Meet the Editor! Derrick O'Keefe on babble every Friday, 12 p.m. EST

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Catchfire Catchfire's picture
Meet the Editor! Derrick O'Keefe on babble every Friday, 12 p.m. EST

As I announced in this thread, Vancouver activist, author and journalist Derrick O'Keefe has just been (re-)hired as rabble.ca's full-time editor. Derrick has suggested coming on babble each week, every Friday, at noon EST (9am PST) to hear babblers' concerns, comments and editorial suggestions--or just to take part in a discussion and see it through to the end.

Derrick, Rebecca West and I aren't sure what this will look like yet, but we thought we'd start by inviting babblers to give your thoughts on what editorial direction you'd like to see rabble.ca take under Derrick's direction. What stories are we missing? Which stories are we covering too much or incompletely? Which stories to we get dead wrong?

So: drop by babble tomorrow at 9am PST / 12pm EST for a chance to chat with our new editor.

Regions: 
Howard

Not that anyone is asking, but I like reading Dave Climenhaga's blog. What I like about it is it carries regional news and comments on it from a regional perspective. I think electoral/political news is the biggest driver of traffic to the site. As such, I recommend more regional left-news/perspective and a good balance of activist and electoral/political news. Kind of like the tyee but more grassroots and, as of yet, less pop culture.

NDPP

Good idea. Some stories and directions are indeed 'dead wrong'. Libya was one such story as was made obvious by the NDP support for a war that left Libya in ruins. Unfortunately they were not alone. Here's Derrick O' Keefe co-chair of the Canadian Peace Alliance last year:

"...We're making it clear that people in Canada support the people there who are bravely fighting against a dictator who is willing to shed an enormous amount of his own people's blood to hang onto power." Georgia Straight, February 2011

Perhaps Rabble.ca can assist a badly needed but seriously misguided national peace movement from adopting the stupid and self-serving political positions of the ndp, with which it has hitherto been unfortunately connected and hence badly led, by an umbilical cord of piano wire.

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

We're on EDT here in Toronto. Does that mean I have to come by at 1 p.m. local time to chat with Derrick?

Fidel

I think the NDP had few alternatives but to defer to reports from western intelligence agencies. 

We could have said, look here, the Russians' satellite imagery shows no evidence that Gadaffi's air force is bombing their own citizens. 

And then where would we be with taking sides in the colder and sometimes hot war in the Middle East? 

I think Mulcair straddled that fine line when he made loose mention of the U.S. Military's proof of bin Laden's death. Mulcair quickly backtracked when it seemed he was questioning the American inquisition's claim to have have assassinated Elvis bin Laden. 

Nobody expects the American inquisition. Nobody is willing to challenge the American inquisition.

Not even the NDP. 

The time for challenging the powerful Atlantic Alliance military inquisition will come at some point. For now we have to focus our fight on winning basic rights for all, like the right of every Canadian to have one vote in democratic elections.

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

M. Spector wrote:
We're on EDT here in Toronto. Does that mean I have to come by at 1 p.m. local time to chat with Derrick?

No, M. Spector--12pm local time Toronto. And 9am local time BC.

Michelle

Wow, Derrick's back?  That's great - welcome back, Derrick! :)

derrick derrick's picture

Thanks Michelle - happy to be back! Hey everyone, looking forward to coming in here on Fridays... The theory is that by Friday I'll be done with most of my editorial work on the site, so I'll have some time to properly engage in discussion and hear your feedback and ideas. 

derrick derrick's picture

NDPP, since you seem to imply that I supported the NATO intervention in Libya, I think it's relevant to share the next few paragraphs from that article in the Straight

“In Vancouver, there’s been some kind of rally every Saturday for the last month, as the revolutions and uprisings have spread to Egypt and now Libya and Bahrain and many other countries,” said O’Keefe.

“This Saturday, the focus is on Libya, and we’re just making it clear that people in Canada support the people there”¦who are very bravely fighting against a dictator who is willing to shed an enormous amount of his own peoples’ blood to hang onto power,” he added.

O’Keefe said his organization will be speaking out against the potential for western military intervention in Libya.

“In the last 24 hours especially, there has started to be talk of a sort of western military intervention, or perhaps NATO intervening in Libya, and the Canadian Peace Alliance just wanted to make clear that we would strongly warn against any kind of NATO military intervention,” he said.

 

NDPP

Hi Derrick,

and welcome back to Rabble

Well, now we know who the forces were 'bravely fighting' and who put them up to it and armed them to do it as well. And what they accomplished "with a little help from their friends" as the old song goes. It was these same ones in the next few paragraphs from that article in the Straight, that you strongly warned against a military intervention by. OK, all becomes clear. My only point was an obvious one - the CPA needs some work eh?

and PS Some of us would like to see the use of bannings and suspensions curtailed. There is also a recent casualty that we would like to see back. Anything you can do?

Slumberjack

Letter to the Editor:

Hi Derrick, and congrats on taking up the new/old job.  

I think it's been made clear that those forces the people of Canada were said to support; and one wonders what sort of polling led to that conclusion; were and continue to be quite capable in their own right of shedding enormous amounts of blood.  Turns out that not supporting NATO, while supporting 'forces,' was an contradictory position to assume.  But there's a silver lining to all of that now that you're back.  Potentially, you have your very own built in focus group right here on the board that would be only too glad to help out I'm sure with any of those tricky editorial slants.  If anything, there's a certain consistency hereabouts that you'd be hard pressed to find practically anywhere else.  And I'd have to second NDPP's request.  Normally it's the case that certain leaders will grant pardons on their way out, but howzabout the nifty suggestion of turning that on it's head and doing things differently in that regard.

Your friend:

Slumberjack

MegB

Hi folks,

Derrick's going to be here in a few hours, and I think it would be a great idea if we all perused or thought about what rabble.ca reported on this week.  Keep in mind that this is the end of Derrick's first week, and some editorial decisions would have been made and story ideas approved by the interim editorial team (who did a rockin' job, BTW, during the time between Catherine Atkinson's departure and Derrick's taking the helm).

Really looking forward to this exercise in collective editorial input!

Caissa

I always thought 12 p.m was a fictious time much like 12 a.m.

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Is that an editorial suggestion, Caissa? Say no to Greenwich imperialism!

Slumberjack

A well earned kudos should go out to the cast of characters who appear on the Rabble home page, for bringing us news of events and activities not otherwise discussed or revealed elsewhere. Personal favorites are Climenhaga's blog, Activist Communiqué, and Mandy Hiscock's jailhouse rock letters, but collectively all of the contributors rock with a fresh perspective set well apart from the largely monotone drivel out in the mainstream. The only thing I would like to see included within the editorial policy is a commitment to critique, be it opinionating, editorializing, or journalistic reporting, from an adversarial perspective, where it concerns the direction of all of the political flavours and oppositional politics, as much as one would expect to be undertaken of Liberal or Conservative ideology, statements and policies. Perhaps the editor can address any concerns people may have about editorial balance in this regard.

derrick derrick's picture

Hi all! I know this is not a thread on Libya, but no there is no contradiction between supporting the people of Libya fighting against the dictatorship they were living under and opposing NATO intervention. We had important and productive dialogue with the local Libyan community, even when we disagreed. It was from young Libyan students that I learned the extent of SNC-Lavalin's dirty dealing in Libya, for example.

Anyway... 

derrick derrick's picture

Also, predictably I've not quite put the week's editorial work to bed. One change from a couple of years ago is the sheer volume of new material coming on the site every day. For example we still have a couple more pieces to publish today, including an excellent feature on food security from Sally Miller. 

MegB

Yeah, Mandy Hiscock's Bored but not broken is a favourite of mine.

Slumberjack

Well, it's a good things this is 420 day as well then....pffffffffft.

derrick derrick's picture

Hi Slumberjack, 

Thanks for that. It'd be great if you could elaborate a bit on what you would like to see more of... I certainly believe rabble should be a place for debate and critical analysis, including within the broadly defined left. As you might know, I'm not one to shy away from criticizing NDP politicians when it's warranted. 

derrick derrick's picture

I'm really happy that rabble's publishing Mandy's blog. Besides just opposing Harper's law and order legislation, it's important to hear from prisoners themselves. I'd be interested to know what sort of Internet access is available to prisoners across Canada. The freedom to communicate and to education from within prison walls has always been an important struggle to support. 

One of the many outrageous things about the G20 arrests, charges and trials are the conditions the authorities have put, trying to limit even activists who aren't imprisoned from communicating with each other and with the broader public. Running's Mandy's blog is one small way to push back against this... 

