Monday, October 10, 2011

Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Murray Dobbin comments on the role that the Occupy protest movement can play in countering corporate power that's faced far too little opposition for far too long:
Why now? Perhaps it is the international dimension of this spontaneous burst of political action. The notion that Stephen Harper would respond even to large demonstrations is given little credibility. But adding your body and voice to international outrage is something else -- solidarity with others experiencing the same frustrated rage is cathartic. Do the masses gathering at the heart of finance capital around the world identify with the Greeks, Irish, Brits, French, Spanish and Italian workers who are demanding to know why they are being punished for the bankers' crimes?

It could be seen as citizen globalization in counterpoint to corporate globalization. It riffs off the Arab spring and for many perhaps even the shift to the left in many Latin American countries where citizens, after years of repression, are now being listened to.

And of course everyone with hopes for this new spontaneous revolt worries about how it will last, who will inspire its direction, what sorts of "demands" will it make, what organizational form it will take, how will it actually challenge power. And power, of course, is still at the heart of the question. They have it and we don't.

But these questions are premature. This expression of anger (and of love and caring) is not primarily political. It is cultural. And if it manages to wake people from their long acquiescence to the exercise of corporate power and government contempt for democracy it will have accomplished what nothing else to date has done. It is not enough. But without it we cannot begin to make a better world.
- And there's plenty worth protesting in the U.S. model that the Con government is so eager to impose on Canada. After all, Jillian Berman points out that median incomes have actually fallen further in the U.S. in the last two years than they did during the 2007-2009 recession, while Kevin Drum notes that financial-sector profits are already surpassing their pre-recession levels. And We Are The 99 Percent has plenty of stories of how individuals have been affected by an economic system set up to siphon wealth upward.

- Meanwhile, as Erin notes, even right-wing commentators like Neil Reynolds apparently don't see any prospect of avoiding some redistribution of utterly unearned wealth (even if Reynolds conspicuously uses Republican framing to describe an inheritance tax).

- Finally, it's well and good that Megan Leslie's description of the Cons' climate change policy as "designed to fail" seems to be sticking. But it's also worth taking a close look at just how successful the Cons have been in bringing about that failure:
The Environment Commissioner’s Fall 2011 report, required under the 2007 Kyoto Protocol Implementation Act, assesses federal efforts to meet the abandoned Kyoto Protocol target of six per cent below 1990 levels. Of the $9.2-billion in federal funds allocated to fight climate change between 2008 and 2012, the report found that $5.9-billion in program spending would achieve no emissions reductions by 2012.

No comments:

Post a Comment