Thursday, 4 December 2008

Naomi Klein on this moment in Canadian history

Naomi Klein: 'We can't lose this moment' |
Just to be clear, what I mean by the shock doctrine, as you know, is the use of crisis to push through unpopular pro-corporate policies. This bundling of a whole package of policies: denying the right of public sector workers to strike, the attack on public financing of political parties, with the economic program - that is what failed, and people were offended by the opportunism of it.

This is what so many of us were worried about during the election - the context of a Tory victory in an economic crisis, because we know that there is this pattern of using an economic crisis to push through policies that were nowhere during the campaign.
... what I find most exciting about what is going on right now - beyond
just getting rid of Harper, which is exciting in and of itself - is
that we have this opportunity to show what proportional representation
(PR) would look like, because all of this talk that this is a coup is a


To me the best case scenario that could come out of this is, one,
you get the coalition, and, two, the NDP uses this moment to really
launch a national discussion about why we need PR and that that becomes
one of the things that comes out of this crisis.

Now, they don't have the mandate for that right now, but we could
come out of this with a national referendum on proportional
representation. People might actually like it, which would be really,
really exciting.


The way in which public financing for political parties has been
presented in the press is "oh the politicians, they just got mad when
they went after their money," right? This is another key point that I
think is somewhat related to the issue of proportional representation.
We need to be talking about our political process here, and the issue
of public financing for political parties in elections is key to
protecting and deepening democracy in Canada, and for keeping it out of
corporate control. It is not for nothing that the Tories are attacking
that. They see attacking public financing of political parties as a way
to entrench their power.


So, what is exciting about this political moment, and how people can
get involved, is that this is building on that. The political parties
caught up with the grassroots movement that was happening anyway with
those initiatives like, Department of Culture, and people like Murray Dobbin
who have been making these arguments pretty steadily outside of the
political parties. Now it is happening, and it is happening thanks to
Stephen Harper and his extraordinary arrogance and over-reaching. We
can't lose this moment.

I just want to emphasize this point: If even through smart tactics,
Harper pulls this off, if he prorogues Parliament; if the Governor
General lets him get away with it; if the Liberals lose their nerve
over Xmas, then the Harper we will have in January will be a deeply
chastened Harper.

What everybody agrees with is that he made a massive error, that he
massively overreached, and his own party, his own base agrees with
that. Worst case scenario we dodged a bullet here. Best case scenario,
we leverage his overreach, his attempt to use a crisis to push through
his ideological pro-corporate agenda to have a deeper democracy in our
country, and to prevent forevermore a situation where a party with 35
per cent of the vote is government.

No comments: