Blogs & Notes
Compilations & Resources
We have to make an issue of the fact that what currently passes for democracy is a best a two-dimensional shadow of what a democratic society ought to be. In contrast to the parliamentary obsession of the NDP, we should be offering the model of a radically democratic society, in which power is taken away from corporations, governments, bureaucracies, and experts, and dispersed widely.
Let's Stop Kidding Ourselves About the NDP
Lady Martha is a woman I feel an instant bond with. Burdened though she is with her own woes – she has had a stroke, her doctor has told her she has “limited days to live due to the cancerous problems”, and of course there is the unfortunate circumstance of the husband who is an Englishman who is dead – she nevertheless has made the time to do something very special for me.
Lady Martha’s Story
The attic is a place where we may stow away odds and ends from our past. So it is on this website: the attic holds an assortment of scribblings, photos, older stuff, and miscellania.
- Things are getting better and better and bettxrxr and bxzyxxx
- What I have learned about customer support.
- Life and death, memory and grief, walk hand in hand.
- November 11
- Official remembrances are often about forgetting as much as they are about remembering. Remembrance Day is no exception.
- Adding Up to Zero
- A sceptical look at “carbon-neutral” and “carbon-zero.”.
- Longing for freedom, and grieving loss: Reflections on watching swifts on a summer evening
- The natural world is very important to me, and a source of happiness, and for that reason it is also, in these times, a source of pain and grief.
- Strange Sounds Up in the Trees
- Up in the tree: a weird combination of whistles, clacking sounds, chuckling, rattling, in no particular sequence that I can make out, and certainly not musical. What on earth?
- M is for Miriam (book announcement)
- A children“s book about the life of Miriam Garfinkle.
- Karl Marx: May 5, 1818
- Marx breathes dialectics and revolution. For Marx, radicalism means going to the root, and Marx’s radicalism seeks to go to the root of capitalism, to comprehend its essence dialectically, to understand its inherent contradictions – and the seeds of revolution it contains.
- Returning to Chess
- Rediscovering chess.
- Lady Martha’s story
- Normally, I delete the spam that gets past the filter into my mailbox as quickly as anyone. But I do have a sneaking fondness for those occasional carefully crafted letters that tell a complete and compelling story. Some of these are almost works of literature, little Chekovian gems in their own way. If Alice Munro fell on hard times and had to support herself writing spam, these are the stories she would tell to get her hands on our banking information.
- Royal Moments in Broadcasting
- Farewell to the Guardian
- When a newspaper has arrived at the point of praising war criminals while deluding itself that it is holding the powerful to account, I know that it’s not a newspaper that I want to keep receiving.
- Liberal Condescension
- In the wake of Donald Trump’s victory in the U.S. election, a debate has erupted on the liberal left about the best way to deal with working class people who voted for Trump. The disagreement, for many of the participants, appears to revolve around whether liberals ought to spend their time giving patronizing lectures about white privilege, or patronizing lectures about other aspects of reality. What people on both sides of the debate seem to share is the assumption that the job of middle-class liberals is to lecture the working class.
- Were Marx’s principles only skin deep?
- A British dermatologist has managed to get himself worldwide publicity with an article suggesting that Karl Marx’s painful skin condition may have caused him to say all those mean things about capitalism.
- A quick note on neoliberalism and state capitalism
- Neo-liberalism is actually a form of state capitalism, marked by ever-increasing government intervention and state spending. The fairy tales about “free markets,” “liberalization,” “down-sizing government,” and so on, are just that, fairy tales.
- National Post columnist traumatized by having to wait his turn
- Jonathan Kay thinks people with money – like him – should get quicker treatment in emergency rooms than people who are poor.
- The ‘cost’ of software piracy
- Money that isn’t spent on software isn’t ‘lost’ to the economy — it is spent on something else.
- Are the police doing their job?
- It makes no sense to demand that the police “do their job”. The job of the police is to protect the wealth and power of the ruling elite against any challenge.
