Saturday, April 29, 2006

PSAC Convention, etc.

I'm off to the Triennial Convention of the Public Service Alliance of Canada for a week, and the annual meeting of the Canadian Anthropology Society for a few days after that, so expect sporadic blogging for a while. I'll have some good material for posts on my return, though.

The PSAC Convention promises to be interesting--there will be a top leadership change, as National President Nycole Turmel steps down after two terms in office, and there will also be a call for a dues increase to build up the union strike fund.

In the meantime, some random comments on current events, in no particular order of importance:

The album. I'm an old Neil Young fan, and once included a reference to "Don't Let It Bring You Down" in a piece of academic work. At his best, the man is a lyric poet. He is not at his best here. It's good political stuff, but I get the feeling that,
as Theodore Sturgeon once said of H.G. Wells, he's sold his birthright for a pot of message.

The deal. OK, we've paid the US a billion dollars of protection money to keep free trade optically alive. The pragmatists are already out in force--Gordon Ritchie has a piece in the Citizen today, and the Globe and Mail has weighed in with a dreary editorial. Somehow, beatifying Stephen Harper for being shaken down, though, as the Right spinmeisters are now doing apace, makes me feel a little queasy. At best, it's making a virtue out of Realpolitik necessity. The US is the Ishmael of the world--free trade is good for everyone but them. Harper is really just another mugging victim.

The bomb. Yeah, I'm nervous too. Iran has been sat upon by colonial and "post-colonial" powers for long enough to create collective madness. So, what do we do about it? I mean, as progressives? Compared to
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Saddam Hussein was a model of reason and stability. I have long opposed imperialist adventures like the Iraq and Afghanistan incursions, but...what about Iran? Is there room for a Left discourse of action that differs from the frothy ones on the Right? Serious debaters only, please.

The protest. And speaking of froth, the Caledonia standoff has the folks over at Dust My Broom a tad upset. A loyal reader and one of the Dusters are calling for napalm and white phosphorus. All in fun, of course. Steve Janke, meanwhile, is going on about a fool at Babble (a struck worksite, by the way--perhaps more on that at a later time) who called for Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan to "die like flies," and segueing into a personal attack on Judy Rebick.
The aforesaid fool was set upon, rightly, by other Babblers. But nary a peep out of Steve or anyone else on the Right when it comes to joking about mass-murdering Native people. A little hypocrisy in evidence here? Naw, you think?

Enough for now.



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