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THE CAREGIVERS' LIVING ROOM A Blog by Donna Thomson: Identity and Belonging by Robert Lepage: The Personal is Universal

Identity and belonging are subjects that caregivers grapple with everyday.  When we become caregivers, do we lose our ‘other’ selves?  When our beloved charge passes away, who are we then?  Either way, where do we caregiving families belong in society – how can we nurture and sustain a sense of authentic belonging when our lives are so different from others’? Robert Lepage is a theatre director whose work probes questions of identity and belonging.  ‘Lipsynch’, a play I was lucky enough to see in London a few years ago, questions what happens when people lose (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: What I Am Thankful For

This weekend, I am thankful for folks in Seattle who know how to transform the imperialist Columbus Day into Indigenous Peoples’ Day.

May we all learn this for next year!

“We are all citizens in a democracy, we are all here to work with each other, and by making this Indigenous People’s Day, we are adding something, we are not taking something away. We can both recognize our strengths.”

“We are not reveling in the pain of our past, but rejoicing in the celebration of a triumph—the voice of the indigenous people who are saying ‘we are still (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: BC’s Deep Deep Racism, Shhhh!

Shhh, this is uncomfortable. It might make you ashamed.

Hopefully it will anger you to action?

First Nations burial grounds in BC have less protection than settler cemeteries.

Along with desecration at a Musqueam burial site, someone is building their home on top of another burial ground on Grace Islet off Saltspring Island. On stilts [see the horrible details below]. And the person building this home was once fined $150,000 for putting fake safety labels on retail products. Sigh. Morality much? Ever?

The minister responsible said in the legislature that Grace Islet’s “owner” “and the archaeology branch had (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: The Occupy Movement Has Changed the Narrative, But We’re Not Done

Recently, with the WEF spending the last few years acknowledging global income inequality is a problem, I’ve declared a kind of victory for the Occupy Movement: getting the lexicon on the 1% and inequality on the tongues of the sly gazillionaires who rule the world, and into mass consumption.

Now we see that the CEO of Goldman Sachs, one of the biggest cancers of neoliberal capitalism and a prime mover of the 2008 crash, has admitted that income inequality is a problem and a destabilizer. Sadly, though not surprisingly, in this interview he also trotted out typical neoliberal “realities” (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: What Does Soft Fascism Look Like These Days?

We don’t see brown shirts and jackboots, but that doesn’t mean we aren’t seeing the de-democratization of our society.

In Vancouver this month, armed police with guns drawn, raided a house because they suspected people inside not of being terrorists, but of spray painting “No Pipelines” all over the place.

Read Police raid house in East Vancouver, with guns drawn, on pretext of anti-pipeline graffiti | Warrior Publications.

But in Harper’s Canada, opposing pipelines is deemed by the climate change deniers as an act of economic terrorism, which we will likely see in a far more pronounced fashion if in (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: Slut Shaming, And Other Idiocy

Welcome to the cusp of spring-summer.

Now that the weather is turning, the slut shaming and attacks on women’s clothing choices will ramp up.

In Labrador, 28 girls were sent home from school because their clothing contravened the dress code. They also sent home two boys whose shirts bared their shoulders. 47% of those voting on the CBC story’s webpoll supported the school’s decision.

But Memorial University professor Patricia Dold share some inconvenient truth about this:

Male students and teachers they apparently were distracting should be the ones under the microscope. … Dold said that the school should have an (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: The Protest and Popular Assembly (Plenum) Movement in Bosnia-Herzegovina

Get up to speed with this interview with Politics, Re-Spun contributor Jasmin Mujanovic on the protest and popular assembly (plenum) movement in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Bosnia’s protest movement is already receiving less media coverage, with some declaring the end of the ‘Bosnian spring’. But the causes behind the ongoing protests are complex, and neither the causes nor the protests have disappeared. Heather McRobie interviews Jasmin Mujanović.

April 15, 2014 Democracy Blooming at the Margins: Bosnia-Herzegovina, Ukraine and Taiwan (1) December 25, 2013 Merry Christmas! (0) January 8, 2014 Come On, Let’s Really Increase Taxes on the Rich (0) April 30, (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: Occupy Vancouver Reboots Tonight!

Occupy Vancouver reboots tonight to join the worldwide #WaveOfAction that began on April 4 and runs [at least] to July 4, 2014.

We will meet in Grandview Park on Commercial Drive in East Vancouver, unceded Coast Salish territories.

615pm is the start time, though honestly, I’ll be there a bit early. With my Occupy Vancouver sign taped to my hockey stick. In some convenient part of the park, since there will be a May Day march arriving there for a rally at the same time.

Things to consider:

Inspiration for this venue came from funkypenzz. Vision [mine anyway]: Seeking equality (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: When Blog Comment Spam Goes Bad

You know you want it!

Someone really crossed the line from whoops, to nuclear codes.

One of the15,000 weekly blog spam comments that never make it to the human eyes stage on this website, accidentally made it through.

Sadly, it is a compendium of all the kinds of faux-sincere blog comments. Which is like Christmas for those who pay attention to the sociology of the internets.

Read at your leisure, and peril. Actual websites deleted to not encourage bad behaviour.

It becomes a mildly deranging mantra of ill. Kind of like neoliberal capitalism.

Push back!

Remember, Occupy Vancouver reboots at (Read more…)

Progressive Proselytizing: The Quebec election is being fought over the wrong issues

Quebec has numerous very legitimate issues in governance and economics that can, and should, be addressed in an election. In many ways, the Quebec model provides for Canada an example of a significantly more interventionist, egalitarian government – something I might advocate for on this blog – but poor management and misguided priorities have led to large challenges in the model, not the least of which is the highest debt per person of a province in Canada. Getting a mandate for a path forward is an important step.

However, the Quebec election will largely be fought, and won, over two (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: Women Who Inspire Us

Pam Palmater, getting it done!

“Never doubt that a small group of committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

Margaret Mead

For three decades of activism I have been inspired by a great number of wise, engaged women.

Carleen Pickard, for instance. I first met Carleen when she was the B.C./Yukon organizer for the Council of Canadians. En route to becoming the executive director of San Francisco-based Global Exchange, she was part of their human rights campaign in Mexico, and she has testified before the House of Commons (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: The Harlem Renaissance is “Coming Back Again”

Vari-Colored Songs: A Tribute to Langston Hughes dropped earlier this month.

My esteem for Langston Hughes, his insight and vision, and the too-often ignored human/cultural catalyst that was the Harlem Renaissance came back again last night for me when I found Leyla McCalla on the internet.

Merging Haiti, Hughes and the cello, she pulls the Harlem Renaissance forward a century in Vari-Colored Songs: A Tribute to Langston Hughes.

Fitting, she lives in New Orleans, a world struggling to rebirth itself. Appropriately, her Kickstarter campaign garnered 4x her target.

Now you need to watch this, feel your soul massaged, then tweet (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: Because You’re Not As Dumb As They Think You Are!

Today is Friday. Let’s make it “think for ourselves Friday.”

It’ll work: the government/corporations/1% won’t see it coming!

Twitter / occupythemob: http://t.co/doHx1xWO4l.

December 17, 2013 Fried Squirrels (0) December 20, 2013 Enbridge: What Now? We Escalate Our Fight (4) January 7, 2012 Day Two of Tragedy of the Market: From Crisis to Commons (0) January 7, 2012 Opening Panel from the Tragedy of the Market: From Crisis to Commons (0)

Politics, Re-Spun: Jesse Ventura Is On Our Side On Racist Team Names

More support for changing the name of the NFL team in Washington comes from Jesse “The Body” Ventura. Yesterday, I wrote about how incredibly easy it would be to change the racist name of any kind of team. It’s really not that hard. Imagine the reverse, though. Imagine changing the Vancouver “Canucks” to the Vancouver “Insert racist slur here.” Somewhat inconceivable, so it should be easy to do the reverse, and fix the Washington NFL team name, as well as the other racist team names.

Now, hear how Jesse Ventura puts it:

 

Just as the N word (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: Yugoslavia as Science Fiction

Over the past two years, a collection of photographs of WWII memorials from (the former) Yugoslavia has made the rounds on social media. Popular sci-fi and fantasy blog io9 reported on it and this post from Crack Two appears to have been “liked” over 173,000 times on Facebook alone. And here is the same article, with more or less the same perspective, on a blog from BiH. This process of “re-discovery,” however is to me the truly fascinating aspect of this phenomenon.The authors of these articles, as well as those leaving comments, repeatedly refer to the monuments as “bizarre,” (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: Just How Lazy ARE Indigenous People, Anyway?

It’s a trick question.

And let’s not forget how many of us are told we are inherently lazy because we are native. Hard to shake that.

via Twitter / apihtawikosisan: And let’s not forget how many ….

And if you want to read one person’s analysis of destructive, racist stereotypes, try this on, from Frank Assu, also known as Tlakwatsi, a member of the We Wai Kai First Nation of Quadra Island.

December 4, 2013 Are We Good Allies to First Nations? (0) July 25, 2013 Why We Must #HonourTheApology to Residential School Survivors [#INM] (1) December 17, 2013 (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: Greed + Government Cuts Erode Society [Bah, Humbug!]