- “Free speech” – as long as it doesn’t offend anyone
- On the issue of free speech most of the right and much of the left are in agreement, and so too are many liberals, activists, and human rights apparatchiks. They hold essentially the same position on freedom of expression: they are for it - in principle – but only so long as it isn’t used to express views that they find unacceptable or offensive. What they disagree about is merely who gets to decide what ideas are unacceptable, i.e., who gets to censor who.
- Have you heard the one about the negligent official and the obtuse columnist?
- When people die as a consequence of your failures, joking about it just isn’t on.
- Inclusion or exclusion?
- People who advocate a vision of distinct communities that speak different languages, keep apart from each other, and communicate with the structures of the larger society only through interpreters, are doing more harm than good. What they are advocating is not diversity but entrenched division.
- Other Voices: April 1, 2017
- The April 1, 2017 issue of Other Voices, the Connexions newsletter.
- Free Speech and Acceptable Truths (April 1, 2008)
- To achieve a safe learning environment, it will be necessary for university authorities to cleanse the university’s libraries of harmful books, to block inappropriate Internet sites, to ban guest lecturers who hold improper views, and to identify and prosecute students and faculty who are guilty of thought crimes.
- Margaret Somerville’s yucky logic
- Margaret Somerville claims that the ‘yuck reaction’ some people feel when contemplating abortion is evidence that abortion violates our innate “moral instinct”.
- Skeptic no more
- I used to be a hard-boiled cynic when it came to those alleged miraculous apparations of religious or pop culture figures whose images are always being spotted in various and sundry mundane objects. Jesus in a tortilla, the Virgin Mary in a watermelon, Elvis in a peanut butter sandwich – I scoffed. Until this week, when something quite extraordinary happened.
- Flatly outrageous
- The flat earth society is not the equivalent of the Fraser Institute: the Fraser Institute is far more backward-looking.
- Monogamous Voles
- Vole reversal.
- Abandoning The Public Interest
- The neo-liberal drive to cut red tape is costing lives.
- Contamination: The Poisonous Legacy of Ontario’s Environmental Cutbacks
- A story about fanaticism and death: The story of Ontario’s right-wing Harris government, which gutted health and environmental protection polices, leading to the Walkerton water disaster.
- Rosa Luxemburg
- Rosa Luxemburg’s revolutionary perspective includes supporting pressure for reforms within capitalism, but she is utterly clear that reforms cannot bring about fundamental change, that socialism can only come about through revolution.
- Polluted logic
- The idea of letting companies buy their way out of complying with the law is an idea with vast untapped potential.
- Yes Means No?
- Puritans may not like it, but some people actually enjoy sex under circumstances that puritans don’t approve of.
- Psychotherapist out of touch
- Touching and hugging are natural behaviour all over the world among people who like or love each other.
- Dances with Guilt: Looking at Men Looking at Violence
- When we throw around indiscriminate terms like ‘male violence’ and give credence to theories that
men are inherently violent, we are slandering men who are not violent and, unthinkingly, we are actually perpetuating the stereotype that to be a man is to be violent.
- Let’s Stop Kidding Ourselves About the NDP
- Canadian socialists are terribly reluctant to give up their illusions about the NDP. No matter how often we are beaten over the head with the hard facts, no matter how often the party lets us down, no matter how far to the right it drifts, we don’t want to face the bitter truth.
- Foggy Fireworks
- A special evening watching fireworks in the fog.
- Opposing Censorship
- It is dangerous to think that liberation can be promoted by repressive legislation and censorship.
- Dow complains, Seven News editor Ulli Diemer responds
- Dow Chemical writes to 7 News complaining that one of its trademarks has been misused. 7 News editor Ulli Diemer responds.
- Preface to Martin Glaberman’s Four Essays on the Working Class
- Glaberman insists that the working class is not merely a victim of capitalism — working people are active participants in creating
their own consciousness, their methods of struggle and their own history.
- Anarchism vs. Marxism
- Anarchist critiques of Marxism typically reveal a lack of knowledge of what Karl Marx actually wrote, resulting in sterile denunciations of a straw-man opponent.
- What is Libertarian Socialism?
- Revolution is a collective process of self-liberation: people and societies are transformed through their struggles for freedom and for a better world.
