Queen's University

Protest; ethnic and racial diversity

2010-03-19

Dr. Richard Day, a Queen's sociologist, is an expert in contemporary forms of radical protest and social transformation. He can comment on the characteristics and implications of the anti-war demonstrations currently occurring around the world, and can discuss the links between these protests and the anti-globalization movement.

Dr. Day, a political activist whose research involves direct participation in social movements, notes that while much of the anti-war activity is of a conventional sort - e.g. letter writing, mass public gatherings - some of it involves direct action designed to hamper the war efforts of the US, UK and Australia. Even though activities of the latter type tend to get little coverage, they are important as indicators of the high level of committed opposition not only to the war in Iraq, but to the globalizing ambitions of the United States and its hastily assembled 'coalition'. They are also characteristic of the anarchist currents which flow strongly through contemporary social movements.

Dr. Day also specializes in ethnic and racial diversity and can speak about the current situation in Iraq from this point of view. He argues that the U.S.-led 'conquer, destroy and rebuild' strategy can only fail in the long run, particularly in a country that is already suffering from the problems which result from violent incorporation of many distinct peoples into a single state. There might be some lessons to be learned from similar situations - Northern Ireland, India/Pakistan, Palestine - and of course the ongoing conflicts between English Canada and the Quebecois and Aboriginal peoples it presumed to conquer so long ago.

Dr Day's recent publications include Multiculturalism and the History of Canadian Diversity, from University of Toronto Press (2000); "Ethics, Affinity, and the Coming Communities," in Philosophy and Social Criticism (2001); and "The University as Anarcho-Community," in I. Angus (ed) Anarcho-modernism: Essays in Honour of Jerry Zaslove (2001). He has presented papers on what he calls the "newest social movements" at conferences in Canada, the US, and Britain, and is currently writing a book on this topic to be published by Pluto Press. This work is supported by a three-year grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.

He has participated in a number of anti-globalization convergences, from the 1997 APEC meetings in Vancouver to the Kananaskis G8 meetings in 2002. He is a founding member of the BC Society for Alternatives in Education, which along with other community groups sponsors Critical U., an experiment in community education based in Vancouver's Commercial Drive neighbourhood. He is also active in the Kingston anti-war coalition and is an organizer in the campaign for re-regulation of tuition in Ontario. In this capacity he has given several interviews over the past few weeks on CBC radio and television.

Contact: Lorinda Peterson, Queen's News and Media Services, 613.533.6000, ext. 77559, or Nancy Dorrance, Queen's News and Media Services, 613.533.2869.

 
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