Wednesday, August 21, 2013

My Plan (Part the Second)

"Whaddaya mean 'Part the Second'??? Where's 'Part the First' ya dweeb! All I saw yesterday was another one of your pompous rants about how bad stephen harper is!"

Ah! Ye of little faith!

Isn't it the case that many of us, from time to time, remark that it's shameful that harper didn't even need to call out the troops to defend himself from an enraged citizenry when he violated the last election? Don't many of us say that we should rise up and do something about harper?

Well, what does that mean exactly?

You see, right after the Toronto Police Service gunned-down Sammy Yatin (shot him nine times and then tasered him while he was lying on the floor of a streetcar) somebody on facebook posted a link to some example of trigger-happy cops in the USA. One person remarked how the police in the USA are like fascist enforcers and another person said the same thing would happen here "unless we fix things."

I think I related this story before, but it bears repeating: I immediately asked the person who said that we had to fix things what he had meant by that. How would we do it? I got some confused reply about how he wasn't qualified to make suggestions. I said that of course he was; he was a citizen in a democracy. I said that I was pressing him on this because I've been listening to progressives blurt out such statements for years only to watch them do nothing. So, here we go: How did he propose that we, the people, fix the problem of out-of-control, unaccountable police?

I received some pathetic answer about how we post mindlessly on facebook, spread awareness of how shitty things are, and then, somehow, eventually, after some unstated point of social saturation has been reached, a public conversation occurs (initiated, presumably by other people besides himself) and that leads to proposed solutions.

I mention this person, not because he's remarkable, but because he's typical of the empty bluster of progressives.

My point is that if we want more than mere words to bring down harper and hold him accountable for his crimes, then WE are going to have to be the ones to propose how that is going to happen.

Very well then: How are WE going to bring down stephen harper?

We can't do it alone. "We" (the usual suspects who blog, or demonstrate, or write and sign petitions, write letters to newspapers, get RCMP files made about us, etc.,) are not numerous enough to take down the government. We need to get a sizable number of ordinary, generally apolitical Canadians onside.

How do we do that?

Well, one of the first things to remember about bringing down a government with claims to democratic legitimacy is that you have to expose its claims to legitimacy as a fraud. THAT is what Part One was about. Establishing for ourselves that our cause is justified. We have to believe this (I certainly do) before we can propose to other Canadians that they should join us.

So, what I typed yesterday was yet another attempt to argue that harper is indeed, illegitimate. Which is to say that he has no legitimacy. That he has no claims on our obedience. That he has no right to sit in Parliament and ram legislation through it.

He himself has no respect for the institution. Why should we respect him?

Today, I want to focus on the third reason why harper's rule is illegitimate and why he needs to be cast down (the first being his first abuse of prorogation to evade a vote of non-confidence, the second being his contempt of Parliament conviction): harper's assault on the principle of free and fair elections.

Understand this: I tried to make it clear at the time by stating explicitly that my position has NOTHING WHATSOEVER to do with my opposition to harper's stupid policies. I am to the left of the NDP. Virtually every government in my lifetime, at every level, has been a disappointment to me. I've personally opposed the Persian Gulf War, the Occupation of Afghanistan, the anti-inflation policies of the Bank of Canada, Mike Harris's labour laws, the Tar-Sands, the security certificates, our treatment of the First Nations, etc, etc., etc.. If harper was just another politician implementing legislation that I hated, I would NOT be saying this.

What harper is, is a politician implementing hateful legislation WHEN HE HAS NO RIGHT TO DO SO.

(Even when I said this over and over again, people have tried to say that I'm a sore loser who endangers democracy by proposing a rebellion against a government I disagree with.)

So, finally, the unnecessary third spike in the heart of the vampire of stephen harper's claims to authority - his assault on the principle of free and fair elections.

Those of us who criticize the limitations of capitalist representative democracy often say that it's depressing that we only get to choose from between a narrow spectrum of elite politicians every four or five years and then we're supposed to go home, shut-up and let them rule us in the meantime.

harper would deny us even that.

Look at the abomination of the US political system, especially its electoral system. Enormous barriers prevent the existence of third-parties in the USA. Having (as we do) a first-past-the-post voting system, the battle is between two wings of the right-wing business party. Gerrymandering has produced a system where it is very difficult to unseat incumbents. Election finance laws are lax enough so that these incumbents can be wined and dined at posh locations by their puppet-masters, and everything is charged to their "Political Action Committees" which are actually funded by the puppet-masters. Thanks to an infamous ruling by their Supreme Court ("Citizens United"), billionaires and other assorted scum-bags can donate unlimited amounts of money to buy elections. State governors are allowed to run shamelessly partisan, biased elections favouring their own parties. Citizens' right to vote can be curtailed by private-sector mercenaries empowered to strike unfriendly demographic groups off the voter rolls. Registering to vote is menaced by fraudsters who throw registration forms in the garbage. And the final votes themselves are corrupted by voting machines that are rigged among other abominations.

The entire US political system is hopeless and a revolution is needed in that country. Nothing short of that will fix anything.

Here in Canada, the harpercon party has done everything in its power to import these sleazy methods. They use their publicly funded fliers to trash their opponents. They get donations from "ordinary Canadians" that are actually donations from friendly corporations and wealthy individuals. They violate election financing laws via schemes like the "in-and-out scandal," and that is only when they were getting warmed-up.

