Volume I, Issue 1
“We must be fiercely candid about who owns and controls this new magazine.”
We intend and pledge to bring together local and international selections which celebrate excellence in word and form, art and argument. Highbraü is predicated on the hope that through communal collaboration an enrichment of all of Highbraü Magazine is funded first and foremost by the editor-initiators, our friends and our perspectives and talents is possible. This new forum hereby solicits any and all submissions our family. Thank you. We are open and recepoffered in the spirit of inquiry and exposition; tive to the support of advertisers whose continobviously, we are not in the business of providued success we consider to be in the community’s interest. Thank you Different Strokes and ing a platform for discriminatory or inflammaCafé Pyrus for supporting issue #1 on our word tory expression. Our first principle: No Haters. and a handshake alone. However, our promise to Whatever else Highbraü may come to be said to be, we sincerely hope that it will always be our contributors and our readers is that we will recognised as being offered to our community in never allow the financial concerns of our grantors, funders, or advertisors to affect our content. the spirit of Peace.
Freedom & Authority
Volume I - Issue 1 - Autumn 010
Sarah Bartman 4, 5
13 Adam Dee
3 Dr. Renato Cristi
4, 9 Jacob J Pries
Danielle McRorey 2, 11, 14
Nick James Fearns Ariel Kroon 11 Robin Mattson 6 Daniel McLeod 15 Chris Norris 11 Jacob J. Pries 8, 9, 10 Mike Reid
Cover: Danielle Mcrorey Inside cover: ian willms
Back cover: Adam Dee
Roots of Nature Photography
12, 13 Mark Ciesluk
Freedom & Authority Contemporary culture celebrates freedom and rejects the prominence given to authority within traditional societies. We seek independence, spontaneity and self-reliance, and detest domination, interference and regimentation. Why should we accept rules that impose strict forms of control on our behaviour, rules that mandate speed limits on highways and the use of seat belts, or rules that restrict the use of alcohol, tobacco and marihuana? If we don’t approve of a gunman who points a pistol at our heads and takes away our money, why should we approve of a group of individuals, who call themselves “government,” and threaten us with heavy penalties if we don’t give them money, which they call “taxation”? Liberal philosophers have responded to these sentiments by exploring ways to chasten authority and set strict limits on its capacity to act. Anarchists and libertarians have gone one step further and consider all government to be illegitimate. The very existence of the state is seen as violation of individual rights. Robert Nozick, an American libertarian philosopher, who espouses a free capitalist economy together with a minimal protective state, quotes approvingly from Pierre Proudhon: “To be GOVERNED is to be at every operation, at every transaction noted, registered, counted, taxed, stamped, measured, numbered, assessed, licensed, authorized, admonished, prevented, forbidden, reformed, corrected, punished. It is, under pretext of public utility, and in the name of the general interest, to be placed under contribution, drilled, fleeced, exploited, monopolized, extorted from, squeezed, hoaxed, robbed; then, at the slightest resistance, the first word of complaint, to be repressed, fined, vilified, harassed, hunted down, abused, clubbed, disarmed, bound, choked, imprisoned, judged, condemned, shot, deported, sacrificed, sold, betrayed; and to crown all, mocked, ridiculed, derided, outraged, dishonoured. That is government; that is its justice; that its morality.”
When defined in this negative way freedom was seen as making an institutional order insecure. According to Hegel, abstract negative freedom is destructive of order and agreement. “Only in destroying something does this negative will have a feeling for its own existence...; actualization [of negative freedom leads to] the fury of destruction.” In traditional societies, authority, in its many social and political manifestations, was assigned the function of limiting and controlling freedom. In these societies, philosophers were assigned an essential task – strengthening the bond of unity, and securing the foundations of order. Thus, in the Republic, Plato wrote: “Can there by any greater evil than disagreement and distraction and plurality, where unity ought to reign? or any greater good than the bond of unity?” Freedom and authority appear to stand at opposite ends of the social and political spectrum. Where there is freedom, there seems to be no room left for authority; conversely, where authority rules, freedom appears to be jeopardized and ultimately extinguished. But if we look more closely, we have to admit that neither freedom nor authority can be granted absolute value, that neither anarchism nor authoritarianism are viable options. In this respect, we should give the last word to civic republicans, for whom only authority that aims at the preservation and enhancement of freedom can be legitimate. As Locke put it: “The end of law is not to abolish or restrain, but to preserve and enlarge freedom: for in all the states of created beings capable of laws, where there is no law, there is no freedom.” - Renato Cristi, Doctor of Philosophy Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo, Ont
Just as modern society is suspicious of authority, traditional societies maintained a deep-seated distrust towards freedom. To allow individuals the full exercise of freedom was seen as a license to do as they pleased. Freedom was feared as a source of disagreement, and a prelude to discord and social dissolution. This traditional attitude Mark Ciesluk EDITORS - Graham Engel assumed that freedom was a mere absence -of impediments. Danielle McCrorey
Direct Challenges The range of activist groups in Canada play into the hands of corporate sponsored media when they heatedly debate and divide among themselves over whether there should be violence and property damage used as protest tactics. I don’t always know where I stand when it comes to these tactics, though in Canada it is not necessary for us to resort to simple acts of violence and damage property. I do know it is important for us to broaden our goals of discussion and look at the larger context in detail. I feel that we need to switch our view this way if we are truly committed to increasing our political freedom collectively. In turn, this will strengthen our overall capacity to immediately and directly challenge the corporate sponsored authority of our governments. When activists energetically debate over the use of violent tactics, there are four main points at which they diminish their political freedom and leave our corporate backed government authorities unchallenged:
1. The use of violence, and discussions that advocate
violence turn a lot of people off in this country, especially people who are unsure of where they stand politically. Using violence to communicate keeps our numbers incredibly small, because we disrespect the experiences and values of our larger Canadian audience.
2. We divert ourselves and other Canadians away from
a shared understanding of the facts and root causes of poverty, environmental destruction, and other interrelated bulls-eye issues. How many people, for example, know that our government debt problems are primarily caused by shifting the power of creating money from the Bank of Canada to the private banks, by deindexing income tax and spending more money on Canada’s largest corporations, and by pushing interest rates high to fight inflation, which caused interest payments on debt to skyrocket (see, for example, Clarke 1997, Dobbin 1998, McMurtry 2002)? Understanding the causes helps us to understand the solutions, uncomfortable as that may be for those who benefit the most from it.
3. We also divert our time, energy, critical thinking skills, and other resources away from immediate action that challenges actual government and corporate authorities. The time and resources we spend on debating violent tactics and using violent tactics is time and resources not spent on, for example, starting committees, creating think tanks, producing quality research for Canadians, establishing a national left wing newspaper, and launching local media. Let’s put our collective efforts into this kind of hard work, in achievable and hope-inducing ways. At protests we can try new, fun, and creative forms of protest. Imagine leaders of different activist factions co-organizing 10,000 people to dress up in business suits. They meet in downtown Toronto, and in unison, silently face the direction of Queen’s Park or Bay Street for one hour, sending the message that our political aders no longer work on behalf of the broader public, but on behalf of the corporate and financial elite. This makes for an eerie and media friendly situation, and makes it hard for police forces to legitimately interfere. 4. Finally, we also remain divided. We can learn a lot
