Oct. 26, 2012: Trish Hennessy and the Living Wage campaign; Rockin’ Robbee with comments on the Ward 3 meeting

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It was the last Friday of the month on the 26th and as usual Rockin’ Robbee came in to the studio to play a tune or two and he filled us in on the Ward 3 meeting he went to earlier that week. City Councillors have been announcing ward meetings where citizens can air their views. Last December on this program we discussed participatory budgeting as an example of how neighbourhood councils could really work to empower citizens rather than have meetings more resembling coming to the royal court for dispensation.

Click image to view the report: “Enhancing Democratic Citizenship, Deepening Distributive Justice”

 A couple of weeks ago you may remember I mentioned a Living Wage workshop I attended in Toronto hosted by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA). A living wage, briefly put, is meant to actually raise people out of poverty rather than keep them there. The idea is to allow working people a decent wage for a decent life, enabling them to take part in civic affairs and participate in their communities more broadly, for instance being able to take the time to go to neighbourhood council meetings rather than cramming more hours in on a second job and then rush to take care of things at home. On the phone was Trish Hennessy, director of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives’ income inequality project, which specializes in the growing gap between the rich and the rest of us.

Click image for the numbers on Minimum Wage vs Living Wage

In this segment Hennessy discusses the Living Wage Workshop and the concept of a living wage ranging through to how the living wage campaign is opening new lines of dialogue about the meaning of work in a just economy: 

Find the CCPA Living Wage Resources page HERE.


Featured Music:

Robert Mittag aka Rockin’ Robby blasted off “Just Like an Aborigine” in studio:

In this clip Robbee discusses his experience at the recent meeting for residents of Ward 3 with Councillor Fulvio Valentinis:

OPEN: Discussing Financial Precarity and Alternative Economies

 Featuring a panel discussion with Professor Jeff Noonan and members of Broken City Lab, with an art installation by Michael DiRisio.

 Questions such as what caused the global recession and how can we effect change will be asked in an open format, with an emphasis on collaborative thought and horizontal discussion. An exhibition of installation and video work by University of Windsor MFA candidate Michael DiRisio, who will be moderating, will provide a greater context for the talk.

 The event is free and open to the public, and there will be refreshments.

 Thursday Nov. 1, 7 p.m.

Mackenzie Hall, Main Gallery

3277 Sandwich Street, Windsor

Oct 19, 2012: Amin Rehman and “A IS FOR…”; Chris Crossroads with some banjo stylings and Occupy Windsor/Occupy Detroit reminisences.

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On Friday we heard from artist Amin Rehman whose work opened that evening at the Artcite Gallery on University Ave at Pelissier next to the Capitol Theatre. According to his website, “… Rehman is a visual artist living in Toronto. He is an experimental painter whose work explores politicized cultural interactions, communal narratives, linguistic forces and aggressive globalization. Amin’s art practice comprises works on paper, canvas, and board, as well as wall-hung installations” His exhibit in Windsor is timely and on Artcite’s website his work is described as “text-based installations explor[ing] neo-colonialism and the way in which language is used to further political and militaristic goals, while questioning narratives of individual identity and culture. Alternating between oil/ encaustic (Encaustic painting, also known as hot wax painting, involves using heated beeswax to which colored pigments are added) and digitally generated vinyl and neon signs, Rehman uses short, quixotic texts to evoke both current global realities and his own experience living in Pakistan and Canada.”

 So I say timely because since 9/11 the West has engaged in the so called war on terror but which others have described as a modern day crusade meant to impose political and economic terms on countries that are primarily Islamic. A backlash is developing that at its most horrific see the gunning down of a 14 year old girl in Pakistan – allegedly by the Taliban – who agitated for schools open to girls. Canada went to war in Afghanistan supposedly to help in the hunt for Osama bin Laden and instead got into a war that was declared necessary so we could bring democracy and freedom to that country – the problem of course is the Afghans never asked us to do that. This is colonialism and imperialism writ large. Nice going for a country that was at the forefront – however imperfect – of pluralism and as a broker between nations.

Amin Rehman and Paul Chislett at Artcite. Click on photo for more on the exhibit.

 Rehman’s work as an artist explores the intersection of culture and identity which I think means necessarily a dialogue on religion, nationality, globalism, economics and so on – a dialogue no one in power in the entire West wants to have. Here Rehman speaks on the exhibit: 

Also, this evening, there is a  panel discussion with Rehman in conjunction with Bookfest Windsor:

Thursday October 25, 2012 from 5:00 PM to 7:00 PM at Artcite
a panel discussion on the arts and poetics of the word as materiality featuring:

Dr. Karl E. Jirgens (Windsor ON)
Dennis Michael Jones (Plymouth MI USA)
Amin Rehman (Lahore, Pakistan & Toronto ON)

Panel Moderator: Susan Gold (Windsor ON)

The Panel from the left: Amin Rehman (Lahore, Pakistan & Toronto, On), Dennis Michael Jones (Plymouth, Michigan), Karl Jirgens (Windsor, On), and moderator Susan Gold-Smith (Windsor, On) (Photo: Paul Chislett)


Click image for more on this fantastic performer and great guy.

