A fight for the city
Municipal Projects - a global struggle
The fight for the city: A listening circle on global municipal projects
Participants and supporters of Vancouver For All are invited to learn from Kali Akuno of Cooperation Jackson and representatives of the DSA-LA Popular Power slate.
The movement to win cities that put the interests of people ahead of profit is global. From Barcelona to Jackson to Valparaiso, cities around the world have been electing left municipal governments in close collaboration with social movements. This Listening Circle is for all those who want to learn from and dialogue with experienced international organizers. Our local movements are part of a global struggle for a better world.
Kali Akuno is a longtime organizer, educator, and writer for human rights and social justice. He is the co-founder and director of Cooperation Jackson, a network of worker cooperatives and supporting institutions building economic democracy in Mississippi and the South. Kali also served as the Director of Special Projects and External Funding in the Mayoral Administration of the late Chokwe Lumumba of Jackson, MS. His focus was supporting cooperative development, sustainability, human rights and international relations.
The host, Vancouver For All, is a grassroots, participatory platform, initiated by the DSOV, for the municipal election taking place in October 2022.
The Listening Circle is scheduled for Saturday at Noon. Tickets and Registration are available on Eventbrite here.
Municipal Struggles Media Roundup
Radical Municipalism: The future we deserve.
BC Budget Fails to Reckon with Housing Crisis
This week, on February 22, the BC government tabled its 2022/23-2024/25 Budget and Fiscal Plan. Introducing the Budget, Finance Minister Selina Robinson touted that Budget 2022 would “build a stronger British Columbia – economically, socially, and environmentally.” There is a lot of space for bold investment in critical needs, given that the projected $9.7-billion deficit has shrunk to $483 million. Nonetheless, boldness is nowhere to be seen in the government’s plan.
Housing remains a critical concern for people across the province. No doubt the deficit reduction is in no small part due to a 32.8% increase in housing sales and an 18.7% increase in average price - totalling to a record sales volume of nearly $116 billion. This translates to nearly $1.3 billion in tax revenue for the province on property transfer tax alone.
As a consequence of these record prices, ordinary working-class people are increasingly shut out from the possibility of owning a home anywhere in BC. Despite this, little serious investment is anticipated in the 2022 Budget. The Budget allocates a mere $166 million across the fiscal plan (3 years) to “continue and accelerate progress towards building 114,000 affordable housing units in British Columbia over 10 years.” An additional $663 million over that period was allocated to support for unhoused persons, spread across supportive housing, care for unhoused youth, and other (welcome) supports.
These trifling investments are nowhere near enough to meet the urgent need for affordable housing in BC. 114,000 affordable housing units by BC is not concordant with the needs of more than 500,000 people in BC defined as “low-income,” let alone the 100,000s more who still cannot afford market-rate housing despite not falling into this technical category. This housing affordability crisis is more acute than ever, with rising food prices and general inflation raising the cost of living to extreme levels. British Columbians deserve more than the piddling handouts of a capitalist government that has little interest in destabilizing the reign of developers and realtors over our livelihoods.
Popular local restaurant goes up in flames on Family Day
The Wigan Pier, a restaurant well known for its British fare (fish and chips, mushy peas and savory pies), went up in flames on Family Day in Squamish, just months after founder and original owner Greg Venables had sold to Amanda Lally. The dramatic fire began late afternoon and required all of Squamish Emergency Services and Squamish Fire and Rescue workers to be on scene for over eight hours. No one was hurt, although one person was sent to Squamish hospital to recover from smoke inhalation. Venables named his restaurant after Wigan Pier on the Leeds to Liverpool Canal in England in recognition of Squamish as a ”Working Class” town, opening in Squamish on September 1, 1994. On their Facebook page Venables and Lally thanked the community for their support and the Squamish Anglican Church for providing temporary shelter to residents that have been displaced as well as a special thank you to all the first responders. A Go Fund Me has been set up to help those affected by the fire.
The State of Emergency has been called off by the federal government, but the complicity of police forces with rising far-right movements across Canada remains a most urgent concern. The “Freedom Convoy’s” well-funded quasi-insurgency should be a wake-up call for the left across Canada, both in terms of the need to confront the right but also in terms of reviving broad-based organizing. The community organizing that took place in Ottawa to block the Convoy, on the eve of Trudeau’s emergency declaration, is a great place to start learning about building and mobilizing grassroots power effectively. On that subject, this piece in Midnight Sun is well worth reading.
Emergencies Act Media Roundup
Photo source: Occupy Democrats
Thousands of brave anti-war protesters storm the streets of Saint Petersburg, Russia to protest Putin's invasion of Ukraine in spite of Russian Government crackdowns. Ukraine 'won't give up its freedom' in face of Russian invasion on 3 fronts, president says.
Russia-Ukraine is a Conflict of Capital, not Culture
Who wants World War III? Apparently most of the so-called “leaders” of western democratic countries:
Joe Biden announced that he was “convinced” Russia has decided to invade Ukraine;
Justin Trudeau warned of “serious consequences” to Russia and has shipped lethal weapons and ammunition to Ukraine;
That members of government are stoking the flames of war should come as no surprise to anyone: governments, government officials, and the capitalists for whom they are stooges stand to win significant financial gains from war. Industry churns out the machines of destruction and ships them overseas to wherever they most stand to gain. As the “war on terror” subsides, the military-industrial complex finds it incumbent to fabricate a new conflict from which to profit. No doubt the military-industrial conflict has roots in Russia as it does in the United States and Canada. The war is not Russia vs Ukraine or Russia vs the “West” - it is oligarch and capitalist vs common person.
