Volume 95, Issue 25

Wednesday, October 17, 2001
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Anthrax hysteria strikes London

The world at war

'Mike the knife' cuts himself

Unique war insight from USC GM

Vampires, ghosts not educational

Lefties concerned by anti-terror movement

News briefs

Lefties concerned by anti-terror movement

By Chris Lackner
Gazette Staff

The left is wrong and the right is right. Either you're with us or you're with the terrorists.

These are the sentiments some feel the Canadian left is facing following the events of Sept. 11.

Rick Telfer, Ontario national executive representative for the Canadian Federation of Students, said those on the political left fear they will be criminalized for their criticisms of current policies in the United States and Canada.

"Anyone who works for social change is concerned," he said. "The recent tragedy is giving those who want to criminalize [political] dissent a very good platform."

Telfer said those in power have a mandate of control during the current crisis that could lead to a demise of civil liberties and the targeting of those who work for social justice.

"It comes down to things like Bush's mantra of "with us or against us," said Jesse Greener, VP-external for Western's Society of Graduate Students. "People are worried that saying something contrary [to popular opinion] puts them on the side of the terrorists in the public's mind."

The Toronto Police Department recently announced the development of a list of citizens in Ontario who could be sympathetic to the terrorist cause. The list has been partially created through tips from the public.

Sergeant Rob Naper of the Toronto Police Department said police have stepped up their gathering of information since Sept. 11, but said they would not launch an investigation on an individual without any basis.

Greener said such initiatives, along with the Anti-Terrorist Act proposed in parliament Monday, could affect advocates of social justice.

"When a war starts, large sections of the middle-class swing to the right to support war values," said Gil Warren, president of London District Labour Council.

He said war often leads to legislation that dampens varying shades of opinion, noting the potential for a witch-hunt against groups who remain critical.

"We have the potential for another form of McCarthyism," Warren said.

"We gather intelligence information on criminals – that's what we do," Naper said. "This situation was thrown out of perspective."

Nick Dyer-Witheford, a Western media, information and technoculture professor, said the anti-globalization movement has been targeted in the past.

The switch from debating corporate power to debating terrorism has marginalized a very important issue in society, he said.

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