30 September 2020

A simple frame for the present circumstances

 It's necessary to finish Reconstruction.

The unreconstructed are in the way of addressing both the current pandemic and climate change.  The pandemic isn't an existential threat on species scale, but climate change is.

This can be viewed as particularly pressing in Canada, where Reconstruction was never formally started.


Andre said...

Sometimes I feel like I am just on the verge of understanding what you mean but cant grasp it. What do you mean by "Reconstruction"? I assume its the post US Civil War - Reconstruction Era not post WW2 reconstruction or something else.
Is this a reconfiguring of history with US Reconstruction completed? Or just thinking about it as though we had a sudden paradigm shift today and how the power hierarchy would realign around today's problems?
How does this hinder Canada, when its Reconstruction was less needed relative to the US (post civil war era) or WW2?

Graydon said...

+Andre --

US Civil War reconstruction got stopped (by the kind of doubtful other-means politics we're presently observing) before it could create lasting cultural change.

The point is not an alternate history, but to recognise that we need today to complete that prevented process of reconstruction, thereby creating lasting cultural change.

Canada's never seriously considered the necessity. I would argue that the necessity -- finding a social organising principle other than extractive capitalism/patriarchal white supremacy -- has become crucial.

Seruko said...

We live in a crazy time, fires, plagues, and politics reaping the whirlwind of past sins. Probably shouldn't have created a charnal house and then built a country on top of it TBH.
Any chance you're working on a new book?

Graydon said...

+Seruko --

I am indeed working on a new book, Commonweal #6, provisional title, "The Work of the Year". It's going slower than I'd like, but it's going.

Seruko said...

Thank you very much for the reply! I found your books through a comment on antipope. I've since read through them a couple of times and find them a good medicine for the current slow motion apocalypse.

Graydon said...

+Seruko --

Glad to hear it!

JReynolds said...

Glad that "The Work of the Year" is going. Looking forward to reading it when it's done.

1) Re: Reconstruction. There was a program on CBC's Ideas a couple of seasons ago about slavery in Canada. We Canadians pat ourselves on the back for being the destination for the Underground Railroad, but slavery was only abolished in Canada in 1834. So the UR only operated from 1834-1860 - a mere 16 years. Meanwhile, chattel slavery existed in Canada for 200 years.

Before abolition, slaves from Canada escaped south to New York and other states that had already abolished slavery. We never hear about that, either.

Also, if you walk around Toronto, Kingston, or other places that were cities in the early 19th century, most of the notables commemorated on historical plaques frickin' owned slaves. Another factiod of which I was unaware.

2) On the plus side, the CBC was reporting today that the Halton Region police force have a new app officers can use to assist with mental health calls. Makes sense - why not give potentially violent cops a tool they can ignore instead of, you know, actually hiring experts in mental health to take those calls?

Graydon said...


It's amazing how effective the Pearson Presentation was. (Canada as the abode of calm, rational, and generally nice people.)

I ran into an economic analysis of the fur trade (and how that connected to the triangle trade) by a historian when I was browsing stacks as an undergrad. It was both distressing and illuminating.

Canada is _really_ committed to oligarchical collectivism. I am not sanguine about how this will end, given present challenges and the complete absence of competence, never mind leadership or vision.