Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Given the Chance We'll Reject the Right's Fascist Thuggery

I find it distressing - check that, disgusting - how freely Harper & Co. have been targeting Muslims.  Make no mistake, there are at least a few self-identified Liberals who are right with them.

That's why I found these video clips so inspirational.  In these days of the surveillance state, where the people are being beset by the fear mongering of Harper and other low characters, we see that ordinary Canadians - and, thankfully, Americans - can resist their efforts to have us tap into our basest instincts.

The premise: A young Muslim man stands in a public square, blindfolded. Beside him a sign that reads "I'm Muslim and I Trust You. Do You Trust me Enough for a Hug?"

It's based on a video shot in January in Toronto's Yonge-Dundas Square. Called the Blind Trust Project, it was created by activist Asoomii Jay in response to recent hate crimes and bullying against Muslims. In her video, the subject stood between two signs. One read: "I am a Muslim I am Labelled as a Terrorist", the other read "I trust you do you trust me? Give me a hug."

But how would the people of New York City respond?

See, we can reject the fear mongers and Islamophobes.   It's in us.  We're better than those who, for their own devious purposes, try to turn us against what we know is right.  We need to remember this for this is how we're going to whip their asses.


Dana said...

Interesting speculation coming up.

How many of those huggers vote? Especially among the younger ones...

I agree we could easily be out of this mess, even more easily if Trudeau and Mulcair gave a shit about the country.

It's hard not to be angry at apathetic, empty headed, narcissistic young people...

The Mound of Sound said...

Our political leadership, especially within the LPC and NDP, have done a horrible job at engaging Canada's disaffected youth.

They have concerns, plenty of them. They're worried over very genuine, potentially enormous problems they know are coming their way during their lifetimes and their children's. Addressing their concerns today would require answers that would be immediately denounced as socialist.

You can't tackle inequality - not just wealth and income but inequality of opportunity - without policies that are inherently socialist. You have to tax wealth to fund the levels of education and healthcare needed to create equality of opportunity. Who is going to champion that? Trudeau? Mulcair?

They're not fools. They know we've already bequeathed them a dangerously compromised and steadily worsening environment. About all we can do at this stage is prevent it from becoming even worse than necessary but that too would require radical policy decisions that neither the Libs nor New Dems are willing to promote.

What exactly are we doing for "the younger ones" other than pretty much nothing? We won't even curb our greenhouse gas emissions that will be working their evil magic for at least a couple of centuries. We, Dana, you and me, are doing that on their dime.

They're the true "precariat." Through trade agreements and domestic policies we've gutted the middle class and increased the ratio of low-paid, part-time employment to the well-paid, full-time and secure employment their parents and grandparents enjoyed.

We've brought their future world back into Cold War only, this time, the odds are far greater of that evolving into a "peer on peer" or "near peer" war of a scale unseen for 70-years.

"Apathetic, empty headed, narcissistic" maybe. Be thankful they haven't turned on us.

Dana said...

Then why don't they show up in large enough numbers to make DC or Ottawa sit up and notice? That's all they would have to do.

Easy peasy.

The Mound of Sound said...

I don't think they have any confidence in "the system", Dana. There's a new fatalism that seems to be setting in, and not just among younger people. Helplessness, hopelessness, resignation.

I did some study of fatalism in my undergrad years, especially among the mountain tribes of the Andes. Back then it seemed aberrant that an entire village should go on with life knowing that there was a significant chance that, at some point, a slide would claim their lives. In medieval times peasants would go out to tend their fields never knowing if this was the day that a horde of raiders would come over the hill.

I've been lucky enough to have talked with some of my children's friends, young managerial/professional types. They don't seem to have much trust in their elders or our institutions. Some will come right out and say it's a stacked deck.

Chris Hedges argues that we're in a pre-revolutionary state and he could be right. He contends it's a matter of "when", not "if." That's something else I studied in undergrad, the history and dynamics of revolution. The problem with this outcome, and Hedges also acknowledges it, is that revolutions almost never turn out nearly as well as hoped or foreseen by those who lead the revolt.

I don't know. I don't believe we're going to give the kids anything they're not prepared to simply take.

Dana said...

I understand their fatalistic bent and I understand their distrust (I remember my own youthful distrust very well).

It's a stacked deck in every generational transition. Always. They'll stack it too - if there's still a deck to stack and anyone to take up the challenge.

Do you remember being eager to get at it, the frustration, the drive to get those tired, irrelevant old men out of the way so you could change things, make things better, fairer, so you could make some money finally, make a name for yourself?

Are we seeing pleas for boomers to put off retiring a bit longer because there's a generation chafing at the bit to get their hands on the wheel?

The Mound of Sound said...

What I remember of my youth, Dana, is a world pretty rich in opportunity and advancement. We were a confident, even arrogant bunch who really did see the world as our oyster.

The 60s and 70s were about as fine a period as anyone has ever known. The middle class ladder of opportunity was intact and you could usually climb it as far as you wanted. Education was relatively cheap and student loans and grants kept costs within reach of most. The world carried fewer than 4-billion people which meant there was enough of most things to go around and a rising tide often did lift all boats.

We used to have to work all summer to achieve the perfect tan. Now you're microwaved in well under an hour. The system is gummed up, blocking opportunity for advancement. Our kids can't afford to buy homes in the neighbourhoods they were raised in. They know they won't have it anywhere near as good as we did.

The intergenerational forces we experienced have changed. The environment has changed. Our democracy has been tampered with. I'm not envious of today's youth.

Dana said...

Oh jeebus, no, I'm not at all envious of them either. I wouldn't want to be young now for all the tea in Boston.

karen said...

I've spent quite a bit of time with young people. My offspring is 25 and all of her friends are remarkably engaged. They are involved in all kinds of interesting things and advocating for a better future. Most of them do vote, I think, but I think there would be more engagement if there really were something to vote FOR. It's pretty clear to them, I think that the parties of the "grown ups" have too much baggage and have all dug themselves too deeply into their respective rhetorics to be coherent to the younger generations. I know a lot of young people who are deeply concerned about climate change and water loss and environmental degradation, but politicians just keep harping on jobs and the economy.
I keep encouraging the young people I know to start a new party.

karen said...

Also, here is a good TED talk on the the antidote to apathy

The Mound of Sound said...

I'm absolutely in agreement with that, Karen. What we're seeing in Europe - Syrzia and Podemos - are left-leaning movements that arose out of nothing to vie for power just a few years later. The traditional Left has allowed itself to be Blairified and that includes today's NDP.

Young people in Europe realized they had been dealt a rotten hand and simply said no. Young people in the US and Canada need to come to the same realization and I say that with some trepidation for what might lie in store for the rest of us.

The Mound of Sound said...

Thanks for the link, Karen. He made good sense.