Nov 222012

Solidarity Halifax member Larry Haiven made this speech at last Saturday’s rally in solidarity with the people of Gaza:

My name is Larry Haiven. I’m a member of Independent Jewish Voices – Canada, a national organization with a chapter in Nova Scotia.

We are group of Jews in Canada from diverse backgrounds, occupations and affiliations who have in common a strong commitment to social justice and universal human rights. We come together in the belief that the broad spectrum of opinion among the Jewish population of this country is not reflected by those institutions which claim authority to represent the Jewish community as a whole. And so, a short four years after the last Israeli massacre in Gaza that killed 1400 Palestinians, over a third of them women & children, we again see bombs raining and the Israeli forces poised to inflict close quarter punishment on those abused 1.5 million inhabitants of 365 square kilometres, 15 X smaller than Halifax Regional Municipality, the largest open air prison in the world.

And as usual, the unquestioning defenders of Israel ask the question “What other country would put up with rockets landing on them?” As if history began two minutes ago when I bit your foot and not with the sixty plus years when your foot was grinding my face into the dirt.

I think there is no better testimony to the real context of recent events than the autobiography of Dr. Ezzeldin Abuelaish, the Palestinian physician from Gaza. Dr. Abuelaish spoke in Halifax just last week.

As you will recall, while cowering in their apartment during the last invasion of Gaza in 2009, three of the good doctor’s daughters and his niece were killed and another daughter horribly injured by an Israeli tank shell. This despite the fact that Dr. Abuelaish worked in an Israeli hospital, knew many prominent Israelis, and had called in to a friend who was the host of an Israeli television station to report “There is a tank in front of our house. They’re going to kill us, please do something.”

The Israeli television host Shlomi Eldar, says he “I kept trying to get the IDF on the phone. Taking out Hamas targets was one thing, but attacking the home of a doctor was another. I wanted to make sure they knew whose house they were aiming at.”

Viewers all over Israel and later the world, heard the doctor’s anguished cries on television in real time, when the Israeli forces fired and killed the four children, decapitating one of them.

While many Israelis were shocked, a group of them met the doctor when he arrived at the hospital with the dead and injured, angrily berating him for taking attention away from the righteous cause their soldiers were pursuing.

Dr. Abuelaish’s story is not a single isolated example. It is just a high profile and horrifying personal exemplifier of what Israel is doing and has done to the Palestinians.

But it is Dr. Abuelaish’s backstory that sets the true context to the horrible events of 2009. Born and raised to crushing poverty in the Jabalia refugee camp of parents who were forced to flee what later became Israel in 1948, he bucked the odds to study medicine and establish himself as an expert in fertility, counting colleagues across the world and in Israel. But he never forgot the misery of his childhood and describes it eloquently in the book.

The 2009 events with his daughters are shattering but so horrifying that tears could not come to my eyes. It is a quieter event about a year earlier, described in the book, that is the most poignant and resonated most with me as I know it will with you.

Away in Europe for a medical conference, Dr. Abuelaish learned that his wife, suffering from leukemia, had taken a turn for the worse and had been admitted, after intolerable  bureaucratic hassle, to the Israeli hospital where he worked. Then began what he describes as a journey to hell. Desperate to get back to her, he was blocked and humiliated at every turn by Israeli officials, both stupid and malicious, despite his prestige,despite his pristine security record, despite all the good connections he had. When he finally got to the hospital she had slipped into a coma from which she never awoke.

Dr. Abuelaish has sworn not to hate and has dedicated his life to that, and good for him. He is superhuman. Other Palestinians are merely human.

Casting our minds back to the current events, I want to quote from Chris Hedges in a piece he wrote a few days ago, before the Gaza events, but so prescient:

“Rebellion always mystifies the oppressor. It appears irrational. It does not make sense. The establishment asks: What are their demands? Why do they hate us? What do they want? The oppressor can never hear the answer, for the answer is always the same—we seek to destroy your power. The oppressor, blind to the brutality and injustice meted out to sustain dominance and prosperity, escalates the levels of force employed to protect privilege. The crimes of the oppressor are seen among the elite as the administering of justice—law and order, the war on terror, the natural law of globalization, the right granted by privilege and power to shape and govern the world. The oppressor cannot see the West’s false humanism. The oppressor cannot, as James Baldwin wrote, ‘understand that our “history has no moral justification, and the West has no moral authority.’”

Carlos Latuff, 2012

Note: Statements made by individual Solidarity Halifax members do not necessarily reflect positions held by the organization.

