Jun. 27th, 2016

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Currently at Havelock: 27.2. Some kinda weather we've been having. Gotten below freezing on two days this month at Bancroft, but also above 30C on four days so far, which it did on five days in all of 2015. Total of 14.7 mm of rain at Peterborough airport in May; my spinach and radishes got totally baked. Lettuce, kale, and chard has picked itself up with some rain in the last week and is doing all right. The difference in the mosquitoes between this year and each of the last three years--each of which seemed worse than I ever remembered before--is really astounding.

I happened to finish reading Ian Angus's Identity and Justice on the day of the Brexit referendum. Like The Undiscovered Country it has much to do with the situation of Canada in the context of neoliberal globalization, but I&J is a more abstract and prescriptive book than UC, and Angus's anarchist inclinations are much more evident. So, it casts an interesting light on the background of the referendum. Read together I think you can see a very crude distinction to be made between a socialist left that supports limits on national sovereignty over mobility of people but not mobility of money, a nationalist right that supports limits on national sovereignty over mobility of money but not mobility of people, a neoliberal right that supports limits on national sovereignty over mobility of both people and money, and a conservative left (which may be a largely empty category in public political discourse, but probably not so much in pub political discourse) that supports limits on national sovereignty over mobility of neither people nor money. And then off to the side there are various anarchist and other anti-statist views (including anti-Lenininst Marxisms, radical conservatisms, right-libertarianisms, ... ) holding that the limits on national sovereignty that are on the table are coming from the wrong direction, i.e. from "above", from super-national organizations, rather than from "below"--from communities, families, individuals ... to use Angus's language, inhabitants (which Angus spins from the left but is more commonly spun from the right by e.g. the Ontario Landowners Association (THIS IS OUR LAND: GOVERNMENT BACK OFF!) in these parts and "freemen on the land" out west). If you're sympathetic with any of these kinds of views (well, except the radical right ones, I guess) then in the abstract it's hard to know what to wish for as far as things like the EU are concerned ... even if in the concrete it's pretty clear which bed has the nicer fellows in it, and why. Anyway, it's interesting to think about why it is that if you identify with the left generally in Canada you're against NAFTA but likely would've voted "remain" if you were British. Not that these positions are inconsistent (because there are some obvious major differences, starting with the fact that NAFTA is dominated by one imperial power), but it's complicated.
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... today I learned that an easy way to commit income tax fraud in Canada is to claim expenses from a hobby as business losses and deduct them from your actual income. Also, the point at which the government determines that being an underpants gnome is not actually a business seems rather fuzzy. Also, you don't have to register to collect GST/HST if your business has revenues less than $30K over any four consecutive quarters, which seems like good incentive to go on extended annual fishing trips. Related to this, another thing Angus is on about in I&J is alternatives to the money economy (which is an idea I have been very hard on in various places, though I don't remember whether I have been here or not), along the way of which he talks about various non-monetizable valuable activities, like making dinner and grocery shopping (which I like to point out are monetizable in that people can and do set dollar values on what those activities are worth to them, e.g. by paying other people to do them or offering to do them for others at a price) and also yardwork, which is kinda funny, because I kept thinking to myself in April and May that my current lifestyle gives a whole new meaning to "working hard or hardly working?" Because I was in an obvious sense working harder than I ever have (except the month or so twenty years ago when I was being paid to smash walls with a crowbar), digging rocks out of the ground and stuff (which in other senses is vastly easier work for me than teaching, because there is no chorus of real and imagined people hanging over every bit of it telling me I'm doing a lousy job, am a lousy person, and should go away), but not being paid and with no well-thought-out plan as to how what I was doing was going to become financially profitable. Work or leisure, business or hobby, ... ?
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