Chris was back and forth between Occupy Windsor and Occupy Detroit and looks back a bit on events last year:

Featured Music:

Chris Crossroads played a tune: Little Maggie:

Important Labour Council callout:

Oct. 12, 2012: Occupy one year on: a retrospective on Occupy Detroit & Occupy Windsor

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October 15 marked the one year anniversary of the global call to support Occupy Wall St. Activists in cities around the world responded including those in Windsor who set up a modest encampment of three tents at Senator Croll Park which grew to about thirty in weeks following. In this clip which aired on Oct. 28, 2011 Terrance Travis and I talk about the Occupy Windsor experience we were both part of. Travis also goes on to describe his work with Sit for Peace and his hope to make connections with other Occupiers across the country:

Kick off Rally for Occupy Windsor Oct 15, 2012 (Photo: Paul Chislett)

For more Occupy Windsor  photographs visit Doug Maclellan Photography “Informal Gathering of the Heart”

In this segment first aired on Nov. 18, 2011, we had been in the park for a month and in the news was Councilor Drew Dilkens and his concern for the state of the grass in the park. I had a short editorial piece on that and then Destiny Turnboe of Occupy Detroit reported on things there including the possibility of OD moving from the park they were in to an indoor location

November 2011 (Photo: Paul Chislett)

I interviewed Al Sandine, author of Taming the American Crowd, in April 201o about his book which argued that the “crowd” is a form of direct democracy and that that crowd has been tamed over the decades to operate in more “approved” ways such as in sports stadiums, malls, and so on. I was curious about his take on the Occupy movement and in this segment, which aired on Nov. 25 2011, Sandine described his hopes for the movement:


Featured CD:

Click image for more on this iconic CD

Sample: First We Take Manhattan:

Oct. 5, 2012: Aaron Handelsman & the North End Woodward Community Coalition; local photojournalist Doug MacLellan & trip to Zimbabwe

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We had a great discussion with Aaron Handelsman, a Detroit resident and representative from the North End Woodward Community Coalition (NEWCC) on community organizing in that city and the struggle over, literally I think, who owns Detroit. The State’s imposed  “consent agreement’  means the state of Michigan has all the power to decide what really happens, virtually stripping city council’s mandate to govern by those who elected it. Community groups like the Building Movement Project in Detroit and the North End Woodward Community Coalition have been involved in trying to get Community Advisory Councils off the ground, and those councils presumably at this point are seen as the most democratic means for the people who live in Detroit’s core to have real decision making power – a struggle is underway and has been for many years over who owns Detroit. 

In this clip Handelsman out lines the competing narratives of Detroit and the struggle to build people power:

Click image for Voice of Detroit article on NEWCC

In the studio for the second half hour of the program and on incredibly short notice was my friend and local photojournalist, Doug MacLellan.  He is embarking later this month to Zimbabwe, a country he has visited and documented several times in the past. He is traveling to expose a crisis at the Howard Hospital and in this clip he explains why:

Click image for a moving article about Dr Thistle by Dr Tinashe Gede


Featured CD:

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Sample track:



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Sept. 28, 2012: Robert Mittag (aka Rockin’ Robbee) live in the studio with music and commentary; Bernie Helling on Culture Days & events at Artcite

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Well, the last Friday of the month means a sort of less structured program and Robert Mittag, aka Rockin’ Robbee, came in to play a couple of songs and we bantered back and forth on his roots as a Detroit/Windsor musician and on city issues around poverty and making ends meet.

Robbee’s version of Rouge Plant Blues:

On the 12 string…

Robbee’s Detroit music roots:

In this segment Robbee and I speak about cuts to the Community Start-up and Maintenance Benefit (CSUMB), so crucial to those on social assistance:

Voices Against Poverty and allies spoke to “Dollton” McGuinty during a riverfront walk on Aug. 19th calling attention to cuts to CSUMB. It’s not too late to help – click on image for the Call in Coffee Break campaign. (Photo: Paul Chislett)
Mike Longmoore chats with “Dollton” McGuinty. (Photo: Paul Chislett)

Here is an impassioned plea for the continuance of CSUMB:

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Artcite Artistic Coordinator Bernie Helling gives a run down on Culture Days, the present and coming exhibits at Artcite, and the importance of supporting local cultural production:


Featured CD:

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Sample track: Silence is a Shadow’s Dream: