pieces in the book.
Anger and fear and distrust bubble up within these essays.
Amber Dean writes about attending Robert Pickton’s trial in 2007 for the murders of Sereena Abotsway, Mona Wilson, Andrea Joesbury, Marnie Frey, Brenda Wolfe, and Georgina Papin — asking how colonization can be over when the violence persists?
Michael Stewart picks apart the Harper government’s inability to “cope with the tender, patient, ironclad solidarity of Indigenous people in Canada.”
Murray Dobbin asked in 2009 how the government would face their denial and complacency in the face of crisis.
All are systemic issues still present today; the final section with pieces from 2015-2020 carry ghostly echoes of the first section from 2001-2005. This disturbing parallel calls for transformative justice, addressed by Walters and Zellars in their 2020 essay on abolishing the police and collective care. They call this turbulent time an “[opportunity] for reflection and growth [which] must be central to our abolitionist imaginings” and to “have the courage to dream, try, fail, try again, and fail better.” (173)
The collection also contains new essays from esteemed writers such as Nora Loreto. In her piece “Real Change Meets Radical Tactics” Loreto traces the resurgence of feminist action in recent years, raising the point that “for what remains of the mainstream feminist movement, the dominant frame is still firmly white. Whiteness obscures the fact that women do not experience systemic violence in the same way. It creates a tent so large that feminism becomes a matter of self-identity […] feminism has become slippery and toothless.” (145) This comment spoke to me as a reader, as a feminist, and as a member of LiisBeth, because whiteness is a barrier in the feminist organizations I see and participate in.
LiisBeth’s masthead is primarily (some queer) white women; “Everything On (The) Line” was compiled by two white women; LiisBeth partners with rabble.ca’s, putting together a monthly roundup. A white, queer woman is writing this review, the last in a funnel of white voices.
That being said, 35 per cent of LiisBeth’s contributors are women of colour and over 50 per cent of the articles written in the last year featured enterprises and projects founded or operated by women of colour, queer women and trans folk.
When rabble.ca was founded, a UNECE study found 40 per cent of journalists in Canada were women, and 97 per cent of journalists across all media were white, according to a study done by Laval University in 2000. This statistic from Laval University, as well as the point that there was (and still is) no current study to compare this data to, was mentioned in a rabble.ca piece in 2016 by Joanna Chu titled “The face of Canadian Journalism is still white — and it’s time to push back.”
The collection spurs questions and invites reflection not just on the state of our world, but also journalism — those who wrote before us and how future writers will curate, cultivate and uplift all voices.
It’s an opportunity to see how far we have come, but also look at where we still need to go.
Everything On (The) Line is not perfect, because history is not perfect. What we glean from these reverberations of rallying voices is that the next twenty years should be equally as action-packed, as fueled by the desire for change. We should read about and reach for change, as the voices of rabble.ca have.
The fifth section of the collection is titled “Activism and Indie Media: Pasts and Futures”, where publisher Kim Elliot and Mathew Adams call rabble.ca a bridge for the social movement, and reflect on how the launch of rabble.ca in 2001 gave them the focus of “[amplifying] the voices of resistance struggles and movement-focused news.”
Hopefully, Everything On (The) Line can be the bridge to the past that lays the foundation for the next twenty years of rabble.ca.
There are a lot of ways to experience music, but TikTok is one of the weirdest – especially when it comes to trends. If you are anything like me, you have gone months giggling over a snippet of a trending song before listening to the whole thing – if you ever get around to listening to it at all. It is an absolute trip when you finally hear the entirety of a song that you both know intimately well and not at all.
So this is LiisBeth giving you that experience ten times over. We hope you enjoy listening to the full version of ten of our favorite trending TikTok songs.
Yucky Blucky Fruitcake — Iamdoechii
What better way to kick off our TikTok playlist than with the iconic introductory track Yucky Blucky Fruitcake gifted to us by Iamdoechii? On TikTok this song is often used to show off transformations – whether it’s weight loss, a post-high school glow up, or the journey from positive pregnancy test to newborn baby. Perhaps more than any other song on this list, Yucky Blucky Fruitcake is a reminder that TikTok trends barely scratch the surface of a full song. Iamdoechii skillfully weaves several genres and musical styles together and lyrically presents a detailed description of her personality and history, proving her complexity as a musical artist and person in one fell swoop. Yucky Blucky Fruitcake has a quirky sense of humor, fun pop culture references, and will reward your undivided attention.
Track Star — Mooski
Track Star has three main trends associated with it: the dance, people running (often at track meets), and a game of hide and go seek where you set your phone to count down and try to hide before it takes a photo. In the full track, Mooski’s syrupy vocals lament his partner’s tendency to run away from problems instead of communicating. The whole song is great, but the minimalist bridge is especially good. Perfectly mixed, percussive, and smooth, Track Star is a solid start to Mooski’s music career.
MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name) — Lil Nas X
Okay, so chances are good that you heard Montero all the way through before it started circulating on TikTok. Currently on its third consecutive week at the top of the Billboard Global Charts, Montero is the deliciously gay follow-up to Old Town Road that we could never have dreamed was on the horizon back in 2019. Peppy, flirtatious, and oh-so-thirsty, Montero doesn’t have a definitive trend associated with it yet – unless you count queer thirst traps as a trend. Which, come to think of it, why not? We’re here for it.
Day ’N’ Nite — Kid Cudi
“Now look at this” is by far the most popular Day ‘N’ Nite trend, although the song is also a popular backing track for the trend where you type a message in two colors and turn off the lights halfway through the video – this renders half of the text invisible, which usually inverts the original message. Kid Cudi, who wrote the song at a tough time in his life, briefly made headlines for his complicated reaction to people using this song comedically. Personally, I think that’s all the more reason to listen to the full track. It’s a good one for late-night drives, so throw that baby on repeat and enjoy Cudi’s company one of these nights.
Praying — Kesha
The trend behind Praying utilizes Kesha’s jaw-dropping high note (an F6 for those of you keeping track) near the end of this inspirational ballad. Often coupled with the MegaMouth filter, this trend is a hilarious way to indicate an overdramatic response to a situation. Even Kesha took a stab at the trend, reliving the awkward red-carpet moment in which Jerry Seinfeld refused to give her a hug. The memeability of the song does not detract from its power. Written after her long battle to free herself from her abusive producer Dr. Luke, this is an anthem full of anger, forgiveness, and self-love. Get ready to be inspired to fight another day.
deja vu — Olivia Rodrigo
deja vu is the most common backing track to videos playing with the inversion filter. The current trend is split in two: some users toggle the video back and forth to highlight the symmetry of their own facial features while others use it to highlight the physical similarities of siblings or other family members. deja vu is a 10/10 pop song: dirty, beachy guitars; lyrical, breathy vocals; a surprisingly prominent drumline; and a relatable break-up complaint. How dare your ex do the same old things with their new person and pretend those things are unique or special?
Moon (And It Went Like) — Kid Francescoli
This track is the current fave to play behind slide shows of vacations, adventures, and gorgeous photo shoots. Often starting off with a lip sync to the titular line, there is no denying that this track perfectly accompanies any set of memories. The full song doesn’t deviate far from what you’ve already heard: it is mostly instrumental and is sentimental and peppy. At six and a half minutes long, this song is ideal to chill out to while you’re making the memories that you’ll eventually upload to TikTok.
bury a friend — Billie Eilish
With a song as rich as bury a friend, it’s not surprising that there are a few trends to choose from. My personal favorite is the spooky, Eilish-inspired back bend, but people also use the Neon Twin effect to creepily stare themselves down or use the song to showcase a makeup transformation. The full song is well-worth a listen, with a surprisingly saccharine introduction, innovative percussive choices, and the quintessentially creepy Eilish sound. Screeching, chittering sound effects, whispery vocals – the whole nine yards.
Levitating — Dua Lipa
Levitating is also mostly used to comedic effect. The call and response of “You want me!” / “I want you baby!” makes for the perfect vehicle for TikTokers to simp over their favorite characters, poke fun at bad relationship choices, or make jokes about wanting things that they shouldn’t want. Outside of the jokes, though, Levitating is a great pop song. Fun, bouncey, and a verified mood-booster, this a song you can’t help but sing along to. With any luck we’ll all be playing this one beach side this summer.
Hope — Twista and Faith Evans
Hope is another comedy trend. The video begins with the TikToker showcasing their hopes for the day and then – just as Faith Evans hits the words “I’m hopeful” – the video freezes and a list of everything that the TikToker did to procrastinate pops up on the screen. This is an older song, but if you have not heard the whole thing, you should. Faith Evans’ sweeping, gospel vocals and Twista’s highly personal rap come together to make an emotionally charged song that will inspire you to do better and be better.
Let us know if you think these songs hold up as full tracks or if we should have left them in the world of 60 seconds or less! We hope you dig the playlist as much as we did.
Want to listen to the songs on Spotify? Click here.
International Women’s Day is over…but LiisBeth playlist curator, Aerin Fogel, founder of Venusfest, asks “Should it be? And why is it just one day?” This playlist reminds us that struggles to transform how we relate to each other takes decades.
