Kelly Pflug-Back
Survival of the Fittest? Tribal people took care of their own better than modern society.

The concept of history is far from neutral. Under the monopoly of elites, narratives of the past can be erased, rewritten and taken out of their original context according to their needs.

Dominant concepts of history are often used to justify social inequalities by portraying them as natural rather than constructed. We are led to believe that groups who lack power in today’s cultures have always lacked power, that inferiority is their natural state, and that there is no alternative social structure where freedom and equality could be achieved by all.

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Kelly Pflug-Back
G20 Gender Violence Police Attacks at the 2010 Toronto Demonstrations Targeted Women

Under the Canadian Criminal code, violence is not defined as a gendered issue. When a girl or woman is physically or sexually attacked, the act is subsumed under sections 244–246, which define assault, assault with a weapon, aggravated assault, sexual assault and aggravated sexual assault.

Removed from their social and historical context, acts of violence against women appear to be a spontaneous phenomenon whose perpetrators lack any definite motivation besides anger or lack of self control. This lack of context also removes political accountability from the social norms and legislature that enable gender-motivated violence.

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Kelly Pflug-Back
Life in the Body Dump How Prisons Warehouse Discarded Women

At 47, Edith Marie Price shows more than a few signs of wear. While her mannerisms generally convey a buoyant and carefree geniality, her face’s gauntness betrays the ravages of decades of intravenous drug use, poverty, and the inevitable progression of HIV. Even when she laughs, her dark eyes seem to sparkle with the disarming intensity of all that they have seen.

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Kelly Pflug-Back
Back on the streets, Fifth Estate writer reflects on prison experience ...starts book tour but doesn’t forget those still incarcerated

I was released from state custody in February after serving seven and a half months in the Vanier Center for Women, a provincial jail in southern Ontario, for charges stemming from the G20 summit protests in Toronto during the summer of 2010. While the judge sentenced me to 15 months, I was given four months credit for the one month of jail time and two years of house arrest I served while awaiting sentencing.

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Kelly Pflug-Back
Madness, Rebellion, and Community Gardens

a review of

Maps to the Other Side: The Adventures of a Bipolar Cartographer, Sascha Altman DuBrul, 2013, Microcosm Publishing, 189 pp., $15.95, microcosmpublishing.com

“The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain...” once wrote the renowned Lebanese poet Kahlil Gibran. “Verily you are suspended like scales between your sorrow and your joy. Only when you are empty are you at standstill and balanced.” While the term “bipolar” had not yet been introduced into the world of psychiatry when Gibran wrote these words in 1923, the sentiment is strikingly similar to that found in the eclectic mixture of essays, interviews, eulogies for deceased friends, and self-reflective ramblings which compose Sascha Altman DuBrul’s latest book, Maps to the Other Side. This slim volume is part punk memoir, part how-to manual for guerrilla gardening, and part rallying cry for a revolution in terms of our cultural perceptions of and reactions to mental health.

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