Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Linda McQuaig points out how the Occupy movement has at least started to shift the terms of our political debate:
Rather than hanging out at malls or zoning out on Facebook, these young people have endured real hardship in the Canadian near-winter to fight for a more inclusive society. Any inconvenience they’ve caused through their peaceful occupation seems minor in comparison to their contribution to the public good.

As lawyers from the Law Union of Ontario point out: “Some inconveniences to local park users is a small price to pay for the larger price being paid by the 99 per cent worldwide in the face of an economic system that privileges the few over the many.”

Are occupations really necessary to draw attention to their cause? Perhaps not. But I’d trust their judgment over mine. After all, they’ve managed to change the public discourse, putting inequality front and centre — something activists and writers, myself included, have failed to accomplish despite decades of trying.

An article last week in the mainstream magazine New York notes that we’re now moving “from the terror era to the income-inequality era.”

Wow. After only two months, the Occupy movement — without backing from billionaires or governments — seems to have moved us into a new era. Not bad for a leaderless group that sleeps in tents and doesn’t even use microphones.
- Meanwhile, Stephen Gordon tries dividing discussion about inequality into "first-order" and "top-end" issues. But in noting that the effects of top-end inequality are only part of the overall problem, it's worth pointing out that any efforts to deal with both suffer when top-end inequality results in a political system being devoted toward further enriching those who already have the most.

- And there's still an awfully long way to go beyond what the Occupy movement has been able to accomplish in changing the frame of reference - particularly as governments like the McGuinty Liberals in Ontario push to keep on rewarding the corporate sector at the expense of mere citizens.

- Finally, it's a plus to see Richard Brennan and Aaron Wherry among those picking up on Charlie Angus' strong advocacy for Attawapiskat First Nation as it begs to be evacuated - providing a stark example of the level of inequality and poverty that remains in Canada (even if all too often hidden out of sight). But unfortunately, the people with the capacity to help don't seem to be showing the slightest interest.

No comments:

Post a Comment