Friday, 21 April 2017

Join TorontotheBetter's year of the commons at the global Creative Commons conference in TO starting Friday April 28


 

Creative Commmons 2017, a celebration of all that's free and open, or isn't but should be, will  take place in the Delta Hotel, 75 Lower Simcoe Street. To find TorontotheBetter just go to the Registration desk and ask for directions, or check our Friday update to this blogpost.
For more information about the conference see  https://summit.creativecommons.org/index.php/program/sessions.   
 The Commons - beyond public and private

Monday, 17 April 2017

Common Law Training Workshop

Common Law Training Workshop

Workshop No. 1

Sovereignty, Self Government and the Common Law: The Theory and Practice of Popular Assemblies and Common Law Courts

Workshop No. 2:

The Common Law Court: Operation and Enforcement

Workshop No. 3:

Campaigns, Direct Action and Building the Common Law Republic


When: Saturday April 29 9am – 5:30pm
          (1st workshop starts 9:30am)  


Where: Treehaus Collaborative Workspace
            79 Joseph st. Kitchener

Saturday, 15 April 2017

Soccer News Today from ESPN and ABC


 
Some interesting news in the soccer world today. Bournemouth is recovering from a 4-0 loss to the increasingly powerful Spurs team that continues to dominate on the field thanks largely to the return of their starring player Harry Kane and Bournemouth's inability to make enough shots on net. In other news, there was an arrest made after a Germany bombing loaded with metal pins near the team bus of Borrussia Dortmund. One of the team's players was seriously injured and there has been more investigation with two new suspects from the Islamic community. Elsewhere, Arsene Wenger from the London Arsenal club is looking at new contract deals with other teams. Paul Mariner from ESPN.com believes a trade must be made to replace Wenger with Diego Simeone, a huge motivator and leader on the soccer grounds. Be sure to follow our blog as more soccer and other news will be posted.

Thank you,

M.C.

For more worldwide soccer news please check out ESPN or ABC.com.
http://www.espnfc.us/arsenal/story/3103583/arsene-wenger-huge-alexis-sanchez-contract-could-put-arsenal-in-trouble
http://www.espnfc.us/blog/the-match/60/post/3101794/tottenham-capitalise-on-myriad-errors-to-complete-big-win-vs-bournemouth
http://abcnews.go.com/International/arrest-made-germany-soccer-bus-bombing/story?id=46750678




Bcome a Toronto "Sustainist"

 

As defined by Canadian researcher/writer Jeremy Caradonna in his 2014 book Sustainability:a History [available by emailing postmaster@TorontotheBetter] sustainists seek "safe and livable cities with abundant green spaces; buildings that produce their own energy; public transportation networks to decrease reliance on cars; agricultural systems that can produce enough food to meet human needs without genetically modfied mechanisms or monoculture and without degrading soils and waterways with petrochemicals; and a healthy environment." [p.5].  

Tell us what you're doing by commenting on this post and/or emailing postmaster@torontothebetter.net to take up the challenge and become a Toronto Sustainist.   

 

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Ecogear and Holistic Cooking Academy of Canada



Hey everyone. Here are the latest graphics. Hope you enjoy them and please make sure to comment.

M.C.

Monday, 10 April 2017

Recent Updates

Hey fans and bloggers! I've been really busy making tons of new artwork for TorontoTheBetter, Fresh City Farms, Live on Chocolate, Eco-Gear and the Holistic Academy of Canada. TorontoTheBetter still taking large strides to improve our work with Cruyff Court Toronto and Red Panamericana and will continue to raise funds and awareness to get the Cruyff Court built ahead of schedule. Feel free to offer me any advice/ comments on how what you'd like to learn more about from Cruyff/ TBB.

Thank you,

M.C.

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

"Share Like A Library (not like Uber)" - notice of new and forthcoming publications

 In the 21st century, as trading blocks grow in popularity, to provide greater economic power in a global economy, economic forces and their political expressions are less and less personal and the inevitable result is a desire for more direct and unfiltered communicative contact, aka populism, either inclusive and egalitarian or, unfortunately, but often, xenophobic.  The same phenomenon applies to the historically progressive response to the gross inequality resulting from increasingly uncontrolled private ownership and markets: nationalization and public ownership. To most workers, the “state” in Brussels, Ottawa, Washington or Beijing, feels as remote as high finance centres like Wall Street or Bay Street.

