Hello World! Hello Internet!
My name is Jiayi (blog, twitter) and I will be one of your two blogUT correspondents for the upcoming UTSU elections. Joseph Uranowski (blog, Twitter), the other blogger, will soon have some posts up as well.
Now, first things first; declaration of intentions. I can’t promise my posts won’t be partisan since I’ve spent a few hours volunteering with one of the slates already, but I can definitely promise to be entertaining, forth-coming, and spirited. My election promise this year is to tell it like it is – bare bones, warts and all. Even (and maybe, especially) if it might make the team I support unhappy. After all, isn’t that what democracy and freedom of speech is all about?
So without further ado…HERE ARE THE CANDIDATE SLATES!
Folks, I am not going to lie. The first thing I thought of when I heard “Stronger Together” was “Gosh, that’s awfully FASCIST”…lots of little sticks being tied together to make one big overpowering totalitarian stick. But that might be a personal sensitivity, since I’m well-aware that one of my greatest flaws is cynicism about individual action. As one of my dear friends said to me, “if there’s a revolution, and they were going around asking for names, I would not nominate you to be Minister of Individual Rights unchecked and without supervision*.” But other than my hypersensitive FASCIST-dar, the name makes a lot of sense for the candidates running. They are all very committed to the idea of student solidarity, and the possibility for a student movement to accomplish great things together. As Utah Phillips sang, when it comes down to it, a union is just a way to get things done together that you can’t get done alone. And like it says on the tin, UTSU is the University of Toronto Student Union.
“Change”, on the other hand, hits me at a very visceral level. Damn right, you can keep your coins, I WANT CHANGE!! Change the poverty overseas and in Canada, change the course of catastrophic climate change, change unjust market access and market control, change discrimination and various forms of oppression…and damn right, I’m going to devote my life to fighting and changing the unjust circumstances that many of us are in. But then I pulled back from the adspeak and thought, “Hang on, change what?”. Do they want to change the same things in the same ways that I do? Thinking back to some of the fascinating ideas raised by Malcolm Gladwell and Mark Kingwell at the social change forum two years ago at ConHall, as well as having read Professors Heath and Potter’s book The Rebel Sell, ‘change’ occurs to me as a concept that can be marketed to everyone and anyone, a ready-made content-free slogan that can be packaged and sold in next season’s high-top all-star converse sneakers, if need be. For someone who holds very dear the promise of social change in way that can alleviate suffering and undue injustice, I’m going to give the next hipster wearing a mass sweatshop-manufactured Che t-shirt the stink-eye. Sorry CHANGE slate, that includes you.
Personal Preference: Neither. Yuck!
Predicted average-six-notebook Josephine Student Preference: CHANGE
Advantage: seeing blogUT is by students for students and thus ought to defer to the masses** rather than singular blogger quarks, CHANGE.
Next up: THE WEBSITES!
Long live democratic participation! Vivre l’université libre!
*to be more academic about it – I think human rights must also include ‘collective rights’ and some of those collective rights might in some circumstances, trump individual rights.
**see, what did I tell you! there goes my unconscious collectivist again.