Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Last Saturday afternoon, in a open candidate debate in the Carnegie Centre on homelessness, Jamie Lee Hamilton chided me in front of the audience for not adopting Ellen Woodsworth’s opinions on further legalizing prostitution which means legal brothels, presumably in time for the Olympics. As this was done in public and I didn’t get a chance to reply in public then I will reply now.
In the Work Less Party we don’t necessarily agree on this issue. In fact, we don’t agree at all. We don’t have to. If I am elected mayor I will resist firmly and passionately any attempt to open legal brothels in this city. I have duly noted some of the people who support Jamie Lee Hamilton’s bid for the Parks Board, but does this mean these supporters necessarily also support her business interests as a sex trade worker in her bid for legal brothels? I think there should be some clarification on this, especially from Ellen Woodsworth and Adriane Carr. But wait a minute. What about all of the coalition members running in the municipal election which includes Vision, Cope, and the Green Party? And why should the NPA be excluded? Do these members of parties all support legal brothels, presumably in time for the Olympics? I am personally very fond of Adriane Carr and admire some of her work. However, this question is not about fondness or friendship; it is about something fundamental that is chewing away at our society like a dog knawing on a bone. It is lack of respect for women.
When I was serving time in the women’s prison in Burnaby for protesting the proposed clear cutting of the Elaho Valley my daughter Marian was hired by SAVE THE CHILDREN to research the experiences of young aboriginal youth in the sex trade, and fashion these experiences into a book for the government of Canada to ponder. It was published under the title “Sacred Lives”. My daughter’s research showed that the average age of aboriginal children entering the sex trade was fourteen years.
There is something so barbaric about this treatment of children, the fact that “kiddie strolls” still exists in Vancouver, that a prominent section of society thinks that might be okay if prostitution were only made safer. I have heard all the arguments surrounding this issues from the other side, the claims that that those who have a business interest in promoting brothels are not interested in prostituting children, only making things safe for adult women.
It doesn’t work this way. Men who seek prostitutes are particularly fond of young girls, the younger the better. We know that drinkers can find drinking places after hours and so can Johns find the youngest of girls after hours. We know that pimps already regularly patrol the malls and school yards, even elementary school yards looking for the freshest of young girls who can be lured with drugs, a few clothes, good times and once addicted, the girls are usually lost. We need to confront our politicians who support legal brothels and I think aboriginal women, whose daughters are particularly at risk, but all mothers of daughters should lead the way in this questioning. It is not too late. The election is not until Saturday. And oh yes. The government is still pondering “Sacred Lives”. On a dusty shelf somewhere in Ottawa.
Monday, November 10, 2008
Too colourful? Well, if you spend your life trying to save a smidgen of the planet for young ones and trying to knock down the province’s use of injunctions to make this next to impossible, and you insist on keeping on anyway, then sooner or later somebody in the press will start mentioning you as a colourful local character. Which of course then eliminates any chance of the work you do as being anything serious.
The books that I write? They aren’t taken seriously either, although one won a book prize and one is widely read. But my latest: Open Living Confidential”, which speaks to the condition of women in relation to the environment in relation to the BC prison system has been systematically ignored by local media reviewers just as my bid for the mayoral race has been. One could think, well, okay, perhaps my books and my message are just not worthy of mention except for one thing…when the press is desperate on a fallow news day and nobody has been murdered, beaten and robbed, abducted or sexually assaulted then there might be a small notice that I have been arrested under the incredibly effective silencer of public protest called a court injunction. But running for mayor? Never a peep.
But are either of the two contenders for mayor of Vancouver whom the media touts as the only serious contenders in this public lottery up for the job? Well, if we were looking at business as usual, if our construction based developer dominated economic system was sustainable, then that would be one thing. Under those circumstances, then Gregor Robertson (Vision) may not be quite the train wreck that Peter Ladner (NPA) is. But on the other hand, maybe Gregor is as bad practically speaking and worse philosophically speaking. Why? Because at least with Peter Ladner we know what we are dealing with Ladner is a hard core believer in elite rule which occurs out of sight of the public. He was old boys club before the term was even invented and that club is for ever expanding construction and money in their pockets. He is the classical “greed is good” capitalist. But Gregor Robertson? He presents as something quite different. But is he?
I don’t think Robertson and his party Vision really is that different. We tend to forget that in the recent city 100 million dollar loan to a private company it wasn’t just Ladner and the NPA at fault. There were four members of Vision who also signed on to that secret loan of public money to a private corporation (Louie, Stevenson, Chow and Deal). By taking corporation money as their majority contributors (over 70 percent) Vision will not be able to act independently. Money not only talks, it screams and shouts. Out of party necessity, Gregor Robertson and Vision will be obliged to continue to try to patch up the comatose construction bubble while their plea for economic justice will fade to a faint whisper.
I am not kidding you people of gentle hearts and good intentions; I would be the best one for the job of mayor of Vancouver. Our Work Less Party four candidates running for council (Geri Tramutola, Christopher Shaw, Ian Gregson, and Timothy Wisdom) and one candidate for the Parks Board, (Ivan Doumenc) would also be the best choices considering these coming troubled years. These are wonderful candidates that any city could be proud of. But why would I personally be best choice for mayor? Let me count the ways.
First, I am a deep ecologist, and a Motherist (a Motherist is one who believes that the mother’s love and protection of children of both sexes and the environment should be paramount in the world). This city needs some mothering, not more private exploitation of public assets. I believe that each of us are on a spiritual journey in this world and that should be acknowledged in our journeys, not in a religious dogmatic sense, but in our inner heart searches. I write what I believe and what I do. I read enormously, not only of history and anthropology, but of the current affairs of Vancouver and BC, the nation and the world. I follow economic trends and listen to economists of all stripes and balance them against my own innate sense of what is true and just.