A popular alternative to bring economics closer to the public is available; it is called the commons. It is time to revive the idea and reality of the commons, not as a cosmetic device to hide inequality but to provide genuine economic participation to all who labour. To understand the relevance and increasing attractiveness of the commons model after a long period of enclosure and privatization we recommend attention to one incarnation of the commons model that has stood the test of time: the library. As a commons the library is a community trust from which users borrow, but do not consume. The library is particularly relevant because its long history extends from the time of the earliest known territorial commons to the virtual commons, the Internet, of recent times. In a future publication we will look at the original library concept and celebrate its historic and recent extension to many fields beyond books, from seeds to  tools. and beyond. Far from dead the library model  is alive and well. In keeping with the sustainable concept "the circular economy" libraries have long internally referred to their process of resource distribution as "circulation".    

Announcing the Toronto Commmons

With mainstream economic models recently significantly discredited, particularly after the collapses of 1989 (statist) and 2008 (market-ist), for their failure to provide sufficiency for all, even in the so-called developed countries, it's once again time for something completely different. It's called a commons, named after the medieval land arrangement that saw multiple residents use the same piece of held-in-common land for their sustenance. Commons come in many shapes and sizes, and now, since the Internet we have "virtual". Commons. Commons, whatever their medium, allow all "commoners" to partake while they also contribute. Commoning is not a contract; it is an act of citizenship. Commons avoid the wastefulness that dogs private property and the myth of their inefficiency has been largely put  to rest by Nobel economics winner Elinor Ostrom. Time for a Toronto Commons, we believe, and TorontotheBetter commits some of the starting resources, both physical and conceptual.. We recognize that other local initiatives like repair cafes and free markets are emerging from a similar group ownership and care model and here identify them and others as welcome fellow-travelers in pursuit of a truly sustainable "circular" economy where all benefit and all contribute. Building  the social  economy, TorontotheBetter's purpose since we started our directory in 2004, is truly under way. Contact us with your interests.           

Monday, 27 March 2017

Support Real Sharing (the Social Economy) not "the [so-called] sharing economy"


Global Sharing Week - June 4-11, 2017  (http://www.globalsharingweek.org) is a movement that, like TorontotheBetter, brings people and organizations around together to share resources and knowledge of many  kinds. Together we are stronger is the message and an injury to one remains an injury to all. Join us  by hosting your own event. In our world there is no Them. 

Saturday, 25 March 2017

Snow Lion and Sunarts Designs

Hey bloggers. Here are the next two listings designs for your visual enjoyment. I hope you all will take a chance to visit Snow Lion or Sunarts for some ideal Buddhist accessories or some great landscaping deals. Be sure to keep checking the website as their will be more graphic designs along the way and more updates on the progress we've been making in TorontoTheBetter initiatives. Thank you and have a great weekend.

M.C.

Friday, 24 March 2017

Legal Fund for members of Ojibway Nation of Saugeen Indian Tribe no.258

Support on and off-reserve members of the Ojibway Nation of Saugeen Indian Tribe no.258 in raising legal funds to file a lawsuit against their band government for breach of fiduciary duty.

The Ojibway Nation of Saugeen Indian Tribe no.258 was one of the last reserves created in Canada, in 1979. The chief has been in power since then.

For 38 years the federal and band government have denied basic material support for housing, medical care, education and funds owed to on and off-reserve band members. Despite funds coming to the band through INAC owed to all band members, and external revenues amounting to millions of dollars, the people are denied these basic resources and services.

The result is life-threatening conditions of homelessness and poverty for off-reserve members.
For the past decade, members have been demanding what they are rightfully owed. Both the federal and band government refused to respond.

In May 2016, 7 clanmothers were put forward by band members to dehorn and remove chief and council from power.
Under the direction of the clanmothers, on and off reserve members are filing a lawsuit against the band government for breach of fiduciary duties.

