Writers and Other Contrinutors Welcome

The Editor of this blog invites other contributors of lead articles, art and poetry etc. Photos welcome. Subject to approval of content etc. While editorially this is a left wing blog with a radical perspective, other opinion is of course welcome to the comments section. Everything being subject to moderator approval of approptiateness to this site.

Monday, February 28, 2011

  Coming Tomorrow

Redefining Democracy by contributing writer kwd. About the new social media technologies and their likely influences on the character and content of future democracy. A thought provoking piece of analysis that looks back at, and brings forward into our time, some of the relevant ideas of Canada's own Marshall McLuhan... only now becoming clear in their possibly revolutionary import.  More

Sunday, February 27, 2011

The Survivor
Part II

But getting down into the earth level soil of the times in the early 80s, where people actually live, and where I have always claimed that this neo-conservative period we are currently living through is the jumping off point from the post WWII prosperity, Social Democratic State of Capitalism period. (In which overly idealized time many people still live delusional, maybe especially many NDPers).

As the real nature of what was happening in the late 70s to early 80s hit us and many, many others in what still is, this ongoing transitional time in the new "Lean and Mean Capitalism", though Mrs. Coyote and I  managed to hold it all more or less together until 1982, when it all unravelled. Then in our early 40s, the Mrs and I, "BOOM!", found ourselves suddenly farming on the historic Douglas Lake Ranch for then owner Chunky Woodward.  (There were those down in the mud, the blood and the beer events that led to there, of course, but that's another story... not for here.)
For myself though, I was in a state of... How to describe it?  ...It was much like what being in a state of shell shock must be like for battle scarred soldiers. That intertwined with a scarcely controlled rage over the loss of our own place, that presumably only I was aware of, ever threatened to break out into violence. I was not pleased with the people and events  that led to our finding ourselves financially broke, there on an extremely isolated part of the Douglas Lake Ranch known as Norfolk.  It was a time of great trial for both the Mrs and I. We struggled to adjust, no longer young, our energies sapped, in strange circumstances, working for a Big City capitalist who used the Ranch's 200,000 hectares as a kind of feudal estate, it seemed to us serfs, into which he could periodically fly in, in his private corporate jet, like royalty, to play cowboy with real cowboys. I don't know how it is on Douglas Lake now, but then in 1982, the Ranch had many serf-folks like us, basically "hiding out" like ourselves, from the bailiff and others.

(Chunky, the Lord of Douglas Lake, many of you will know, now deceased, was the owner of then Woodward's Stores. Which too eventually became a victim of "The Recession" and the collapse of retail consumption that was part of it, as the Recession went on and on. Then, as now, "Recovery" just around the next corner.)

I remember well, like it was yesterday, the Mrs and I sitting in the living room of the old frame house that came with the job there on Norfolk, an old cookhouse from the "old days" of big farming crews, pre-big time agricultural mechanization. It was our first winter there. Both of us sat there looking out at the unbelievable world of snow and leafless ash grey trees, with snow that was to the window sills that winter, all white, cold and rather the end of the earth looking. At least that was how it looked in our then state of mind.

Suddenly we both looked at each other, neither of us saying aloud, but each of us hearing the other thinking, "What the fuck just happened? How did we get out here in the middle of this strange nowhere... that is not ours.?!"

Norfolk Winter Scene

Crystal cold the world,
Of ice and new snow,
With a billowy frosty breath unfurled,
From hungry cattle moving thick and slow;
Saddened, torpid beasts,
Frozen in stern time,
Soup-line derelicts to a chilly feast,
There against winter’s tapestry sublime.

A whining tractor,
Startles into view,
Bearing gifts from the Great Benefactor;
Timothy, Canary and Red Fescue.
As His serf passes,
A Sprite’s wand is waved,
And the mass stage left, noses to asses,
Heel-kick, soft-shoe shuffling off to be saved.

