Thursday, April 17, 2014

So What am I Doing?

Given all that I typed yesterday about how the left needs to start thinking about solutions and thinking big and thinking long-term and thinking major resources of time and energy, in order to TAKE power and SOLVE problems, ... what exactly am i doing?

Not to put too fine a point on it, but I'm doing nothing at the moment.

I thought i could give up my political pretensions altogether, after gradually winding things down. But not so far. So far I just can't seem to give it all up and resign myself to life as a helpless shlub with no autonomy and no agency. (Besides the autonomy and agency that some people have to be materialistic jerks.)

But, ... after spending years proposing "Workers as Citizens" and getting no feedback; while all the while NOTHING ELSE is being proposed, ... after contacting so many people and TRYING to contact so many more people who were nobodies like me but who claimed to be up for something, in order to deal with stephen harper's crimes against our democracy, and getting nothing, ... I admit to being a wee bit dispirited and tired. I spend a lot of time drinking and wasting time.

And, given my always present fear that I'm just a deluded crackpot, I also wait in hope for the powers-that-be amongst the lefty leadership, the progressive community in Canada, to propose a way out. Aside from that patriotic fellow walking from Victoria to Ottawa, and Lead Now's token petition and delivery of the petition, there's been nothing on that front. Nothing. The party we let get away with stealing an election is now proposing to codify their stealing and everything else and we are proposing pretty much NOTHING to stop them.

Which is why I sometimes think that I'm the sane one and everybody else is crazy. Every once in a while I'll read an outraged comment somewhere: "Time to revolt!" "We have to DO SOMETHING!" But it's all as vague and meaningless as the threats and boasts at that pathetic and pitiful protest I attended a few months ago.

Check out my attempts to elicit some sort of response to the harper/poilievre monstrosity at EnMasse recently. I decide to count each day that nothing is proposed either at EnMasse or from the Canadian left in general, and I ask why that is so. The trend of the conversation is that we're defeated. We're tired. It doesn't matter. Canadian democracy has always been a complete sham so who cares? Then it descended into an outburst of anti-Canadian regional animosities. And throughout it all, the poster "Al-Qabong" posted off-topic comments which were sometimes related to some on-topic thing that somebody else wrote, and sometimes he just introduced things randomly.

If anyone ever needs a lesson in how to get burned-out while doing nothing, just watch the left in action.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Nice n' slow see. That's the way to do it. Nice and slow.

So, you know, I'm 48 years old. I've been advocating for the parliamentary implementation of workplace democracy in every place of employment in Canada since the late-1990s. I've never believed that this would happen in one year's time. Or five year's time. But somewhere between five and ten years, I thought something like this would have a chance at being achieved.

You know, as opposed to tiny bands of anarchist fuckwads throwing rocks through windows at gatherings of world leaders or at other groups' demonstrations. Or as opposed to those other groups' afternoon rallies of boring or deluded speeches and pointless marches. Or as opposed to voting Liberal or Green or NDP and thinking that mitigating the myriad symptoms of the disease of capitalism is the best that one can hope for. Or writing cogent critiques of capitalism and imperialism to the already converted in the hopes of converting more people to sanity.

Back in the day, there was an international MOVEMENT of people for socialism. And, however fractious, deluded, whatever, they were, one thing they shared was a desire to TAKE POWER and thereby change the world. Nowadays, we shrink from power and this is a good thing because power corrupts. Yes, power corrupts. Very true. But somehow, leaving power in the hands of people who were corrupt to begin with, in a system that is corrupt to begin with, seems to me to be a greater danger than the corruptions of power on people motivated by higher principles to create a system that is not founded on corrupt principles (as, for example, putting profit over people) and which seeks to disperse concentrations of power.

Accompanying these blinkered notions of avoiding power and leaving it in the hands of the psychopaths, appears to be a vague delusion that by demonstrating, talking, writing, voting for lesser-evils, etc., ... we will create a groundswell of resistance to the system, and that all the people currently filling the parking lots of IKEA and Costco and Wal-Mart and etc., and all the people around the world, will, as one, arrive at the courage and the decision to say "NO!" to the system and shut it down in some glorious transformative moment.