Many cases have confirmed that band councils legally owe a fiduciary duty to their members...To use band moneys or resources to benefit a councillor’s relative or deny distributions to certain members or families clearly breaches the duty of loyalty and trust to which the band and its members are entitled. – Rich and Hume. 2011. Band Councils, Band Moneys and Fiduciary Duties

Support grassroots members of the Ojibway Nation of Saugeen Indian Tribe No.258 as they seek justice and demand what they are rightfully owed.

$20,000 is needed for legal services to file an action for breach of fiduciary duty.


The sooner the funds come in, the sooner members can take this action. Thank you.


To Donate follow this link... 

https://gogetfunding.com/legal-fund-for-members-of-ojibway-nation-of-saugeen-indian-tribe-no-258/

Saturday, 18 March 2017

Cruyff News and Life Magazine Pic

Hey, did some emailing to other schools this week to raise more awareness about Cruyff Court Toronto. Hopefully we'll be handing out more information sheets at different schools in the weeks that follow. Here's a photo for Life Magazine!

Thank you,

M.C.



Monday, 13 March 2017

What's (Y)Ours is Y(Ours) - the real economic message

Variations on the theme of mutual possession have been published regularly since advent of the 21st century and the emergence of "sharing" enterprises like Airbnb. Rachel Botsman's "What's Mine Is Yours: The Rise of Collaborative Consumption" was answered in 2016 by Tom Slee's "What's Yours Is Mine: Against the Sharing Economy". Whether we see ourselves as We (the camp of the ours) or You (the yours camp) the fundamental question is whether we are engaged in consumption or not. Better than consumption and associated waste and degradation is circulation and associated preservation  of what we have. What' is Ours Is Everybody's is the important message. We have only one world.

Sunday, 12 March 2017

Christie Ossington Neighbourhood House Graphic

Hey all! Here's another photo brought to you by TorontoTheBetter, the greatest listings website around. If you haven't heard the Christie Ossington Neighbourhood House is about providing nutritious meals, recreational activities and a place to sleep for the disadvantaged population of Toronto. This includes youth and seniors, the physically and mentally impaired and the homeless
. Please check out their website at https://www.conccommunity.org/about/ to find out more.

M.C.  

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

New Updates

This week a lot of solid work went into updating each local business's partner organizations. You'd be surprised at how many businesses overlap which shows you that Toronto has a strong network of tying companies and corporations. All my information was listed on a spread sheet with links to each partnering organization's contact info. There are partnering organizations abroad from beyond Toronto and even the country which would be great in expanding the website's social interface and giving us more publicity. If you have any input on how we can make the blog or the website stronger or you have a business that you'd like us to list please don't hesitate to contact our webpage.

Thank you,

M.C.

Toronto's Really Really Free market battles cold to warm bodies and minds


TorontotheBetter attended Campbell Park's Really Really Free Market on March 4 and was pleased to find a happy and warm space in the market's default interior location. Oh yes, and lots of clothing for anyone feeling the chill. Progressive books from TorontotheBetter added political heat to the vibes.  

Leaders not Laggards - Libraries lead the way to a social economy



Thanks to Solidarity partner Shareable for their recent post about public library campaigning in Donald Trump's U.S.A. [ http://www.shareable.net/blog/why-nonpartisan-pac-everylibrary-defends-the-future-of-libraries ]. Stay tuned to this space for more about commons model as a way out of economic quagmires. 

Saturday, 4 March 2017

News on Mountain Equipment Co-op!

Hey, check my picture for Mountain Equipment Co-op. There you can find the best summer and winter items on the market! If your looking for good activities to keep you healthy during the year then check out MEC's partnership page. They are currently promoting safety initiatives and outdoor adventures with Avalanche Canada, Alpine Club of Canada, the Association of Canadian Mountain Guides and many more! See http://www.torontothebetter.net/2mec.htm or https://www.mec.ca/en/explore/partnerships/ for more details.

Monday, 27 February 2017

Updates and Valentine's Day Message

Whatsup bloggers? Over the past little while, I've been finding partner organizations to all our companies listed in the directory. So far, I have found numerous linking businesses to Big Carrot, Mountain Co-Op, Blue Moon, Sequel Restaurant and many, many more. Since Valentine's Day just passed, I thought I'd share with you this illustration to remind you that when staring into the sky, love should be boundless and that time can stand still when you've met your soulmate. Thanks for reading, stay tuned.

