April 13: Tyler Morgenstern: Reimagine CBC & Tewodros Asfaw on media theory and perception

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As the Harper regime ratchets up its attack on working people and civil society in general with cuts to the CBC, slashing jobs and services in the federal government, engaging in a criminal conspiracy with the F-35 fighter jets, and more – and ON TOP of all that happened while it was a minority government, we are faced with what can only be described as an existential crisis in this country.  The official opposition is powerless to stop anything this government does, and increasingly we are moving to what is often termed extra-parliamentary forms of action in order to do two things: build awareness and solidarity in the working class, and to plan what forms of civil disobedience may be required to counter the totalitarian nature of this government and the faulty electoral system that allowed it to come to power in the first place. How we communicate with each other is of course crucial and although social media is playing a huge role in communicating to organize, we are left with a huge gap in how we analyze what is going on and communicate that analysis across the country from a working class perspective.

The corporate media has of course long ago perched itself as chief propagandist for the ruling elites, but the CBC is still the only media outlet independent of the big telecom and cable companies that own so much of the media. It’s painfully evident that much of the CBC is run by the same type of for profit managers found in any corporation, and I suppose the downhill slide became unstoppable when commercials started to air on The National and that same program gets bumped for Don Cherry and hockey games. So in the furor building over the huge cuts to the CBC budget, the calls have grown louder to Save the CBC! Yet we have to be honest and admit that much of the CBC is probably not worth saving. News programs such as Dispatches on CBC Radio and Connect on TV are cut but the Lang and O’Leary Exchange will continue. Kevin O’Leary appears in multiple CBC programs and so his minority opinion on economic and political issues is outsized because of his exposure.

So, the question here on Friday’s program was what is there to save of the CBC, and are we thinking “outside the box” in terms of alternative models for a publicly funded, independent  media that we can rely on to represent our interests, rather than the interests of the ruling elites? We need a media that is not simply the propaganda arm of government or corporations.

In the studio was Marxist observer and University of Windsor student, Tewodros Asfaw who will guide us through some media and communication theory, and on the phone from BC, was Vancouverite Tyler Morgenstern, an activist, writer,  musician and a spokesperson for Reimagine CBC, a project of OpenMedia.ca and Leadnow seeking to renew the CBC as an enabler of “…collaboration, civic engagement, conversation, innovation and new forms of storytelling.”

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Tewodros Asfaw started off the discussion with an overview of media theory and practice in broad terms:

Morgenstern eloquently sums up why the CBC is so crucial and he points out that their are many CBCs:

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In this clip Morgenstern describes how the Reimagine CBC project came about and how it functions: 

Morgenstern agrees that  greater collaboration with community media outlets is crucial and coupled with greater access to the vast archives of the CBC by independent community media producers could create an authentic peoples’ media:

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Dec. 31: Year end program goes local to global with Tewodros Asfaw and Ken Lewenza Jr.

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Guests Tewodros Asfaw and Ken Lewenza Jr

We’re wrapping up another year – one that saw a major shift in Canadian politics with the federal election that allowed Stephen Harper to gain an absolute majority in Parliament. The provincial election saw the liberals gain the skimpiest of majorities with a one seat edge over the other parties.

As well, this year marked the intensification of global state terrorism with drone attacks, primarily by the US in Pakistan and Afghanistan killing civilians, the Egyptian revolt leading to the Arab Spring, the NATO assault in Libya, the so-called austerity measures around the world leading to huge demonstrations, especially in Greece, England and Spain, and of course the Occupy Movement which is a response to the economic and political global order and the power of the few over the many.

Locally, the downtown core has been the subject of much discussion as the city elites prepare to move parts of the university campus downtown, build a $77 million aquatic center, and move the main branch of the public library into the Art Gallery of Windsor.

I think the common theme in this very partial list is the power of the state backed by the corporate media to, at the least, exclude the majority from decision making if not killing people outright or subjecting people to police violence. State violence on a scale so vast and horrific is the order of the day thanks to Barack Obama turning the lives of so many people from Afghanistan and Iraq, to Pakistan and soon Iran into living Hells? And what about the revolutions in Libya and Syria? What role has NATO really played and has there been a true popular uprising in Libya, and ongoing in Syria? The latter point is one we’ll talk about in a January program. From the local to the global is the theme of this last program of 2011.

In the studio

 In the studio with me was Tewodros Asfaw, a Windsor based Marxist observer on the global situation, and Ken Lewenza Jr., former city councilor and a community/labour activist. We had a very lively and heartfelt discussion  on the year we’re wrapping up and on what 2012 holds for us. 

The ShakeUp 2011 Year in Review

Here’s a partial list of what we covered in 2011:

Jan 7: Martin Luther King with Abayomi Azikiwe and Radical History Conference with Jae Muzzin

Jan. 21: The New University with Wilma van der Veen

Feb 4: Mohammed Hagag and Mohammed Nour were in the studio with personal reflections on what is happening in Egypt.

Feb 18: Michelle Soulliere & Dr Lee Rodney – “How to Forget the Border Completely”

March 4: Coalition Opposing the Arms Trade; International Women’s Day at The University of Windsor

March 18: Phyllis Bennis on Libya and in-studio musical guest Keats Conlon

April 8:  Samuel Mulafulafu, Director of Caritas Zambia

April 22: BP oil disaster with journalist Dahr Jamail and Mississippi resident Shirley Tillman

May 13: David Camfield and the Canadian Labour Movement; Tewodros Asfaw and structural adjustment programs in the global south.

May 20: Windsor city council vs. the neighbourhoods and a crisis of democracy

June 17: Cathleen Kneen of Food Secure Canada; Lynne Phillips, founder of Windsor/Essex Food Advisory Group

June 24: Tamara Kowalska of the Windsor Youth Centre; musical guest Anna Atkinson

July 1: Michael Skinner and the Afghan detainee report; Wendy Goldsmith and the Canada Boat to Gaza

July 29: Jennifer Nalbone (Great Lakes United) and Asian carp; musical guest Rayven Howard

August 12: Tzazna Miranda Leal and upcoming Caravan for Freedom; Pablo Godoy and Students Against Migrant Exploitation

August 19: Valerie Kaussen and Haiti reconstruction; Noa Mendelsohn Aviv and Bill C-4 and refugees to Canada

September 2: Julia Putnam and Detroit’s Bogg’s Educational Centre; Melina Laboucan-Massimo and tar Sands protests

September 30: John Restakis & co-ops for economic and social change; Peter Cameron and the Ontario co-op movement

October 7: The Occupy Movement comes to Windsor/Detroit: Tam Espin in Windsor and Mike Shane in Detroit

October 21: Occupy continues: Joe McGuire in Detroit; Mohammed Almoayad and Criss Crossroads in the studio – be sure to listen in as Chris sings an ode to Occupy!

October 14:  Yusef Shakur and Ocuppy Detroit; Tyler Sommers of Democracy Watch and Ontario’s election.

November 11:  David Heap: Freedom Flotilla II & Israeli jails; report from Occupy Detroit.

November 25: Author Al Sandine ( The Taming of the American Crowd) & the Occupy Movement; Zack from Occupy Detroit.

December 2: Sudbury based Chris Dixon and Occupy’s anarchist roots.

December 9: Russ Diabo and First Nations’ relationships with Canada; a statement on why Occupy Windsor left the park.

December 23:  Joanna Duarte Laudon and the Participatory Budgeting Project

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