All reasonable citizens should stand up to oppose this path towards turning Ukraine into an abattoir where human lives can be exchanged for the profit of warmongers.
The main danger to peace in Europe and throughout the world does not come from Moscow, but from Washington and NATO.
The Communist Party of Canada weighs in on Ukraine
On their website, the Communist Party of Canada calls on the Canadian government to halt its militarist policy and to take action to de-escalate the crisis. Only in the following ways can Canada truly support the Ukrainian people's sovereignty and allow them to be free to choose their future. Actions demanded are:
Repatriate Canadian troops stationed in Ukraine and Latvia and stop deploying troops outside of the country.
Cease all sales of arms and military equipment to Ukraine.
Withdraw from NATO, an aggressive and murderous alliance, and adopt an independent foreign policy of peace, disarmament and international cooperation.
Oppose NATO’s eastward expansion and call for the organization’s complete dissolution.
Re-establish full and constructive diplomatic relations with the Russian Federation.
The Communist Party calls on democratic forces in Canada – especially peace organizations and the labour movement, which has already taken positions against NATO – to mobilize against these provocations against Russia. It is urgent to oppose imperialism, which is the main enemy of the working class and the peoples of the world, and take a stand against the increased danger of war. Central Executive Committee, Communist Party of Canada
Living (and dying) with Covid
England's Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, has announced an end to all government Covid 19 restrictions and health orders including contact tracing, support for persons needing to stay home from work, and free testing. In a real-time display of necrosecurity, Johnson admits the virus has not gone away and indeed new variants are arriving that could be worse than Omicron but that 'living with Covid' will be the new normal. Meanwhile, his government will save billions on worker supplements, daily testing expenses, and distribution of free tests to citizens.
Necrosecurity is a newly coined word which, according to a research article by Martha Lincoln, "describes a cultural idea that mass death among less grievable subjects plays an essential role in maintaining social welfare and order."
In short, although the virus could still cause serious illness in many sectors of our population, including elderly, disabled, and persons battling serious illness, it's still ok to remove restrictions and protocols in order to bolster the capitalist machine.
It is true people, including Canadians, are tired of Covid and most believe we'll all get it sooner or later. This kind of fatalism is leading to more and more people feeling we should just lift all restrictions and public health measures and get on with it. But experts still warn that although the symptoms may be 'mild' for one individual, they could be very serious for someone they pass it on to.
Opinion: Jude Goodwin for The Thorn.
A new study out of Wales indicates that low trust in National Health Service (NHS) COVID-19 information; supporting removal of social distancing and mandatory face coverings; breaking COVID-19 restrictions; and vaccine hesitancy (rejection or uncertainty of vaccination) is common in people who experienced childhood trauma.
What this implies is that many of our unvaccinated citizens, currently 19% of Canada's population, might not actually be choosing to refuse the jab or disobey health orders. Instead their trauma is making it difficult or impossible to comply.
If we look at their hesitancy as trauma informed, it becomes clear why policing this trauma is unsuccessful and indeed, can cause people to become further entrenched, terrified or even violent. Casting aspersions on those who refuse to vaccinate, threatening the populace with restrictions of privilege and freedom to move in a manner to which they are accustomed, pitting family members against each other through blame and shame, threatening people's livelihoods and ability to put food on their family table - all of these methods have deeply damaged Canadian society.
Instances such as escalating violence against Health Care Workers, the shadow pandemic of gender-based violence, restaurant and other front-line workers having to deal with violence and abuse, and ongoing protests through the country fare evidence of this damage
Health authorities and governments need to take a look at their tactics in preparation for the 'next wave' of viruses. Listening is a good step in negotiations with aggrieved parties. How would the Ottawa insurrection have looked if, on day one, Trudeau had invited the three leaders to meet with him and hash things out? I'm not suggesting he head out and take on a convoy of thousands with a megaphone in his hand. But if he had sat in a room with them - just like he would sit in a room with Putin or Trump or any other leader he was in disagreement with, showing respect. Understanding. Compassion. And speaking truth. How would those negotiations have turned out? The so-called Freedom Convoy was a not unreasonable protest by Canadian citizens first and only grew into a criminal event after being ignored, and even ridiculed and mocked by authority and media.
The definition of oppression is "cruel use of authority or power." It would not be a stretch to label the way the power of the health authority and government was wielded during the Covid-19 pandemic as cruel from the viewpoint of the unvaccinated.
Are policing, threat and disrespect really the only way to encourage uptake of necessary protocols and health measurements during a pandemic? What if we actually listen to our vaccine hesitant families and neighbours? Find out what they need. And then work to help them. Create spaces where it is safe for them to be with loved ones. Share current science in a truthful way, not in a way designed to scare them into compliance. Check our language to be careful not to blame and finger point. Advise persons in authority, doctors, caregivers, and front line workers on how to work with non-compliant citizens in a way that is non-oppressive and respectful.
19% of 38 million is over seven million Canadian citizens who all deserved better.
Vancouver For All Working Group for Municipalism
Thursday, Feb 24 6:30 pm
BC NDP Betrayals on Indigenous Rights and Climate Change
Panel show with speakers
Friday Feb 23 7:00 PM
Listening Circle: Municipal Projects - A Global Struggle
Saturday, Feb 26 Noon - 1:30 pm
DSOV Solidarity Fridge Stock
Saturday, Feb 26 2:00 pm (note new time)
DSOV Monthly Membership Assembly
Sunday Feb 27 3:30 pm