With a federal election only a year way, we are facing crises in democracy, inequality, climate change, and peak oil. However, our collective institutions are at their weakest points just as we need to them to at their strongest and most imaginative.
Our democracy, including political parties, is increasingly unable to deliver what it once promised let alone what we want. Universities are increasingly corporatized, jettisoning traditional ethics for corporate loot to pay their bills; regulations developed over decades to protect us are either being eliminated or simply unenforced by governments whose job it was to ensure our safety. The media, which once, nominally at least, entertained the notion of political debate about society’s direction, have been hijacked by corporatist ideology and are thus rendered incapable of seeking the truth let alone telling it.
The notion that we can behave as if it is business as usual will not wash. And while there are organizations out there that are actually addressing the crises, we must as engage people support them to a much greater extent than we do now.
rabble.ca and the BC office of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives co-hosted a standing-room only event at the Round House in Vancouver on August 12, 2014 to talk about these questions. It was called Living Consciously: Reinventing Democracy to Save Canada.
The evening’s discussion focused on the issue of “agency”: if our traditional institutions are failing us, who is going to lead the necessary struggles? What form would they take? If, as Murray Dobbin argues, “silo” approaches to politics no longer work, how do we create a broad-based social movement model? What is to be done?
Moderator: Duncan Cameron – rabble.ca president
Murray Dobbin – (journalist, broadcaster, author and social activist and past board member with the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives)
Anjali Appadurarai (climate justice activist)
Damion Gillis (documentary film maker)
Iglika Ivanova (CCPA-BC)