Inadvertently I have become an example of how to be physically healthy while negotiating with old age. I would like to share my increasing knowledge of how old age can work physically and mentally to be an enormous source of energy rather than a determent.
And lastly, my experience with economic depressions and hard times; my knowledge of how to cope under stressful circumstances of fires, floods, hurricanes, and changing countries while rearing eight children could be very valuable to the unknown challenges we will be facing soon. It’s not going to be business as usual. Our future will be different. But one thing I am sure of…if we approach change as an opportunity for sincere evaluations of what it means to be human, to be in a journey on this earth, to be part of the experience of living with our fellow-sister beings including the animals both wild and tamed, the plants that nourish us and the oceans and rivers that sustain us, and the skies that keep us rooted on this earth then we will prosper. In the very most important ways, we will prosper.
Saturday, September 27, 2008
A bloodless revolution? How. what and when? When enough women get up the gumption to do something about the childhood diseases our children are suffering, about the cut backs in schools and hospitals, the pitiful amount of money given to people on disability and welfare, the growing number of homeless in the streets, the lack of affordable housing for the working poor and even middle class families. But why am I sniping at women?
Because women hold the power, the key to change. We have simply been discouraged from using this power by men who fear it. Why, if significant numbers of women got into power they might make children in this country a priority, they might take away all hand guns, they might insist that some of the billions of dollars spent on sports be spent on social programs, they might insist on first rate care for the aged, they might repudiate war altogether and take away the right of corporations to pollute at will, the right of chemical companies to continue to poison the land and waters. and pharmaceuticals the right to dope up the citizenry, including children. They might even insist that advertising corporations stop using the blatant sexualization of children to sell the products of a sleazy minded clothing industry. Why, women might even want to put a stop to some of the TV programs that have made pornography main stream and the manufacture of “first shooter” games for boys that get bloodier and bloodier, that are in reality training ground for boys to want to get real guns into their hands. Civil society? We will never have one until women get out there and insist on it. But I believe that time is coming. It will come when enough women see there isn’t a chance in hell for their children to grow up happy and sane and healthy and safe…until these changes are made. And then the real revolution will come.
Thursday, September 11, 2008
Elections of any stripe induce, in my opinion, some of the fuzziest thinking known to humankind. Why? Because the very first thing that seems to come to the fore in political parties when an election is called is STRATEGY. And what’s wrong with that, you might ask? Don’t we all strategize our way through life in many areas, both great and small?
Yes, we do. In making any decision we have to weight the pros and cons. What to study, if anything, where to live, what kind of job if any, what to eat, what to wear, when to procreate, whether to procreate, when and where to retire, the list is endless. And agonizing. But there is one area where I think strategy simply doesn’t deliver. And that’s in politics.
Politics, you say? But politicians spend endless hours over strategies. In fact, one can almost say that strategies are the entire composition of most political parties. First, a political party tests the polls, find out what the voters want (and the party knows who the voters actually are) and promise to make the most vocal majority want that is expressed a priority, whatever that is, next find out what voters are actually worried about, then cook up the strategy that can be spun like a glistening spider web moist from a fresh fallen dew, into a soothing balm for whatever has caused the voter’s fretfulness, and while all of this may actually win votes because it’s true and tried good politics, the concept of leadership becomes a farce.
But what exactly is leadership if it isn’t cruising the polls and creating strategies? What do people mean when they ask for leadership? Is it a rote learning of a poll driven policy spoken in a firm, authortive voice? Or is it something else, something almost indescrible, something…dare we say it? Something almost spiritual? Something that stirs our innermost desires to connect more fully with each other, the natural world, and an almost but not quite conscious yearning for a personal place, a real place in the contribution to the evolution of human consciousness? But when I speak or write in this way I am sometimes cautioned that I am trying to drag a religious element into the political arena.
Nonsense. We have been so indoctrinated with different religions that we think that patrichal religions own spirituality. None of them do. Spirituality is the way we live our lives, not what church we belong to, so we all have a spiritual life of sorts already. Most people realize this. Okay, then what I leadership? What is a leader?
If I knew I would tell you. I only know what a leader isn’t. A leader isn’t sailing under false pretense, isn’t pretending to know something he or she doesn’t know, isn’t so fearful and frightened they must make back room deals in secret, doesn’t think the ends justify the means, doesn’t believe in autocracy, and who does, honestly, and truthfully, believe in equality, not only of civil and social and legal rights, but of equal rights to the resources of the county in which we all reside. And that means equality to the money that these resources generate.
In other words, a leader somehow is more interested in the egalitarian ideals he or she is harboring than in the opinion polls and political strategy. And maybe this is why we have so few political leaders who inspire us. They have mostly been made spiritually skinny by staring at the polls and too fat headed struggling with strategies.
There. Now haven’t I been helpful today?
Thursday, September 04, 2008
With federal elections upon us both north and south and Super Mom Sarah Palin comparing hockey moms to pit bulls below the border my immediate question is this…how many Americans south of the border even know what a hockey mom is? They don’t play hockey south of the border. It’s not that big down there. I’m from there. Down there it’s baseball, football. And Cheerleading. Cheerleading is big in
I am running for mayor of
I am hoping these are just rumours. Why would Gregor Robertson be so averse to appearing on the same platform with me? After all, Gregor has the blessing of almost everybody. There is going to be a debate next month on Peak Oil. The event had previously been tentatively scheduled to occur last month with the three mayoral candidate (at lest the organizers of this even recognizes that I am indeed running for mayor).but it seems Gregor couldn’t make it. And I understand there might be difficulty with his making the event next month. I don’t understand this. Gregor has remarked that his schedule is actually very flexible. If his schedule is flexible, why is he having so much trouble attending the Peak Oil debate that has given him two months to accommodate the event? And will he refuse to agree to the
I do hope the rumours are wrong. However, I have to confess… I have bet several chocolate cakes that the rumours are right. But I would love to lose this bet. I can’t imagine a man putting himself up for mayor of
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
That’s how Vision, a Municipal Political Party of Vancouver is being described, by themselves, and by the media, as left of centre. My question is: how can any political party be described as left of centre when it is seventy per cent funded by developers and corporations? But this question is never raised by our only two daily print newspapers, The Vancouver Sun and the Province. Both newspapers are owned by the Asper family of
Okay, if only one family who lives in Winnipeg owns the only two daily print newspapers in Vancouver, ( the family owns CanWest, the largest media conglomerate in Canada) what are the politics of this family, that is, the way they slant the news ? Decidedly right wing. That is, the usual right wing messages advocating the privatizing of everything public, including health care. All in a reasonable tone, of course. And the Aspers have already elected Gregor Robertson of Vision as the next mayor of
The Aspers obviously consider the fact that a little old lady environmental activist running for mayor as completely unworthy of mention. Or, the other possibility is that I present some kind of a threat. Because here’s an odd thing. In my role as an environmental activist, both papers have covered my activities. But as soon as I’m out of prison and announce that I’m running for mayor of
The fact that there is not even a footnote makes me suspicious. Could the Aspers really be afraid of me? Of what I represent? Which is public resistance to their corporate agenda and value systems? If so, what right have they to pick the next mayor of Vancouver, one whom they consider to be more amenable to their right wing agendas? To do this by endorsing a nice man with a soft image and calling his seventy per cent corporate and developer funded party left of centre? And the Aspers don’t even live in
If one bluntly questioned the Aspers about this they would probably reply that they have a right to say what they please and ignore what they please as they own the newspapers. But I say they have a responsibility to the public as owners of the only two local print dailies in
Ah, but you have a public obligation, you Aspers. You have an obligation to print names of declared candidates and legal municipal parties who have declared. In fact, I think there may even be some legal obligation here to do so. Just mentioning this as a foot note. Betty Krawczyk
Wednesday, August 06, 2008
And it was big. My birthday party was wonderful. I think the best I’ve ever had. What made it so big? And great? Well, anybody’s 80th birthday is big just because you’re still here. But the chief ingredient that made my 80th birthday party so delightful other than having the people I love the most all together in one space … friends, kids, grandkids, sons-in-laws, co-workers, my own personal heroes…was that it was a complete surprise.
Really. A complete surprise. And I’m not easy to fool. And I don’t get surprised much anymore. Because that’s one thing old age brings. Increased perception. At eighty years one’s perception is more honed and fined than it has ever been, particularly in dealing with other humans; one knows from experience what a particular kind of facial expression might mean, what that body movement is hiding or revealing, what that particular tone of voice is suggesting. One has become more delicately tuned to others. So I’m surprised that I was surprised by a surprise birthday party planned and prepared largely by my family, hosted by Monika and Byron Sharedown, and attended by my best friends and well wishers along with greetings sent by those who couldn’t attend. I think I didn’t catch on just because everybody involved is so separated by geography it was, and is, a wonder to me that it all got together.
And surprise is the spice of life. It’s also the spice of evolution. What is a mutation in nature except a surprise? And we’re all here because of mutations in our pre human ancestors, because of surprises that made us human. I believe in surprises. That’s why I left, and still leave, church dogmas, as all religious dogmas are fixed in time; they are not open to surprises. I believe we evolve by surprises. By the ability to be surprised. To stay open to surprises. To celebrate surprises when they are good surprises and to learn from the bad surprises. I celebrated my birthday party surprise for two whole days and the surprise factor will linger much longer. Thank you, flesh of my flesh, both biological and adopted flesh, for another thing happens when you’re eighty…all those you love become your children. It just happens. Betty Krawczyk
Sunday, July 27, 2008
There is an old saying that one gets what one pays for. But not in
Our justice system is in tatters. Gordon Campbell, with Wally Oppal at heel, shut down two dozen courthouses in BC, bought out many of the justices of peace with early retirement, closed a dozen prisons and holding centers to save money, of course, for his two week party where he can strut before the world. The situation now? Well, let’s see. Citizens will cool their heels a couple of years before their cases might actually be brought to trial except maybe parking ticket disputes. A parking ticket might come before the court in perhaps just under a year. And judges have to take into account before they actually send anybody to prison if there is a bed in a cell somewhere because with all the prison closures, the ones still operating have started triple bunking prisoners or holding them up in tents. So a kind of justice by housing shortage is emerging in the courts that have to do with where does a judge send a person convicted of a crime if there is nowhere to send him or her? And the courts are now so crowded police are simply just letting people off with warnings, people they would have booked before Gordon Campbell’s “Shock and Awe” attack on our justice system.
So where does my civil case against Kietwit Sons Co and Kevin Falcon stand resulting from my part in the blockades at Eagleridge Bluffs? Well, while the court did throw out the two main issues I wanted tried, I was allowed to bring the charges of assault forward and also include the Attorney General (my stars, Wally Oppal) and Sea to
But I say this isn’t over. And we’ll see. Betty Krawczyk
Friday, July 18, 2008
Trust us, Gordon Campbell seems to assure the Mothers Against Power Poles in Tsawwassen, those high voltage power lines I’ve agreed to put into your back yards and the school yard aren’t really dangerous to your kids even though they will constantly zap their growing bodies and bathe their budding brains with voltages high enough to supply Vancouver Island with lots of additional electricity.
But I suspect it isn’t even Vancouver Island Mr. Campbell is worried about. It’s his American friends. The ones who want to privatize the entire electrical and hydro electrical fields of BC so they can suck it all up. Or most of it. But a growing worry among citizens is that our own people who build, repair, maintain important infrastructures might not actually know what they are doing. At least some of the time.
