U of A campus & Livestream • November 17–19, 2023
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Closing keynote

Labour Intensive: Putting People Back Into Populism


November 17, 2019 at 12:00pm - 1:30pm


Engineering Teaching & Learning Complex (ETLC), University of Alberta
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with Erika Shaker

Widespread public disillusionment resulting from inequality and austerity being inadequately addressed by governments has created a fertile recruiting ground for right-wing populist politicians and movements. It's no secret that the right has largely benefited from this surge. But there remains tremendous room for progressives to harness the potential of established community networks—including labour—and social programs in order to organize around a collective, collaborative, future-looking and justice-based vision. While labour intensive, it benefits from what we already have in our favour—the sheer number of people whose families depend on what we have already successfully organized for. And it’s rooted in the recognition that we deserve and can do better, especially for future generations.

Erika Shaker is director of education and outreach for the national office of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives in Ottawa. She researches, speaks, comments, and writes on a wide range of education-related issues from early childhood education, to K-12, to post-secondary. Areas of interest include corporatization, privatization and commercialism; standardization and authentic assessment; funding equity; intergenerational inequality; and community engagement. She also edits the popular education journal Our Schools/Our Selves, which has recently gone digital.