Tag Archives: Freedom of Conscience

Attempts to get away with defamation in the name of opposing hate

The use of amorphous terms like “hate” or “anti-Semitism” to defame and silence people who speak out against Israel’s occupation of Palestine and who advocate for Palestinian rights.

By Mira Katz

A serious issue at this time in Ontario is the use of amorphous terms like “hate” or “anti-Semitism” to defame and silence people who speak out against Israel’s occupation of Palestine and who advocate for Palestinian rights. It is also extended to apply more broadly to matters of war and occupation. Educators in particular are being targeted, with the allegation that by opposing Israel’s occupation or even sharing information which clearly opposes occupation in a general sense, they are spreading “hate” and anti-Semitism. These allegations are then used to trigger police powers to either suspend educators from work or prevent them from getting work. 

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Canada

Troubling expansion of powers to subject teachers’ conscience to scrutiny

There Is No Such Thing as a Right to Defame

By Enver Villamizar

One of the programs of the different provincial governments in Canada has been to limit educators’ professional judgment in various ways while at the same time increasing the government’s ability to decide what teachers can and cannot say or do in the classroom or outside of the classroom. This comes at a time that governments are attempting to impose retrogressive changes to the content of education such as is the case in Alberta with the new K-6 curriculum or in Ontario with new Health and Physical Education and Math curriculums. A definite direction of these governments is to divert from their anti-social restructuring of the state, and in this case of education, by claiming that the biggest problem in education is educators and their unions in order to justify trying to silence them or ignore their expertise. Thus, alongside the changes to education there has been a campaign to demonize and threaten educators for speaking out in general on matters of concern such as the rights of Indigenous peoples, pipelines or matters of war and peace.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Canada

The case of defamation of University of Alberta Lecturer Dougal MacDonald


Threat to Academic Freedom

The following article, “Threat to Academic Freedom,” was written in 1953 by Charles Herbert Huestis, great grandfather of Dr. Dougal MacDonald, and reproduced by permission of the family. Various sympathizers of the claim that the famine in the Ukraine in 1932-33 was man-made by Soviet leader Joseph Stalin are demanding the dismissal of Dr. MacDonald who teaches at the University of Alberta. They claim that even if his views on the so-called Holodomor were not presented in his classroom, he is causing transgenerational trauma and his presence at the university poses a threat. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Canada

Renouncing Israel on principle

By STEVEN SALAITA

Brian Naughton – CC BY 2.0

When anti-Zionists discuss the Middle East, the topic of Israel’s existence rarely arises.  It’s almost exclusively a pro-Israel talking point. We’re focused on national liberation, on surviving repression, on strategies of resistance, on recovering subjugated histories, on the complex (and sometimes touchy) relationships among an Indigenous population disaggregated by decades of aggression.  That a colonial state – or any state, really – possesses no ontological rights is an unspoken assumption.

“Do you recognize Israel’s right to exist?” pretends to honour the downtrodden, but it is an altogether different proposition, transforming sophisticated ideas of liberation into a crude test of political respectability. Prioritizing the state as worthy of relief, as something to which we automatically owe deference, subsumes life to the imperatives of capital. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Palestine, West Asia (Middle East)

Oppose the Defamation of University of Alberta Lecturer Dr Dougal MacDonald

Alberta government intensifies vicious anti-social offensive

– Statement of the Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist) –

Dr. Dougal MacDonald is not a holocaust denier.

But what can be said about those who seek to defame him?

In the matter of the defamatory accusations gratuitously levelled against Dr. Dougal MacDonald insinuating he is a holocaust denier, we state categorically that Dr. MacDonald is not now and never has been a holocaust denier. Dr. MacDonald has researched and, along with others, argues against the narrative of a genocide committed in Ukraine by the Soviet state. To equate this stand with denial of the holocaust is socially irresponsible. It lowers the level of political culture and discourse to disinform public opinion about the real matters of concern to society. Such defamation seeks to disarticulate the fight raging in society, especially in Alberta, against the anti-social offensive launched by the Kenney government. Shame on those who repeat these defamatory statements without any regard for the facts or their own social responsibility. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Canada

Foreign interference? The need to recognize and affirm rights to enforce security

Promotion of foreign interference in elections is used to say the problems with elections have nothing to do with the dysfunctional institutions and outdated definitions of democracy whereby the minority rule over the majority and call it majority rule. On the contrary, it is said that elections must be protected from an external, foreign force the people have no control over. People are to direct their fire away from a political process that disempowers them and instead join the rulers in targeting China or Russia or Iran or some other country. This not only constitutes war preparations as part of the U.S. war machine but also involves resurrecting Cold War anti-communism. This refers to opposition from the state and others to the people’s organized resistance and even elected officials who are declared to be promoters of foreign inspired “fringe ideologies.” Continue reading

2 Comments

Filed under Canada

Centenary of the End of World War I: British Movement of Conscientious Objectors

On the occasion of the centenary of the end of World War I, TML Weekly has been producing an excellent series of informative Supplements on the war and related matters of concern. This is the third in the series. Click for No. 1 (How the First World War Out); No. 2 (Canada and the First World War); No. 3 (British Movement of Conscientious Objectors); No. 4 (Contributions and Slaughter of Colonial Peoples in World War I);  No. 5 (Steadfast Opposition to the Betrayal of the Workers’ Movement); No. 6 (Poems on the Occasion of the Centenary of the End of World War I – Moments of Quiet Reflection.

1916Scotland-AberdeenConscientiousObjectorsCampCr

Dyce Work Camp was set up in August 1916 at quarries north-west of Aberdeen, Scotland. Conscientious Objectors had been released from prison on condition that they performed “work of national importance” – breaking up granite rock for road building.

• The Men Who Said No
• Opposition in Britain to the War and Criminalization of Conscience
• Organizing to Oppose Conscription and Defend Conscientious Objectors
• Civil Service and Non-Combat Roles in the Military for Objectors
• Imprisonment Continue reading

5 Comments

Filed under Europe, History

‘Responsible conviction’ – Dion announces new foreign affairs doctrine

Trudeau government moves to criminalize the right to conscience

040320-TorontoAntiWar-001(April 9) – Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Stéphane Dion spoke at an international conference at the University of Ottawa on March 29, entitled “Canada in Global Affairs, New Challenges, New Ways.”[1] Dion continued the practice of prior governments of making important announcements about Canada’s foreign policy in an offhand manner. Dion used a speech to a university audience to announce a new foreign affairs doctrine for Canada he calls “responsible conviction.” Dion says “responsible conviction” will be the “guiding principle” the government will follow in implementing foreign policy. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Canada

Britain’s Counter Terrorism and Security Bill

‘Extremist ideologies’ at odds with ‘British values’: The Counter Terrorism and Security Bill of the Cameron government and the hinted further measures represent a significant stepping-up of the criminalisation of conscience and the arbitrariness of the state, which are a serious attack on the rights of all

(Dec. 2) – Home Secretary Theresa May presented the government’s Counter Terrorism and Security Bill to Parliament on Wednesday, November 26, declaring: “We are in the middle of a generational struggle against a deadly terrorist ideology. These powers are essential to keep up with the very serious and rapidly changing threats we face.” Continue reading

1 Comment

Filed under Europe

‘Extremism disruption orders’: Britain seeks draconian censorship

Might does not make rightThe following item illustrates the aim behind inciting passions and fuelling tensions: to enact more legislation that is self-serving and destroys the standards and due process established by a civil society based on the Rule of Law, as the British government is planning to do. On the contrary, what needs to be done is to go into the heart of the matter and appeal to all people to draw warranted conclusions and unite on that basis. The issue is to focus on what will resolve the crisis in favour of the people and what will not. The outlook that upholds Might Makes Right and enacts legislation on a self-serving basis will not permit any problem to be sorted out. 

(Nov. 12) – Theresa May, the Home Secretary in David Cameron’s government … wants to introduce “extremism disruption orders”, which, yes, are as terrifyingly authoritarian as they sound. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Europe

Harper’s self-serving anti-terrorist agenda: When does a group or an individual pose a danger to society?

By PAULINE EASTON

(Oct. 25) – IT IS CLEAR that there are a lot of people across the country who are very disturbed by recent events. Under such circumstances, it is not fruitful to incite passions and fuel tensions by presenting opinion as fact as the Prime Minister and his Ministers have done and continue to do, or to enact more legislation which is self-serving and destroys the standards and due process established by a civil society based on the Rule of Law, as the Prime Minister and his Ministers are planning to do. On the contrary, what needs to be done is to go into the heart of the matter and appeal to all people to draw warranted conclusions and unite on that basis. The issue is to focus on what will resolve the crisis in favour of the people and what will not. The outlook that upholds Might Makes Right and enacts legislation on a self-serving basis will not permit any problem to be sorted out. On the contrary, it exacerbates the problems which already exist. This is especially true when the outlook is racist and targets mentally ill and socially displaced people for attack in the name of high ideals. Continue reading

1 Comment

Filed under Canada

Salman Rushdie – An intellectual in the service of imperialist war

BIG POWERS intent on invading and waging war on a sovereign country or countries, in order to gain hegemony over a region of the world, must first create public opinion for so doing, including denigrating and demonising a whole people. Such was the role played by the writer Salman Rushdie with his book The Satanic Verses published in 1988, which insulted Islam and gravely disturbed and provoked its followers. What followed is justified and grotesquely glamorised in Rushdie’s latest book, Joseph Anton, an autobiographical work focussing on his decade under police protection, the title being his assumed name during that period. This new book is currently being massively promoted. Continue reading

2 Comments

Filed under Media, Journalism & Disinformation, West Asia (Middle East)