Patrick Fore

This Dream I Had About Dreams I’ve Had + A Lady Mayor

I had just decided that I’d take weekends off from recording dreams and writing blog posts about them when I woke in the middle of the night and wrote them all down anyway.

I listed them carefully and felt comforted and amazed by them, and then I closed the book I was writing in. As I looked at the book I noticed it was a giant leather, wood and metal book. Huge.

I don’t own a book like this in waking life, so then I realized: this is a dream.

In my dream I was writing down my dreams.

It’s reassuring to me to think that all the projects I have spun up in the air over the years, and that I beat myself up for not being further along on, my unconscious brain seems to be still quietly working away at, making notes while I sleep.

Just because we take breaks from our projects doesn’t mean they take breaks from us.

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In another dream I had this weekend I was standing in a small room with a high ceiling, and all around me the walls were covered in wooden shelves piled high with loaves of fresh bread.

It was a perfect, calm room and it smelled just wonderful.

I have a feeling of bounty and ok-ness these days, which is still surprising to me after quite a while of night terrors which I’ll tell you about some other time. I don’t think there is a more basic symbol of wholesomeness and of getting your needs met than bread, and I’ve been awed and grateful for the image of that bread-filled room ever since my subconscious gave it to me.

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In other news, Montreal has elected her first Mayor, and the most women ever to city positions. This alone makes me feel full of happiness and hope, despite the inevitable and relentless fight-pickers, threats, and tumbling tragedies on the Internet. Everything goes on. But we do keep dreaming the world into brand new shapes all the same. Much beaten we still rise.  Nothing can stop us.

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Jessica Noss

A Dream I Had, But Also: Why?

Last night I dreamt that I was in a canoe at night with Marc. Meanwhile he dreamt that we were making love in the bathtub. Outside in real life it rained.

I am on my 3rd day of writing about dreams every day for the month of November, a totally self-imposed, made-up challenge, and I’m feeling all the rush of but whyyyyy.

Well, here’s why:

For one, it’s a challenge for me to be vulnerable in public, so putting my unconscious on the internet feels like a step in the right direction.

And it’s a project for me to get inspired, I love the hallucinatory imagery and metaphors in dreams.

And it’s a project to make more of my life conscious, or to integrate my unconscious, sleeping adventures and perspectives into my mundane daily life.

And also this: When I was really little I had this intense feeling that I was 2 people living two lives, one on this side of sleep and one on the other.

I remember feeling fear that I would die on one side, and the other would also be gone.

And I remember feeling this big resigned sadness that I think all kids feel, the strange feeling of growing up and losing the other side.

There is still no unified theory of why we dream, but I think there’s a clue in how we use the word in waking life: I Have A Dream. A dream can help invent the world.

Kids know this best, because they are inventing their worlds and themselves at a super fast rate every day.

I guess I just want a bit of that energy back. And I want to wake up to a better world.

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Kazuya Akimoto

A Dream I Had: Floor Game

So this dream I had last night started with a single scene, flickering:

I am standing outside an old movie theatre. It’s glowing white against a black night, and the marquee tells me that it is an altar to Diana. I have no associations with Diana.

Now that I try to remember, I know she is a huntress.

In the next memory scene I am in a beat up old car with 3 guys I was friends with in undergrad: Dave, Scoob (Yes. It was undergrad.) The 3rd I can’t see.

I leave them parking the car and walk up to my parents’ new house. In real life, my parents recently did some renovations, but this is an entirely different place, absurdly tall and dream weird.

The colours around it are like water colour. Blurry and saturated. The driveway is huge and painted in massive geometric angler shapes, white and dark blue. My mom yells from a window not to walk on the driveway, so I leave the boys behind and go climb in through a side window.

Inside there is no one around. It’s dim. There are tiny sculptures made of small pieces of wood stacked and carved in elaborate jengas and patterns all over the floor, which I know I’m still not allowed to walk on.

So I climb on top of a door and it swings wide, and the door itself unfolds into more doors on hinges as I hang on. It swoops me across the room.

From the top of the door once it’s unfolded I can reach a small, high window. I climb through, and jump, and land on the end of a high loft bed where my step dad, John, is sitting grading papers. He’s annoyed at being interrupted, and I say don’t worry, I won’t bring my friends through here.

Back on the street I am barefoot, skipping barefoot through rotting bananas and big, black sticky fruit on the street. The run-off from a honey factory.

In the next scene I am cleaning up after a murder.

I’m with Dave and I don’t know who was killed, or who did the killing.

We are in a small room in a basement, and it is very important that, as he lifts things, I blow sand into piles under them so nothing looks disturbed.

The door is partially open, and through the crack I see a skinny pair of legs waiting for us on the stairs, and a white cat, watching.

As I wake, an upbeat, automated voice informs me that we have improved our phone help line satisfaction by 25%.

I’m very pleased.

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From Deep Space Diner VR game by Fran Boot!

A Dream I Had: Incoming Birthday Pancakes!

Photo by Jane Gregory.

Weirdly perfect photo by Jane Gregory.

In this dream I had recently I am sitting in a Cosmic Diner.

I’ve never been to this place in real life.

I get the vibes there’s Space outside.

Image from Deep Space Diner VR Game.

My waitress is cosmically large and insubstantial. It occurs to me now she is like Jupiter the gas giant. She is glorious.

She yells INCOMING BIRTHDAY PANCAKES and pancakes fly like UFO’s out of the kitchen window, across the Cosmic Diner and onto my plate.

Incidentally, I’m not me, I’m my friend who is a badass lawyer I admire. But I’m also me. And I’m not surprised by the hovering arrival of birthday pancakes.

Because apparently: I am a regular in the Cosmic Diner.

The waitress is not thrilled by the flying pancakes in her way, but I dig in, and she says:

YOU’RE LUCKY. YOU’RE A HEAVY METAL EATER.

(I am a messy eater, but take this to mean it’s OK.)

And the pancakes are the best I have ever had.

In 1961 there was a UFO encounter involving pancakes.

Image from Butterfly Language.

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end of poverty poster close up

End Of Poverty: Getting Basic Income Right In Canada – My Opening and Closing Remarks

Poster by Maryanna Hardy

Poster by Maryanna Hardy

I recently co-organized and moderated a public event aiming to advance the conversation around Basic Income in Canada. The video from the livestream of that event is available here, and wanted to keep a record of my opening and closing remarks as well, so here they are.

Opening.

As we begin, we’d like to acknowledge that McGill University is located on unceded Indigenous lands. The Kanien’kehá:ka Nation is recognized as the custodians of the lands and waters we now call Montreal. Tiohtiá:ke (Montreal) is historically known as a gathering place for many First Nations. Today, it is home to a diverse population of Indigenous and other peoples. We respect the continued connections with the past, present and future in our ongoing relationships with Indigenous and other peoples within the Montreal community.

My name is Risa Dickens, I’ll be your host and moderator this evening. On behalf of myself and my collaborators in the Asian Women for Equality Society who bring you this event, I want to welcome you and thank you so much for coming.

I am both thrilled and nervous to get to stand in front of you today.

I’m thrilled to even get to meet these badass women, let alone to have a conversation with them about ending poverty in Canada, on today, the United Nations’ International Day for the Eradication of Poverty.

I think even saying the words out loud: that we aim to end poverty, has power.

And I’m moved to see so many of you here, with so many different and, let’s be honest sometimes conflicting passions and interests and stories and backgrounds, united in this project: tackling an end to poverty.

I’d love to know what brings each of you here. For myself there are a couple clear thoughts that motivate me: My grandfather had to leave school, and leave home at the age of 16 because the family farm in Smith’s Falls Ontario couldn’t support him anymore. Just a kid on his own he had to abandon his dream of becoming a teacher and he carried that loss his whole life.

Myself, end of grad school, I lived a couple years in increasingly bad financial straits that I worked hard to hide from anyone who knew me, until it reached a climax when I was unable to pay the rent, hiding from the landlord, as black kitchen waste literally bubbled up in the bathtub.

There was the time my dad pulled his own tooth because he couldn’t afford dental surgery, or when I found out that the hardest kids to deal with at my day camp job weren’t getting breakfast before coming, or when a man I loved stole 5000$ from me rather than appear a failure to his parents.

I could go on. I think we all could.

Who here would experience immediate emotional and practical relief by the grant of a basic income?

Please raise your hand if you would quit your current job? (Or just wink if your employer is here) Raise your hand if you would care for a family member? Raise your hand if you would dedicate yourself to a creative practice? Raise your hand if you would dedicate yourself to a cause? Raise your hand if you would get more education? Raise your hand if you would seek a different kind of employment? Raise your hand if you would live closer to nature?
Thank you. We see you.

When Sarah and I started to talk about this event we agreed that what we wanted to contribute to the Basic Income conversation in Canada was one: Feminist, and two: Practical.

Feminist because it’s Sarah’s experience as a rape crisis worker that brought her to working on Basic Income in the first place.

And because according to the Transition Home Survey, on a single day in Canada, 4,645 women were residing in shelters across Canada, 71% of them were escaping abuse.

We don’t have clear statistics on gender identity and homelessness in Canada; but we know up to 40 percent of youth experiencing homelessness identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, or two-spirited, whereas only approximately 7 percent of the general youth population identifies as LGBTQQ2. In other words, our young people face poverty to be who they are.

Gender roles and money are all tied up together, for everyone.

Men account for three-quarters of suicides in Canada. Going back to the Great Depression scholars see spikes in suicides immediately after a market crash. Canadian men between the ages of 50 and 69 had the highest suicide rate across both genders and all age groups in 2012. And reports show that job and money concerns – their identities are providers – are the most common causes of their stress.

Patriarchy and poverty fuck with us all.

We also wanted this conversation to be practical. Our question is: how can Basic Income be designed to benefit everyone? How do we get it, how do we pay for it, and how we make sure it isn’t used to justify austerity cuts that gut still-necessary social programs, or push economic inequality down harder onto undocumented workers in Canada, or labour markets in countries that don’t have a basic income guarantee?

