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Showing posts from August, 2014

What remains unlearned from the first world war

In These Times - review of This Changes Every Thing by Naomi Klein

1. Band-Aid solutions don’t work. “Only mass social movements can save us now. Because we know where the current system, left unchecked, is headed.”
2. We need to fix ourselves, not fix the world. “The earth is not our prisoner, our patient, our machine, or, indeed, our monster. It is our entire world. And the solution to global warming is not to fix the world, it is to fix ourselves.” 3. We can’t rely on “well-intentioned” corporate funding. “A great many progressives have opted out of the climate change debate in part because they thought that the Big Green groups, flush with philanthropic dollars, had this issue covered. That, it turns out, was a grave mistake.” 4. We need divestment, and reinvestment. “The main power of divestment is not that it financially harms Shell and Chevron in the short term but that it erodes the social license of fossil fuel companies and builds pressure on politicians to introduce across-the-board emission reductions.” 5. Confronting climate change is an opportu…

Holy Crow Church

Yesterday evening the opening of Jeff Molloy's art show "Reverence" at Artworks on Gabriola was an opportunity for me to view religion more broadly.

Beginning with a piece that shows a priest with a forked tongue cutting off the hair of a young naked child, surrounded by boxes containing shapes like young children behind bars - you know this show will not be sentimental.

Further along there is a series of poles made up of driftwood, canoe paddles, nails and animal bones. Each one contains a message which I hope will become clear to me if I stare at them long enough. On a couple of the poles the driftwood represents crows. One has a crown, they all have majesty, attitude. One pole is topped by a nativity scene complete with a star, holding several found objects like old brushes, twigs and such. The pole furthest to the right is adorned with a bishop's hat made of a hip joint from some creature who left this plane some time ago. I attempt to understand. It's in a …

Where I am Folded I Am a Lie

Rainer Maria Rilke respectfully declines to review or criticize poetry, advising the younger Franz Xaver Kappus that "Nobody can advise you and help you, nobody. There is only one way. Go into yourself."[1]


I am too alone in the world, and yet not alone enough
to make every moment holy.
I am too tiny in this world, and not tiny enough
just to lie before you like a thing,
shrewd and secretive.
I want my own will, and I want simply to be with my will,
as it goes toward action;
and in those quiet, sometimes hardly moving times,
when something is coming near,
I want to be with those who know secret things
or else alone.
I want to be a mirror for your whole body,
and I never want to be blind, or to be too old
to hold up your heavy and swaying picture.
I want to unfold.
I don’t want to stay folded anywhere,
because where I am folded, there I am a lie.
and I want my grasp of things to be
true before you. I want to describe myself
like a painting that I looked at
closely for a long …

The Power Continuum

It seems to me that power exists on a continuum. On one end is power-from-within which we all possess to varying degrees, and at the other there is power-over. The stations between these are complex, as we learn to negotiate with others in the universe. No doubt, students of political science, sociology and psychology will have more refined descriptions than the following which comes mostly from my observations.
I see power-from-within arising from thoughts, feelings, imagination, learned skills, the arts and self-discipline. Words like express, share, understand, design, empathize, inspire, indicate to me a power-from-within.

Power-over resides in social position and opportunity. Parents have power over their children, teachers over their students, managers over employees, police officers over city streets, etc. Words like teach, enforce, control, limit, protect, withhold, give, take, coerce, extract – indicate power-over. 
Power-over is not necessarily an abuse of power, and po…

Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives on Privatization of Schools

"Math wars", attacks on teacher unions, old-fashioned commercialism, standardized assessment, and surveillance: debates over education have always been heated. But these days, the very concept of public education, the students who are served by it and those employed in this sector are in many ways either being neglected or are under sustained attack by political and corporate elites. And as a result, privatization is no longer "creeping"--it is stampeding through entire school jurisdictions. And while the damage is all-encompassing and ultimately we are all made worse off by this onslaught,  it is the most vulnerable among us who are being hurt the most."

Erika Shaker, Salim Vally, Carol Anne Spreen. Our Schools/Our Selves: Summer 2014. Privatization of Schools: An International View.