For instance, Monday’s blow out in
Sam Sullivan is calling for an independent investigation. At least that’s something. However, with the provincial government’s love of ruling as an oligarchy, and the mayor and council’s history of following
And a word to the Mothers Against Power Poles: I think you are wise to be skeptical of the people who supposedly know abut electricity when they give you advice on what’s healthy or not healthy for your kids. This is the same provincial government who thinks cutting welfare to mothers with dependant children will make the children strong and healthy. Why would they act more intelligently about children anywhere in the province? They don’t and won’t. But when enough mothers find they can’t protect the health of their children and all three levels of government have in reality combined to become the enemy of the health of children, things will start to happen. I know they will. Betty Krawczyk
Tuesday, July 08, 2008
I heard on CBC radio, so it must be true, that Gregor Robinson, in order to court the Chinese vote in
Dr. Bethune was considered a traitor at home and more or less reviled by the governments of
Dr. Norman Bethune was a real socialist, a believer in equality, and he sympathized completely with the Chinese revolution. In case it isn’t clear, Dr. Bethune is also a hero of mine. He fought the moneyed interests, both foreign and domestic that kept
Friday, July 04, 2008
Thursday, June 26, 2008
What’s ideaCity? And the Grandmother Hypothesis? First, if you’ve never heard of ideaCity it’s a yearly coming together of think tankers from around the world hosted by Moses Znaimer of
The Grandmother Hypothesis goes this way: Remember how we’ve all been taught that man the hunter fed his wife and children even in the earliest hunter-gatherer societies? Well, it doesn’t appear to be so. The truth of the matter, according to current reading of anthropology, is that men probably didn’t even know which particular children were theirs, if any. And making a kill of any wild animal was a dicey thing in those days. Often the men didn’t bring anything back to the clan. And when they did it was shared with the clan as a whole. So the daily feeding of children which centered on gathering wild tubers and berries and bird’s eggs, was left to the women.
The anthropologists who first brought this theory forward looked at calorie requirements. They calculated how many calories a young early hunter gather woman needed per day and concluded that this young woman could gather enough calories to feed herself, and could feed herself if she became pregnant, and even with a suckling infant manage to feed herself. But when the infant became a toddler and the young woman found herself pregnant again she could not feed herself, a baby, and an older child. She had to have help. Enter Granma
Medical scientists, people who study the human body and evolution, still being mostly male, have long wondered about human menopause. What was it for, they wondered? It had to be important, because it was unique among the animal kingdom and every human woman who lived long enough had menopause. And no other animal lived so very long after the reproductive process was finished. In all other animals the individual female died as her reproduction process stopped. The scientists largely decided that menopause must be a relative new thing in woman because they thought in the past human females also died when they stopped being reproductive.
Not so, we are told by the Grandmother Hypothesis. In fact, it was because of the menopause that grandmothers, still well and hearty, and no longer being burdened with infants of their own, could turn their attention to their daughter’s and nieces’ and cousins’ older children and help provide the calories needed to bring them to adulthood. The menopause was the gift nature gave to the human species that enabled our species to multiply and spread out over the globe. In fact, the entire development and evolution of Homo sapiens has turned over the wheel of grandmothers. Now, isn’t that the darndest thing?
Friday, June 06, 2008
Okay, so how can we even think about the fact that four right feet, that’s right, it is now four right feet, mind you, that have recently washed up on Canadian shores. When the fourth foot appeared a couple of weeks ago, complete with running shoe, as were the others, it was news for a couple of days. Police reports were exceedingly cautious about this fourth foot. First, they said there was no evidence that the foot had been severed from the rest of the body. Then they said there was nothing (nothing definite) to connect it to the other three right feet that had washed up before, which evidentially had been severed from bodies. And then this fourth foot vanished from public consciousness.
This kind of thing is painful to think about because as citizens we have no place to put this kind of information. What does one do with this kind of information? Eject it out of our minds, that’s what. And wish the police and media would do the same. We don’t want to hear about it. We want the police to get on with the drug traffickers, domestic murders, and petty criminals. And tend to a couple of rather violent municipal political politicians who are in dire need of anger management.
But still, like the Pickton Pig Farm, this foot thing won’t really go away. Perhaps it’s because on a collective level many of us know, or think we know, what the fourth severed right foot is about. It’s about revenge. Non payment of debt. It’s about drugs. It’s about a sick, drug ravaged world. It’s about depression so rampant that it touches every aspect of our daily lives, lives we live now where pornography and human trafficking have become so common place they’re mainstream, where a popular rock band can call themselves the New Pornographers and be played on CBC (which begs two questions, what happened to the Old Pornographers and as the new ones are actually pretty lame as musicians, would they be played anywhere except for their titillating name?) where drug addictions, to both street and prescription drugs, are reaching mammoth proportions, where hunger and homeless is stalking the streets, where ugliness is the new beauty, greed the new respected value, selfishness the universal North American principal, and where the mother principal of care and nourishing has been almost totally eradicated in our culture. It is only in this kind of culture that can breed a willingness to look away from the severed feet that has washed up on our shores, and to think, however privately, or maybe even out loud, that their owners probably got what they deserved.
But they didn’t. Nobody deserves to have their feet cut off. Whatever they have done. We are all children of this earth. These men, like the women killed at the Pickton Farm where babies once. Beautiful babies with big round eyes, looking out at the world and their mothers, whatever their failings may have been, loved their babies and even if they didn’t, the universe loved them. Because the universe conspired to bring them here. And each one was unique. Nature only makes one of a kind. Of anything. There will never be any man exactly like the man whose right foot recently washed up on our shores just as there will never be any other women exactly like the women killed at the Pickton Farm. Let us grieve for them. For their uniqueness. And vow to never, ever, accept their deaths and mutilations as the price we have to pay for being okay ourselves. We are not okay. That fourth foot belongs to us all. Betty Krawczyk
Sunday, May 25, 2008
We, The Work Less Party, compared to the other municipal parties in
Because we offer something enormously different from the polite chit chat that Vision mayoral candidates have offered. Vision is being described as “left of centre.” Left of centre politically? How can this be when Vision is primarily funded by developers and corporations? “Left of centre of the moon” makes about as much sense. We all know that “them who pays the piper picks the tune”. And it is this very playing the tunes the piper pays for that built the environmental, economical and social mud hole we’ve all been herded and gate locked into.
