Archive for the trade Category

Free Trade, CETA, TPP, and the US and Canadian Federal Elections: Some Critical Perspective

Posted in activism, Canada, economics, politics, trade, US with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 29, 2015 by jtoddring

The following is critical to understand – for the people of Canada, the US, Europe and the world: “free trade” deals such those already signed (NAFTA), and those being pushed through with great secrecy now (CETA, TTIP and TPP), are agreements which grant supra-national powers to transnational corporations, powers over and above democratically elected governments, and therefore, they are agreements which are disastrous to everyone but the few – the global corporate elite.

In both Canada and the US, the major parties all support “free trade,” aka, neoliberalism, and the wrongly labelled “trade deals” which are in fact corporate rights agreements.

Both the Liberals and Conservatives in Canada are in open support of such democracy-destroying, sovereignty annihilating, economically, socially and environmentally devastating “trade agreements,” making them the Tweedledee and Tweedledum of political prostitution to corporate rule.

In the US, the Republicans and Democrats are both staunch supporters of neoliberal policies of “free trade” – not surprisingly, since Wall Street pays for their elections, and Wall Street gains from such policies, while the middle class is wiped out, poverty and inequality soar, and the nation is eviscerated, and eaten live.

The one exception in the US seems to be Senator Bernie Sanders: a rare, sane and honest voice in US federal politics. I wish there was such a one, and such a one with such fast-rising prominence and popular support, in the Canadian federal election – but that does not appear to be the case so far.

In Canada, the Greens show promise, but require two things now to be relevant: much greater boldness and focus – for example, in terms of a strong stand on core, critical issues such as the quite monumentally significant and potentially disastrous trade deals, including CETA; and much stronger and broader popular support. So far, both seem to be sadly lacking. I beg to be proven wrong, however, and would be thrilled to see it.

Nevertheless, the Greens have shown more courage and integrity on the critical subject of trade than any of the three major Canadian political parties, and that alone places them head and shoulders above the old-guard parties of the past which still, sadly, dominate the Canadian political landscape – or have to date.

Greens in Canada and Europe have made a clear stand on CETA – a trade deal which would allow corporations to overrule the sovereignty and democracy of member nations by allowing corporations to sue governments for passing legislation which impinge upon their profits.

The Council of Canadians, a leading citizens’ action group in Canada, sums up CETA in a few stark and lucid words:

“CETA is a “next generation” free trade and investment pact that Canada and the EU have been negotiating since May 2009. But it is better understood as a corporate power grab. The Harper government clearly sees CETA as a way to further deregulate and privatize the Canadian economy while increasing corporate power and undermining Canadian and European efforts to address the climate crisis.”

And the Liberals under Justin Trudeau have also declared their support for CETA.

The Greens have said no to CETA. The Liberals and Conservatives are pro “free trade” and openly support CETA. And the NDP policy under Muclair on CETA and other similar “trade deals” – which have to date universally been corporate rights agreements? That’s anyone’s guess, since Mulcair’s NDP have been notoriously vague, ambivalent, and decidedly wish-washy, at best: or worryingly soft, to be more honest and blunt.

The Greens appear to be the only party in Canada which at present to have any resolve, conviction, clarity or vision on the matter of such disastrous “trade” deals which are in truth corporate rights agreements. The position which the big three parties have taken, it seems clear, is effectively, to roll over for corporate interests – at the expense of the Canadian people, the economy, the environment and democracy.

We must understand this:

More “free trade” = more corporate rights agreements = corporate rule and the death of democracy.

This is not the way to conduct trade – by handing over supra-national, anti-democratic powers to large corporations, over and above democratic governments. The major parties don’t agree – because they have either lost their courage, or their integrity, or both, and have become wholly subservient to the ruling oligarchy of global neo-feudal corporate rule and the billionaire class. This is where the wheat is separated from the chaff: on this key issue, and others like it of similar gravity.

The policies of political parties and political candidates on such “trade” agreements – which, again, must be understood to be corporate rights agreements – such as CETA, the TTIP and the TPP, FIPA, the SPP and the FTA, are the litmus test for whether these parties and candidates are in service to the ruling corporate powers, or whether they stand with the other 99% of the people. And, unsurprisingly, most parties and most candidates fail that test.

In Canada, I would say, vote Green, since they are the only party now worthy of support.

In the US there is similarly only one choice, and one candidate who in any way, or by any stretch, merits support – and that is Bernie Sanders.

There are a great many well-meaning people out there – both Democrats and Republicans, and also, Liberals, Conservatives and New Democrat supporters – who frequently fall for pretty words and hollow promises. And there are many more people yet, who can and do fall for parties and candidates with some genuinely good policies on this or that issue, while the voters miss the bigger picture entirely, and do themselves severe injustice as a result. If we do not understand what is going on with these giant, nation-dissolving, sovereignty-eviscerating, and democracy-destroying “trade agreements”, then we do not understand what is happening at all.

This is critical to understand. This is central. This is, as I say, the litmus test of a party’s or a candidate’s legitimacy in this hour. If we fail to understand this, then we understand nothing of what is happening in the world at this time.

We need to be clear, and we need to vote with clear minds. Our choices have narrowed: we can vote for the parties and the candidates of the super-rich and the ruling corporate powers, or we can vote for the rare ones who still stand with the people. The time to decide is here. Let us use it wisely.

Political parties and political candidates can have the prettiest, loftiest speeches and policy platforms on earth, but if they are not firmly and unequivocally opposed to the corporate rights agreements which are being pushed through now, then they are either deeply confused and misinformed – in which case, their words and promises will come to nothing – or they are effectively owned by the corporate elite, and are in service to them. These are the simple facts. We should vote accordingly.

J. Todd Ring,

September 29, 2015

Please see:

Picking apart one of the greatest lies in American politics: “Free Trade” – Thom Hartmann, Alternet

http://www.alternet.org/economy/picking-apart-one-biggest-lies-american-politics-free-trade

Here is an excellent analysis of the three major political parties in Canada, by Toronto Star journalist Thomas Walkom, PhD in Economics from University of Toronto. (In a nutshell, they are all shills.)

Stephen Harper, Tom Mulcair and Justin Trudeau Offer Little On Economy

http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2015/08/04/stephen-harper-tom-mulcair-and-justin-trudeau-offer-little-on-economy-walkom.html

And one more brilliantly clear-headed analysis of Justin Trudeau and the Liberals:

With Justin Trudeau, Canada Now Has Two Conservative Parties, by Will Dubitsky

http://commonsensecanadian.ca/with-justin-trudeau-canada-now-has-two-conservative-parties/

And another excellent article by Walkom, on the gleeful embrace of the failed policies of neoliberalism and “free trade” by the three major Canadian political parties:

Justin Trudeau, Stephen Harper, Thomas Mulcair buy into free-trade theory that doesn’t work: Walkom

Other countries ditch free-trade orthodoxy to protect jobs. But not Canada.

http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2013/04/19/justin_trudeau_stephen_harper_thomas_mulcair_buy_into_freetrade_theory_that_doesnt_work_walkom.html

What do you get the corporation that has everything? CETA. – Council of Canadians

http://canadians.org/ceta

Liberal Party Statement by Justin Trudeau on CETA

http://r.search.yahoo.com/_ylt=A0LEVrhbx8lVmXgAR9MPxQt.;_ylu=X3oDMTByOHZyb21tBGNvbG8DYmYxBHBvcwMxBHZ0aWQDBHNlYwNzcg–/RV=2/RE=1439315932/RO=10/RU=https%3a%2f%2fwww.liberal.ca%2fstatement-liberal-party-canada-leader-justin-trudeau-ceta-2%2f/RK=0/RS=quEeYwXf8HagopNPlS7zn2QTnqs-

Fact Sheet: No More NAFTAs! No to CETA-TPP-FIPA-FTA… – Council of Canadians

http://canadians.org/publications/factsheet-no-more-naftas-no-ceta-tpp-fipa-fta%E2%80%A6

One Million To Stop The Corporate Death Star – Avaaz

http://www.avaaz.org/en/stop_the_corporate_death_star/

BUSTED! What corporations are hiding about TPP

NAFTA, “Free Trade” and the TPP: Fast-Track To Full Corporate Rule

Posted in activism, analysis, Canada, capitalism, Chomsky, civil liberties, class, collapse, consciousness, constitution, corporate fascism, corporate rule, corporations, corporatism, corporatocracy, coup, crisis of democracy, deep integration, democracy, democratic deficit, disaster, ecological crisis, ecology, economics, economy, elite, empire, empowerment, end-game, environment, fascism, fascist, Feudalism, FTAA, geopolitics, globalism, globalization, imperialism, jobs, labour, Mexico, money, Mussolini, must-read, NAFTA, nation state, national democracies, NAU, peace, people's movements, police state, policy, political economy, politics, Security and Prosperity Partnership, sociology, sovereignty, SPP, sustainability, tipping point, trade, truth, U.S., war on democracy, WEF, World Economic Forum, WTO with tags , , , , on November 6, 2013 by jtoddring

The TPP In A Nutshell: Growing corporate power and the death of freedom

The FTA, NAFTA, the WTO, the WEF, the SPP, and now, the TPP – it is all a further drive for increasing global corporate power, and we should be very concerned. This should not need to be spelled out. The situation is becoming critical. Here is some background and context.

“Twenty years ago, the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was signed into law. At the time, advocates painted a rosy picture of booming U.S. exports creating hundreds of thousands of new jobs, and economic development in Mexico, which would bring the struggling country in line with its wealthier northern neighbors. Two decades later, those promises have failed to materialize. U.S. trade deficits with both Canada and Mexico have surged, crippling domestic industries, prompting massive job displacement and the replacement of living wage union jobs with jobs in sectors with low pay, minimal benefits and no job security.”

– Expose the TPP

 

What have been called “free trade” agreements are more accurately called corporate rights agreements, as Chomsky and others have said. And these agreements have helped to de-industrialize the US and Canada while shifting production to Mexico and other cheap labour offshore locations, such as India and China, wiping out the bulk of the middle class at home in the process, while leaving the great majority around the world in poverty as well, and generally benefiting only a small elite. Continuing in this course would clearly be disastrous for the vast majority of the people world-wide.

NAFTA, CAFTA, the FTAA, the WTO, the WEF, the SPP, the ECB and the Fed, and now, the TPP – all of these are treaties and organizational structures which represent the enthronement of the global corporate elite as the de facto rulers of the world, as the London Financial Times itself has said. They represent, in essence, a set of treaties between big business and governments, in which governments yield and cede their power to the trans-national corporate elite who already dominate the global economy, the major media and the political process and governments of most nations in the world today.

What this represents is the merger of business and the state, which as Mussolini himself said, is the very definition of fascism. What we are seeing is the destruction of both democracy and freedom, as well as human rights, constitutional law and civil liberties, under a global corporatist rule of increasingly stark neo-feudalism.

And if that were not already bad enough, we should also recognize that the people do not even benefit economically. Such moves benefit the few at the top, while the middle class is eliminated, the sea of poverty grows as the great majority of the people are driven into a growing underclass, inequality skyrockets, and a police state is constructed to keep the increasingly discontent masses silent and obedient, suppressed, subjugated, and neutralized – meaning effectively, neutered.

This is not even mentioning the utterly disastrous effects that our new global empire of corporate feudalism is having on the environment and the prospects for any kind of future for human life on earth.

Say no to the TPP and corporate rule, or say hello to a new and hellish form of Babylon, and an accelerating race towards a collective suicide.

J. Todd Ring,
November 6, 2013

The Politics of Illusion

Posted in alternatives, American politics, analysis, banks, Barack Obama, Cheney, class, consciousness, constitution, corporate fascism, corporate rule, corporations, corporatism, corporatocracy, crisis of democracy, crisis of legitimacy, democracy, Democrat, democratic deficit, Democratic Party, detention centers, elite, empire, empowerment, environment, fascism, Feudalism, free speech, freedom, geopolitics, global warming, globalism, globalization, imperialism, inspiration, labour, money, must-read, national democracies, neo-feudalism, neocon, neoconservatism, neoliberalism, Obama, peace, people's movements, police state, political economy, politics, propaganda, psychology, Republican, Republican Party, the world's other superpower, tipping point, trade, truth, U.S., Uncategorized, war, war on democracy, work on September 24, 2013 by jtoddring

Or,

Politics and the illusion of choice

“The politicians are there to give you the illusion of choice. You don’t have choice – you have owners. They own you. These rich cock-suckers own the entire country.” – George Carlin

(Apologies for the poor choice of wording, but he does nail it here. You can find this short, powerful statement on politics in the real world on youtube. See “The American Dream”.)

The problem is, the people are given a false choice: the Democratic Party works for and is owned by the same big business interests which run the Republican Party, as Chomsky and many others have rightly said, and as the majority of the people are fully aware. And both of them are taking us rapidly into a dark age of global technocratic neo-feudalism, which is frankly fascist in nature, and is run by and for the world’s banking and corporate elite.

Look at what Obama did – not just what he said he would do. “You shall know them by their fruits.” He spoke of ending war, and instead expanded it. He spoke of peace, but has consistently served the interests of the military-industrial complex.

He dressed up like Kermit the Frog, metaphorically speaking, and presented himself as a green and an environmentalist. Then he went on to support fracking, which is destroying ground water quality across the nation. He continues to support the Keystone Pipline (appropriately named, as it is a keystone to the US corporate empire and its ravenous thirst for energy) and the burning of the Canadian Tar Sands – which, if allowed to continue, will be a disaster of global proportions. And he has catered loyally to Monsanto and the genetic engineering lobby, with serious and grave dangers for human health and even greater dangers with regards to global food security and the viability of continued food production on earth for human beings.

He presented himself as a populist, but then went on to hand the banking elite trillions of dollars of the people’s money, and bailed out the banks instead of the people; and then told the people “help is coming” – help which has never materialized, of course, since the government is broke, thanks to the bail-outs to the bankers, the continued policy of off-shoring of production and capital, the continued de-industrialization of the nation, the continued disastrous wars abroad and the whore-like service to the military-industrial-security complex and the financial elite, which, together, now rule the nation.

Obama posed as a democrat, a populist, a progressive and a friend of the people, and then intensified the Bush/Cheney/neo-con war on democracy, civil liberties and the Constitution, and further accelerated the creation of a police state at home, while giving the corporate and financial elite pretty much whatever they want.

Change? What change? Obama is Dick Cheney on steroids, with a pretty PR job and slick speech writers. He is a whore to Wall Street. His actions have proven it beyond any reasonable doubt. This man should be in prison, not running the country.

(Actually, he knows very well he doesn’t run the country – he serves the business elite who run the country, which is how and why he got into power in the first place.)

And by the way, the Democratic Party and the Republican Party – the two parties of the US branch of global corporate rule – are both deeply committed to abolishing all of the gains made by the people over the past two hundred years. They are both committed to returning us to Dickensian times, to the glory days, the golden age of unfettered capital, when there was no minimum wage, no social security or economic security of any kind, no restrictions on child labour, environmental degradation or workplace safety, and no right to organize or form unions for collective bargaining or simple self-protection; the days when the vast majority of people were so destitute and desperate that they would work for anything, even starvation wages, and the business class could rape and pillage freely, without any constraints, to their hearts’ content, and to the last dying gasp of their worker drones, who live little better than slaves.

Both the Republicans and the Democrats are committed to the continued off-shoring of production and capital, the continued de-industrialization of the nation, which means the creation of a largely jobless society and the third-worldization of the country – and the remainder of the world – in the drive for ever more astronomical profits and riches for the fraction of a percent of the population who are the ruling elite. It’s just a matter of whether you want the floor pulled out from underneath you, on the installment plan, by way of painful little pieces being cut away daily, or whether you want to take it on the chin with the Republicans, and get the blood-letting over with all at once. Either way, it is the same agenda, and the results will be indistinguishable in the end – because they work for the same people!

Both of the major US political parties are committed to increasing the already stratospheric wealth and power of the corporate and banking elite who have bought and purchased these parties, and whom they loyally serve – as their actions make abundantly clear. Anything that stands in the way of these core objectives must be demolished, and is actively being demolished – including the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, the Geneva Convention, the UN Declaration of Human Rights, all environmental, health and labour standards, media diversity, freedom of speech or the right to protest or even publically assemble peacefully for any purpose – other than sports games and other distractions, since the policy of “bread and circuses” is almost as core as the policies of “divide and conquer” and rape and pillage; the demolition of any meaningful sense of authentic democracy, actual freedom for the overwhelming majority of the people, and even the ability of the people to think for themselves, or to unite to discuss or pursue their common goals in solidarity and with the power of uniting the people. All these things stand in the way of ever increasing wealth and power for the few, so all of these things must be destroyed, and are now actively being destroyed. Those who are awake have seen this happening for some time now. It is high time the rest of the people woke up, before they get to the end of the cattle chute, and find out first hand, and most painfully, where all of this is leading.

In a word, what the business elite who control both major political parties in the US want, is a global labour camp – a global prison planet, where the vast majority of the people live in a sea of poverty, the great ocean of the ever-growing underclass, and the lucky few who have “jobs” are willing to work for the lowest possible pay, with zero security, so that they will be terrified of saying a word or making a peep about their abysmal lives and working conditions – and meanwhile, and of course, as the primary objective to all of this, the super-rich corporate elite can live like pharaohs on their private islands, in mansions and yachts, sipping champagne or quaffing Scotch and caviar, surrounded by private armies, heavily armed henchmen and security barriers, while the world slowly bleeds – or rather, is bled – to death.

They want a gulag. They want a return to feudalism. They are greedy little boys and girls, obsessed with their egos and their infantile sense of grandiosity, wanting ever more self-aggrandizement, and dreaming of being god-kings. It would be laughable, were it not also pathetic, and truly dangerous in the extreme.

We have seen such patterns in the past. Every empire has fallen, and every would-be Tzar or Caesar has failed in the end, and has tumbled and crumbled to dust. But that does not mean that these trends are not dangerous nonetheless. They are, and extremely so.

No, their is no real difference between the long-term trajectory, motives or agenda of either of the major US political parties. They are the parties of corporate rule, the parties which represent the aggressive drive to return us to the glorious reign of feudal kings and lords, sweatshops everywhere, and detention centres – labour camps – for those who are displeased with this arrangement of affairs. The only real difference between them is that the Democratic Party is far better at public relations, or what the industry itself calls “image management.” Either way, you get war, a police state, the destruction of the Constitution, Bill of Rights and civil liberties, a war on democracy and a steady drive towards a kind of global neo-feudalism under corporate rule. There is no real choice between them. They represent the same interests – those of the global business elite – and their long term objectives are virtually indistinguishable. These are the unpleasant facts of the matter.