Caissa

Hi Derrick,

How do you perceive the relationship between babble and the rest of rabble.ca?

derrick derrick's picture

I have no 420 anecdotes to share, even though I'm in Vancouver. I'm in the minority out here who do not partake :)

Slumberjack

Well derrick, I don't quite know where on Earth I formed this idea actually, but I just get a sense that the NDP has enjoyed somewhat of a free ride around here where it concerns some of their statements and positions.  Take for instance the previous ambiguity with respect to their position on Afghanistan when the 'mission' was located in Khandahar Province.  They had repeatedly said they were against the current mission, that it was the wrong mission, and that the troops should be withdrawn from the 'mission.'  But then a reconstruction team mission, or a Kabul training mission didn't seem too far out of the question for them, except when getting a straight answer about what their position actually was.  This went on for many years, until opinion polls started to shift against the entire Afghanistan experience, and then suddenly NDP policy became clearer.  They wanted the troops bought back home.  Well, the troops are still there in Kabul, a significant number of them, and now of course the urgency to bring them home is nowhere in sight.  We seem to be at the point where we have to doubt the ability of any news organization in Canada to get a fix on where exactly the NDP are on Canada's continuing involvement.

ETA:  I don't want this to be a rant about that particular topic...but hopefully you get the idea, as in..there it is, an issue with many loose threads that no one seemed to be willing to clip from the NDP coat tail, except for the odd babbler ye know.

derrick derrick's picture

Hi Caissa, 

Well I would say that babble is kind of an autonomous community within rabble, in the sense it has really well established people who for many years have debated and discussed. Because some of the most political people and biggest news hounds in the country are members of babble, often discussion of big news events happens on here before it's even on our editorial radar and certainly before we're able to publish coverage. 

babble is also able to take some of the debates on rabble further, deeper, and sometimes much more polemical... With user names instead of bylines, the gloves can come off -- for better or worse. So, for instance, if you weren't checking in on babble you probably weren't getting the full picture of the debate and divisions within the recent NDP leadership race.

 

derrick derrick's picture

Slumberjack, you are near to my heart there with that particular issue. As my friend Malalai Joya says, 'The silence of the good people is worse than the actions of the bad'. I know that's how she felt with respect to the federal NDP, who remember made her the featured speaker at their 2006 convention when they passed the resolution to call for the troops to be brought home. It was very disappointing to hear the ambiguous formulations, as you say, but also just the way the issue was almost dropped completely from public statements following Obama's election in 2008. 

Let's hope the NDP now in Official Opposition -- or someone in Parliament! -- raises forcefully the issue of Harper's latest extension of the Canadian forces in Afghanistan. A number of other countries are announcing that they're leaving early, in 2013 -- for instance France and Australia at least. To anyone paying the slightest attention the barbaric nature of the war is now clear, and the wheels have totally come off NATO's operation. 

 

 

 

kropotkin1951

So Derrick where does the CPA stand on the ever increasing use of sanctions by Canada.  Does it support improvising the citizens of Syria and Iran for the misdeeds of their governments?  The increasingly knee jerk NDP call to destroy the economies of other countries who disagree with NATO is rather disturbing to me. I think that historically sanctions aimed at destroying a sovereign nations economy have been seen as a act of war.  Our navy has been active on various "blockade" missions in the Middle East since parliament "refused" to commit ground troops to the first Gulf War.  Does the CPA have any comments about the Canadian navy's support roll in the area?

Slumberjack

We clearly differ on the Libyan issue. I mean sure...ordinary citizens fighting against dictators and tyranny...who could argue, right? We've had our share of discussions on the board, some of them halted discussions, which eventually lurched toward examining the various interested parties to the Arab Spring uprisings, including in the context of Egypt, Libya, and Bahrain, with Syria of course carried over into this spring, etc. We've had our share of difficult moments trying to determine for the sake of our own curious minds at least, just who those ordinary freedom fighters were precisely.

derrick derrick's picture

Hi Kropotkin1951, You can check out the CPA statements on Iran -- opposed to sanctions -- here: http://www.acp-cpa.ca/en/IranMain.htm

And there's a good statement on both Syria and Iran by the Vancouver StopWar coalition I've worked with here: http://stopwarca.wordpress.com/2011/12/15/no-to-war-threats-against-syria-and-iran/

I don't mean to be obtuse Slumberjack, but I don't see that we differ on Libya, unless you're saying there was no legitimate opposition against the Gaddafi regime... 

How can we cover these international issues better on rabble? 

I'd like to see more jouranlists looking into Canadian weapons sales, like the massive deals with Saudi Arabia. Canadian made weapons and armoured vehicles were used when the Saudi and Gulf states crushed the democracy movement in Bahrain last year. This story should have been a scandal but it was barely a blip in the mainstream media. I'd like to see rabble follow up on this and related stories...

Slumberjack

derrick wrote:
I don't mean to be obtuse Slumberjack, but I don't see that we differ on Libya, unless you're saying there was no legitimate opposition against the Gaddafi regime... 

I'm saying that your statement about the people of Canada supporting Libyans in a state of uprising against their dictatorship appears as a similar narrative to what we were hearing from the mainstream, except of course with them NATO support in conjunction with the uprising wasn't quite the issue that you raised.  I'm saying a caveat or two might have helped, or perhaps something to the effect that it isn't quite clear who the western based left leaning media should be supporting on the ground, if anyone.  When everything was so murky as to who was representing whom on the ground, why was such a statement necessary?

derrick derrick's picture

I have to get back to finishing up some editing and correspondence with writers... we have got some great May Day related coverage coming up in the next week and a half. I look forward to making this a regular Friday discussion -- thanks for all the input! 

 

Howard

I like HuffPo is a good place to look to for what rabble could be like (but we/you can do it better). They have interesting columnists there and there are a lot of good writers on the net that are undersubscribed. For instance, I would love to see Ali Abunimah's writings syndicated from time to time on rabble. There are also some interesting political bloggers like Greg Fingas. You could ask these bloggers to provide content on a timely basis that is convenient to you and ask them to write about the things they should know best, ie. hometown (local) stories.

Howard

derrick wrote:

I have to get back to finishing up some editing and correspondence with writers... we have got some great May Day related coverage coming up in the next week and a half. I look forward to making this a regular Friday discussion -- thanks for all the input! 

Thanks Derrick. Love the site and have liked your past work with Seven Oaks Mag too.

Howard

For next time, what is rabble's rapport with Briarpatch magazine and Our Times? There are a lot of great local leftwing publications across Canada, in English and French, that I think connections with could help enrich the rabble homepage. We could compile a list and you could use it as a way of finding new syndicated material or authors.

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

Howard wrote:

I like HuffPo is a good place to look to for what rabble could be like (but we/you can do it better).

Please, Derrick, do not make rabble into a Canadian Huffington Post. HuffPo carries some of the most right-wing garbage and it's becoming harder and harder to find worthwhile, original, left-wing commentary there.

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

derrick wrote:

I'd like to see more jouranlists looking into Canadian weapons sales, like the massive deals with Saudi Arabia. Canadian made weapons and armoured vehicles were used when the Saudi and Gulf states crushed the democracy movement in Bahrain last year. This story should have been a scandal but it was barely a blip in the mainstream media. I'd like to see rabble follow up on this and related stories...

You should beg Richard Saunders of the [url=http://coat.ncf.ca/]Coalition to Oppose the Arms Trade[/url] (and occasional babbler) to write for rabble.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

M. Spector wrote:

 

You should beg Richard Sanders of the [url=http://coat.ncf.ca/]Coalition to Oppose the Arms Trade[/url] (and occasional babbler) to write for rabble.

Excellent suggestion - and I'll second it.

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

Sorry, I misspelled his name - it's Sanders.

 

[img]http://www.eurocriticsmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/05/pooh_shepa...

 

kropotkin1951

derrick wrote:

Hi Kropotkin1951, You can check out the CPA statements on Iran -- opposed to sanctions -- here: http://www.acp-cpa.ca/en/IranMain.htm

And there's a good statement on both Syria and Iran by the Vancouver StopWar coalition I've worked with here: http://stopwarca.wordpress.com/2011/12/15/no-to-war-threats-against-syria-and-iran/

How can we cover these international issues better on rabble? 

I'd like to see more jouranlists looking into Canadian weapons sales, like the massive deals with Saudi Arabia. Canadian made weapons and armoured vehicles were used when the Saudi and Gulf states crushed the democracy movement in Bahrain last year. This story should have been a scandal but it was barely a blip in the mainstream media. I'd like to see rabble follow up on this and related stories...

I would agree that rabble should provide more of that kind of coverage.  I am very familiar with Stopwar.ca and often marched with them before my knees gave out. Libya for me is a watershed in Canadian history.  The RCAF bombed cities in a foreign country.  Every political party in the country voted to go to war and our MSM hailed our heroes who killed innocents from thousands of feet in the air. 

When Bush wanted a coalition of the willing Canadians and their political parties mostly said no way.  I remember the nice walks with tens of thousands of my friends and neighbours. What has happened to us as a society when all of our political parties are in lock step with an aggressive NATO agenda that makes the chaos inflected on Iraq the norm. How have progressives decided that we have the "duty" to bomb people on the other side of the planet to protect them from their fellow citizens.

Howard

M. Spector wrote:

Howard wrote:

I like HuffPo is a good place to look to for what rabble could be like (but we/you can do it better).

Please, Derrick, do not make rabble into a Canadian Huffington Post. HuffPo carries some of the most right-wing garbage and it's becoming harder and harder to find worthwhile, original, left-wing commentary there.

+1

I meant in terms of having lots of insightful LEFT-WING commentators (like HuffPo does for liberals in the USA)

RevolutionPlease RevolutionPlease's picture

I won't be happy, no matter what you do Derrick! :)

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

Howard wrote:

I meant in terms of having lots of insightful LEFT-WING commentators (like HuffPo does for liberals in the USA)

And I was referring to [url=http://grist.org/media/how-huffington-post-aided-a-demolition-job-on-cli... like this.[/url]

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Derrick O'Keefe will be back here at noon eastern to take your questions and comments about the site, or just to get into a discussion about activism, Canadian politics or the disgraceful playoff exit of the Vancouver Canucks.

If we need a prompt, perhaps we could start with the inspiring Printemps Erable underway in Quebec (hopefully spreading) and the Canadian occupy movement.

derrick derrick's picture

Yes, I'll be back for some time today starting at the top of the hour... but go easy on the Canucks topic - the wound is still fresh... 

derrick derrick's picture

Re: Huffpost, one thing we know for sure is -- all April Fools aside -- that rabble won't be selling out to AOL or Bell. Re: Briarpatch and Our Times, yes rabble has some partnerships there traditionally as well as with Canadian Dimension and other print magazines. We could certainly think more about how to cross-promote and share content on a more regular basis. 

Howard, thanks for the kind words and for remembering Seven Oaks! 

MSpector, yes to getting Richard Sanders to contribute more often and also to have more writers follow-up on the invaluable research he does... 

KenS

Last week:

derrick wrote:

Thanks Michelle - happy to be back! Hey everyone, looking forward to coming in here on Fridays... The theory is that by Friday I'll be done with most of my editorial work on the site, so I'll have some time to properly engage in discussion and hear your feedback and ideas.

Later, in this Friday talk with Derrick time slot...

derrick wrote:

Also, predictably I've not quite put the week's editorial work to bed. One change from a couple of years ago is the sheer volume of new material coming on the site every day. For example we still have a couple more pieces to publish today, including an excellent feature on food security from Sally Miller.

So what do you think a week later?

MegB

derrick wrote:

Yes, I'll be back for some time today starting at the top of the hour... but go easy on the Canucks topic - the wound is still fresh... 

Ah Derrick, good thing you aren't a Leafs fan.  You'd be crushed, lying twitching on the floor at the end of their season each year ... we are a relisiant lot, if pathetically loyal to a fault.

MegB

A little more than five minutes to the next Derrick sighting ... get your questions/barbs ready!

derrick derrick's picture

On le printemps erable, we are doing our best to make up to date coverage available to rabble readers, including publishing a translation of a manifesto this week. In fact I'm just working on putting up a translation of the latest statement from CLASSE responding to the latest attacks from the Charest government. 

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Do you anticipate the Maple Spring, or the Canadian Occupy movement which shows tremors of resuscitation, will be a significant story this spring/summer? The enormity of the Quebec protest is certainly stirring--as is the potential of the planned May Day general "strike"; but do you think there will be larger resonances throughout Canada? And, more to the point, will rabble be continuing to focus on it and prepare for it?

derrick derrick's picture

By the way, I'll take silence as compliance and assume we're doing everything well - at least this week ;0 

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