from the union of wealthy men in our country who speak with one voice through the Canadian Bankers’ Association, the Canadian Council of Chief Executives, the Canadian Manufacturers’ Association, the Fraser Institute, and the C.D. Howe Institute. To summarize, using and promoting violent protest turns a lot of our fellow Canadians off, diverts us and our fellow Canadians from understanding the root causes of the issues, diverts us away from using our resources to directly and immediately challenge the proper political authorities, and finally, keeps activist groups and their energies divided from each other. These characteristics of our Canadian activist landscape ensure that our political freedom remains limited. They also ensure that the corporate, financial, and government elite remain unchallenged and unshaken, and ultimately, that change at the root causes never really happens. - Michael Brown Kitchener, Ont
Sexual Assault : a Critique of Prior to the 1983 amendments to bill C-127, the Canadian Criminal Code did not recognise the act of rape within marriage, providing married men full sexual access to the bodies of their wives, despite consent. Canadian law, which is heavily based on and borrowed from English common law once defined rape and abduction as one act perpetrated against a woman, though it was perceived as a greater insult to the woman`s husband and father than it was to her. Ah, the sturdy moral fabrics on which our legal frameworks were built! The year 1983 saw amendments and new definitions of rape occur in the Canadian Criminal Code, however the amendments and reforms of `83 brought forth new challenges for survivors of sexual violence, namely the proving of one`s experience of assault. Health Canada and the Federal Government of Canada’s collaborative response on the impact of violence against women states, “[v]iolence is a major factor in women’s health and well-being. The measureable health-related costs of violence against women in Canada exceed $1.5 billion a year.” (Health Canada 2009) In Heath Canada’s response, violence could be interpreted as symptomatic of the female population; when in actuality violence is an ignored epidemic that is perpetuated by a culture that prescribes to the victimisation of women, and allows sexualised images of assault to pass as entertainment on prime time television. In Canada, when a woman who is sexually assaulted reports her assault to the police or to a sexual health assault centre, she is encouraged to complete a sexual assault evidence kit or “rape kit”. The completion of a kit includes answering a series of questionnaires, the taking of photographic evidence of trauma on the body, and other forensic information gathering that includes swabbing, STI testing, HIV testing, the confiscation of clothing that was present during the assault; and the rendering of biological evidence including hair and skin of the perpetrator that may under the fingernails or in the mouth of the person being examined. In Canadian sexual assault court cases, a case cannot be resolved based on the complainant’s word against that of the accused, assuming that a plea of ‘not guilty’ has been made by the accused. In the 1983 Canadian Criminal Code, it was stated that biological
Adam Dee, Roots of Nature Photography
the Medical-Legal Approach evidence gathered from the body of a victim of sexual assault was not required for conviction of an assaulter. Contradictory to the Canada Criminal Code, it was stated by the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada in 1997 that “the processing of sexual assault cases, at the level of legal practice, remains reliant upon corroborative evidence”, which does not comply with the Canadian Criminal Code. In Canadian courts, despite what is stated in the criminal code, only through the marriage of forensic science and the law can a court determine the truths of a person’s claim of experiencing sexual violence. Without the completion of an evidence kit, a survivor’s accusation of assault is put on trial against the word of their perpetrator. A greater issue with the design of the evidence kit and its use is that the kit is intended to be used on female bodied survivors who have been assaulted by male bodied perpetrators, which defines ‘intercourse’ in terms of typical heterosexual sexuality. The heteronormative design of the kit’s tests is not intended to test women who have been raped by women, and the design has a complete disregard for sexual violence carried out against men. Another issue with the evidencedependent medical-legal response is that the court must assume victims are not being raped by people that they engage in sexual acts with regularly. Sexual intercourse can be consensual one night and carried out aggressively and undesired on another through intimate partner violence between people who are in emotionally or physically abusive relationships. A survivor who has had both consensual and non consensual intercourse with their assaulter could have difficulties proving their case, particularly if importance is placed on the presence of biological evidence found through kit testing. The `integrated` approach of addressing sexual violence from the medical and legal fields is absent of preventative methods, outside of instilling fear in women and placing responsibility for their safety in their own hands. By educating communities about the politics, psychology and the social consequences of sexual violence, as well as informing people about their options for addressing aggressive behaviour or relationship problems would at the very least create a greater awareness of sexual violence as a systemic issue. A community
