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Sick of the System

Why the COVID-19 recovery must be revolutionary

contributions by James T. Brophy; Alexander McClelland; John Clarke; Harry Glasbeek; Dallas Hunt; Emma Jackson; Margaret M. Keith; Gary Kinsman; nicole marie burton; Julie S. Lalonde; Robyn Maynard; Jane E. McArthur; Karen Messing; Wayne Lewchuk; Justin Piché; Elaine Power; Gina Starblanket; Jamie Swift; Richard Swift; Kai Cheng Thom; El Jones; Andrew Jackson; Hugh Goldring; Anita Girvan & Alberto Toscano

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social policy, public health, non-classifiable
list price: $9.99
published: 2020
publisher: Between the Lines

Families left grieving; small businesses shuttered; communities in lockdown; precarious workers set adrift; health care workers stressed beyond endurance. The COVID-19 pandemic has shaken the world to its core. But the cracks already ran deep.

Featuring essays on poverty, health care, incarceration, basic income, policing, Indigenous communities, and more, this anthology delivers a stinging rebuke of the pre-pandemic status quo and a stark exposé of the buried weaknesses in our social and political systems. As policy makers scramble to bail out corporations and preserve an unsustainable labour market, an even greater global catastrophe – in the form of ecological collapse, economic recession, and runaway inequality – looms large on the horizon.

What can we do? From professors to poets, the authors of Sick of the System speak in one voice: We can turn our backs on “normal.” We can demand divestment, redistribution, and mutual aid. We can seize new forms of solidarity with both hands. As the world holds its breath, revolutionary ideas have an unprecedented chance to gain ground. There should be no going back.

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About the Authors

James T. Brophy

James T. Brophy has been a social justice activist throughout his life. He holds a PhD in occupational and environmental health from the University of Stirling in Scotland. He is currently an adjunct faculty member at the University of Windsor and teaches environmental sociology at Athabasca University. Margaret and James have recently published two major studies – conducted in partnership with OCHU/CUPE – on violence against health-care staff in hospital and long-term care settings.

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Alexander McClelland

Alexander McClelland is a sociolegal researcher and Banting Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Ottawa in the Department of Criminology. He is currently examining issues of confidentiality for research with criminalized people. His work focuses on the intersections of life, law, and disease, where he has developed a range of collaborative and interdisciplinary writing, academic, activist, and artistic projects to address issues of criminalization, sexual autonomy, surveillance, drug liberation, and the construction of knowledge on HIV.

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John Clarke

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Harry Glasbeek

HARRY GLASBEEK is a professor at Osgoode Hall Law School, York University. He is a specialist in labour law.
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Dallas Hunt

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Emma Jackson

Emma Jackson is an organizer for 350.org. and Climate Justice Edmonton.

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Margaret M. Keith

Margaret M. Keith received her PhD in occupational/environmental health from the University of Stirling in Scotland and currently holds an adjunct faculty position at the University of Windsor. Along with her partner, James Brophy, she has studied an extensive range of occupational health issues, including those facing health-care workers.

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Gary Kinsman

Gary Kinsman was one of the first three employees of the AIDS Committee of Toronto, a member of AIDS ACTION NOW!, the Newfoundland AIDS Association, the Valley AIDS Concern Group in Nova Scotia, and now the AIDS Activist History Project (https://aidsactivisthistory.ca). He is currently involved in the Policing the Pandemic group. He is also the author of The Regulation of Desire, and co-author of The Canadian War on Queers. His website is https://radicalnoise.ca.

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nicole marie burton

nicole marie burton is a comic book and children's book illustrator based in Ontario. With over a decade of experience in activist art and design, she is a founding member of the Ad Astra Comix publishing collective, which specializes in comics with social justice themes. Her published work includes The Beast: Making a Living on a Dying Planet, The Boy Who Walked Backwards, and a chapter in the anthology Drawn to Change: Graphic Histories of Working Class Struggle.

