The “Non-Partisan” Association, Vancouver’s zombie political party

August 13th, 2014 by LB

NPA Vancouver

This post is for Vancouverites who are urban or civic politics nerds and may not be acquainted with the early historical roots of the local civic political party known, somewhat hilariously, as the Non Partisan Association (NPA). Like a zombie, the NPA seems to be trying to come back from the dead for the umpteenth time.

Some excerpts from the 1967 Vancouver Sun article above (read it here (jpg)]:

“It was the success of the CCF—now NDP [now COPE]—at the local level in the civic elections of 1936 which was a second major factor in the organization of the NPA [the first was the move from a ward system to an at-large system in 1936]… [I]ts purpose was to keep CCF-socialist politics out [of city hall]… Unquestionably the NPA has been the “party” of the west side of the city, and has helped to maintain the split of east-side west-side which has been of fundamental importance in the politics of Vancouver for nearly 50 years. Because NPA candidates have dominated the civic boards for 30 years, west-side en have made policy for the city for 30 years…. It was the fear of the policies an dlegislation which east side, “socialistic” representatives would bring to city council and civic boards, and of more importance the concern with the political power which civic office would bring them, which prompted the organization of the NPA.”

& so on. It’s fascinating reading, revealing a party that is the furthest thing from non-partisan. Even when it pulls in candidates from across the city, it represents a particular establishment and political stripe.

By raising this party’s past I am not suggesting that a political party cannot drift from its original purpose. I’m suggesting that this one hasn’t. I would also say that it is usually difficult for an institution to alter its very DNA, and when political DNA does change, historically it has been infinitely more common to see a drift from left to right (via a co-optation by business interests) than to see a drift in the other direction. Certainly it seems very unlikely that a party this genetically close to west side and business establishment interests will be truly interested in, for example, the open government and “transparency” issue it has now mounted on its campaign like a parade float mascot.

While the NPA’s activities may have been more benign during certain periods—say, the administration of Mayor Philip Owen in the 1990s—it is worth taking a look at the most recent NPA regime of Mayor Sam Sullivan. Sullivan’s euphemistic “ecodensity” program turbo-charged the tower development bonanza that is laying waste to this city’s affordability and built heritage, and that Vision Vancouver has even further accelerated but just under a different name.

Which takes me to my next point, that the incumbent faux-green party Vision Vancouver is no alternative to the NPA. Vision Vancouver and the NPA have a great deal in common, not least their identical corporate real estate funders. While Vision is backed by an NDP element, its  ties to the construction industry’s unions have only rendered it more friendly to rampant luxury developers and property speculators. This is all shorthand for a much more complicated situation that I’m not going to footnote or otherwise elaborate on here. Much ink has been spilled on this topic, and better ink than this.

Tactically speaking I believe the best we can hope for in the November 2014 civic election is a minority civic government. We then at least have a small chance of getting some traction. I will be supporting a number of candidates (TBA) including the three Green council candidates, all of whose parties do not take developer donations. In the second-most unaffordable city in the world relative to median income, a distinction Vancouver has won the past three years in a row, we need to try something.

Vancouver did many things right in the 70s. Most of the things it’s famous for were the work of more progressive administrations, not the most recent developer-funded administrations. We need to return to a progressive civic politics. Bike lanes and faux-transparency do not a progressive housing agenda make.

The intention of this post, hastily written in the news doldrums of pre-election summertime, is merely to provide a little interesting reading on the topic of the NPA’s ancient history. Maybe this is also a bid for some consciousness of civic history in this famously amnesiac town.

Here is a link to a 5 MB jpg of the news story above. Feel free to download.

Alternatively take a look at this useful 1976 grad thesis on the origins of the NPA (PDF).

 

Oh Vancouver just stop

August 13th, 2014 by LB

ScanBCmanpursewhiteBMW

Yes, you read that correctly. The official ScanBC Twitter account which monitors the electronic communications of BC’s emergency services has actually reported that Vancouver Police are on scene with a male robbed of his gold chain and his purse and Seymour St  & W Hastings St. Suspect fled in white BMW

If you know Vancouver, this reads as a form of time travel in which the new Vancouver reality is overlaid upon the old. Or as William Gibson once said, the future is already here, it’s just not evenly distributed.

May the epoch of the white BMW be short-lived; may we survive long enough to see its fiery demise.

Goodbye Mork

August 11th, 2014 by LB

Shazbot. Sad loss of Robin Williams today. Thanks for the many laughs.

Robin Williams Mork

And Robin before a Senate committee on preventing homelessness

A friend put this captioned magazine page through my mailbox

May 29th, 2014 by LB

death of design

This made me laugh pretty hard.

Also, courtesy of the enjoyable fuckyournoguchitable tumblr: antlers, actual real taxidermy, fake taxidermy, steer skull and cardboard antlers.

Meanwhile, as Vancouver’s historic Chinatown gets very quickly gentrified–evacuations of historic businesses, sales and demolitions of buildings, and the erection new glass luxury condos—we see it  filling up with upscale little restaurants and cafes full of… antlers. This white man’s pioneer or settler style, circa 1890s, sits aggressively in Chinatown, which was itself founded in the very period these antler references hark back to, if not decades before. It’s as if Chinatown never happened.

The Hitler Youth haircut

May 26th, 2014 by LB

hipster and nazi hairstyle

Google Hitler Youth haircut. You get “About 50,300 results” and most of the hits are articles about the contemporary version of the Hitler Youth undercut hairstyle.

look at this fucking hipster

The abrupt turn to the right in yesterday’s European Parliament elections, including massive gains for the far-right anti-immigration National Front in France, the anti-immigration and racist UKIP in the UK. and a far right party in Denmark (among many others) seems to signal what we’re headed for. Then there’s the right-wing nationalist Navendra Modi’s win in India, military coups popping up in other places…

I know I’m not alone in finding this haircut and all its variants chilling.

hitler youth haircut then & now

hipster haircut

hitler youth haircut - poster

Hitler Youth haircut brownshirt

hitler youth haircut

For fun, the overgroomed douche variant:

hitler haircut douche version

Then there’s the other shaved-sides dictator style, the Kim Jong Un. Supposedly this cut is now mandatory for all males in North Korea (and, apparently, for males in my own social circle):

kim jong un mandatory haircut

Kim Jong Un haircut

See also:

How to ask for a Hitler Youth Haircut

Every Dude You Know Is Getting This Haircut

The 20 Most Controversial Men’s Style Trends of the Past 20 Years

Comeback of the Hitler Youth haircut worries Jewish and progressive groups fearing intolerance

or search Hitler youth haircut on Tumblr – here’s a journalism student saying “I got the Hitler Youth haircut I always wanted”

hitler youth haircut

hitleryouthhaircuttumblr

PS Thanks to Spain, Greece, Italy, Portugal, Slovakia, and Romania for going left in the EU elections.

Next in this series: more trendy male styles from other specifically conservative decades

 

Navajo chief’s blanket ends up on Antiques Road Show (2004)

May 23rd, 2014 by LB

first nations/American indian weaving

This is for those who haven’t seen this decade-old segment which for some reason has been making the social media rounds again.

It is so nice to see a truly beautiful textile get this sort of attention (and from men too, which speaking as a textiles person rarely happens in North America, in contrast with other parts of the world). Of course it’s partly the Navajo chief connection and the reference to Kit Carson that garners interest here, but it’s still nice to see the attention to the extreme fineness of the weaving.

I’ve never seen a Navajo blanket I like more than this one.

More information at PBS and click here for a better version of the video without dumb text at top (video that can’t be embedded except on Facebook, annoyingly) on Vimeo.