The Electric Pencil

Talkin’ and writin’ ’bout 2010: The Dominion and Briarpatch

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2010 promises to be an interesting year in Canada. The Security and Prosperity Partnership makes a return, as does the G8, and, of course, the Vancouver 2010 Olympics.

The questions and criticisms continue about the costs and impacts of this mega-event hitting the west coast. Building on stolen Native land, ‘cleaning up’ the Downtown Eastside, criminalising dissent: while the image painted by the government and sponsors is rosy, the reality is a lot messier.

A lot has been said already, but there’s a lot more to come, thanks to The Dominion and Briarpatch. The Dominion has sent a call for pitches for it’s special issue on the Olympics due out in November (pitches are due soon!) and Briarpatch has sent the call for it’s Resistance 2010 issue, to be published early in 2010.

I’ve posted both below, or read more here and here.

The Dominion is seeking pitches for our special issue on the 2010 Olympics. Submit your pitch by July 27th!

Some of the issues that we hope to cover in the lead up to the games include:

-Native land rights struggles in occupied BC
-Ecological effects of the Games
-Olympics and nationalism
-Displacement and the Games
-The corporate media and the Olympics
-Torch activities
-The Games and the Economic Crisis
-The costs of “Securing” the Games
-Effects of Olympics on municipal and provincial budgets
-Labour and the 2010 Games
-Resistance to 2010
-Beneficiaries of the Olympics
-Articles that put the games into a historical context, in Canada or elsewhere.

If you would like to write on one of these topics, or pitch us something different, please read on!

We’re looking for pieces in a variety of different of formats, not limited to: briefs (150 to 200 words), articles (800-1000 words), infographics, graphs and maps, comics, and illustrations, and we plan to have video and audio content online to supplement the special issue. The Dominion has a modest budget to pay writers and
contributors whose pitches are accepted.

If you’ve got an idea for something you’d like to contribute for the Dominion’s Olympics special issue, please submit your pitch here before July 27:

Background on the Vancouver Media Cooperative and The Dominion.

The Vancouver Local of the Media Co-op is being launched this summer. By 2010, it will be a node for unembedded coverage of the Olympic Games. We encourage writers, researchers and journalists to create an
account and share information and coverage about the 2010 Games.

The Dominion, the flagship publication of the Media Co-op, will publish a special issue about the Olympics in November 2009. Thousands of copies of the issue will be printed and distributed through grassroots networks across Turtle Island in November 2009. Previous special issues of The Dominion have received critical acclaim for their coverage of Canadian foreign policy, the Athabasca tar sands, and the Canadian mining sector.

Call for participation and input: Olympics Special Issue

“In Canada, you will find a nation that works every day towards creating the conditions of the Olympic ideal.” –Jean Chrétien

The “Olympic Ideal” is part of one of the world’s most successful marketing campaigns, built around concepts that almost everyone can agree upon: world-class amateur sport and peaceful competition.

But a rising chorus of critical voices say that the Olympics are deeply implicated in the expropriation of land, money and resources. From movements demanding “No Olympics on Stolen Native Land” to angry business owners, resistance to the Olympics economic and social agenda is growing.

The Olympics budget includes a billion dollars for security. A billion dollars each will be spent on a new convention centre, a larger highway to Whistler, and SNC Lavalin’s rail link from the Vancouver airport to downtown.

In the political and economic maneuvres leading up to the 2010 Olympics, a different “ideal” has been revealed – one of exclusive contracts, sponsorship deals, displacement, social cleansing, and corruption. At times, sport seems like an afterthought.

Many of the real stories behind the Olympics remain to be told.

The Media Co-op and The Dominion want to know what kinds of critical coverage you want to see. Add your ideas as a researcher, a resident, or a reader, and check out what idea others are contributing by
visiting our online discussion:

We want to hear from you! Join the Olympics working group at or email with your story suggestions and ideas.

