Racism and Rationalism

Has anyone using the media expression “racism” ever thought about its meaning? It’s probably a new word, a  poetically born  abstract noun resembling sociological, anthropological or economic academic jargon in its cadence; sounding like socialism, communism or capitalism, implying  adherence to principles implying  condemnation of races other than ones own: as communists and National Socialists (Nazis) adhere to socialism;  capitalism to appetitive accumulation for self-aggrandizement; or to the religious practices of Catholicism or Protestantism.

“Racism” has made the terms “prejudice” and “bias” with their concretely specific objects meaningless. One may be prejudiced against specific nationalities but not that nationality’s race. One may assume specific characteristics of a people by accurate or inaccurate prejudgment or bias. But the objects for  the adherents of racism resemble the unspecified targets of a bomb.

Working Class/Middle Class

Salon’s Stephanie Land article reveals that the lines separating middle class and working class are blurring. In fact I think that before Donald Trump started running to be the Republican nominee for president I had thought that almost every one in the U.S. saw themselves as middle class even university degree less labourers. The working class which to me meant those whose living style was based on earning a living by physical labour seemed to have meaning in Canada and in Britain, not the U.S.A.. In Canada’s recent federal election though, the group most championed by the Liberal winners was the middle class which surprised me because Mr Trudeau’s middle class political pitch sounded just like the one President Obama and his fellow Democrats had been pitching for some time in the U.S. without any mention of a working class. In Britain there is still a political party named for the working class. In Canada we used to have the CCF that my father used to see as the working man’s party. Sometimes that old CCF used to be called a socialist or communist party, but since it became the NDP party it’s begun to take on a centrist Liberal party appearance seeming to represent a more family oriented liberal middle class, and  led by a former Quebec Liberal party cabinet minister.

So Ms. Land’s article is puzzling because the working class label that I hadn’t noticed in years of following United State’s politics has come to replace the notion that everyone in America was middle class. And this new awareness of the existence of a working class has come to light because of a wealthy salesman politician who is neither from the working class nor the mythic middle class. And Ms. Land whether she is the person endorsed by writer peers as an accomplished writer and editor or simply the Stephanie Land who wrote a couple of articles for Salon, her manner of work cannot easily be comprehended by the political-sociological label, working class. In fact Ms. Land’s recent article in Salon may reveal the truth behind politicians’ highlighting the plight of the real middle class, the educated, intellectual class who may be falling into a life style similar to that thought of as working class.

In the 19’th century Karl Marx predicted, despite 20’th century political systems in Russia and China, that a classless communist society would emerge when everyone fell into the same social class.

NDP 2012 Leadership Race

I’m reminded in studying peterderemigisnet stats of the importance of the impoverishment theme to many. Somewhat sensitive of my own subjective lack of political experience I imagine that this account of my television viewing of the 2012 NDP leadership race may reflect a consequence of increasing impoverishment and societal separation  ignored by most  politicians and journalists.


NDP 2012 Leadership Race

Yesterday, and today, March 24,2012 I saw some of the CBC and CTV coverage of the New Democrat Party leadership convention. The party began as the CCF under Tommy Douglas, a Baptist minister/boxer, who inspired the establishment of Canada’s public health system, in order to alleviate the suffering of those unable to afford medical services. As Canada’s socialist party, its supporters were often labelled communist by Liberal and Conservative party sympathizers, an epithet that as a child I had to endure because my parents had a CCF sign on our front lawn.

All that has changed since the CCF became the NDP, for the NDP has become socially acceptable to those more affluent than the poor Canadians of the 1930’s and 1940’s. The once denigrated socialist CCF, now the NDP has become Canada’s powerful official federal opposition thanks to Quebec’s Bloc Québécois supporters switching to the NDP during the 2011 Federal election. And those leading the party no longer seem to be represented by the kinds of principled intellectuals and working people who believed they represented an alternative to the power wielding Liberals and Conservatives. These New Democrats some of whom appear as descendants of Canada’s old business elite, seem more like well paid professionals, or “knowledge workers” struggling to ensure their own social benefits, and influence in an age when good incomes are increasingly funded by governments.

Some years ago my father and I were discussing Canada’s political situation when he, a former CCF activist and working man, remarked that his party was no longer the party that it had been when he’d worked for David Lewis under Tommy Douglas. Yesterday a pharmacist, Martin Singh, son of a former Liberal politician spoke to win the leadership of the NDP. And today I learned that Canada’s NDP had hired a Spanish firm to run its electronic voting system surprising even one of the NDP’s members who could not understand why this (nationalist ?)Canadian political party was unable to give these jobs to unemployed Canadians; and saw a former Quebec Liberal cabinet minister become NDP leader; my father’s words echoed: “It’s not the same party.”

Invisible Poverty

“Posted on March 14, 2011 by peterderemigis”
April 29, 2013

…Fama di loro il mondo esser non lassa,
misericordia e giustizia gli sdegna:
non ragionian di lor, ma guarda e passa.”…Inferno; Canto III,line.49

Most of what people know about society arrives through the various news vehicles such as TV, free newspapers and to a diminishing extent radio. All of these media seem to repeat the same features all day long and sometimes all week long, and most of these feature facts seem to be based on reports of other journalists or expert studies.

Consequently information about poverty is conveyed in references to abstract studies or in feature stories based on information of experts or interviews of those considered to be disadvantaged. Scarcely does this information about poverty seem to arise from any one’s immediate experience. No one seems to have witnessed the life of the poor in the places where the poor seem most real: on Toronto’s downtown streets where the poor have been sleeping since the late 1970′s, or standing in rush hour crowds that struggle onto the subway, buses and streetcars. And no one reporting about the poor seems to live among the poor in apartment towers or houses in not so desirable real estate areas where even public schools seem underfunded compared to schools in more affluent districts. And of course one might assume that the poor do not comprise the intellectual milieu of those who now and then publicise information about poverty.

Elder Abuse/Granny Bashing

Elder Abuse has been a growing concern in the U.S. and Canada since the mid 1970’s when the British christened it “granny bashing”. Since then, abuse of the elderly has been increasing. Most abusers are the children of the victim.

And according to the National Center on Elder Abuse, “the percentage of abuse cases involving children has increased in the nineties”.

Information about how to detect abuse is extensive. The means of halting it are expensive and almost futile because the abuser is always a step ahead,controlling the finances of their victim: protected by powers of attorney, privacy statutes, and the contentious issue of whether or not their victim has the capacity to manage their own finances. Authorities seem to assume capacity. Objective testing by government authorities that might prove the incapacity of the victim is difficult to achieve without the co-operation of the alleged abuser/guardian.

Elder Abuse and Thought Reform
Anyone seeking to understand why an abuse victim might cooperate with their abuser,even to the extent of acting against their own self-interest should familiarize themselves with methods of coercive persuasion, or thought reform.


In the autumn of 2008 when Mr. H. Polson was the U.S. Secretary of the treasury the word “transparency” became a popular expression used by media and politicians often implying a kind of moral forthrightness. Now the term is sounded so often that it is beginning to mean “goodness” so that “transparency’s’ opposite, “opaqueness” seems to imply a kind of hiddeness, behind which fraudulent actions may be committed.

But to me “transparent” means only something that one can “see through”, a gauze curtain perhaps, or an X-ray image which I see but may or may not be able to understand. So for me the word opaque never implies a quality of less worth than its opposite transparency; whether an image or an action appears through a transparent glaze or is immediately visible depends only on one’s ability to understand what one sees.