based approach to addressing sexual violence is essential to the health of a community. The flawed approach of the medical-legal response could deeply benefit from the support and grass-roots efforts of a social community-based approach to sexual violence survivor support and the creation of safety networks. Programs already exist in Kitchener-Waterloo at the Sexual Assault Support Centre of Waterloo Region, including one called Male Allies Against Sexual Violence, which invites men into the effort to end sexual violence against women, rather than the too-common approach taken by police of warning women to take safety precautions. In the city of Montreal, women’s groups have created community safety walk systems, and a highly publicized effort of poster campaigns that provide communities with vivid descriptions of recent sexually violent perpetrators, including their names and photographs. Putting these efforts in place engage the broader community in the movement to end gendered violence. Let the learning happen through community based education rather than unfortunate and unnecessary violations. Through the treatment of sexual assault survivors in a community based counselling and peer support program, sexually violated bodies could be removed from the speculative eyes of the legal system. For a sexual assault survivor to have the opportunity to speak about their experience, and to be reminded that they are loved and accepted by friends and family is critically important after experiencing such trauma- and it’s not included within an evidence kit or courtroom interrogation. Communities could develop strategies for change, strategies to heal, and strategies to prevent further acts of sexual violence from occurring in their neighbourhoods, their communities and eventually their cities at large. The continued use of assault evidence kits will only perpetuate the desire to control and define the bodies of women as victims. The voices of women will continue to be discounted, and their bodies will continue to be points of mastery by the medical and legal discourse that determines a woman`s worth. - Rachael Baker Toronto, Ont
We That Won Large scale disaster, genocide, famine, and the like, are all much greater sufferings than any of us will likely have to endure through. Yet distance dilutes compassion, and though our hearts might bleed for those at the mercy of forces unknown to us, we all soon take some time to return our thoughts to the proverbial pebble in our shoe. The pebble in my shoe… is that I know it’s a pebble… I’m ashamed that it’s a pebble. I’ve rode over IED’s, one of which blew a one and a half ton vehicle behind me 15 feet into the air. I’ve loaded my stretcher bound friends onto the back of a Chinook helicopter. I’ve leveled everything from a 5.56mm rifle, to a 7.62mm fully automatic machinegun, to an 84mm rocket launcher at vehicles or personnel with intent to kill should they choose not to heed my shouted instructions. I’ve made it out of situations that some of my friends have not. I don’t care about this, conditioned apathy being my near constant companion. I can’t open up and reveal to you the tragedies of war because it is not tragic to me. However, that is my greatest heartbreak; that my suffering is not as great as the suffering of those I knew who died. Personally knowing men who bled and burned, to ensure our continued life in this country relatively free of hardship, while I was spared, is my hardship. I knew these men, so this is my burden; as cheap and pathetic as it may be, to suffer without suffering. My pain is diminished through apathy and rightly questioned in contrast with all that others have given. As they who died gave so much more, I have no right to my hurt, and therefore no right to its relief. If you should try to take it from me, my burden, with kind words and empathetic faces, know that it is only more painful the less hurt I feel. This is especially so when I know those who I honor surrendered their lives or limbs to ensure that others would not have to; so do not point out that their sacrifice, meant to spare me from torment, is the cause of my anguish. My brothers and I all faced death, and like those who lost the encounter, we that won must face the journey ahead alone. - Robin Mattson Bemidji, Minn
We’re sure that Alex Hundert, Leah Henderson, Adam Lewis, Erik Lankin, Meghan Lankin, Kelly Pflug-Back & many others would love to have used this space to contribute to a communal exchange sure thatHarper’s Alex Hundert, Lewis, Megauthorised & Erik to hear their of ideas,We’re but Stephen securityLeah stateHenderson, has decidedAdam that you are not Lankin, Kelly Pflug-Back, Julian Ichim, Stutz, Ryan Rainville, opinions. The editors of Highbraü are Sterling leaving this space blank in their&honour. many For others havehad contributed thisaspect communal of thewould record,love theytohave no part intoany of thisexchange publication. ideas, but Stephen Harper’s security state has decided that you are not authoFor more info visit g20.torontomobilize.org rised to hear their opinions. For more info visit g20.torontomobilize.
