Preface: I thought of the idea of the article “Why the 1% Keep Kicking Our 99% Butts” over 6 months ago, but I put it off for a long time – at the time I knew the subject matter would be bleak and depressing. It seemed, at the time, that the Wealthy would continue to take more and more of national wealth, while the 99% would continue to be ignorant of what is going on with our politics. However, a lot has changed in the last 6 months so I happily write this article.
I have long wondered why it was that Canadians don’t get involved in politics. It is very easy to see why it would be that Canadians would have little to no interest in Party Politics, it is nasty stuff full of warring words, backbiting, lying etc. It has likely been so since Greek Democracy became corrupted, and since North American Native Councils have been destroyed. Certainly it was so in the times of Mark Twain who quipped “I have learned how to tell when a politician was lying – every time he opens his mouth”.
While it is true that Party Politics is nasty, it is more likely that Canadians have disengaged from politics because politicians have acted like they own our democracy, acting like this is a dictatorship, while never consulting with their bosses, collectively, the Canadian voters. Nor do we get a say after we are asked for our vote (we need to fight for the Canadian people to be sovereign). And is still downhill from there. A former Liberal MP has gone so far as to remark that some politicians make it a point of ostracizing voters. In his article “Preserving Neglect”, Glen Pearson quoted a Cabinet Minister as saying, “The secret to acquiring power is not to win their vote but to turn them off altogether so that voting isn’t really an option for them – it’s easier to accomplish than winning them. With the absence of those votes, it then becomes a battle of who can get out the most partisans for their party. Those same ads that turn off more tolerant folks fan the flames for our base. They come out in greater numbers and we win.”(end of quote) Doesn’t the Conservative employee that antagonized Liberal and NDP voters, and directed them to wrong polling stations prove the idea that they all cannot be trusted.
But, in spite of this, we see Canadians are becoming engaged, and the next obstacle is for Canadian to learn about the issues, and then how they can do something about the way things are.
We had the marvelous Quebec Student Strike where there were several marches that brought out about a quarter million people to the streets, and the strike persisted for more than a month. It began with a vested interest in the issue of lower student tuition and the marches grew when the then Quebec Liberal Government made protesting illegal. When the laws were enacted making the protests themselves illegal, mothers, fathers, sisters and brothers of students, and friend joined them to condemn the legislation. It all accumulated to bring down the Liberal Government in Quebec.
Although the Occupy Movement seemed dead, individual Occupy members have continued to be engaged and integrated into other groups, strengthening their numbers, and being a force of resolve in those groups. Occupy itself became an educational instrument and a breeding ground for ideas most of the occupiers had never been exposed to previously.
Idle No More has become a coming of age movement for the Native peoples of Canada, and a point of engagement, it was and is also a source of healing, connecting many aboriginal youth back to the tradition of the drum and to dance. Much self esteem has been garnered by their demand for a say in their lives and for many individuals it has become a turning point of their confidence and self esteem.
Who hasn’t heard of the escapades of Rob Ford. Even in BC they have an opinion on Rob Ford. Interest was peeked and sustained for months. What it is is political engagement?
The Senate Scandal has not gone away since it began in late 2012, and the upper chamber has been the topic of discussion since it began.
As I write, vets are angry over the closure of service centres that help them with their specific problems and also over the way Julian Fantino has treated them. We have yet to see where this issues take us.
I could add that there are ongoing actions against proposed dumps, hydro towers, gravel pits and windmills. I myself got involved in an action against a proposed dump, that would not have effected me, but that would have impacted my area, so I pitched in to give them a hand. The dump was cancelled because there was enough community effort.
The reason I added all these issues is so no one that has taken part in any of these actions would feel left out, but it is also to make a point, that there are many triggers that cause action.
The question arises, why are there not more people getting involved in these actions. I hope that my readers will leave comments on this because it is a question that I have been struggling to understand for many years, and one that is vital to understand so we can increase engagement. Some day there is going to have to be a massive action by massive numbers of people to tell our politicians to listen to us, the 99%, and to stop pandering to the agenda that the 1% dictates to them. I cannot see change happening through the election process. Too many people are still married to the Party System and will continue to vote for candidates from parties; not ever consider voting for Independents.
Here is the kind of thing that sticking with Parties gets you. Mulroney brought in Free Trade so you, if you were opposed to Free Trade voted for, or perhaps campaigned hard for Jean Chretien because Jean said that he would get rid of the GST and renegotiate the Free Trade Deal with the USA. We found out later that Chretien not only did not get rid of the GST but he later went on to introduce the hated hybrid HST. Also, Chretien did not renegotiate the NAFTA agreement as he said he would do, rather, he went on to negotiating several other trade deals that he neglected to mention in that election. So, where did getting rid of one dictator get us, we got another one and his Party, and they got a chance to fill their pockets, AND we continued down the 1% road (we got suckered into several 1% objectives that made the 1% huge money. Now we have the chance to get rid of Harper, and the electorate will likely vote for the low substance Trudeau with charisma, who will in the future vote for the China trade deal, and the expansion of tar sands development, etc, etc. Sounds 1% Rd. to me.
So to get people into the streets it will take a trigger issue. And of course it has to be big to get people into the streets, and to win that means that people have to stay in the streets for some time. And we have to consider the fact that it takes commitment, and sacrifice of time, and a sacrifice of money if you march instead of work, so the result has to be worth the sacrifice of the lack of money, when money is so tight. Can you see the importance of the inequality of wages, or rather, keeping the People poor; it makes it harder and harder for the People to go to the streets. Or so they think, because it will be that people don’t have money that will get the people to the streets. That is what took the Greeks to the street, and the Spanish. Freedoms just another word for nothing left to lose, say the lyrics of Bobby McGee.
Where Greeks etc. lost out was that they knew their objective (to stop Austerity), but they didn’t know enough about their democracy, or the issues to know what they wanted for solutions to push their movement forward. If you are uninformed as a group, your leader will placate your group with the smallest of concessions that you will accept. The government leader does not suffer from a lack of understanding so you will be bamboozled.
In Greece the crowds’ anger was a mile wide, but their knowledge was only an inch deep. When you go to the street it is not a time for the learning curve, because only an informed people can navigate through protests to a victory beyond the piecemeal that the intelligent rulers offer the political illiterate. That is why I have been writing my articles and posting them to inform, to educate the public about the issues, so that the issues become part of their bones. And if we are ever to become victorious in getting real democracy in Canada, and not the 1% inspired policy we need to get a foot deep of information into the public. That is why I am almost tempted to beg people to send my articles to friends and family. My first 20 or so articles are the bare bones of what democracy is all about. If a person reads and understands those 20 articles they will understand most of what they need to know about democracy ( look for for the articles that have a number at the end of their title). Also, to win, the public has to learn about the Bank of Canada financing the Canadian Government again. It will secure Canadian personal financial issues.
I understand that my articles are long, and there aren’t too many readers any more. The young people (generally) read short blurbs on their I phones and that is it. You readers that read my articles have to disseminate ideas into the public, at the water cooler, and at the dinner table to help others to learn, here a little, there a little.
To my readers, I praise you. You are the leaders of ideas that, if we have a peaceful revolution, it will be of your making.
By way of more learning: A wonderful blog by Glen Pearson on the Conservatives shows how the Conservative Government is actively trying to disengage the public.