So long as the Obamaphiles continue to prop up this failed regime – this regime which has pushed forward the Bush/Cheney/neo-con agenda further than that giddy little George Junior ever likely dared to dream; and pushed further ahead with the same policies of imperial warfare abroad, and the destruction of democracy, the Constitution and civil liberties at home, with the continued drive towards a police state – until this regime of Obama/Wall Street/neo-cons in neo-liberal Democratic guise and disguise is ended and brought down, there will be no real change. Let’s be perfectly clear on that.

The real choice is not between two parties of corporate rule, but whether we, the people, will continue to play along with this losing game, this deal with the devil; or whether the people will rise and reclaim their power.

When, not if the people rise to reclaim their power and their future, the game will be over, for the people always hold the greater power. Mark my words. Of this you can be sure. And the tipping point is fast approaching.

Look at the fall of the Soviet Empire. When the crisis of legitimacy reached a tipping point, the final threshold, the people threw off the old empire like water shaken off a dog’s back, and the USSR and five other Communist regimes collapsed, virtually overnight.

The same is coming to the West. This empire will not last forever – this empire of neo-feudal global corporatism. But, it will be deadly in its destructiveness and in the suffering and misery it causes, so long as it continues. Therefore, let it be brought down swiftly and decisively, and now, by peaceful means, by the people rising to reclaim their power.

It is time.

We, the people, the other 99.99%, can and must challenge the ruling order, which is rapidly devolving into a kind of neo-feudal, global corporate rule. The people always have the greater power, but in order to exercise our power, we must first recognize and embrace it. We can start by inspiring and empowering ourselves and one another. We must also unite the people. United, the people will be victorious. Divided, they will continue to be subjugated, and they will be doomed to great and increasing sufferings and tyranny.

Empower, inspire and unite the people. The rest will follow naturally from there. Remember, all empires fall, sooner or later. This too shall pass. It is up to us to hasten the transition to a better world, and now.

J. Todd Ring, September 24, 2013

Built to crash: the coming economic tsunami

Posted in activism, alternative, alternatives, analysis, books, capitalism, Chomsky, class, climate change, collapse, corporate fascism, corporate rule, corporations, corporatism, corporatocracy, crash, deep integration, disaster, drought, ecological crisis, ecology, economic collapse, economics, economy, elite, empire, empowerment, end-game, environment, Eric Fromm, fascism, fascist, Feudalism, geopolitics, global warming, globalism, globalization, must-read, neoconservatism, neoliberalism, police state, political economy, political philosophy, politics, politics of oil, post-carbon, reading, resources, Security and Prosperity Partnership, social theory, sociology, SPP, sustainability, trade on June 7, 2011 by jtoddring

`Would you rather have a perfectly efficient system that, if hit by a pebble, would shatter? Or, would you rather have an adaptable system that may not give you the exact output you want, but can handle anything?  According to Barry Lynn of the New America Foundation, our economy and our entire domestic food supply are being set up to be shattered.`

Lynn`s work is truly a must-read…. Monopoly capitalism is a system built to crash. Wonderful to hear a lucid mind cut through the crap, even if the news is troubling. Build local economic self-reliance now if you are wise – the monopolists won`t let up until we have a collapse: and the comibination of a self-created and escalating ecological crisis with this extremely fragile monopolistic global economic system, pretty much guarantees a collapse is coming.

China Controls Our Food Supply: Barry Lynn on Radio Free Dylan | Dylan Ratigan

JTR,

June 7, 2011

See also:

A Brief History of Progress, Collapse, The Party`s Over, Power Down, Life After Debt, The Yes Men, The Corporation, Shock Doctrine, A Game As Old As Empire, Year 501, Necessary Illusions, The Ecology of Freedom, Escape from Freedom, Power to the People (in suits), The End of America, The Great Turning, relocalization, permaculture, organics, slow food, food revolution, Real News, InfoWars, Centre for Research on Globalization, Prajnaseek on Youtube and Twitter

Organic Agriculture’s Resilience Shows Untapped Potential

Growing a Better Future: Food justice in a resource-constrained world :: Oxfam GB

The System’s bust :: Oxfam GB

Fears of a corporate police state – David Sirota – Salon.com

Is American law enforcement colluding with Cisco? – David Sirota – Salon.com

Power to the People (In Suits) How a whole new kind of business lobby is a threat to democracy by Paul Bigioni

What Must Be Done: When corporatism and Leninism have both failed – part two

Posted in activism, alternative, Canada, Chomsky, common ground, corporate fascism, corporate rule, corporatism, crisis of legitimacy, democracy, ecological crisis, ecology, empire, empowerment, end-game, environment, fascism, freedom, FTAA, geopolitics, globalism, globalization, good news, history, human rights, imperialism, inspiration, Jefferson, left, liberal, Martial Law, NAFTA, neoliberalism, people's movements, police state, policy, political economy, political theory, politics, right wing, Security and Prosperity Partnership, social theory, sociology, SPP, the right, the world's other superpower, tipping point, trade, U.N., U.S., WEF, World Social Forum, WTO on February 28, 2007 by jtoddring


Building a World Federation, from the Grassroots Up

The U.N. is failing and in need of fundamental reform – people everywhere are rightly skeptical about its present and future role in the world. Corporate and financial power is clearly out of hand, to say it mildly, and great powers, in the traditional sense of powerful nation states, clearly also have to be reigned in. In this context, it is becoming clear to all that only the global human community, the people of the earth themselves, united in solidarity across our great and wondrous diversity, joined together by some few commonly shared principles, can reign in the unwieldy and anti-democratic, anti-ecological destructive powers which now dominate the earth.

The mood of humanity, if you can make such a broad statement, and I believe one can with a fair degree of accuracy (see the World Economic Forum global poll 2002), is one of deep concern for the future; deep discontent with the present state of global power, economy and relations; deep disillusionment with existing forms of power and institutions; and showing a clear and growing realization of the need to both deepen democracy, and simultaneously build bridges of world solidarity for mutual protection and creative action.

Can humanity agree upon a few basic principles, while allowing for mutual respect of our differences and diversity? I think this is not only a reasonable proposition, but one that has already been demonstrated. We have international agreements such as the Kyoto Accord, ratified by 141 nations, the Montreal Protocol on ozone depletion, ratified and implemented around the world, the Ottawa Treaty, banning landmines world-wide, ratified by the majority of the world’s nations, and the Geneva Convention, to name just a few examples of human agreement and consensus internationally. We have the U.N. Declaration of Human Rights, for example, which the vast majority of the world have accepted as a basis for international unity and understanding.

The basic principles of freedom, democracy, equality, peace and sustainability are acceptable to the vast majority of the global village. It is only the rogue financial and corporate powers, along with an unfortunately large number of political elites from many countries around the world, and a relative handful of extremists, who cannot or will not accept these principles as binding. The populace, as a whole, and world-wide, in virtually every nation on earth, already accepts these principles as foundational for any decent human society. Agreement is already there. It is solidarity that is lacking. Alienation and division must be overcome. We already agree on enough to build a better world. It is the unity across diversity that is missing, but that is changing quickly.

Some form of world federalism is needed now. Before this statement can be misunderstood, it must be said that I am not advocating the further institutionalization of hyper-concentrated global power. We do not need any further centralization or concentration of power in the world – in fact, what is needed is a radical decentralization and democratization of social, political and economic power. At the same time, however, it is clear that we need a greater degree of solidarity and cooperation amongst humanity and human communities world wide. We need thus, some form of global federation in which power is democratically held and concentrated at the grassroots level.

After the World Trade Organization protests in Seattle of 1999, just such a grassroots-based global network of solidarity began to emerge. Individuals and popular movements world-wide began to recognize the need to respond to social and environmental issues in a more comprehensive, systematic and globally linked fashion, with greater international solidarity, across all lines of geography, issue-orientation, race, class, gender and religion. Seattle `99 was a watermark, a turning point. Since then, much has been done to create and develop such a decentralized, democratic and popular-based unity amid diversity: a global network of peoples’ movements. This phenomenon shows great promise. It may be the only thing that can reverse the trend toward hyper-concentration of global power, the destruction of human rights, freedom and democracy, and the destruction of our home on earth.

The shining star to emerge out of this growth of grassroots global solidarity is the World Social Forum. The WSF is not a body with any direct political or economic power. It is a gathering, a place of networking and bridge-building. It is a place for individuals and popular movements to come together to exchange information and ideas, to discuss and debate, and most importantly, to generate greater solidarity and cooperation among peoples, communities and movements world-wide for the creation of a better world. It is not a centralized power, but a place where decentralized, democratic grassroots constituencies can discuss, come to certain agreements as to shared values and goals, and together, without the need for a centralized authority directing them, in the spirit of equality, freedom and democracy, bring about greater cooperative and effective action for the benefit of humanity and the earth. Noam Chomsky recently remarked that the World Social Forum is presently the most promising phenomenon on the planet.

