An Era Of Political Change
Woke up today thinking about the dirty thirties. Had some kind of dream that I don’t quite remember about living through that time, interviewing people for some kind of documentary. Not sure that documentary ever got made, but I’m pretty sure the decades leading up to it looked a lot like our times right now.
So here’s what that documentary would look like then. I’ll let you decide the results, and leave it as unbiased as I can. Just the facts, my man, just the facts.
It was time when everyone was broke. Even big banks were going under regularly, and in the crashes of the late 1920s people had invested far too much money, whole businesses into the stocks. They were over-inflated, and gave way to faulty market mechanics that kept thinking that every decade had to boom. In truth there are floods, famines and wars. Every decade does not always supply more income – and capital for re-investment. And not every sector, or person is affected in the same way. Some suffer far more, and there are many “canaries in the mineshaft” that call out before the toxic gas overwhelms the system. And we all die, or must be faced with a new world war – or its equivalent to pull us out of our “time of financial crisis”.
We have many people out of work, and various movements arising. One that says every ivy-league educated person has the right to be a millionaire and make ten times what their parents did – and to make their millions. Another says that the social welfare system is failing, and people aren’t making what they used to on it. And another that says workers aren’t making what they used to, the top 10!% or 5% or whatever it is ruins it for all of us. (I think it’s more like 0.01% A dozen families run Canada, no joke). And they put together this “occupy movement”. There are riots, even in Canada. People blow them off as “sporting related” but who was there on the ground? And can we know in this time when propaganda and media control are managed ever more carefully because of the speed of information travel.
People were mad, and they demanded change from poorest to richest, women and men were fired up. They were receiving little money, and there were no jobs to be had. Debts had been extended as far as they could be. And the whole thing was a damn mess. Various political platforms that had tried to address the issue with make work camps, and strange labour laws had been seen to have failed in the public eye. Many wanted to just hide their heads in their sand… And others wanted to fight, even if protesting was more frowned on then than it is today.
The NDP was formed in this kind of an inferno. In 1932 the CCP (Canadian Communist Party) moved forward and became less radicalized; finding more voter support for a democratic platform it developing into the CCF (Co-operative Commonwealth Foundation) (circa 1932). And the New Democratic Party (NDP) won their first victories under Tommy Douglas. Eventually these pioneers joined up with the CLC (Canadian-Labour-Congress) to re-brand as the current popular left NDP in 1956. This whole movement that is concerned with labour, civil rights, human rights, gender equality, and other left of center ideals came out of a time when millionaires were bankrupted and ridiculed, their wives left them if they could, but whole families were pulled under when the “breadwinner” went down. Bread itself was scarce, the droughts were huge. But this downfall affected more than just North America. Even in Europe there were many social problems…
In Canada it was very severe. The Regina Riots have been re-visited in published works by writers (including myself) who looked at the cause and consequences of the “On To Ottawa” trek that saw many impoverished men and women who could not feed their families band together in protest. Even with minimal government assistance they could not make ends meet, and if they could there was no end in sight, no optimism. The average debt load was very low as credit cards had not been manufactured. But while wall street bankers were literally throwing themselves out of windows the news on the ground was at least as band. No one wanted to deal with it, though they were capable workers they had a government without vision.
People without incomes gave up on the government. Even the educated could not find loopholes in the arguments that had last the generations since the last Great Depression at the beginning of the 1810s. All should work out if what they held dear to was true. But projected sales were far ahead of real sales. Because everyone had banked on growth, when the growth was slow the rest of the framework began to slip.
Recently many major banks have pulled out. We have had our own “Black Friday” and while some governments (such as the Harper Conservatives) say their country is doing well, and most others say that we are in a depression and have been for years.
Our old numbers were thrown out. And the banks folded. But now the average debt for a Canadian is over $100,000 and climbing. Paying that off at 4% could cost more than $4,000 a month. Even with banks sometimes stepping in to lower payment rates people who are paying more interest than they are earning will literally never get out of that whole.
Some of it is because of the rise of women in the workplace, and shifting moral ground. Much of it has been caused by sheer greed. Twenty years ago when you stepped into a church the church leader would speak about various kinds of greed and jealousy as being evil… sins or vices… id you were mainstream Christian or Catholic. While this can be thrown in with hatred of gays, and hatred of other racial or ethnic groups by the simple follower… and an obvious progression. To those of us who have studied philosophy, religion, moral thought seriously a love of Greed can not and will never be a good thing overall. It has its moments. People need to be fed. But to force others… say an entire community to go hungry is vulgar and profane to all. Currently this happens frequently, and it will continue happens in this millenia of recurrent economic depressions. They had them hundreds of years ago. Yet they don’t get better if anything they seem to grow worse.
