1000 Magnets coming your way (tiny ones)

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1ktm

You’re invited to try on my NEW radio program “1000 Tiny Magnets” on CJMP 90.1 fm (and accompanying blog at 1000tinymagnets.wordpress.com )

Starting Fri. Feb 6 at 1pm-3pm (PST) at the helm of the LIVE Friday line-up that goes on til after 10pm. CJMP is streaming 24/7

Featuring Dance, POP, Bubblegum, Funk, Electronic/EDM, Disco, etc. from today and its multicoloured roots.

This program is sponsored by Magpie’s Diner. Want to sponsor it as well (or another program, or the station itself, as an individual, non-profit or business? Options abound at http://cjmp.ca/sponsor-the-station/ )

tinymagnets

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Drive to Work Week

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Gotcha.

This was an April Fool’s prank meant as a fun way to poke at the absurdity of life in our moment. It’s an obvious nod to Bike to Work Week (coming up May 28-June 3rd, 2012), where even if people participate, it still means (in theory) that they are driving the other 51 weeks of the year. Few noticed the posters and most were taken down almost immediately. So much for that.

Of course I support Bike to Work Week; it was a good idea, but ‘it should have been a start, and ended up being an end’. I am noticing much more traffic on the roads and really bad,  ‘bike lanes’ that make for dangerous biking on our few major roads here in Powell River. Yet, it’s a chicken-and-egg situation: more bikers on the roads we pay for means more demand for better paths.

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The “Petition”

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I just want to reclarify that when I wrote the blog post “The Library” on Feb. 18, 2012, the petition I reprinted was sent to me (as I said) and I was not sure this was the only one circulating (as I said). It turns out that the petition that has since been the “official petition” of the group since formed calling itself “Save Willingdon Beach” is not the same as the one I had responded to. It was February 17th and what came to be the “official petition” was really not yet being circulated, I don’t think.

I’m very sorry that this has resulted in people hassling businesses (or individuals) over items in that petition that were not written by them. The petition that is being circulated apparently only reads (and I am taking this from their facebook page https://www.facebook.com/pages/Save-Willingdon-Beach/354507044589142?ref=ts):

“We, the undersigned, DO NOT want the new library on the Willingdon Beach Site. Willingdon Beach Site referring to South Willingdon (Old Arena Site). We would also like a referendum on the new library decision.”

That said, I have personally heard many of the reasons listed in the letter I reproduced, but these do not appear on the said petition that has been circulating. When does a letter in the form of a petition transform itself into a petition, I don’t know. All I know is that they need to stop harrassing people over this red herring concocted as a smoke-screen for their reasons that I think are really weak. Many people have many different reasons for supporting or opposing the library, and we are all legally able to voice our opinions. There is no “official opinion”.

Cooperative solutions

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cooperative (also co-operative or co-op) is a business organization owned and operated by a group of individuals for their mutual benefit.[1] A cooperative is defined by the International Cooperative Alliance’s Statement on the Cooperative Identity as “an autonomous association of persons united voluntarily to meet their common economic, social, and cultural needs and aspirations through jointly owned and democratically controlled enterprise“.[2]  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cooperative

My last post revolved around the Occupy movement and how this reflects a long-standing feeling that ‘something is wrong’; that as a society we aren’t taking care of each other anymore. In some countries, this long-standing and historical malaise is addressed through institutions like welfare or public medical care, pension plans, unions, laws against child labour, etc. These are all elements of ‘Socialism’ that have been put into place in a toxic Capitalist environment, to make life livable for most of those not in the top 1%.

These structures are always under attack, of course, and today it’s more in-your-face than it’s been in decades. Look at the US Primaries and how the race to the bottom is taking shape: people in the bottom rungs are actually responding positively to Republican calls for reduced government (well, reduced government services for the needy, anyhow– there is always room for massive expansion in the Military, of course); they wave around the word ‘Socialist’ at President Obama (if only), much like the word ‘Communist’ in the past. Calling someone a socialist is presented as an insult to the American spirit of every-man-for-himself. But what happens when these ‘men’ (under the law corporations are people too) wield so much power? Well, what always happens: corruption. 

