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