Class, Inequality & Oppression

  • Cities

    By Jeremy Seabrook     January 2007

    Every year tens of millions of people abandon rural areas of the South for life in the city. Already overcrowded urban centres are under increasing pressure. With education, health care and even safe water in short supply, cities risk becoming sites of violent conflict for future generations. The urban poor are less accepting of their fate than the scattered rural poor. And yet, world governments are doing little to address these demographic shifts or to provide the basic services that rapid urbanization demands. Jeremy Seabrook offers a vivid portrait of the lives of people who migrate from impoverished villages to towns and cities.

  • Beyond Token Change

    Breaking the Cycle of Oppression in Institutions

    By Anne Bishop     January 2005

    Beyond Token Change examines the patterns of oppression found in organizations and institutions. Anne Bishop uses a case study as a starting point to consider the nature of institutions beyond the sum of their parts. Bishop explains how institutions can go beyond token change to transform the institutional structure at a deeper level. She looks at the implications for the tactics we employ to achieve equity in our institutions. In particular, she proposes a method of focusing attention on the institution and its dynamics that goes beyond putting individuals within the institution “on trial” for discrimination.

    Beyond Token Change is the sequel to Becoming an Ally: Breaking the Cycle of Oppression in People, Bishop’s classic exploration of the dynamics of sexism, racism, heterosexism, agism, ableism and other forms of oppression, including how indivduals learn and reproduce these patterns and the steps required to change them.

  • Identity, Place, Knowledge

    Social Movements, Contesting Globalization

    By Janet M. Conway     January 2004

    Grassroots organizations have long been involved in the education and mobilization of local populations. Through the development of coalition formation, broad-based campaign-organizing and popular and activist education, information and experiences are shared amongst activists and interested individuals. Janet M. Conway looks at how social justice organizations struggle to build momentum when many of the groups are disparate and the development of ideas are often articulated through actions. Conway examines the experiences within a particular organization, the Metro Network for Social Justice, in Toronto. This small, place-based group contributed, with thousands of others like it, to the demonstrations in Seatle in 1999. These groups have become sophisticated forums to explore the structures of representation, decision-making, democratic governance and problems of inequality and power/knowledge in activist politics. By focusing on MNSJ, Conway is able to explore topics that affect any number of groups involved in social justice and to offer some hard hitting analysis on how it is that small groups scattered around the world are able to affect change.

  • The Power to Criminalize

    Violence, Inequality and Law

    By Gillian Balfour and Elizabeth Comack     January 2004

    Law’s power to criminalize–to turn a person into a criminal–is formidable. Traditional legal doctrine argues that law dispenses justice in an impartial and unbiased fashion. Critical legal theorists claim that law reproduces gender, race and class inequalities. The Power to Criminalize offers an analysis that acknowledges the tensions between these two views of law. Drawing from crown attorneys’ files on violent crime cases and interviews with defence lawyers, the authors reveal the complex ways in which discourses of masculinity, femininity, race, class and social space inform the strategies used to litigate these cases. This analysis raises questions about the prospects of challenging law to realize a more just society.

  • Disorderly People

    Law and the Politics of Exclusion in Ontario

    By Joe Hermer and Janet Mosher     January 2002

    The Ontario Safe Streets Act is the first modern provincial law to prohibit a wide range of begging and squeegee work in public space. This Act is representative of a much wider set of reforms that the Ontario government has carried out in the administration of criminal justice and social welfare. Central to the neo-conservative character of these reforms has been the construction of “disorderly people,” of those portrayed as “welfare cheats,” “squeegee kids,” “aggressive beggars,” “violent youth” and “coddled prisoners.” Drawing from their expertise in law, sociology, criminology and geography, contributors to this collection make visible the role of law in the practices and logic of a government that polices “public” safety through the exclusion and punishment of some of the most vulnerable people in society. Essays in this collection critique the constitutional soundness of the Safe Streets Act. They document the everyday lives of squeegee workers, map the moral geography of the city, explore the “commodification of crime,” examine the shrinking of both the public and private spaces of the poor, and investigate the “penalty of cruelty” that now characterizes Ontario corrections policy.

  • The Socialist Register 2001

    Working Classes, Global Realities

    Edited by Colin Leys and Leo Panitch     January 2001

    Managers want new workers who can be used casually-people scared and disciplined by lacking a secure job. Restricting workers’ skills and depriving workers of opportunities to learn and to organize makes for a more dependent and docile work force. Unions are not welcome. Blairs, Clintons and Schroeders may believe that their policies are working, and that opportunities are growing for ‘everyone’ but class exploitation and oppression remain facts of life in the new century. Socialist Register 2001 examines the concept and the reality of class as it effects workers at the beginning of the 21st Century. Theoretical contributions explore: today’s old and new working classes, workers ‘north’ and ‘south’, peasants and workers, gender and the working class, migrant workers, tele-working. Other essays examine critically important regional experiences in East Asia, India, South Africa, Brazil, Iran, Russia, Europe and North America.

  • Someone To Talk To

    Care and Control of the Homeless

    By Tom Allen     January 2000

    Someone To Talk To is an empassioned account of life on the mean streets of Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. Homeless and near-homeless persons recount in agonizing detail their experiences of living on the edge in a large Canadian city. They chronicle the grim spirals of poverty, marginalization and despair that propelled them out of their homes, onto the streets and into the ambit of shelters like Triage Emergency Services. Allen analyzes how state policies contribute more to the continuation of homelessness than its eradication.

  • Solutions That Work

    Fighting Poverty in Winnipeg

    Edited by Jim Silver     December 1999

    The explosive and dramatic growth of poverty in Winnipeg, and strategies for combating poverty, are the subject of this collection. Some of the chapters discuss the severity and the consequences of poverty; others describe policy solutions, with a particular emphasis on community-based solutions. Included are chapters on: the growth and incidence of poverty in Winnipeg; the impact of poverty on, and community economic development strategies being developed by, Winnipeg’s Aboriginal community; community-based schooling as a response to inner city poverty; the experience with workfare in Manitoba; the importance of the minimum wage in combating poverty; and a wide range of small but innovative and exciting community development alternatives which are proving their worth in Winnipeg’s inner city. While the focus is on Winnipeg, and particularly Winnipeg’s inner city, where poverty levels are astonishingly high and still rising, the patterns analyzed and the policy alternatives offered are applicable to communities across Canada.

  • Feminism and the Politics of Difference

    By Sneja Gunew and Anna Yeatman     January 1993

    Among the issues posed for feminism by the politics of difference are ones of voice and representation; who is authorised to speak for whom? Increasingly, “western: feminism is being challenged to confront the multiple characters of dominations and exploitation, usually conceived of as gender, class, race and ethnicity. This innovative and timely collection reveals exciting contemporary theorising raising and exploring the problems posed by identity politics and the possibilities for non-exclusive cultural and gendered positions. Feminism and the politics of difference includes feminist theorists from several disciplines from Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the United States.