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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:

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…)

Politics, Re-Spun: MexAmeriCanada? We Are Not Thinking Creatively Enough

MexAmeriCanada doesn’t have to be our future.

I think I’m guilty of being a bit slow and uncreative. The bogeyman of deep integration, North American Union, the United States-ification of Canada, the United States OF Canada, and Canada becoming states #51-60 plus three more protectorates is just too simplistic.

We just have an inherent Canadian urge to be colonized. Maybe because it’s all we really know.

It’s not about someone stealing our sovereignty, or losing our sovereignty, we just seem to feel more comfortable as a nation, being someone’s colony. Like we can’t grow up and make our own decisions, (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: Altruism + Community

“It almost hurts me to walk down a road and have people grab my hand and ask for my autograph and not sit and talk. When I’m finished I’m not going to be on the front page, but I’m going to be just as happy without the publicity.”

- Terry Fox

I expect that each year now, when I do the Terry Fox Run, I will have a longer list of people who have battled cancer since last year’s run.

When I think about character, I think about altruism and selflessness. Giving matters, but building community does too. (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: MexAmeriCanada, Version 2013

Welcome to the United States of MexAmeriCanada. Represent!

I was just thinking a few days ago how I haven’t used the MexAmeriCanada tag for a while. Did I cause this to happen, in some cosmic kind of way?

In the old days it was Canadian Liberal Prime Minister Paul Martin negotiating the post-911 deep integration of Fortress North America with President George W. Bush.

Now we have “opposite” governing bodies in the two nations, though they’re barely different. North America is still strolling towards a 1984/Brave New World/V For Vendetta kind of soft fascist near-future of corporate “human” rights inside (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: Are You Just Too Tired? We’ve Known Why for Decades

You actually do deserve a break today.

What ails us?

A large proportion of the total produce goes to a small minority of the population, many of whom do no work at all. Owing to the absence of any central control over production, we produce hosts of things that are not wanted. We keep a large percentage of the working population idle, because we can dispense with their labor by making the others overwork.

I wrote about that small minority on Thursday, all those tax havens. But we should also recall that hyper-consumption destroys our environment and wastes human effort (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: Why We Must #HonourTheApology to Residential School Survivors [#INM]

I don’t know why we still have to do this kind of thing, but here goes. The federal government “apologized” to survivors of residential schools 5 years ago. It is clearly quite empty, considering how much neglect, abuse, victimization and racism has spewed forth from Stephen Harper’s government since then.

So. We actually need to insist that the grown ups who run our country, with less and less democracy every day, need to treat their apology with some sincerity. Honestly, it’s not like we’re talking to a 4 year old who is just learning why apologies happen.

So, here’s (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: Canada’s Evolving Soft Fascism

Things are bad under Prime Minister Harper. They’re getting worse, even since the last time I wrote about Harper’s soft fascism. But how do we measure it? It’s so…subjective, unless you have some kind of benchmark for totalitarian political behaviour.

Luckily we do, at least these three:

This powerful graphic comes from Fascism Anyone?, a Laurence W. Britt piece pasted below. You can find the link here, along with some very thoughtful critiques of the piece. The other piece comes from that eternal credit to humanity, Umberto Eco, Eternal Fascism: Fourteen Ways of Looking at a Blackshirt, (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: What Young People Are Teaching Us About Empathy

Click the chart to see more inspiring charts! Descending/increasing lines indicate less/more concern among different generations of high school graduates for the various ideas.

I have so much hope for the future. Sometimes I get bogged down by negativity, but that’s usually just circumstantial. It passes.

Much of my hope comes from observing young people. Teenagers who never believed they can’t change the world. Young adults whose careers/vocations are in the volunteer sector while their day job pays the bills [a work-life focus that, it seems, only aspiring musicians embraced in the past]. People who leave solid, reliable careers before (Read more…)

The Canadian Progressive: ‘Our kids deserve the right to their culture’: Anishinabek Nation

By: Anishinabek Nation | Press Release:

TORONTO, June 17, 2013 – Anishinabek Nation leaders have told provincial government officials that their children in care deserve the right to their culture.

“We need to leave here today with long and short term goals in place,” said Deputy Grand Council Chief Glen Hare, part of a delegation who met with Teresa Piruzza, Minister of Children and Youth Services. “We need to see a nation-to-nation approach where leaders from both sides work together on solutions in the interest of our children. The Anishinabek Nation has requested that the Minister respect our culture and (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: Inconvenient Truths for White Men

Men, especially white men, sleep too easily at night while women earn 70 per cent of what we do. Secretly, I think we’d prefer to not have to talk about this much. Sure, March 8 and December 6 are days we set aside for reflecting on this, but, most likely, we don’t want to be bothered with it every other day of the year. Plus, the NHL is back.

One conversation I have never had, goes like this. I’m in the lunchroom at work with a group of men discussing workplace realities. The topics drifts around to how women in (Read more…)