In our roundup this month, we’re sharing content from Rabble that looks at different themes, ideas, and conversations that feminists are engaging in right now. As a feminist, womxn’s entrepreneurship publication, we’re interested in what the feminist movement—and the action resulting from it—looks like at the moment. Here are our top picks for Rabble content that dive into this.
In this interview, Chelsea Nash writes: “Do women benefit in the workplace from assimilating into the male-dominated culture, or from resisting it? Put another way, is it better to focus on the similarities between men and women workers, or to point out gendered differences and vocalize the ways women don’t fit — literally and figuratively — into many non-traditional workplaces?”
These are the questions that biologist and ergonomist Karen Messing tries to answer in her new book, Bent Out of Shape: Shame, Solidarity, and Women’s Bodies at Work, coming out April 5 from Between the Lines.
Through a deep dive into the work of Anjum Sultana, the national director of public policy and strategic communications for YWCA, Maya Bhullar writes about how a feminist recovery plan that is multifaceted and intersectional, focusing on the diverse needs of women, two-spirit, and gender-diverse people, is the starting point of the change the needed to address those who are often marginalized, especially during the global pandemic.
“April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and while there has been plenty of awareness this year, there remains precious little government action on ending the scourge of male violence against women and children, both at home and globally,” Matthew Behrens writes.
Since 1961, over 10,000 women have been victims of femicide in Canada. At the same time, spokespersons for male-dominated institutions like the military and the police are increasingly using the “Trudeau-esque language of acknowledging the failures to end violence against women as the standard response for failing to do anything about it.”
Behrens says it’s easy for men to be applauded for declaring that something must be done to end male violence, but such words ring hollow amidst the dearth of accountability mechanisms and system change required to ensure transformational change.
The first time Anya-Milana Sulaver (she/her) went back to visit her extended family in former Yugoslavia, she was trampled by a herd of pigs while picking tomatoes with her grandmother. It was the early ‘80s. Her grandmother had taken her there for the summer. She recalls how different the whole experience was for an urban girl who grew up in the West.
Years later, the culture shock from that first trip made her realize how different her family’s upbringing and context had been from her own.
This realization fascinated her. On subsequent trips there, Sulaver found herself increasingly interested in culture and communities. The duality of her experiences, that she was living through two cultures, drew her to “spaces of translation”— where she could understand the interconnectedness of her family’s history and identity with Yugoslavia and her own identity as a Canadian.
After completing her first degree, Sulaver started working as an associate producer for a company that focused on telling the stories of Indigenous communities in Canada. The documentary she’s most proud of investigated the signing of Treaty 7 by speaking with elders from the Blood, Siksika and Peigan reserves who retained the treaty’s oral history. The final documentary was broadcast nationally and shown to students from Blood 148, a First Nations reserve in Alberta that was established under the provisions of the treaty.
“The course of the work that’s followed has supported [my] lifelong ambition to ensure that when you’re speaking about a culture or peoples that those people [are] given the opportunity to ensure that representation is true to their values.”
The path that followed included getting two more degrees: a BA in International Development and a Masters in Interdisciplinary Studies (Anthropology, Humanities and Film), culminating in the founding of Peeps Magazine in 2015. An independent digital publication, Peeps shares insights into people and cultures around the world.
Tapping into Deep Research
Peeps, supported by Ontario Creates funding and a membership subscription ($21 quarterly/$70 annually), is produced by a team of 14 design, development and editorial staff, along with two curatorial managing editors who are experts in medical anthropology, and race and gender studies. Initially a print publication, Peeps transitioned to an online platform to reach a wider audience, providing readers with long-form articles that are often described as anthropology for non-anthropologists.
Sulaver founded Peeps because she wanted to bring knowledge to lay readers that was trapped in academic conversations, journals and conferences. Peer-reviewed and verified research takes years to trickle out to mainstream media—she estimates five to 10 years. She had a hunch that people were hungry for the information, especially published by an organization that takes care to verify the facts. So she built Peeps to help fill this gap.
A Peeps story, based on solid research and verified information, provides context and history to help readers gain that understanding.
Examples of this include the ways residents of post-apartheid Johannesburg, South Africa, confronted social inequalities in shared spaces; how “a clan of femcees” or female rappers were united by “a drive to dismantle gender stereotypes” in Iceland; or the role superheroes play in understanding contemporary society and how women are perceived. Authors bring hyphenated experiences – anthropologists/artists/filmmakers – to the writing of the stories.
The magazine was shortlisted for the Stack Independent Magazine Awards in 2016 in two categories—best launch and best original non-fiction story, “Winning and Losing in Modern China,” which investigated online vigilantism and gaming culture in Hangzhou, China. Written by Graham Candy, a PhD candidate for anthropology at the University of Toronto at the time, the article was also awarded Best Special Interest Story by Magazines Canada.
