The Role of The State in Gentrification, the Housing Crisis, and its Ability to Relieve or Maintain the Current Situation
by Rachel Goodine
Pidgin, a new fine-dining restaurant located on Vancouver’s Downtown East Side, moved in to the neighbourhood on February 1 of this year, prompting plenty of controversy. It’s located right off of East Hastings on Carrall Street, directly across from the notorious Pigeon Park. Many who do not live in the neighbourhood regard Pigeon Park as a drug haven, however for many residents the park is known as a gathering spot that hosts various festivals and street markets (Read more…)
The 1921 “Ethnic Outreach” Campaign(Courtesy Past Tense Vancouver)
The complaints are familiar – “Asian immigrants are taking our jobs,” “Asian immigrants are buying our property and keeping us out.”
Instead of being complaints found in the Richmond Review’s letters-to-the-editor section, however, these are the complaints that were found in a Liberal Party advertisement in 1921 that was posted on a Vancouver history site.
Our history – the history of Vancouver, BC, and Canada – especially that of Asian immigration is one fraught with historical wrongs. The Chinese head tax, the Chinese Exclusion Act, the Japanese internment (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…)
Hugo Chavez died of cancer on March 5, 2013. He represented an ideological pushback against neoliberal globalization. He pursued a progressive hemispheric trade agenda. He raised oil royalties dramatically to improve the social capacity of people in and around Venezuela. He revolutionized and democratized Venezuela’s constitution. He attracted the ire of American imperialists who supported an amateurish, botched coup. And while we never saw the formation of Cubazuela or some kind of socio-economic cooperation that would elevate Haiti out of its status of hemispheric whipping boy, though that may be on its way, his legacy begins this week.
Thanks (Read more…)
The following is a piece written by contributor Kevin Harding and guest contributor Natalie Gan. The piece was written in 2010, but is being published on Politics Respun for the first time.
The issue of controversial corporate donations to public universities is a live one, with the Munk School at the U of T, the Ridell Program in Political Management at Carleton, and others being more and more discussed. Below is a discussion of the Goldcorp donation to Simon Fraser University.
We don’t want your dirty gold!
The pervasiveness of neoliberal capitalism and its continued impacts on every facet of our daily lives are realities that seem to be, all at once, immediately pressing, immense, and impossible to challenge. Recent experiences at Canadian universities and in the arts reinforce the immensity of the challenge, with corporate ‘donations’ being offered to cash-strapped institutions, continuing both the precariousness of public education as . . . → Read More: Politics, Re-Spun: We don’t want your dirty gold: corporate donations and the university
Should academic work be locked up like Disney[tm] artifacts?
I’ve been quite inspired by this very good analysis of the context surrounding Aaron Swartz’s suicide.
As news spread last week that digital rights activist Aaron Swartz had killed himself ahead of a federal trial on charges that he illegally downloaded a large database of scholarly articles with the intent to freely disseminate its contents, thousands of academics began posting free copies of their work online, coalescing around the Twitter hashtag #pdftribute.
via How academia betrayed and continues to betray Aaron Swartz « The Berkeley Blog.
The willingness of scholars
. . . → Read More: Politics, Re-Spun: Aaron Swartz, Intellectual Property and the Public Good
By Rachel Goodine
The FSAs, or Foundation Skills Assessment tests, administered annually in British Columbia since 2000 to students in grades 4 and 7, are once again under way. They began on January 14 and will continue until February 22, 2013. In the meantime, the debate is on.
For many, it’s simple: How is testing our children and being notified of their progress a bad thing?
Well, that’s the problem. The BC Liberals are hoping the public will buy this overly simplistic defence of the FSAs. The Ministry of Education’s webpage states the tests will give a “snapshot” of student
. . . → Read More: Politics, Re-Spun: Foundation Skills Assessment: Another Dirty Trick
Supporters of former Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide chant and display signs outside the courthouse in Port au Prince on Wednesday, Jan. 9. When they learned that the prosecutor, Lucmane Delille, had gone to Aristide’s home to question him, a river of tens if not hundreds of thousands of people marched to his home, surrounding it protectively as they had when he returned to Haiti. – Photo: Swoan Parker, Reuters
Imagine if, one day, US President Obama sent in the Marines to Ottawa [with support from, say, the Maldives, the UK and Peru, and other Coalition of the Willing partners], who then strolled up to 24 Sussex Drive, liberated Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his family from their residence, spirited them off to #YOW to be deposited on a plane, without passports, to fly to a foreign land, like Mali.
We know the prime minister is a . . . → Read More: Politics, Re-Spun: What If We Treated Harper Like We Treated Haiti’s Aristide?
From the people who suggested the modest idea of occupying Wall Street, Adbusters has sent out a new half dozen suggestions to fix the economic cancers of capitalism. Here’s my favourite, and it’s a little policy wonky:
. . . → Read More: Politics, Re-Spun: What Does Adbusters Ask of You in 2013?
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 want to see why there isn’t much of a real left wing in the USA, this graph of those seeking the White House in 2008 pretty much covers it.
2008 US presidential candidates show little actual left wing juice.
If you want proof of how the neoliberal US Democratic Party is like the neoliberal Harper Conservatives, see this great piece:
Rahm Emanuel is not just any Democrat. He was Barack Obama’s first chief of staff, responsible for hiring many of the Obama administration’s key personnel. One of Obama’s appointees, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, is a former
. . . → Read More: Politics, Re-Spun: Privatization Via Blackmail
Pollution, people and tombstones in Zenica.
Owned by the Indian billionaire Lakshmi Mittal, ArcelorMittal is the world’s largest steel producer—creating some 93 billion USD of revenue as of 2011. Granted, steel is an essential building block of the modern world yet ArcelorMittal’s obscene profit margins do raise the question of “how are you possibly making this much money?”
Turns out, profitability margins are greatly aided by the economic pillaging and environmental destruction of a still-recovering-from-war southeastern European locale: Bosnia-Herzegovina.
The central-Bosnian city of Zenica has for decades been one of the industrial centers of the region. The steel mills in the area, prior to the outbreak of the 1992-1995 war, employed some 25,000 people—a shining beacon of the Yugoslav state’s productive capacities. Today, owned by ArcelorMittal, that number is just over 3000—with the company actually looking to downsize even further, according to local union organizers.
Yet the story . . . → Read More: Politics, Re-Spun: Why does ArcelorMittal hate Bosnia?
If you care about Stephen Harper giving China a veto over our democracy for 31 years in the FIPA sellout, tune into Politics, Re-Spun radio on Coop Radio tonight at 6pm Vancouver time to listen to federal Green Party leader Elizabeth May tell us what kind of despotism Harper has in store for us all. [...] . . . → Read More: Politics, Re-Spun: Join Elizabeth May on Politics, Re-Spun Radio Tonight
So, did you get a 3% raise last year? The average Canadian did. See the first chart below.
If not, you’re behind the average Canadian. And even with a small offset of increased hours worked going up by only 1% for the 12 months ending last June, at worst, the average Canadian saw a 2% raise. And if you want to see if people in your province earned even MORE than that 2%, scroll all the way down. Hint: only 3 provinces were below the average.
So did you get a 2% raise? If not, do you know who, politically,
. . . → Read More: Politics, Re-Spun: So Did YOU Get a 3% Raise Last Year?
The London Olympics games closed with the words of “Imagine” by John Lennon and “Freedom” by George Michael. John Lennon sang “Imagine all the people living life in peace.” And then Eric Idle sang “Always look at the Bright Side of Life.” But what did the Olympic Games really bring to London?
The idea of the Olympic Games is supposed to bring peace and harmony to the world. But do they really? What benefits do they bring the host city? Who do they really benefit? These Olympics were held in East London. Rather than leaving
. . . → Read More: Politics, Re-Spun: Imagine if the Olympics Really Benefited the People of the Host City
Less than 12 after being elected to a minority government in Quebec, the PQ has announced it will cancel the socially and economically regressive tuition fee hikes and repeal the flagrantly unconstitutional Bill 78, which trampled on expression and assembly rights.
Quebec, long one of the most progressive socially and economically progressive cultures in our federation, is showing the rest of us once again what a stern devotion to progressive policies looks like.
Every NDP government or government in waiting needs to watch what assertiveness looks like.
And while we will likely see much discussion about language policies from Quebec
. . . → Read More: Politics, Re-Spun: Let’s Watch Where Quebec Leads Us All
Whenever social and economic crises develop, those in power always try to blame somebody else. For example, what caused the recession in the U.S. in 2008? Simple, it was the selfish poor who had the gall to think that they could afford to own their own homes. (And don’t pay any attention to the man behind the curtain, aka Wall Street).
It’s the same kind of lie told about Greece today. Supposedly, the problem is that Greeks are lazy and spoiled by an elaborate and unaffordable welfare system. (The tone is sometimes close to racist.) The solution, therefore,
. . . → Read More: Politics, Re-Spun: Blaming the People
It is truly stunning to see how the elites react when people dare speak out against “austerity” – that is, to squeeze even more profits out of workers, students, and citizens in general. Almost as appalling is the way that the corporate media (and often the CBC) follow the party line.
Consider these two recent attacks on Quebec students.
We begin with Margaret Wente’s screed in Saturday’s Globe & Mail, “Tuition protesters are the Greeks of Canada.” For starters, this ignorant and racist rant is an insult to Greeks, to students, and to all Quebeckers.
She condemns the
. . . → Read More: Politics, Re-Spun: How Dare You Drones Resist?!
We need to leave the tarsands oil in the ground.
We need an increasing carbon tax.
We need to stop subsidizing carbon energy producers.
We need public money invested in post-carbon energy.
We need to do it now.
I say all this, as does this NASA physicist:
The science of the situation is clear — it’s time for the politics to follow…Every major national science academy in the world has reported that global warming is real, caused mostly by humans, and requires urgent action. The cost of acting goes far higher the longer we wait — we can’t wait any
. . . → Read More: Politics, Re-Spun: We Must Force the Politicians to Go Post-Carbon
Transportation Minister Blair Lekstrom is bringing in new legislation to crack down on fare evaders, allowing collection agencies to go after people who don’t buy tickets. If Lekstrom really wants to deal with fare evasion, then he needs to realize why people don’t pay the transit fares.
If people can’t afford to buy a transit ticket, then how can you expect them to pay the $173 fines for not paying the fare? Now he wants to legislate collection agencies to further harass these people who can’t afford to buy a bus ticket. He further wants to prevent fare evaders from being able to renew their . . . → Read More: Politics, Re-Spun: How To Resolve The Transit Fare Evasion Problem
What do you think about the student strike in Quebec?
What do you think of the Manifesto for a Maple Spring?
Some of the Politics, Re-Spun crew explore it from each of our perspectives:
1. Are people naive to expect the Quebec tuition protesters to be the leaders of a Maple Spring to expand the Arab Spring from 2011 through Canada this year?
There are very different conditions in Canada and Arab world, obviously. Nonetheless, it’s clear that protest, insurrection and civil disobedience have re-entered the public imagination as a legitimate form of participatory politics. As such, I don’t read
. . . → Read More: Politics, Re-Spun: Quebec Students and a Maple Spring
Below is a recent tweet from a new worker/NDP/union attack Twitter i.d. talking about how awful unionized workers are. Read it, then let’s de-spin it for sanity:
Average salary in BC $44k, average teacher salary $70k bced.gov.bc.ca/reporting/ #Underpaid #Overworked #Lies #BCPoli #BCNDP #BCTF
via Twitter / @NotBCNDP: Average salary in BC $44k, ….
Firstly, teachers have at least a four year university degree, plus an extra year of teacher training. The average working person in BC doesn’t have that much training.
Secondly, the average years of experience for teachers is over 12. That puts them at
. . . → Read More: Politics, Re-Spun: More Worker Bashing in BC, with Squishy Numbers
The F-35 is in the news again, or at least the Harper regime’s complete bungling of the acquisition and the subsequent complete misleading of Parliament on the costs of the jets and guns.
The Conservatives have a line of spin that’s been sticking – and that really frustrates me. Laurie Hawn, for example, the caustic Parliamentary Secretary for the Minister of Defence, has said that when it comes to budgeting the costs of the jets, it’s not right to include “oil and gas and parts” and things like that — and he then likened buying the jet to buying a
. . . → Read More: Politics, Re-Spun: On this F35 v. Buying A Car Analogy Spin
So what happened in Alberta’s election yesterday, other than people telling pollsters that they want change, then chickening out when it came time to mark an X.
The Politics, Re-spun crew deconstructs the Wildrose effect here:
Are you surprised that the Wildrose Party did not win? No. Discontent polls well, but people sobered up when they cast their ballots. – Stephen
Surprised – no. Even Alberta isn’t quite ready to drink that special purple Kool-Aid tonic that Wildrose was offering up. Clearly they have a large number of sympathizers, and had the potential to do some damage in traditional PC
. . . → Read More: Politics, Re-Spun: Deconstructing the Wildrose Effect
Closing prisons from the 19th century is surely a good idea, but I have no faith that the Conservative Party cares to replace them with anything progressive based on research from any time since the 19th century.
So here’s a Canadian prison Shock Doctrine perfect storm:
The Conservatives [Reform Party] want to spend billions on new prisons because they believe prisons are good. I expect them to be privately run, for profit. Prisons are over-crowded already so we need more, but ideally more that are effectively designed and operated. Don’t hold your breath. Dickens-era prison philosophy is in vogue among . . . → Read More: Politics, Re-Spun: Vic Toews’ Prison Shock Doctrine Recipe