Saturday, September 22, 2012

Those Small Acts

Many revolutionaries look down their noses at the small steps we take to change our lives. These acts include growing our own food, buying locally, buying fair trade products, riding a bicycle instead of a car, etc. On their own, divorced from the greater liberatory movement, they would seem feeble, feel-good actions. However, few ever believed, say, growing your own food was The Revolution. Everyone I have ever met who engages in these small acts is also involved in the larger picture, those movements for peace, environmental sanity and liberty.

The small act links us to the liberated future, allows us, in a minor way, to live the life we wish to lead, only now. The little movements are also a transmission belt to the larger movements. You may start out only interested in growing organic food in your back yard, but if you take your little act seriously, inexorably you will be drawn to a criticism of the entire system. You will begin to ask why corporate agriculture uses pesticides and artificial fertilizers and why the state has encouraged these practices. You will begin to question a system that eliminates local farm land while importing vegetables from China. Encouraging the small act leads people toward the greater movement.
The criticism of small acts is a moralistic one, and not at all dialectical. It fails to see the holistic nature of the movements great and small, and it fails to see that a person's thoughts work as processes, that they are not static.

Thursday, September 06, 2012

Victory In Quebec!

    The Charest regime has fallen. The would-be despot even lost his position in the National Assembly. Put a mark on the wall for the students and the popular movements which supported them. Once again, and almost unique in the world, the corporatists have been defeated by Quebec's  mass movements. Soldier on dear students in Chile! Workers in Spain, Italy, France, Greece, keep the pressure on! The Liberals or rather Neoliberals, thought they could win the election by stirring up hatred against the students and trumpeting the old government debt scam. Yes, there are always a host of lemmings who fall for this, "Let's hate the oppressed and love our oppressors!", but enough Quebecois/e saw through the hail of lies and sent the Charistas packing.
    The PQ said they would eliminate the tuition  increase as well as the evil bill 78  that made protest illegal. The PQ, as the other face of neoliberalism, (albeit a more smiley one) would not be doing this without all that pressure from below, all those people in the streets, all those casseroles. But don't expect a heck of a lot more from them, for they too must bow to the corporate masters.
    Very good news also is the increase in strength of Quebec Solidaire and the election of Francoise Davide. QS represents the unity of the left, in itself a good thing, and a Twenty-first Century social democracy.  This neo-social democracy has moved beyond the post-war consensus of "let's make a more humane capitalism" that  utopian pipe dream now a cold turkey nightmare, and points in the direction of transcending the capitalist system altogether. 
    That said, I do not favour an electoral strategy, nor think the transition to economic democracy and an environmentally sane way of life will come about through voting a progressive party into power. But on the other hand, one must not back-of-the hand dismiss the consciousness that lies behind the hundreds of thousands of Quebecois/e who supported  Quebec Solidaire. Consider the rise of a left-wing social democratic consciousness in spite of a thirty year long totalitarian media campaign to discredit any form of social progress. This says something
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