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Solidarities of Resistance: Liberation from Education: Reflections on education, colonization, and freedom | The Dominion
"In today's society, school is sometimes spoken about as a necessity for a happy life and as an inherent good. The concept of education is thought to be synonymous with learning, and separates those who are knowledgeable from those who are deficient. This is true even in radical pedagogy circles, where education is portrayed as a universal need and a means of liberation.

Only at the edges of radical movements are people calling the very concept of education into question, creating a culture of school resistance they say rejects the commodification of education and its connections to state building, and even genocide.

“Education is a concept that co-evolved with capitalist society, which has long been known by dissenters to be a tool for streamlining capital accumulation, with classrooms that resemble factory floors, and bells that mirror the break-time whistles,” says University of Victoria professor Jason Price. In his book In Lieu of Education, Ivan Illich pointed out that the word “education” only appeared in the English language in 1530, at which time it was a radical idea and a novelty.

“Schools have been functioning for some time to create students with obedient minds, rarely pondering beyond the controlled learning habits they promote,” says Dustin Rivers, an Indigenous youth from the Sḵwxwú7mesh Nation.

Before the process of education was commodified, says Rivers, “learning was present everywhere in my traditional culture. Even our word for 'human being' can be deciphered into a 'learning person'.”

Important skills were demonstrated through mentorship, and were inseparable from culture. “Some of these aspects of the traditional culture remain” says Rivers, "but it often does so in spite of institutions like schooling, politics, and occupations attempting to dissuade or direct focus towards lifestyles that don't reinforce traditional ways of life."

A look back through history indicates that the separation of learning from community and the natural world is not only intertwined with the rise of capitalism, but also with the formation of nation-states. “All nation-states practice a continual effort to homogenize, using for this purpose the institutions and particularly education,” writes Gustavo Esteva, author of Escaping Education.

In his book, Esteva notes that of the 5,000 languages left in the world, only one per cent exist in Europe and North America, the birthplace of the nation-state and where education is most prevalent. Thus, says Esteva, where education goes, culture suffers.

A Mexican study shows one impact of education on culture: In San Andres Chicahuaxtla, Oaxaca, 30 per cent of youngsters who attend school totally ignore their elders' knowledge of soil culture, and their ability to live off of the land; 60 per cent acquire a dispersed knowledge of it; and 10 per cent are considered able to sustain, regenerate, and pass it on. In contrast, 95 per cent of youngsters in the same village who do not attend school acquire the knowledge that defines and distinguishes their culture.

Schooling as a tool to homogenize Indigenous youth into national patterns is especially obvious in Canada and the United States, writes Ward Churchill in his book Kill the Indian, Save the Man. In both countries, says Churchill, genocidal policies designed to “compel the adoption of Christianity, reshape traditional modes of governance along the lines of corporate boards, and disperse native populations as widely as possible” were carried out through compulsory boarding schools. According to Churchill, these schools were administered with such vigour that the survival rate of children was roughly 50 per cent. According to the Assembly of First Nations, the last Canadian residential school closed in 1996.

“What came down through compulsory schooling was very harsh, very damaging, and very brutal for our communities,” says Rivers. “It still is to this day, because it is all a part of the assimilation process. There is a responsibility for us to find new paths, and new ways.”

“I have a lot of suspicion about the entire school model," says Matt Hern, a long time advocate for school resistance. "I think pretty much all its basic premises and constructions are suspect—bound up with a colonial and colonizing logic aimed at warehousing kids for cheap and efficient training of industrial inputs.”

School resistance is a movement that attempts to undermine dominant narratives around school, and to broaden the deschooling movement to create new ways of engaging and learning together. “I strongly believe we need counter-institutions, ones that can support people and their passions, assist different types of learning, introduce people to new subjects and experiences, pass knowledge down (and up!), provide meaningful work, pay fair wages if possible, build a community infrastructure, reach out to people from different backgrounds,” says filmmaker Astra Taylor.

There are many people in the deschooling community who are doing just that. Hern co-founded the Purple Thistle Centre with eight youth 10 years ago. Today, the Thistle is a thriving deschooling centre in Vancouver.

“We need to be building alternative social institutions—places for kids, youth and families that begin to create a different set of possibilities,” he says. “Something new that begins to describe and construct a different way of living in the world, and a different world.”

Unschooling is simply defined as life-learning. Unschoolers spend their time exploring, learning and doing their passion, often with rigour and on their own time. Unschooling does not mean anti-intellectual; in fact, according to proponents, it is the opposite. “Unschooling is that very moment when you are really sucked into something, whether it's an idea or project and you just want to study it or be involved in it, master it,” says Taylor.

There is certainly a strong emphasis on deschooling at the Thistle, but that does not mean the centre is only run and used by youth who are unschoolers. In fact, most of the youth are local schooled kids. Of the 25 youth on the collective, five are unschoolers, and a few have college degrees. Out of 200 plus youth who use the space, the ratio is the same.

The Thistle is not anti-school per se, rather it is about creating something new, according to Hern. “We wanted to rethink it all—rather than start with 'school' as the template—let’s start over entirely and create an institution that is for kids, by kids, has their thriving in mind, and takes that idea seriously, however it might look,” he says.

While there are also alternative schools with mandates aimed at undermining and changing conventional school, Hern says they are often part of the problem. “These schools are inevitably lovely, nurturing inspiring places, but if they are providing one more great opportunity for the most privileged people in world history, then they are regressive, not progressive projects. They are making the fundamental inequities of the world worse.”

Even the schools that challenge that status quo in a meaningful way are subject to corporate and government interference, he says. Although Taylor and Hern describe deschooling as a collective, grassroots effort, it is still very much on the fringe of society and social consciousness. The reasons are many; primary is the belief that school is inherently good for us.

“The stigma around drop-outs and incomplete graduations is daunting, and you rarely hear of a positive outlook on leaving school,” says Rivers. Despite this, he left school and became a thriving unschooler who has spent the past few years reconnecting and building his community. He currently runs Squamish Language workshops for his community on his reserve.

Indigenous people face an especially difficult stigma for resisting school. Cheyenne La Vallee, from the Sḵwxwú7mesh Nation, also left school to become an unschooler. “It’s considered shameful if you don't finish high school,” she says. “In my experience, I did face a lot of resistance to the idea of unschooling from family members and friends.”

La Vallee knew that schooling and colonization went hand in hand, but she had never "thought it through that the act of unschooling can be a direct link to begin the process of decolonization.”

“Once I left school I found a deep love for my family and myself, my community and culture, life and my landbase, where I got to actually learn my culture, language and land," says La Vallee. "Going back to my land taught me about how my ancestors lived and I saw that as a way to decolonize.”

“As an unschooler I felt very empowered as a citizen—I volunteered, I wrote a zine, I protested, I read widely, I made stuff—but when I briefly attended public high school I suddenly became a student, my interests were compartmentalized and my sense of agency was dramatically diminished," says Taylor.

Schools can be a barrier to ones own cultures and values. “School does everything in its power to make you feel disempowered and ashamed for being Indigenous, for being a youth, for being alive,” says La Vallee.

But leaving school isn't easy for many to imagine. “Narrowly describing de/unschooling as simply 'getting out of school' tends to privilege those with resources, time and money. Generally, middle-class, two-parent, white families,” says Hern.

The same can be said for homeschooling, says Hern. “I think there are some things that many schools do well and are worth considering and respecting. Schools tend to put a lot of different kids together and when you're there you are forced to learn to deal with difference: people who don’t look, act, think or behave like you do. That’s really important, and often deschoolers end up hanging out with a lot of people who are very similar to themselves.” Which is why he thinks deschooling needs to be a form of active solidarity and activism.

An important … [more]
carlabergman  mikejobrownlee  gustavoesteva  2010  resistance  liberation  education  unschooling  deschooling  vancouver  britishcolumbia  indigeneity  indigenous  society  learning  capitalism  accumulation  jasonprice  ivanillich  obedience  mentorship  culture  wardchuchill  genocide  firstnations  matthern  schools  schooling  purplethistlecentre  alternative  lcproject  openstudioproject  youth  grassroots  decolonization  homeschool  difference  activism  solidarity 
march 2018 by robertogreco
Reasons To Be Cheerful
"I’m starting an online project here that is an continuation and extension of some writing and talks I’ve done recently.

The project will be cross-platform—some elements may appear on social media, some on a website and some might manifest as a recording or performance… much of the published material will be collected here.

What is Reasons To Be Cheerful?

I imagine, like a lot of you who look back over the past year, it seems like the world is going to Hell. I wake up in the morning, look at the paper, and go, "Oh no!" Often I’m depressed for half the day. It doesn’t matter how you voted on Brexit, the French elections or the U.S. election—many of us of all persuasions and party affiliations feel remarkably similar.

As a kind of remedy and possibly as a kind of therapy, I started collecting good news that reminded me, "Hey, there's actually some positive stuff going on!" Almost all of these initiatives are local, they come from cities or small regions who have taken it upon themselves to try something that might offer a better alternative than what exits. Hope is often local. Change begins in communities.

I will post thoughts, images and audio relating to this initiative on whichever platform seems suitable and I’ll welcome contributions from others, if they follow the guidelines I’ve set for myself.

These bits of good news tend to fall into a few categories:

Education
Health
Civic Engagement
Science/Tech
Urban/Transportation
Energy
Culture

Culture, music and the arts might include, optimistically, some of my own work and projects, but just as much I hope to promote the work of others that has a proven track record.

Why do I do this? Why take the time? Therapy, I guess, though once in awhile I meet someone who has the connections and skills but might not be aware of some of these initiatives and innovations, so I can pass the information on. I sense that not all of this is widely known.

Emulation of successful models- 4 guidelines

I laid out 4 guidelines as I collected these examples:

1. Most of the good stuff is local. It’s more bottom up, community and individually driven. There are exceptions.

2. Many examples come from all over the world, but despite the geographical and cultural distances in many cases others can adopt these ideas—these initiatives can be utilized by cultures other than where they originated.

3. Very important. All of these examples have been tried and proven to be successful. These are not merely good IDEAS; they’ve been put into practice and have produced results.

4. The examples are not one-off, isolated or human interest, feel-good stories. They’re not stories of one amazing teacher, doctor, musician or activist- they’re about initiatives that can be copied and scaled up.

If it works, copy it

For example, in an area I know something about, there was an innovative bike program in Bogota, and years later, I saw that program become a model for New York and for other places.

The Ciclovia program in Bogota"
davidbyrne  politics  urban  urbanism  bogotá  curitiba  addiction  portugal  colombia  brazil  brasil  jaimelerner  cities  society  policy  qualityoflife  economics  drugs  health  healthcare  crime  ciclovia  bikes  biking  bikesharing  activism  civics  citybike  nyc  medellín  afroreggae  vigariogeral  favelas  obesity  childabuse  education  casamantequilla  harlem  civicengagment  engagement  women'smarch  northcarolina  ingridlafleur  afrotopia  detroit  seattle  citizenuniversity  tishuanajones  sunra  afrofuturism  stlouis  vancouver  britishcolumbia  transportation  publictransit  transit  velib  paris  climatechange  bipartisanship  energy  science  technology  culture  music  art  arts  behavior  medellin 
january 2018 by robertogreco
Oh The Places You Should Know
"OhThePlacesYouShouldKnow.com is a Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish) language place name map tool created by the non-profit Kwi Awt Stelmexw. This tool has been created for educational purposes, and to assist people in calling for the the official reclaiming of Indigenous place names in the homelands of the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh peoples.

This online map is curated by Sḵwx̱wú7mesh language-speaker and teacher Khelsilem, of Sḵwx̱wú7mesh-Kwakwa̱ka̱’wakw descent, in collaboration with web developer Victor Temprano and curriculum developer Nicki Benson. Icons designed by Corrina Keeling and Khelsilem.

Many of the names on this map were collected from a 1937 Sḵwx̱wú7mesh place names map developed by the City of Vancouver and August Jack Khatsalano of the Squamish Nation. That map has been updated and re-released in tandem with this website, and is available for purchase here."
maps  mapping  canada  britishcolumbia  indigenous  squamish  placenames  naming  names  geography  khelsilem  victortemprano  corrinakeeling  nickibenson  1937  vancouver  jackkhatsalano  firstnations 
july 2017 by robertogreco
Joyful Threads Productions Presents Common Notions: Handbook Not Required
"Directed by Carla Bergman and Corin Browne and Edited by John Collins

“Perhaps half of humankind today, have nothing that they can call real community, real commons, and then how we can create the new commons, the new possibilities of the community…” What does it look like to create alternatives, here and now, to the social isolation, hyper-individualism, the ongoing disappearance of community space, and the exclusion of youth from the world? “I think that we leave young people out of really important conversations –out of work– they’re in a bubble, they’re hidden away and we’re losing out …”

Open for 15 years, The Purple Thistle Centre in East Vancouver was a unique project that continues to inspire folks from all over the world. A free, open, and collectively run youth art and activism space, the Thistle itself is a testament to the capacity to co-create the worlds we want — the communities we strive for — when we work together.

The film explores what made the Thistle a thriving space, as a flexible institution that was animated by trust and horizontal relationships with youth in their own communities. Shot on location in both Vancouver and Mexico, Common Notions is narrated by Carla Bergman, the last adult director at the Thistle. The story weaves together interviews with radical education theorists Matt Hern, Astra Taylor, Gustavo Esteva, Khelsilem, Richard J. F. Day and madhu suri prakash with Thistle founders, and as well as youth collective members. We hope the film will inspire more curiosity and conversation about how we can build social movements that include all members of our communities, and create a more just and thriving world together."
carlabergman  purplethistle  unschooling  deschooling  documentary  sfsh  corinbrowne  johncollins  vancouver  britishcolumbia  matthern  astrataylor  gustavoesteva  kelsilem  richardfjday  madhusuriprakash  mexico  youth  activism  community  lcproject  openstudioproject 
january 2017 by robertogreco
Johann Hari & Naomi Klein: Does Capitalism Drive Drug Addiction? | Democracy Now!
[See also: https://pinboard.in/u:robertogreco/b:97d99d633169 ]

"And the first kind of chink in my doubt about that was explained to me by another great Canadian, Gabor Maté in Vancouver, who some of you will know the work of, amazing man. And he pointed out to me, if any of us step out of here today and we’re hit by a bus, right, God forbid, and we break our hip, we’ll be taken to hospital. It’s very likely we’ll be given a lot of diamorphine. Diamorphine is heroin. It’s much better heroin than you’ll score on the streets, because it’s medically pure, right? It’s really potent heroin. You’ll be given it for quite a long period of time. Every hospital in the developed world, that’s happening, right? If what we think about addiction is right, what should—I mean, those people should leave as addicts. That never happens, virtually never happens. You will have noticed your grandmother was not turned into a junkie by her hip replacement operation, right?

I didn’t really know what to do with it. When Gabor first explained that to me, I didn’t really know how to process that, until I met Bruce Alexander. Bruce is a professor in Vancouver, and Bruce explained something to me. The idea of addiction we have, the one that we all implicitly believe—I certainly did—comes from a series of experiments that were done earlier in the 20th century. They’re really simple experiments. You can do them yourself at home if you’re feeling a little bit sadistic. Get a rat and put it in a cage and give it two water bottles. One is just water, and one is water laced with either heroin or cocaine. If you do that, the rat will almost always prefer the drugged water and almost always kill itself very quickly, right, within a couple of weeks. So there you go. It’s our theory of addiction.

Bruce comes along in the '70s and said, "Well, hang on a minute. We're putting the rat in an empty cage. It’s got nothing to do. Let’s try this a little bit differently." So Bruce built Rat Park, and Rat Park is like heaven for rats. Everything your rat about town could want, it’s got in Rat Park. It’s got lovely food. It’s got sex. It’s got loads of other rats to be friends with. It’s got loads of colored balls. Everything your rat could want. And they’ve got both the water bottles. They’ve got the drugged water and the normal water. But here’s the fascinating thing. In Rat Park, they don’t like the drugged water. They hardly use any of it. None of them ever overdose. None of them ever use in a way that looks like compulsion or addiction. There’s a really interesting human example I’ll tell you about in a minute, but what Bruce says is that shows that both the right-wing and left-wing theories of addiction are wrong. So the right-wing theory is it’s a moral failing, you’re a hedonist, you party too hard. The left-wing theory is it takes you over, your brain is hijacked. Bruce says it’s not your morality, it’s not your brain; it’s your cage. Addiction is largely an adaptation to your environment.

There was a really interesting human experiment going on at the same time as Rat Park, which kind of demonstrates this really interestingly. It was called the Vietnam War, right? Twenty percent of American troops in Vietnam were using heroin a lot, right? And if you look at the reports from the time, they were really worried. They thought—because they believed the old theory of addiction. They were like, "My god, these guys are all going to come home, and we’re going to have loads of heroin addicts on the streets of the United States." What happened? They came home, and virtually all of them just stopped, because if you’re taken out of a hellish, pestilential jungle, where you don’t want to be, you can die at any moment, and you go back to a nice life in Wichita, Kansas, you can bear to be present in your life. We could all be drunk now. Forget the drug laws. We could all be drunk now, right? None of you look very drunk. I’m guessing you’re not, right? That’s because we’ve got something we want to do. We’ve got things we want to be present for in our lives.

So, I think this has—Bruce taught us about how this has huge implications, obviously, for the drug war. The drug war is based on the idea that the chemicals cause the addiction, and we need to physically eradicate these chemicals from the face of the Earth. If in fact it’s not the chemicals, if in fact it’s isolation and pain that cause the addiction, then it suddenly throws into sharp contrast the idea that we need to impose more isolation and pain on addicts in order to make them stop, which is what we currently do.

But it actually has much deeper implications that I think really relate to what Naomi writes about in This Changes Everything, and indeed before. We’ve created a society where significant numbers of our fellow citizens cannot bear to be present in their lives without being drugged, right? We’ve created a hyperconsumerist, hyperindividualist, isolated world that is, for a lot of people, much more like that first cage than it is like the bonded, connected cages that we need. The opposite of addiction is not sobriety. The opposite of addiction is connection. And our whole society, the engine of our society, is geared towards making us connect with things. If you are not a good consumer capitalist citizen, if you’re spending your time bonding with the people around you and not buying stuff—in fact, we are trained from a very young age to focus our hopes and our dreams and our ambitions on things we can buy and consume. And drug addiction is really a subset of that."



