Saturday, March 12, 2016

Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- The Star-Phoenix calls for Saskatchewan's election campaign to focus on the future rather than the past. And Paul Orlowski reminds us of the continued callous corporatism that's in store if Brad Wall holds on to power.

- Meanwhile, Bruce Johnstone points out that the Saskatchewan Party's spin on the past bears no resemblance whatsoever to reality. And Geoff Leo fact-checks Wall's attempts to avoid responsibility for his government's Global Transportation Hub land scandal.

- The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives offers up its alternative federal budget aimed at both reducing poverty and generating development. And in one hopeful (if only preliminary) step, the Libs appear willing to consider strengthening Canada Post by looking at banking and other services, rather than treating stagnation and privatization as the only options.

- Danyaal Raza and Ryan Meili discuss the economic and health costs of expecting people to work while sick (or requiring them to forfeit pay if they can't).

- Finally, Tabatha Southey rightfully challenges the idea that activism is something to be criticized rather than applauded - and its roots in the belief that there are few if any social problems left to be ameliorated:
In part, the rejection of activism as a concept stems from a belief that a sufficient amount of change has already been made. It has to stop. We’ve literally done enough as a society – not-society can stop asking for stuff now.

It’s a way of thinking that emerges when people frame the righting of great historic wrongs (letting the other half of the population vote, not literally owning people) as concessions that one group has personally made, as largesse bestowed in some sort of ongoing negotiation for which there must be quid pro quo.

That’s just not how this better-society thing works, people. Yes, it’s not illegal to be gay any more. That doesn’t mean straight people get to demand more seasons of Everyone Loves Raymond and free Dockers when next everyone’s back at the bargaining table.

The constant disparaging of activism – the casual acceptance of the idea that the more dedicated a person is to a subject, the less they are worth listening to on that subject – has been fashionable for a while now.

The plethora of “Taxpayers for …” and “Concerned Citizens Against …” groups is a reaction to that trend. These people are “concerned,” about an issue, you see, having apparently rejected “Peeved” and “Indignant” as descriptors. We are to understand that while, yes, these groups are campaigning to bring about political or societal change through vigorous action, the difference is they’re right.

All of this is how we come to the less-than-clarion call to arms, “I am not an activist.”

Well, lady, take out another bus shelter, when you’re ready to say you are.

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