Still, there are ways out of this mud hole. But not by believing the sweet talk of banal politicians who try to convince us that we can save our way of life with a little bit of system tinkering. The Work Less Party is not about saving our way of life. We are about saving our very lives, and the lives of our children and grandchildren and those of the populace at large. And the only way to do this is to start accepting, talking about and implementing the concept of “zero growth”.
There is no other way out. It is the lusting after the idea of continuous growth that is killing our planet and everything on it that breathes oxygen. But how could the fact of zero growth be accomplished without bringing commerce to an absolute stand still? Without creating even more homelessness, more ill health, more drug addictions, more crime, more everything heinous that is washing over our city as it is? Well, we have a secret. It’s a secret you already know. It’s called sharing. Does sharing our way out of a municipal, provincial and national mess sound too silly to actually say out loud? That’s because we’ve all been so brain damaged by relentless corporate propaganda that we think the main, if indeed not the only, smart, respectable human quality that can operate in our society is one of greed. But it isn’t. At some level, we all know that greed is not the main motive for living. And in the weeks and months ahead we will be expound on this ancient but ever new concept at length.
Monday, May 19, 2008
AM I A FANATIC? OH, YES!
I am a fanatic for love of this earth and the earth’s creatures which include a few people I have to admit, that I don’t even like. But yes, I am a fanatic For Gaia. For the mother in us all, men and women alike. For the mother consciousness in us who recognize that the recent earthquakes, storms, landslides, fires are not Gaia's revenge as one popular book contends, but Gaia's sorrow and Gaia's increasingly very public global warnings. But what do these warnings mean?
That we all must become fanatical if the earth itself is to remain a place where humans can breathe and live out human lives? I believe Gaia is telling us this. She is speaking to us. She is calling us to action. You don’t want to do actions? Well, I didn’t either. But I became consumed with the necessity of doing them anyway twenty years ago when I was living in the Clayoquot Sound. The unbelievable disintegration of the mountains and streams due to clear cutting made me a true believer.
Gaia is a tough taskmaster. She guides me into peaceful civil disobedience, out on to the various blockades, both in urban spaces and public forests, into the courts, into prison, into the political area, speaking, writing, wherever the struggle for the earth is going on, which is everywhere. Can everybody do this? No. People have jobs, kids, financial responsibilities, schooling, health problems, all of the preoccupations of necessity that modernity brings. But any social revolution has two different thrusts, one consisting of actions and one of support for the actions.
Our political, economic, legal and military leaders are guiding us to a collapse of the earth’s life support systems. We have to get out from under the political and legal structures that allow corporations and governments who manage corporations to accelerate the destruction of our very earth.
I have tried to sue Kevin Falcon and Kiewit Sons and the West Vancouver Police for malfeasance and collusion to deprive all of us protesters at Eagleridge Bluffs of the protections of the criminal code. But there is this handy bit of legal ruling in place to protect corporations and governments from serious legal challenges: citizens cannot sue on the grounds that injunctions are injurious to citizens and should not be used in eco disputes because this is called a collateral attack on the injunction that one was arrested under. It is fixed in law that one cannot complain about the very unfairness, called abuse of process, of a ruling that sends one to prison simply because there’s a legal rule that says this isn’t allowed. Isn’t that incredible? However, the judge has ruled that I can go forward, with some stipulations, with that part of my suit that is claiming assault for virtue of an action by a Kiewit employee which was encouraged, I claim, by the inflammatory public utterances of Kevin Falcon, Minister of Transportation. So we’ll see.
But the courts of BC are only one area where Gaia is beckoning. Our rivers are calling us. They are being dammed, privatized, fish killed. The wild animals are calling us from dying, denuded forests. They want to know where we are. They are asking through Gaia, for the human mothers, the mothers that live in both male and female human consciousness to come and stand with them. I believe we must use everything we have, body, mind, and soul to connect, to protect, to create, to recreate or we, and our progeny, may all die with them. We have no choice but to answer Gaia's call however best we can.
Monday, May 05, 2008
TO SQUAT? OR NOT TO SQUAT? THAT IS THE QUESTION.
Squat. The very word has a harsh ugly sound. Almost like spit. Or that other S word. From Wikipedia the word squatting in a political sense means “the act of occupying an abandoned or unoccupied space or building that the squatter does not own, rent or otherwise have permission to use.” Okay, that’s straightforward enough
There was a rally at Little Mountain low rental complex today. Five hundred people are losing their homes there. Private developers are moving in, moving on up, sucking in public land, public assets, fattening further on the flesh and souls and futures of poor people. Earlier I was on one of the Stands for Housing that took place all over the city today demanding that housing be recognized as a human right. Why? Because it’s inhuman to leave whole categories of people homeless in a province awash in wealth.
People sicken and die from homelessness. Working families sicken and fall apart when there’s not enough money for food, clothes, transportation and school supplies after sky high rents are paid. Everybody sickens when they live in a city where a provincial government, crazed and stupid from an absolute privatization ideology, gives a housing allowance of 375 dollars a month per adult on public assistance. Where is anybody in this city going to find a place to stay for 375 a month except bunking in with a stranger in one of the flea bag hotels which in turn are rapidly being empted out for development? Where, I want to know is the mayor and council on this? Why aren’t they jumping up and down at such miserable treatment of citizens? Why aren’t they screaming in the streets?
Where are their guts?
