Why we're losing - and how to start winning
The View from Green Island
GI Central - my 'net home' for the last few years, and the foreseeable future, this seems where it's going to be - lots of venting, lots of good writing, lots of 'out-of-the-box' ideas you aren't EVER going to hear on the CBC
The Democratic Revolution Handbook - Home
And a book for younger readers too, Dave's an eclectic sort of person - Aquila
These and Dave's other books can be found at
Dave's Smashwords EPUBS page
- and for the curious, if anyone cares, a few words on
From Hastings to Green Island
- the (very) short form story of Dave's own journey..
Knowledge is like a candle. When you light your candle from mine, my light is not diminished. It is enhanced and a larger room is enlightened as a consequence. - Thomas Jefferson
Chris Hedges talking to Leo Panitch (*14:00..) "... the representatives of the left, including the NDP ... were entities that were created to supplant the radical left ... just as the NAACP was created to counter the Communist Party ... and much of what represents the left within the US and even in Canada is already an accomodationist entity.."
Canadian Democracy - once a work in progress with great promise, currently on hold, signal breaking up, captain, captain ... ...
Part I Chapter 2a
Michael Harris: '...Stephen Harper's Canada is not a democracy, let alone a parliamentary democracy. It is an oligarchy with a few well chosen friends and millions upon millions of people to ignore, vilify or bamboozle...' (might I add - Harris is still a bit stuck in the forest here in identifying Harper particularly, as all the parties for the last 30 years have behaved exactly the same, regarding slowly but surely turning the government into an oligarchy of, by and for the wealthy cabal who run the country from their Bay St penthouses ...)
Haroon Siddiqui: '..The latest national census is a stark reminder that Canada is ruled by one man - Stephen Harper...'
George Monbiot: '..Neoliberalism, also known as market fundamentalism or laissez-faire economics, purports to liberate the market from political interference. The state, it asserts, should do little but defend the realm, protect private property and remove barriers to business. In practice it looks nothing like this. What neoliberal theorists call shrinking the state looks more like shrinking democracy: reducing the means by which citizens can restrain the power of the elite...' Chris Hedges - NDP will change nothing - Hedges is always worth a listen, here in a 2015 talk to some Canadians, he is asked about the NDP, and clearly says he doesn't believe they would change anything, much more radical action is needed...
etc etc etc etc etc etc etc - obviously I am far from the first person to have recognized this - but there are still far, far, far too many people out there who do not understand it, and are trying to fight for a 'better world' within the bounds of this 'pretend' democracy' we have in Canada today - and who are never going to succeed until they understand that 'democracy' is not something somebody gives you, but something you make for yourself
Most people learn the general history of the struggle for 'democracy' in school, in some form along these lines: during most of human history societies were ruled by emperors or god-kings or warlords or feudal kings of various sorts, all imposing their will mainly through simple violence, or by claiming, and through various means convincing their 'followers' or subjects to believe they actually had, some connection with a 'god' who 'validated' their rule. The idea of 'democracy' started back in ancient Greece, and then Rome in a limited way back in the BC(E) years, but those places reverted to either obscurity or emperors, and 'democracy' as we understand it today didn't progress much after that until the middle ages, when the people in England started demanding more say in the running of their lives and societies, and the struggle for modern 'democracy' began, and over the next few centuries 'the people' won their 'freedom' from the kings and feudal lords, and today we (in 'the West') live in modern great democracies, with parliaments or congresses and suchlike being the center of governments generally controlled of, by and for 'we the people', and any 'kings' that might be around these days, at least in our advanced western societies,are figureheads only, and real 'power' is democratic as 'we the people' rule ourselves.
And since we now live in a 'democracy', which means, at least in theory, that the people as a whole actually run the country through elected and 'responsible' 'representatives' rather than some warlord or king of some type ruling by decree and doing various bad things to the people he rules according to nothing more than whatever whim he has no matter what the people desire, whatever is happening in our modern democratic country, it must be accepted peacefully if not always happily, keeping discontent and protest 'civil' and confined to certain approved channels, because it has the approval, of some (again 'theoretical') 'democratic majority' and thus those doing whatever during the time they have been given by the electors to run our country have a 'legitimate democratic mandate' to govern, and whatever its faults, this is the very highest and best form of government, so why would we want to change anything? - as the saying goes, we can always throw the bums out democratically at the next election. Sure, we can talk about various minor 'tweaks' or 'reforms', but the superiority, and validity, of the system itself is quite beyond question.
It's a clever, and powerful, argument when successfully sold to the people and deeply internalised by them, as it has been, as it's based on a truth that has become exaggerated and twisted quite out of shape, and also because it plays to the natural desires of people to believe their society is fundamentally a good one (even 'the best yea!!') being governed by the highest and best form of government, 'democracy'. It has the further strength of being strongly 'proactive', defusing before they even get started any number of lines of action or resistance that unhappy citizens might see as justifiable or necessary if they believed they were actually trying to create a true democracy from a non-democratic situation, rather than simply being engaged in contesting 'legitimate' differences in an existing democracy.
