For the past several years, we have been justifiably looking out and beyond the city we originate from—-Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Our self-imposed mandate has been to look beyond borders and fences and peep into cultural worlds that surround us in the entire world, but which at the same time affect us deeply in our lives here in the city. Recently, one of our editors suggested that we look inward into our own city and retrace its recent history, its art and culture, its community organizations, its organizers, its environmental issues and also issues of democracy and governance. Who makes up Montreal, how are the views of Montrealers reflected in the way we are governed and is a changing demography reflected in changing representation? What determines the culture of this city and how is past political history remembered? How is future governance and grass roots democracy contemplated?
We have a rather spectacular issue in place this time with contributions from Sam Boskey, former Councilor from the borough of N-D-G, who played a leading progressive role in city politics during the MCM days; from Dimitri Roussopoulos, leading Montreal grass roots democracy activist, environmentalist and founder of Black Rose Books who has just returned from the World Social Forum; from Patrick Barnard, long time Montreal environmental activist, who has fought ardently for green space in this city and Serai editor as well; from Patrick Bolland, long time social activist, who has campaigned against the use of tasers by the city police and is a researcher with the “ coalition pour la retraite du Taser”; from Shubhobroto Ghosh, freelancer in New Delhi, comes an article on Summary Justice and from Sujata Dey, who has been active in city politics and is a well-known figure in the “multicultural’ borough of Cotes-des Neiges, on community organizing; from Sylvia Goldfarb, poet and freelancer on Prison Politics in Canada today, and then there is an extraordinary collection of photo montages by Mathew Soule, a time-lapse display of a few North American cities by Quebec City photographer Dominic Boudreault including an accompanying interview; essays on the city and a book review by Maya Khankhoje, poems by Montreal poet and writer Louise Carson and others. Enjoy this city’s rich history, spectacular vistas, dynamic political and cultural past, her ugly scars, as well as her vibrant aspirations!