I am an economist, geographer and urban planner by academic training, and a political organizer/activist, development educator, journalist, policy wonk and political staffer by practice. I have tried my hand at poetry, fiction and non-fiction writing, some of which has been published.
This venture marks another turning point in my life, a life some see as that of a gadfly, sometimes even a dilettante. Those charges have wounded at times, vulnerable as I have been to the suggestion that knowing a little about a lot of things cannot possibly make up for my failure to excel in terms of one specific field or other. Yet, that’s the lot of the generalist, the one who seeks to learn not just from research, reading and academic studies, but equally from experience in the messy world of social relationships, in the workplace or workshop, in politics, in spiritual communities, and in marriage, family and lasting friendships.
Blogging is an opportunity for me to reflect on what I have learned, and what I am still learning. It’s a chance to pull together some of what I have written over the years that I think still has legs and relevance to today’s challenges.
These are mostly my observations and commentary on modern Canadian colonialism from a social-democratic perspective, though I will welcome guest contributors. The underlying thesis is that colonial relationships are pervasive in this country, sharpest at the margins, but infecting all of us. We didn’t stumble into colonialism. It is an essential ingredient of the advanced corporate capitalist state.
My writing is also informed by a lifetime that spans the era from the last gasp of the British Empire and WW II, through the birth of the Welfare State, the Cold War, the 60s renaissance in culture and, more importantly, social policy, the anti-colonial fight for Indigenous rights, the fight for gender equality and preference, the ugly rise of cowardly neo-liberalism and decline of universality, the demise of public broadcasting, and the failure of democracy in the face of such challenges as the climate emergency, the Covid-19 pandemic, systemic racism and unnecessary, but growing, social and economic inequality.
I will comment on contemporary events with that history in mind. I don’t look backward with rose-tinted glasses, but in an effort to make sure we don’t lose sight of history’s lessons. And, although it is unfashionable in this non-analytic era, I will draw on the insights of those who apply discoveries in psychology and psychoanalysis of the last hundred years to make sense of our history, sociology, and political economy.