"JOHANN HARI: I think Gabor—yeah, I mean, I think we’re all on a continuum, and we all have some behaviors where the rational part of us doesn’t want to do it, but the irrational part of us does it anyway. I mean, yeah. I mean, cake. You only need to say the word "cake," and everyone knows exactly what I mean. But so, yeah—and, of course, it’s a continuum where you’ve got cake at one end and, you know, extreme—and it doesn’t have to be—obviously, you’d think of crack or meth, but actually gambling addiction, or you can have all of the catastrophic addiction and no chemicals. No one thinks you snort a roulette wheel, you know.

But I’d be interested, actually, if you think, though—do you think economic—partly—so you’ve got this kind of atomized society, and I wonder if there’s a relationship between this atomized, more addiction-prone society and the panic at the idea of economic growth not happening. I agree with you about fossil fuels, but do you think the part of the kind of—because one of the most controversial parts of Naomi’s book is—I’m baffled by why anyone finds this controversial, but Naomi says at one point we may have to return to the living standards of the 1970s, which Elizabeth Kolbert thought was like saying we have to go live in caves. And there were bad things about the 1970s—don’t get me wrong—but they weren’t living in caves. And I’m [inaudible] about—there’s something about the idea of like having less stuff that just panics people. Do you think it’s related to this atomization?

NAOMI KLEIN: Well, it’s interesting. I mean, I think we are—I think it’s this self-reinforcing cycle, right? Where we’re getting from—we’re projecting onto our consumer products our identity, our community, and we are constructing ourselves through consumption, and so that if you tell people they have to consume less, it’s not seen as you want to take away my stuff, it’s you want to take away myself. Like it is a very profound—

JOHANN HARI: Oh, that’s fascinating.

NAOMI KLEIN: —panic that it induces, that has to do with this surrogate role that like we’re shopping for so much more than stuff in our culture, right? So, but yeah, I mean, what’s interesting, too, I mean, all the debates about economic growth. Like if we let go of growth as our primary measure of success, then we would have to talk about what we actually value, like what is it that we want. And that’s what we can’t really do, because then we have to—you know, then we’re having a conversation about values and well-being and defining that. And so, growth allows us to avoid that conversation that we are not able to have, for a whole bunch of reasons. Now, I—"
johannhari  naomiklein  addiction  drugs  2015  capitalism  environment  brucealexander  warondrugs  pain  gabormaté  medicine  psychology  policy  consumerism  consumption  materialism  individualism  economics  growth  values  identity  society  elizabethkolbert  joãogoulão  decriminalization  joãofigueira  inequality  prostitution  switzerland  britishcolumbia  arizona  racism  judygarland  donnaleonehamm  marciapowell  vancouver  addicts  billieholiday  harryanslinger  davidcameron  josephmccarthy  legalization  dehumanization  harmreduction  prisons 
april 2015 by robertogreco
Johann Hari: Everything We Know About the Drug War & Addiction is Wrong | Democracy Now!
"If you had said to me four years ago, when I started on the really long journey through nine countries to write this book, "What causes, say, heroin addiction?" I would have looked at you like you were a little bit simple-minded, and I would have said, "Well, heroin causes heroin addiction." We’ve been told a story for a hundred years that is so deep in our culture that we just take it for granted. We basically think if you, me and—I guess there’s about 20 people in this office—if we all took heroin for 20 days, by day 21, because there are chemical hooks in heroin, our bodies would physically need the heroin, and we would be heroin addicts. That’s what we think heroin addiction is.

The first thing that—I had a really personal reason to want to look into this: We had a lot of addiction in my family. One of my earliest memories is of trying to wake up one of my relatives and not being able to. And one of the first things, when I was looking at what really causes addiction, that alerted me that that story may—there’s something wrong with that story, someone just explained to me, if one of us steps out here today and we get hit by a car, right, God forbid, and we break our hip, we’ll be taken to hospital. There’s a very good chance we’ll be given a lot of diamorphine. Diamorphine is heroin. It’s much better heroin than you’ll score on the streets, because it’s 100 percent pure as opposed to, you know, massively contaminated. You’ll be given it for quite a long period of time. That is happening in every hospital in the United States. All over the developed world, people are being given lots of heroin for long periods of time. You will have noticed something odd about that: Your grandmother was not turned into a junkie by her hip operation. If what we thought about addiction was right, those people should be leaving hospital as addicts. In fact, they’re not.

When I learned that, I didn’t really know what to do with it, until I went and met an incredible man called Bruce Alexander, who’s a professor in Vancouver. He explained to me the old theory of addiction comes from a series of experiments that were done earlier in the 20th century. They were actually featured in a famous anti-drugs ad from the '80s in America. Very simple experiment your viewers can do at home if they're feeling a little bit sadistic: You get a rat, and you put it in a cage, and it’s got two water bottles. One is just water, and one is water laced with either heroin or cocaine. If you do that, the rat will almost always prefer the drugged water and almost always kill itself. And so, it was concluded, there you go: That’s addiction.

But in the '70s, Bruce comes along and says, "Well, hang on a minute. We're putting the rat in an empty cage. It’s got nothing to do except drink the drugged water. Let’s do this differently." So Bruce built Rat Park. Rat Park is like heaven for rats. They’ve got loads of cheese—actually, I don’t think it’s cheese; it’s some very nice food that rats like—loads of colored balls, loads of friends. They can have loads of sex. Anything a rat can want, it’s got in Rat Park. And they’ve got both the water bottles: They’ve got the normal water and the drugged water. But here’s the fascinating thing. They obviously try both the water bottles; they don’t know what’s in them. They don’t like the drugged water. The rats in Rat Park use very little of it. They never overdose. And they never use in a way that looks like addiction or compulsion, which is fascinating. There’s a really interesting human example—there’s loads of human examples, but I can give you a specific one in a minute.

