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…)
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…)
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…)
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…)
“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…)
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…)
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…)
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…)
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…)
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…)
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…)
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…)
Twitter / suzhawkins: As settlers… #idlenomore ….
York University’s Suzanne Hawkins is my hero today for showing us all this amazing poster that succinctly describes how us non-indigenous settler folk can stand alongside with the world’s indigenous people seeking redress for generations of racism and discrimination.
Solidarity matters! Dialogue matters!
Let’s make 2013 a year of reconciliation!
If you think popular media is still chauvinist or even misogynist, but you didn’t know about the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, you should look into them. I found out about their latest research study, Gender Roles & Occupations: A Look at Character Attributes and Job-Related Aspirations in Film and Television, and was not [...] . . . → Read More: Politics, Re-Spun: “Female Characters Are Still Sidelined, Stereotyped, and Sexualized in Popular Entertainment Content”
[Here is what some of us have been wanting to say about Taylor Swift, but didn't because A. Lynn did it first, and perhaps best, reposted her with her kind permission. Thanks to Jarrah Hodge for pointing us to this piece of brilliance! Enjoy! - seb] I’ve been mentally composing this blog for forever and [...] . . . → Read More: Politics, Re-Spun: No, Taylor Swift. No.
Early political engagement is a hot button topic for a number of us here at Politics ReSpun. As parents and/or political animals, we spend a lot of time contemplating methods of public engagement that would draw youth into political culture, and foster both interest and comprehension of sociopolitical events. Apathy and disinterest are rampant in our culture, and the prevailing trend of co-mingling pop culture and celebrity in corporate controlled news media is daunting.
Is political engagement and activism a product of nature or nurture?
Are those of us who prefer to spend our afternoons yelling at CPAC or
. . . → Read More: Politics, Re-Spun: Encouraging Early Political Engagement: I Have the Right to Be a Child
In a parliamentary system, we usually hope for a majority for our preferred party because this gives them the power to implement their policies. However, there are several situations where a minority government is actually preferred such as I argued ought to be the case for the 2011 Ontario election for people loosely on the left. In the imminent Quebec election, I must argue the same and hope that the Parti Québécois, currently just edging into majority territory in polls, only gets a minority.
The problem in Quebec is the prevalence of a strong identity politics which, like other first (Read more…)
“Before my father died, he said the worst thing about growing old was that other men stop seeing you as dangerous….Dangerousness was sacred.”
Last night I watched Act of Valor. I liveblogged it so you don’t have to watch it. You’re welcome.
First there was The Lottery, a dystopic tale of social gruesomeness that I encountered in high school English. It got me thinking.
Then there was The Running Man and now the Hunger Games.
Now we have UFC and reality TV and their bastard child: Act of Valor, designed to both decry a life filled with
. . . → Read More: Politics, Re-Spun: Act of Valor, Redux
What is government if not a living reminder of our human wretchedness, of the fall made secular, of the post-lapsarian world and the prison house of procedure and law that outlines and structures our existence? Our political institutions are decorated with the heritage of Christianity and Western civilization, and no matter how hard we try to be secular in unwritten form, we as Canadians are procedurally still beneath a monarchy crafted in the ages of kings and queens. The question—if we cannot control ourselves, then who will?—echoes in the halls of western government, and no less in the legislative
. . . → Read More: Politics, Re-Spun: Government and Human Wretchedness
In the 1990s, Bosnia-Herzegovina became synonymous with the horrific violence, ethnic cleansing and genocide which characterized the country’s experience within the broader dissolution of the Yugoslav state. In particular, the systematic rape and sexual violence of Bosnian women during the course of the war has continued to remain pertinent both in international legal affairs and as the subject of major Hollywood productions. Despite this, Bosnia remains a sort of static metaphor for bungled international responses to humanitarian crises—with solid, critical analyses of present day conditions being rare.
Frustrated by this fact, I recently reached out to Aleksandra Petrić, a
. . . → Read More: Politics, Re-Spun: Women’s Rights in Bosnia: An Interview with Aleksandra Petrić
Last week, our favourite sweatervest hoarding Prime Minister made the world’s laziest Nazi/Hitler invocation during Question Period. This is the latest in a string of Hitler references made by sundry politicos in Ottawa during 2012, and we’re not even half way through the year. His gaffe brought jeers and tears of laughter to denizens of the House and online. For your viewing pleasure, witness the exchange between Mulcair the Bearded Sandwich Explainer and Stevie Soulless Eyes HERE.
After I was done laughing and wiping tears of hilarity from my eyes, I went back to the Politics Respun crew, and
. . . → Read More: Politics, Re-Spun: Springtime for Hitler in Ottawa
I have become very weary of being perpetually assaulted, all day long, and being utterly helpless to defend myself from the onslaught. If it isn’t advertisers shoving things I don’t want down my throat, it’s the bank ramming their hands in my pockets. The media fills my eyes and ears with sights and sounds that wage war on my mind. If I exercise my right to vocalize dissent against the corporate bedfellows and pet projects of the federal government, I find my hands are tied, and my mouth gagged. When I thought I couldn’t be violated more, I turned around
. . . → Read More: Politics, Re-Spun: A Handmaid’s Tale: Intended as Fiction, Not a Guidebook
Not so long ago, my friend Becca was shopping at her local Loblaws store (Real Canadian Superstore, for those of us who live in the West.)
Like many people I know, Becca approves of their Joe Fresh clothing line, which offers Canadians the opportunity to buy stylish and seasonal clothing at reasonable prices. Always colourful, fairly hip, and relatively well made, Joe Fresh offers people of all ages and genders opportunity to dress in a manner that would usually cost much more at other retail establishments.
That day, Becca was perusing the children’s section, looking for something for her
. . . → Read More: Politics, Re-Spun: Joe Fresh & Loblaws: Perpetuating the Early Marginalization of Women
Nathan Cullen has my vote.
Let me begin by saying that we are at an historical moment in Canadian history. We are being besieged by an increasingly draconian corporatist, neo-conservative and neoliberal Conservative Party government which is far worse than Mulroney’s free trade corporatist “Progressive” Conservatives from a generation ago. This government is an ecological criminal in foreign affairs, obsessed with domestic surveillance and mongers war.
We are at a time of heightened awareness of the illegitimacy of the first-past-the-post electoral system that has allowed such extremist doctrine to have a majority of power in the country with less than
. . . → Read More: Politics, Re-Spun: Why I’m Voting for Nathan Cullen
Politics, Re-Spun is on The Rational on Coop Radio on Monday, March 12, 2012 from 6pm to 7pm with an intriguing lineup! Listen live online or at 102.7fm in the Vancouver area.
Here’s the lineup:
1. Dylan Penner will talk with Stephen Elliott-Buckley about the Canadian Boat for Gaza: why, what happened, what’s happening now and what’s in store for the future?
2. Greg Felton will talk with Alnoor Gova about the NDP and Israel.
3. The first of 3 parts of a conversation between Stephen Elliott-Buckley and Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council President Cliff Atleo. Topics orbit around the
. . . → Read More: Politics, Re-Spun: Politics, Re-Spun on The Rational on Co-op Radio, March 12 Lineup