G Why? By now you have seen all of the images of police cars burning and windows being smashed at the G20 in Toronto. You may have also see all the footage of the police arresting citizens, en mass. The sensationalism of these images has overshadowed any meaningful understanding of the larger picture, the question of why this all happened. Much of the media coverage and most of the subsequent discussions regarding the G20 have neglected to focus on the most important parts of this watershed event: Why did the politicians want to ensure their meetings would result in conflict; why where citizen-protesters there; why the police acted as they did; why individuals and communities have been targeted by the courts; why we are not talking about the austerity measures being imposed. It is my intention to address these questions. Why did the politicians want to ensure their meetings would result in conflict? Conflict sells and everyone seems to be buying. This meeting would have been much cheaper and easier do logistically if they had used a meeting space that already exists for this type of thing... such as the United Nations (UN) building in New York. (Although many of the leaders still do not seem to want to be seen too close to the UN, but that is another story, I think.) Instead they went ahead and spent more than a billion dollars to throw a week-long gathering of the major heads of economic power. For any government that wants to maintain or build power via the sham democracies that are endemic around the world (including in Canada), ensuring conflict that allows them to seem tough on crime can be extremely beneficial. The Harper Conservatives are leading a charge toward re-election via spending billions on more police, jails, courts, and technology to make capturing criminals easier. Holding a meeting with the most powerful men in the world in downtown Toronto is an easy way to ensure that those suburban folks continue to buy Harper’s agenda. The ageing car-based baby-boomer population is increasingly unwilling to make vital connections between words and actions; the government knows how to manipulate citizens and media to ensure that they are seen as being ‘tough on crime’ by enough suburban families who are easily drawn into law and order rhetoric. Lets face it, people are scared of losing their stuff; no one wants unruly people going and breaking laws meant to protect the
community and all of the stuff you’ve bought (and the security that comes with it) because of all the hard work you’ve put in. So any talk of ‘anarchists’, who obviously are only motivated by how much they can burn/break, is scary shit. Why where citizen-protesters there? People from all walks of life showed up in Toronto not only to show discontent with the current system that is causing ecocide, genocide, continual war, and oppression, but also to advocate for peaceful coexistence, where collaborative and creative solutions are nurtured so that we may all enjoy the fruits of a culture of peace, clean air, healthy water systems, meaningful work and enlivening interactions. People, average people, probably some of your friends or acquaintances, showed up to participate in communities of resistance, solidarity, and creation. Many more people were simply curious individuals seeking deepen their understanding of what is actually happening in the world. With each passing day more and more people of all walks of life, all backgrounds, filled the streets to express their discontent with the current state of the world and to connect with others active in the movement for justice. It was beautifully inspirational gathering of upwards of 20,000 people dancing in the rain and singing in the streets. Oh, and being illegally searched and having goggles and bandannas (as protection from tear gas and other chemical weapons) stolen by police. So, if these were just average people, taking action against injustice and for the common good, why the police acted as they did? Lets give it some context: On Saturday June 26th, after a march organized by unions, many individuals and groups walked toward the security perimeter. Some groups did so intentionally to confront the Security State and disrupt the calm complacency that is endemic in our society. Even though the police were extremely heavily armed and exponentially outnumbered the ‘Black Bloc’, they were ordered “DO NOT ENGAGE” to allow vandalism to occur and police cars to be burned. It is clear that the police and government’s intention was to allow the vandalism to occur in order to manipulate the media and public opinion in order to justify the $1.2 Billion spent on security, and to initiate a campaign targeting effective community orga
nizers across Turtle Island (North America). It was as if the government wanted to have the front pages of newspapers showing police cars burning in an effort to justify money spent and to clamp down on communities and individuals who had dissented. The corporate media bought into the spectacle and focused almost exclusively on the handful of individuals participating as â€˜Black Blocâ€™ and ignored the thousands of other people. The police then used this vandalism as an excuse to violently arrest 1000 people, many of whom were not even participants in any protests. Some of those arrestees were singled out as being conspirators, masters of mayhem, and overall evil humans. As of our date of publication, there are currently 19 individuals who are being held in various states of imprisonment because the government feels they played a major role in organizing the G20 Protests. They are facing indictable conspiracy charges and have had bail conditions similar to individuals charged with manslaughter. Why have these individuals and their communities been targeted by the court and government? The best explanation is that many of these individuals have a history of being community organizers and have done