And how to pull out of this? Certainly following an old mold that has been broken, and following it repeatedly is the textbook definition of insane. Surely we need to look back at this math and see why so many greedy, good, honest, people who wanted to get vulgarly rich, humble, Christian, power-hungry, god-fearing, salt of the earth, uncaring and inhumane individuals would drive our banks and industries to such untold levels of greed. Is it as Michael Moore suggests that Corporations are created to be insane and immoral? Is it always out of the hands of the heads of corp and then all on down? Or do people need to think things through? And think them through level headed as in what is right for a community and a culture? I believe they do. A society without vision is a dead society. Every law can be passed, and every prayer spoken but if it without heart and a love for mankind over sheer numerical idolatry then even the most kind-hearted among us are no better than violent criminals. We seek to destroy our society if we do not reinforce and build on its moral character as is happening now.
Now back to politics. The NDP were formed originally as the CCF as an offshoot of CCP which decided to go democratic. It gained a new leader and moved forward with new ideas. The old divided and lost support. New thoughts that were on everyone’s lips came to mind. Why do we support an old system that will no longer take care of our sick and dying, yet we can spend so much backing industries that serve no particular cause, and are benefited through an old system of patsy-ism. Which the founding Liberal and Conservative Party had developed early on and love too dearly to ever give up, one can imagine.
In a time where the old guard doesn’t work. Where traditional values don’t stand up to the test of time, when the old is failing… is it time for new growth. What does this mean for Federal Politics in Canada? Is the NDP going to shift back to their routes and take in some of the diverse and conflicting opinions arising from the era. In five years the political climate will have changed. The New Left is growing with the rise of the Green Movement… and the Traditional / Monarchist Right is growing faster than ever. Some link this to social changes and a growing Christianizing movement and unity in Canada… where the tapestry of culture begins to fade and a monochrome Canadian citizen supposedly emerges.
Unique powerful rich and right wing is what we should all be the “popular press” says. Our old morals were always right. To not be right is to be wrong. Except gays are now okay if they don’t marry, and we’re not sure about the military. But certainly drugs, Islamics and people who stand in the way of “progress” is wrong. Progress is the market growth of the world apparently. God wants this apparently. To be a valuable member of society man and women, but not children (yet) must work break neck hours, often in excess of 40 hours a week. Hrmm. I think break neck once meant “fast”… now it just means you’re killing yourself quickly.
This is how the votes are going. And the world is not improving any because of it. Yet with the current social trends, and medical stories that are emerging from the proportional oxygen loss and pollution in the environment. Overpopulation and starvations are also linked in to this interrelated system. Is greed and commerce really the key to a useful life? Does a wallet book balance. Even the left seems to agree that we should all be slaves to commerce and forget about life because your “real life” is a job. I don’t think Descartes, Plato, Socrates, or even Neitzche could possibly agree to all that. Yet it is paraded around, and we are no longer able to vote another way. Except Green whatever “Green” means. It’s not blue or red or yellow… but what is it exactly?
I think there’s room for a new political platform here. You get the gist. There’s ground for divorce from these current platforms. New thoughts are arising. While the occupy movement is supported by many and hated by more is it the hippie movement on the 60s in 1955? I’m tending to think so. Surely people will be denied proper service, publicly maligned, and ridiculed for their disgusting anti-war stances and free love, and caring, and long hair or outward signs of support for the movement. But at the moment most marriages dissolve into divorce and free love at some point. The thoughts of that movement changed a generation, reshaped politics, empowered women and children. Even if they were not all right about the gaja weed thing. Or maybe they were depending on your opinion. Politics change is all I’m saying. There are echoes and echoes of our past generations.
For the first time in history the NDP sits alone as the official opposition in the 41st Canadian Parliament. Times are certainly a-changin’! The new repeats the old, and a new ball has entered the court of play. Interesting times to live in. But I just miss those 50s that I never lived in myself. What comes will come, and I will be happy to see where all this is going – and hopefully that change is for the better. If it means a new party or the NDP winning power (a first Federally though there have been many provincial wins) it will be a time of great change. The world will change for the better I sincerely hope –as we as people being adopting new populist views – as they must certainly become due to the credit card crunch affecting the majority.