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Thursday, March 3, 2011

At this point, labels don't matter

Not looking for a big theoretical or semantic foofaraw about partisanship and party affiliation and whether the Liberals, New Democrats, Bloc and Greens can set aside their differences long enough to get rid of the Harpoon Junta.

That's a given. Other than for what it symbolizes, rebranding the government in Harper's name is really small potatoes compared to the Conservatives' systematic assault on the mechanics of accountability and the apparatus of democratic governance. What these bastards are attacking is nothing less than civil society itself. Nothing new there either.

And the best the Liberals can throw at them is Iggy and the Tone-Deafs?

But it goes deeper than that. On a more fundamental level, it really doesn't matter whether it's Iggy or Bob Rae or the great and powerful Oz, because the Liberal Party isn't going to make any fundamental changes to the stranglehold that the corporate continentalists have on our political system and our governing institutions. "Free trade," privatization, class warfare and the shredding of the safety net and social fabric are going to continue regardless of whether Harper gets his majority or the opposition parties actually find their cojones and form a coalition.

There's a rather worthwhile discussion going on over at thwap's place in the comments on this post. Don't know where it's going, but it's good reading at least.

In a sort of roundabout way, this brings me back to what spurred this post in the first place: the gratuitous humiliation and sadism currently being visited upon Private Bradley Manning, the whistleblower currently under suspicion for having leaking information to Wikileaks. He's been under arrest since last May. Currently he's being held in solitary confinement at the Marine Corps Brig. He is shackled hand and foot when he has visitors.

Bradley Manning (h/t fullissue.com)

Guy was forced to strip naked and stay in his cell for seven hours yesterday. When the brig supervisor dropped by to do a head count, Pte. Manning was forced to stand at attention. His clothes were returned to him ten minutes later, and he was then told that the same thing is going to happen again.

Couple of observations:

The United States continues to sink closer and closer to third world human rights standards. (Larisa Alexandrovna)

This type of degrading treatment is inexcusable and without justification.  It is an embarrassment to our military justice system and should not be tolerated.  PFC Manning has been told that the same thing will happen to him again tonight.  No other detainee at the Brig is forced to endure this type of isolation and humiliation. (LTC David Coombs)

Now it's not far-fetched to think that this kind of thing probably gives people like Harper a big woodie, but in all honesty, is there any reason to think Iggy or anyone else the Liberal Party manages to cough up will be that much better?

No. More than labels, more than undoing the damage inflicted by globalization, more than rolling back the oligarchic assault on virtually every bit of progressive social policy since the French Revolution, even more than getting rid of Harpoon, what we need to do more than ever is put some distance between ourselves and the corrupt, decadent, demented, gangrenous and increasingly insane mass to the south. Smile tightly, and back away slowly. Don't care what we have to do to get there.


  1. Still the first thing to be done is to get Harper out of office. He is still far more dangerous than the rest of them.

    You want reform, the first thing that has to happen is to get Harper out of office--ain't no way it'll happen under him. Harper is a dictator.
    The others are not.

  2. Excuse me, but labels do matter. They matter immensely; and to dismiss that important fact is to concede the debate.

    Nouns and verbs are, by definition, "labels". They are standardized utterances or textual patterns we are conditioned to associate mentally with specific things and actions. However, that conditioning turns the process of association into a reflex; otherwise the mind would be overwhelmed by trying to decipher intellectually every word and their context every time and effective communication would be virtually impossible. At the very least, it would take forever, thereby rendering most of it useless.

    As a reflex, the associative process operates on the same basis as the brain's other near-instantaneous processing pathways - those used for instinct and emotion, for example. Consequently, words - or labels - are experienced in much the same way as instincts and emotions, as a resullt, they can become highly emotion-charged.

    Influencing emotion is an age-old recipe for influencing behaviour. To the extent that words can accomplish the former, so, too, can they achieve the latter. It is the foundation of propaganda's success.

    That is why neo-cons have paid such meticulous attention to words, terminology and message-management. By getting away with using them subversively, they have been embarrassingly successful in subverting the hearts and minds of millions.

    So, I'm sorry, but labels do "matter" and "The Harper Government" is one cynically-subversive label we should never let stick.

  3. "The United States continues to sink closer and closer to third world human rights standards." Just a small point - third world human rights standards are the standards of the united states and the other northern states given that these countries have been playing brutal games of strategy of all kinds, using countries in the south and their citizens as pawns and human resources for a few hundred years. many of the nations referred to as the third world were actually created either overtly or indirectly by the nations of the north. the standards maintained in these places reflect not the values of the dominated who are forced to live there, but of those who mine their resources and force prices paid on the world market to stay low necessitating that workers in these places be brutally kept in their place if we are to continue to be able to easily access their riches.

  4. I believe as well that the renaming of our government to the "Harper Government" matters very much. This is the government of the Canadian people and it is comprised of the people we voted for - be they Liberal, NDP, Bloc, Green or Conservative. Only 22% of the voting population voted to have Harper as the leader of this government. The rebrand is unfair to the 68% of voters who did not support this insane man.

  5. I wonder if the elites really want to risk putting Bradley Manning to death, I believe they know very well there would be violence by people of conscience.

    The re-branding serves a purpose for the Cons. It is clearly an attempt to have Canadians believe we are not a nation governed by laws, but to be governed by men, him. That is subversive to our Constitution and our Charter, yet no one has actually said those words yet, and they must.
    Harper has corrupted Parliament and he has corrupted the people to believe in his brand of democracy, and his brand of democracy does not include democratic institutions governed by law.