A probing piece on FLOW
thank you for a probing piece on FLOW 93.5 FM (NOW, August 2-8). This is the benefit of journalism without compromise -- questions get answered.
I was one of the individuals who faithfully filled out Milestone surveys, and believed that in so doing I would be contributing to a community initiative aimed at creating an outlet dedicated to balanced, progressive and culturally sensitive coverage, with good music as a backdrop.
Instead, I am tortured by mediocre, dumbing, unintelligent rant that achieves no social or political advancement. There have been numerous killings, Caribana's going to hell in a hand basket, there's the upcoming UN conference tackling racism -- and no response from this station aimed at building cohesion. No petitions, no statements and no action.
We need some talk therapy, some current affairs and some diasporic content. Truth told, I am saddened and disappointed. There's no lack of talented people with solid ideas that are newsworthy and have entertainment value, too, but they remain untapped by FLOW.
Save for one or two shows, FLOW has been a letdown. I no longer call myself a listener. Thirty-somethings who are breaking their backs in private and public corporations and need some dialogue around larger, more pressing quality-of-life concerns can expect nothing from FLOW. It's a critical time, and we bargained for a voice, but all we have to show is hipityhopity tunes with no alternatives.
Sharon McLeod, Toronto
Don't dump on Hargrove
in his letter (now, august 2-8), Stephen Kerr wrote, "Hargrove is a right-wing trade union bureaucrat."
I absolutely and unequivocally repudiate Kerr's characterization of CAW president Buzz Hargrove. Ask any person on the street to name a trade union leader, and the answer you will get more often than any other is Buzz Hargrove.
The CAW president is elected every three years, and every four months has to give a full report on all the issues in front of the union to CAW Council, a body of hundreds of delegates elected by direct ballot of their local union members. The unique structure of the CAW, as well as the militant traditions of my union, ensure that CAW presidents are activists, not bureaucrats.
Now, as for me, I am described as a "rank-and-file militant who has different interests." We use the term "rank and file" to describe the members who toil for the corporations we oppose at the bargaining table. I am a member of the staff of the CAW. Most staff, like me, are hired from the ranks, based on their record as local union leaders, to do specialized work for the members. If any members of the staff of the CAW have any interests different from the members they work for, they should quit and take their pensions now.
As for the decision of the CAW National Executive Board to discontinue funding OCAP, it is well known that I have actively participated in the work of OCAP for many years. In the last year, I have organized many dozens of union activists to join in OCAP-led actions to stop deportations of refugees. These actions were a model of militant, non-violent civil disobedience, and in many cases we achieved results.
Thus, you don't have to be a genius to know that I would have a lot of difficulty with the CAW decision to discontinue funding OCAP, but that decision was made by the highest elected authority in my union, our national executive board (NEB).
Furthermore, Hargrove publicly acknowledged that the decision was one of the most difficult ones the whole CAW leadership ever made. Hargrove also said that OCAP provides all sorts of necessary services for the homeless. The decision does not reject the representation OCAP has provided people in poverty. The leadership said they could not link the CAW with other actions and tactics that we don't promote as a union.
Finally, at the same NEB meeting, the CAW leadership renewed my union's commitment to defend the poor, to correct injustice and to bring to public attention the situation of people without power and privilege at a time when the agenda is driven by wealth. I, for one, will be redoubling my efforts in anti-poverty struggles to realize that vision of the CAW.
National representative, CAW
Black Bloc not to blame
an excellent article on the Genoa summit (NOW, July 26-August 1). I would just indicate that your writer's apparent bias against the Black Bloc is not a universal sentiment. In terms of wanton destruction, specific corporate institutions were targeted for the most part. I saw not a single storefront hit except for the building opposite the convergence centre.
I would not defend the Black Bloc either, but to be scandalized by a bit of property damage in a city virtually kidnapped by the summiteers would be to miss the point made by the 200,000 plus who marched.
I also note that bouts of destruction often occurred in response to police tactics, as if the stymied crowd took out their frustration on the first things at hand. I saw heated arguments about the use of cars in barricades, police driving armoured cars into the crowd at speeds in excess of 40 miles an hour and carloads of provocateurs driving in convoy with their police chums. I picked up spent brass shell casings from the street near the railway station. Like your writer, I also remarked on the police non-presence during the Black Bloc initial rampage -- I guess their 20,000 were stretched too thin!
Owen Ford , Toronto
A proud Newfoundlander
well, it does seem that ontario's government is just full of uneducated opinions. Between Mayor Mel and Mike Harris, you can't keep up with the foul comments that leave a bad taste in your mouth.
I've been a resident of Toronto for the past two years and work in the downtown core with homeless persons. Harris's recent comments troubled me on a number of levels. For one, he should be less judgmental of other provinces' financial woes, considering he can barely handle his own. In my work, I see poverty everywhere, people living on a very fine edge of a tragic existence.
The second is that, as a Newfoundlander, I am so very tired of being the brunt of Canada's problems and being treated as a second-class citizen. My grandfather told me about the fishermen telling the government many years ago that the fisheries needed to be regulated and the stocks were diminishing, yet they were patted on the head and sent on their way. Newfoundlanders have a right to be mad and a right to have our voices heard. Men at sea most of their lives pumped money into the economy, but now that it is gone and we are on hard times, everyone turns their backs.
Myra Piercey Toronto
Buñuel lessons for critic
hey, harkness do some research! Luis Buñuel did toil in the "backwater of Mexican cinema," but it was for closer to 20 than 10 years. However, in the 10 years prior to the Cannes premiere of Viridiana he was hardly "...locked solidly in the "whatever happened to?' category."
He won the best-director award at Cannes for his 1950 film Los Olvidados. His film Mexican Bus Ride won the best-avant-garde-film award at Cannes in 1951. Dan O'Herlihy was nominated for a best-actor Oscar for Buñuel's 1952 film The Adventures Of Robinson Crusoe (check your own Academy Awards book, John). Last but not least, in 1959, two years prior to Viridiana's premiere at Cannes, Buñuel's Nazarin, a film John Huston claimed was, "one of the greatest films I have ever seen," won a Special Jury Prize at Cannes!
Although two years out of the spotlight can be detrimental to the career of an actor or an actress, it's not unusual for a director. At the time of its release in 1961, Viridiana's director had been "back" for about 10 years. Anyone with an interest in "world cinema" would know this.
Derek Vincent, Toronto
Who's worth $94 million?
re vince's millions. common sense tells me I ought to keep my mouth shut about this. After all, the six-year, $94-million contract is a private affair. It's not as if that cash, should Carter not have signed on, would be available for public housing or keeping swimming pools open or feeding the homeless. Not much point in complaining; Vince has clicked his red basketball sneakers together and got his way.
But I still can't help gnawing on the cold fact that someone can get over $15 million a year for enjoying himself while kids go to bed hungry. That may be the way the world is, but it's sure not the way it ought to be.
It's about time we fixed it.
Geoff Rytell, Toronto