What is going on in this country? First we have a major campaign from the coalition of mainstream Jewish organizations, the National Post and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney (hereafter called Minister of Truth) to shut down Israel Apartheid Week. That failed. So now the same triumvirate is supporting the decision of custom officials to refuse entry into Canada to British MP George Galloway, a strong critic of Israel on the absurd notion that he is a threat to national security.
Imagine my delight when there on the front page of my morning paper was Medea Benjamin, the creative, non-stoppable leader of Code Pink. Just having returned from leading a feminist mission to Gaza for International Women's Day, Medea and her fearless crew of pink clad women were protesting the appearance of the CEO of AIG. The contrast between the designer suit clad AIG boss and the women with Pink T Shirts saying, "Give us back our $$$' couldn't have been clearer. Speaking for millions of Americans, this was direct action at its best. Bravo Sisters.
Finally there was something interested to read in the Globe and Mail this morning. Todd Hirsch a Calgary based economist wrote about what might survive the crash of 2008. In a piece called Long Live the New Capitalism, he argues that instead of trying to save the dying "greed driven" Wall Street system we should accept that the old system is dying and shout long live whatever creative system emerges. He suggests the new capitalists will invest in social good and sustainability if they want to make a buck. "It's not necessary for capitalists to agree with the environmentalists. All you need to do is watch for the trends and capitalize on the opportunities." Finally, someone is looking ahead only the blinder of capitalist ideology prevents him from seeing that most of truly innovative economic models are not the capitalist ones but neither are they strictly socialist.
Van Jones appears a lot in Transforming Power. I first found out about him by listening to Velcrow Ripper's podcast a few years ago. Van was speaking to the Network of Spiritual Progressives. That's where i heard that line about Martin Luther King. I figured I gotta meet this guy and I did at Hollyhock that year where he was the keynote speaker. I've kept up with him since and think he is one of the most visionary thinkers and activists on the planet. The best news I've heard in a while was that President Obama hired Van Jones as his special advisor on Green Jobs. Yes Magazine has an interview with Van about why he took the job.
Velcrow Ripper, Debbie Field, Grace-Edward Galabuzzi, Annahid Dashtgard
It was so great to see so many people out last night at Judy's launch at Ryerson in Toronto! As the person who did a lot of the logistics for the event I might not be able to give the most unbiased opinion ever of how it went last night - I was spending a lot of time being relieved that everything was going according to plan re: the catering, room set up, sound systems, etc.
At rabble.ca, they've published excerpts from Chapter 8 of Transforming Power, which is all about networked politics and new ways of horizontal, democratic organizing using new technology like social media.
Also, Antonia Zerbisias has an excellent interview with Judy about the book in the Star today, here.
We are off and running with Transforming Power. Tuesday's book launch in Ottawa was fantastic. The afternoon at Carlton sponsored by the Pauline Jewett Institute of Women's Studies was packed with lots of great questions from the students. I was a bit worried about how to talk about Transforming Power to first year university students but they got it right away. After all it's their generation that grew up with alot of ways of working that are featured in Transforming Power. The evening event sponsored by Octopus Books was a wonderful way to kick off the book tour. There's a report by Mike Gifford below.
I was fortunate enough to be able to attend the Ottawa Book Launch for Transforming Power, that was held at the Raw Sugar Cafe earlier today. The cafe was definitely packed with people who came to both see Judy & celebrate Octopus Books' 40th Anniversary. The venue was intimate and everyone was interested in hearing from Judy. We have been doing the Website for Octopus Books now for probably 8 years (Krishna & I put up what was at the time a fairly complex site at that time) and also helped Judy Rebick put together her site over the past couple of months.
We took a leadership role in supporting Judy's site because we saw the potential for this project to mobilize the social justice movement in Canada. When we (Krishna & I) first worked with Judy it was when we helped to launch rabble.ca back in 2001. Rabble.ca has done a lot to help to focus left leaning media and discussion since that time and it was with rabble.ca that we were involved in our first advocacy campaign to build a petition to release Jaggi Shing.
Today my Ryerson colleague Alan Sears and I have an article published in the National Post defending Israel Apartheid Week. As much as I don't like increasing traffic to the web site of this right-wing rag, I have to admit that they are willing to print oppositional viewpoints when they are engaged in one of their vicious campaigns. The last time they published a piece from me was during their unsuccessful campaign to deny Dr. Morgentaler the Order of Canada.