Saturday, January 12, 2013

Civil Disobedience or Civil Disruption?

        Protests should be done in ways that spread awareness, as evidenced by the highly publicized Aboriginal stand in Canada against Bill c-45.   It is not the purpose of this article to examine the merits of these protests or the characteristics of the bill; if that is why you have come here you may find news on the protests from CBC here.

     I suggest if you are interested, to read the bill yourself,  as taking others' words for it is irresponsible.  By the way, if you notice who votes and who doesn't for these recent bills, the Conservative Party of Canada is really raping us to line their pockets (c-11 internet lobbyists troll).  I hope you Con voters learn your lesson this time...

     In any case, I wish to discuss the methodology employed by first nations members; specifically, targeting critical Canadian infrastructure such as highways, railways, and pipelines.

      Civil disobedience is an absolute necessity for the function of a modern civil society.  This has not been sufficiently powerful in recent decades, and I realize that.  With the scandals in government, on both sides, and the blatant corruption in the United States congress, it is understandable that one might view these methods as antiquated.  However, it isn't the government that these people are targeting, it is the citizens.

     I understand the need for awareness, but this is a strange kind of reverse-racism - that Canadians participating in a social system are somehow complicit in the very recent actions of their shitty government.  The people who were inconvenienced likely had little or nothing to do with these changes.  The strategy, I'm sure, is to put pressure on the Canadian government by annoying people as much as possible; but I know that at least for me, they have lost my support.

     This roundabout terrorism is a bad idea for everyone. Consider the actions of the men who attacked the US in 2004; what was their primary target? Financial infrastructure.   Sound familiar?  I don't make literal or ideological comparisons (non-violent protest is always best); believe me, under different methods (including hunger strikes), I might have become outspoken for this cause ;).   Alas, instead I'm here comparing them to terrorists because they are wreaking destruction, which can be quantized in the form of lost income, profits, and disruption to import and export markets.

      On the plus side, the internet and social media platforms have been instrumental in the spread of this subject.  I have always been on the brink of evangelical when it comes to the promise of technology for civil purposes, and I believe this snowballing crisis is an example of that.  Those methods are good for organizing decentralized protests in many cities simultaneously, garnering the most support and impact.   Shutting down a highway and inconveniencing 500 people or less is just counter-intuitive. How pissed off were those drivers? Why would they ever support that cause now? 

      I won't elaborate further on the topic. I would like to request any comments to the contrary of this opinion, evidence supporting these methods (not the cause itself, which goes without saying); or if you'd just like to call me a moron for comparing them to the Taliban, that is fine also, provided there is some rationale (or a better example). I know historically it is not the first time it was employed, but in other instances those critial institutions (rail, highway) were implicated in the terms of revolt. 

     The purpose of this article is twofold:  to promote responsible participation in our own governance, and discussion on the topic of civil disobedience.

It raises important questions:  Are the group called Anonymous therefore "terrorists" for targeting Visa and Mastercard in retribution for their warfare on transparent journalism? What is the dividing line between justification of methods and severity of corruption?

A good bit of evidence might be proof of corruption in the private railway companies. The oil sands don't really require proof as we can readily assume most oil companies are corrupt at this point.  As far as I'm concerned, go Natives! Anyone who gives Harper a hard time is fine by me. 

Further reading on the bill (I tried to get sources from each side here):

http://www.ecojustice.ca/files/nwpa_legal_backgrounder_october-2012/at_download/file
http://www.davidsuzuki.org/media/news/2012/11/how-bill-c-45-weakens-our-environmental-laws-and-democracy/
http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2013/01/10/chris-selley-harpers-relations-with-first-nations-was-stifled-by-omnibus-bill/
http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/10/21/omnibus-budget-bill-c-45_n_1997300.html
http://ckom.com/story/minister-john-duncan-says-bill-c-45-wont-change/91297

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