Along with 1) the pervasive global questioning and challenging of all forms of power in society and all previously held assumptions, 2) the emerging spirit of democratic citizens’ empowerment world-wide, 3) the increasing realization by humanity of the interdependent nature of our world, 4) the dawning awareness that unity and diversity are not intrinsically contradictory, but in fact can be mutually enhancing, 5) the rapidly developing and growing global solidarity among diverse peoples, groups, communities and social movements world-wide, and 6) the rapidly unfolding genuine human renaissance which is perhaps unprecedented in its depth as well as its breadth; I would have to agree with professor Chomsky: the World Social Forum is one of the most promising things happening on earth at this time.

Along with the World Social Forum, we clearly also need a renewal and a deepening of democracy world-wide, in individual communities, states, provinces and nations. And, I would say, in order for this to be possible, a federation model, rather than a model of centralized power, needs to be developed or restored: otherwise we have the outer forms of democracy, but the democratic forms hide the real nature of power in society, which is oligarchy.
This needs to be done at the local level – the level of communities – and also at the state/provincial level, the level of the nation-state, and internationally. We need, in sum, a decentralization and democratization of power in society, along with a corresponding increase in global solidarity and cooperation: we need a decentralized and democratic world federation of some form.

It must be noted that it is absolutely critical that not only overt formal political power be decentralized and democratized, linked in a global federation of democratic communities (and perhaps for a time yet, also nation-states), but also economic and cultural power. We must swiftly, peacefully, and absolutely decisively deal with the exisitng hyper-concentrations of media power, and the parallel and even more fundamental hyper-concentrations of economic power – in the hands of banks, financial institutions, large corporations, family dynasties, old boys clubs, and trade agreements and bodies that effectively concentrate global power in the hands of the international investment class (such as the WTO, NAFTA, the FTAA, the SPP and the WEF).

Although their vision and example was imperfect, Thomas Jefferson and Thomas Paine both held a clear and sensible, and in some regards, a noble view of the world as it could be – as can be yet. Thomas Paine, the primary political theorist for the American democratic revolution, along with Jefferson, took his inspiration from the Iroquois Confederacy, not the ancient Greeks, as is commonly believed. The Iroquois Confederacy still offers perhaps the best model for the future of humanity. Five nations lived in peace in a grassroots, community-based federation for mutual protection and prosperity. The people of these nations lived with greater peace, freedom and authentic democracy than almost any other peoples before or since. Jefferson himself admitted that the new American democracy was a pale imitation of the superior, more free and equal, and more democratic form of government which he saw in these native communities. Despite their faults, Thomas Jefferson and Thomas Paine, along with the Iroquois Confederacy, offer us now among the best and clearest inspiration for a better world, as we together look to our future on earth, and together face the ominous and simultaneously hopeful trends of the present.

Jefferson saw it clearly: either keep political power decentralized and out of any one group or individual’s hands (beware the ostensibly benign oligarchs), or watch tyranny arise, and freedom, democracy, human rights and even decency of life, decay and die. He also saw clearly that if the increasing concentration of economic power in the hands of the corporations is not checked, democracy will be overthrown by stealth: consumed and digested by the dominant power of money. He was right on both counts. We are late in heeding his warning, but not too late. There is still time to rescue the dream of democracy from the threats which surround her. There is still time to found a beautiful and just, free and fair world for humanity on earth. It is not to late. But we must act now.

J. Todd Ring,
February 2007

What Must Be Done: When corporatism and Leninism have both failed – part 1

A “Must-Read” Short List: Author’s Picks

Overview: Geopolitics 2006-2008

Posted in Bush, Canada, Canadian, corporate rule, deep integration, economy, fascism, globalization, NACC, NAU, North American Union, policy, politics, SPP, trade, U.S. on January 25, 2007 by jtoddring

Time for Action:


Canadian politics and the future of Canada as a nation

The long and the short of it is – I believe – unless we seriously address the macro-economic issues, we will not even have the option of meaningful parliamentary debate, much less effective action via parliament, for parliament will continue to be subsumed under corporate dominance. Whatever concerns or good ideas we may have would then be blocked from implementation, at least within the parliamentary process. We would then be left to plead from the sidelines – or bleat from the sidelines – having failed to tackle corporate rule, and thus having failed to reclaim our democracy and our nation.

I’d like to see the Green Party, the NDP, a new party, or a coalition that is created from elements of the existing parties – based on a shared set of principles, values and goals – address our current socio-economic, political and ecological situation in Canada systematically and boldly.

I’d like to see a party – any party – or a coalition of individuals derived from progressive elements of a number of parties – take on corporate globalism, the crisis of democracy, oil dependency and environmental issues, in a comprehensive, systematic, strategic and courageous manner, with vision and vigour.

This would entail a platform that communicated the realities of our current predicament to Canadians in a straight-forward, no-nonsense way – realities which polls show the great majority of Canadians already understand. And it would require the creation of a vision, a strategy and a platform for addressing these realities in a way that fits the seriousness of these issues, and not in a tepid or piecemeal way.

It would be a platform to take back Canada, to truly “stand up for Canada” (as Harper and the Conservatives promised, but promised insincerely) by reclaiming and renewing authentic democracy, and re-investing in our ability as Canadians to set our own independent social, economic, environmental and foreign policy values, goals and policies.

In order to accomplish this, we would have to form and implement a plan to reduce our economic dependence on the US, in terms of trade and economic policy, and we would have to take a courageous stand against corporate globalization and the defacto corporate rule which has emerged.

We would then, in terms of the details of such a strategy and vision to reclaim our nation, abrogate NAFTA, say no to the FTAA, deep integration and the SPP, gain control of our currency through capital controls and changes to monetary policy with the Bank of Canada, create a Tobin tax to deter financial speculation, repatriate the debt, and restructure our investment policies and regulations.

(For example, we could start by revising our investment policies so that tax credits are given for RRSP’s only when the investment is in Canada, in Canadian companies or Canada savings bonds – which would go a long way both to strengthening the economy and toward gaining greater economic and thus political independence, and which also would provide a way to repatriate the debt, thus freeing us from dependency upon and manipulation (economic leverage, or simply blackmail) by international banks and financial institutions.)

A couple of points, at least, need to be realized, acknowledged, and acted upon. 1. Corporate-led globalization is not working for the vast majority – either in Canada or elsewhere in the world, does not benefit the vast majority, and is in fact destroying our social programs, quality of life, environment and democracy. We need to fundamentally re-orient our economic policies and strategy in order to create prosperity with both equity and sustainability. We urgently need to find or create, and to implement, an alternative to corporate globalization. 2. The U.S. economy is a sinking ship. We need to cease immediately our strategy of aligning ourselves ever more deeply with this failed state and empire at eclipse. We need to halt the rapid slide into deep integration with the U.S., and immediately begin to diversify and shift our trade alliances. While the U.S. is sinking economically, Europe, Latin America, India and China are rising fast. If we are intelligent, we will shift our trade and economic alliances in response to these rapidly changing global economic realities.

The EU and the BRIC alliance make far more sense as trade partners now, when the U.S. is in rapid decline, than does the teetering giant to the south. The BRIC alliance – Brazil, Russia, India and China, with many other Latin American and Asian countries joining – is the rising star. Given the choices between closer ties with the U.S. (via NAFTA and the SPP), or the EU and the BRIC alliance, smart money would certainly be on the latter. In fact, the smart money, and most of the big money, is already moving or has moved out of the U.S. We are very slow in the uptake if we as a country do not get this.

In terms of a rejection of corporate globalism, Chavez has shown what a bold approach to macro-economic and social policies can achieve, especially when backed by large oil reserves and the economic and political power that comes with these. There is no reason why Canada could not be even more bold: we hold more oil reserves than Venezuela, and have more resources and greater economic wealth and power than Venezuela.

We should be radically restructuring our tax and subsidy policies with regard to the oil and gas industry in Canada. With the increased tax revenue, we can do far more than has been done in Venezuela, Venezuela having comparably fewer resources and less economic power to work with. With this increased public revenue from the oil and gas industry we can adequately fund, protect and even enhance our social programs, expand dramatically our environmental programs, and get serious about the environmental and social issues we face. More importantly, we can gain and preserve a greater degree of economic, social, cultural and political independence: we can preserve our nation. Presently the Alberta government, presiding over the bulk of the nation’s oil reserves, which it claims as its own, is charging an absurd 1% royalty rate on oil extraction. Meanwhile, the federal government actually subsidizes the oil companies, to the tune of multi-billions a year. Is this not just a little ridiculous?

There is no reason to let Exxon take a long straw from Texas and suck out our oil – at least not without the biggest part of the profits going to the Canadian people. Venezuela, under the leadership of Chavez, has increased the windfall profits tax on oil companies, reaping an additional USD $3 billion a year into the public purse. The oil industry in Venezuela now generates about one third of the nation’s GDP, and approximately half of all government revenues. This windfall to the public purse is being used to eradicate poverty, fund education and public health care, and, in short, lift the quality of life for all people in the country. In Bolivia, President Evo Morales simply turned the profit distribution for the oil industry on its head. Before, oil companies took 80% of the profits, while 20% of the profits went to the people of Bolivia. Now the people of Bolivia get 80% of the profits, and the oil companies are happy to receive 20%. Are the oil companies leaving en masse? Of course not. They want the oil, and they can still make a hefty profit. The countries with oil have the upper hand. They can either concede to essentially giving away their oil, or they can insist that the bulk of the profits go to the people of the country, while leaving room for ample – though not extortionist – oil company profits. The difference is one of fair trade versus economic predation.

