The World Economic Forum is not the most progressive organization in world history. They’ve been part of pushing a neoliberal privatization agenda on many poor countries for decades.
But they’re going through what appears to be at least a salon make-over. They’re talking about income inequality [thanks to the success of the Occupy Wall Street movement to help us see the 1% for who they are]. They’re now also talking about how awesome it is for Spain to start changing their street names so they don’t honour fascists anymore.
And hey. If Spain can do it, shouldn’t we put on our little DuckDuckGo research mittens and track down all the racists [etc.] in BC history whose names now adorn parks, schools and streets?
And really, is it really something that anyone is going to want to oppose?
Who do you know would say, “Hey, Japanese internment and residential school fan, Indian Agent and white supremacist A.W. Neill should still have a street and school named after him! Sure he was a racist, but he was also a mayor and MP! And John A. Macdonald was also a racist, concerned about protecting the Aryan character of the dominion,‘ but we still love him as a founding settler!”
Come on. Nope. And frankly, how do you have a conversation with someone who’s got this argument.
So as we pivot to a society that is post-patriarchal and beyond white supremacy, let’s be imaginative in coming up with new names for streets and schools. Can you imagine how incredible a community-building exercise this would be to purge a sick, racist name from a school and bring in the kids, parents, staff, neighbours [heck, everyone!] to have a conversation about a name that people could be proud of. A name that reflects a spirit of reconciliation, healing and building a productive, respectful, vibrant community that isn’t based on racism and hatred.
So, be inspired! Learn from Spain. They know what kind of risks lie in keeping fascists as street names. Is that a risk they want to take? Is it a risk British Columbians want to take, to keep having schools, parks, streets, etc. named after people who drag us back to our darker ages?
So watch this and enjoy the value that Spain is gifting us: