No victory in defeat
The NDP has the time and window to take this moment not just to reset but to tear the party down and rebuild. That work can only be done by listening to its members and empowering them from the grassroots up. The province doesn’t need another liberal party. It has one and that’s more than enough. It needs an unabashedly left party. And now the NDP has a chance to give it one.
The hopeless malaise of the Ontario election
Our democracy could improve. There’s no law of nature that forbids it. But better requires us to simultaneously pay attention to immediate material concerns and respect for democratic inclusion and accountability for everyone. Few have gone broke betting against respect for democratic institutions. And it doesn’t look like anyone will in Ontario this time around.
Moving beyond the centrist consensus in Election 44
It matters who wins the election and better is preferable to worse, but while we focus on how to solve the challenges of our day, we ought to also focus on the structures that produce the problems we face time and time again. That shift in focus requires us to imagine a world beyond the constraints of the current political and economic order, and it requires that political elites take up the cause.
Canada’s in a prolonged housing crisis. There’s one trick to getting out of it: Build more (non-market) housing
The housing crisis is not a policy crisis—it’s a political crisis. We know what must be done: demand-side interventions to support an all-out housing strategy. We just need politicians who’ll do it. Whether the 2021 election will return enough of them to make a difference is to be seen, but it seems unlikely, though that is no reason to stop fighting for a solution to the problem of fulfilling a fundamental human need.
Skipping to the apocalypse
For decades, the wealthiest of the wealthy have piloted us towards oblivion. They are the leaders of the industries that have dictated ways of living which patterned and incentivized market behaviours yielding extraordinary, unsustainable profits. Those who dared to wonder if our model of “progress” was ultimately a suicide pact, gilded but not less deadly, were marginalized. Now, some of those same elites are preparing their parachutes.
The billionaire space race is an exploitative, wasteful farce
The promise of some potential future payoff, some trickle-down longshot, is moot in the face of the fact that billionaires are a policy failure and ought not to exist in the first place. It turns out, then, that Mandeville was on to something when in his tale some unseen force was “with indignation mov’d” and committed to “he’d rid/The bawling hive of fraud.” We ought to do the same. Our hive depends upon it.
Fixing the housing crisis will mean treating shelter as a right—not a commodity
Those who argue that the housing crisis is a state failure neglect the fact the use of market stock as an investment tool is central to the problem of affordability. If housing is treated as a commodity, with the central goal of extracting a return, the market will price out and displace people. To end the housing crisis, we must end the commodity crisis. It’s well past time we ended both.
Tear down that statue!
Today, things are changing as marginalized groups including Indigenous peoples fight for rights, recognition and justice. There is and will continue to be a backlash against them and their work, but the struggle continues. That work will include rethinking our history and tearing down the symbols of oppression and orthodoxy that represent, even glorify, past wrongs and underwrite current ones.
With Greyhound gone, let’s replace it with a national public intercity operator
In the aftermath of the Greyhound shutdown, regional bus services across the country have indicated an interest in filling the gap. But how can the country trust private firms to fulfill an essential service that risks being abandoned to the vicissitudes of the market? How can the country trust private firms to run affordable intercity routes for those who need them most? We can’t. Nor should we try.
Writing politics during the pandemic
We should take this moment to reflect on political writing as a collective act. The writer comes from a community, physical and digital. The writer produces material that goes into those communities, even if we do not all experience life in those communities the same. Even during a pandemic, these spaces can be productive and powerful, serving as a part of the struggle for justice and accountability.