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Three shared POVs at PSF

Blog posts reflect the views of their authors.

Spent six hours at the Peoples’ Social Forum today and left with a mindful.

Skipped the massive march to Parliament Hill which will probably be all there is of the forum on tonight’s television.

What I gather so far is that there are three shared points of view among the many, many, many interest groups here, of all colours, faiths and persuasions. Everyone despises the Prime Minister. That’s number one. I saw no I Hate Harper buttons but I heard a lot of that kind of talk. Almost everyone is anti-capitalist. And almost every group wants money.

These are just overall impressions from snatches overheard. There are variations, of course, and many subtexts. The largest audience of the day, prior to the march, was for the radical economist, Naomi Klein, who was careful to cap her recitation of all of capitalism’s sins of omission and commission with the caution that resistance has to be accompanied by feasible alternatives.

One session I got to featured a ramble into indigenous prehistory and a catalogue of the injustices done to First Nations by renowned architect Douglas Cardinal, who is front and centre for a proposed Indigenous International Peace Centre located on islands of historic importance in the Ottawa River between Ottawa and Gatineau. It’s a project a long time in gestation, decades actually, but taking on a new urgency with the recently announced proposals for commercial development of the site. This one will cost many millions. You can see pictures on Mr. Cardinal’s website.

The surprise in the second session I attended was how few there were who showed an interest. The topic was legalizing cannabis. The presenter was Craig Jones, who has given much of his career to assisting the oppressed and disadvantaged in Canada (he was exec director of John Howard Society until 2010), who told it like it is and into my recorder, so you can hear him in a five minute clip here. The interest, shall we say, was muted. There weren’t more than ten people in the room and at least one of them was from out of town looking for a pot connection. Might have been a narc. I’ll bet there’s more than one in the crowd.

Tomorrow’s another day. Check the program. No end to it.


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SCAN1 (Tony Patterson)
Ottawa, Ontario
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