The greatest progressive innovation of our century -- to this point -- has been the World Social Forum (WSF). In the book Another World is Possible: popular alternatives to globalization at the World Social Forum, William Fisher and I first contended that the World Social Forum represented the beginning of building a new left and a new global civilization, grounded by a desire for participatory, radical democracy.
Related rabble.ca story:
On May 22, three great Canadian progressives, rabble.ca co-founder Judy Rebick, the actress and activist Shirley Douglas, and mayoral candidate Olivia Chow will be speaking at the Tommy Douglas Institute's conference "Critical Pedagogy and the Citizen-Student" at George Brown College in downtown Toronto.
For my undergraduate degree I had the privilege of studying in a "Great Books" program at Concordia University's Liberal Arts College in Montreal. This bachelor of arts degree in "Western Society and Culture" is one of a hundred Great Books curricula in North America, Europe and Asia. The Concordia program was modelled on the Great Books movement which began at Columbia University in New York in 1921 and which now constitutes that university's Core Curriculum.
The Greek myth of Orpheus hints at the paradoxical relationship between creativity and anguish. Orpheus was the one mortal whose musical ability was as great as that of the gods. The renowned lyre player fell in love with the maiden Eurydice and the two were married. Shortly after the wedding, Eurydice was stung by a serpent and died; Orpheus, unwilling to accept her death, decided to descend into the underworld to rescue her. The gods were touched by the musician's plea and released her from Hades on the condition that he did not look at her face until the two had returned to the world of the living.
The most interesting mayor in North America is not Toronto's superego-averse Rob Ford, the conservative populist who has received much publicity from comedians across the world, but is instead the recently elected progressive populist Bill de Blasio -- the new mayor of New York City. De Blasio's campaign "One New York, Rising Together," was a refreshingly progressive one that did not emphasize crime, as did the slogans of New York's previous Republican mayors. De Blasio campaigned to support workers, teachers' unions, undocumented immigrants, welfare rights and the need for affordable housing, while criticizing the New York Police Department's unconstitutional use of stop-and-frisk tactics.