What happened to Canada? (Ans: Corporate power is global)

This piece by Chris Hedges is from a few months ago, but the point he makes hasn’t somehow magically disappeared (h/t the aggregator blog anotheroldwoman for the article; the original appeared at truthdig.com.)

Hedges starts with a comparison — the “old” Canada, the one we think we remember, versus the new Canada, the one that actually sits on our borders. Here’s his opening (my emphasis and paragraphing everywhere):

What happened to Canada? It used to be the country we would flee to if life in the United States became unpalatable. No nuclear weapons. No huge military-industrial complex. Universal health care. Funding for the arts. A good record on the environment.

But that was the old Canada. I was in Montreal on Friday and Saturday and saw the familiar and disturbing tentacles of the security and surveillance state.

Canada has withdrawn from the Kyoto Accords so it can dig up the Alberta tar sands in an orgy of environmental degradation. It carried out the largest mass arrests of demonstrators in Canadian history at 2010’s G-8 and G-20 meetings, rounding up more than 1,000 people. It sends undercover police into indigenous communities and activist groups and is handing out stiff prison terms to dissenters.

And Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper is a diminished version of George W. Bush. He champions the rabid right wing in Israel, bows to the whims of global financiers and is a Christian fundamentalist.

The voices of dissent sound like our own. And the forms of persecution are familiar. This is not an accident. We are fighting the same corporate leviathan.

This is the real shape of “globalization” as practiced since Ronald Reagan destroyed wafer-fab and computer-chip manufacturing in the U.S. The corporate war for power and profit is global.

As we wrote here, this is not the inevitable shape of globalization — it’s not the only way to globalize economic activity. But it’s the shape as practiced by the current CEO class, which controls (and drinks deep from) current corporate activity.

Hedges agrees:

The decay of Canada illustrates two things. Corporate power is global, and resistance to it cannot be restricted by national boundaries.

Corporations have no regard for nation-states. They assert their power to exploit the land and the people everywhere. They play worker off of worker and nation off of nation. They control the political elites in Ottawa as they do in London, Paris and Washington.

This, I suspect, is why the tactics to crush the Occupy movement around the globe have an eerie similarity—infiltrations, surveillance, the denial of public assembly, physical attempts to eradicate encampments, the use of propaganda and the press to demonize the movement, new draconian laws stripping citizens of basic rights, and increasingly harsh terms of incarceration.

This is not to depress you (it’s true whether you like it or not), but to educate. It looks to me like a world-wide war has started, but it’s being painted as sect against sect, nation against nation, skin color against skin color.

In fact, it’s simpler than that — our globally organized overlords, versus us.

Last point from Hedges, that resistance must cross borders as well, that we must join hands over walls that only appear to divide us:

Those who seek to discredit this movement employ the language of nationalism and attempt to make us fearful of the other. …

Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources Joe Oliver, responding to the growing opposition to the Keystone XL and the Northern Gateway pipelines, wrote in an open letter that “environmental and other radical groups” were trying to “hijack our regulatory system to achieve their radical ideological agenda.”

He accused pipeline opponents of receiving funding from foreign special interest groups and said that “if all other avenues have failed, they will take a quintessential American approach: sue everyone and anyone to delay the project even further.”

One of the most valuable and beneficial activities of the Vietnam War era were the teach-ins, where the Movement educated itself about what it was facing.

With that education, people understood how the U.S. replaced France in the fight against Ho Chi Minh, their former WWII ally, to whom they promised a free Southeast Asia after Japan, and later France, were defeated — that the “anti-Communist” frame, in other words, was a lie. Unity around a common understanding is both powerful and necessary.

So consider this a teach-in. We may disagree about our tactics — Is it better to resist under a Romney presidency or under Obama? Dunno — but we should not spend time disagreeing about the facts. These are the facts.

Letting us confuse “our overlords” with “our protectors” is their biggest weapon. Let’s take it from them, by seeing the world more clearly than they want us to (ahem, rule number 2 here).

Globally yours,

GP

(To follow on Twitter or to send links: @Gaius_Publius)
 


Gaius Publius is a professional writer living on the West Coast of the United States. Click here for more. Follow him on Twitter @Gaius_Publius and Facebook.

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