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Julie S. Lalonde

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Robyn Maynard

Robyn Maynard is a Black feminist writer, grassroots community organizer and intellectual based in Montréal. Her work has appeared in the Toronto Star, the Montréal Gazette, World Policy Journal and Canadian Women Studies Journal.

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Jane E. McArthur

Jane E. McArthur is a PhD candidate in sociology/social justice at the University of Windsor. Her dissertation research focuses on the understandings and strategies women workers have of risks for breast cancer in their working environments. The focus of Jane’s work outside her dissertation has been community-based environmental and occupational health research, education, communication, and advocacy. She is a mother of two school-age children and together they participate in the local climate justice movement.

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Karen Messing

Karen Messing is professor emerita in ergonomics at the Université du Québec à Montréal. She collaborates with labour unions and women’s groups to ensure women workers’ needs are addressed in occupational health and safety practice. Author of Pain and Prejudice: What Science Can Learn about Work from the People Who Do It (Between the Lines, 2014), also published in French, Korean, and German. Officer of the Order of Canada; recipient of Governor General’s Award in Commemoration of the Persons Case.

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Wayne Lewchuk

Wayne Lewchuk teaches in the School of Labour Studies and Department of Economics at McMaster University.

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Justin Piché

Justin Piché is Associate Professor in the Department of Criminology, University of Ottawa. He conducts studies in three substantive areas: the normalization and proliferation of imprisonment inside and outside the penal system; alternatives to incarceration, punishment and carceral controls; and cultural representations of confinement and penality.
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Elaine Power

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Gina Starblanket

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Jamie Swift

Kingston writer Jamie Swift is the author of numerous books. He works on social justice issues for the Sisters of Providence of St. Vincent de Paul and lectures at the Smith School of Business at Queen’s University.
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Richard Swift

Richard Swift is an internationally regarded journalist and a former editor of New Internationalist magazine. He has done stories from many parts of the world on issues as varied as famine and the plight of farmers, slums, the prison system and struggles for national liberation. Swift is author of The No-Nonsense Guide to Democracy and Trigger Issues: Mosquito, and editor of Ties That Bind: Canada and the Third World. He has also worked as a radio journalist.
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Kai Cheng Thom

Kai Cheng Thom is a writer, performance artist, and community healer in Toronto. She is the author of the novel Fierce Femmes and Notorious Liars: A Dangerous Trans Girl's Confabulous Memoir Metonymy Press), the poetry collection a place called No Homeland (an American Library Association Stonewall Honor Book in 2018), and the children's picture book From the Stars in the Sky to the Fish in the Sea, illustrated by Kai Yun Ching and Wai-Yant Li. Her latest book is the essay collection I Hope We Choose Love: A Trans Girl's Notes at the End of the World (an American Library Association Stonewall Honor Book in 2020). Kai Cheng won the Writers' Trust of Canada's Dayne Ogilvie Prize for LGBTQ Emerging Writers in 2017.

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El Jones

El Jones is Halifax’s fifth Poet Laureate, a two-time National Spoken Word Champion and the artistic director of Word Iz Bond Spoken Word Artist Collective. She teaches in the African Canadian Transition Program at the Nova Scotia Community College and in the women’s studies program at Acadia University.

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Andrew Jackson

ANDREW JACKSON is a research associate of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.
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Hugh Goldring

Hugh Goldring works with nicole marie burton as a writer and artist comics production team based in Ottawa, Canada. They primarily work on adapting research on social justice themes into comics. Their debut graphic novel, The Beast: Making a Living on a Dying Planet, is available in its entirety through The Digital Press at the University of North Dakota.

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Anita Girvan

Anita Girvan is assistant professor of cultural studies, Athabasca University, Alberta, Canada.

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Alberto Toscano

Alberto Toscano is reader in critical theory and co-director of the Centre for Philosophy and Critical Thought at Goldsmiths, University of London. He is the author of Fanaticism: On the Uses of an Idea and Cartographies of the Absolute (with Jeff Kinkle). He edits The Italian List for Seagull Books and sits on the editorial board of the journal Historical Materialism.

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