For, of course, the reality of the situation regarding 'democracy' in Canada, or most other modern western countries also considered to be 'great modern democracies', is a great deal more nuanced, and fundamentally simply not true in its basic belief, than this simplistic 'civics course democracy for school children' version of our country we all get indoctrinated with in school, indoctrination then constantly reinforced by the media and those who already believe the fairy tale. For of course any honest analysis indicates quite beyond legitimate questioning that we do not, in fact, live in a true democracy at all, using any realistic definition of the word. We do indeed have the institutions of a good enough democracy, and the processes to put people into those institutions to do our democratic work, which were slowly created over 100s of years of struggle, and of course can be pointed at to claim we have a 'democracy' - but in reality, all of the central parts of the 'democracy' are, in our modern world, controlled from behind the scenes, the 'wizard's curtain' if you will, by a small group of powerful people, to the extent that it is a democracy in name only, and we are very obviously ruled to all intents and purposes as a plutocracy, or oligarchy, take your pick.
Democracy in Canada 1: More in the theory than the practiceThe evidence that we do not actually run 'our' own country, as a democracy, is pretty much irrefutable to those able and willing to put rational thought processes ahead of years of enforced schooling and learned dogma memorisation mindlessly parroted on command.
Just for a few quick examples:
The prevailing justification for calling the country a 'democracy' when it so obviously is run against the wishes of most of the people most of the time, when 'informed, engaged majority rule' is supposed to be a fundamental tenet of 'democracy', seems to be that that we get 'elections' every few years, thus conferring some 'legitimacy' and/or 'mandate' on the things done by whichever tweedle gets elected, a deception continually reinforced by the secretariat of the rulers (AKA the 'mainstream media', another great deception as discussed in more detail later) telling us daily what a great 'democracy' (and 'free media') we have, and through the school system which instills the message deeply into the basic unquestioned beliefs of all school children, but it's a pretty shallow and simply untrue argument in every way if examined rationally rather than through some kind of 'we're so great and don't you ask hard questions about it!!' patriotic blindness filter - an examination of course never undertaken either in the 'education' (aka indoctrination) system, or in the 'great free Canadian propaganda media'. For obvious enough reasons, when you understand the big picture.
But, as even our media propaganda likes to frequently point out when talking about countries they disapprove of, or at least want us to 'stand together against', another deep trick, 'elections' do not necessarily mean 'democracy' if they are essentially controlled in any of various ways which lead to a foregone conclusion, and such is the case in Canada. The media influence the election outcomes to a large extent by conferring legitimacy on whichever parties they deem are 'serious', and 'safe' to vote for, and candidates running for parties that might actually try to speak for the people, or presenting messages the rulers don't want people talking about, are marginalised at best, if not completely ignored, thus making the odds of a candidate from one of the smaller parties getting elected vanishingly small, let alone enough of them to form a 'legitimate' government, in our modern world where people are used to being told what to do by the media, and heavily influenced by endless repetitions of advertising. And the parties the media endorses as 'acceptable to vote for' - the Liberals, Conservatives, and NDP - are simply three branches of the reigning power in Canada, Bay St Money. This may be a shocking assertion to those who have lived their lives believing what they are told in school and the media, but you need simply look back over our history of the last 30-odd years to easily confirm this - although of course the NDP have never been elected nationally, they have been elected often in a number of provinces, and if you remove the party identification from any of the pre-election hype, and the actions of the governments following the elections, you would be very, very hard-pressed to identify any difference at all between the three parties - they all support 'business-friendly' policies and 'free' trade agreements, they all wring their hands crying poverty as they slash programs and reduce corporate taxes (with the totally idiotic and well-disproved claim that reducing taxes on those with the most money and most able to pay will increase government revenues - really), and they all support the demonisation of, and 'intervention' in, countries the US has deemed need regime change. All right wing, NWO policies - no matter which party you elect, you get Bay St Corporate State rule. The parties all wear different colored ties, and the media present them all as 'real choices', but that is all part of the great spectacle - aside from some small cosmetic differences there is really nothing of substance different between them.
(I have no doubt this will be a bit angering to some of those who have been faithfully working for the NDP for years as 'true agents of change', but I will defer discussion of the NDP and a couple of other related things for a couple more chapters, as to fully understand what is going on with the the NDP and some others who are widely regarded, falsely, as 'our 'progressive' friends, the 'good guys', it is necessary to understand first what is going on that the NDP, and these others, are **not** talking about or doing that they would be if they were actually working for 'we the people', and actually interested in providing a real alternative to the Bay St money parties tweedledee-dum-dumber political game.)
And you can call that a lot of things, but legitimately calling it 'democracy' is not one of them.
