Americas (South & North)

Polyculturalism and Self-determination

[Contribution to the Reimagining Society Project hosted by ZCommunications]

The present essay reviews in summary form the key ideas for "cultural liberation" and then discusses the consequences of these ideas for the concept of self-determination, specifically national self-determination, in our world and in a good society.

Review of polyculturalism

Security Certificates and the case of Adil Charkaoui

On February 20, the Federal Court of Canada dropped most of the conditions it had placed on one of the prisoners of its “security certificate” regime, Adil Charkaoui. While much of his life is still lived in the rights-free zone widened under the “war on terror”, his struggles over the years have won him back some parts of his life. (For the decision see here)

Two days at the Mondragon Bookstore Cafe

Like any sensible person seeking to escape the Toronto winter, I decided to spend a few days in Winnipeg! Last time I was in Winnipeg was 2002, and the fall, and I told my hosts in the marvelous activist community out there that I wanted to return in the winter and experience the legendary -20 to -30 C or colder. For better or worse, this trip, thanks to global warming or natural variability, it was a positively balmy -5 C, not much colder than Toronto.

The Christmas problem

Happy Holidays, everyone! Some Christmas reflection.

This past summer I had interesting discussions with friends about Christmas gift-giving rituals. My friends being spiritually inclined, there was much critique of the consumer society. My own position was to argue that the underlying impulses of gift-giving and hospitality are positive behaviors. They argued that even these things were more complex, that even gift-giving and hospitality in a consumer society were often tainted by status-seeking and competition. I thought they were being harsh. They thought I was being naive.

Moises Naim's scary world

I picked up Moises Naim's book "Illicit" (2005), as the book of record on illegal trade (or, what I call, following my friend Manuel Rozental, "illegal capital"). I wanted to read it because I'm trying to figure out how much of the global economy flows into these different niches. You can understand the economy one way by following energy flows, another by following money, another by following technology (like the story of stuff), another by following arms, another by following illicit trade. And each of these has some relationship with the others.


Hi folks. This is not a substantive post. I wanted to explain my absence and a few things that I hope to do here in the next few days.

I have had a few weeks in a row that have been busy, one of which is well worth writing about here (the others are not for this blog). The week in question is Oct 25-Nov 1, the week of the Toronto Palestine Film Festival, which was an amazing experience. I will do a detailed review here.

The financial economy and the real economy: Notes on the economic crisis part 1

“This extraordinary capacity to finance not on past wealth but on the present value of future anticipated cash flows is at the core of America's dynamic approach to wealth creation”
- Edelstein, R., and Paul, J.M. Europe needs a new financial paradigm. Wall Street Journal Europe June 12-13, 1998. Quoted in The Fisherman and the Rhinoceros.