Apparently they don’t have any. Or else they have shriveled by the dazzle of developer’s money, by the shock and awe of corporate might. In the face of this crisis let’s at least look at the possibility of drafting some sort of squatters rights. Don’t faint on me now. Stay with me. To prevent revolutions some countries, even western ones, have drafted squatter’s rights, squatter’s laws. In the
Growing poverty is dogging us like a plague. Over priced housing and homelessness are festering sores. While, of course, and at the same time, development runs amuck. But the solution is relatively simple. Run the developers and their politicians out of City Hall, out of the legislature, out of parliament. It’s almost as though most of the rest of us are being held in a kind of Stockholm Syndrome where we have been persuaded by the highjackers and kidnappers that their interests are also ours. In our finer moments we know this is not true. Let’s collectively find our own guts, our spleens, our good hearts, and strong minds. And we can do this.
Saturday, April 26, 2008
PEAK OIL? SHOULDA, OUGHTA, GOTTA
Yes, we’re behind. Way behind in recognizing the threat of Peak Oil. But can this sow’s ear of threatened loss of all that North Americans hold dear be turned into the proverbial silk purse? By my dead mother’s legacy of looking at every catastrophe as an opportunity for personal growth, yes. In this case, the growth would have to be collective. But if one considers cheap oil and gas as warty growths on the sow’s ear that brought us urban sprawl, the demise of family farms, the globalization of corporations, accelerated destruction of eco systems and entire species, and the disappearance of real communities, then perhaps a cleaned up sow’s ear could reveal the most beautiful silk purse. Although I think a sow’s ear is beautiful in itself, we are speaking metaphorically here. And we would have to think.
In my opinion, we haven’t thought in a long time. Not really. Not collectively, not outside the expert’s findings (usually TV experts). Reverting back to thinking for ourselves would free us to think realistically about time, how children learn, what constitutes happiness, when and how we feel the most at peace, how to consider love and laughter, music and dance, how to garden, how to find and use natural products, how to become and stay healthy, how to connect with others who are ill, how to recognize and acknowledge the spiritual component in our lives, what constitutes a responsible adult…the list goes on. But this list composes the shining silken strands of the proverbial purse. This list composes community. The community that was lost with the excessive and unmitigated use of oil over the last century.
So here in the peak oil crisis we have the opportunity for personal grown in the collective. We can think about how to convince citizens in the city to give up lawns and except perhaps for a few border flowers, grow good things to eat. In Vancouver we have many flat top roofs, may city owned garden spots places where children and adults alike can grow food; we can think about how to narrow some streets that would take away parking spaces and give them over to food plots, with food prices going through the roof we must think food, first, foremost and above all. But I would like to bring forward one other thing for discussion…the nationalization of
I understand as a mayoral candidate that if elected I could not personally nationalize
Sunday, April 20, 2008
Even though I’m pushing eighty and was born into the time of the lawlessness of the Klu Klux Klan, I have never seen a posse except in old cowboy movies. Posse you might ask? Well, a posse is formed when the bad guys get out of hand in this righteous little village and the right thinking sheriff has to deputize some equally right thinking men to go chase down and hang some uppity Indians or black people or cattle rustlers who are causing trouble. Deputizing the white, right thinking men means the newly deputized got to shoot to kill. Didn’t know anything about the law to speak of, couldn’t read or write too good, were drunkards or wife beaters themselves, but give em a gun and some kind of deputizing and by George, they became the knights of justice, equality and protectors of children and women kind.
And it was even better, when they got to stop a train, or chase bad guys through a train. And our modern sky trains are just perfect. While Our newly deputized right thinking men (and somehow a few women have joined the posses) can’t shoot to kill with real guns on the trains (unless a real opportunity presents itself) the stun guns are perfect. The stun guns enable our modern day posses to shoot with a dangerous weapon without enraging the citizenry to the point of revolt. And by George, as any right thinking posse member knows, it feels good to have a weapon that while it may not kill, will certainly inflict damage and it’s a pleasure to have one. Talk about power! Poor people trying to cheat the city of two dollars and fifty cents? Zapp em. Never mind they might actually kill the zapped. The zappers have been deputized, right? They’re good as policemen, right?
In my opinion, We, as a citizenry, are regressing. It is absurd that ill trained people who are not really police officers have the right to use dangerous weapons on poor people with no money trying to get a ride to God knows where. Never mind trying to be a civil city, I would be satisfied if we were just a civilized city. This kind of thing is outrageous, stupid, and cruel. I would like to see the officials who okayed this brutality stand up and offer to experience the taser themselves in order to satisfy the public that being tasered isn’t so bad. I think perhaps the citizenry would pay big bucks to see this, in fact this kind of spectacle featuring some of our more righteous public officials might bring in so much money that the entire down town east side could be rejuvenated.
Monday, April 14, 2008
Yes, Mr. Honourable Mayor, I come in friendship bringing glad tidings. Because it is you, sir, who not only presently holds the keys to the city, but the very key to insure your re-election and make your dreams of a civil city come true at the same time. How? How can this be? Would you not have used such a key before, if it existed, when neither Stephen Harper nor Gordon Campbell would give adequate money for homelessness and affordable housing and you still can’t seem to wring it out of any other source and to make matters worse, there are certain civil and legal groups in the process of bringing this shameful state of increasing numbers of people sleeping in the streets to the attention of the United Nations? This unfortunate mess creates the real possibility the Olympics may go on without you being there, up front and centre. And that won’t be much fun. So how to get out from between the rock and hard place after promising so much and delivering so little?