So we worked on and circulated questions with our community partners and our esteemed panel and they will touch on these in the presentations and discussion which follow.

Before I introduce our panel, I want to note that we are honoured to have with us Community Respondents from End Poverty Now, Revenu de Base Quebec, Indigenous Women Against the Sex Industry, and Mouvement Contre le Viol et L’inceste, who have generously taken the time to prepare a few words and a question for the panel.

And we would love to bring your questions to the panel as well. In the interest of time please write these – as legibly and succinctly as you can – on the cue cards being gathered by our volunteers. We’ll do our best to get through them, and we also invite you to gather in the bar downstairs after our event wraps at 9pm to continue the conversation.

From the panel, I am so pleased to be able to introduce you to Dr. Evelyn L. Forget. Dr Forget is kind of the reason that contemporary conversations about Basic Income are happening at all.

She is the researcher who found and analyzed archived data from the landmark ‘Mincome Experiment,’ nearly 30 years after it was discontinued in Dauphin, Manitoba.

She wrote: “The Town with No Poverty—Using Health Administration Data to Revisit Outcomes of a Canadian Guaranteed Annual Income Field Experiment” among numerous publications, about the potential impact of basic income on health.

Dr Forget is an economist, professor in the Department of Community Health Sciences at the University of Manitoba, and Academic Director of the Manitoba Research Data Centre.

She is an adjunct scientist with the Manitoba Centre for Health Policy and a research associate with the MB First Nations Centre for Aboriginal Health Research.

Her current research focuses on the health and social consequences of antipoverty interventions.

Dr Forget, thank you so much for being here.

Next I’d like to warmly welcome Senator Kim Pate.

Senator Pate has spent the last 35 years working in and around the legal and penal systems of Canada. She has worked with and on behalf of some of the most marginalized, criminalized and institutionalized women and girls as the executive director of the Canadian Association of Elizabeth Fry Societies.

Senator Pate is a member of the Order of Canada, a recipient of the Governor General’s Award, and five honourary doctorates, and numerous other awards. Her extensive list of publications, national and international speaking engagements, and her strategic intervention and advocacy for substantive equality speak to her commitment to social, economic and cultural change.

She has strongly advocated for a guaranteed livable income including in a speech today on the floor of the senate.

Senator, thank you for your voice and for your work and thank you so much for being here.

Lastly on our panel today is my collaborator in creating this event, and a representative of front lines anti-poverty work in Canada, Sarah M Mah. Sarah produced this event while preparing for her final Phd thesis defense here at McGill.

Sarah is a third generation Canadian-born Chinese woman raised in Vancouver, BC. Her family was among the early Chinese immigrants levied the head tax in the late 1800’s, as well as those who left rural China in the 1950’s in search of a better life in Canada.

Formally trained in biology, epidemiology, and geography to examine the geo-social determinants of health, her feminist activism began as a front-line anti-violence worker at a rape crisis centre and transition house in BC. Sarah continues her work as a member of the Asian Women for Equality Society – for which basic income remains a central campaign to help to end sexualized racism and achieve women’s equality and economic security.

Sarah, thanks for being here and for all your hard work over the past months.

Our panelists have prepared thoughts to share with you so let’s jump right in…

Closing.

Since it is 8:55 we are going to end now with a quick thank you and closing remarks before inviting you to join us downstairs.

Firstly, myself and the Asian Women for Equality Society would like to thank the panelists for your work, and your time, and your generous effort to come to Montreal to join us.

Dr Forget, Senator Pate, you were at the very top of our dream list when we began planning this event, and the warmth with which you received our invitation helped us believe in the possibility not only of pulling this event together, but in the actual goal of ending poverty, so thanks for your courage and example.

If folks are interested in getting to learn more please note, Dr Forget will speak at the Institute for Health and Social Policy tomorrow October 18th, at 10 am, there will even be a light lunch served! Information on attending can be found on the Facebook event for today’s panel.

We would also like to thank

  • Our community respondents
  • Those groups and and individuals who attended consultation meeting
  • The Institute for Health and Social Policy for helping us bring Evelyn here
  • Bliss and Sonia and the staff of Thomson House.

Our simultaneous interpreters:

Doris, Sophie, Peter

Our friend and artist collaborator, Maryanna Hardy who created the image for this event.

The 12 incredible humans who are volunteering here with us tonight at the door, on photography and video, and more.

Personally I’d like to thank Sarah Mah for her passionate and joyful and tireless work.

And lastly, and again, thank you for coming.

 

I want to send you off with a rallying cry. I want to arm you with a promise you can carry with you when you face the work of dismantling inequality. I hope you’ll remember we are with you.

 

These words by Leonard Cohen always give me courage:

 

Any system you contrive without us

will be brought down

We warned you before

and nothing that you built has stood

Hear it as you lean over you blueprint

Hear it as you roll up your sleeve

Hear it once again

Any system you contrive without us

will be brought down

You have your drugs

You have your guns

You have your Pyramids your Pentagons

With all your grass and bullets

you cannot hunt us any more

All that we disclose of ourselves forever

is this warning

Nothing that you built has stood

Any system you contrive without us

will be brought down.

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