Jan 27: Joe Mancini and Kitchener’s The Working Centre; Rockin Robbee with original music in studio

Click image for more info on OPIRG Windsor

Listen to entire program here:

Rockin’ Robbee: 31:50 & 55:30

Click image for more on the Centre and the book

In Windsor there is a lot of media attention on city council and the development plans for the downtown area. All the planning seems to be done behind the scenes with the public brought in only when a public relations show is needed with ideas and plans already in place. Witness the sham public consultations during the debate over the aquatic centre. Council and developers appeared to already have a plan in place costing tens of millions of dollars and residents in politically powerless neighbourhoods were forced to give up their amenities so the city could come up with funds for operating costs for the new aquatic centre. So much for citizen empowerment, as when asked if they wanted to give up their amenities, residents gave a resounding NO that went unheard.  The continuing plans for the old arena continue in the same mode and it is hard to tell what will happen to the Glengarry neighbourhood as gentrification gets underway and the Water World community anchor disappears. With this in mind, the experience of Occupy Windsor and the homeless people we came into contact with, questions about citizen empowerment – how you get it, keep it and use it – need to be examined

In Kitchener, the Working Centre serves over 10,000 people a month where they find assistance and support for job searching, transitional housing, meals, bicycle repair, used furniture, and access to computers.  Now, many cities including Windsor have such support services, but not under one roof and not, I believe, run by workers themselves.  Joe Mancini is the Director of the Working Centre and he joined us by phone from the centre in Kitchener.

Joe Mancini (Photo: Tracy Jasmins)

Mancini described the “barn building motiff” of the Kitchener/Waterloo area and the attending value of cooperativism that is crucial to allowing the Working Centre to exist and thrive. Mancini describes the purpose of the Working Centre here:

A key element of the Centre is the concept of subsidiarity: that a central authority should only carry out tasks that cannot be done more efficiently at the local level. Imagine for a moment that Canadians were debating how to share resources at a more local level  instead of having to fight a distant authoritarian central government bent on squandering our  wealth on war, attacking working people, destroying the capacity of First Nations to survive, and threatening to  cut pensions.

Kitchener/Waterloo’s The Working Centre is a model of how we could more cooperatively and democratically determine priorities that meet peoples’ needs in this city.

Featured music:

Rockin' Robbee
Click on image for more on this CD

3 thoughts on “Jan 27: Joe Mancini and Kitchener’s The Working Centre; Rockin Robbee with original music in studio

  1. This first article above (about the aquatics centre) reminds me about my community.

    I live in St.Catharines and they just recently built a brand new facility housing both a competitive swimming pool, as well as a recreational pool, a branch of the local library and a community centre, at the expense of people in my neighbourhood who will now be losing their only pool, and possibly their only high school.

    In its development, there was plenty of room for parking. I learned that there is no evening or weekend bus service by the aquatics centre. When I wrote to the city about it, they referred to bus service half a mile to a nearby cross-street. I wrote back, saying “I have an idea. Let’s place the parking lot over half a mile to the next cross-street and let the buses run directly by the centre.” They obviously (and as usual) did not consider bus riders in their multi-million dollar plans to build this expansion which mostly serves a middle class/upper middle class section of my community.

    Where I live, there are no community centres, no recreational centres, etc. It will literally be gutted once the pool and the high school are gone.

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