From the frosty silence
of the treeline,
Coyote stares out across
that milk white field,
At now clamouring cattle
as they dine.
He narrows his eyes
into thoughts concealed,
Curls his lips into a wry
sceptic smile,
And thus genuflects thereby
to man’s style.

December 1983

Which poem I wrote the second winter after arriving at Douglas Lake. But, I think, gives a feel for the place.

western clipart coyote howling  Around this same time, at the height of my, lets call, Time of Great Pain, which at times was really quite extreme, early one morning I'm coming out of Norfolk, headed to another part of the ranch,  Minnie Lake or some such, to be part of the haying crew working there. I turn the company pickup right at the main road to head in the direction of Home Ranch.  Immediately there before me, right in the middle of the road, is this coyote. I slam on the brakes.

Initially I'm not even sure what manner of beast it is. It's just a large blur of fur. It is however a coyote. But no ordinary coyote. This one has been severely damaged, that is immediately apparent. I immediately jump to the conclusion that it has either been shot in its hind quarters and rendered paraplegic, or hit by a vehicle, because its hind legs are completely useless. He, or she, has his legs splayed out  behind itself, pulling its entire hind quarters along with its front legs only. (Keep in mind, we are in a slow-mo time warp here, where a few seconds is stretched out into only this endless moment.)

After us initially looking at each other full in the eyes... I mean our eyes actually locked, so that I could see the full fright of fear in his eyes and he, he had to, have seen the shock in mine. ... he/she, which gender I could not know, smack on my side of the road, suddenly wheels about, using only his front legs and takes off down the dirt road. I mean, just pulling himself along with his front legs, dragging his/her useless hind end, at a clip that a fully sound animal would have moved at the lope.

My first red-neck reaction was, weirdly, that I should kill it and put its out of its misery. Which notion I, happily today, quickly discarded. (Again in this same weird slow-mo state, of what was only surely seconds.) After which I immediately decide that I should nonetheless catch it and get it to some vet help. Though even by then, I'm starting to realize, that whatever happened to this animal, it is now fully healed, and this is the condition of its life. It's moving just too much like it knows exactly what it is doing, is not really in pain, just panic mode to get the hell away from me.

It comes to a log rail fence in tall grass at the side of the road, and runs along it in panic mode for a bit. I get out of my pickup and walk towards it... to do what, I didn't really have formulated. I just feel like I should do something. Though I've at some point put my leather gloves on, as some kind of protection presumably, from being bitten. Duh!

Anyway, it looks back at me again and sees me coming, and immediately slithers like a snake between the rails in the fence onto the other side.  I run to the fence then, thinking it may have hung itself up, but when I get there, and look over the fence, this critter is nowhere to be seen.  It is totally and completely gone.

Even after climbing over the fence and combing through the grass for what must have been a half hour, seriously looking for this coyote, I'm forced to conclude it is history... like it was never there. Or if it's hiding, it's where and at a distance I'm not going to find it. I listen intently for the sound of rustling grass. Nothing.

Which, over the course of that long work day and after, as and whenever I revisit this critter, and his brief, seconds long appearance into my life, is where I find the moral that saw me through this period. It ain't over 'til its over. Never give up. No matter how bad things may seem, and I have seen this attribute in coyotes many times since... never give up. It's amazing what critters, and we humans can endure and overcome, if we have the will.

Now that coyote had really grim circumstances to overcome. Worse than mine. Whether it would have made it through the next winter or not... It would have been tough. But then, maybe it had already survived one or more winters. In any case, none of us is getting out of here alive. But until the Grim Reaper actually reaches down and snatches you into the Void of No Return... NEVER GIVE UP.
A Farm Tractor - Royalty Free Clipart Picture                                             

                                        My Brother, The Coyote

My angry tractor roars across
the field,
The giant vacuum cleaner behind
Exposing that which the crop
had concealed,
Another link in the chain
of the fit.
Wily Bob Coyote slinks out
of harms way,
Having observed Power follows
a path,
Though sometimes toward him
it will ill stray,
To finish his days as
cattle feed chaff.

His goal,
Is but a mole
Caught out of its wee hole,
A mouse,
Far from its house,
As a petite hors d’oeuvre.

I lie weary upon my bed this night,
With my sleeping wife’s soft warmth
at my side,
Grateful to be removed from sound and sight,
Of a maelstrom world
that has briefly died.
When suddenly my brother the Coyote,
Sets his sorry cousin Dog
to pleading
As he cries from the depth of ancient rote,
An arousing poignant
hand out greeting,
Into the still heart of the cold, cold dark.

Answers a joyous
Choral clarity,
Rending through the black,
Reaching for needed


Saturday, February 26, 2011

Coming Tomorrow

Part II of The Survivor. A "kind of" morality tale, in that it has a moral that it tells. It is a twist on your typical social, political and economic analyses. Expect the unexpected.

Friday, February 25, 2011

                         The Survivor...
                                                                  a morality tale

Part I

It's the early 80s, some months in advance of the election of the first Neocon to the presidency in the US, and his imposition of Friedmanesque "neo-liberal" economic practise onto what had to there been the postwar period of the Social Democratic State. To augment the outside cash flow subsidy that our family farm required, we went into also a relatively small scale export dependent shingle mill and contract logging operation on private land. Small in the context of the system, but big to us, in terms of its capital and labour intensity... involving taking on a considerable debt load.

Interest rates at the time had been "pegged" in the area, if I recall correctly, of about 6-8%. And interest rates had been so pretty much throughout the entire prosperity period of the Social Democratic State of Capitalism... at least pegged for predictable periods. Which we were well able to handle for as far ahead as we could see, had rates more or less held.

 But which was of course, in still the heady days of endless prosperity capitalism that had been to then, throughout the entire postwar, and which I mean everyone had by then come to the conclusion would NEVER end. (Even most of the what had been  in the 30s, the "revolutionary left", had fundamentally by then gotten on board with the assumptions of the Social Democratic State and its presumed endless prosperity.)

Suddenly, shortly thereafter, through the corporate media, around the election of Ronald Reagan to the US presidency for the first time, one started to hear of talk that he and his Republicans planned to "free" interest rates and get society back to the "lean and mean discipline" of the "free capitalist market place". Which I remember at the time did catch my attention and cause me some concern, but hell, I was working day and night falling trees, cutting shingle blocks, running them through our mill, and putting together truckload orders for our market in Germany. Everything else in the world was going by in a kind of work intensity haze to produce product and pay the bank. Besides, people wouldn't stand still for that, and it is one thing to talk crazy Right Wing shit like that in an election, and quite another after, in the real world of governance. Right?

 Well, we now know of course, that I was wrong. Reagan did get elected, also Margaret Thatcher in England, the first two postwar Neocons pursuing the "neo-liberal" economic theories of  "capitalist fundamentalism" being espoused by Milton Friedman and his Chicago School of Economics. What followed was the fast and furious rise of interest rates to previously unseen levels throughout the postwar, again if I remember correctly, getting as high as 20%, and possibly more.  Which, to make a long story short, brought about the great economic collapse of the 80s period, and with it, still going on today, the destruction, nth degree by degree, of the great Social Democratic State of capitalism, and the endless prosperity time. 

Now, there were many complex elements that went into the ruling class decision of the time, to take capitalism there of course. One being the great task of rebuilding postwar Europe had been completed, which task had acted to "more or less" smooth out the historical cycles of boom and bust that have always been a part of capitalism, and to especially, enrich us here in North America. Another element, expressed at the time was a right wing concern about "creeping socialism", and still is, which manifest ruling class concerns that the logical conclusion of the line of development the postwar Social Democratic State was on, in fact, led away from Capitalism and in the direction of State managed "Socialism". The claim being that Capitalism was ultimately doomed if it continued to go along with this ongoing building of the Social Democratic State, and its systems of economic intervention and regulation. Which, from their perspective, was true enough, and in my view as well.

