Thursday, November 03, 2011

Occupy This & Occupy That: Let's At Least Lighten Up On The Kids, Okay?

From my column today in in the Ottawa Citizen:

"As always during epochs of reaction and decay, quacks and charlatans appear on all sides."

Rex Murphy didn't say that. Leon Trotsky did.

Our pal irony will also record that CBC house redneck Kevin O'Leary couldn't even win an argument about it with that gruesome Occupist non-spokesman and Unitarian elder Chris Hedges. Imagine actually losing an argument with a witch doctor.

And while we're being summoned again to smash the state, can we first notice that no one has done a better job of that than the Wall Street finance capitalists who repackaged billions in bad mortgage debts and fobbed them off as sound investments? That's America for you, we could say, but before we get too haughty up here we might pause to concede all the little ironies that make things awkward for Occupy Canada, too.

Ottawa did not bail out avaricious and decrepit bankers, leaving the working poor to pay the bill. Bay Street's super-capitalists did not disgrace themselves the way their Wall Street compatriots did. Canada's unemployment rate is as low as it's been for most of the past halfcentury, and the Toronto Police Service is actually not the Mukhabarat.

But never mind all that. Here's what's to like.

On both sides of the border, the sneering about the sheeple that has so disfigured the face of radical politics is barely noticeable anymore. After an entire generation of ever-deeper retreats into the cul-de-sacs of identity politics and dead-end irrational antagonism to working-class culture, there's suddenly an acute emphasis on the politics of equality.

At the Canadian street parties, the haters have no discernible influence. "What Is Our One Demand?" may not be much of a slogan but it's a damn sight better than "We are All Hezbollah Now." There are mercifully few blackshirts, besides. Unless I've missed something, not one black bloc hooligan has heaved a pavement brick through a single Starbucks window.

There are kids who are pouring their hearts into this thing. At the first sign that it's getting dragged back down into the same old radical-chic mélange of aromatherapy, deconstructionism and the transgressive catharsis of picking fights with riot cops, the smart ones will bolt. . .

I'll be writing regularly in the Citizen from now on. It's a great newspaper, and it's about to get a lot better with Andrew Potter at the helm as managing editor. Here's Andrew's piece today: The Authenticity Hoax is Dead.

It was nice to find my piece to Andrew's left:


Blogger Bill Horne said...

I always thought was doomed to keep splintering into finer & finer individualistic distinctions like Left Handed Pretzel Benders, away from the concepts of Solidarity and An Injury To One Is An Injury To All. All I can add to naming cul-de-sacs as their destination would be deactivated logging roads ;-)

2:15 PM  
Blogger James O'Hearn said...

When did Potter leave Macleans?

1:54 AM  
Blogger Terry Glavin said...

James: A while back. He's a busy guy.

Bill: Sadly, the pretzel-benders have won. Here's just a smattering of OccVan's demand list: "Swiss-style" direct democracy, "Nunavut-style" consensus decision making, withdrawal from NATO, withdrawal from Afghanistan, a CBC budget beyond the control of Parliament, repeal of the anti-terrorism law, reinstatement of the long form census, free heroin and cocaine, a 911 Truth investigation to inquire into "false flag" evidence, free massages, lawyers must work in pairs, herbalists and naturopaths to be put on public payroll and "non-violent" criminals (including corporate criminals?) to be released from jail.

10:39 AM  
Blogger Bill Horne said...

Meant to say "I always thought identity politics was doomed to keep splintering ..."

The demands sound like the flip side of "a diversity of tactics," which was just a Trojan horse to permit Blak Blokkers to run rampant in Vancouver in 2010. Ouch.

11:42 PM  

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