Strikes, picket lines and other forms of protest that require significant labour resources are ineffective against corporations that can use automation or outsourcing as significant bargaining chips. If this is the case, how are activists meant to effect real change? One way is in the corporate boardroom.
Recently, I heard a Grade 6 student explain that he and his friends had walked out of school to protest against a government measure that they believed had resulted in their teachers' rights being taken away. The principal was not impressed. I think we should be very impressed. What are our children in Canada seeing in the streets of our cities and towns? Idle No More, Occupy, protests in Ontario and Quebec by teachers and students -- and remember the G-20 protests in Toronto in 2010? While some of us looked the other way, the children are still watching.
At a time when jumpstarting a mob is as easy as creating a new Facebook group or signing the latest petition, any disinterest in political activism might seem just careless, apathetic, and even lazy. But the lack of an "off-gridders of the world" organization seems to me to speak to a completely different sense of involvement and an alternative way of doing politics. Our homes -- our grid-connected homes -- are intertwined to one another through extensive lines.
With the recent first anniversary of Occupy Wall Street, consider one beef from protesters that was legitimate: crony capitalism. But insofar as any protester was annoyed with politicians who like to subsidize specific businesses -- corporate welfare in other words -- why do the media so rarely report on it?
Seems that when you spend an hour watching Canadian TV news stories about politics, you get only about 15 minutes of real information. These scary numbers come from the highly respected charitable Samara Institute today. Samara has spent months doing all the research, the number crunching, and the drawing of conclusions. Will the newsrooms listen? Probably not.
Predictions for next year, left to their own devices, look pretty bleak. Last month, Christine Lagarde warned of a 1930s meltdown in the global economy. So my wish is that we declare 2012 the year of the unreasonable, establish an unreasonable list and set ourselves some ridiculously ambitious goals.
For me, my doubts about Santa set in when I was around seven or eight. It was in the throes of the Ethiopian famine, when the Band Aid song "Do They Know Its Christmas?" was constantly on the radio. Looking at the pictures of all these starving children, it hit me that, of course there isn't a Santa.
Look at the impact protests in the Middle East have had on the world. Now take a look at Occupy. What does the latter have to show but incessant claims of police "brutality" (remember, perspective here --Time's throwing them in with people who rebelled and ousted Gaddafi), and evictions from parks which now look like barren wastelands?