- Bain Co-op meets Wages for Housework
- The story of the struggle that gave birth to a housing co-operative and destroyed the credibility of the ‘Wages for Housework’ sect.
- He who pays the piper
- Community groups have become dependent
on government money resulting in an erosion of their community base and their independence.
- Atlantic provinces photos, Summer 2015
- Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland.
- Lake Erie photos May 2011
- Rondeau, Point Pelee, Long Point.
- Gros Morne photos March 2011
- Gros Morne, Newfoundland.
- Gros Morne photos 2007
- Gros Morne, Newfoundland.
- Miriam Garfinkle: Activism, Articles, Interviews, Letters
- Links to Miriam’s articles and interviews, letters; accounts of her activism and organizing; stories from some of the occasions when Miriam’s activities landed her in the news; photo albums; and tributes to Miriam.
- Eulogy for Miriam
- Eulogy by Ulli Diemer
- Miriam Garfinkle 1954 - 2018
- Moments with Miriam
- Miriam Garfinkle: Memories and Tributes
- Karl Heinz Diemer 1920 - 2006
- Funk Familienstammbaum
- Familienstammbaum zusammengestellt von Oberpostrat August Funk, Leipzig, 1942
- Connexions is an online library/archive/website of articles and documents about social change. My contributions include
Seeds of Fire, a people’s chronology,
the Manifestos page,
an Alternative Media list,
the Connexions Quotations page,
the page of Organizing resources,
and the subject index and search engine for the website.
- Other Voices
- Other Voices is the electronic newsletter published by Connexions. I edit it and usually write an introduction to each issue. All issues are available on the Connexions website.
- Connexions Digest
- The Connexions Digest was published by Connexions from 1976 to 1994 (with some variations in the name during the years of its publication). I was a member of the editorial collective from issue #36 to the final print issue in 1994 (#55). I also edited two issues of The Connexions Annual, in 1989 and 1994. All of Connexions’ print publications have been digitized and are available on the Connexions website.
- I started working for Sources in the mid-1990s. At that time, Sources was a print publication, a book, typically around 200-360 pages thick, which was published twice a year and distributed to approximately 14,000 journalists and media professionals across Canada. The bulk of it was a directory of experts, with a comprehensive subject index (now online). It also featured articles on journalism and issues affecting journalists, as well as book reviews, especially of books related to research and the media. I became the publisher of Sources, and of two related directories/sourcebooks that grew out of it: Parliamentary Names & Numbers and Media Names & Numbers. I also wrote some book reviews and articles for Sources and for the Sources.com website which launched in 1996. A number of back issues of Sources, Media Names & Numbers, and Parliamentary Names & Numbers are available to be downloaded as PDFs via the Downloads page. Articles published in the print publications or on the Sources website are available via Sources Select Resources.
- Medical Reform
- The Medical Reform Group of Ontario (MRG) was a physicians’ organization founded by doctors who were concerned that there was no voice for progressive, socially-conscious physicians. The organization was based on three founding principles: 1. Quality health care is a right that must be guaranteed without financial or other deterrents; 2. All health care workers must address the causes of ill health in social, economic, environmental and occupational conditions, and work to change these; 3. The health care system must be changed to provide a more significant role for all health care workers and for the public.
Working with an editorial collective, I produced the Medical Reform newsletter from 1984 to 1995. Many of the issues of the newsletter have been digitized and are available online.
- Seven News Articles
- A selection of some of the articles I wrote for Seven News, a community newspaper published in Toronto. Seven News is archived online here.
- The Red Menace
- I wrote a number of articles for the libertarian socialist newsletter, The Red Menace. This is a link to the home page of The Red Menace, which has been archived online.
- Varsity Articles
- A few of the articles I wrote for The Varsity are available via this page.
- Book Reviews
- A list of some of my book reviews.
- Selected Letters to the Editor
- Letters to the Editor.
- Bathurst Heights Yearbooks 1966, 1967, 1968.
- I digitized my high school yearbooks from the years 1965-1966, 1966-1967, and 1967-1968. The school was Bathurst Heights Secondary School, and the yearbook was called the Phoenix.
New life on old. Pukaskwa, August 2011.