Monday, January 25, 2010

rally for canadian democracy

so of course, i'm very acutely aware of stephen harper's contempt for civil society. as prime minister, he has done deliberate and permanent damage to any (and all) progressive endeavours embedded within our civil service.

and i get that the man is dangerous. he's clever enough to have a coherent agenda and strategic enough to move it to implementation. so, on the surface i get the nation-wide anti-prorouge movement. it's not a question parliamentary tactics, it's about a movement to damage his credibility as prime minister.

okay, so i'm on board and i was thinking about about attending my local anti-prorouge demonstration that is, until a message from the organizers showed up in my facebook in-box. It read, in part,

Tomorrow we will re-affirm the belief that Democracy does not end at the ballot box. When our elected officials abuse their powers or become completely out of touch with the will of their constituents it is incumbent on we the people to hold them accountable.

and,

further, we would love to see you come out in red and white and/or bring your Canadian flags!

now, where to start? first off, the idea of hanging out with a bunch of folks dressed in red and white and flying canadian flags is abhorrent to me for purely aesthetic reasons. but, there's something else here that has my bile surreptitiously moving up to my thorax.

here it is. the most irritating kind of movement in western democracies: nationalist populist movements devoid of analysis.

and here's what i mean more explicitly. when "we the people" decide to hold politicians "accountable", i certainly hope that we're talking about more than their parliamentary trickery. as a starting point, i want to hear about public housing, i want to hear about poverty relief, i want to hear about the de-corporatization of our health and education systems. i want to hear about our nation-state's accountability in the exploitation of native people's here and the so-called third world abroad. i want a "we the people" movement that's talking about a little more than plush polar bears for all children at christmas time.

problem with a populist movement in canada? as you stretch out to find that lowest common denominator, you're hard pressed to say anything that actually addresses the structural underpinnings of what makes our society so fundamentally unjust.

of course, the democracy demo would really be rocking if they hucked some autographed lanny mcDonald pucks into the crowd and raffled off a ford pick-up truck at the end. that would be cool.

4 comments:

  1. If I ever go to a protest again, I will be wearing a bowl/helmet and a giant mustache just like Lanny wore back in 1989 when he won the cup for the first time of his career.
    Now, that was something.

    Other than that, well, I'm not much of a Ford guy.

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  2. do you really look good in red?

    no, not a ford guy. not even wayne gretzky could sell me a ford. (not tylenol or macdonald's either)

    but it funny the extent to which our society is addicted to corporate iconography. arguably, ford, mcdonald's and tylenol occupy a greater visibility in this country than a prime minister. or, somehow, we generally represents them all. . . . :-)

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  3. I would even dare to say that corporate iconography is much more of a staple of stability and reliability than everthing else in this country.
    It's just normal, they're everywhere, TV, radio, papers.

    What a load of crap.

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