Saturday, December 28, 2013

What Do You Stand For? The Country or the State?

You're at that point where you have to choose.  Do you support the state, embodied in a Conservative, New Democrat or Liberal government, or do you support the country, Canada and your fellow Canadians?

It's a rarely mentioned  but particularly cogent question in a petro-state like Canada.  The very survival of your society depends on grasping the distinctions and realizing you may have to make a choice. 

In a recent essay considering whether Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden were traitors or patriots, Andrew J. Bacevich, said it might come down to whether Americans support the state or the country.

To whom do Army privates and intelligence contractors owe their loyalty? To state or to country? To the national security apparatus that employs them or to the people that apparatus is said to protect?
what if the interests of the state do not automatically align with those of the country?

Manning and Snowden confront Washington with something far more worrisome. They threaten the power the state had carefully accrued amid recurring wars and the incessant preparation for war. In effect, they place in jeopardy the state’s very authority — while inviting the American people to consider the possibility that less militaristic and more democratic approaches to national security might exist.In the eyes of the state, Manning and Snowden — and others who may carry on their work — can never be other than traitors. Whether the country eventually views them as patriots depends on what Americans do with the opportunity these two men have handed us.

Canada has never had a government as secretive and duplicitous as the regime we currently endure.  Harper is 95% state and 5% country.  He's a technocrat.   Harper always said that his prime objective was to move Canada's political centre well and permanently to the Right but I think what he was really out to achieve was to complete Canada's transformation into a genuine petro-state.

Surely the answer lies in ousting Harper and putting Tom Mulcair or Justin Trudeau into power, right?  I doubt it.  Obama inherited a presidency that, over the previous eight years, had appropriated to itself truly imperial powers.  Everyone thought Obama would right America's political and constitutional keel, wash away the stain of Bush/Cheney.  Did he disavow and relinquish the excessive powers of his predecessor?  No.

But this is Canada and we're talking Mulcair and Trudeau.  They'll do better, right?  No. 

Canada has a democratic deficit that is the equivalent of arterial bleeding.  Do you hear Mulcair or Trudeau championing reform or even mentioning it?  No.  Canada, like every other country, faces growing climate change impacts, especially floods and droughts.   Do you hear Mulcair or Trudeau talking about decarbonizing our economy and our society?  No.  Canada is in the throes of corporatism.  Do you hear Mulcair or Trudeau advocating the break up of our corporate media cartel and the restoration of a truly free press for Canada?  No.  Canada is beginning to succumb to American-driven inequality.  Do you hear Trudeau or Mulcair speaking about how they'll arrest and then reverse that?  No. 

To put much faith in Mulcair or Trudeau to right Canada's political keel and heal our democratic deficit seems more than a stretch.  This suggests the state and the country will remain at odds.  It may well be we the people versus them, our ruling class.


Richard said...

Perhaps most importantly 'all of the above' talk a big game of "restoring growth". So long as politicians talk "growth" as their primary goal they are working against the people in service to the banking sector and global elite.

No matter how nice they appear, or how good looking they are. Same shit, different pile.

The Mound of Sound said...

I can't imagine I left that out, Richard. Thanks. Radical as what you've said sounds, it's entirely true.

Pursuing growth at this stage is like the closing five seconds of the final scene in Thelma & Louise.

Purple library guy said...

"Harper is 95% state and 5% country"--To my mind it's worse than that. Harper is about 75% state, 75% private interests directly inimical to the wellbeing of the country, leaving about NEGATIVE 50% for country.

Purple library guy said...

But as you suggest, putting our faith in the leaders of the other political parties is a fool's paradise. Oh, sure, I'll vote against Harper, and even now I'd consider the NDP the lesser of the three evils, but the establishment has them pretty well whipped. We are not going to get out from under without a big, vigorous grassroots movement--of which I unfortunately see no sign.