Showing posts with label theory. Show all posts
Showing posts with label theory. Show all posts

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Just protest now - call to action

No one needs permission to organize a protest. If you think it's a good idea to have a rally in your community or neighborhood, then you should. If you wanted to picket your MHA's office, then you should. If you want to write an editorial for the news or call into open line, you should. Make a sign or a banner, write the script for a protest play. There are many ways to take action, and a culture of protest emerges when people take it on themselves to just go ahead and act, feeling compelled to do so right now.

This is not to say protest actions should be impulsive -- on the contrary they need to be thought out -- but just to say that it's really up to you to take the lead and get the ball rolling if you want to effect change. Even seemingly small actions can have a big impact (putting up posters around your town, for example). There have been many protests in the last couple years we have written about on this page. If you browse through our content and the link list, you'll see lots of other ideas for protests as well. These range from occupation of public space, marches and rallies, to grassroots food-sharing kitchens, to culture jamming, and beyond. Protesting is about getting creative and thinking about what sort of action works to best convey your message.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Unrest and direct democracy: white paper for People's Assembly


How do we understand the recent tide of indignation in the province? It is something of a conundrum to Kathy Dunderdale (listen to her 11 April call to VOCM, if you enjoy the feeling of being spoken to as though you are a small child) but to other commentators as well. It has something to do with the recent budget and its associated cuts and layoffs, but this era of austerity in the province is understood to be less severe than previous iterations of the same (one of the questions Bill Rowe puts to the premier on the call).

Of course, this needs to be framed alongside Muskrat Falls and the price tag, which through some form of economic acrobatics, is nothing to do with the financial situation of the government, and therefore nothing to do with the necessity of cuts and layoffs.Granted that this is somewhat difficult for thinking people to accept, let us assume, for argument sake, this is so. Nonetheless, the proliferation of protest and resistance to the project, notably by the NCC, as well as potential corruption and political manipulation, impacts the way cuts, layoffs, and other austerity measures are perceived.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

On the current Revolutionary Wave

One way to subvert or stifle a movement is to compartmentalize it.

In a recent CBC interview sociologist Robert Brym compares Occupy and Idle No More:

"The Occupy and Idle No More movements share two characteristics. They both have relatively diffuse demands and decentralized leadership. ... The Occupy movement's demand for greater economic equality seems to have resonated with a large part of the Canadian population, which has experienced growing income disparity and slow growth in real income for decades … In contrast, I believe the public has more mixed feelings about the Idle No More movement."

Movements are often defined in terms of demands, and more rarely tactics. This is what this group is all about, what they want and specifically who they have a beef with. Characteristics are mapped out and then the thing can be known, compartmentalized, and (in some ways) caged.

A somewhat different understanding (though undoubtedly a kind of caging as well) is of the revolutionary wave. Revolutionary wave theory suggests that to understand Idle No More you first have to connect it back to Mohamed Bouazizi and the Arab Spring.

The recent freedom of information release of FBI files show that even before the Occupy movement became "official" it had been anticipated by security forces as building on a revolutionary wave:

"Various online communities and groups have dubbed 17 September 2011 the 'US Day of Rage' and are planning organized protests and assemblies throughout the United States. ... Referencing the demonstrations of the 2011 Arab Spring, the 'US Day of Rage' desires to mimic the revolutionary wave of demonstrations and protests which have occurred in the Arab world."

States know that revolution knows no borders. Indeed, US intelligence admitted a failure to have been caught so off guard when the revolution emerged. From the evidence of infiltration and subversion of Occupy in the FOI release, it is clear security forces took the potential of this revolutionary wave very seriously.

Other states also took preemptive actions to stem the revolution before it could take hold (legal, constitutional, censorship, subversion, repression, etc.). States try to do this in an organized and focused way because revolution means unrest and in the extreme case the collapse of the state itself. This last outcome is more terrifying for the state than losing a war.

A great number of states all over the world are experiencing unrest. Even in countries where protest is generally a bureaucratic thing (Canada) there has been significant unrest (Quebec student movement, Occupy, and now Idle No More). No one should doubt that the state has monitored and tried to subvert expressions of unrest in Canada. No one needs to have a degree in sociology to anticipate the communities that will offer the clearest expressions of unrest.

Many states have made sweeping concessions, held snap elections, installed revolutionary governments, done whatever it takes to just make unrest stop. However, even in countries where the revolution has toppled governments unrest persists. There is no reason to expect this level of unrest will subside any time in the foreseeable future, as this revolutionary wave, and its myriad if sometimes difficult to identify characteristics and demands, just so happens to be taking place against the backdrop of a particularly easy to identify pyramid scheme of capital and power.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Just a Game OR The Sheep and the Wolves

     With all the crap going on around the world (Israel decimating Gaza; the ongoing insurrection in Syria; General Strikes across Southern Europe, turning violent when police intervene; Unions in Spain organizing raids on super markets and then distributing the food freely, etc. etc. etc...) it seems a bit surprising that nothing major (that people are noticing and talking about) is happening here in North America (the coming Black Friday events excepted). But then again, the majority of people in Canada and the United States are completely indoctrinated from birth to think that if it isn't affecting them then it doesn't matter. So because of this I end up thinking of the population that they are asleep, as they are not seeing what is going on in the world.
    To use a favourite quote of mine: "The Sheep will be slaughtered, or turned to Wolves." Now at first glance it doesn't look good, but let me explain it. I'll break it down into two parts: 'the sheep will be slaughtered,' & 'or turn to wolves.' To understand the first part of the quote two things must be known: Who are the Sheep? & How will they be slaughtered?

    As to who are the sheep? The sheep are the 'sleeping' population that doesn't realize where 'their' politicians are taking them, and doing in their collective name (destroying the ecosystem through allowing systematic exploitation of all our natural resources in the name of 'profit'). Now as to how will they be slaughtered? I just explained part of it.

   What about the second part of the quote: 'or turn to wolves'? what does that mean? Who are wolves?

    Wolves are the people in society who are informed on what is going on and can see what is happening as well. As compared to sheep being 'asleep' wolves are 'awake'. What kind of change can be made in society with people changing to 'wolves'? Any kind of world and society we as humanity want; a more humane society. Where instead of an economy with a focus on profits, we could have an economy where its main goals and focus is to provide for every person's needs.

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