I have no faith in that vision. Instead, I believed that we have a nominal representative democracy where every adult has the vote. Our system is corrupted by money. Wealthy individuals and corporations have much more money than does the majority. They use that money to influence parties, elections and governments. In the workplace they control our rights and freedoms, our incomes our access to incomes (and through their manipulation of politics) our access to livelihoods outside of their system of wage slavery. It's their way or the highway, so far as dissent goes.

But what if we realized that with one-person, one-vote, we could use our greater numbers to break that power? And not through any methods requiring authoritarian governments to dominate the corporations and expropriate the wealthy on our behalf. But through expanding the rights and the freedoms of the majority within their workplaces. There would be no wholesale plundering of the wealthy and destruction of the corporate entities that control our economies and our societies. But with democracy flowering within workplaces, the subsequent distribution of the rewards of work would be altered. The policies of the corporations would be changed. The use of collective resources to fund parasites and ideological whores such as the Fraser Institute and Ezra Levant and their ilk, would be, if not ended, then ameliorated by the collective decisions to fund other think-tanks and advocacy groups. People in their workplaces would have a say about shutting down their plants and relocating to some anti-union, exploitative country. They'd have a say as to whether some extra profit is more important than poisoning their communities.

This expansion of liberal values of human rights and freedoms does not require fostering a totally different  set of values in people. It does not ask people to take a leap of faith in the instant, sweeping transformation of our political-economic system into something, we can't describe for them. It takes the world as it is and asks of people that they only think about how greater power in their hands would transform it.

And, as I said, I did not see this happening overnight. But if a sizable group of leftists got behind it, and it, being the ONLY goddamned strategy for the proportionately necessary transformation of our society that I've seen in DECADES of searching, attracted widespread support among the Canadian left in general, then we would have an outside chance of influencing a political party like the NDP to support it. Say, after two years of widespread support, it would become as influential as the ideas of the Waffle within the NDP from the 1970s. That leftist group was crushed by "moderate" or "conservative" social democrats. But (and you wouldn't know it from the current, totally deluded NDP leadership) that form of social democracy has been completely discredited by their constant failures and retreats since 1980. Today, as the world begins to burn while the fossil-fuels industry prevaricates and corrupts, as the middle-class erodes under the forces of globalization, financialization and austerity, ... as the idiot-fringe of the right-wing becomes the norm in the sickness of late-capitalism, ... I think another year or two of rising awareness of the necessity for major change and the absence of alternatives will make the NDP and a dying labour movement realize that this plan is their last, best hope.

In the battle for the political realization of this project, it will be sure to come under attack. But that will only make it stronger. The basis of the attack will essentially be that the people are unfit to govern themselves. That workers at gas stations are incapable of scheduling their shifts and setting their wages when in the possession of their workplaces' financial numbers. That textile workers don't know how to make their products efficiently. That retail workers can't manage their own labour. That scientists can't manage their own labs. In fighting back against these criticisms, we would be amassing a body of knowledge and theory that would make the successful implementation of this policy all the more assured.

And, while this struggle had gotten to the level of frightening the elites in Canada, it would gain notice by progressive movements in other countries. We would then be able to think about a world where global capitalism in its race to the bottom of working conditions and wages and environmental regulations, becomes faced with people filled with the knowledge that stopping their inhuman, anti-environmental madness can be achieved (technically) through non-violent means. (Obviously, in many countries, the elites can and do crush far milder forms of popular revolt. Even in Canada, the right to peaceful protest is becoming null and void. But we are fighting for the possibilities of our system, not challenging the system itself. There is no legitimate argument within liberal representative democracy against this idea.)

I mean, what are we talking about here? A world where civilization is threatened by human-caused global warming and where power and wealth is skewed to the extent that the richest 100 people collectively have more wealth than the poorest three billion. The international law against aggressive war has been broken with impunity. Our governments claim the right to spy on us, to hold us without charges, to torture us, and, in the case of the great Hope n' Change bringer, Barack Obama, to assassinate us. Our problems are big. And big problems require big solutions. One of the left's problems is fear of imagination. Fear of thinking big. Fear of attempting a meta-narrative. Fear of acknowledging the enormity of the task in front of us. All these fears produce the ridiculously small, incremental, token "solutions" that "progressives" put forward (when they get around to putting anything forward).

My solution involves a campaign lasting a minimum of five years and anticipating ten years. What did Lead Now propose to counter the harpercons' election deformation act? Remember: Pierre Poilievre spent months and months crafting this piece-of-shit legislation and its roll-out to the Canadian public. Backbench harpercons were picked to humiliate themselves with bullshit stories of voter fraud. What does Lead Now respond with? A couple of weeks of gathering signatures on a petition and then organizing a day (in the afternoon, in the middle of the work week for fuck's sake!) to deliver them to a small number of Conservative MP's offices.

The election deformation act is much smaller than the problems I've been talking about. But it's a big problem and it's going to require a big effort to kill it. But aside from Lead Now's token protest, what else is out there? Alison at Creekside mentions the brave retiree Ted Musson, who is walking from Victoria BC to Ottawa (Ontario) to protest the 2011 election fraud. Which is inspiring and a much bigger investment than the whole delivering the petition thing. But, as she mentions, he's gotten little in the way of media attention.

The thing is, you have to think big to achieve big things. And you have to plan big. And you have to be able to implement big. In my post-mortem on my failed attempt to stir a mass-movement to defend the fundamentals of Canadian parliamentary democracy against harper's serial abuses against it,  that it would take months and months of large-scale, grassroots, door-to-door effort to even hope to build a citizens' movement big enough to take on the harpercons in any meaningful way.

Some things to consider:

1. Big problems require big efforts to build big solutions.
2. It takes time and extended campaigns to change entrenched realities.
3. The burn-out of organizers is a real problem, but one reason for the burn-out is their insistence on organizing pointless rallies and marches that don't accomplish anything.
4. The passionate people have to take the lead and actually promote SOMETHING TANGIBLE that will make people notice what they're doing and cause them to think about taking part in it. You can't just expect people to come out in the streets to wander around aimlessly while you tell them how shitty things are.

Is it the case that when people have heard my big ideas ("Workers as Citizens" "Redeeming Canadian Democracy") that they imagine I'm talking about something big happening in a month or two, and they reject that for being as unrealistic as it sounds? Or do they instead imagine that these big things will take some unimaginably long period of time to accomplish and their brains just shut down? Or, are they instead so wedded to the status-quo of a pointless parade and petitioning psychopaths that they simply can't process what I'm saying? Or am I just a deluded crank?

If I am a deluded crank, that doesn't change the fact that the rest of the left in Canada is demonstrably useless and impotent.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Lead Now's Petition

So, not too long ago, "Lead Now" delivered copies of a petition with 80,000 signatures protesting the "Fair Elections Act" to Conservative MPs. 80,000 signatures! In a country with millions of voters. Pathetic.

And, obviously, delivering those petitions to those cowardly harpercon scum hasn't dramatically realigned the balance-of-power in this country. This was a token demonstration. It wasn't really intended to change things was it? It was a pathetic way for what is essentially an NDP-backed group inform the ruling party that some people disagree with them. Well, guess what LeadNow? The harpercons already know that people disagree with them. They revel in that. They're true believers in their blinkered, imbecilic, incoherent worldview. These drooling idiots despise you. The lowest of them (the back-benchers) can't even register your disapproval. They can't see why anyone would disagree with the collection of insane ravings that constitutes their worldview. If their staffs thought about the pieces of paper that you handed to them, it was only for a few brief moments of incomprehension. The harpercon leadership on the other hand, ... they see your protests as the pathetic gasps of losers.

Somewhere, deep down in their animal natures, cretins like stephen harper and pierre poilievre grasp the nature of the disagreement against them. But they twist it up somehow. To sit one of these stupid fuckers down, Rob Ford, harper, Rumsfeld, Ezra Levant, ... and really find out how someone so bone-stupid can tie their shoes and wipe their ass and basically process reality, would be a real treat.

But one thing these monsters understand is power. They understand material reality. (To a degree.) To give them pause, to hurt them, you need power. And we don't have that.

I'd like to think that if the majority of Canadians could be made aware of how abominable it is that this party of scum is proposing this piece-of-shit legislation, that there would be riots in the streets. And that is what we need. Riots in the streets.

More later ...

Friday, April 11, 2014

Thoughts on the Passing of Jim Flaherty

I don't subscribe to the ludicrous notion that we must not speak ill of the dead. Tell you what; after I die, yeez kin say anything you want about me and I PROMISE I won't get mad.

The shameless hypocrites of the right-wing and such institutions as SUN Media will probably take this post as a sign of the burning, irrational hatred typical of the left, but they'll put "ROT IN HELL!!!" beside the picture of someone they don't like on the day of their death. I'm not going to say that about Jimbo Flaherty.

I'm simply going to say that I think he was a dangerously deluded simpleton whose policies hurt a lot of people. It seems, upon reading the eulogies, that he showed compassion for parents of disabled children. This, it is said, was a result of one of his children being disabled. And that, ladies and gentlemen, just goes to show the hypocrisy of right-wing ideologues. They pontificate that it's all about personal responsibility and bootstraps and blah, blah, blah, ... but when they personally experience a challenge, then it becomes a universal and then they understand, but everything outside their own personal experience, forget it. Maybe it isn't hypocrisy, but a marked incapacity for empathy. Which is why better people reject the slurry of ideas that comprise the right-wing worldview.

Finally, returning to hypocrisy, let us not forget that Jim Flaherty, always one of the leading players in two of the most disgusting governments this country has ever seen (the anti-democratic stephen harper and the thuggish Ontario government of Mike Harris), who played so willingly to the "tuff on crime" and "personal responsibility" themes, was a sincere and close friend of an animal like Rob Ford. And really people, the more you observe of Rob Ford, the more loathsome he becomes. Childish, vulgar, stupid, bullying, cowardly, cretinous, oafish, disgusting. It speaks volumes about the shortcomings of Flaherty that he saw something admirable in that misshapen psyche.

No my friends, I think about the single-mothers agonizing over how to pay the rent or heat the house or feed their kids as a result of Flaherty's cuts. I think about the unemployed by Flaherty's policies who were then faced with the loss of their employment insurance thanks to Flaherty's servicing of his Bay Street masters. I think of people dying in ambulances as the drivers tried to find an emergency room that could take them. I think about the sufferings and even the deaths caused by "Conservative" selfishness, incompetence and sheer stupidity. If I were a public figure, I would keep these thoughts to myself out of consideration for whoever his family is. But I'm not a public figure. I'm sure none of them will ever see this. And I simply can't restrain myself from speaking out against all this talk about people being moved to tears at his death and all these efforts to mitigate his appalling legacy.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Elections Canada Playing Us For Chumps

A few fine bloggers have already pointed this out but I'll link to Alison at Creekside (who, obviously is quoting other sources):
A national investigation into allegations of dirty political calls has been under way for more than a year. Elections Canada had planned to wrap up that investigation by March 31. On Thursday, spokeswoman Diane Benson declined to say whether it is ongoing.

The agency was expected to include information about that investigation in a “compliance and enforcement mechanisms” report to Parliament this spring.

Benson said the agency has decided not to report until after the next election.
“In light of the government’s announcement in the fall that it would introduce comprehensive legislative reform, Elections Canada decided to postpone the general enforcement report until after the next general election,” she said. “This was necessary not only to focus our attention and resources on the announced reform, but also of the difficulty of engaging stakeholders simultaneously on a parallel initiative.”
And another source saying:
An Elections Canada report on “compliance and enforcement mechanisms” that was scheduled for this spring has been postponed until after the 2015 election because of the introduction of the Conservatives’ election bill.

That report had been expected to include information on the national robocalls investigation. On Thursday, a spokesman for the agency would not say when any report on that investigation would be released.
Pardon me for asking a simple question, but isn't Elections Canada the agency that can get more resources for investigations, as necessary? Actually, I've got a lot of questions. Why is it necessary to put off reporting on a massive campaign of election fraud that was almost ready to be shared with the public in order to do some vague "focus" on a new piece of legislation? Do the same people who investigate election fraud also comment on new legislation? Isn't it Parliament's job to examine new legislation? Will Elections Canada have the power and independence to "report" on the 2011 election fraud campaign after this bullshit election reform legislation passes?

Allow me now to offer an opinion: This is just one more instance of Elections Canada playing us all for chumps. This investigation has been bullshit. This is how elite systems fake accountability to the rule of law. And they do this to dissipate popular anger and demands for real accountability. The fix is in ladies and gentlemen. What's worse, it seems very likely that the opposition parties with their bizarre inability to recognize the truth when it's staring them in the face, are either too stupid to help us or they're somehow in on this travesty.

Friday, April 4, 2014

An ONDP-led Coalition at Queen's Park

I'm no fan of Andrea Horwath's extreme right-turn for the party, but it is my opinion that the only reasonable outcome to the gas-plant scandal is an ONDP-led coalition between the ONDP and the OLP. The Ontario Liberals deserve to be punished for their revolting imitation of the harpercons' contempt of Parliament, but this should not be in the form of being replaced by the cretinous and (more importantly) equally contemptuous of democracy Ontario Progressive Conservatives led by Tim Hudak.

I doubt this will happen. We'll most likely get a Hudak minority or another Ontario Liberal minority. Either result will be depressing.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

This is what happens when you tolerate usurpers

george dubya bush stole the 2000 US presidential election. he also stole the 2004 election. Therefore, all his policies and all of his appointments are null and void. Alas, there's a scene in the film about Al Jazeera's reportage on the US invasion of Iraq where one fellow from that news agency said words to the effect of "Only the American people can stop the American people." And he had faith that the American voters would see through the lies and corruption of the politicians who started the war and turf them out.

Well, no. The American people put in Democrats to stop the war, but to no surprise to people on the left who follow these sorts of things, the Democrats betrayed any aspirations that the war could be ended through official politics. Then the Democrats won Congress and the Presidency and now progressives fixate on the stupidity of the Tea Party and make apologies for the murderous inclinations and slavish devotion to Wall Street oligarchs of Barack Obama.

And, as a result of tolerating these abominations, the American people find themselves faced with this:

With McCutcheon Ruling, An Activist Court Opts for Full-On Plutocracy

With the ruling in the McCutcheon case—where the court was actively encouraged to intervene on behalf of big-money politics by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky—a 5-4 court majority (signing on to various opinions) has ruled that caps on the total amount of money an individual donor can give to political candidates, parties and political action committees are unconstitutional. In so doing, says U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin, D-Wisconsin, says the court has further tipped the balance of power toward those who did not need any more influence over the affairs of state.

"It is far too often the case in Washington that powerful corporate interests, the wealthy, and the well-connected get to write the rules," says Baldwin, "and now the Supreme Court has given them more power to rule the ballot box by creating an uneven playing field where big money matters more than the voice of ordinary citizens.”

The think-tank Demos says the high court's ruling has "overturned nearly forty years of campaign finance law," which is certainly true. But the court has done much more than that. By going to the next extreme when it comes to questions of money in politics, the justices who make up the court's activist majority have opted for full-on plutocracy—and it is unimaginable that this week's ruling will be the last assault by the justices who make up that majority upon the underpinnings of democracy.
Ah! Uncontrolled money in politics! Naked plutocracy!

This is what happens when you tolerate usurpers.With no accountability, corporate criminals become even bolder. They become brazen. Democracy becomes more and more abused. What does this mean; "Democracy becomes more and more abused"? Democracy is rule by the people. When the people abdicate, then other forces rule in their stead. The more we show that we're unconcerned with ruling ourselves, the more non-democratic forces assert themselves.

Since the Canadian right-wing tends to import the latest right-wing US-American innovations generally after a two-year delay, we can look forward to the increased role of money in our increasingly debased electoral process. Then we can look forward to the bulk of Canadian progressives welcoming Justin Trudeau as our saviour, only to be disappointed as he retains all of harper's cuts to the welfare state and to environmental regulations, and maintains the Tar Sands and the surveillance state.

All this time, useless anarchist fuckwits will maintain that sitting at hoe and doing nothing is more "radical" than foolish engagement with the real world.