extensive solidarity work culminating in the curtailing of corporate exploitation of First Nationsâ€™ land. They have been targeted for their political beliefs and values. They were arrested in pre-dawn, presummit raids or picked off the streets by plain-clothed officers, targeted for supposedly being anarchists and for being effective community organizers in a country full of apathy. The continual suppression of political discourse by the government is most apparent in the case of Alex Hundert. He is one of the 19 co-conspirators and he has continually been targeted by police. On July 28, 2010 the Ontario Provincial Police warned Alex that media interviews he did with CBC radio, Toronto Sun, Vancouver Media Co-op, and Rabble were a violation of the no-demonstration bail condition and threatened to re-jail Alex. A day later at a press conference, Alex and his supporters defied this media ban and decried the harassment as a blatant violation of his right to free speech as well as a violation of freedom of the press. (Continued on pg. 4)
Adam Dee, Roots of Nature Photography
G Why? (Continued from pg. 3) Previously, the Crown had attempted to send him and his partner Leah Henderson back to jail. On August 20, the Crown had appealed their release from jail in the Ontario Superior Court and was seeking pre-trial incarceration. However on September 13, a Federal Court judge, Todd Ducharme, dismissed the Crown’s appeal. Less than a week later Alex Hundert was re-arrested after speaking on a panel at Ryerson University titled “Strengthening Our Resolve: Movement Building and Ongoing Resistance to the G20 Agenda.” The police alleged, and courts subsequently agreed, that he was in violation of his existing bail condition to not participate in any public demonstration. In a previously released statement to media, Alex stated “They are targeting me and trying to send me to jail because I am part of communities that are effectively organizing across movements. Whether it is the criminalization of anarchists and community organizers like me, or the daily demonization of Indigenous peoples, poor people and migrant communities, we are living in the midst of an increasingly aggressive and openly racist Harper regime that serves only to protect property and profit, not people. We have to show them that our resolve and our solidarity can be stronger than their intimidation and repression.” The actions of the police are a strong indication of the state’s intent to criminalize ideas, dissent, and effective community organizing. This show of police and
Jacob J Pries
state repression is sucking communities dry of resources, relationships, and time. However, communities will not be easily silenced, as Rachel Avery, an activist from the Grand River Watershed says “though many of our members have been arrested and are facing trumped-up charges, our movements will not be silenced. We will continue to organize against the G8 and G20 leaders and their corporate villains that pillage the earth with industrial projects and profit from war.” This pillaging and profiting by the corporatocracy is known by other words; austerity measures. This new methodology of cut and control has been championed by former Canadian PM Paul Martin. The G20 is busy, hiding behind a manufactured conflict, actively implementing policies that make deep cuts to the essentials of society, while at the same time enriching the upper echelons of the corporatocracy. In a nutshell, austerity measures is another way of saying cuts to public spending in order to bail out banks and corporations, which are the reasons for economic crisis in the first place. But wait, you say, if they are actually that bad, why we are not talking about the austerity measures being imposed? The rest of the article is the reason, so much of the focus has been on the violence at the summit, the criminalization of dissent, the rolling back of rights, that there is little time left to focus on what the corporatocracy is busy doing behind closed doors. And it isn’t as if the corporate media has any interest in addressing the disaster that is capitalism, they’d rather continue to making things worse. I guess it is up to us to crack those doors open, then, isn’t it. - Jacob J Pries, Waterloo, Ont
11 Find Yourself a Gun A license to kill seems kind of mundane Anyone can get one these days Find yourself a gun, Some patriotic rage Go grab an Arab And fire away â€“ Chris Norris Bemidji, Minn
Frontiering always pushing west it was the great adventure northwest passage wild wild west and beyond that sea and stars and the edge of the world the walls here are painted concrete the desk is particleboard maple marred by water stains i am walled in by civilization growing upwards not outwards building cities that bruise the sky, high-rise population gouging into the blue leaving makeshift patches of grey clouds on the horizon they never go away. sometimes i want to walk into the woods and never come out i know it is foolish: there is nowhere to go but out trading one enclosure for another - Ariel Kroon Waterloo, Ont
MashinFetus; Abort! Abort! The darkest, dirtiest blood-metal bangers are back, kicking old-school to their seventies time-traveling tale "Blood Red Rust" in a revamped tour, "Iron, Oxidized". Who are they, and where are they from? No one knows, but an epic trail of visionary metal mayhem began in small clubs in Wiskika, Wisconsin and loped from there to Greenburg, North Carolina. Club owner Dave Hackenshaw has this to say about MashinFetus; "Those dirty fucks were the best blood-metal coming out the the north-north-east, and by gosh-darners, I'd have 'em back again. They literally were the chair-bustingest badasses to ever rock the Stall ['the Stall' is Mr. Hackenshaw's stage, a literal piss-hole with overly-large waterproof speakers.] 'Twas a really kinky set." MashinFetus release their new album "Time Travelers Dilemma" August 2012.