Cooperatives offer a model that is so familiar in most of the world, but kind of suspect here in the West, where we have traditionally prided ourselves in pulling ourselves up by our own boot straps, never mind the fact that we’re living on stolen land, having decimated native populations, damaged or destroyed the environment and depleted the rivers, oceans and land of wildlife, and even the soil of its nutrients. And now, with so much of our manufacturing and high-tech industries exporting work overseas to reduce costs and maximize profits by selling us 50-cent shoes for $50, the impossibly nervy corporations have themselves struck a nerve– in the population. “Those pesky 99%-ers, what do they want now?!”

But, unlike what the corporate news pundits, advertisers and lobbyists claim or even believe, it’s not these people want to be in that 1% that they protest; they want changes to happen to make the system fair and to work for us all. We deserve truly democratically-elected and responsive governments at all levels, as well as companies that work to better our lives, and not to collude and to destroy our physical, financial and mental well-being, and make money off of that, as well (hello, Big Pharma).

I see cooperatives as one of the solutions to the global crisis; we need to get together and invest in ourselves, with our time, energy, expertise, and money. It becomes clearer every day that supporting corporations from banks to chain stores, or in stocks (whether directly or indirectly) takes a huge amount of money out of the local into the realm of international finance, and this is inaccessible to us. We have no real say or knowledge of where these profits are going or what they are derived from.

One of the most visible moves to cooperative ways of thinking was the recent Bank Transfer Day and other campaigns for people to move their money out of banks and into credit unions. Cooperatives, whether for-profit (with profit-sharing) or non-profit social enterprises, offer control. One member=one vote, not one share/dollar=one vote. It’s the most democratic and viable system we have and it holds a lot of the values that Occupiers are highlighting. I hope that 2012 really does signal the ‘year of the cooperative‘; I can’t think of a better time for this to happen. 

Here is a very good article on cooperatives and Occupy by John Restakis: http://commonground.ca/2011/12/beyond-the-camps/

 

Rear view mirror

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imminent crossover

2011 ended up being a charged up, go-go-go kind of year for me and for many around me. Personally, it was a year incredibly busy with the continued development of CJMP Community Radio and Skookum Food Provisioners’ Cooperative, that developed my technical and interpersonal/managerial skills and a somewhat steadier (and busier) work situation than in the past four years. Globally, lots of social change and much-raised awareness of the challenges we have in the face of levels of unimaginable inequality (the Occupy Movement), the lack of democracy (The Arab Spring, and its repercussions throughout the world) and facing up to the lies our governments and corporations tell us (Wikileaks). In many ways, these are inter-related in a general theme of reckoning– an awakening of the masses to ‘what’s really going on’. Add to this, the  further awareness of the environmental destruction we knowingly just keep heaping onto the planet through billions of tiny actions (and several huge actions– like our lovely full-steam-ahead Tar Sands projects); these addictions that we can’t seem to wrap our head around. We’re in a strange place where we know what we do cannot be sustained and we carry on, not in a (more honest) spirit of ‘live and let die’, but this is where it leads. We put on an extra sweater in the house to reduce the heating bill, while planning our next trip to Mexico or wherever… carbon footprint/climate change be damned. We’re convinced that the time for change was yesterday.

Sometimes I think of our society as really stuck in the past, where dreams of 60’s era expansion and the hope of the return to resource extraction-based ‘prosperity’ (while stage-managing a photo-op with Miss Millennial Sustainability) can get you elected, in desperate (and embarrassing) Reagan-era style.

