Sunday, December 14, 2014

Dec. 15: Insanity in Ottawa

This is a hasty blog that I just had to slip into an already overcrowded schedule. I can only hope I finish it by the posted date.

Harper is building an immense monument to the victims of communism around the world. The reason appears to be his usual one. He wants to appeal to the moron vote before the election by doing something that looks big but is actually nothing. So let's look at the faults of this idea by the number.

1. He (like most people) has no idea what the word "communism" means. It does not mean a dictator who owns all the industries and resources of a country. Quite the contrary, Karl Marx was a gentle man, a convert to Christianity who tried to found a system based on Christian principles of caring.

I don't think the system he settled on is a practical one. It would call for a whole society that was selfless, caring only for others, and sharing all political power equally among all people. It's a nice idea. But I can't see it happening.

2. The impossibility of it is shown by the fact that no country in the world has ever been communist. Some have called themselves communist. But we all like to kid ourselves. People in the US and Canada kid themselves that they are democratic and free. They never have been - and both are going in the other direction with secret police, propaganda disguised as news, and all political power in the hands of big business.

The countries that called themselves communist usually featured state ownership of all resources. But, in fact, that's  the opposite of communism. So for Harper to erect a memorial to the victims of communism is simply building on ignorance and old hatreds to justify more hatred.

The ones that called themselves communist were usually dictatorships, too. But dictatorship was never a part of the idea of communism. Anyway, dictatorship is quite as common in what we call capitalist countries. Britain established dictatorships all over the world.  So did France,Spain, Portugal, the Netherlands. Only two parties in the US have the resources to fight an election. Both are pretty much the same. And both are owned by big business. How is that different from a dictatorship. New Brunswick is the same. Indeed, all of Canada is closer to that than we think.

And I don't know of any country that has been capitalist in any real meaning of the world for the last century and more. Capitalism is a system in which private investors take risks in order to make gains. But that only happens with the little ones. The big kids never take risks. They dip into our tax money in many ways such as, for example, to fight wars for them. They avoid paying taxes, use militarized police to back up their power, and exploit the poor all over the world. That's not what capitalism means. But that's how what we call capitalism operates.

3. As for victims, most political and/or economic systems I have ever heard of have produced victims in their millions. Harper points to 100 million victims of what he calls "communism". That's the figure usually attributed to Mao's China and Stalin's Russia. He also calls Putin a communist, which is bizarre since Putin doesn't even pretend to be one. And, of course, he says Putin is "evil". Good word. It means we don't have to think at all, just hate.

But you want victims? Take a count of the victims of sweet, little "capitalist" Belgium which tortured and murdered, enslaved and worked to death and starved Congolese by at least the tens of millions. (Canadian mining investors have now taken over much of the work of killing and looting in the Congo and South America.

Take the western powers led by Britain who murdered and looted China for over a century - with a count for death and starvation that we have never bothered to investigate. Western behaviour in China makes Mao look like a guardian angel.

The US and Canada and Mexico, like Spain and Portugal in South America slaughtered native peoples by the millions to steal their land. The Netherlands butchered and starved uncounted victims in East Asia.

The American slave trade murdered at least 60 million Africans.

Yes. There were victims of "communism". There were also, and probably more, victims of what we call "capitalism". To put up a monument for one group but not for the others is just cheap politics. Worse, it's designed to created hatreds. And we really don't need any more hatreds.

4. The location of the monument in Ottawa is in the heart of an area designated for the "Canadian heritage". that's why it has the Supreme Court, the Canadian archives, Parliament, the memorial for those Canadians who died in war....

Why the hell do we want a memorial to the victims of communism in that region dedicated to our history as a nation? For a Canadian with any patriotism at all, this is outrageously distasteful, cheap, zenophobic, the ultimate distortion and trivialization of Canada's history and place in the world today. And all to get Harper re-elected.

5. The original estimate for this massive exercise in bad taste was 5.5 million. Estimates now run to at least three times that. Is this really a sane use of money in a country in which we're cutting back on vital  services?


Except for all our bigots and hate mongers, that memorial will forever be an embarrassment to Canada. And its only contribution will be to encourage an irrational hatred of a system that never existed, and that is certainly no threat to the world today.

Murder, rape, theft, exploitation have nothing to do with any economic system in particular. All of those arise in all societies, whatever the economic systems might be. It has nothing to do with any economic system in particular. It has to do with human greed and the lust for power.

Putting up such a monument to any one group is both historically wrong and also self-righteous. If Canada is going to put up any such memorial, it should be one dedicated to the victims of Canada - native peoples, African-Canadians, European Jews denied refuge in Canada through the 1930s and until several years AFTER world war two, Japanese-Canadians  whose property was confiscated and who were put in concentration camps in World War Two. and all those refugees that Harper is too bigoted to allow into Canada to this day.

Harper has cheapened Canadian political life as has no other prime minister in the history of this country. I have long felt that if he wins another election, Canada will not survive. As it is, he has plunked us right in the middle of what might well be World War Three. And then we won't need a government of any sort.

Why hasn't this story appeared in the Irving press? I don't think the omission is deliberate. I think it's just that the Irving editors are intellectually lazy and incompetent.

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