But what Bruce says is this shows that both the right-wing theory of addiction and the left-wing theories are wrong. The right-wing theory is, you know, you’re a hedonist, you party too hard, you know, that you indulge yourself—it’s a moral flaw. The left-wing theory is your brain gets hijacked, you get taken over. What Bruce says is it’s not your morality, it’s not your brain, it’s your cage. Addiction is an adaptation to your environment.

Really—and there’s massive implications of that, but there’s a really interesting human example that was actually going on at the same time as the Rat Park experiment. It’s called the Vietnam War. Twenty percent of American troops in Vietnam were using heroin a lot. And if you look at the news reports from the time, there’s a real panic, because they believed the old theory of addiction. They believed that if you—these troops were going to come home, and you were going to suddenly have enormous numbers of addicts on the streets of the United States. What happened? All the evidence is the vast majority come home and just stop, because if you’re taken out of a hellish, pestilential jungle, where you don’t want to be and you could be killed at any moment, and you go back to your nice life in Wichita, Kansas, with your friends and your family and a purpose in life, it’s the equivalent of being taken from the first cage to the second cage. You go back to your connections.

What this show us is, I think there’s huge implications for the war on drugs. And obviously, the war on drugs is built on the idea that chemicals cause addiction, and we need to physically eradicate the chemicals from the United States. Now, I don’t think that’s physically possible. We can’t even keep them out of prisons, and we’ve got a walled perimeter. But let’s grant the philosophical premise behind that, right? If in fact the chemicals are not the primary driver of the addiction, if in fact huge numbers, in fact the vast majority, of people who use those chemicals don’t become addicted, if in fact the driver is isolation, pain and distress, then a policy that’s based on inflicting more isolation, pain and distress on addicts is obviously a bad idea. That’s what I saw in Arizona. I went out with a female chain gang that are forced to wear T-shirts saying, "I was a drug addict," and, you know, made to dig graves and collect trash. And, you know, the idea that imposing more suffering on addicts will make them better, if suffering is the cause, is crazy.

I actually think there’s real implications for the politics that Democracy Now! covers so well and that we believe in so much. We have created a society where huge numbers of our fellow citizens can’t bear to be present in their lives and have to medicate themselves to get through the day with these drugs. You know, there’s nothing—a hypercapitalist, hyperindividualist society makes people feel like the rats in that first cage, that they’re cut off, they’re cut off from the source. I mean, there’s nothing—as Bruce explains, there’s nothing in human evolution that prepares us for being as isolated as the—you know, as the ideal citizen of a hypercapitalist, hyperconsumerist country like yours and mine."
addiction  johannhari  warondrugs  crime  lawenforcement  economics  capitalism  politics  democracy  drugs  vancouver  britishcolumbia  portugal  uruguay  josémujica  harryanslinger  prohibition  law  budosborn  philipowen  joãogoulão  policy 
february 2015 by robertogreco
Buzz Andersen — Whenever a traveler from the East Coast announces...
"“Whenever a traveler from the East Coast announces that he is making a trip to California, he is expected to express revulsion if his business trip takes him to the cultural cesspool of Los Angeles but to leap into paroxysms of ecstasy should his business to him to the shining city on the hill where little cable cars run halfway to the stars. (Should he announce that his business is taking him to San Diego, people will usually tell him to visit the zoo.)

We hold no brief for, nor have any ax to grind against, the burgeoning municipality of San Diego; it certainly has a nice zoo. Yet on the question of San Francisco vs. Los Angeles, we feel compelled to advance a minority view and admit that we generally like LA, while finding San Francisco, a quaint hamlet that has somehow confused itself with Byzantium, has long benefitted from an uninterrupted stream of booster-spawned propaganda that has hornswoggled the American public. Consequently they believe that what is basically a glorified Austin, a slightly less nippy Ann Arbor, a boho Vancouver, a New Hope writ large or a seismically suspect Charlottesville is actually a first-tier municipality, one that can take its place alongside such world-class North American cities as New York, Chicago, Boston, New Orleans, Montreal, and, of course, Los Angeles. Frankly we find this idea quite ludicrous. In our view, San Francisco is Quebec with more Chinese restaurants.”

—"Omnia California" - [Joe Queenan] Spy Magazine, February 1994 (via Jim Ray)

[http://goo.gl/vnm7Bp ]

I’ve been meaning to transcribe this from Google Books for awhile now because it’s hilarious and it pretty well nails how I feel about San Francisco’s pretensions (and about LA being pretty awesome)."
buzzandersen  2014  1994  spymagazine  losangeles  sanfrancisco  nyc  annarbor  vancouver  quebec  sandiego  pretensions  charlottesville  chicago  montreal  neworleans  boston  nola 
november 2014 by robertogreco
Matt Hern: Vancouver: Spaces of Exclusion and Contestation - YouTube
"Matt Hern's presentation in Session 1, "Spaces of Exclusion and Contestation," in the symposium, "Planning the Vancouver Metropolitan Region: A Critical Perspective," presented by the UBC School of Community and Regional Planning (SCARP), April 15-16, 2014."
matthern  urban  urbanism  2014  portland  oregon  vancouver  britishcolumbia  gentrification  exclusion  contestation  cities  communitygardens  bikelanes  displacement  communities  communityorganizing  purplethistle  groundswell  housing  capitalism  latecapitalism  predatorycapitalism  inequality  politics  policy  colonialism  dispossession  colonization  commons  occupation  density  urbanplanning  planning  solidarity  development  arrogance  difference  hospitality  generosity  friendship  activism 
september 2014 by robertogreco
Social spaces summit – Briarpatch Magazine
"In describing the Thistle’s approach, Bergman said, “One of our goals is being a truly convivial space and really striving to connect to the folks who live near and around the centre. We do pretty good, especially with our drop-in participants, but the core collective is often made up of folks who are a lot alike in their predilections. There’s lots of reasons for this and I think a lot of it has to do with the explicit radical way in which we organize. We like to say we are politically overt but not ideological pure – we are always looking at and reworking this.”"
purplethistle  socialspaces  artistsspaces  praxis  socialtheory  via:selinjessa  2013  sonedworthy  vancouver  organization  openstudioproject 
march 2013 by robertogreco
Publication Studio
"We print and bind books on demand, creating original work with artists and writers we admire. We use any means possible to help writers and artists reach a public: physical books; a digital commons (where anyone can read and annotate our books for free); eBooks; and unique social events with our writers and artists in many cities. We attend to the social life of the book. Publication Studio is a laboratory for publication in its fullest sense—not just the production of books, but the production of a public. This public, which is more than a market, is created through physical production, digital circulation, and social gathering. Together these construct a space of conversation, a public space, which beckons a public into being.

Currently there are eight Publication Studios, in Portland (run by Patricia No and Antonia Pinter), the San Francisco Bay Area, CA (run by Ian Dolton-Thornton, with sage advice from Colter Jacobsen), Vancouver, BC, Canada (run by Keith Higgins and Kathy Slade), Toronto, Ontario, Canada (run by Derek McCormack, Alana Wilcox, and Michael Maranda), Boston (run by Sam Gould), Portland, Maine (run by Daniel Fuller and the Institute for Contemporary Art), Philadelphia (run by Robert Blackson and the Tyler School of Art), Los Angeles (run by Sergio Pastor, Matthew Schum, and Lizzie Fitch), and Malmö, Sweden, run by Ola Stahl. To contact one of the Publication Studios, click on its name on the home-page of this site."
art  artists  books  diy  publishing  portland  oregon  bayarea  sanfrancisco  vancouver  britishcolumbia  toronto  boston  maine  philadelphia  losangeles  publicationstudios  selfpublishing  ebooks  publication  self-publishing  publishers  bc 
february 2013 by robertogreco
Coast Modern
"Coast Modern Film. From LA to Vancouver, a legacy of inspired living by the pioneers of West Coast Modernist Architecture."
architecture  modern  modernism  film  losangeles  sandiego  vancouver  westcoast  design  history  documentary 
february 2013 by robertogreco
Pacific Cinémathèque | Experience Essential Cinema
"At Pacific Cinémathèque we're dedicated to bringing you what we like to think of as essential cinema. Whether new releases, classics or rarely-seen gems, these are movie experiences that stay with you long after you've left the theatre: movies that inspire you by their their craft and beauty; movies that really stir the emotions; movies that make you question your assumptions; movies that give you a genuine insight into the local, national and global communities to which we belong.

Supplementing our rich body of programming are core resources like our Film Reference Library, West Coast Film Archive, the bi-monthly Pacific Cinémathèque Program Guide, and our unique educational programs. And as an integral part of the local film community, we frequently provide the only big-screen access to some of the very best work from filmmakers throughout the province."
britishcolumbia  bc  cinematheque  film  vancouver 
september 2012 by robertogreco
The 'Interesting' Conferences
"The Interesting Conferences started with this post in March 2007. I'd been inspired by TED but wanted to do something cheaper, closer to home and less, well, zealous. So, I booked the Conway Hall, asked some people to speak and hoped people would want to come. It seemed to go well.

We did it again in 2008 and 2009 but had a break in 2010. (We had PaperCamp 2 instead). Fortunately in that year the Boring folk started up, giving the world's journalists the chance to say that Interesting had been cancelled due to lack of interest. We did another one in 2011 - with a slightly different format.

We also managed to inspire other, similar, events around the world. I can't take much credit for those, they did them all themselves.

I'm not quite sure what to do next. Last summer we organised Laptops and Looms which was smaller, longer and in Derbyshire but had a similar feel. Maybe Interesting will morph into something like that.

Or maybe it's over. That'd be fine too."
london  nyc  vancouver  oregon  portland  papercamp  laptopsandlooms  2011  2010  2009  2008  conferences  events  russelldavies  interesting 
july 2012 by robertogreco
in Vancouver - コミニー[Cominy] / ブログ
"I started serializing about life and game development at Vancouver in the Famitsu blog. That blog has written by English and Japanese. I'm glad if you are interested in it." —Keita Takahashi

[Here: http://www.uvula.jp/love-letter-from-canada ]
keitatakahashi  cascadia  vancouver  britishcolumbia  canada  blogs  bc 
july 2011 by robertogreco
William Gibson says cyberspace was inspired by 8-bit videogames
"I was walking around Vancouver, aware of that need, and I remember walking past a video arcade, which was a new sort of business at that time, and seeing kids playing those old-fashioned console-style plywood video games. The games had a very primitive graphic representation of space and perspective. Some of them didn’t even have perspective but were yearning toward perspective and dimensionality. Even in this very primitive form, the kids who were playing them were so physically involved, it seemed to me that what they wanted was to be inside the games, within the notional space of the machine. The real world had disappeared for them-it had completely lost its importance. They were in that notional space, and the machine in front of them was the brave new world."
williamgibson  cyberspace  definitions  neologisms  vancouver  britishcolumbia  games  videogames  sciencefiction  scifi  bc 
june 2011 by robertogreco
FT.com / House & Home - Liveable v lovable
"“These surveys always come up with a list where no one would want to live. One wants to live in places which are large and complex, where you don’t know everyone and you don’t always know what’s going to happen next. Cities are places of opportunity but also of conflict, but where you can find safety in a crowd."

"What makes a city great: *Blend of beauty and ugliness – beauty to lift the soul, ugliness to ensure there are parts of the fabric of the city that can accommodate change…*Diversity…*Tolerance…*Density…*Social mix – the close proximity of social and economic classes keeps a city lively…*Civility…"
cities  rankings  vancouver  nyc  losangeles  london  joelkotkin  rickyburdett  joelgarreau  tylerbrule  edwinheathcote  2011  livability  diversity  density  tolerance  society  vitality  social  economics  civility  beauty  ugliness  janejacobs  crosspollination  opportunity  dynamism  conflict  classideas 
may 2011 by robertogreco
The Tyee – Did Olympics Shift People's Imagination for Vancouver?
"Or was it just hype? What next, mega-city or village life? Our urbanists wrap up their tussle."
matthern  lanceberelowitz  vancouver  britishcolumbia  cities  urban  urbanplanning  urbanism  future  megacities  bc 
april 2011 by robertogreco
The Tyee – A Year Later, Why Go Downtown?
"Hern and Berelowitz continue their back and forth on post-Olympics Vancouver. Today: bike lanes, towers, and more."
urbanplanning  density  vancouver  britishcolumbia  matthern  lanceberelowitz  urban  urbanism  cities  bikes  biking  towers  transportation  bc 
april 2011 by robertogreco
The Tyee – Did the Olympics Make Vancouver a Better City?
"[Editor's note: This is the first round of a three-part conversation between Lance Berelowitz and Matt Hern about the future of Vancouver after the 2010 Olympics. Berelowitz is an urban planner, critic and author of Dream City: Vancouver and the Global Imagination. Hern is a rabble-rouser and author of Common Ground in a Liquid City: Essays in Defense of an Urban Future. While they live on opposite sides of town, they share a deep affection for their city and regularly meet half way to compare notes and drink.]"
urbanplanning  vancouver  olympics  matthern  2011  2010  urban  urbanism  britishcolumbia  lanceberelowitz  bc 
april 2011 by robertogreco
The Purple Thistle Institute
"The PTI will be something like an alternative university, or maybe better: an alternative-to-university. The idea is to bring together a bunch of engaged, interested people to talk about theory, ideas and practise for radical social change. We’ll have a great time, meet good people, get our praxis challenged and with luck refine and renew our ideas, politics and energies.

Importantly, the conversations will very deliberately cut across radical orientations – anarchists, socialists, lefties, progressives, anti-colonialists, anti-authoritarians, ecologists of all stripes are welcome. The idea is to work, think and talk together – to articulate and comprehend differences sure – but to find common ground, get beyond factionalized pettiness and stimulate radical ecological and egalitarian social change. We want to get good people with good ideas together to talk and listen to each other."
conferences  unconferences  the2837university  agitpropproject  unschooling  deschooling  education  learning  conversation  matthern  vancouver  socialecology  change  egalitarian  ecology  anti-colonialism  socialism  anarchism  anarchy  left  progressive  radical  2011  britishcolumbia  altgdp  alternative  alternativeeducation  socialchange  gamechanging  politics  policy  astrataylor  cecilynicholson  carlabergman  amjohal  geoffmann  glencoulthard  decolonization  activistart  art  urbanstudies  economics  contemporary  socialphilosophy  criticaltheory  bc 
february 2011 by robertogreco
Careful Lending Benefits Canada's Housing Market : NPR
"Canadians bankers are often characterized as stodgy, and they were more careful about lending money. Cameron Muir, of the British Columbia Real Estate Association, adds: They didnt encourage unqualified buyers to jump into the market. [Makes sense.] … Canadians generally put more money down than their U.S. peers, and there is no tax break for mortgage interest. Moreover, says Muir, buyers who put 20 percent or less down have to get mortgage insurance, and the government sets the criteria for borrowers. [Still making sense.] … Whats more, many Asians are investing in Canadian real estate, and that too has helped the country's real estate market continue to hum. [Oh, but that last line makes me think speculation.]"
canada  vancouver  britishcolumbia  housing  markets  2010  housingbubble  money  finance  policy  speculation  bc 
september 2010 by robertogreco
Portland and “elite cities”: The new model | The Economist
"That is not to belittle Portland’s vision. It is a sophisticated and forward-looking place. Which other city can boast that its main attraction is a bustling independent book store (Powell’s) and that medical students can go from one part of their campus to another by gondola, taking their bikes with them? Other cities will see much to emulate. Minneapolis, for example, this month displaced Portland as Bicycling magazine’s most bike-friendly city (“they got extra points for biking in the snow,” grumble Mr Adams’s staff). Adam Davis of Davis, Hibbitts & Midghall, a Portland polling firm, says that Oregonians like to consider themselves leaders but also exceptions. They are likely to remain both."
portland  oregon  cities  us  northamerica  helsinki  amsterdam  stockholm  vancouver  bikes  biking  transportation  publictransit 
april 2010 by robertogreco
Island Pacific School | Boarding Home Stay | Vancouver Private School
"Middle school years play an important role in shaping a student's formative educational experience. It's a time when lasting values, habits, and identities are formed. It's also a time for students to discover and challenge themselves in ways they may not have imagined possible.
vancouver  britishcolumbia  schools  tcsnmy  middleschool  bc 
april 2010 by robertogreco
Human Transit: vancouver: an olympic urbanist preview
"What's special about Vancouver? It's a new dense city, in North America...closest NA has come to building substantial high-density city - not just employment but residential - pretty much from scratch, entirely since WWII. I noted in an earlier post that low-car NA cities are usually old cities, because they rely on development pattern that just didn't happen after advent of the car. In 1945 Vancouver was nothing much: a hard-working port for natural resource exports, with just a few buildings even ten stories high. But look at it now.

Such sudden eruptions of residential density are common enough in Asia, but North American cities rarely allow them on such a scale. There are many explanations for how Vancouver did it, but at its core Vancouver had a fortunate confluence of the 3 essentials:

* Natural constraints that limited sprawl even in pro-sprawl late 20th century.
* Economic energy, especially in the boom years of 1990s & early 2000s.
* Planning & civic leadership."
vancouver  britishcolumbia  cascadia  canada  via:cityofsound  development  density  cities  northamerica  urban  urbanism  planning  transit  transportation  geography  bc 
march 2010 by robertogreco
Cities Powered by Open Source — The Civic Hacker
"These developments are huge and these cities deserve to be lauded as great pioneers, but we also need to help support them and to spread these kinds of policies to other cities. You can learn more and contribute to the creation of resources for open cities with the nascent OpenMuni project."
cities  policy  opencities  government  opensource  openaccess  opendata  publicspace  vancouver  portland  sanfrancisco 
february 2010 by robertogreco
Purple Thistle Centre » What is the Thistle?
"Q: What’s consensus? What’s a collective? A: We eschew the tyranny of the majority in favour of compromise (we don’t vote, we decide together). And that nobody is the boss of anybody else. Come talk to us for more information. Q: So you’re anarchists but the government pays most of your rent? Lame. A: Yeah, we take money from shady characters. It’s a bigger philosophical issue: pragmatism within the Almighty Dollar System versus lifestyle politics and ideological purity. Capitalism makes everything a personal choice about what you’d rather sacrifice in any given situation. In this case, we’re more concerned with having an alternative-to-school than we are about not depending on the government for cash."
matthern  purplethistle  lcproject  freeschools  education  school  anarchy  anarchism  vancouver  democracy  consensus  alternative 
october 2009 by robertogreco
Cities that Think Like the Web
"On May 21st, 2009 the City of Vancouver passed a motion that directed City Staff to begin sharing the data and information the city collects, to share this data in open standards and to place open source on an equal footing with proprietary software.
opensource  cities  vancouver  crowdsourcing  activism  opencities  data  networkedcities 
october 2009 by robertogreco
Baja to Vancouver: The West Coast and Contemporary Art
"The artists in the exhibition are interested in popular forms and genres, from landscape and portraiture to vernacular signage and music videos. Their work thoughtfully reinterprets myths and reexamines histories related to West Coast cultures as diverse as the First Nations of British Columbia and the contemporary youth tribes of Los Angeles and San Francisco. The exhibition invokes patterns of immigration in the region as well as utopian visions of the "good life" and the unique topography of West Coast cities-part urban, part suburban and part wilderness. The art in B2V not only embodies a range of West Coast sensibilities, it also offers revealing portraits of the people and places on the western rim of North America and presents evidence of creative collaborations and shared aesthetic concerns among artists living and working in the region."
art  glvo  us  mexico  canada  westcoast  sandiego  vancouver  sanfrancisco  exhibitions  2004  northamerica  bajacalifornia  california  mcasd  seattle  cascadia 
september 2009 by robertogreco
Tiny Speck, Inc.
"Tiny Speck is small company building something enormous. We show up in the afterburst of highly charged particle collisions; we are the only-imagined baryon consisting of two charmed quarks and one strange. We will blow your minds.

Tiny Speck was founded in early 2009 by four of the original members of the Flickr team. We are now eight, plus assorted artists from all over the world. We are backed by ourselves, and some of the most clever and insightful investors around.

Our principal offices are in Vancouver and San Francisco, but we are global, from the Russian Steppes to The Big Apple. We are using every ounce of our craft to build bits to bytes and summon Glitch to life."

[via: http://www.techcrunch.com/2009/07/10/flickr-follow-up-project-has-a-name-tiny-speck-and-theyre-hiring/ AND later: http://kottke.org/10/02/glitch-is-the-new-game-neverending ]
stewartbutterfield  flickr  gne  calhenderson  startup  vancouver  tinyspeck  gaming 
july 2009 by robertogreco
colourschool
"colourschool is a school within a school dedicated to the speculative research and exploration of five colours: black, white, brown, yellow, and red. Providing a free and open space for critical investigations of colour, identity, artmaking, and knowledge production, colourschool attempts to develop a collaborative colour consciousness through a variety of events including reading groups, film screenings, listening labs, interviews, roundtable discussions, brown bag lunches, performances, and installations among other activities. Inspired by the history of experimental education, colourschool draws from the pedagogical precedents of Black Mountain College and Joseph Beuys’ Free International University as well as the Colour Research project undertaken by Michael Morris and Vincent Trasov."
education  design  art  community  collaboration  free  alternative  vancouver  color  pedagogy  artists  conceptualart 
may 2009 by robertogreco
supersmall: 'cultivating wildness' project for vancouver 2030
"supersmall's proposal for the vancouver 2030 challenge competition aims to change the view that we somehow stand outside, or apart from, nature. their project imagines infrastructure as eco connectors throughout the city. the program requirements included an animal rehabilitation center. this eco-connector understands that the rehabilitation of the individual organism is synonymous with a healthy system. just as a brain createsmore connections as it learns, we hope the city will do the same as it grows by reconnecting and strengthening our urban ecology -animals, plants and humans- symbiotically. ... the seed bank storage is located underneath the main public area because seeds require
architecture  design  nature  vancouver  ecology  education  urban  landscape  lcproject  tcsnmy  bridges  conservation  animales  seeds  plants  teaching  learning  classideas  projectideas  borders 
may 2009 by robertogreco
This Blog Sits at the: Immanuel Kant and the Acura T1
"travelling from Vancouver to Victoria...Prevented from sprinting on deck (because the ferry is not a fun ride), I was obliged to entertain myself another way...see if I could calculate how much water was under the ferry. I didn't have any device for measuring, and because I was 7, I didn't have a metric. No, I just decided to see if I could "think about" all the water that was under the ferry. That would be my first "measure." Having done that, I then decided to "think about" all the water that was around the ferry. My second measure. I then began casting the net of calculation across the Strait of Juan de Fuca. My conclusion: there was a lot, really a lot, of water here...I miss the sublime, the old fashioned kind. I loved having my "power of judgement" outstripped, my imagination outraged. It was exciting. This is anthropologist's idea of a "fun ride." Almost as much fun as running on a ferry and probably much less dangerous."
sublime  cascadia  vancouver  childhood  memory  play  thinkinggames  entertainment  grantmccracken  ferry  measurement  scale  internet 
january 2009 by robertogreco
canadianarchitect.com - Canadian Architect - 3/6/2007
"A Critique of the Last 20 Years of Vancouver's Approach to Downtown Living Asks Some Difficult Questions About Where the Future Lies for Canada's Ocean Playground."
architecture  cities  criticism  development  urban  urbanism  vancouver  canada  design  realestate  land  downtown 
march 2007 by robertogreco
EPIC 2007 - Ethical. Progressive. Intelligent. Consumer. - March 16-18, 2007, Vancouver, BC, Canada
"EPIC is a new kind of exhibition celebrating leading companies who care about the consumer. The community. The planet. And they're making great products and offering exceptional services that don't compromise style or function."
sustainability  activism  environment  green  shopping  simplicity  retail  vancouver  conferences  consumer  events  lifestyle  ethics 
march 2007 by robertogreco
Global Fast Cities.
"They speak English, and they have the right mix of technology and tolerance to attract talent. They're the international cities competing with the United States for the global talent pool."
business  cities  globalization  innovation  migration  montreal  helsinki  dublin  sydney  vancouver  world  international  creative  english  language  technology  diversity  us  tolerance 
february 2007 by robertogreco

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