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Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

– Scott Sinclair and Stuart Trew applaud Wallonia’s principled stance against the CETA. And Joseph Stiglitz discusses the need to set up social and economic systems which actually serve the public good, rather than favouring corporate interests: Where the trade agreements failed, it was not because the US was . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.- Bjarke Skærlund Risager interviews David Harvey about the history and effect of neoliberalism: I’ve always treated neoliberalism as a political project carried out by the corporate capitalist class as they felt i… . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.- Caroline Plante reports on Quebec’s scourge of medical extra-billing and user fees (as identified by its own Auditor General). And Aaron Derfel notes that the federal government has done nothing to app… . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links

Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.- Karl Nerenberg weighs in on the Libs’ choice to direct billions of dollars toward higher-income individuals, rather than working to help Canadians who need it:The Liberals are now in power, and have ju… . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content for your long weekend reading.

– Jim Buchanan comments on the mountain of inequality looming over all of our political choices. Laurie Posner interviews Paul Gorski about the need for a vocabulary which accurately portrays inequality as the result of social conditions rather than merit or culture. And Robert Reich notes that if . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

– Erika Shaker points out how condescending attitudes toward public benefits are both making it unduly difficult to develop new programs which would benefit everybody, and threatening existing social safety net. Sean McElwee writes that inequality only figures to grow as an issue as the wealthy try to disassociate . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

– Erika Shaker rightly questions why government policy toward business is based on a level of permissiveness which we’d recognize as utter madness in dealing with a child: Sure, all parents make mistakes, and all kids have meltdowns (some of which might have, admittedly, been handled better).

But . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Assorted content to start your week.

– Lynn Stuart Parramore discusses the epidemic of wage theft by U.S. employers: Americans like to think that a fair day’s work brings a fair day’s pay. Cheating workers of their wages may seem like a problem of 19th-century sweatshops. But it’s back and taking a terrible toll. We’re . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

– George Monbiot comments on the outsized influence of advertisers on children: How many people believe this makes the world a better place? A company called TenNine has hung hoardings in the corridors and common rooms of 750 British schools. Among its clients are Nike, Adidas, Orange, Tesco . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

– Erika Shaker rightly tears into the special brand of FAIPOF demanding that First Nations protesters focus solely on their own community leaders rather than recognizing broader and more systematic inequality: Much is being made of Chief Spence’s Escalade (although I’m unsure if she actually owns one or if . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links

Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

– Erika Shaker describes the effect of the “right-to-work” laws so popular among our more regressive politicians: “Right-to-Work” still remains a dubious—even Orwellian—term, probably because we have a sweatshop-sized vat of research documenting examples of what this scheme has meant for those American jurisdictions that have implemented it. Higher . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

– Dan Gardner rightly notes that we should be encouraging more public advocacy from charities and other groups with useful input to offer into policy debates – not shutting it down as the Cons are doing: “Many charities have acquired a wealth of knowledge about how government policies affect . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

– Erika Shaker points out how Quebec’s student protests are a natural and justified reaction to the policy choice to saddle young workers with debt: (T)he effects of student debt are not exactly “character building”. Postponement of owning a home or starting a family. Fewer assets. Having to settle . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

NEW MEDIA AND POLITICS CANADA: An Attack On Progress

Here in Quebec, amidst the nightly demonstrations against the tuition increases and Bill 78, the bill that gave the movement oxygen, we hear a constant drumbeat from media sources that the kids are “spoiled,” or have a sense of “entitlement,” and are perhaps communists. Seriously. It’s tiresome.

Students protest in the downtown streets . . . → Read More: NEW MEDIA AND POLITICS CANADA: An Attack On Progress

NEW MEDIA AND POLITICS CANADA: An Attack On Progress

Here in Quebec, amidst the nightly demonstrations against the tuition increases and Bill 78, the bill that gave the movement oxygen, we hear a constant drumbeat from media sources that the kids are “spoiled,” or have a sense of “entitlement,” and are perhaps communists. Seriously. It’s tiresome.

Students protest in the downtown streets of Montreal against tuition hikes on May 16, 2012 (AFP Photo/Rogerio Barbosa)
Students protest in the downtown streets of Montreal against tuition hikes on May 16, 2012 (AFP Photo/Rogerio Barbosa)

Erica Shaker of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives has written a terrific piece about this “scapegoating” of the kids involved and begins by asking a question that should be the starting point for any discussion about the issues at the center of the protests:

Why is it still, for some, a newsflash that reality for today’s youth is a solar system away from the world of just 25 or 30 years ago?

She then outlines what she calls the “toxic socioeconomic brew” that led here: Wages stagnating since the late ’80’s, the infamous 1995 Paul Martin budget which oversaw massive cuts to and restructuring of social programs, and the reduction of transfer payments which has reinforced the trend to greater income inequality.

Now, add to that…

…the fallout from declining levels of government support for higher education in Canada which has resulted in a number of new realities: over the past 30 years, government grants as a share of university operating revenue plummeted from 84% to 58%, and the share funded by tuition fees rose from 12% to 35%.

Suddenly a University education in Canada is a lot more expensive than people appreciate and students get saddled with more debt on the way out the door than their parents ever knew ($37,000 on average – somewhat less in Quebec), and there are less good employment opportunities. Remember, unpaid internships are all the rage.

More to the point, Ms. Shaker reminds us of the benefits of education to all of us:

We know the vast benefits of accessible higher education—and not just physical accessibility. Societies that make this a priority tend to be healthier, have a more politically-active citizenry, enjoy greater levels of community and family involvement, and have more social mobility. There are economic returns as well, all of which means that the demand for public education—or public health care, or public child care—is not a request for “free” anything, or even not wanting to pay one’s “fair share.”

For wanting more and easier access to education the student protestors have been vilified endlessly by the media. This of itself is simply sad but it illustrates the lack of understanding and the unwillingness of the supposed adults to engage in a constructive dialogue. But it’s not the name calling she wants to bring our attention to in all of this:

To be clear, I don’t think what we’re experiencing is so much an attack on youth, though it often feels that way, as it is an attack on progress.

Attacks on progress are something we’ve seen far too much of in this transitional era – one that seems to be marked by greed and stupidity. It’s time to try and put a stop to it by not giving in to media propaganda and opinion writers who regularly make a habit of not only being wrong but of always siding with the corporations, the banks and other arms of the establishment. Maybe we could all try and do what we’re always telling our kids to do, think for yourselves.

Go read the entire piece here for yourself, form you own opinion and just try not to be that guy or gal yelling at the kids to get off your lawn! . . . → Read More: NEW MEDIA AND POLITICS CANADA: An Attack On Progress