Sulaver describes Peeps approach to story telling as “participant observation.” Writers are usually historians, ethnographers and anthropologists who have spent decades in a particular community, bringing an academic rigour to frame their understanding of their experiences. Accurate analysis coupled with empathy, personal accountability and discipline are hallmarks of their storytelling.
A recent feature looked at the New Zealand government’s recognition of the Whanganui river as a living being, possessing human rights. Written by Anne Salmond, a distinguished professor of Maori Studies and Anthropology at the University of Auckland, the article recounts her personal relationship with the Maori community and how Maori chiefs, mayors, ambassadors, and local residents pressed to have the world’s first waterway gain this “person” status, considered revolutionary in placing the vital waterway “in a new relationship with human beings” and securing economic and legal support to protect it.
Sulaver says the editorial team confirmed permission from the Maori community, especially elders, to publish photos from Salmond’s time there. The Peeps team, led mostly by feminist women, are focused on building relationships, empathy and trust through their work. “We don’t want to prescribe solutions for people with the information—do with it what you will,” says Sulaver. “We’ve given you the information. We’ve given you resources to learn more about this. You know who the expert is on this. You can ask them on our website. But by not being prescriptive, the point is still there: the point is learning about other people and being an active listener to how they are in the world and how they see themselves in the world.”
She adds, “The goal is to have a product that people read and go, ‘I feel like I know those people so much better.’ Rather than, ‘Okay, this is how I invest my money, or this is how I can do this.'”
As the publication enters its sixth year, Sulaver says Peeps remains devoted to verification as antidote to the exponential growth of disinformation in journalism. “We knew that fake news was a big problem six years ago—soon to be seven years—when we first started developing the core concept for the magazine. And it was something that I was adamant that we have an answer to in our infrastructure.”
The problem of fake news began long before The Donald was elected president of the United States, and Sulaver believes it will continue to exist long after Trump leaves. “This conversation is not new. I think that Trump is simply the giant snowball at the end of an avalanche. And [it] isn’t just the media—it’s politics, it’s academia, it’s all of our institutions that have been run by people who look the same, and who forgive the same flaws and sins in themselves. And over time, cumulatively, that adds up.”
For Sulaver, combatting disinformation moving forward involves giving people the power to share their stories and culture in a way that’s research-based and verifiable. With a small, devoted membership, she believes Peeps provides a platform to do just that.
The new $645M Canadian government news media fund mostly bails out crumbling traditional media and fails to advance diversity. Despite facts that start up companies rushing in to fill the gap are largely founded by men–and white people. Is this going to help us build a more inclusive democracy?
We’re kicking off the first Rabble Roundup of 2021 with a look at the riots in the U.S. Capitol earlier this month, the Proud Boys, and how the attacks reflect the interconnectedness of white supremacy, racism, and inequality. Here are our top picks that dive deeper into this.
As its title suggests, this Rabble article by Democracy Now! host Amy Goodman and columnist Denis Moynihan look at the experiences of racialized congressmembers such as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortéz and Pramila Jayapal during the riots at the Capitol. It also looks at how “the violent white-supremacist insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on January 6 put the ugly realities of racism and inequality in this country in stark relief. Taking these on remains the urgent challenge of our time. Trump’s departure from the Oval Office is only the first step.”
Through the experience of the wrongful arrest and consequent imprisonment and torture of her husband Maher Arar, Monia Mazigh looks at the complexities of defining a person or and organization as a “terrorist.” She talks about the not-so-distant past when the “mere pronouncing of this word signified mobilization for human rights, activism against security certificates, pushback against Bill C-51, and the physical and emotional drain these campaigns meant for me and many activists. When you have been labelled a terrorist, you are usually a Muslim man — and by all legal standards it is one of the worst accusations, if not the worst, to have made against you.”
Nevertheless, Mazigh says she believes that the Proud Boys must be labelled a terrorist group, “Not because I like the labelling, but because it is a matter of simple coherence. Up to now, white-supremacy violence was hidden and protected by mainstream institutions — until it exploded in the world’s face in front of the U.S. Capitol.”
Read her words in rabble.ca on the harm caused by both the word “terrorism” and the act itself, and how we must move from calling out white supremacy to actively condemning it.
In the wake of the Washington insurrection, NDP leader Jagmeet Singh suggested the Canadian government list the far-right group Proud Boys as a terrorist entity. Both Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole were quick to say Singh’s idea sounded like a good one. And yet, many activists believe it may not be.
In this rabble.ca article, rabble’s politics reporter Karl Nerenberg looks at the consequences of listing an entity as terrorist in Canada. This includes the fact that authorities could seize a listed entity’s property, or they could force the terrorist-listed group to forfeit some or all of its assets.