Thursday, August 22, 2013

My Plan (Part the Third)

In the first and second parts of this series, I wrote about why something as radical as a constitutional insurgency was required in response to the actions of stephen harper. I am talking about putting into actions, the notion that we should be "in the streets" to "do something" about stephen harper's abuses of democracy. This system (as compromised as it is) is OUR system and it is therefore up to US to do something about it.

So, harper's CONTEMPT for Parliament, his human rights abuses, his unilateral abrogation of sworn treaties, and his violations of election laws, all make him a demonstrated enemy of democracy; a menace to democracy.

Do we believe this or do we not?

If we do, then we MUST bring him down. But, as I said, we - the usual suspects - aren't numerous enough to accomplish this on our own. We have to mobilize more people among the general citizenry to join us.

Bring down the government???? Like a violent insurrection???


Through peaceful tactics (to be described later) this movement would force harper to resign, attempt to force some sort of one-time electoral agreement amongst the opposition parties (the not-contemptuous-of-Parliament parties), and have a national election fought on the principle of respect for our democracy.

How do we do that? How do we get enough people to make this achievable?

I am not going to slag "the media" for not having alerted Canadians to the problem. Lawrence Martin, Tim Harper, Carol Goar, Linda McQuaig; numerous Canadian journalists and pundits (including Andrew Coyne) have reported or commented on stephen harper's dangerous assaults on our democracy, in no uncertain terms. The problems though are that 1) Most Canadians don't read newspapers, 2) These writers tend not to offer solutions or suggestions as to how we should respond to harper, and 3) The newspapers they work for all supported harper and continue to report and write about him as if he's a legitimate political figure to be treated as any other politician, no better, no worse. 

Television news is probably worse. I simply do not watch television news (unless clips are put before me by friends) so I can't say for television. I'm reasonably sure though, that the systematic outlines of harper's threat to our democracy are few and far between though.

So, we have to go directly to our fellow Canadians to bring our case to them.

How do we do that?

My plan was that I would give some talks. At each talk, I would get maybe five people (maybe one person) to agree with me. They would help me organize other talks to other groups. When I had 25-50 people, we would then pick a neighbourhood in the city we were operating in, and divide it up amongst us, handing out fliers and, when possible, providing a very stripped-down version of the case against stephen harper that I've provided here. (Two people would work a street together to provide moral support.) We would then ask questions to gauge the level of support for an initiative to force the harper government the harper government to resign and call a new election fought on the question of respect for our democratic traditions.

Do you agree that we are justified in calling for harper to resign? Yes or No?

If "Yes," would you be prepared to say so in a petition or to a polling firm?

Would you be able to host an event where these ideas were presented in more detail to a larger group of family/friends, co-workers, members of a group you belong to?

Would you be willing to donate money or time to help spread awareness of our initiative?

Would you be willing to take part in the actual campaign to force harper to resign?

My belief was that this would be a long, painful process. I believed that it would take at least six months to spread awareness of this initiative. That actually sounds like a short time, but I believed that if, say, in Toronto, there were 150 activists going door-to-door, and giving lectures about harper's danger to democracy and a genuine, non-internet-bullshit-activism effort to actually DO SOMETHING about it, that it would start to be reported on and people across Canada would start to become inspired to get started on something like it themselves.

That is where the internet would come in. There would be a website outlining the entire initiative and a discussion board for (among other things) strategizing and organizing.

I imagined a snowball effect where a first few difficult months would slowly build awareness that would inspire others to action.

Here's a good question though: Why on earth should we believe that harper would ever have tolerated this? Aren't we talking about something that could be arguably called "treason" and therefore punished?

My main argument against that is that in this stage of the initiative, all we are doing is TALKING about getting the people to force the government to resign and call a new election. Now, would this be a conspiracy to commit a criminal act? I don't think so. Remember, I said this was a "constitutional insurgency." We aren't talking about tearing down the system. We're talking about defending the system. I honestly believe that our best chances of achieving anything tangible as progressives is through active participation in the democratic process; not through mindlessly chanting at rallies or "organizing" the same old groups to listen to one another complain. That's why I think harper's (so far successful) assaults on our Parliamentary system are so dangerous.

I believe that if I stood before a judge who had integrity and defended myself and my initiative, that I would be met with some degree of understanding and agreement. And this is important in this digital age. At present, through their vast, undeclared spying powers, our governments can learn more about us via the internet, in seconds, than the East German Stasi could find out about their victims in hours.

Which brings me to something else: This whole thing has to be above-ground. This is a rebellion that is being organized in plain sight, because otherwise, provocateurs can be sent in to cause trouble and produce arrests.

So, let's say that after six months (or a year) (oh, and remember I had attempted to start this a year and a half ago) we've got the whole country talking about standing up for democracy and forcing a new election on stephen harper. We've put pressure on the opposition parties that defeating the contempt-for-Parliament party is more important than their petty, short-term interests, we've got an internet presence that is more than just a site for pointless bitching and whining, we're getting national (and other) media exposure, what then?

Well, that will be the subject of tomorrow's post.

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