History Lesson

We aim to replace the present capitalist system, with its inherent injustice and inhumanity, by a social order from which the domination and exploitation of one class by another will be eliminated, in which economic planning will supersede unregulated private enterprise and competition, and in which genuine democratic self-government, based upon economic equality will be possible.

So begins the Regina Manifesto, which was adopted by the CCF at its founding convention in Regina in July 1933. It was definitely a call to arms. And it was very much in keeping with the radical tenor of the times. Most people would discount, and even ridicule, those sentiments now. But consider the circumstances in which it was adopted. While the West was still six years away from the second global conflagration of the 20th century in the form of World War II, since 1929, and even earlier in some countries, North America and Europe had been ravaged by a severe depression that had caused devastating hardship for millions of lower and middle class families.

Now, much of the world is mired in another depression that has driven home the stark disparity between the haves and have-nots in our society. Is it time for those who embrace a progressive mindset to revive the Regina Manifesto? That's one of the issues that will be explored at a forum titled The Future of Social Democracy in Canada: The Relevance of the Regina Manifesto in the 21st Century. Sponsored by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, and featuring the participation of CCPA senior economist Armine Yalnizyan and sometimes prairie dog contributor Murray Dobbin, it will be held Oct. 16 at the University of Regina's Education Auditorium at 7 p.m.

If you happen to be in Saskatoon on Oct. 17, the forum will be reprised at the Broadway Theatre at 7 p.m.
To get you thinking, here's a song that would probably sum up the feelings of most of the CCF delegates who met in Regina that summer 76 years ago courtesy of U2 and a special guest. (YouTube)

Daily Python: The Wrap-Up

For me, Monty Python are funny because underneath the wacky stuff they were a group of intelligent people raging against the stupidity and evil of humanity: the willful ignorance, the vanity, the entitlement, the superstirion, the selfishness, and the anger, arrogance and hatred. (Yes, our species does suck.) Their final movie, appropriately, was a balls-out, Monty Python vs. Everything effort Monty Python's The Meaning Of Life.

Here, to wrap up Monty Python 40th anniversary week on Dog Blog, are a few favourites from that classic.

And my favourite:

And in case that's just a little too heavy...

31 Days of Horror: Haute Tension

Haute Tension (2003) is more commonly known as High Tension here in North America. It's also known as Switchblade Romance in the UK. I've always known it as Haute Tension because that's what I first heard the movie called and I ended up buying the Region 2 French DVD when it was first released in 2004. A year later it came State side as High Tension - from Lions Gate - complete with crappy dubbing and cut down for it's theatrical release. Sure Lions Gate released it uncut on DVD but I don't think it really needed the censoring or the dubbing.

This French thriller comes from director Alexandre Aja (The Hills Have Eyes, Mirrors). It starts off as a standard slasher flic in the vein of the countless Friday the 13th movies. Two French girls (Cécile de France, Maïwenn Le Besco) are visiting Le Besco's parents - who live on a farm in the country. Meanwhile there is a frightening looking man in a van stalking the country side doing nasty things with severed heads.

The movie is a little gory. But I don't think it was ever really NC-17 material despite what the M.P.A.A. thought. It's a hard R-rating for sure but I've seen far gorier movies. The story is tightly paced and moves at a fast clip. Boom. Girls arrive at farm. Boom. Killer attacks. Boom. Chase begins. The film does become a completely different movie in the third act though. Some people love the twist - others just hate it. I happen to love it - it adds a completely different layer to the standard slasher flic, not that there's anything wrong with the standard slasher flic but it does become dull quickly. And love it or hate it this movie is anything but dull.

Rush only in the NFL ...

I don't get the opinion of the NFL Players' Association's leader (ESPN) at all. America is a land where people can live their dreams, if they can afford it. And if Rush Limbaugh's dream is to be able to buy, sell, and trade large black men, (St. Louis Business Journal) then why not?

Pick of the Day: Diabolique

If you check our Oct. 8 issue, you'll find my review of Diabolique in the AfterHours section. As I note in the review, this is the second instalment of a two-part exhibition curated by the Dunlop Art Gallery's Amanda Cachia on the theme of war and violence.

When we think of war, we usually think of armed clashes between nation states. But there are many different types of warfare that occur in our society. Class, gender, sexual orientation, religion, language, ethnicity, all are potential triggers for violence and oppression.

While some of the work in Diabolique addresses actual instances of violence, be it the current NATO incursion into Afghanistan or the death of Neil Stonechild due to the cruel actions of Saskatoon City Police a few years ago, other works seek to probe into the human psyche to examine both the psychological toll that violence takes on us, plus the many ways in which we, as a society, glorify and romanticize violence and warfare despite our professed abhorence of these all too human failings.

Another thing I appreciate about Diabolique is the international mix of artists that Cachia has assembled. The above-pictured work, for example, which hangs from the ceiling in the main part of the library, is by Romanian-born Bogdan Achimescu. It's called *stan, and it consists of hundreds of gestural sketches of nameless individuals. Refugees? Victims of genocide buried in mass graves? Political prisoners "disappeared" by totalitarian regimes? Given the turbulent modern history of Achimescu's homeland and surrounding countries in eastern Europe, all are valid readings.

Diabolique closes on Oct. 18. If you haven't already, make sure you check it out.