Hence, the Social Democratic State had to be stopped and dismantled; including its systems of medical care, unemployment insurance and welfare etc., and its State interventions in the economy, at least in so far as these interventions served the working class masses and their interests in safe work places etc. Instead, it was to be Capitalism as it was historically from the time of the Industrial Revolution, and is in the process of  becoming again; socialism for the wealthy and their corporations, and capitalism for everyone else. 

The Survivors, Part II, to follow soon.


Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Construction Delays
With a medical appointment out of town today, a much beloved horse I just have to part with, to trailer load and move to her new digs tomorrow, along with some volunteer work for the Saddle Club I belong to, there's a bit of delay here getting new material up. That's the weakness of a one man show. But fear not good folks, Thursday is looking clear to do a piece I kind of want to do, on the theme of coyotes and politics, with a little bit of poetry thrown in. A little artsy fartsy, for the likes of me, but... I think you all will find it interesting.

Keep the faith, and you come back now and again. We's here to thunk on human affairs, agitate and entertain, just a tad. 8-D

Love, Peace and Revolution.   

Monday, February 21, 2011

  A Bit of History to Coyote Times

First, welcome to Coyote Times

This site has over a number of years now, gone through a number of name and other manifestations, and a long period of lying dormant, awaiting my renewed interest.  It was first Liberation Voice and then Freedom of Speech.

I have gone to this latest title format for a number of reasons. First, because I have long been an admirer of the coyote as a wild critter of two worlds now, urban and rural, in both of which it survives and prospers, and in greater numbers than ever. Which, to me at least, speaks to my many years in both these environments, about equally, and to my long years on the margins, materially and intellectually, and in the political wilderness as a left wing political and philosophical person. And no, I'm not really complaining. That's just life as it has been within certainly North American capitalism since the time of the last Great Depression of the 1930s, and the last great foment and movement of the working class in that time.

Thereafter there was the Great World War II and the prosperity period of the reconstruction of war destroyed Europe, in which especially North America grew affluent, and on the basis of which, even capitalism went along with the building of the Social Democratic State and its social safety net, and frequent State regulation and interventionism in the economy. During which time, of course, also occurred the great pogrom attacks on "official" Communism and all the Left within capitalism, as well as without as McCarthyism. Which attacks resulted pretty much in the isolation and decimation of the Left numerically and as an influence in all society, especially the trade union movement and the broader working class. All of which was only marginally less in Canada than the US.

The worm has turned again however, as it is cyclically wont to do within capitalism. And driven by individual Big Capitalist greed and the upheavals and distortions of its thinly veiled attempt to establish its full hegemony and imperialist ambition domination over the entire global economy, even the hereto "advanced" Western capitalist economies and socio-political orders have and continue to fall into a period of deepening crises.

As well, and a consequence of, neo-liberal economic policies of undoing the now old Social Democratic State order and seeking to return capitalism back to an imagined more ideal laissez faire capitalism time, before unions and shared working class prosperity, has also acted to destabilize capitalism, both economically within as well as socially.

All of which it seems to me is beginning to work, to once again call back into existence from the political wilderness into which we were driven, the serious, or if you will, revolutionary Left, to once again re-emerge as one of the leading working class forces and influences acting within and on capitalism. Attempts to turn back history, which arise from within the ruling class order, also quite naturally call back into being its old class enemies and political foes, with their different, by now updated and reinvigorated vision of the direction beyond capitalism that society needs to move in the direction of.

Time spent in the political and ideas wilderness, it turns out, echoing it would seem the biblical experience, can be extremely useful. :-) lol

Coyote Times is a small, extremely modest attempt to contribute to this process, now struggling to re-establish and re-root itself within current state of affairs capitalism, which the system and the capitalists have themselves created.

As time goes on, the old materials written by Coot and myself will be pushed out and archived... which I will hang onto, because it is part of the history of this site.

Again, welcome.