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[OPIRG-EVENTS] TOMORROW! Feb. 28 - Discussion Series: What is the Alternative to Corporate Globalization? Ottawa Chap., Council of Canadians


Greetings All!

The meeting is at the Jack Purcell Community Centre on Elgin St. downtown.
Free parking is available behind the community centre. Just ask for a
parking pass at the desk.

Wednesday, 7:00pm, February 28

Bring a friend!  Please pass this message on to those who might be


The discussion series, which runs until May 2001, is on the theme:


The focus is NOT against fair trade; the world needs to trade. The focus is
upon the global corporate regime which uses the term 'Free Trade' in the
tradition of the writer, George Orwell, who described an extremist world in
which things were really the opposite of the name given to it by the ruling

The open discussion will pick up where Heather-jane Robertson and the public
meeting left off last month: "Proportional Representation."  The discussion
will also include matters from prior meetings to see how we can weave
together the outcomes of those observations. The process is free flowing and
easy going.  Everyone has the chance to say what they wish and we all give
each other attention.

In the last meeting, among other things, we struggled with the question, 'is
there anything in the human condition and the condition of nature which
cannot be commodified and monetarized'?  We felt if we could identify an
'unassailable island' against the doctrine of the 'market,' we could find a
safe place to anchor our resistance and found an alternative set of values
for the human community.

When the meeting closed, the consensus was that 'friendship in community'
was not subject to commodification. We thought we had found the 'island.'

However, upon reflection, we know that friendship is commodified in the
context of community. It is almost an unconscious reflex in societies
everywhere from ancient times.  Marrying up was good; marrying down was not
good; today, who includes the beggars, the street people, in their
integrated list of friends for dinner or their candidates for marriage?
There does not appear to be, in us, a natural resistance to commodification.
Do we need this 'island' in order to have a fair and just society?

Any person participating in these meetings is invited to write up some
observations for us all to read and think about before the next meeting.
These observations will be included in the notice for the next meeting.
Accordingly, the remarks of Mike Nickerson are included below for you to
read.  Thanks for taking the time Mike.

"As [suggested in the meeting], the observation that market
economics has no use for anything which cannot be
bought or sold is significant.  We discussed friendship
and creativity as two such items.  While practically
endless satisfaction can be derived from such life-based
activities, they are scarcely mentioned in the mainstream
culture as ways for people to enrich their lives.
Meanwhile enormous effort is expended persuading
people to seek satisfaction through the acquisition and
consumption of things.  Not only does this heavily
promoted path leave people still wanting, it often leads
to debt bondage and it exhausts natural resources and
pollutes our planet.

? Are we looking for ways to promote an
economic form which puts more value on human
satisfaction than on the consumption of material goods?

Since [the Chapter] has collected email addresses for
everyone, or...  a fax equivalent, I'm hoping that you
will forward this message as food for thought.

The following three paragraphs relate directly
to the spectrum of activities we identified with the words
'friendship' and 'creativity'.  The other item which I will
email separately, looks at the moral conflict between a
system which values expanding production and
consumption above all else and a value system which
puts human fulfillment first.

Looking forward to an ongoing discussion about
globalization and how to turn it to human advantage.

Yours,  Mike Nickerson

(editor's note: you can e-mail Mike for "the other item..."  on "...moral
conflict..." which is not included here)

Life-Based Pursuits;
             A Key to Sustainability.

The desire to grow is firmly rooted in our characters.
Throughout our formative years and well beyond, growth
is a preoccupation.  To be able to crawl, to reach the water tap
or to have our own way all require getting bigger.
The residual urge to grow has been harnessed to stimulate
the expansion of material consumption.  The dilemma is that,
while each of us wants to grow, collectively we have already
grown to confront the limits of our planet.  The solution has
a well established precedent in each of our individual lives.
For the most part, our physical growth comes to an end as
we become adults.  Physical growth is replaced by the
development of our understanding, skills, relationships and
appreciation of what life offers.

Conserver lifestyles are easier to promote when
it is clear that they offer abundant opportunities for growth.
Life-based pursuits, or the '3 L's' -- Learning, Love and
Laughter -- as they are referred to for our sound bite world,
offer boundless frontiers.  The development of skills,
scholarship, art, music, sport, dance, friendship,
spiritual aspiration, parenting and service were the essence
of human culture before the commercial era pressed
acquisition to its current place of prominence.  The saturation
of landfill space, problems with pollution and painful
experiences with finite natural resources bid us re-consider
the emphasis we place on the pursuit of our human birthright.

In the same way that a developing embryo goes
through the stages of evolution, civilization will likely follow
the pattern of individual maturation.  As a culture we are in
late adolescence.  We have grown big enough to accomplish
anything which life requires of us.  Now, as self-centeredness
gives way to responsibility, our rapid physical growth can
transmute into the growth of the remarkable qualities which
make people unique among life forms."

"We can no longer have everything we want,
                              but we can be more than we ever imagined."

Sustainability Project
P.O. Box 374, Merrickville, Ontario
K0G 1N0
Phone: (613) 269-3500
Fax: (613) 269-4693
e-mail:  sustain@web.net


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