It’s easy. Truly it is. You, sir, as the main signer (in your capacity as mayor) on the contract with VANOC states there will be no displacement of poor people from their homes which turned out to be a most dishonorable lie. This is called BREACH OF CONTRACT. The hitch is that nobody can sue for BREACH OF CONTRACT who wasn’t part of the contract and who wasn’t directly hurt by the breaching of the contract. You, sir, were part of the contract. You can sue VANOC and the Premier for BREACH OF CONTRACT. Yes, you can. You can claim that you were personally injured by loss of reputation due to the conspiracy between VANOC and the Campbell government’s refusal to live up to their contract which has thrown so may people out onto the streets. Your claim is that this series of events has made you look terrible in the eyes of your constituents and may very well cost you the election. This sir, can be legally described as Conspiracy and PUBLIC and CORPORATE MALFEASENCE to deprive the people of Vancouver of their right to housing and shelters and your right to be seen as an honest and truthful person who believed the promises made by VANOC and the Provincial Government and the promises on the contract you signed. It’s your only hope, sir. If you will do this, instead of running against you for the mayor’s office, I will instead offer my services to your campaign. I will even come help you fill out the Writ of Summons calling VANOC and GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS to court. Think long and hard about this, sir. Yours Truly, Betty Krawczyk
Saturday, April 12, 2008
The Dalai Lama says that Tibet rightfully belongs to him and the monks and the religious order they represent. He and they want a country separated from China and ruled by their religious order. And large parts of the Western World seem to agree with them that they should have this.
But wait a minute. As I will soon be eighty years old I was living in the times of the Chinese revolution. I remember the Chinese revolution. It started happening just before, during, and right after the Second World War. China then was in pitiful shape. Had been for a very long time. There was no middle class in China during those years to speak of and no heavy industry, or much industry of any kind. Aside from the war lords, noble upper classes, and pirates, nobody had any money. Couldn’t read or write, either. Peasant share croppers they were, only the landlords took more than their share leaving the peasants hungry. Famine was rampant. Women especially bore the burden of abject poverty. They worked in the fields, bore children, were beaten, and if destined for harlotry, had their feet bound that crippled them for life.
And then this revolution started happening. Land lords and upper classes were told to share the wealth and foreign religious orders were kicked out of the country. Everybody was given a chance to reform but if the pirates couldn’t sop pirating they were executed. Suddenly people were learning to read and write, including women and girls. Jobs were opening up in the cities, again for women, too. Female foot binding became a shameful thing of the past. Farming began on a communal basis. Some peasants were taught to be para- medics (only they were called bare foot doctors) and go out and doctor people in the country side. Even though the US and Europe in general boycotted China for having the audacity to have a revolution, China struggled through and gradually built schools, hospitals, fostered art and dance and became the powerful nation it is today.
Is China full of faults? I’m sure. But they seem to keep the country relatively free from corruption and one thing they are hell bent on is keeping Tibet in China. Just like Canada wants to keep it’s Artic claims for Canada. Like Canada resists the notion of Quebec separating. Like people everywhere resists the notion of a country being bound by a certain religion, any religion, like some orders of the Sikhs, Al Qaeda, and Kurds, to name a few who want to overthrow secular states or parts of secular states and impose religious beliefs as government.
In short, I am not opposing the Olympics because I think the Dalai Lama and the monks should lead Tibet into succeeding from China. Tibet now has schools where girls attend as well as boys; people have jobs, health care, and a modern railroad into the rest of China. The Chinese people themselves know this and from all reports are not sympathetic to the Dalai Lama and the monk’s attempts to fracture China.
I oppose the Olympics because they are evil in and of themselves, where they occur they displace people and homes, fracture the local economy, leave an area heavily in debt and take land they shouldn’t as in Campbell’s Olympics here in BC, the taking of Aboriginal land. Yes. They are taking Aboriginal land. This is the main issue.
Tuesday, March 04, 2008
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF BRITISH COLUMBIA
BETWEEN: HER MAJESTY THE QUEEN
AND: BETTY KRAWCZYK
NOTICE OF APPLICATION FOR CONSTITUTIONAL REMEDY
TAKE NOTICE that an application will be brought on behalf of the Applicant to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedom to the British Columbia Supreme Court at the courthouse located at 800 Smithe St., Vancouver, British Columbia, on a date yet to be determined at the hour of 10:00 a.m. in the forenoon or as soon thereafter as the Motions may be heard for an Order that:
1. The Applicant claims that by the British Columbia practice of charging exorbitant jury empanelling fees in civil trials that citizens are restricted in their right to access justice. This practice is seen by citizens as injurious to the concept of fundamental justice and was remarked upon by Mr. Justice MacAdam of the Nova Scotia Supreme Court who found the jury empanelling fees unconstitutional because they “put a price on accessing the courts, a price on justice” and declared them unconstitutional in Nova Scotia.
2. The Applicant claims that as she has brought a civil case before the courts in the Vancouver Registry, BC (one charging Conspiracy, Collusion, and Malfeasance of public and corporate officers) that may go to trial, and as she was denied a jury trial in an environmental dispute at Eagleridge Bluffs, BC that resulted in her conviction of ten months in prison because she was convicted of Criminal Contempt of Court for which there is no right to a jury trial, and has, over the years , always denied a jury, served more than three years in the prisons of British Columbia in environmental disputes feels it is unjust that she should now be denied the right to a jury trial in a civil action should it go to court because she can’t pay the jury empanelling fees, which thus restricts her right to justice, even though her case is considered by many to be in the public interest.
3. The Applicant asks that the court strike down the jury empanelling fees in civil cases in British Columbia as the fees give the appearance, and indeed the substance, that justice is for sale in British Columbia, and that they be struck regardless of whether or not the Applicant is allowed to take her case to trial as these fees are offensive to the concept of fundamental justice.
4. The Applicant asks this pursuant to Section 15 (1) and (2), Section 24(1) and (2) and in the name of fundamental justice.
The Applicant is self represented and this Notice was prepared by her.
Betty Krawczyk Phone 604. 255. 4427
Monday, February 18, 2008
I read this short story once that curled my toes. It was set in the future where the divide between the rich and the poor had become absolute and a young mother was trying to hide her child from the body parts snatchers. Which in the story was legal. The snatchers had the legal right to take body parts from the poor to sell to the rich. It was like hunting game animals. The story was absurd, but there was an underlying truth that haunted me. Because the rich have been using the bodies of the poor for whatever they needed without pay or adequate pay for eons…for prostitution, slavery, semi-slavery wages, child labour, fodder for the armies of the rich, medical experiments…so how great a stretch is it for rich people to think they have some sort of right to the body parts of the poor when they need them?