The greedy and selfish among us are NOT on our side.

Happy Christmas Eve!

I hope you’re all giving lots of money to charities because ’tis the season and all that. But what happens if generally, as a society, we can’t or won’t give so much?

Coupled with public sector social service cuts, a decline in charitable giving creates preventable suffering.

But the Fraser Institute is a big fan of the charitable giving solution to public sector cuts. What do they have to say about that this year? It’s not good.

Greedy, selfish, people who love their money and want (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: Thriving, not surviving

Thriving, not surviving

the slow cello accompaniment wasn’t haunting

it wasn’t doubtful

it was the soundtrack for the path she was on and it was trapped in a coda

trying to find some gravitas instead of just being in touch with her own integrity

it was the difference between surviving and actually thriving

it was the recognition of internal strength instead of that manic need to grip control

it wasn’t too much to hope for because it was underneath the layers of clothes and cologne and masks of assertiveness and cleverosity

it was about knowing what time the sun will (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: Enbridge: What Now? We Escalate Our Fight

Some breaking news occurred yesterday, the Joint Review Panel of the National Energy Board approved the Enbridge pipeline, but with 209 conditions. To quote a teenager from 1994: “Big whoop.” Also, big whoop goes out to the awesome pictures of soon to be decimated pristine wilderness on the report cover.

What do you think of the Enbridge approval and where things will go?

What do I think of the approval? Disappointed and hardly surprised. When Joe Oliver starts talking about something being “science-based,” I remember how his party has people who believe dinosaurs and humans walked the earth (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: Fixing Cyncial Corporate Media

How to inoculate yourself against cynical corporate media.

Corporate news media is not on our side. It is on the side of stoking fear, cynically eroding possibilities of a better, more robust democracy, and scaring us into obedience to corporations and government through sensational stories that undermine our happiness.

But we can fix this. And it’s not hard.

While crime rates have been dropping, media coverage of crime has increased. This creates buzz and sensationalism and higher ratings which translates into higher advertising revenue for corporate media. I don’t think we can fix this.

Corporate news media is also guilty (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: Facebook Is the New AOL/Compuserve Big Brother

The evolution of the decay of Facebook privacy.

The late, great Neil Postman once wrote that we’d more likely voluntarily embrace the fascism of Huxley’s Brave New World than Orwell’s 1984. The corporate version of this is the crack-like addiction a billion people have to the Facebook.

But it’s worse than you thought, in terms of how they’re snooping on you.

Years ago, I wrote about how people left AOL, Compuserve and other full service “internet” portals when they learned that there was this huge real Internet thing out beyond their gated community. One of the ideas was that they (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: Fried Squirrels

It’s a crisp, foggy November Saturday morning in the south side of the city. Seventeen people sit in the large open area at the back end of an organic fair trade coffee shop run by a workers’ co-op inspired by the Mondragon movement in Spain. Meet-ups like this are quite common in this shop.

The male and female co-facilitators move briskly through the agenda with the help of the nodding volunteer maintaining the speakers list. There are sporadic jazz-hand gestures, common from the Occupy Movement, as well as a strict yet comfortable group norm of only one person speaking at (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: Day One, Post-Mandela

Today is the first day of our world after the Nelson Mandela era.

We don’t need to canonize him or consider any messiah characteristics, but we should stop today and reflect on what kind of Mandela legacy we want to carry forward.

Here are a few ideas to consider.

Chances are you didn’t wake up every day by meditating on a Mandela quote. Aside from people like Rob Anders, though, most people found Mandela to be an inspiring person.

But one Mandela characteristic we need to hold close to our hearts is that he worked hard. Very hard. So (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: Are We Good Allies to First Nations?

This is what solidarity looks like; make sure it’s authentic!

Lots of us care about deepening relationships with and social/economic/political justice for first peoples. It’s hard to come in, though, sometimes as a person from an oppressor or settler class. But there is a good checklist to make sure we’re actually contributing effectively.

It’s hard to know how to live humility, sincerity and really really good listening to make sure we are not a hindrance, but this Ally Bill of Responsibilities does a good job of helping us be mindful of humility, and maintaining a sincere focus on assisting those (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: The First Day of School, 2013: Beware!

Well, a new school year is about to begin, so it’s time to analyze just how much destruction the 1% will visit upon public education this year. Defunding, corporatization of curriculum, standardization of curriculum and experience, high-stakes testing, homogenization of experience…you know, the same old nonsense that drove me from teaching high school about a decade ago.

And it’s getting worse.

But who is is this vague 1%? Neoliberal governments and their “apostles,” which includes the BC NDP of the 1990s with some of their “reforms” as well as the usual suspects of the global power elite.

If the right-wing (Read more…)