Tag Archives: political aspects

(1018) Suburban poverty totally ignored in US election

”That brings us back to the election, and why it matters that this campaign season has failed to acknowledge the new geography of poverty.”

Ever the sentinel of suburban poverty in the United States, the The Brookings Institution spoke up earlier this month as a truly loony election rolls into autumn.

Suburban poverty is missing from the conversation about America’s future

image: Jan Bucholz via Flickr/CC

(1002) Don T & US child poverty

Donald Trump billboard
We keep hearing about all this generalized American anger.  Swathes of the population there are feeling filthy about the way things have turned out after decades of neoconservative nonsense from both sides of a two-party federal system.  This generalized anger in turn explains the success of Mr. Orangeface Clownpants.  Trump has been able to say pretty much any nasty-ass thing he wants to say and still get ahead because of the funk and fury the American voter has sunk into and seethes with respectively.  Rage serves to peg in place political illiteracy these days.  Hillary Clinton offers herself as the calming Mommy to the tantrum-throwing voter and so she benefits from the unfocused rage as well.
So, how about you Americans focus a little.  Dare we even suggest an apoplectic unity on behalf of the children who will someday inherit your republic?  A good starting point would be this kick in the head of a paper from March this year.  Half of all children in America are in poverty or pretty damn near it.  Half of them!  What does the lackluster alumni of US federal political party leadership have to say about this topic during the weirdest of elections ever?  Looks to be pretty much nothing.
Poverty and child health in the United States
(abstract & link to .pdf file)
Council on Community Pediatrics
Why facts don’t matter to Trump’s supporters

image: Thomas Hawk via Flickr/CC

(1001) Who’s city is this?

street scene
The world economy soars into the trillions these days with much of the focus on cities, on real estate.  We found reading this pair of items with our morning coffee in hand aided and abetted some understanding of the picture at high levels.  Wow, just imagine two hundred and seventy billion dollars worth of anything, then try and imagine a quadrillion dollars worth!
Investment in urban land is on the rise. We need to know who owns our cities
Time to pay for the city we want

image: glassghost via Flickr/CC

(995) Ohio beyond the DNC

OhioAmerica’s two great political gatherings present a distressing mixture of aesthetics seemingly lifted from rodeo clowns and science fiction conventions layered over something slick and carefully managed.  If you think that generates dissonance, join the rest of us at the bar.  Suitably reinforced, we might go along, like Guardian correspondent Chris Arnade, to a pair of Ohio communities around the corner from the Democratic National Convention.  Parma is a former manufacturing town and Center is defined by its housing projects.

What do Donald Trump voters really crave? Respect. They want respect because they haven’t just lost economically, but also socially. But it’s dangerous territory: anger tainted with revenge and, sometimes, racism

(954) Developer cash in Ontario elections questioned [Campaign Fairness report]

If its brokeThe very week of the inspiring Panama Papers finds our own sprawling backyards revealed to also be the setting for dodgy financial relationships.  How’s this for a great title: If It’s Broke, Fix It: a Report on the Money in Municipal Campaign Finances of 2014 (link here to 14-page .pdf file).
Developer donations influence local election outcomes, study finds. Reforms to the Municipal Elections Act expected to be announced Monday could let municipalities ban corporate donations

(946) Somebody at least look their way

USA flagA strong piece in The Guardian asks readers to consider an  underassessed socio-economic group.  Please recommend this one to others trying to understand Donald Trump and the politics of decline and social disaster in the United States.  Millions have fallen from a racial/class group that was once a staple presence in American politics into the kind of social difficulty known by millions of African Americans.
Canadians, you may include this on a reading list, one that aims to help you understand Ford Nation (and you maybe best get moving on that shit, folks).
Mocked and forgotten. Who will speak for the American white working class?

image: Andrew via Flickr/CC

(853) Ask the mayors

mayorMayors are rightly still among the people we expect to have the most sensible ideas about how a community might do better.  A recent example…

Big-city mayors looking for better housing promises. Mayors from Toronto, Vancouver, Edmonton, Halifax, London and Kitchener are meeting to push federal parties on housing

Canadian mayors are providing support for one of the potentially most interesting ideas available for combatting poverty and social difficulty.  Leadersandlegacies.com features a growing list of articles regarding  basic income that are shaped by the municipal perspective.  In this month alone, mayors from every part of the country have spoken up for basic income.  And that’s a good thing.

(842) Canadian austerity

5460464558_48261bf6c1_zFor the Conservatives, this federal election is looking messy.  They may come up in the polls as time goes on but expect the economy to give the Cons serious migraines all the way.  Don’t blame all of Canada’s economic woes on Tory neoconservative policy or the price of oil, though.  No, the irrational pursuit of austerity was a major Liberal project as well.  A piece in this week’s issue of The Tyee reminds of austerity’s bipartisan history.

Canada’s harsh ‘austerity’ policies started with Liberals. Don’t make Harper the face of slashed supports for workers. It’s a two-decade tradition

image: Jennifer Kirkland via Flickr/CC

(729) Trek of the interns

OtoApril sees the eightieth anniversary of the start of the On-to-Ottawa Trek.  We’d rather not wait to mention and think about the parallels between what caused the trek and where we are in 2015, they are that powerful.  The trek was a social movement born of the immense difficulties of the Great Depression in western Canada.  A large body of unemployed and disaffected men gathered and moved by rail toward the capital, orchestrated largely by the Communist Party of Canada, in order to protest their treatment at the hands of economic forces.

Just what a dramatic potential challenge to the austerity economics of the Canadian government the trek represented is largely forgotten. The tepid efforts of the federal government to do much for the unemployed beyond the provision of a system of labour camps offering a wage of twenty-cents-a-day provoked anger in many Canadians.  The Tories botched their handling of the trek, which culminated in political scandal and the Regina Riot with two dead and over one hundred arrests.  The next federal election saw the governing Conservatives punished with the loss of ninety-five seats.

Comparing the state of men labouring at twenty-cents-a-day to the interns and low wage workers of right now shouldn’t require much effort, whether you are the government or a working person.  In fact, there would seem to be a continuity.  Instead of railway boxcars we have, perhaps, the Internet drawing the ninety-nine percent together in a common cause; the fight against harmful impersonal economic forces that look set to overwhelm society.

The historian in us was drawn this week to black and white photos of men riding boxcars eastward.  At first they seem like tokens of another world.  Within minutes the same Twitter feed that brought us eighty years into the past delivered these two items.

Unpaid labour fits into Harper’s plan: Mallick

Employers embrace the warm glow of paying their staff enough to live on. The Walmart effect and the example of certain London local councils has led to pay rises for many. But poverty wages elsewhere could be hard to shift

image: On-to-Ottawa trekkers boarding rail cars in Kamloops, BC.  Archives Canada via Wikimedia Commons