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Bread Not Bombs: A Political Agenda for Social Justice

by Douglas Roche

Fortunately, Douglas Roche seems to have missed the unspoken rule that an appointment to the Canadian Senate usually means well-compensated obscurity, little work, and the occasional fine if you never show up.

Rather than fading into his senatorial seat in Ottawa, the former parliamentarian, UN ambassador, and educator has seized the opportunity to continue speaking out on issues of social injustice. Bread Not Bombs is his concise, end-of-century diagnosis of social disaster and prescription for hope.

From an analysis of growing poverty in Canada to a discussion of the gross inequities that oppress most of the world’s population, Roche goes on to press for a human security agenda that embraces environmentalism, non-military solutions to conflict (and cutbacks to military stockpiles), and a minuscule tenth-of-one-percent tax on foreign exchange transactions that could generate $175-billion in much-needed funding for social programs.

However, Roche’s adoration of the UN and support for the myth of Canadian peacekeeping (a surprise to those whose countries have been decimated by Canadian weapons and military assistance) may seem naive to some readers.

Roche sees hope in the development of international tribunals to prosecute war criminals, as well as the use of new forms of communication that allow an end-run around corporate control of mass media.

The analysis is brief and to the point, and while this is probably a plus for those who have little time for political topics, the work could use a bit more information on the structural changes that are required for Roche’s vision to be implemented. He does, however, provide web sites and contact information for numerous organizations that provide this information.