Community Versus Celebrity

Community Versus Celebrity
Posted on April 14, 2016 | Richard Haney, Ph.D. | Written on April 13, 2016
Letter type:


I grew up in the 1940s and ‘50s in the Roxbury ghetto community in Boston’s south end.  We were a blend of poor Irish and Italian immigrants, African Americans, and Jewish holocaust survivors.  Folks were out in the neighborhood and on front steps day and night.  It was a first-hand experience of true community.  The good people supported each other, and the whole community banded together to control troublesome people who were disrupting the neighborhood.  The police were on foot patrol

and consulted with people to keep the community safe. 

The extreme violence in Ferguson, San Bernadino, Belgium and Paris, etc. is a testament to the breakdown of community energy.

Forty years ago, when I came to Toronto, I organized and initiated Karma Co-op  and Inglenook Community High School

Both of these grass-roots communities have been incubating and generating multiple humanistic, environmental and educational organizations and projects ever since. Jane Jacobs, the famous urbanologist and author of the book, “The Death and Life of Great American Cities”, was one of the first members of Karma Co-op and she said, “What we need is a Karma-like co-operative in every neighborhood in North America”.    

In the last few decades, we have had a political system held hostage by super-wealthy celebrities like Justin Trudeau and Donald Trump. They are the diametric opposite of community!! 

They are not into fostering democracy and every policy they support benefits the upper classes and ignores the poor.

What we need is the potlatch economic system of the indigenous peoples of Canada.  That is, when a person becomes opulently wealthy, he or she must distribute most of their accumulated wealth to all members of the community.  Conversely, when a person becomes nearly destitute, other members of the community chip in to economically support them.  

When the first white European invaders came, they imprisoned indigenous peoples under the Potlatch Ban Law and banned wampum, a currency based on labour, not on wealth. The American “Pursuit of Happiness” has been supplanted by the pursuit of material wealth.  What is needed is a resurgence of tribal energy which is a holographic connection of all parts to the whole community.  The early Greeks called it Psyche.  It is cellular consciousness applied at the country-wide level. Each individual sees their fate and destiny inextricably interwoven with that of every other member of the community.

This article was written by:

Richard M. Haney, M.Ed., Ph.D. (Counselling and Mediation)

Richard has been practising Wholistic Counselling, Coaching, Hypnotherapy and Mediation for the past 25 years in Ottawa.     

Richard by phone: (613) 234-5678. By e-mail:




About The Author

Richard Haney's picture

Richard has been a Counsellor-Mediator-Hypnotherapist in Ottawa for over 30 years.  His favorite slogan is:  "Listening well is the most eloquent sign of caring."