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Saturday, 19 March 2011

Rants go mainstream/one month anniversary - thank you!

Riffs and ripples' rants go mainstream/one month anniversary – thank you!

Gentle Readers,
Thank you for your encouragement of ‘R&R from ZRG’  : ) Thank you for signing on as regular readers (all 6 of you), and esp. for adding your benign comments and helpful information to the postings. It was one month ago that R&R began flowing on the web, and the experience has been most gratifying and satisfying.

The two ‘politikal rants’ which I’ve posted so far have been picked up by the mainstream media. My plea for United Nations involvement in the ongoing genocide in Libya (posted Thursday, Feb. 24 – “Tripoli: Where are our blue helmet peacekeepers?”) was published in NOW MAGAZINE, March 7 – 10 issue, as a letter-to-the-editor. Some reactionary even followed thru on my plea with his disapproval of such humanitarian involvement in the next ish of NOW. This drama is playing out this very minute as I write this March 19, 2011.

The current issue of our area’s community paper, EMC, has published my recent rant on our burdensome and unequal tax system (Northeast Edition EMC, Thursday, Nov. 17, 2011).

EMC has a circulation of 474,000, while NOW, Toronto’s main entertainment mag, boasts a circ of 352,000 readers. This means the two rants – which you read here first – have a potential readership of 826,000!

Rant power

I’ve been a ranter and a publisher of alternative newsletter ephemera for much of my life.
When I was a steelworker in Guelph, Ontario, in the early 1970s, I worked at a steel factory. I distributed “The Dayton Canadian” to offer opposition to our Amerikan-controlled Steelworkers Union. In my radical factory days, we didn’t achieve a Canadian-based union, but the rants in my mimeo newsletter obtained the best contract ever for our local, and perhaps as importantly, an article on how we ate our meals amid the grime and oil and filings on the shop floor eventually guilted management into building workers a lunchroom - finally we no longer ate like animals hunched amid the steel wheel skids.

In the late 60s I published and distributed “papers”, an anti-Vietnam War newsletter on my college campus and at local high schools in Miami, Florida. Of course this drew unwanted attention from my draft board (I was draft eligible as a “resident alien” Canadian), and when I received 3(!) draft notices in June 1969, that particular project disappeared … Did “papers” save other anti-war young people from participating in the imperialist disaster which was the Vietnam War? I’ll probably never know, but I’m proud that it may have …

When I worked for Toronto Public Library in the 80s I wrote a rant on how desk clerks, the entry-level frontline backbone of TPL staffers, were grossly underpaid. There was a constant turnover, and I challenged management to pay a living wage and thus stop the parents of our key staffers from having to ‘subsidize’ the largest library system in North America. The rant worked, and shortly after, TPL desk clerks received very substantial pay increases.

Did my rant on the necessity of UN involvement have any influence on the belated and last-effing-minute-possible resolution from the UN to support the freedom fighters in Libya? Again, who knows. Will my recent rant on the glaring inequalities in our tax system play any role in inciting overdue major changes? Doubtful … but I have the satisfaction of knowing the steelworkers at a certain Guelph factory now eat like human beings, and that TPL frontliners are now paid a decent living wage. The bigger issues?  I can only hope. But in my experience, voicing an opinion in our increasingly undemocratic societies is worth doing … the potential of a million readers for the first two Riffs and Ripples politikal rants gives some justification for this belief.

As long as blood and ink and alcohol flow thru my veins, I promise to continue ranting in Riffs and Ripples with my perception of "THE TRUTH".

Peace & poetry power!
Chris Faiers/cricket

Marmora and ZenRiver Gardens



Conrad DiDiodato said...

Rant on, Chris!

This guy's listening.

Your Guelph steelworkers' activism reminded me of a fellow I met in the 70s too when I worked summers at Stelco (No. 2 Conditioning) as student: Art the communist. A hard-line "violent overthrow of means of production" type of guy, Art was incredibly well-read, opinionated but as gentle a human being as they came, well liked by everyone. And a great conversationalist who listened to everything you said before he spoke. I used to love discussing Marx with him.

Thanks for reminding me of Art, Chris. You and I seem to have similar ideological beginnings but, I have to admit, I've turned a little 'conservative'lately in regards to some stuff. Ideology to me is always a fluid, hybrid thing, always subject to change.

Chris Faiers/cricket said...

Thanks for posting, Conrad : )
Glad this reminded you of your steel factory workmate, Art. I wrote a long reply, then tried to post it below your piece - but as I'm still a neophyte to blogging,for whatever reason, my response to your reply didn't post. So I won't retype the whole thing - will just see if this way works ...
peace & poetry power!