Category Archives: Millennials

11 Weeks of Daily Harper Protests

The Harper Re-election Disaster Bus Totalitarianism: daily, for 11 weeks!

Get used to this.

People hate Harper and his Conservatives. We will see through his weak attempt to wedge oppositions parties by running a long election campaign because he has more money to spend.

Saturation will come fast.

We will remember how much contempt he holds for people and democracy.

We will listen to his 5 non-answers to 5 media questions each day and we will be constantly reminded of how much we can’t stand what he has done to Canada.

And we will see this. Every day:

Vancouver’s Co-Working Co-op Stimulates Worker Empowerment

Coworking gratis? A Verona da settembre!Tuesday night in the back room of The Tipper bar/bistro/restaurant on Kingsway at Victoria we are holding our Inception Meeting for a new kind of co-working space in Vancouver, one structured as a co-op.

You can read about the project in The Georgia Straight piece last week, and on the project webpage at Incipe, the consulting workers’ co-op that is spawning this co-op. Incipe, in-CHEE-pay, is Latin for “Begin!” And you can register for the [free] meeting here. And if you want to be involved and informed, you can sign up for the e-newsletter here.

We will be starting forming the community of people eager to take part in a new way of doing co-working, as equal owners of the whole enterprise instead of clients of for-profit corporate co-working spaces, which are how most of the world’s co-working spaces are run.

But considering the fact that people who work, study, think, research, and volunteer from home are often disempowered and vulnerable, they need support.

So they gravitate to co-working spaces because of possibilities of serendipity and synergy and connecting with people to envision greatness with, over coffee. Because trying to do that in a Starbucks has a slim chance of much success.

But one of the key principles of co-working is to build community. And why do we have communities? To support each other.

And, it turns out, co-ops are all about building community and supporting each other in democratic workplaces within an intentional progressive economic climate.

So there’s a natural fit to building a co-working space that is a co-op. And it’s also natural to convene the space for people who understand this, to get to know one another and start building the community so that we can all assess our collective needs, desires, dreams, visions and capacity for mutual aid and support.

From this, we will do the heavy lifting to find our co-working space.

So, consider how precarious work has become for so many people!

It has been a rough couple generations for working people, with a notable increase in precariousness of work.

Downsizing, contracting out, layoffs, people in the middle of their working lives being flung through the windows of corporate towers only to have a difficult time finding work because employers may prefer to hire much younger people.

And while many people choose the freelance, contractor, entrepreneur consultant lifestyle, many people who’ve been canned are forced into fending for themselves, trying to leverage their skills, training and experience into something useful. They are one form of the precariat: the precarious proletariat.

Others in the precariat class include young people who typically can’t get work in their fields they have trained in, or find corporate or organizational structures grotesquely tyrannical and impediments to optimizing their work-life-activism elements of existence. They end up being precariats too. Our Incipe consulting co-op itself formed out of this very dynamic!

So our goals in creating a co-working co-op space include these:

  1. Helping people work outside their homes.
  2. Helping people have meaningful ownership.
  3. Helping people feel some community in their labouring.
  4. Helping people connect with others who can build synergy with each other.

But one of the most important goals in this whole project is to recognize that workers are disempowered, disconnected and devalued. And to fix that, we need to build support networks for people. And one of the ways to do that is to build a co-working space that is co-operatively owned, just like MEC or your credit union or Modo or other small and massive co-ops around the world.

So, scroll back up to see the links to getting more information about our co-working space in development. Get involved, because we need you and your originality!

And whether you need a 24/7 space or a desk away from home for a few hours each week that costs about as much as the coffee you need to buy to camp out on Starbucks’ wifi, this ownership model is for you.

Remember, co-working is about empowerment. And so are co-ops!

Welcome to the 1,000th Politics, Re-Spun Editorial!

Steve Harper, the greatest threat to Canadian security in the modern era.

Happy August! Happy Day!

I have a few comments about this, the 1,000th editorial at Politics, Re-Spun. But you can read them below, about my sabbatical plan, new visions for this almost 12-year-old website, and other things.

But at the top of this post, I have something slightly more urgent to delve into before I check out for a break.

That great sick freak, Donald Rumsfeld is generally credited with popularizing the concept of unknown unknowns to our modern/post-modern era. Being a sick freak, he spun that bafflement along with his people’s neo-conservative neo-imperialism in the post-9/11 world to destabilizing things on a variety of continents.

And we know Stephen Harper has a large sick, freaky imperialist vision as well.

On Labour Day, my post [already written] will be about what happens when we start forgetting all the things that Harper and his neoliberal and neo-conservative/imperialist buddies have stripped from our civilization. It will also be about what happens when young people don’t even know we had it better, before Harper and his sick, freaky neoliberal compatriots waged war on all things progressive. These young people live in the land of unknown unknowns. Like, in BC, the neoLiberal government has decimated society for so long that those who graduated from high school two months ago have only known the long knives. They did their entire K-12 education under them, guided by the equally sick Fraser Institute. How could these recent grads ever know that it used to be so much better?! That’s its own particular tragedy.

But here’s another unknown unknown. And it all comes from the fact that Stephen Harper is the greatest threat to Canadian security that we have known in this modern/post-modern era. I put that in bold for a reason:

How, you ask?

It hit me last night in one small phrase in an op-ed in a newspaper from way over there, in St. John’s, courtesy of a union thug called Lana Payne. I’ve made it bold.

Robert Murray is an adjunct professor of political science at the University of Alberta. He specializes in security and defence policy.

He recently wrote a commentary critical of the Harper government’s “strong, sometimes inflammatory, rhetoric” with respect to its foreign policy. The government is ignoring, he noted, the historical successes of Canada’s foreign policy. The current government has rejected this “proud tradition … in favour of an approach that can lead to threats to Canada’s national security and/or irrelevance on the international scene.”

Silencing dissent – Columnists – The Telegram.

We have all long lamented how our reputation around the world has turned to scum. Scuttling international climate deals, siding with baby murdering Israeli bombing of Palestinian hospitals in Gaza, gutting regulations, promoting pipelines, proroguing parliament twice [the second time BY PHONE even!].

And we lament this loss of moral influence around the world.

So we sigh about that and say, “someday we’ll get it back.” Then we go on living our lives, hoping for a better future for Canada.

But here’s the other side of that. The more our government, who speaks for us [ostensibly], sides with despots, the more other people in the world see us as a threat, because we are. We are a threat to peace and freedom and democracy and dignity. And some people, including extremists, will react badly to that.

What do I mean? Well, here’s an example. In the good old black and white days of the Cold War [tm], the Soviets invaded Afghanistan. We [the west] decided that was bad. So we helped arm the mujahideen. And since no one can ever hold Afghanistan, the Soviets bailed. Then, a couple decades later, some of those same mujahideen blew up the World Trade Center on 9/11.

Who knew?! Aside from the US government, roughly 13 years ago this week. But Bush was on vacation doing his manly cowboy thing on his ranch in Texas, so there’s that.

Skip forward to this month. Does Harper’s belligerent, imperialist foreign policy stance open Canada to attack from other extremists?

Yes.

In the past, we were ignored, or we were a moral compass for others.

Now, our compass is covered in tarsands and sludge from a tailing pond spill in BC.

And we aren’t being ignored. We’re now part of the problem propping up Israel’s infanticide in Gaza and all the other international morally criminal acts we are supporting.

And here’s the unknown unknown. We don’t know who is going to hate us for how Harper is ruining Canada’s reputation. We can sure guess, but that’s something that can keep us awake at nights.

We live in a delusion of complacency and entitlement. Just like America before 9/11. And wow, was America shocked when it was attacked. Are we as deluded about how nice and polite we are as Canadians, when our prime minister is bouncing around the world, telling despots that Canada has their back, and serenading Israel’s prime minister with a Beatles song.

We certainly, though, can’t know for sure who among those who now hate us, will decide to do something about that. Will someone target Canadians overseas for murder, kidnapping, terrorism? Will someone attack a symbolic location in Canada: the CN Tower, parliament, the TSE, a nuclear power plant, a refinery?

It would be naive to think that there is no risk associated with Harper’s imperialist stance. But we’ve been naive for years now. How often have YOU talked about Canada as a new target for extremists? Have you wondered if there’s a bullseye on your back?

And we’ve also been lucky. But when will that luck run out?

A handful of sycophantic Canadian MPs just went to Israel to suck up to them and their “heroes” killing children and bombing schools and hospitals in Gaza. Will the next [non/spin]fact-finding MP mission be greeted with a Palestinian suicide bomber? Will we feign surprise? Really?

Will Canadian aid workers in some troubled place be massacred because of Harper and Baird?

But we also know what happens when all of us “innocent” people get unjustly attacked by terrorists. We saw it in America after 9/11. Are we innocent if we let this imperialist speak for Canada?

And Stephen Harper is sitting in the wood-paneled rec room of his own Oval Office in Ottawa, with his fleet of idling black SUVs outside his building waiting to whisk him away to an undisclosed location. With Dick Cheney.

Don’t think for a second that Harper would not use an attack on Canada/Canadians as a justification to go much further than America ever did in terms of increasing his soft fascist footprint.

It’s almost like Harper is poking the bear.

But the bear kills us, not him. Ever.

So it’s time to ramp up our efforts to get rid of this despot, and any other Canadian political leader who similarly exposes Canada to insecurity because of their imperialist, racist, neoconservative, and/or soft fascist principles.

Nobody voted for that!

*******************

So as you figure out what YOU’RE going to do to take Canada back, I’m taking a break. To ponder that, and other things.

  1.  I’m taking some time off until Labour Day, or maybe after that because I’ve already written the Labour Day post. And that won’t necessarily stop the other writers on the website from posting, just because I’m off to decompress, part of the time bobbing up and down in Skookumchuck Narrows.
  2. I recall in December 2005 I had such a long time off while doing my Political Science MA that I was able to ponder things, make connections, discover some unknown unknowns and basically do all the things that should happen on sabbaticals. Out of that month came a conference I ran at SFU on Earth Day on April 22, 2006 called “Canada 22: Envisioning Post-Neoliberalism.” It was a great day. In the morning we were imaging what a Canada could look like after we fix the scourge of neoliberalism. And in the afternoon we imagined how we’d get there. The Occupy Movement and groups like the Metro Vancouver Alliance are building on that theme.
  3. And in time off, which is a luxury most in the world don’t enjoy, often serendipity plays a card. I am open to unexpected developments. It could be quite exciting!
  4. I’m working on a new visual theme for the website, one that will be far more responsive for being viewed and interacted with on phones and tablets.
  5. Maybe in several weeks, there will be far more editorials on art, which has been lacking. Maybe more audio/video interviews. Maybe more GroupThinkReSpun posts. More poetry or photography? Maybe the whole focus will revolved around Gandhi’s Seven Deadly Social Sins: Wealth Without Work, Pleasure Without Conscience, Knowledge Without Character, Business Without Ethics, Science Without Humanity, Religion Without Sacrifice, Politics Without Principle.

So until I return, enjoy your summer, hug those you love, seek peace, and plan for a better world!