The Movable Airport: Book Review

The Movable Airport
Sandra Budden and Joseph Ernst
Hakkert Publishers

Reviewed by Ulli Diemer

Hakkert Publishers, who have been doing their bit to change the world by publishing some useful books on fighting the powers that be (Marlborough Marathon: One Street Against a Developer; Fighting Back: Urban Renewal in Trefann Court) has come out with The Movable Airport, by Sandra Budden and Joseph Ernst, $3.95.

It’s a good record of the manoeuvring and bureaucratic runaround that went into the planning of the Pickering airport, and of the resistance that it produced. For those who can still be shocked by the actions of governments, it has shock value. For others, it is, as Hakkert calls it, a case study in community action.

On the negative side, there is a political naiveté running through the book that puts too much stress on ‘bad politicians’ and ‘bad planners’ and offers no perspective for shifting the balance of power so that events of the sorts described in the book don't keep on being repeated. It’s certainly useful to produce “cases studies of community action” but it would be good if the people involved in the ever-increasing number of ‘cases’ found ways of linking up to broaden their power and impact, and to produce a more positive approach to changing the balance of power in Canada. At present, the approach is very largely negative and defensive: a community doesn’t organize itself until it is attacked, by which time it may be too late, especially if it finds that the bureaucracy or the corporation mounting the assault has more power.

Published in The Varsity..

Keywords: AirportsCommunity Organizing