If you want to support independent coverage of the 2010 Games, please consider becoming a sustaining member of the Media Co-op by visiting

Call for submissions – Resistance 2010: Confrontational politics, social movements & the state of anti-capitalist organizing in Canada

July 24, 2009 in Briarpatch Announcements

“Confronting the manifestations of global capitalism at their summits and meetings is no doubt a part of the tactical arsenal of anti-capitalists. . . . However, the enduring challenge of the post-Seattle moment remains to link mass mobilizations and direct action against global capitalism to the on-the-ground day-to-day struggles against colonialism, poverty, racism, and police brutality – to root them in long-standing struggles for dignity and survival.”

-Jaggi Singh, “Roundtable on G8 Resistance: Perspectives for the next phase of global anti-capitalist uprisings.” Upping the Anti, Interventions #1

2010 will witness the eruptions of three major manifestations of global capitalism — and the protests against them — on Canadian soil: the Vancouver Olympics, the G8 Summit in Muskoka, and a Security and Prosperity Partnership summit (date and location not yet confirmed). To what extent can the mobilizations against these events, building on the legacies of summit protests past, serve to expand and advance the work of popular movements for social justice and environmental sustainability?

In anticipation of a great deal of media, police and government disinformation about the protesters and their grievances, Briarpatch invites submissions to its January/February 2010 issue, “Resistance 2010: Confrontational politics, social movements & the state of anti-capitalist organizing in Canada.”

This is an opportunity for activists, supporters and sympathizers to share information about the issues, challenges, successes, goals and strategies of anti-capitalist organizing and social movement practice. What is being planned? Why should (and/or how can) allies and sympathizers get involved?

It is hoped that this issue can serve as a critical space for documenting, discussing, evaluating and critiquing the state and trajectory of social movements in Canada. Where are we now? What have we learned from the legacies of APEC, Quebec City, Kananaskis, Montebello and other flashpoints?

We are looking for articles, essays, investigative reportage, news briefs, project profiles, interviews with activists and strategists, reviews, poetry, humour, artwork & photography that addresses the issue at hand.

Article queries could spring from such seed questions as:

* What’s behind the slogan “no Olympics on stolen land”?
* What has the SPP been up to lately and why should we care?
* The G8 vs. the world: Can the Group of Eight be a force for good?
* Summit-hopping 2.0: What have we learned? What’s changed? What next?
* How successful have anti-capitalist activists been at forging meaningful links with indigenous and migrant justice organizing efforts?
* Goals, strategy, tactics: What is “victory,” and how will we get there?
* “Confrontation without compromise” vs. strategically chosen, achievable demands: How much to ask, how much to take?
* Learning from the South: What can Canadian social movements learn from allies elsewhere in the world?
* Anti-capitalism, the labour movement and the non-profit industrial complex: What are the points of convergence? To what extent is broad coalition building on the Left possible?
* (This is NOT intended as an exhaustive list!)

We also welcome pitches for short profiles (300-600 words) of groups, initiatives and organizations that presage the next generation of anti-capitalist/social movement organizing. (Please note that we do not accept profiles of organizations written by staff of those organizations. Such organizations are welcome – indeed, encouraged – to take out an ad in this issue.)

Queries are due by September 6. If your query is accepted; first drafts are due by October 18. Your query should outline what ground your contribution will cover, give an estimated word count, and indicate your relevant experience or background in writing about the issue. If you haven’t written for Briarpatch before, please provide a brief writing sample.

Please write for a general audience, employing standard journalistic conventions. Please review our submission guidelines before submitting. Send your queries/submissions to editor AT briarpatchmagazine D0T com.

We reserve the right to edit your work (with your active involvement), and cannot guarantee publication.

Note: Potential contributors to this issue may also be interested in contributing to The Dominion’s special issue on the 2010 Olympics.

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Written by Tim McSorley

July 26, 2009 at 11:07 pm

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