A Letter from a Prolific Correspondent
53 minutes ago
"What is required is a theatre without spectators..." ~ Jacques RancièreIdle No More has inspired a movement that's not only responsible for some cool art by Dwayne Bird, it has also been challenging traditional hierarchies everywhere, within and without native communities. As Jacques Rancière would say, it's a form of dissensus, or a dissent from inequality, and an insensibility. By not adhering to conventional methods of protest, Idle No More has been reconfiguring the sensory apparatus that permits participation in legitimate political struggle. The movement is located beyond the pale of acceptability and thus appears as irrational and insensible in the best way possible.
“If there’s any hope for America, it lies in a revolution, and if there’s any hope for a revolution in America, it lies in getting Elvis Presley to become Che Guevara” ~ Phil OchsOne of the great unheeded lessons Phil Ochs left behind was to avoid mistaking celebrity fame for political substance. This drove him crazy as he yearned to be as famous as Elvis or Dylan.
"Phil Ochs was the political songwriter Bob Dylan should've been" ~ Billy BraggOchs seemed oblivious to the fact that celebrities are ultimately commodities celebrated by fans who place consumerism above other attachments, especially revolution. Most fans have already bought into the system and have relinquished any commitment to fundamentally changing the status quo.
"God help the troubadour who tries to be a star"By the time a "Presley-Guevara" hybrid emerges, the fan's priority becomes obtaining a piece of the product, not engaging in any form of social change. In the end, maybe this is what killed Phil Ochs - a fan of both Elvis and John Wayne - the realization that he had been playing the chords of fame, mistaking celebrities for revolutionaries.
"So play the chords of love, my friend
Play the chords of pain
But if you want to keep your song
Don't, don't, don't
Don't play the chords of fame"
"The effect of killing Section 13 will be debated for years among anti-racist groups and civil libertarians. But it is undoubtedly a turning point. Since 1999, Canadians who felt aggrieved by material transmitted online have been encouraged to seek redress under federal human rights law, which targeted material 'likely to expose a person or persons to hatred or contempt' based on grounds of discrimination like race, religion or sexual orientation. Storseth’s bill repeals the provision outright, leaving the Criminal Code as the primary bulwark against the dissemination of hate propaganda by electronic means."Section 13 read:
13. (1) It is a discriminatory practice for a person or a group of persons acting in concert to communicate telephonically or to cause to be so communicated, repeatedly, in whole or in part by means of the facilities of a telecommunication undertaking within the legislative authority of Parliament, any matter that is likely to expose a person or persons to hatred or contempt by reason of the fact that person or those persons are identifiable on the basis of a prohibited ground of discrimination.
(2) For greater certainty, subsection (1) applies in respect of a matter that is communicated by means of a computer or a group of interconnected or related computers, including the Internet, or any similar means of communication, but does not apply in respect of a matter that is communicated in whole or in part by means of the facilities of a broadcasting undertaking.
"The CBA notes that the evidentiary standard under the Criminal Code is high; the offence must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. By contrast, the Human Rights Act provides a lower standard of proof, the civil standard based on a balance of probabilities. The lower standard offers protection to individuals and groups who are the target of hate speech that may be very damaging, but does not meet the criminal law standard. According to the CBA, Section 13(1) 'protects minorities from psychological harm caused by the dissemination of racial views which inevitably result in prejudice, discrimination and the potential of physical violence.'This last point is crucial: in Canada, unlike in the U.S. where the First Amendment prohibits restrictions on freedom of speech, Section 1 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms actually places "reasonable limits" on freedom of expression. Canada has learned through its own history the value of protecting human rights to ensure that diversity flourishes, but Harper's regime is devoted to clawing back these hard-won victories. Section 13 may have needed to be reformed, but it was a national crime to kill it.
The CBA reiterates the Supreme Court's position that the right to freedom of expression is not absolute and limits to this right can be warranted."
"Live for yourself, you will live in vain
Live for others, you will live again...
Pass it on"
“Kill white people and get paid for it? What’s not to like?”I've just returned from a trip to Jamaica, a country that celebrates slave revolts through such "national heroes" as Sam Sharpe and Paul Bogle. When I saw Quentin Tarantino's new flick Django Unchained in Ocho Rios, just down the road from where Christopher Columbus landed and Marcus Garvey was born, the predominantly black audience was vocal in its support of Jamie Foxx's bloody vengeance during the film's final climax. Jamaica is a country that harbours no illusions when it comes to the blunt violence necessitated by the "shitstem" of slavery. It's also a reality that Tarantino has confronted throughout his career.
"Slave driver the table is turnedTarantino makes a lot of people very uncomfortable. He's a persistent nag that won't let anyone off the hook for past injustices, a constant reminder of the debt that continues to plague the culture. That he pulls it off with panache and biting humour is all the more reason to celebrate his work. Enter Django Unchained.
Catch a fire, you're gonna get burned" ~ The Wailers