As has been pointed out by too many people, 2016 was a devastating year for progressives (a homely term for all those who are want equality, democracy and ecological sanity). There is no need to repeat the list of atrocities, failures and disappointments, as we all have them indelibly marked on our psyches. One result of the annus horribilis is that activists everywhere have pledged to try harder -- at what is clearly not working. There is even a sense of optimism rooted in the old left-wing shibboleth that "the worse things get, the better" -- meaning, of course that if things get really, really bad, people will rise up (and overthrow the 1%).
And what a year it was. Coming off of the maddening, disappointing and very scary U.S. election, it's too easy to look back and wish that we could have just fast-forwarded from December 31, 2015 right to January 1, 2017.
But that's not the whole story. In many ways it was also a really good year. Admittedly, we have to work a little harder to lift our spirits in this holiday season than in other years. But we know that rabble listeners and readers know that these things happen in cycles. Better days are ahead.
There's lots of work for us to do in the New Year to help restore this planet to health and happiness. But for now, take a break and have a listen to some of our faves.
The slow movement continues to occupy new terrain, gradually. I just read The Slow Professor. It's a beguiling book, written in controlled anger at the corporatized university, overrun by administrators and marketers. Being a prof was once the ideal, or idealized, notion of a perfect Canadian job; now they feel like cogs on the assembly line in Modern Times. Authors Maggie Berg of Queen's and Brock's Barbara Seeber wrote it together, further decelerating the process.
Have you heard about the World Social Forum? The Forums started in 2001, in Brazil, and now it is the largest gathering of civil society to find solutions to the problems of our time. Each World Social Foum brings together tens of thousands of participants to more than a thousand activities (workshops, conferences, artistic performances etc.) on various themes (social, solidarity economy, environment, human rights, democratization etc.). In 2016, the World Social Forum is being hosted by Montreal from August 9th to 14th!
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Canada is at something of an historical impasse: perhaps too hastily reckoning with a murderous past without thinking hard about the future that reckoning would necessarily demand.