A Search For Balance I live on a farm with two incredibly large willow trees lining the front drive. Every time a strong wind or storm passes through, there are invariably branches broken from larger limbs, lying on the ground. Sometimes more, sometimes less, but usually about one large set of branches per week, or so. I started to think about these trees’ eventual death and decay and imagined the emptiness I would feel if these trees were to die and vanish from the landscape. Because the ground is not wet enough for low lying branches to root themselves, there are no other weeping willows nearby. With this thought in mind I took some cuttings from a fallen branch and stuck them in a jar of water. Lo and behold, tiny rootlets are creeping through the water – we have baby willows! I could not have celebrated this joy without the breaking of the limb in the wind, without the death of the limb. Without death; no life. It seems simply, like day and night, yin and yang. One balances the other. What about some other examples... What balances freedom? We supposedly live in a free country, but what is freedom? Some might say it is the ability to do what we want, unimpeded. In
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the dominant culture there are certainly some freedoms which are promoted – the freedoms of consumption and commodification for example. That is, the freedom of any consumer to buy what they want, when they want to, so long as they have enough money or credit to do so. There is also the freedom of corporations to clear cut forests for flooring or paper and to level mountains for aluminum beer cans. These freedoms are so ingrained in the dominant culture that there are even laws protecting corporations from those who would like to minimize their profits, that is, from those who work to slow the Forums transformation of life into commodities. Authority. An entity or perspective that knows based on understanding and experience. Again in the dominant culture, there are attempts at authority, backed by immense violence, that are so seemingly pervasive one might blink and assume the authority of the state is absolute. But let’s look deeper. Is it? Should it be? If the authority of the state is absolute, that paints a pretty dismal portrait, since the world is being destroyed. Why are most humans alive right now impoverished and why are ecosystems collapsing across the globe? We are seeing governments intertwined with corporations, using authority, and so called justice, both backed by violence, as smoke and mirrors to maintain the illusions of progress and development while they continue destroying the world to maximize their power. We are living in a culture that has dislocated freedom from responsibility and severed authority from morality. Freedom has no regard for how we live with each other on the Earth, but pertains only to the limits of what we can do, how much we can get away with. Authority, backed by violence, is being used to maintain and even accentuate a hyper-polarization of power with the result of enslaving and destroying others. As a result we are seeing a set of values that holds property, wealth and power more revered than relationships.
This cultural psychosis is institutionalized and enforced by violence.
There are other freedoms and authorities however, that are systematically censored and silenced by the laws of the state: the laws of truth, love, responsi
Sarah Bartman - firstname.lastname@example.org bility and morality. What do these words mean if they are to be more than empty lines on a page? That is a personal question that needs serious consideration and answering. Whom or what do you love? Whom or what do you trust? To whom are you responsible? What are your morals? Since industrial civilization is perpetrating immense widespread violence every day, and since violence is inherent in â€œbusiness as usual,â€? no effective resistance to it could be completely free of violence. However, a co-ordinated resistance that seeks to dismantle institutionalized imbalances in power or the infrastructure of industrial civilization, if successful, could reduce the
overall amount of violence being perpetrated every day. We need to create a culture of resistance â€“ safe places for people, ideas and actions that strive towards maintaining an inhabitable planet for future generations and ceasing the enormous rate of ecosystem destruction and species extinction which result from industrial civilization. We need industrial civilization to die so that the planet and its rich web of inhabitants, including humans, may live. - Mike Reid Milton, Ont
On the Commons In our current society the rights of individuals are given primacy over the rights of communities. The individualist rights, such as property rights can clash with communal rights in several areas, particularly over what 'the commons' shall be, and how it shall be used. Instead of privileging individual rights, a focus on social interactions where the community is elevated will solve problems associated with the tragedy of the commons and give a different perspective on the rights individuals will hold. Two different ways to observe this shifted perspective is in the field of water rights. Great amounts of water from the Athabasca River is taken for the private production of oil, where very little is given back to the community. The people are relieved of the resources of their communities for the individual profit of only a few. This same exploitation of what should be considered common property is the Mackenzie River Basin,
which flows through the Northwest Territories, Alberta, and British Columbia. If these resources are to be developed they should be done so in the name of the people, and be a crown corporation. The privileging of the commons over the individual will also give us a firm ground in which to make the first steps in confronting global climate change. Canada is set to benefit in some ways from global warming, but as a part of the world should still do its part. The rights of individuals to pollute or consume resources should be balanced by the cost to the community. Focusing on the commons will enable our society to offer solutions to very tricky issues like water rights, or global climate change, which had no obvious solution. A communal focus offers a way to solve these dilemmas without having too great a cost. - Nick James Fearns Waterloo, Ont
JOIN OUR BULLPEN Highbraü Magazine needs you to write, draw, paint, photograph, argue, opine, ridicule, lampoon, and pose for, on, in, around, and about everything and anything…as long as it relates to our theme. If you are in the business of wanting to make a bold statement, then this is the place for you. We’re open to suggestion so tell us what’s good! Contact us at email@example.com with submissions on the topic of: “The Next 50 Years” due January 23rd
Is Consumer Choice Any Choice At All? It is easy to feel frustrated at our seeming inability to change systems that we have problems with. Unlike a government, we have no say whatsoever in, say, what Coca Cola thinks are acceptable working conditions or wages for its factories in Colombia or where Walmart thinks its ok to open a new store. Large companies can do as they please because there is no "nay" vote for its consumers. If we purchase a can of coke, we have just supported the company. If we don't, we haven't said anything. But where are we supposed to get the products we enjoy without supporting the corporations we don't like? One option is substitutes. Picking up a Jones soda instead of a coke can be just as refreshing. For household items, the old phrase "spend twice as much, buy half as many" still applies. Spending the extra cash for a well made lawn chair instead of the cheap Canadian Tire discount brands means you wont have to
make the same purchase again next year. Most importantly, you can use free services like Kijiji to make your purchases directly from other human beings without a corporation getting a penny of it. Of course the reality of making all purchases through non profit websites and speninding twice as much for products is not possible for most of us. Both money and time are tight, and it is much more conventient to go down to the local superstore for all the ingredients you need for dinner instead of waking up early enough to get to the local market. But when you are able to put in the extra effort, over time it adds up. Even though it may be impossible to "fight" against something we don't like, we don't have to support it either. - Daniel McLeod Waterloo, Ont
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Do you ever wonder? Fellow theorists, thinkers, philosophers, ponderers: Welcome! Though the editor-iniators of Highbraü Magazine are MA students of Philosophy at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario, we don’t see our shared love of skeptical inquiry and compassionate understanding as properly limited to the stuffy halls of academia.We know that deep thoughts about complicated issues are not the exclusive domain of university professors or students, and that recognising and radically challenging both cultural and personal assumptions is a job we are all tasked with as citizens, individuals, and shapers of our world. In order to foster the sort of calm and collegial discussions which are so essential to the steadying of one’s mind and the formation of well-grounded opinions, Highbraü is happy to present our Philosophorum. Each issue we will in this space pose questions of the sort that we can’t help but pick over in our minds, again and again and again. We ask you to join us in the discussion at our electronic counterpart, the Highblög.
Write in with pointed questions and maddening mysteries, practical or theoretical, and ask our Highbraü community to help you talk it out. We hope for our online forum to be alive with debate, with our favourite questions and arguments reprinted in the next issue of the magazine.
- The Editors
John Locke, in his Second Treatise of Government, provided grounds for thinking of the state’s right to rule us as coming from our giving tacit, unasked consent to its authority. By virtue of being born into a state, or even just passing through it, we agree to its sovereign authority over ourselves and others. How can such an authority be legitimate? In the existentialist theories of Martin Heidegger, he describes our uncontrolled immersion into this world as being a product of our ‘thrown-ness’. We are ‘thrown into’ a world without asking, and those worlds also include the nationstate into which we may be born. If we have no choice and control over these facts, how can we bear the duties and responsibilities the state may impose on us? Does Martin Heidegger’s ‘thrown-ness’ absolve us from the tacit responsibilities articulated by John Locke?” Special Thanks to Adam Dee for your crazy enthusiasm. We’re very excited to have Highbraü off the ground and look forward to everyone’s submissions! - Eds.
- Curious Jorge
Highbraü's debute issue examines our concepts of Freedom and Authority right after the 2010 Toronto G20 Summit