chuckofthesea

"No? Just me? This guy knows what I'm talking about."

We lost on electoral reform. It’s done now.

This totally sucks, but it’s definitive, & the conversation is over. Electoral reform is not going to happen in B.C., or in Canada, anytime this generation. It was a mistake to have the premier be the face of the campaign because it allowed what should be a supra-partisan issue to become one of NDP versus Liberals. Lots of big strategic changes need to happen on our side now, the most urgent of which is healing the urban-rural-Indigenous divide between natural NDP constituencies. What makes that even harder to do is that we now need to make a real bid for left-wing Greens to join, or vote for, the NDP (they’re not going to want to). This totally fucking blows but we lost, it’s over, & it’s time to admit defeat & get ourselves ready to keep fighting within the existing framework.

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Hey, a new website!

At charliedemers.com

Jump into the late 1990s with me!

The “Taco Nazi” lives!

Check out the incredible work that Atomic Cartoons have done, animating the Taco Nazi track from my album ‘Fatherland.’

Not mourning Dave Barrett, but organizing

I was honoured to join the many hundreds of people in East Van this afternoon to pay tribute to the greatest premier in BC history, one of the greatest premiers in the history of the country (along with Tommy Douglas & René Lévesque), & one of the great leaders of 20th Century socialism. In less than three years as premier, Barrett’s government raised the minimum wage, banned corporal punishment in schools, saved farmland from real estate development, & created the public auto insurer, the BC Cancer Agency, the Human Rights Commission, & the BC Ambulance Service, from which he had a memorial Honour Guard. His story is an essential & invaluable one in this historical moment, as we try to re-radicalize social democracy as a vehicle for building socialism. Dave Barrett, el Allende del Norte, presente! Ahora, y siempre! ✊🏼🌹

Barry Crimmins, presente

We’ve lost a giant. Barry Crimmins was an unbuyable, untameable comedy legend who resisted not only political & cultural repression, but was also unassimilable to the market that they serve. There was no harmless, marketable version of Barry Crimmins. Unlike network “satirists,” he resisted bloodthirsty tyrants and the architects of genocide, rather than goofing around with them. He led a life of incredible pain, but he left a legacy not only of his own work, but a community of comedians whom he helped to bring together. He elevated the craft. Opening for Barry Crimmins was a great honour for me — and he was unsentimental, irascible, & grouchy the whole night; still, he offered a warm kindness after the show. He was in a lot of pain that night, physical & emotional. He was real. Read his wonderful book, or watch the documentary his friend Bobcat Goldthwait made about him, to get a sense of who we’ve lost, & how much he did. Barry Crimmins presente, ahora y siempre. Rest in well-earned peace. ✊🏼🎤❤️

Ten years ago, I got the most difficult assignment I ever had in my freelancing career: read the memoirs of Ron Joyce, the right-wing force behind Tim Hortons. It’s still probably the worst book I ever read. But I’m pretty proud of how li’l 27-year-old me’s review turned out.

I think those of us on the Canadian left should be really, deeply encouraged by the massive backlash against Tim Hortons this week; it’s maybe the best cultural sign yet that something significant has shifted in the national mood. A decade ago, Tim Hortons was using the carnage in Afghanistan as a Canadiana branding opportunity, & nobody said anything. For years, it’s been the Conservatives’ favourite faux-populist marker of “real” Canadians (against the effete urban snobs who drink Starbucks); that worst of all popular worlds of fake blue collar culture with no working class politics. Canada is a lot slower, & temperamentally (not necessarily politically) conservative than many other countries. So while they get Jeremy Corbyn, we get Justin Trudeau. But anyone keeping the pulse of the unfolding reaction to this story, this week, would see that even sleepy, icy Canada is not immune to the charms of international resurgent labour politics.