Gentrification and the Creative Economy in a “Pacified” Rio de Janeiro Favela


FEBRUARY 4, 2016
BURRITOVILLE: 2055 BISHOP, 6:30-8:30 p.m.

Rio de Janeiro is in the midst of a dramatic transformation as part of a mega-event led strategy of urban development, centered on the recent soccer World Cup and the upcoming 2016 summer Olympics. The business of the games is highly dependent on a policy of favela pacification, where military occupation displaces drug gangs and among other things opens housing markets to wealthier outsiders, displacing long-time residents. In the beach-side favela of Vidigal, North American style residential gentrification appears to be well underway.

The community has long had a vocation for the arts, and artists seem to be leading the way in the class transformation of the neighborhood, as middle-class Brazilians and foreigners move in to this once stigmatized neighborhood to take advantage of an arts scene, an emerging cultural economy and stunning views at a discount. While there is much talk of displacement and exclusion, a minority of native Vidigal residents have been able to take advantage of the new opportunities offered by pacification. Through a series of interviews with Vidigal residents James addresses the question of who wins, who loses and why. How does residential gentrification led by artists and bohemians (facilitated by military occupation) look in a Brazilian context and what can it add to our understanding of gentrification?

Introduction: Erik Chevrier
Main Speaker: James Freeman


“High Finance, Banks and the Price of Austerity”


When the banking sector is in trouble billions can be mobilized rapidly for support.  When social programs and infrastructure is in trouble, years of planning and wrangling are necessary to put scaled back plans in place.  Today, government austerity with balanced budgets is the dominant narrative across the political spectrum.  Meanwhile, the banks and mutual funds that hold government debt are desperate for more.  They can’t get enough of it.  Learn how there can be such a disconnect between political messaging and economic reality.

Moderator: Erik Chevrier
Speaker:  David Macdonald


David joined the CCPA as its Senior Ottawa Economist in 2011, although he has been a long time contributor as a research associate.  Since 2008, he has coordinated the Alternative Federal Budget, which takes a fresh look at the federal budget from a progressive perspective. David has also written on a variety of topics, from Canada’s real estate bubble to Aboriginal income inequality, and he is a regular media commentator on national policy issues.

Thursday, December 3, 2015  l 1455 De Maisonneuve Blvd, Hall Building 7th Floor Lounge l 5-7PM


“Austerity is a political choice not an economic necessity”


An introduction to the ideology of austerity, the negative effects it is having on our education, health and family services, as well as the importance of build a mass movement of resistance this Fall.

Erik Chevrier will give an introduction to the speaker series by discussing various issues with austerity. His talk will focus on the political nature of economics by showing that austerity is merely a buzzword; while politicians claim that there is no money for public services, they continue to spend money in the in the private sector. Increasingly, our public resources (tax dollars) are being shifted towards private corporations and financial institutions.

Roger Rashi, a long time social and political activist from Montreal will discuss how austerity is a political choice not an economic necessity!

Introduction: Erik Chevrier
Main Speaker: Roger Rashi


“United we are stronger”


Students, professors and staff are invited to participate in a discussion about how we can all work together to protect our social services. Austerity measures have affected everyone at Concordia. We need to say enough is enough!

Students have already begun to pass strike mandates – SCPA will be on strike on the day of the panel. We should all discuss how we can support each other in our fight against austerity. United we are stronger!

Moderator: Erik Chevrier


“Let’s prioritize economic growth in the public sector. People before profits!”


If you missed this event, please see the video interview

Introduction: Erik Chevrier
Main Speaker: Erika Shaker

Join us for an evening with Erika Shaker! Erika Shaker is Education Director at the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, Canada’s leading independent progressive think tank. She has written and spoken extensively on a variety of issues including: social justice education, standardized testing, tuition fees, and privatization. Erika edits the CCPA’s quarterly journal on education, “Our Schools / Our Selves,” and also blogs at

Erika and the CCPA recently released the document ‘What’s the Difference?’ which looks at the ways tuition has changed across Canada since 1993, anticipated upcoming changes, and ranks the costs of education across the country.

“The study finds that, on average, tuition and compulsory fees for Canadian undergraduate students have tripled between 1993-94 and 2015-16 and will continue to rise over the next four years, from $6,971 this fall to an estimated $7,590 in 2018-19.”

Erika is coming to Concordia to talk about the effects of austerity on our education system and how it is affecting us. She has a well of knowledge to share with students, faculity, union members, and administration that can help us all to better understand the direct affects cuts are having on us, the ways in which these cuts disproportionately affect women, people of colour, and low income individuals and families.

Bring yourself and bring your friends, this is a talk you won’t want to miss!

Afterwards we will be hosting an eat and greet, where we can come together to discuss, mobilize, network, organize, decompress, and celebrate the company of our newly forming links of solidarity on campus!




Come learn about the underlying connection between austerity, patriarchy and colonisation. Lee Maracle, an activist in the Aboriginal struggle against racism, sexism and economic oppression will explore these topics, and sheed light on the intersectionality of these struggles.

Moderator: Erik Chevrier
Main Speaker: Lee Maracle

Thursday, November 5, 2015 l 1450 Guy, MB-1.210 l 7-9pm


“Learning from the experiences of Concordia activists”


Concordia is a breeding ground for activism. From the computer riots to the to G20 organizers, activism has been a big part of the Concordia community. Each panelist will tell a 5 minute story of an activist venture that they took part in while they were at Concordia.

Moderator: Erik Chevrier
Speakers: Yves Engler,  Alex Matak, David Bernans, Robert Green, Rodney John, Laith Marouf

Thursday, November 19, 2015 l Hall Building 7th Floor Lounge l 5-7PM


Laith Marouf is half Palestinian-half Syrian and has been active on Palestinian and Indigenous rights in Canada for over 15 years. He served as the National Coordinator of SPHR from 2006-10 and was part of a group of students who shutdown a scheduled speech by Israeli PM Netanyahu at Concordia University in Montreal 2002. Laith is also an award winning multimedia consultant and producer who currently serves as the coordinator of Independent Community Television – Montreal, a project to secure a multilingual community television license. He also works as a consultant with the Community Media Advocacy Centre concentrating on aiding Indigenous communities develop and sustain their own broadcasting projects. Laith worked as the Executive Director of Community University Television (CUTV) and developed its Quebec Spring live broadcasts embedded within the movement (2010-13). He served as the Equity Officer and Board Member for Quebec at the NCRA (2009-11). Laith launched and hosted “Under the Olive Tree” the Palestinian community radio show airing on CKUT 90.3 FM in Montreal and CFRC 101.9 FM in Kingston (2005-10).

Robert Green is a former CSU president (’99-’01). He currently teaches Social Sciences at Westmount High and blogs at

Dr. David Bernans (PhD York University, 1998) is currently the vice-president of the Syndicat des professionnelles et professionnels du gouvernement du Québec (SPGQ), a union that represents 25,500 professionals that work for the Québec government and Québec’s parapublic bodies. David was an active member of the Concordia community for years, working as a part-time faculty member in the Political Science department, a researcher and archivist for the Concordia Student Union, and a translator for the Education department. David served as the President of the Concordia Graduate Students’ Association and he helped start two unions on Concordia’s campus, CUPE 4512 and TRAC. He is the author of Con U Inc.: Privatization, Marketization and Globalization at Concordia University (and Beyond) (Concordia Student Union, 2001) and North of 9/11 (Cumulus Press, 2006).

Yves Engler has been dubbed “Canada’s version of Noam Chomsky” (Georgia Straight), “one of the most important voices on the Canadian Left today” (Briarpatch), “in the mould of I. F. Stone” (Globe and Mail), “part of that rare but growing group of social critics unafraid to confront Canada’s self-satisfied myths” (Quill & Quire) , “ever-insightful” (, “Chomsky-styled iconoclast” (Counterpunch) and a “Leftist gadfly” (Ottawa Citizen), Yves Engler’s published eight books.

Alex Matak is an activist and nerd who was deeply embedded in the 2011-2012 student strike. A graduate from the Geography, she helped this department become the 3rd department on strike at Concordia, and the only one to successfully shut down all classroom activity for 8 consecutive weeks. Alex was also part of a lot of other sneaky organizing during the strike that she would love to tell you about, now that all academic charges for such activity are far behind her! She is passionate about shining light on structures of power, especially within her own beloved circles of resistance, and working to flatten them. Alex wrote her honours thesis on the student strike, and turned it into the slightly less academic-y zine “What Kind Of Allies Are These?: reflections on power and politics within the 2012 student strike at Concordia University”.

Rodney John was active during the 1960s computer riots at Concordia. Born in St Vincent W. He attended Boys Grammar School on a scholarship. Upon graduation, he taught mathematics at two different high schools, before going to Montreal and enrolling at Sir George Williams University to study Biology in 1965 .He was involved in the student uprising over the course of the 68-69 academic year and consequently did not complete the year. In 1970, he returned to SGUW and completed the BSc degree. In 1972, he began graduate studies in Psychology and completed a PhD in clinical psychology in 1980. Until 1993, he worked as a psychologist in Montreal before leaving for Toronto, where he worked as a consultant with victims of motor vehicle accidents. He then completed a BEd at OISE (UofT) in 1998, as well as Certificate in Dispute Resolution at York University in 1999, and an LLM in Dispute Resolution at York in 2002. From 1993 onward he worked in teaching psychology, and mediation (principally as a family mediator), before retiring 6 years ago .These days, he pursues the art of Tai Chi Chuan.

A speaker series to address the negative consequences of austerity in Quebec, Canada, and the world at large.