I don’t think it’s that big of a stretch. After all, when rich Canadians need nannies they are prone to summon mothers from poor countries whose own children are near starvation. The poverty stricken mothers come to Canada and the US to care for the pampered darlings of the rich while their own children go motherless and uncared for a continent away. This practice is so prevalent that some Pilipino writers are describing the Philippines as a country without mothers. And it’s a practice that will continue as long as poor mothers feel compelled to feed their children even if it means they must leave them. . So if rich people can induce poor mothers to leave their own children in order to send back enough money to feed the kids, why would these rich people have any qualms about buying or effectively stealing kidneys or other body parts from the poor? The fact is, they don’t. That early short story that freaked me has come true. The kidney highway is the very darkest underbelly of corporate capitalism. But I think it also might well contribute to its downfall. Betty Krawczyk
Sunday, February 03, 2008
OH, FOR THE LOVE OF THE OLYMPICS!
Love? Oh, no. It’s actually money. For everybody but us Vancouverites who have to shell out for this huge province wide construction party masquerading as a civic celebration (oh, all right, everybody in the province pays). We’re supposed to do it for love. Do what exactly? Well, let’s just consider the Athlete’s Village.
Okay, so a lot of figures are boring. Even to me. So I’ll keep it simple. There’s a corporation named Millennium Development Corp. They got the nod to build the Athletes’ Village on Southeast False Creek for the Olympics which will include 1100 condos of which 250 will belong to the City after the games. For this privilege Millennium will pay us, the city, 193 million, of which 30 million will be a down payment. These condos are not for the working poor. They will go for between 500,000 and 6 million all of which they plan to pre sell. Millennium will also receive over 82 million for building the units and we will do the site fixing at another 153 million. There are two directors (Shahram and Sharokh Malekyazdi) who hold no board meetings, issue no shares and do not file the required annual financial paper with the provincial Ministry of Finance. They are partnered with Armeco Group of Companies.
Armeco currently has only one director, a lawyer who recently headed the Vancouver NPA party (Paul Barbeau). But where can these corporations, wealthy though they are, get such huge amounts of money? Well, there are two lenders… The Fortress Credit Corporation and guess who?
Well, bust my britches! It’s us! The City of Vancouver! Which means that we, us, yes us, the tax payers of Vancouver will be lending a hunk, or even most (maybe all?) of the start up money to Millennium who is supposed to pay us, for God’s sake. But somehow they have it fixed so that we pay them for borrowing money from us so they can make billions. But if we, Vancouver, have this kind of money to lend out for the already super rich people so they don’t have to use their own money why don’t we do something about the homeless? Or affordable housing? No money for that? Or money in that? Well, back to Millennium and Armeco. These two, along with Gordon Campbell simply take my breath away. Their ability to pull off such a gigantic public robbery in secret takes stealth and cunning the likes of which makes Lord Black look rather amateurish. I think Gordon Campbell, VANOC, Millennium and Fortress along with Paul Barbeau are guilty of conspiracy to defraud the public. I’ll be pouring over my law books. This has got to be against the law. Betty Krawczyk
Wednesday, January 30, 2008
I have heard all of your arguments before. I was a friend of the woman who first started PEERS in Victoria. My daughter also worked with this organization as a researcher, later moving on to work for SAVE THE CHILDREN. Due to her work there she was later commissioned to write a government report on the subject of aboriginal children and youth and the sex trade. I found her report in the Alouette prison library under the title "Sacred Lives" when I was serving time there just recently for blockading at Eagleridge Bluffs. My daughter continues to do research on women in the drug and sex trades and I have a third book coming out soon on this subject myself entitled OPEN LIVING CONFIDENTIAL. I know enough about this subject to impress upon you that I know a con when I am in contact with one, whether in person or through the mail. If I become mayor I promise you this...what you envision as upper scale brothels serviced by beautiful mature women to cater to upper scale men will never happen.
First, because this category is already being filled by call girls. The second category of men with money want very young girls. The younger the better. Well, lower class men do too, but they have a harder time with it. Do you doubt this? Do you really? So children would be drawn into these brothels no matter how much you protest you wouldn't like it. And if you listened to the aboriginal women such as the woman at Aboriginal Women's Action Network you would think twice before you brag that you have the consent of the women on the East Side. They hate you. Well, certainly they oppose your organization veraciously. It might be because your racism surfaces in your casual assumption that you are working for them, too. They know you don't give a tinker's dam about their lives.
And even if you did, it wouldn't matter because your solution is one of managing (to your advantage of course)a pus pocket in society, not to try to eradicate the wound, much as the way Gordon Campbell tries to manage the downtown east side. As mayor I will insist that every child in this city has a decent place to live, decent food, and decent treatment from the adults entrusted to care for them. I will insist that the billions spent on needless waste like the Olympics be spent on affordable housing and educational programs. I will insist that young people work with me to present a challange to all levels of government that university fees be brought down to a reasonable level, and that we all have the physic space to learn about organic gardening, about conserving waste, and considering how to do with less as we reconnect with nature. I will push for the legalization of marijuana which seems to be a rather innocuous herb compared to alcohol as this would curb much of the crime and violence in the city and fund long term drug treatment programs for hard core addicts. I will push for the age of consent to be raised to sixteen at least, and I will work for a society where men and women can come together as equals, not as one in a position of sexual servitude to the other. Yes, there will be much to do as Mayor, much to champion, but consenting to the sexual servitude of children and women will not be one of them. But you say a mayor can't do all of these things I claim? I quote the poet Goethe... "whatever you dream you can do, begin it. Begin it now. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it." Betty Krawczyk