Who’s oil is it anyway? The trans-national oil companies certainly have less of a legitimate claim to it than do the people of the country. The oil companies can still invest, operate, extract, and make a profit. They simply can’t make a killing. If we had a party or a coalition that showed real leadership, this one act of socializing the oil industry – not expropriating it, but making 80% of the oil profits go to the Canadian people, and not the global oil companies – would make a dramatic difference in the lives of the Canadian people, and in this country. For one, there would be no crisis in our social programs – they would be amply funded. And not incidentally, a significant portion of the multi-billion dollar a year windfall to public coffers could go to investing in renewable energy and conservation. We give our oil away, and neither the environment nor the people of Canada benefit. How sensible is this?

Meanwhile, to site just one example:

“In 2005, Exxon reported third-quarter profits of $9.92 billion, 75% higher than its third-quarter earnings in 2004, and the largest quarterly profit ever reported by a US company.

“Exxon is reportedly giving its retiring chairman, Lee Raymond, a package worth nearly $400 million, in combined pension, stock options and other perks, including a $1 million consulting deal, the use of a corporate jet for professional purposes, 2 years of home security, and a car and driver.

“While testifying at a Congressional hearing last November, Raymond claimed that high gas prices were a result of supply and demand. “We’re all in this together,” he told members of Congress, “everywhere in the world.”

“”In 2004, Mr. Raymond,” Senator, Barbara Boxer (D-CA), was quick to point out, “your bonus was over $3.6 million.”

“After exhibiting a chart revealing the pay scale for each of the CEOs at the hearing, Senator Boxer told the oil executives: “Your sacrifice appears to be nothing.”

“According to Exxon’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Raymond’s paycheck rose to $51.1 million in 2005.”

– Evelyn Pringle, Will Big Oil Destroy the US Economy?

As with our oil industry, we are still currently shipping our forestry products out of the country with relatively little gained for the Canadian people. This is 19th century colonial thinking. We should immediately increase stumpage fees levied upon forestry corporations, and re-invest the money back into the forestry industry, supporting the growth of valued-added industries that take the raw logs and pulp, and turn them into high-value products for export. A log shipped to China is a gross waste of Canadian resources, and shipping lumber to the U.S. is little better. We can tax the rapacious cutting of our forests by big forestry companies, and feed the creation and support of value-added industries and sustained-yield ecological forestry in this country, thus creating a surge in jobs and tax dollars while preserving the long-term economic viability of the forestry industry and the ecological base which it rests upon. Instead of shipping logs, lumber and pulp, we would then be shipping furniture, musical instruments and other high value products, increasing our positive trade balance and public revenues enormously while protecting the forests from a senseless hack and slash model in the tunnel-visioned and myopic pursuit of short-term economic gain. Simply by making an intelligent shift in economic strategy with regard to these two giant industries – oil and forestry – we can bring profound and far-reaching benefit to the people of Canada. What we need is a bold approach that does not flinch when the corporate lobby flexes its muscle. Sorry MacBlo and Syncrude. The people of Canada come first.

Just as we need urgently to shift our international trade and economic strategies – away from reliance on and integration with the sinking U.S. empire, and away from excessive dependency upon and vulnerability to trans-national capital and international financial markets and institutions – we need to dramatically shift our economic policies and strategy domestically, at home.

We need to shift our basic macro-economic strategy: away from one of catering to big corporations, especially foreign-based multi-nationals, for whom we presently bend over obligingly, and whom we subsidize with massive tax breaks as well as direct and indirect subsidies; and toward funding and giving tax breaks to small and medium size businesses, the poor and the middle class. Small business is the engine of economic growth, the backbone of the economy, and the primary employer in the country, as elsewhere – as is widely acknowledged. It makes no sense to subsidize big corporations and tax small business to death. What makes sense is to reverse this pattern, reign in the corporate giants who now dominate the political process and receive huge tax breaks, and support small business. This would strengthen the economy, create jobs, increase our economic and political independence and sovereignty, and provide a functional, viable and prosperous, as well as more equitable alternative to corporate-dominated globalization.

***

Who would benefit from such a platform? Small and medium business, the poor, the middle class, students, children, the elderly – in short, the vast majority of Canadians. Who could we seek to support such a platform to truly “stand up for Canada”? The grassroots right – who voted in Harper and the Conservatives on the promise to stand up for Canada, who want tax cuts for the middle class, the poor and small business, who want a revitalized democracy, who want a strong economy and good jobs – and many authentic conservatives, who are not happy with the sell-out of the country to big business, financial institutions and foreign governments (ie: the U.S.). The left and centre, who want prosperity with equity, protection for and enhancement of social programs, expansion of environmental programs, a reduction of taxes on the poor and middle class, an alternative to corporate globalization – which 70% of Canadians say is not working in the public interest – and a preservation of our cultural, political and economic sovereignty. In short, across the political spectrum, support can be expected, if the platform is sufficiently bold and inspiring, and is communicated clearly enough.

There is no party currently offering such a platform or vision, no party that currently offers anything resembling a bold and inspiring vision for Canada. Should a party or coalition decide to offer such a vision, there could be a landslide of popular support that rises up in response. This is what I’d like to see happen.

If Chavez, Morales and Kirchner, in Venezuela, Bolivia and Argentina, can show leadership in throwing off the gross failure which is neo-liberalism, can assert authentic democracy in the face of decades of history with fascist regimes, imperial aggression and U.S.-backed coups, and present a viable, dynamic, moving, inspiring, wildly popular movement and vision for independence, solidarity and justice, what can we do in Canada with even more resources and economic strength at our disposal?

Sitting on the world’s largest oil reserves – the tar sands – and with one of the world’s resource-richest nations, one of the biggest economies in the world, a highly educated and literate populace and skilled and educated workforce, an infrastructure and technological base that has few rivals, and a history of social justice and peace that, while imperfect, is strong and runs deep, we in Canada are in a position not just to bemoan the social, economic, political and environmental difficulties that we face, but to take the lead. We can become the junior partner to a dying empire, and slide further into neo-fascist corporate rule, or we can break out of the mold, find solidarity with Europe and Latin America, as well the fast-rising star of India (the world’s largest democracy, home to the world’s largest middle class, with an economy that is set to out-pace China’s in economic growth this year), and set a course for economic and socio-political independence, in solidarity with other nations that are sick and tired of imperial power games.

It is a choice that we are going to face rather soon, and with increasing urgency, for the realities of deep integration with what has become a fascist state – the Security and Prosperity Partnership with the United States – are about to hit us. We had better awaken from the American dream now. This dream is becoming a nightmare. We need to chart a new course – our own course. A Canadian course.

***

The initiatives outlined above are not in themselves sufficient to remedy our social or environmental problems, but they are a necessary first step. If we do not take serious action now, we will only see the further unraveling of our democracy, the further drift into full-fledged neo-fascist corporate rule, the further destruction of our social programs, and the further destruction of the environment. If we care about any of these things, if we care about having or creating a just society, a peaceful society, a sustainable society, or even a society where the quality of life for all is preserved and enhanced, rather than undermined, then we need to take serious steps to renounce corporate globalism and corporate rule, and to reclaim our democracy and our sovereignty. Piece meal efforts will not do. We must now boldly present and act upon a plan to reverse the dominance of the trans-national corporations over our economy and political process. We must regain control of our currency, economy and parliaments. If we do not, then our fine words and nice ideas will go nowhere. If we do not regain control of the helm, then we are a drifting ship of fools, and our pious words are all in vain.

If none of the political parties can take the necessary steps and do what needs to be done, then they should announce themselves as irrelevant, and close up shop. My hope is, however, that the Canadian people can create the movement necessary to get one of the political parties, a new party, or perhaps a coalition that is created from members of all parties, to step up to the plate and get the job done. However it gets done, we need to act now. Time is running out on our sovereignty, our democracy, even our existence as a nation. Time for action.

***

Now that it is outlined, as to what needs to be done, the question that remains is one of strategy: how do we do it? Political strategy in the era of corporate dominance of the political process, the media and the economy is a tricky question. When most political parties are indebted to big business for the funds that get them elected, when the mass media is either directly owned or else controlled by corporations – via dependency on corporate advertising money – the political process becomes mired in the politics of vested interest, democracy is in crisis, and even public debate and discussion is largely quashed. Creating a popular movement for bold and progressive social change requires communicating a vision that will rally popular support and empower collective action. But the means of communication are locked up by corporate controlled media, who have no interest in changing the status quo. Any movement, party or coalition that seeks to create an alternative to corporate rule, that seeks to reclaim, renew and revitalize genuine democracy, will no doubt meet with bad press, or no press, given the present media environment. Thus, in order to reach out to the people, the newest and the oldest of tools for political mobilization will be required: the internet and the street. To reach out to the people with a bold and inspiring vision, to even begin to form a movement for creative action and positive social change, will require the use of the new town hall – the web – and the old town hall – the face-to-face meetings that used to be the staple of politics, before the electronic age. In the age of mass-media electoral politics, the new medium of the internet is often overlooked, and the old medium of town hall-style public meetings is forgotten. But this is where the movement will begin. This is where it will succeed or fail.

