One of the comments from Wednesday:
The concern raised by my enterprising, anonymous, fearful correspondent begs the question: what is to be done? It appears there are a growing number of people in Vancouver and British Columbia who reject the current regime and its blatant disregard of the social contract, but don't do anything about it because:
1. The current system of electoral politics is established to reinforce power structures rather than change them. Democracy and winning elections are simply not the same things, particularly in a province where the distribution of retribution is treated as a solution but leaves nothing in its wake but corruption and pollution. As long as majority governments are the rule rather than the exception, the Liberals can continue to play the New Democrats off against the Greens rather than enact meaningful social AND environmental policy.
2. Those wishing to challenge the powers that be feel that they have too much to lose. Those currently challenging the powers that be have nothing to lose. The B.C. Federation of Labour has a lot of members who are probably making payments on a new van. The Anti-Poverty Committee probably fits in the back of a new van. There was a time in our history when if people were pissed off enough, everybody would hit the streets and agitate for change. Of course, that was when the labour movement was more of a moral exercise than the legal exercise it is today. Why do union members now have to go to a labour history course to learn "An injury to one is an injury to all"?
3. We just don't talk about this kind of stuff to each other. When you're riding the bus and it's overcrowded and stuck in traffic, do you ever turn to the person sitting next to you and say "Wow, if this is bad, imagine what it'll be like if the Gateway Project goes through?" We talk about ourselves, we talk about people we know (and judging by the poularity of Entertainment Tonight, Extra, E-Talk Daily & MTV a lot of people we don't know), but do we ever talk about what's really important? With apologies to Judy Rebick and David Beers, nobody reads Rabble or The Tyee except for political nerds who write political blogs and have no life. Frankly, I'm relieved that this page has as few hits as I do, it probably means people are doing something important.
That means the person responsbile for spreading the word about what's really going on is Time magazine's person of the year: YOU. The four words that can turn this whole thing around are "WHAT DO YOU THINK?" When you're spending time with your friends or family, you're not obligated to discuss American Idol, the game last night, Brangelina, or whatever weapon of mass distraction is being unleashed that moment. You are allowed to talk about social housing, fish farms, public transit, raising the minimum wage, tuition hikes, offshore oil, factory farms, a woman's right to choose, the stupidity of killing Afghans, and anything else that burns within you. Your opinion is going to matter more to the people who know you and care about more than it is to an editorial board or a government MLA. When we realize we are more important than our televisions, we can build critical mass, where can build numbers, where we can build the collective consciousness and consensus to confront the carelessness of capitalism. Nine tenths of the law.
If you're someone in the know, damn it , let it show. No one speaks Truth to Power without the Word of Mouth.
Tony Blair is stepping down as Great Britain's Prime Minister.
After months of closed door meetings, Vancouver's Olympic organizers (VANOC) released an alleged business plan yesterday (which for those of you scoring home, has not been independently audited). VANOC claims that their $1.63 billion budget, with a contingency of $100 million, is balanced. Before anyone lines up to give them a medal, this page would like to remind readers that shooting fish in a barrel is not an Olympic event (yet).
Breaking down VANOC's report (which again, has not been independently audited), it becomes clear that under this arrangement, Glen Clark could have balanced this budget (editors note: court ordered bone tossed to BC Lieberal revisionist pukes). The 2010 Olympics are in a North American time zone, which means a television windfall bigger than last winter in Stanley Park. Most of the major venues (BC Place, GM Place, Pacific Coliseum) are already built, saving on skyrocketing construction costs. This page isn't going to credit VANOC for being frugal when they don't actually have to pay for much of anything.
A few years ago, the British Columbia Teachers Federation joined the B.C. Federation of Labour. One would have thought that the teachers union would have learned something about Solidarity, or at the least, Free Collective Bargaining. Unfortunately, the BCTF's treatment of their support staff, members of the Communications, Energy & Paperworkers Union (CEP Local 464) proves the time-honoured, shopworn maxim of "Those who can't do, teach."