Saturday, December 20, 2008

Can We Bring Communities Together in 2009?

For the last 3 + years I have maintained to 'preserve and strengthen the independent and emerging Canadian voice'. As a part of this I have promoted public broadcasting, community and university radio, a free and open internet, home grown arts and culture, and progressive politics. There is alot of overlap and common ground between all of these areas.

Public broadcasters tend to support home grown arts and culture in a way that large commercial broadcasters do not. Artists (of all stripes) tend to come out in support of progressive politics, and progressive activists tend to support public broadcasting and independent local talent.

I should also not that when I talk about 'progressive politics' I am not talking about right or left. Progressive politics in Canada is about centrist themes that enjoy almost universal support in this country. Things like the environment, education, poverty reduction, health and safety (broadly defined - from public health to crime prevention), equality and human rights, and public support for arts and culture. I believe that calls for things like electoral reform grow out of a frustration that nothing ever seems to get done on a broadly supported, progressive, centrist agenda.

Strangely though public broadcasting, arts and culture, progressive politics and new media overlap and intersect they all seem to have their own unique communities and lack the numbers to strengthen the whole. Even within arts and culture the music community, the film community and the literature community have their own groups and do not (to a sufficient extent) support one another - leaving each in a financially precarious situation.

I currently run more than 20 groups on facebook alone all with some overlap, but all separate and distinct. One of the things I would like to work on in 2009 is building bridges: finding ways to bring together artists, media folk (old and new media), progressive activists, etc in a single community dedicated to mutual aid and support.

If such a community could come together we would have a better country altogether with a better environment, better education system, safer streets, healthier communities, lower poverty rates and a strong well funded arts and culture sector that would have, but increasingly wouldn't need, government support.

If you are interested in sharing ideas on how to bring such a community together please get in touch. Initially, I think, a handful of dedicated people sharing ideas would be a good place to start.

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