There is an unspoken shrugging social agreement that says “ok, we’re screwed, and everything is obviously wrong, and we keep going in the wrong direction, and so many people are so unhappy; but what else are we going to do?– we’ve invested too much to change now”. The first part of this is where the Occupy Movement is now, I think. The lament is widespread and vocalizing it horizontally— without a top-down structure, and leader-less — makes it all the more potent. The disappointment (with Obama, with corporate responsibility, with all levels of government and their corruption as they respond to corporate wealth and power and not to the people) is very real. It’s the first step but it can’t stop there; next comes the restructuring of the widespread complaint into real action beyond politics and beyond petty changes to the system to make it just a little fairer. Major structural changes are coming.

There is no doubt in my mind that 2012 will bring a lot of change, and my hope is that the people who’ve been working on the sidelines, building local communities economies where people work together to serve a common end benefit, will see a lot more people on their side. 2012 is the United Nations year of the Cooperative — a viable alternative to the pyramid schemes the planet’s ‘99%’ have suffered under for decades. The mind-shift that has begun in the realm of ideas needs to be reflected by the marketplace, where the concept of ‘value’ itself needs to explode and include instead value to the society, to the environment, and even value as an intangible benefit to the future generations alone– way beyond the dollar and instant personal gratification on a material level. This change may bring lots of residual conflicts as the 1% are revealed as sociopaths rather than our supposed role models.

Occupy 2011

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the matrix

Well, it’s been a long while since the last post. It’s good to have a bit of time to reflecting back on the last year, as it has been largely guided by our efforts to revive community radio here in Powell River. As I have been writing on the cjmp blog (63 posts in just over a year), the trajectory has been steep, with the need to provide programming competing with the need to raise cash to be able to purchase the tech that will make the programming possible. Of course, with few live shows on at the beginning, it was all the harder to get listeners, members, sustaining members and sponsors. So, it was a bit of a ‘chicken and egg’ situation. But I think we got through the roughest patches. Enough people see at least the potential value in having an independent, non-profit community radio station to support it as its current level.

Apart from the big money-maker fundraiser this summer (A Conversation with Naomi Klein and Avi Lewis), one aspect of our fundraising that really hit a note with some people is our ‘sustaining membership’ option; small, regular, automated monthly contributions that 25 or so people have engaged in, that have meant so much not only in terms of dollars, but in terms of sheer commitment to the cause. Yes, there’s that S-word again, as much as I hate what it is often watered down to mean (by City officials and their sycophants): a Green™ lubricant, the sustaining membership has repatriated the word for me. It’s got staying power. Power in staying with the program, and holding it up and together for the long haul.

I have to remind myself that community comes from ideas, moments and organizations such as this, and maybe even especially this: a collection of individuals with dramatically different backgrounds, work ethics, social, technical, and artistic skills and interests, who value communication itself, and not so much what is actually being said.

This, in Powell River this week,  where in our municipal election, it’s a choice between a rock and a very hard place. With a vocal minority population that is this progressive (but poor), it looks like the 1% will be mayor, yet again. Or in this case, more than ever. I know the radio station is giving some hope for change, and the reports on Occupy Wall Street (and everywhere else) on shows like Democracy Now each weekday and progressive dj’s help to accentuate the global cry for change. But the vision is necessarily blurry and muddled, in a culture where crisp, snappy primary colours have proven so alluring and electable. It’s a starry-eyed nostalgia for 1960’s era expansion that negates everything we know about the effects of such. It’s not transition, totally infantile and criminally irresponsible under the guise of Business-as-usual 3.0.

And It really looks like we’re going to have to plunge farther down still, and that we will actually have to hit rock bottom (as we always suspected we’d have to), which is exactly when those who are hastening our descent will turn back and blame us for deficiencies, whilst racing back to their vaults.

On Stalemates

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"Stalemate": a no-win situation; The two of Swords in the Tarot deck, signifies:

  • denying true feelings
  • stifling a natural response
  • keeping another at arm’s length
  • hiding distress
  • turning a deaf ear
  • being defensive
  • maintaining your cool
  • avoiding the truth
  • refusing to look at facts
  • pretending everything’s fine
  • ignoring the warning signs
  • closing eyes to what’s going on
  • avoiding an unpleasantness
  • choosing not to know; refusing to decide
  • afraid to act; unwilling to rock the boat
  • reaching an impasse
  • staying stuck; staying on the fence

Summer is a great time to catch up on podcasts and the plethora of audio recordings out there because it stays light out til so late that video before 10pm is just silly, and you can listen to music, radio or other types of audio while say, gardening, or walking around.

Just this week, I went on a bit of a zizekathon —that’s Slavoj Žižek, Slovenian philosopher, psychoanalyst and cultural theorist; his latest book is called Living in the End Times. Following up on a very interesting stint on Democracy Now last week (rebroadcast on CJMP 90.1 FM) where Žižek appeared with host Amy Goodman and Wikileaks’s Julian Assange (watch the full 2-hour talk here), I came across another talk featuring Žižek where he talks about Capital and ‘environment’, where he posits humans as an environmental and ecological force. Žižek always rubs a bit more of the patina of reality, often coming up with answers that are the opposite of what seems to be obvious. Here, the murderer is the willing victim, and the do-gooder is revealed as a big part of  (if not the main cause of) the problem. There’s a documentary film where he looks at certain movies with a psychoanalyst’s eye, that I recommend watching if you’re into this sort of thing; look up The Pervert’s Guide to the Cinema.

Anyhow, this got me to thinking that with what we all apparently know about how we are dealing with the state of things — namely what we’re doing to the planet and all its inhabitants — if we’re now safely beyond the “re-education” phase; can’t we assume that a good percentage of us know what we’re doing? Didn’t we know all along what we were doing? I mean, honestly. It’s insulting to own supposed intelligence: you spray things that kill little animals and insects; doesn’t it stand to reason that this could be damaging ourselves as well?

 I think that enough of us now consciously know what the problems are, and should be able to tackle and counteract them even in our own personal lives. And yet, we don’t; not in any significant way. We should see it happening everywhere, and in significant ways. Sometimes it’s like all I see are monster trucks. That’s progress… toward something.

Some, like Tony Wright (visit his kick-starter campaign page for the film Molecules of madness) suggest it’s a kind of chemical imbalance/reaction that makes us behave this way. Others, like Thomas H. Greco Jr.  ( Reinventing Money) as also heard on KMO’s C-Realm podcast, compare the current state of Mankind to the (other) butterfly effect: where we are the caterpillars gorging ourselves on life’s bounty, raping the entire planet because —like a caterpillar— we are hard-wired to consume until something in us snaps. And then we will retreat  into cocoons and magically transform into the beautiful, lightly-treading and beneficial butterflies that live only on help re-pollinate the planet.

Žižek suggests that humans are unwilling to see ourselves as ‘environmental’ and how that should be; if we witnessed any species replicating and devouring resources as we ourselves do, we’d surely see this as an environmental hazard and deal with the problem. Of course, this takes us into some very dark areas where in nature, there must be catastophic drop off when population exceeds food supply (plus other resources). We maintain a willful disbelief in our human ecological power. We abnegate our power to have been able to create the disaster, and so wash our hands of our ability to stop doing so, let alone fix anything.

I really think the time for hand-wringing has – in a true Žižekian conclusion – not even begun. We’ve been play-acting through the crisis, hoping to fool ourselves into thinking we’re not really the problem: “’there are cycles of global warming’; ‘there is enough food to feed everyone’; ‘if we don’t consume like this, someone else will (typically pointing to China and India)’; ‘if I fix myself through meditation and yoga I will change my perception of the world, and that’s the best I can do to transform the planet’; ‘that flood would have happened anyway’; ‘humans are crafty and while technology may have got us into this, it’ll get us out’… etc.

There is something deep going on, which upon recognition, may cause that snapping sound (or will it sound more like trumpets) that we are primordially attuned to; it may signal the time to build our cocoons, in whatever form they may take, and dissolve into a strange little sleep.