Posts Tagged ‘Politics’

Back to Liberalism?

Elections, elections. Municipally, provincially, federally, we are gearing up for elections and I, as always am following every step, even though I know I ain’t voting for anybody I’m ever gonna hear about in the news.

I am intrigued, though, more this time than I have been for a long while. OK, skip the provincial end of things, which looks exactly like it has for a couple of decades, with a super hard right wing and a bull-shit “social democratic” alternative that is continuing its tried-and-failed strategy of playing to that right. But on the other levels, something interesting is happening. (more…)


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I vote, each and every election. I don’t, however, vote for any of the major parties, the most ‘leftish’ of which is the New Democratic Party – a pretty standard social democratic outfit that gets the vote of the left simply because there’s no other viable option, and consistently steps further and further to the right in the vain hope that one day the bulk of Canadians will flock to them. This, contrary to all evidence here and around the world that such a strategy does nothing but shift the whole political debate to the right. So, no, I don’t vote NDP, instead casting my ballot each time for someone who may be marginal but at least speaks of an alternative, who at least takes positions, no matter how unpopular. Cause I don’t see my vote as a strategic tool in a limited system, but as a small but important opportunity to register, periodically, my values.

In my years of voting, though, I’ve made on exception to the above. When I’ve lived in her riding, and there’s been an election, I have always voted for Libby Davies. But not this time. (more…)

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“To be hopeful in bad times is not being foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of competition and cruelty but of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness.” – Howard Zinn

So much promise and hope, and yet so much, still, of all the worst of us. That is, though, the stuff activism is made of, I suppose. While so much is so good, with many dear friends and promising small-scale commons, our little household has also been dealt with a whole lot of shit over the last year, as we came up against a hostile and profoundly aggressive radicalism that seems to be more interested in inventing ever more enemies for itself than in building alternative communities of solidarity, mutual aid and respect. (more…)

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I’m about to start reading Slavoj Zizek’s Living in the End Times. And as I look at it there on the side table, I filter through the news of the day, watching the devastation in Japan following its recent massive earthquake. The world changes, sometimes slowly, sometimes cataclysmically, and there seems no question to me that we are well into a dramatic geologic and ecological upheaval. (more…)

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More on the whole Jesus-theme today. Over the past few months I’ve read a couple of books dealing with the Jesus thing – Slavoj Zizek’s The Puppet and the Dwarf and Terry Eagleton’s Reason, Faith and Revolution: two books coming out of radical secular political traditions that grapple with the meat and potatoes of faith in general and Christian faith in particular, and do so with insight and with respect, both of which are all too rare in leftist treatments of religion. I also picked up Eagleton’s critical annotation of the Gospels – his contributions being an introduction and notes of interpretation and commentary appended to the biblical text. And I’d highly recommend all of these, though for different folks and different reasons. (more…)

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I am a communist, and an anarchist, and – despite the fact that I have not the slightest hint of belief in God – a Catholic. There are some, I’m sure, who find the last particularly worthy of ridicule or contempt, but so be it. And many who will wonder at how I identify as both communist and anarchist at once, some simply puzzled and some presuming this must be indicative of a failure to understand what either term really means. Again, so be it.

This post is not ultimately not about me. But as I think about political engagement, resistance, the incredible risings across the Middle East and North Africa, the re-igniting of labour’s spark in Wisconsin, and recent conversations fireside with friends from a wide range of communities and associated great breadth of political struggles, I can’t help but reflect upon my own identity as a radical, where it comes from and where it finds me now. But for now, I am thinking about the human relationships of struggle, and how hard it sometimes is, for those of us whose lives are largely defined by our political struggles, to distinguish bonds of love and respect among our friends from bonds of alliance and support in our politics. Or, to frame it from the other end, how common it is for what we believed were friendships and loves to go up in smoke because in a particular moment a particular political or strategic disagreement seems insurmountable, seems a symbol of profound betrayal. (more…)

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The wave of rebellion continues across the Middle East and North Africa, with Bahrain and Libya being the latest to hold the gaze of the international media. Where all this will lead us is still unclear, and I continue to react with equal parts optimism and dread. There is no question that this is an important historic moment, no question either that the international nature of this current rebellion is particularly significant – I mean, we have often witnessed struggles in various areas informing and inspiring one another, but rarely have we seen waves of protest play out so much like dominoes. It is abundantly clear that something has dramatically shifted in the region, and whatever it is that emerges is going to have lasting impact on the geo-politics of not only the affected nation-states, but the world. And what could be more inspiring than to see the ways popular uprising across the world has impacted the struggles of workers in Wisconsin? Facing an all-out legislative war on their hard-won rights, workers in that state have been mounting escalating protests not only against the specific legislation being proposed, but against the whole political-economic-cultural apparatus behind that legislation. And messages come from Egypt, messages of solidarity in struggle and even – from halfway across the globe – pizzas for the Wisconsin rebels from their comrades in Cairo. So. fucking. awesome.

Today, though, the news is all Libya, and it is interesting to watch the very different character of this coverage to that we’ve seen out of the other flashpoints of this rebellion. Oh, the generic celebration of people-power is the same, as is the focus on the individual dictator responsible for it all. But in Libya, for the first time in several weeks, we are witnessing a fairly coherent response from the EU, the Americans and the Canadians. In Libya, it is not an ally of the West that is set to tumble, but a long-time thorn in the side – and that makes for all the difference. (more…)

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