Friday, October 12, 2012

The Harper Regime and the Road to Resistance

When the dark history of the Harper regime is finally written, historians will note that it took a very long time before many Canadians realized what was happening.

Before they finally understood  into what monstrous pit of moral depravity the deranged leader of the Con cult was dragging them.

As he slowly turned Canada into a brutish prison state. 

Incidents of federal prisoners slashing, burning, banging their heads and choking themselves behind bars have more than tripled in the last five years.

Sold them out to foreign interests.

Appallingly, the treaty would give Sinopec, one of the big Chinese backers of the Northern Gateway pipeline, the right to sue the government of British Columbia if it blocks the project. Sinopec could also demand that only Chinese labour and materials be used on the pipeline. Moreover the treaty gives Chinese state owned companies "the right to full protection and security from public opposition."

And prepared to go after medicare.

The Conservative government has been examining substantial changes to the $15.4-billion federal equalization program that could dramatically affect transfers sent to provinces and their ability to pay for programs and services.

Historians will also record that when most Canadians finally understood the terrible danger they were in, many did not know what to do. Except play the old politics, and hope that a divided opposition would defeat the Cons in the next election.

So I was glad to see someone like Allan Gregg indict the Cons for their Orwellian assault on reason.

Even a cursory examination of the most recent federal budget reveals that the 19,000 job cuts announced therein were not to be achieved across-the-board or through attrition, but were targeted very precisely at researchers, statisticians, scientists and other organizations who might use data to contradict a government which believed that evidence and rational compromise are not the tools of enlightened public policy, but barriers to the pursuit of an agenda based on ideology over reason.

But also call on Canadians to get off their asses, and do more to defeat Harper's sinister agenda: 

History has also shown that tyrants can have a truncated shelf life if the citizenry enters the public forum and, armed with facts, reasoned arguments, and thoughtful ideas, engages in a loud debate. In the case of those who would stand against reason, our silence will be perceived as consent. There’s too much at stake to be silent.

And I was also happy to see someone like Alex Himelfarb, who I respect  enormously, lament the state of our democracy.

We ought to be outraged. Just about every day our media provides a new account of the decline of our democracy: the inadequacies of our electoral system and allegations of electoral fraud; the high-handed treatment of our Parliament through inappropriate prorogations and overuse of omnibus legislation; a government ever more authoritarian and opaque, resistant to evidence and reason, and prepared to stifle dissent.

But also point to the Quebec student movement as a way to renew it.

Student leaders from Quebec have recently launched a cross-Canada tour to promote political activism, to help Canadians learn how to build social movements that offer a richer kind of democratic experience than provided by contemporary politics, but also to explain to those who feel disenfranchised why voting and political participation still matter. They understand the dangers of leaving any government to its own devices, unconstrained by a vigilant citizenry. These young Canadians seem to be looking for a new politics tuned into the voices in the community and on the streets and one that at least begins to offer some real engagement on the issues that matter – inequality and poverty, jobs and youth unemployment, climate change and environmental degradation.

Because needless to say I agree. 

We can't just look on helplessly as the Con regime pillages our country. We can't just rely on the old politics to save it. Only a mass movement of resistance can hope to slow down the Con agenda, and ensure that they are defeated in the next election.

For I also want historians to record that just when all seemed lost, the Canadian people awoke, and reclaimed their country.

I know it can happen. I'm working on it eh?

The Cons must be defeated.

A new movement is being born.

To resist is to exist.

And this is what victory looks like...

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  1. Anonymous6:00 AM

    I agree with everything you say but I've been to several protests in TO and saw groups of trouble makers infiltrate election fraud assembly with pot smoking in the open. There was a sit down strike on some other kind of moving the loiterers protest against the cops. The movement to fight the right is weak in the streets and muscled down by cop presence. Seedy slackers get the media eyeballs and write off the lefties as non productive. Globe allows JasonRoy trolls to slime legitimate debate. We've become factions of opposition easily dismissed as radicals, squeeky pests to the omnibus corporate elite. I have no idea how to undo a trade agreement with a corporation. We're screwed once we're economically invaded.

    1. hi anonymous...There are always going to be small groups of trouble makers, but the larger the number of other demonstrators the more marginalized the rowdies are. At least that was the experience in Quebec. In the beginning some of the usual suspects caused problems by breaking some windows and acting like idiots. But as the protests grew, and more people of all ages joined in, they faded away.
      I don't know what shape protests in the rest of Canada might take, because it's a distinct society too ;)
      But I do know we need to do something to stop this assault on our values, and that silence is not an option...

  2. I think that progressives have to internalize that our present political system (not vague utopias and not romantic street actions) is the best means we have for achieving genuine democracy. (Street protests have their place, but the place where tuition increases are cancelled and environmental regulations are made is in a legislature.)

    We have to learn to appreciate what we have (while acknowledging that reforms and improvements are needed) in order to get angry about what harper has done and to convince other Canadians how truly dangerous and anti-democratic he is.

    1. hi're right that in the end the question will be settled at the ballot box. But I don't see street protests as romantic, although they can be fun. I see them as a way of getting the otherwise disengaged into the political process, and the Quebec student movement was extremely disciplined, used more than just street protests to get their message out. There was a remarkable atelier called The School of the Red Mountain, that contributed mightily to that. And in the end they threw themselves into the election and helped defeat a Premier and his government. I'm not saying that we should simply copy what happened in Quebec, but we can learn some valuable lessons, and I find the apathy, the silence, the lack of outrage to be absolutely chilling...

  3. Anonymous9:10 PM

    I love your idealism Simon but do you really think what happened in Quebec could happen in the ROC? They seem like two different countries to me.

    1. hi anonymous...look I freely admit I am an idealist, and furthermore of the day dreaming kind too. ;) And trust me some of my friends mock me cruelly. But as I said to thwap, the Quebec movement was about harnessing idealism to a very disciplined protest. I wish our progressive parties would do more to organize a popular movement against the Cons. But if they won't lead then they can follow...

  4. hi Simon
    Elizabeth may trying to stop a bad deal with this
    i signed
    its a petition regarding a sell out of resources, a blindsiding deal from the harper

    article at the tyee
    Chairman Harper and the Chinese Sell-Out
    Who needs democracy? Secret treaty is a massive giveaway of Canadian resources and rights with no vote in Parliament.

    1. hi lungta...yes I saw that petition, and good for the green party. What I would like to see is a movement made up of people from all progressive parties. People could still support whatever party they wish, but we would all be together standing up for the kind of Canada we believe in. It certainly is a way to engage more young people, and in Quebec it brought together people of all ages, and that was a joy to see...

  5. Anonymous10:59 PM

    In a time of feeling desperation and panic, your writing helps me to stay focused on the goal of ridding Canada of this plague.You have a gift, and I feel fortunate to have found out about you.

  6. hi anonymous...thanks for your kind comment. But I only tell readers what I tell myself. I am horrified by what the Cons are doing to this country, but it just makes me want to defeat them all the more. We must always remember that we are more than them, and never give in to despair. If all I can do is cheer up progressives, and remind them how great our victory will be, then this little blog will be humming with joy, and I'll be
    more than satisfied... :)

  7. Anonymous4:03 AM

    Victory? Keep dreaming Simon, keep

    Looks like Justin is going to split the leftwing vote afterall.