In the 2011 federal election, which was called after the opposition parties found them guilty of contempt of Parliament, the harpercons went all-out. Using a highly detailed database, the harpercons targeted opposition supporters with harassing phone calls, purportedly from the opposition candidates' campaigns, insulting and annoying voters at all hours of the day and night, in order to dissuade them from voting for them. Assholes like Michael Sona and Ted Opitz would show up at advanced polling stations or at polling stations in tradtionally opposition-friendly areas and disrupt the proceedings by bellowing about voter fraud and other imaginary crimes. These bogus concerns were only meant to delay things and prevent people from voting against them. Infamously, the harpercons paid communications firms to live-call unfriendly voters on election day and masquerading as Elections Canada officials, to tell them (falsely) that their polling locations had been moved to distant, inconvenient locations, all to SUPPRESS THE VOTE.

It turns out that the integrity of Canada's electoral process is very, very weak. I've worked for Elections Canada in the past and I've been a scrutineer for the NDP. The polls that I worked on or scrutinized were fine. But when harpercon scum-bag Ted Opitz won against the Liberal incumbent, Boris Wrzesnewskyj (in a dirty, hate-filled campaign) by only 26 votes, the dumbkoff person in charge signed-off on an election riddled with omissions and errors. Wrzesnewskyj appealed and a federal court judge (looking at only a fraction of the polls in the riding) found dozens of cases of votes that couldn't be accounted for. He overturned the election. Opitz appealed to the Supreme Court.

Disgustingly, the party of Michael Sona and Ted Opitz, who did all they could to shriek about voting irregularities in order to disrupt polling locations in areas unfriendly to them, now adopted the tactic of mewling about how it would be "unfair" to cancel votes for which no paperwork can be found to support them. Having ballot boxes stuffed with more ballots than there are names on the voters list isn't a problem for them, at least when those stuffed ballot boxes worked in their favour. And, even more sickening, a CORRUPT majority on the Supreme Court agreed with them.

I've already gone through my condemnation of that ruling here. This is taking too long.

Again, my point of rehashing these crimes is because a lot of progressives shoot their mouths off about how we should be out in the streets against harper. But none of them proposed anything.

I proposed that we progressives who believe that harper is a menace to democracy, go door-to-door, handing out fliers, grassroots communication campaign, informing people that we wanted to bring down harper, arguing our case and gauging our level of support. I'll go into the details of the actual tactics to have been employed tomorrow. But the thing is; if you're going to confront people you don't know and ask for their help to bring down the government, you have to be SURE that that's what you really want to do. If you want to be a genuine rebel, you have to accept the reality that the system you're rebelling against will defend itself and you have placed yourself outside the protections accorded to ordinary citizens. You are an outlaw. In the case of this campaign, I wanted to make it clear that this was (as I've said elsewhere) a "constitutional insurgency."  This is about standing-up for the integrity of our system so that we can improve upon it.

I would have thought that fighting back against the deliberate abuse and corruption of what semi-democracy we have as Canadians would be a winning platform. If people honestly believed what I (and most of my readers) believe about what harper has done, then it should be no problem going out and speaking to others. More than that, if things are as I have portrayed them in my last two posts, it was imperative that we do so. Otherwise these wounds to our democracy will only fester.

But big-time journalist critics of harper wouldn't answer my email. A retired journalist who made a lot of noise about how something needed to be done, whined that in reality, he was too busy to do anything (including reading about my proposal). Heads of progressive citizens' groups wouldn't. Facebook groups of nobodies (of whom I was a member) wouldn't answer my calls for meetings. Campus meetings went unattended (even by the campus groups sponsoring the event). I got five people from a Hamilton citizens' group of 40 interested in further discussion but then when it came time to organize further talks to broader groups, things fizzled. Another talk in Toronto was hijacked by some pompous old blowhard who I should have told to shut-up.

And, in the meantime, while I was trying desperately to get a hearing, what were the big progressive organizations doing?


What had they proposed to defend our democracy and bring down harper?



And so we have omnibus bills that eviscerate our environmental protections and unilaterally abrogate the treaty rights of our First Nations and we all do NOTHING.

So excuse me when I get a little cynical and a little sick inside when I hear some progressive variant of "Organize! Educate! Resist!" or "Hey-hey! Ho-ho! Stephen Harper has got to go!"

It's all bullshit. We do not deserve the level of democracy we have. We either don't appreciate it or we're too timid or apathetic or deluded to bestir ourselves to fight for it.


Anonymous said...

Incredibly well put, Thwap. I lived in the u.s. for over 40 years and you have nailed their "electoral" system perfectly.
The unfortunate answer to some of your queries is a simple one. . .
It isn't bad enough here yet.
If/when it is, Canadians MIGHT actually try to do something. I truly believe that we will still stay apathetic and bovine and, as you say, whine on our blogs, yell about what a rotten bitch harper is and wander around banging on our little pots while wearing little rags of red (et al) and getting nothing of consequence accomplished, as usual.

thwap said...

Thanks Anonymous,

I think you're right about the future non-response of Canadians to a drop in the conditions of freedom and living standards.

People need something to shake them, really shake them, all at once. And even then, the responses can be dazed confusion instead of being galvanized (belatedly) into action.