May 302012

Halifax & Sydney, NS – Community and labour organizations across Nova Scotia are calling for actions against Nova Scotia Power’s proposed 6% rate increases and for democratic, public ownership of the electrical utility.
Actions are planned for both Halifax and Sydney on June 7th.

Emera, the company which owns Nova Scotia Power, will hold its Annual General Meeting on June 7th in Halifax.  Individuals outside of Sydney and Halifax are encouraged to hold their own actions in their communities against this private, for-profit monopoly.


Thursday, June 7th at 12:00 noon
In front of the Provincial building, 360 Prince St

Thursday, June 7th at 2:00 pm
Near the Halifax ferry terminal
Both actions will include a sing-a-long of the youtube hit “Emera’s Profiteers”

“Nova Scotia Power’s rate increases will hurt families in our community, especially those with low or moderate incomes. No rate hikes to pay for corporate profits,” says Evan Coole, a member of Cape Breton ACORN.
“Nova Scotia Power made $121 million in profits in 2010, while paying their executives millions. With democratic public ownership, that money would stay here in Nova Scotia and be used for public priorities, like hospitals, schools and roads,” says Kyle Buott, President of the Halifax-Dartmouth & District Labour Council.
“Nova Scotia Power has been dragging its feet when it comes to investing in green energy and green jobs, while lobbying politicians to reduce environmental standards.  Public ownership will make green energy a priority,” says Brian Crouse, a member of Solidarity Halifax.
“We are opposed to rate hikes to pay for corporate profits and executive compensation packages. Electricity should be a public right, not a private, for-profit monopoly,” says Suzanne McNeil, President of the Cape Breton District Labour Council.

For more information please contact:
Evan Coole, Cape Breton, ACORN – (902) 549-4183
Kyle Buott, Halifax-Dartmouth & District Labour Council – (902) 478-0239
Brian Crouse, Solidarity Halifax – (902) 222-1564
Suzanne McNeil, Cape Breton District Labour Council – (902) 270-5561


May 282012

Wednesday, May 30th at 6:00 pm: Dalhousie Student Union building room 306. Join us!

A discussion hosted by Solidarity Halifax on capitalism, resistance and the significance of Quebec’s student struggle.This event is meant to help generate a discussion in Halifax about the character and context of the events in Quebec and what it means for activists in Halifax


Facebook event here:

May 212012

For Immediate Release

May 23, 2012

Solidarity Halifax calls for Actions to Oppose Rate Hikes on June 7th

Halifax, NS – Solidarity Halifax’s Power to the People! Campaign is calling for actions against Emera/Nova Scotia Power’s proposed 6% rate hike and in support of democratic, public ownership of Nova Scotia Power.

The actions will coincide with Emera’s Annual General Meeting.

Solidarity Halifax members and community allies will do a mass sing-a-long of Emera’s Profiteers (now at almost 2000 views on Youtube). Participants are encouraged to dress up like pirates – corporate pirates – and there will be prizes for the best costumes.

It’s all taking place down on a Halifax pier at 2:00 pm on Thursday, June 7th (near the Halifax ferry terminal).

“Nova Scotia Power made over $120 million in profits in 2010 while paying their executives millions of dollars, then they have the nerve to demand a 6% power rate hike. Our message is clear, 20 years of a private, for-profit monopoly is enough. It’s time to return Nova Scotia Power to democratic, public ownership,” says Brian Crouse, a member of the Power to the People! Campaign.

Solidarity Halifax invites members of the public to participate in the mass sing-a-long and costume contest.

For more information contact:

Brian Crouse, Power to the People! Campaign, (902) 222-1564


Nova Scotia Power was privatized in 1992 for less than it was worth. Since then, NSP has made more than $2 billion in profits while increasing power rates six times in the last ten years. This will be the seventh and eighth increase since 2002. Earlier this month Nova Scotia Power announced a proposed rate hike increase of 6% over two years. The case goes to the Utility and Review Board on September 13.

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Solidarity Halifax meets once every month in downtown Halifax to discuss general policies and targeted campaigns. New members are always welcome.

Our next general meeting is scheduled for Sunday, May 27th, from 1-4 p.m. at the Johanna B. Oosterveld Centre at 2103 Gottingen St. Our June general meeting is scheduled for Thursday, June 21st from 5-7 p.m. at the same location. For more information contact

Please visit our Power to the People campaign to help put Nova Scotia Power under public, democratically run ownership!