The Canadian left loses another giant: Mel Watkins

9 posts / 0 new
Last post
jerrym
The Canadian left loses another giant: Mel Watkins

Mel Watkins died on Thursday on the day when his vision of the value of economic nationalist hit home with Trump's threat to cut off the supply of Personal Protective Equipment, which is needed to protect healthcare workers and others, to other countries, including Canada. Once again Canadian interests came last. Of course everyone remembers him as co-author of the Waffle Manifesto. Watkins also played a significant role in addressing indigenous and environmental issues with his book Dene Nation: The Colony Within while working on indigenous issues in the Northwest Territory and in examining the threat presented by the proposed Mackenzie River pipeline. 

 My own interest in developing a more nationalist approach that still retained an internationalist vision was sparked by another leader in this area, Robin Mathews, while I was attending Carleton University. He demanded to know why there were so few Canadian born professors and so many Americans and British profs, who not coincidentally gave virtually not attention to Canadian issues,  citing the incestuous example of one department with 12 of 13 faculty members coming from the University of Indiana. 

Rabble has an excellent reivew of Watkin's life's work at https://rabble.ca/news/2020/04/remembering-political-economist-mel-watkins

jerrym

We now have two big losses on the Canadian left this week with the death of Shirley Douglas. 

laine lowe laine lowe's picture

So true. Two giants gone but both lived long and active lives and leave behind an amazing legacy (and plenty of inspiration).

By the by, are you okay? Last time you posted you were afraid you might have the coronavirus.

jerrym

laine lowe wrote:

So true. Two giants gone but both lived long and active lives and leave behind an amazing legacy (and plenty of inspiration).

By the by, are you okay? Last time you posted you were afraid you might have the coronavirus.

Thanks for enquiring.  I still have had no test but it sure doesn't seem like the usual flu.  It's been up and down but the last couple of days I have felt substantially better. Hopefully  I will be over this soon.

laine lowe laine lowe's picture

Stay well and vigilant, Jerry.

Ken Burch

Seconded.

NDPP

Curious how Watkins is memorialized even by those who never supported his work and never followed his good advice.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Mel Watkins’ warning: Public safety requires public ownership

Last week we lost Mel Watkins, a giant on the Canadian left. He leaves behind a legacy that influenced countless people, myself among them. Mel made enormous contributions, many of which were ahead of their time.

In the early 1970s, he helped found the Waffle movement in the NDP, which, among other things, made the case for public ownership of critical industries and questioned Canada’s reliance on manufactured goods made elsewhere.

As we live through COVID-19, it’s worth thinking about Mel’s warning to us decades ago: that public safety requires public ownership. Leaving critical industries in private hands lines the pockets of billionaires and leaves us unprepared to meet urgent challenges.....

josh

Now we are living with the results. The pandemic has once again illustrated Canada’s weaknesses. For instance, we produce the raw materials used to make the crucial N95 protective face masks. But we do not produce the masks themselves. And in spite of government promises, we are unlikely to do so in the near future.

That leaves us dependent on the whims of U.S. President Donald Trump and the good graces of Chinese leader Xi Jinping, both of whom head countries that do make such masks.

https://www.thestar.com/opinion/contributors/2020/04/09/mel-watkins-warned-us-of-canadas-current-covid-19-predicament.html