(and a lesser but I suppose important point also - many people will think, 'But heck, we are all living pretty well in Canada, compared to many other countries, so what's to complain about?' - but it bears pointing out, I guess, that just because you are happy enough with your life does NOT mean you live in a democracy. As I will get into more detail about in various places following, our ancestors fought like hell to roll back the 'unquestionable right to rule with no restraints at all!!' belief of the god-kings and emperors of earlier times, a very slow struggle, but over the centuries, the kings etc were forced to grant some concessions to these demands - but at no time was their actual right to rule ever removed, and we still live in that situation today - and just because your rulers have been forced to grant you a few concessions does *not* mean you live in a 'democracy'.
If you examine the way two farmers treat their animals, and Farmer Jane treats her animals quite well and they seem content and happy, and farmer George treats his animals very badly and they are obviously 'oppressed' creatures, you would not say Farmer Jane's animals are sure lucky because they live in a democracy! - and so you yourself should not get tricked into thinking you live in a 'democracy' because your ancestors managed to gain a few concessions from those who ruled them, and your rulers have told you that this means you have 'democracy'. It ain't so, as the examples I have given above clearly, clearly demonstrate. When Farmer Jane gets old and her spoiled and hasty young son takes over, he can make your life a great deal less pleasant - with not a damned thing you can do about it, if you have accepted their right to run the barn as they please.)
I might also add a note for those who believe they are living pretty good lives, and have their beliefs affirmed every day on the CBC, talking about the great entertainment things available for them, and featuring an endless parade of guests talking about the great things they all are doing. You are being manipulated to believe just this, as I will get into more detail about later. Sure, you might be doing ok now, but that does not mean 'the country' is doing ok - it is important for the rulers that their managerial class is kept happy, and they spend time doing this - but if you think about all the things you are reading in the media about the cutbacks to people less well off than you, in this immensely wealthy country, the student debt problems, the attacks by the government on various sectors challenging them, and so on, you should be seeing the warning signs, even from your positions of privilege. It should be clear you are on a sinking ship, and when the final days come, you are NOT going to join the rulers in the lifeboats, whatever they happen to be.
The dismissive response to those angry enough to challenge this reality of our country that 'Oh, you can vote for somebody different at the next election!' doesn't even begin to be an adequate defence of such undemocratic government (even aside from the fact that as noted they are basically one party with three differently painted heads), considering the damage that can be done in a few years by a determined government with a hostile agenda (or a succession of tweedle governments - doesn't matter if you vote A or B, they keep doing the same stuff, following the same NWO agenda). Just imagine, for a closer to home comparison, you hired an accountant on a one-year contract, but rather than looking after your affairs responsibly, as he had promised, he starts doing all kinds of things you never talked about at all, such as selling your house out from under you to people who want to rent it back to you, and letting it fall apart around you for lack of maintenance even while running up huge unnecessary debts for his friends in your name, hiring new gardeners who were tearing up your organic plot and turning it into a factory farm, the maid was inviting all her friends in for parties and contracting her work out to high-paid, low-quality criminal maid 'services', etc etc - and the current 'law of the land' said 'Too bad! - you've given them all carte blanche until the contract runs out - nothing you can do!! - but don't worry you can change accountants after the contract is up!!'. Few people would be happy with such a law, or accept the 'logic' of its defence, as your home would be a total disaster in a year of this stuff, and so it is with our country - when the current 'democratic' process gives a few people elected with the support of 25% or less of the eligible voters (and many if not most of those with obviously little idea of what they are really voting for, just the unengaged, uninformed hockey game 'always support my team' 'my family's voted Lib/Con for generations, and always will' attitude) several years of carte-blanche freedom to break promises and undertake pretty much anything they choose they never talked about during an election, no matter how unpopular or what serious damage to the country and people is being undertaken against their will, then you can call what is happening several things, but 'democratic' is certainly, and obviously, not one of them. It's one thing to pass an unpopular seatbelt law, or give a tax break to people who don't need it, sure you can turn those things around later - but to go signing trade treaties that are very destructive to workers and our overall economy and are supposedly 'valid' for 20 or 30 years and can only be 'abrogated' with very severe penalties, or to go bombing countries that present no danger to us, thus creating great animosity against us in countries around the world, and declaring us a 'rogue state' declaring 'fuck international law' - well, those are completely different things, and it just gets to the point of utter nonsense to call ourselves a 'democracy' when our governments get up to such things.
And if you keep insisting on calling this situation 'democratic', maybe you should be having a bit of a serious talk with whoever you see in the mirror in the morning.
[[I am, of course, not alone in recognizing the lie of our pretend-democracy, far from it, and many others are writing about it and have been for a long time, as a few of the quotes I have included here show - it's just that for those who have been relying on the mainstream media, aka the corporate state propaganda media, for their information, they won't have heard any of these ideas before; just a few recent examples I have come across of those questioning the reality of our 'democracy' during this time in our history, for a couple of other examples I have come across recently:
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