Maury

Sunday, 26 February 2017

Markets, Being, Time and slow movement resistance

 

Slow food Toronto members  try to keep digestions (and lives) healthy

There's a reason everybody's short of time these days. Markets increasingly run on E-time while humans cannot. Not only does such frenetic and uncontrolled speed contribute to the kind of economic disaster the world experienced in 2008 but the toll on workers trying to maintain electronic production speeds is showing itself in an epidemic of stress related occupational injuries. There is no solution but adoption of the principle of slowness proposed by Slow Food Toronto [http://slowfood.to]  and related movements. If we are to survive we must slow down. We were not built for the pace of today's post-industrial economy as it chases even greater returns in the same unit of time. Charlie Chaplin's  famous movie Modern Times, if updated, would a worker trying, and inevitably failing once again to keep cognitive pace with a computer chip, rather than, as in the original, a factory conveyor belt.   

And here's an example of how to do it.
        https://media.giphy.com/media/nLAHHLbJWl6lW/giphy.gif

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Upcoming movie and book fair events on March 4 and 11 kick off TorontotheBetter's Year of the Commons

*Saturday March4, 2017 @2pm. Join TorontotheBetter at the Really Really Free Market at Campbell Park (225 Campbell Ave. north of Bloor and Lansdowne) for our book commons featuring a wide selection of free high quality books by progressive authors.


* Saturday March 11,2017 @ 2,3Opm. PWYC Movie screening: "Women of the Forest" (at OISE - 252 Bloor St. West Room 5-240). Proceeds after costs to Nepalese NGO Himawanti

.Nepal is one of the highest (and poorest) countries in the world. Canadian student movie maker Anna Desmarais found there women who maintain one of
Nepal's natural treasures, her forests, and documented their work to preserve the commons for their country, and us..
The movie will be followed by a discussion with the director
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

-TorontotheBetter www.torontothebetter.net is  a non-profit dedicated to building Toronto's (and the world's) social economy. Our original social economy directory
has been online  at www.TorontotheBetter.net since 2004. The "free" market economy let us  down again in 2008. Let's try the social economy for a change.

Monday, 13 February 2017

Organic food in bulk and affordable? It's doable

This Polish store "Nagie z Natury" (means how it sounds except the connecting z) shows
how: http://www.ekonsument.pl/spacerownik/m531_nagie_z_natury.html
Know of others?
Time for all incomes to have the chance for quality goods. 

Sunday, 12 February 2017

From "Sharing Economy" to Social Economy - a conversation with author Tom Slee

TorontotheBetter recently met in the Kitchener, Ontario market with Matthew Piggott of TorontotheBetter's Kitchener-Waterloo fraternal co-operative enterprise Community Carshare and Tom Slee, author of "What's Yours is Mine:Against the Sharing Economy" (see Friday Jan.27, 2017 book review on this blog) to discuss the opportunities and the dangers of what is now commonly, and misleadingly, called the "sharing economy", that is: materially light and communications heavy enterprises featuring multiple participants.
Photo shows Tom Slee (left) and Matthew Piggott (right) in the Kitchener Market.
Predatory, regulation- and accountability- avoiding commercial enterprises like Uber were recognized by all  parties to the conversation as growing threats to community solidarity and there was broad agreement that greater awareness of the social/ethical options available in today's new technologically enabled economic spaces is necessary and possible  through linkages such as the one undertakenhere. That Kitchener-Waterloo, Canada's own technology hub and location of the famously pacifist Mennonite social economy was the site of the conversation represents future hope for a more progressive alignment of the new technology enterprise wave that is transforming economies worldwide. Public presentations on the subject of social economy are planned in the near future to bring these issues directly to a broader local  audience. We seek  partners from communities in Ontario and beyond in this initiative.         

*Tom Slee's book is published in Canada by Toronto publisher BTL [Between the Lines]. For purchase information email postmaster@torontothebetter.net with Slee in the subject line.
*For carsharing in several major cities in southern Ontario see www.communitycarshare.ca.

  

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Cruyff Court Banner


Here's a fun image I put together to support the Cruyff project. If you have anymore inquires about Cruyff Court Toronto or want to enlist your kids to play soccer, please contact me at maurycheskes@yahoo.ca or burnscurr@gmail.com.

Thanks,

M.C.


Monday, 6 February 2017

Toronto protests immigration bans: On Unions, Co-ops, Islamo- and other phobias

Historically the target of much political phobia from some quarters, unions are in fact forces for equality because they ensure there can be at least some justice in the relationship between capital and labour. And co-ops are also forces for good by ensuring  that there can be some balance in the relations between workers/producers and their companies  (in a worker coop) or between buyers and their suppliers (in a consumer co-op). Non-profit TorontotheBetter is a programme of a diverse worker co-op Libra  Knowledge and Information Services. Since we started up in 2004 we have probably numbered among our members atheists, moslems, Jewish, Hindus, Buddhists and Christians. Why probably? At Libra/TorontotheBetter we don’t ask and usually don't know.

In our unionized co-op it is one person one vote; our interest is in our values and what we/you do, not what gods we/you celebrate… or don’t.  Take a look at socially progressive states like Canada and Singapore (a pioneer of multiculturalism) and we see a record of prosperity through inclusion. Diversity and inclusion work, phobias don’t. Chewing gum regulations and the like look like a small price to pay for the benefits of justice-based inclusiveness. No more ethnic phobias! Let's hope after recent protests like the one below

at the U.S. consulate in Toronto that the current president of the U.S.A. and his like are soon consigned to the garbage-bin of history where should lie racisms of all stripes.

Saturday, 4 February 2017

Last Few Months Progress

Hey there readers,

For the past few months, I have been working with Toronto the Better updating our local listings and communicating with our affiliates. I received a lot of good feedback on how to improve our mission statements and imagery of the website to make it more appealing to our viewers. We now have each listings' Facebook and Twitter accounts, changed locations, new hours of operation and all additional services. With our enhanced website, we will further boost the economy of local book stores, cafes and online stores to better serve the community. Please feel free to comment on this post and tell me what you'd like to see differently in months to come.

Thank you,

M.C.


TorontotheBetter [ www.TorontotheBetter.net ]
Toronto's original Social Economy Business E-directory
_______________________________________________________________

Friday, 3 February 2017

For a Better Toronto: on Sat. Feb.4 12.30pm - Protest Islamophobia and social exclusion at the US Consulate in Toronto

A better Toronto requires a better World for all! TorontotheBetter invites you to join this action at 360 University Venue (West side south of Dundas St.).
Thanks to Noone Is Illegal for the following information.
TorontotheBetter [www.TorontotheBetter.net]
Toronto's original Social Economy Business E-directory
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
JOIN US IN TORONTO ON FEB 4, AT 12:30PM AT THE US CONSULATE FOR A MARCH AGAINST ISLAMOPHOBIA, WHITE SUPREMACY & DEPORTATIONS.
Dear friends,
A lot has happened since we last reached out. Over the past two weeks, we have seen a groundswell of resistance to the fear mongering and hatred ushered in by the U.S. president Donald Trump. In one day alone, tens of thousands of people marched in cities across Canada in support the Women’s March on Washington.
​Last weekend, when Trump signed executive orders full of anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant policies, even the Canadian Prime Minister felt the need to tweet about it. Justin Trudeau’s social media stunt suggested the problem was down there and the solution up here, in the benevolent and peaceful Canada. But we know better.
On Sunday, January 29th, six Muslim men were gunned down in their place of worship. This was not the result of Islamophobia spreading north from the US, but rather emblematic of the true story of Canada, laid bare on blood-stained prayer mats in Quebec City.
The reality is this: While Justin Trudeau hides behind hollow platitudes and tweets of support for refugees, Canada has refused to make real policy changes to welcome anyone.
We are not fooled. Over the days, weeks and months to come, we must fight on all levels. This is our platform, and our pledge:
  • We will change federal immigration policy and ensure the regularization for undocumented residents.
  • We will end indefinite detentions and continue to fight deportations.
  • We will force provinces to step up, starting by refusing to house immigrants indefinitely in their prisons and eventually becoming Sanctuary Provinces.
  • And locally, we will build real sanctuary cities, ones that no policy change or political whim can break. Politicians have been patting themselves on the back about how welcoming their cities are, but only we can can turn a sanctuary city from a policy to a way of life.
Take a first step by signing this petition, calling your MP, and finding an event near you this weekend. Movements are built by organizations, and we urge you to become a member and donate.
The terror and war that Trudeau says Canada will provide refuge from is the same terror and war that Canada continues to participate in and profit from. Islamophobia was growing in Canada long before Trump’s rise to power and remains embedded in our society and our immigration system, which welcomes few and excludes many.
Like every Prime Minister before him, Trudeau has no interest in Indigenous self-determination and continues to allow widespread environmental destruction by supporting pipelines, tar sands, and Canadian mining corporations abroad. Like the US, Canada has a law and order agenda, specifically targeting Black, Indigenous, Queer, Trans, and racialized people. Indeed, by default, Canada is collaborating with the U.S. by not explicitly denouncing the racism, Islamophobia, and corporate greed of the new Trump government.
So here we are. Thousands of us will take to the streets this weekend as part of a National Day of Action to remember those who were slain and to say no to Islamophobia and white supremacy on both sides of the border. In these days of anger and mourning, we must come together and assert our collective power.
Many have asked, “what can we do in Canada?” We must demand that the Canadian government immediately condemn the executive orders signed by Trump to restrict or ban immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries. We must pressure the Canadian government to change the policies that currently are keeping refugees out, and keeping immigrants in precarious situations. And finally, we must fortify sanctuary city policies and expand our efforts to create sanctuary provinces. Anything less is unacceptable.
Change will only come when we come together in struggle. Don’t let the platitudes fool you. Let’s fight to win.
==================================================
==================================================

