It’s April 27, 2013: a few days after my blog’s first anniversary, the weekend of Rebelfest in Hamilton, and a few days before International Workers’ Day (aka Mayday, aka the real Labour Day). Additionally, April 28 is International Day of Mourning for workers who were killed or injured on the job. A lot has happened since my last post, and here are just a few tidbits.
● Rita MacNeil – singer, political activist and sex abuse survivor – died on April 16 at the age of 68. The down-to-earth artist was always on the side of the working class, especially the miners of Nova Scotia, where she grew up. MacNeil performed at several benefit concerts over her long career. She was also involved in the Toronto feminist movement in the 1970s, which led the reactionary Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) to spy on her as if she were a dangerous criminal.
● The Canadian government disgustingly used the April 15 Boston Marathon bombing and the deliberately timed arrests of unrelated alleged terrorist plotters in Canada as an excuse to madly rush through unconstitutional and un-Canadian “anti-terrorism” legislation. It’s obvious that the Conservatives had this pre-written legislation in their back pocket for a long time, just waiting for an opportune moment to ram it through. It’s also painfully clear that the main targets of this frightening legislation will be pesky political activists, not violent terrorists. The Canadian authorities already have enough powers to crack down on real terrorists.
The kicker is that the Conservative government did it with the full support of their partners in crime, the Liberal Party of Canada, led by Justin Trudeau, an over-privileged, unprogressive bigmouth. The Cons and Libs are fiercely determined to pipeline Canada’s oil to totalitarian China as fast as possible, regardless of the consequences. Environmentalists and First Nations advocates merely get in the way. The planned sell-off of Canada’s resources to China is one of the reasons why both of those parties support the Foreign Investment Protection Agreement (FIPA) with China, which hands over Canada’s economic and political sovereignty to Chinese corporations.
● A fertilizer plant in Texas exploded on April 17, killing 15 people (so far) and destroying a town. Many of those killed were volunteer firefighters trying to save other people’s lives and homes. In Bangladesh, an unsafe garment factory collapsed on its underpaid workers on April 24, leading to a confirmed death toll of more than 350, and the classification of hundreds more workers as “missing” (which realistically means dead).
Somehow, these two preventable tragedies havn’t spurred governments to rush through increased industrial safety standards or protections for workers. Those in power apparently consider deaths in the name of profit to be acceptable collateral damage and the cost of doing business. Let’s call this what it really is: economic terrorism against the poor and an implied threat against any workers who would dare stand up for their rights. When companies cut corners on safety and people die, it’s no accident; it’s willful negligence and homicide.
● George W. Bush, war criminal and economic saboteur, got a library dedicated to him at a ceremony in which Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush and Jimmy Carter praised the barely literate puppet instead of denouncing him for his acts of mass destruction. It’s no skin off their backs; everyone they care about is wealthy, comfortable and safe.
● The Harper Conservatives have again tightened their grip on the RCMP, in order to maintain its role as a politically directed tool of the establishment. New rules mean that opposition party members of parliament cannot meet with RCMP officials without getting approval from the Conservative government and the head of the RCMP. This is yet another step towards designating the RCMP as an official arm of the Conservative Party of Canada.
A common thread throughout these stories is the conflict and division between the elites and the common people; the parasites and the workers; the exploiters and the exploited. Remove all the spin, noise and pettiness from political discussions and it all comes down to this: Which side are you on? Which side are “they” on? On any given issue, whose interests are at stake? If more people were honest with themselves and answered these questions factually, the world could become a much better place.
The song in the above video is “Which Side Are You On?” recorded by Pete Seger.