Saturday, February 26, 2011

Where's our revolution?

For a person who believes in democracy the recent events in the Arab world is very heartening. Leaving aside the idea that nothing will really change in these countries you cannot but be moved by seeing all of these people coming out and demanding changes and a more powerful voice for themselves in how they are governed.

In all cases these people are revolting against a rich and priviledged elite in their countries. These elites control all of the levers of power and they make decisions for the benefit of themselves, often shafting those who do not share their elite status in the process.

Upon looking at these events and who the main protaganists are in them I could not help but see many parallels between their societies and ours. Western society also suffers from the same inequalities that the Arabs are fighting against. There is a rich and priviledged elite that countrols much of the economy and has many friends within the governing class of our societies. You just need to see the reaction of governments to the 2008 financial meltdown to see that, both the immediate reaction and their reactions in the aftermath. The financial meltdown was caused by recklessness amongst the rich and powerful, whose greed caused them to make decisions that almost brought down the entire global financial system. It was criminal really but did they suffer any consequences. Of course not, during the crisis they were bailed out with taxpayer funds so that none of them even had to sacrifice their wealth and lifestyles to pay for their folly. Since then we have seen that they have not even suffered medium or long-term consequences because governments have ignored their culpability in the events of 2008 and instead seem to rewarding them and going after ordinary people instead. The corporate tax cuts proposed by the Harper government and the removal of collective barbaining rights in Wisconson are two example.

This in itself is bad enough but what is really maddening and mind boggling is the reaction of ordinary people to all of this. They are poorer because of the actions of the wealthy elite in Western society but they are siding with them against ordinary citizens in most cases. You just need to see their reaction to the fights by the unions on Wisconson and in other juristictions where governments have been trying to reduce union rights to see that. The wealth elites in Western society are building up their wealth and power to the detriment of ordinary citizens and those very same ordinary citizens are cheering them on. It really is mind boggling and it puts paid to all of those Economics textbooks that state people make decisions based on their own economic interests.

The problem is we all believe that because we can vote in actual free and fair elections we are not really in the same position as the Arabs. On the surface that is true but looking deeper it is very apparent that a wealthy and priviledged elite are using their power and influence to protect themselves from the most harmful consequences of their actions and to further their ability to gather wealth to the detriment of ordinary citizens.

So, when are those ordinary citizens going to realize this and demand change? If the Arabs can do it certainly we should be able to.


Blogger Prairie Kid said...

Big difference between the Arabs and Canadians. The Arab MAJORITY want change. The Canadian MAJORITY like what's happening in Canada. Get used to it.

February 26, 2011 9:37 PM  
Blogger Tomm said...

You are sounding a little like Howard Beale from the movie Network.

February 27, 2011 2:02 AM  
Blogger WesternGrit said...

Great post. Many of us have been thinking the exact same thing. Many "conservative" commenters on our blog don't have a clue how right wing, corporatocracy-sustaining ideas are helping kill our democracy - and are to their own detriment.

I laugh when I think back to the poor chap whose door I knocked upon in 1997 saying he was voting "Reform".

He had no clue.

February 27, 2011 2:23 AM  
Blogger Omar said...

"The Canadian MAJORITY like what's happening in Canada."

Do the math, dimwit. Combined, even the most dire polling numbers for the three opposition parties add up to a MAJORITY consensus on Canadians likely voting intentions. Having "no clue" is a vast and sad understatement.

February 27, 2011 7:31 AM  
Blogger ottlib said...

Kid, you just proved my point.

I do not know you but I am going to assume that you are like me, which is an ordinary, middle-class Canadian.

The rights and benefits that our grand parents and parents fought for in the post-war period are being slowly eroded by the wealthy elites in this country and in the rest of the Western world.

I would think that fact would cause you to feel some displeasure and maybe some downright anger. Instead you appear to be fine with it and you are correct in the sense that probably a majority of Canadians, American, and Europeans are also fine with it.

That is why I pose the question in the title of this post.

Incidentally, this post is non-partisan. The wealthy elites in the Western world have influenced all parties from across the political spectrum to pursue policies that are in their interest and against the interests of the ordinary citizen.

Just look at the some of the provincial NDP governments or the former Blair government in Britain to see how erstwhile "left-wing" governments pursued policies that benefit big business over ordinary citizens.

February 27, 2011 3:51 PM  
Blogger Salma said...

Dear Colleague,

The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information. ANHRI, is launching a
new periodical .The new publication , WASLA, publishes bloggers’ posts
and articles on current issues in Egypt and the Arab world. Here is a
link for the first edition in pdf format:

Your contribution to WASLA is most welcomed if you would let us quote
from your blogs after your permission.
Your prompt response will be much appreciated

Best Regards,
wasla at anhri dot net

March 05, 2011 12:36 PM  
Blogger Dame said...

Ok here is what I think...
We were somewhat surprised when the G20 Protests occured in Toronto and how it all went down... it was something "out of Blue' and still no clear explanation as today.
It was the same way "out of blue' but far more history Forming and unexpected revolution what we are witnessing in the Arab World ...
what I am saying is the world sitting on bombs of ill feelings and any small event can /and will/ enable a Blow up.
This Government is producing Ill feelings and discontent.It can't last.

March 05, 2011 1:30 PM  
Blogger Yappa said...

Great post. You might be interested in Julian Assange's blog musings on the topic...

March 06, 2011 8:31 PM  

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