Email: nooneisillegal@riseup.net
Web: http://toronto.nooneisillegal.org

Join our low traffic email announcements list
https://lists.riseup.net/www/subrequest/nooneisillegal

'Like' and join!
http://www.facebook.com/groups/nooneisillegaltoronto/
www.facebook.com/NoOneIsIllegal
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www.bit.ly/NOIITORadio

Support us
http://toronto.nooneisillegal.org/support

Organize with us
http://toronto.nooneisillegal.org/meetings

No One Is Illegal-Toronto is an all volunteer grassroots migrant justice organization that fights for decent livelihood, good food, education, healthcare, childcare, shelter, accessible services, freedom of movement, justice and dignity for all people, particularly undocumented and migrant worker communities in Toronto. We also act in solidarity with Indigenous movements for self-determination and organize against wars, economic and  environmental attacks that push people out of their homes in the first place.
--
____________________________________________
 
 

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Little Libraries - big potential

The almost inevitable entertainment personalities are signing on to the "little library" idea;  one of the latest "UN-housed" is in Toronto's Liberty Village (for the record by no means one of Toronto's most deprived areas). It looks like the library idea, at least its quaint "little" version has achieved its latest five minutes of twenty-first century fame... 


In all of this, there are some deeply important messages. Ideas matter and making them freely and conveniently available to all counts just as
much. Little libraries are free, self-sustaining and, importantly, unlike their more  well known "public" versions, informal, without cultural or social entry
requirements. There is no dress, behavior or documentation code; these are little, FREE libraries
in the full sense of that word. They spring up spontaneously in parks, laundry rooms and on benches, wherever there are people, in fact. As
long as they are seen and understood as routes to action they contribute to being a full person and citizen.  

AS FOR THE BIGGER LITTLE IDEA: If it matters for books it matters just as much for many other of life's necessities. With the developed world awash in so much stuff can there be any excuse for exclusion or deprivation? Embedded in the little library idea is the commons idea: there is more than enough for everybody and if  we manage responsibly it will be here for all of us forever. 

Stay tuned here for more on economic commons ideas and action. And please update us about little libraries and the like in your neighbourhoods.   
   




Friday, 27 January 2017

Check out this video about the corporate crimes behind your consumer goods




                                     Danger - Know More about some of the best known brands.



 

Book Review - Against "On the Move with Uber", Chapter 4 of What's Yours Is Mine:Against the Sharing Economy" by Tom Slee


THIS IS NOT AN AD
Tom Slee, a self-acknowledged resident of Kitchener-Waterloo has written a book. It’s called “What’s Yours Is Mine” and  the subtitle is “Against the Sharing Economy.” In case his position on the Sharing Economy is not yet clear, let's clarify: he’s against it. Still, he is locally aware enough to note that co-operative carshare Community Carshare was founded in Kitchaner in 1998. But this reference features as a mere link to the bigger fish he has to fry, such as Uber and Zipcar which, Slee notes, “brought a new ambition to the [carsharing] space" [p.51]. Coupled with his description of co-operative carshares as “around for some time” it seems the fact that some carshares are non-profit co-operatives and some, as he notes, are for-profit, is peripheral to his larger purpose and co-operative carshares are even, perhaps, one gathers, a little dated. 

It would be unfair to Slee,whose gaze in the text is much wider than carshares, especially given the relative recentness of the development, to point out that Community Carshare has by now spread to several Ontario cities including Hamiton, London and Guelph among others. Thus, lack of ambition is at this point hardly a justifiable carshare characterization. Furthermore, carshare co-op Modo, in Vancouver, predated Commmunity Carshare and has been operating successfully since 1997. The point is that non-profit co-operative carshares work, are growing and are different from the Ubers and Zipcars of this world that are the automobile game that Slee rightly hunts, at least in part.


A complete assessment of Slee’s ambitious and timely work exceeds the horizon of this review but the main point here is this: there is a philosophical and political difference between non-profit co-operative organizations, be they carshares or anything else, and for-profit corporate entities like Uber and Zipcar. The former value community and non-exploitation, the latter: money and profit, as the purpose of their activity. The one builds social solidarity, the other is part of the mainstream capitalist economy where exchange assets (aka money) are the goal. This is a crucial difference that Slee passes over without comment in his apparent haste to diss "carsharing", be it real or reductively semantic. 

At which point this reviewer must declare his own strings attached, as a co-founder of TorontotheBetter, a worker co-op and Toronto's original online social economy hub, and a long time member of Community Carshare (once on its board). But when one’s own “interest” is, as in a non-profit, in NOT having  a financial interest then perhaps this represents an effective “divestment”  of the kind a certain U.S. president refuses to make. 

In ending I invite Tom Slee to meet us at Community  Carshare in Kitchener to learn more about how non-profit co-operative carsharing differs from the so-called “Sharing Economy” trend that he rightly critiques in this important text. At the same time we encourage him to ponder some of the many new principled economic alternatives available, and growing, particularly after the latest breakdown of the mainstream neo-liberal marketplace in 2008. To echo the still important and valid sentiment of the 2001 World Social Forum “another world is possible”. And in enterprises like Community Carshare, it is real, not merely possible.                
               Reviewed by TorontotheBetter'sTaodhg [Tim] Burns
 By the way,  if you want to buy the book that is the subject of this review send an email to postmaster@TorontotheBetter.net with Sleebook as the Subject  

Monday, 16 January 2017

"Urban Decay" - the latest in cosmetics revisited

 

Many North American teenagers go through a period when they think nobody takes you seriously, even if your parents are spending money spoiling you, and there's not much you're good at yet, but at least on a good day you can gross out people you know and, if it's a really good day, adults, preferably parents. Now in your local mall new cosmetic brand Urban Decay seems to get this. What they don't yet seem to get is the real urban decay, the physical effects, that the cosmetics can represent for wearers' bodies. And let's not even get into the issue of the complexions of the homeless forced to live on the street. Homelessness is not good for your health, full stop, let alone your skin. Urban decay is a sign of the times, in more ways than one. If you are looking for cosmetics make sure they're ​harmless, like the ones available from new TorontotheBetter directory enterprise Consonant Skin Care

Saturday, 14 January 2017

Our top blog posts of 2016

What were the most viewed TorontotheBetter blogposts in 2016?
1. Street Children of Nepal - documentary video premiere - March 16
2. Rana Plaza remembered - April 27
3. TorontotheBetter at the Driftwood multicultural Festival in the Jane-Finch Neighbourhood. September 18.
Check them all out here at www.TorontotheBetter.blogspot.ca
Our Toronto is local and global.
 

Share like a library - a new economic model

TorontotheBetter is pleased to welcome library championing activist site Shareable (www.shareable.net) as a philosophical fellow-traveler in the struggle for a new economic order. Stay tuned for future posts about sharing models, the good, the bad and the ugly.