In order to accomplish the goals of reclaiming our democracy, protecting our sovereignty, our social programs and our environment; to create a just and sustainable society, and to preserve and enhance the quality of life for all, it will be necessary to make a few simple but crucial steps. The above outline of a platform can be taken as a starting point for creating a vision. Without a vision there is no inspiration, and therefore no action. A small group of activists – ordinary individuals – can take the initiative. From there, the enlistment of support from a few prominent Canadians will do to encourage more involvement and get the ball rolling. After that, it is a matter of old-fashioned political organizing – from the grassroots up. Go to the people, city by city, town by town, hold public meetings in libraries and churches, schools and union halls, universities and workplaces, and utilize the internet to its fullest capacity to compliment the face-to-face engagement of citizens. From there, it is a matter of either forming a new party from this emerging grassroots movement, getting an existing party to find the courage to take on the challenge, or forming a coalition from members of existing parties as well as ordinary Canadians to take the movement to the next level: implementation.

The path is hard, but the time is ripe. The political landscape has, in some ways, never been more ready for such a groundswell of change. There is an opening now. And there is a need. The urgency is almost ear-shattering. The longing for meaningful, clear-headed, good-hearted change is almost palpable. The movement that can fill this need – recognize the opportunity and act to create the flow through that opening – is going to meet with resounding success. It is now that we must dispense with pious hand-wringing and defeatist pessimism. There is always more day to dawn. The time is ripe, the moment is now. Let us begin.

JTR

January 24, 2007

Time for Action: Canadian politics and the future of Canada as nation

The Sinking U.S. Economy:
Poor Choice for an Economic Partner in the 21st Century

America’s Unsustainable Current Account Deficit

* The Dollar’s Full-System Meltdown

Economic ” Armageddon ” Predicted

Dollar Catching Asian Flu – Asia Times

Arab central banks sell dollar

As Dollar Plunges, Watch for US Government Bonds Sell -off – DEBKAfile –

The War To Save The U.S. Dollar – Trinicenter.com –

Fears for dollar as central banks sell US assets

BBC NEWS | Business | Is the global economy set for trouble?

Collapse of the Petrodollar Looming

Iranian Oil Bourse Opens for Business: A Final Step Toward US Dollar Collapse & Preemptive Nuclear Strike

Deep Integration & the SPP:


* Secret Banff Meeting of CEOs and the Defense Establishment : Militarization and the Deconstruction of North America

CBC – Top secret: Banff security meeting attracted U.S., Mexico officials

* CNN Video: Lou Dobbs Slams CFR & North American Union

*** De Facto North American Government in the Making: “Canadians must take back Canada”

Deep Integration – The Council of Canadians

* North American Union/Testimony, Publications and Reports – SourceWatch

*** Paul Martin’s Big Texas Adventure


Fascism in America:

*** Habeas Corpus Your words are lies Sir – YouTube – olbermann 10-18-06

***Bush Moves Toward Martial Law

Habeas Corpus, R.I.P. (12/15 – 2006)

General Tommy Franks calls for Repeal of US Constitution

Air Force chief : Test weapons on testy US mobs – Sep 12 …

Ten Minutes to Midnight: The Emerging Police State – Z Store

Fascism watch

War on Terrorism Watch: CAUT Resource Website – Home Page

The Guardian article, “This war on terrorism is bogus: The 9/11 attacks gave the US an ideal pretext to use force to secure its global domination”

Time for Action: Canadian politics and the …

Posted in Bush, Canada, Canadian, corporate rule, deep integration, economy, fascism, globalization, NACC, NAU, North American Union, policy, politics, SPP, trade, U.S. on January 25, 2007 by jtoddring

Time for Action:


Canadian politics and the future of Canada as a nation

The long and the short of it is – I believe – unless we seriously address the macro-economic issues, we will not even have the option of meaningful parliamentary debate, much less effective action via parliament, for parliament will continue to be subsumed under corporate dominance. Whatever concerns or good ideas we may have would then be blocked from implementation, at least within the parliamentary process. We would then be left to plead from the sidelines – or bleat from the sidelines – having failed to tackle corporate rule, and thus having failed to reclaim our democracy and our nation.

I’d like to see the Green Party, the NDP, a new party, or a coalition that is created from elements of the existing parties – based on a shared set of principles, values and goals – address our current socio-economic, political and ecological situation in Canada systematically and boldly.

I’d like to see a party – any party – or a coalition of individuals derived from progressive elements of a number of parties – take on corporate globalism, the crisis of democracy, oil dependency and environmental issues, in a comprehensive, systematic, strategic and courageous manner, with vision and vigour.

This would entail a platform that communicated the realities of our current predicament to Canadians in a straight-forward, no-nonsense way – realities which polls show the great majority of Canadians already understand. And it would require the creation of a vision, a strategy and a platform for addressing these realities in a way that fits the seriousness of these issues, and not in a tepid or piecemeal way.

It would be a platform to take back Canada, to truly “stand up for Canada” (as Harper and the Conservatives promised, but promised insincerely) by reclaiming and renewing authentic democracy, and re-investing in our ability as Canadians to set our own independent social, economic, environmental and foreign policy values, goals and policies.

In order to accomplish this, we would have to form and implement a plan to reduce our economic dependence on the US, in terms of trade and economic policy, and we would have to take a courageous stand against corporate globalization and the defacto corporate rule which has emerged.

We would then, in terms of the details of such a strategy and vision to reclaim our nation, abrogate NAFTA, say no to the FTAA, deep integration and the SPP, gain control of our currency through capital controls and changes to monetary policy with the Bank of Canada, create a Tobin tax to deter financial speculation, repatriate the debt, and restructure our investment policies and regulations.

(For example, we could start by revising our investment policies so that tax credits are given for RRSP’s only when the investment is in Canada, in Canadian companies or Canada savings bonds – which would go a long way both to strengthening the economy and toward gaining greater economic and thus political independence, and which also would provide a way to repatriate the debt, thus freeing us from dependency upon and manipulation (economic leverage, or simply blackmail) by international banks and financial institutions.)

A couple of points, at least, need to be realized, acknowledged, and acted upon. 1. Corporate-led globalization is not working for the vast majority – either in Canada or elsewhere in the world, does not benefit the vast majority, and is in fact destroying our social programs, quality of life, environment and democracy. We need to fundamentally re-orient our economic policies and strategy in order to create prosperity with both equity and sustainability. We urgently need to find or create, and to implement, an alternative to corporate globalization. 2. The U.S. economy is a sinking ship. We need to cease immediately our strategy of aligning ourselves ever more deeply with this failed state and empire at eclipse. We need to halt the rapid slide into deep integration with the U.S., and immediately begin to diversify and shift our trade alliances. While the U.S. is sinking economically, Europe, Latin America, India and China are rising fast. If we are intelligent, we will shift our trade and economic alliances in response to these rapidly changing global economic realities.

The EU and the BRIC alliance make far more sense as trade partners now, when the U.S. is in rapid decline, than does the teetering giant to the south. The BRIC alliance – Brazil, Russia, India and China, with many other Latin American and Asian countries joining – is the rising star. Given the choices between closer ties with the U.S. (via NAFTA and the SPP), or the EU and the BRIC alliance, smart money would certainly be on the latter. In fact, the smart money, and most of the big money, is already moving or has moved out of the U.S. We are very slow in the uptake if we as a country do not get this.

In terms of a rejection of corporate globalism, Chavez has shown what a bold approach to macro-economic and social policies can achieve, especially when backed by large oil reserves and the economic and political power that comes with these. There is no reason why Canada could not be even more bold: we hold more oil reserves than Venezuela, and have more resources and greater economic wealth and power than Venezuela.

We should be radically restructuring our tax and subsidy policies with regard to the oil and gas industry in Canada. With the increased tax revenue, we can do far more than has been done in Venezuela, Venezuela having comparably fewer resources and less economic power to work with. With this increased public revenue from the oil and gas industry we can adequately fund, protect and even enhance our social programs, expand dramatically our environmental programs, and get serious about the environmental and social issues we face. More importantly, we can gain and preserve a greater degree of economic, social, cultural and political independence: we can preserve our nation. Presently the Alberta government, presiding over the bulk of the nation’s oil reserves, which it claims as its own, is charging an absurd 1% royalty rate on oil extraction. Meanwhile, the federal government actually subsidizes the oil companies, to the tune of multi-billions a year. Is this not just a little ridiculous?

There is no reason to let Exxon take a long straw from Texas and suck out our oil – at least not without the biggest part of the profits going to the Canadian people. Venezuela, under the leadership of Chavez, has increased the windfall profits tax on oil companies, reaping an additional USD $3 billion a year into the public purse. The oil industry in Venezuela now generates about one third of the nation’s GDP, and approximately half of all government revenues. This windfall to the public purse is being used to eradicate poverty, fund education and public health care, and, in short, lift the quality of life for all people in the country. In Bolivia, President Evo Morales simply turned the profit distribution for the oil industry on its head. Before, oil companies took 80% of the profits, while 20% of the profits went to the people of Bolivia. Now the people of Bolivia get 80% of the profits, and the oil companies are happy to receive 20%. Are the oil companies leaving en masse? Of course not. They want the oil, and they can still make a hefty profit. The countries with oil have the upper hand. They can either concede to essentially giving away their oil, or they can insist that the bulk of the profits go to the people of the country, while leaving room for ample – though not extortionist – oil company profits. The difference is one of fair trade versus economic predation.

Who’s oil is it anyway? The trans-national oil companies certainly have less of a legitimate claim to it than do the people of the country. The oil companies can still invest, operate, extract, and make a profit. They simply can’t make a killing. If we had a party or a coalition that showed real leadership, this one act of socializing the oil industry – not expropriating it, but making 80% of the oil profits go to the Canadian people, and not the global oil companies – would make a dramatic difference in the lives of the Canadian people, and in this country. For one, there would be no crisis in our social programs – they would be amply funded. And not incidentally, a significant portion of the multi-billion dollar a year windfall to public coffers could go to investing in renewable energy and conservation. We give our oil away, and neither the environment nor the people of Canada benefit. How sensible is this?

Meanwhile, to site just one example:

“In 2005, Exxon reported third-quarter profits of $9.92 billion, 75% higher than its third-quarter earnings in 2004, and the largest quarterly profit ever reported by a US company.

“Exxon is reportedly giving its retiring chairman, Lee Raymond, a package worth nearly $400 million, in combined pension, stock options and other perks, including a $1 million consulting deal, the use of a corporate jet for professional purposes, 2 years of home security, and a car and driver.

“While testifying at a Congressional hearing last November, Raymond claimed that high gas prices were a result of supply and demand. “We’re all in this together,” he told members of Congress, “everywhere in the world.”

“”In 2004, Mr. Raymond,” Senator, Barbara Boxer (D-CA), was quick to point out, “your bonus was over $3.6 million.”

“After exhibiting a chart revealing the pay scale for each of the CEOs at the hearing, Senator Boxer told the oil executives: “Your sacrifice appears to be nothing.”

“According to Exxon’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Raymond’s paycheck rose to $51.1 million in 2005.”

– Evelyn Pringle, Will Big Oil Destroy the US Economy?

As with our oil industry, we are still currently shipping our forestry products out of the country with relatively little gained for the Canadian people. This is 19th century colonial thinking. We should immediately increase stumpage fees levied upon forestry corporations, and re-invest the money back into the forestry industry, supporting the growth of valued-added industries that take the raw logs and pulp, and turn them into high-value products for export. A log shipped to China is a gross waste of Canadian resources, and shipping lumber to the U.S. is little better. We can tax the rapacious cutting of our forests by big forestry companies, and feed the creation and support of value-added industries and sustained-yield ecological forestry in this country, thus creating a surge in jobs and tax dollars while preserving the long-term economic viability of the forestry industry and the ecological base which it rests upon. Instead of shipping logs, lumber and pulp, we would then be shipping furniture, musical instruments and other high value products, increasing our positive trade balance and public revenues enormously while protecting the forests from a senseless hack and slash model in the tunnel-visioned and myopic pursuit of short-term economic gain. Simply by making an intelligent shift in economic strategy with regard to these two giant industries – oil and forestry – we can bring profound and far-reaching benefit to the people of Canada. What we need is a bold approach that does not flinch when the corporate lobby flexes its muscle. Sorry MacBlo and Syncrude. The people of Canada come first.

Just as we need urgently to shift our international trade and economic strategies – away from reliance on and integration with the sinking U.S. empire, and away from excessive dependency upon and vulnerability to trans-national capital and international financial markets and institutions – we need to dramatically shift our economic policies and strategy domestically, at home.

We need to shift our basic macro-economic strategy: away from one of catering to big corporations, especially foreign-based multi-nationals, for whom we presently bend over obligingly, and whom we subsidize with massive tax breaks as well as direct and indirect subsidies; and toward funding and giving tax breaks to small and medium size businesses, the poor and the middle class. Small business is the engine of economic growth, the backbone of the economy, and the primary employer in the country, as elsewhere – as is widely acknowledged. It makes no sense to subsidize big corporations and tax small business to death. What makes sense is to reverse this pattern, reign in the corporate giants who now dominate the political process and receive huge tax breaks, and support small business. This would strengthen the economy, create jobs, increase our economic and political independence and sovereignty, and provide a functional, viable and prosperous, as well as more equitable alternative to corporate-dominated globalization.

***

Who would benefit from such a platform? Small and medium business, the poor, the middle class, students, children, the elderly – in short, the vast majority of Canadians. Who could we seek to support such a platform to truly “stand up for Canada”? The grassroots right – who voted in Harper and the Conservatives on the promise to stand up for Canada, who want tax cuts for the middle class, the poor and small business, who want a revitalized democracy, who want a strong economy and good jobs – and many authentic conservatives, who are not happy with the sell-out of the country to big business, financial institutions and foreign governments (ie: the U.S.). The left and centre, who want prosperity with equity, protection for and enhancement of social programs, expansion of environmental programs, a reduction of taxes on the poor and middle class, an alternative to corporate globalization – which 70% of Canadians say is not working in the public interest – and a preservation of our cultural, political and economic sovereignty. In short, across the political spectrum, support can be expected, if the platform is sufficiently bold and inspiring, and is communicated clearly enough.

There is no party currently offering such a platform or vision, no party that currently offers anything resembling a bold and inspiring vision for Canada. Should a party or coalition decide to offer such a vision, there could be a landslide of popular support that rises up in response. This is what I’d like to see happen.

If Chavez, Morales and Kirchner, in Venezuela, Bolivia and Argentina, can show leadership in throwing off the gross failure which is neo-liberalism, can assert authentic democracy in the face of decades of history with fascist regimes, imperial aggression and U.S.-backed coups, and present a viable, dynamic, moving, inspiring, wildly popular movement and vision for independence, solidarity and justice, what can we do in Canada with even more resources and economic strength at our disposal?

Sitting on the world’s largest oil reserves – the tar sands – and with one of the world’s resource-richest nations, one of the biggest economies in the world, a highly educated and literate populace and skilled and educated workforce, an infrastructure and technological base that has few rivals, and a history of social justice and peace that, while imperfect, is strong and runs deep, we in Canada are in a position not just to bemoan the social, economic, political and environmental difficulties that we face, but to take the lead. We can become the junior partner to a dying empire, and slide further into neo-fascist corporate rule, or we can break out of the mold, find solidarity with Europe and Latin America, as well the fast-rising star of India (the world’s largest democracy, home to the world’s largest middle class, with an economy that is set to out-pace China’s in economic growth this year), and set a course for economic and socio-political independence, in solidarity with other nations that are sick and tired of imperial power games.

It is a choice that we are going to face rather soon, and with increasing urgency, for the realities of deep integration with what has become a fascist state – the Security and Prosperity Partnership with the United States – are about to hit us. We had better awaken from the American dream now. This dream is becoming a nightmare. We need to chart a new course – our own course. A Canadian course.

***

The initiatives outlined above are not in themselves sufficient to remedy our social or environmental problems, but they are a necessary first step. If we do not take serious action now, we will only see the further unraveling of our democracy, the further drift into full-fledged neo-fascist corporate rule, the further destruction of our social programs, and the further destruction of the environment. If we care about any of these things, if we care about having or creating a just society, a peaceful society, a sustainable society, or even a society where the quality of life for all is preserved and enhanced, rather than undermined, then we need to take serious steps to renounce corporate globalism and corporate rule, and to reclaim our democracy and our sovereignty. Piece meal efforts will not do. We must now boldly present and act upon a plan to reverse the dominance of the trans-national corporations over our economy and political process. We must regain control of our currency, economy and parliaments. If we do not, then our fine words and nice ideas will go nowhere. If we do not regain control of the helm, then we are a drifting ship of fools, and our pious words are all in vain.

If none of the political parties can take the necessary steps and do what needs to be done, then they should announce themselves as irrelevant, and close up shop. My hope is, however, that the Canadian people can create the movement necessary to get one of the political parties, a new party, or perhaps a coalition that is created from members of all parties, to step up to the plate and get the job done. However it gets done, we need to act now. Time is running out on our sovereignty, our democracy, even our existence as a nation. Time for action.

***

Now that it is outlined, as to what needs to be done, the question that remains is one of strategy: how do we do it? Political strategy in the era of corporate dominance of the political process, the media and the economy is a tricky question. When most political parties are indebted to big business for the funds that get them elected, when the mass media is either directly owned or else controlled by corporations – via dependency on corporate advertising money – the political process becomes mired in the politics of vested interest, democracy is in crisis, and even public debate and discussion is largely quashed. Creating a popular movement for bold and progressive social change requires communicating a vision that will rally popular support and empower collective action. But the means of communication are locked up by corporate controlled media, who have no interest in changing the status quo. Any movement, party or coalition that seeks to create an alternative to corporate rule, that seeks to reclaim, renew and revitalize genuine democracy, will no doubt meet with bad press, or no press, given the present media environment. Thus, in order to reach out to the people, the newest and the oldest of tools for political mobilization will be required: the internet and the street. To reach out to the people with a bold and inspiring vision, to even begin to form a movement for creative action and positive social change, will require the use of the new town hall – the web – and the old town hall – the face-to-face meetings that used to be the staple of politics, before the electronic age. In the age of mass-media electoral politics, the new medium of the internet is often overlooked, and the old medium of town hall-style public meetings is forgotten. But this is where the movement will begin. This is where it will succeed or fail.

In order to accomplish the goals of reclaiming our democracy, protecting our sovereignty, our social programs and our environment; to create a just and sustainable society, and to preserve and enhance the quality of life for all, it will be necessary to make a few simple but crucial steps. The above outline of a platform can be taken as a starting point for creating a vision. Without a vision there is no inspiration, and therefore no action. A small group of activists – ordinary individuals – can take the initiative. From there, the enlistment of support from a few prominent Canadians will do to encourage more involvement and get the ball rolling. After that, it is a matter of old-fashioned political organizing – from the grassroots up. Go to the people, city by city, town by town, hold public meetings in libraries and churches, schools and union halls, universities and workplaces, and utilize the internet to its fullest capacity to compliment the face-to-face engagement of citizens. From there, it is a matter of either forming a new party from this emerging grassroots movement, getting an existing party to find the courage to take on the challenge, or forming a coalition from members of existing parties as well as ordinary Canadians to take the movement to the next level: implementation.

The path is hard, but the time is ripe. The political landscape has, in some ways, never been more ready for such a groundswell of change. There is an opening now. And there is a need. The urgency is almost ear-shattering. The longing for meaningful, clear-headed, good-hearted change is almost palpable. The movement that can fill this need – recognize the opportunity and act to create the flow through that opening – is going to meet with resounding success. It is now that we must dispense with pious hand-wringing and defeatist pessimism. There is always more day to dawn. The time is ripe, the moment is now. Let us begin.

JTR

January 24, 2007

Time for Action: Canadian politics and the future of Canada as nation

The Sinking U.S. Economy:
Poor Choice for an Economic Partner in the 21st Century

America’s Unsustainable Current Account Deficit

* The Dollar’s Full-System Meltdown

Economic ” Armageddon ” Predicted

Dollar Catching Asian Flu – Asia Times

Arab central banks sell dollar

As Dollar Plunges, Watch for US Government Bonds Sell -off – DEBKAfile –

The War To Save The U.S. Dollar – Trinicenter.com –

Fears for dollar as central banks sell US assets

BBC NEWS | Business | Is the global economy set for trouble?

Collapse of the Petrodollar Looming

Iranian Oil Bourse Opens for Business: A Final Step Toward US Dollar Collapse & Preemptive Nuclear Strike

Deep Integration & the SPP:


* Secret Banff Meeting of CEOs and the Defense Establishment : Militarization and the Deconstruction of North America

CBC – Top secret: Banff security meeting attracted U.S., Mexico officials

* CNN Video: Lou Dobbs Slams CFR & North American Union

*** De Facto North American Government in the Making: “Canadians must take back Canada”

Deep Integration – The Council of Canadians

* North American Union/Testimony, Publications and Reports – SourceWatch

*** Paul Martin’s Big Texas Adventure


Fascism in America:

*** Habeas Corpus Your words are lies Sir – YouTube – olbermann 10-18-06

***Bush Moves Toward Martial Law

Habeas Corpus, R.I.P. (12/15 – 2006)

General Tommy Franks calls for Repeal of US Constitution

Air Force chief : Test weapons on testy US mobs – Sep 12 …

Ten Minutes to Midnight: The Emerging Police State – Z Store

Fascism watch

War on Terrorism Watch: CAUT Resource Website – Home Page

The Guardian article, “This war on terrorism is bogus: The 9/11 attacks gave the US an ideal pretext to use force to secure its global domination”

Posted in Bush, Canada, Canadian, corporate rule, deep integration, economy, fascism, globalization, NACC, NAU, North American Union, policy, politics, SPP, trade, U.S. on January 25, 2007 by jtoddring

Time for Action:


Canadian politics and the future of Canada as a nation

The long and the short of it is – I believe – unless we seriously address the macro-economic issues, we will not even have the option of meaningful parliamentary debate, much less effective action via parliament, for parliament will continue to be subsumed under corporate dominance. Whatever concerns or good ideas we may have would then be blocked from implementation, at least within the parliamentary process. We would then be left to plead from the sidelines – or bleat from the sidelines – having failed to tackle corporate rule, and thus having failed to reclaim our democracy and our nation.

I’d like to see the Green Party, the NDP, a new party, or a coalition that is created from elements of the existing parties – based on a shared set of principles, values and goals – address our current socio-economic, political and ecological situation in Canada systematically and boldly.

I’d like to see a party – any party – or a coalition of individuals derived from progressive elements of a number of parties – take on corporate globalism, the crisis of democracy, oil dependency and environmental issues, in a comprehensive, systematic, strategic and courageous manner, with vision and vigour.

This would entail a platform that communicated the realities of our current predicament to Canadians in a straight-forward, no-nonsense way – realities which polls show the great majority of Canadians already understand. And it would require the creation of a vision, a strategy and a platform for addressing these realities in a way that fits the seriousness of these issues, and not in a tepid or piecemeal way.

It would be a platform to take back Canada, to truly “stand up for Canada” (as Harper and the Conservatives promised, but promised insincerely) by reclaiming and renewing authentic democracy, and re-investing in our ability as Canadians to set our own independent social, economic, environmental and foreign policy values, goals and policies.

In order to accomplish this, we would have to form and implement a plan to reduce our economic dependence on the US, in terms of trade and economic policy, and we would have to take a courageous stand against corporate globalization and the defacto corporate rule which has emerged.

We would then, in terms of the details of such a strategy and vision to reclaim our nation, abrogate NAFTA, say no to the FTAA, deep integration and the SPP, gain control of our currency through capital controls and changes to monetary policy with the Bank of Canada, create a Tobin tax to deter financial speculation, repatriate the debt, and restructure our investment policies and regulations.

(For example, we could start by revising our investment policies so that tax credits are given for RRSP’s only when the investment is in Canada, in Canadian companies or Canada savings bonds – which would go a long way both to strengthening the economy and toward gaining greater economic and thus political independence, and which also would provide a way to repatriate the debt, thus freeing us from dependency upon and manipulation (economic leverage, or simply blackmail) by international banks and financial institutions.)

A couple of points, at least, need to be realized, acknowledged, and acted upon. 1. Corporate-led globalization is not working for the vast majority – either in Canada or elsewhere in the world, does not benefit the vast majority, and is in fact destroying our social programs, quality of life, environment and democracy. We need to fundamentally re-orient our economic policies and strategy in order to create prosperity with both equity and sustainability. We urgently need to find or create, and to implement, an alternative to corporate globalization. 2. The U.S. economy is a sinking ship. We need to cease immediately our strategy of aligning ourselves ever more deeply with this failed state and empire at eclipse. We need to halt the rapid slide into deep integration with the U.S., and immediately begin to diversify and shift our trade alliances. While the U.S. is sinking economically, Europe, Latin America, India and China are rising fast. If we are intelligent, we will shift our trade and economic alliances in response to these rapidly changing global economic realities.

The EU and the BRIC alliance make far more sense as trade partners now, when the U.S. is in rapid decline, than does the teetering giant to the south. The BRIC alliance – Brazil, Russia, India and China, with many other Latin American and Asian countries joining – is the rising star. Given the choices between closer ties with the U.S. (via NAFTA and the SPP), or the EU and the BRIC alliance, smart money would certainly be on the latter. In fact, the smart money, and most of the big money, is already moving or has moved out of the U.S. We are very slow in the uptake if we as a country do not get this.

In terms of a rejection of corporate globalism, Chavez has shown what a bold approach to macro-economic and social policies can achieve, especially when backed by large oil reserves and the economic and political power that comes with these. There is no reason why Canada could not be even more bold: we hold more oil reserves than Venezuela, and have more resources and greater economic wealth and power than Venezuela.

We should be radically restructuring our tax and subsidy policies with regard to the oil and gas industry in Canada. With the increased tax revenue, we can do far more than has been done in Venezuela, Venezuela having comparably fewer resources and less economic power to work with. With this increased public revenue from the oil and gas industry we can adequately fund, protect and even enhance our social programs, expand dramatically our environmental programs, and get serious about the environmental and social issues we face. More importantly, we can gain and preserve a greater degree of economic, social, cultural and political independence: we can preserve our nation. Presently the Alberta government, presiding over the bulk of the nation’s oil reserves, which it claims as its own, is charging an absurd 1% royalty rate on oil extraction. Meanwhile, the federal government actually subsidizes the oil companies, to the tune of multi-billions a year. Is this not just a little ridiculous?

There is no reason to let Exxon take a long straw from Texas and suck out our oil – at least not without the biggest part of the profits going to the Canadian people. Venezuela, under the leadership of Chavez, has increased the windfall profits tax on oil companies, reaping an additional USD $3 billion a year into the public purse. The oil industry in Venezuela now generates about one third of the nation’s GDP, and approximately half of all government revenues. This windfall to the public purse is being used to eradicate poverty, fund education and public health care, and, in short, lift the quality of life for all people in the country. In Bolivia, President Evo Morales simply turned the profit distribution for the oil industry on its head. Before, oil companies took 80% of the profits, while 20% of the profits went to the people of Bolivia. Now the people of Bolivia get 80% of the profits, and the oil companies are happy to receive 20%. Are the oil companies leaving en masse? Of course not. They want the oil, and they can still make a hefty profit. The countries with oil have the upper hand. They can either concede to essentially giving away their oil, or they can insist that the bulk of the profits go to the people of the country, while leaving room for ample – though not extortionist – oil company profits. The difference is one of fair trade versus economic predation.

Who’s oil is it anyway? The trans-national oil companies certainly have less of a legitimate claim to it than do the people of the country. The oil companies can still invest, operate, extract, and make a profit. They simply can’t make a killing. If we had a party or a coalition that showed real leadership, this one act of socializing the oil industry – not expropriating it, but making 80% of the oil profits go to the Canadian people, and not the global oil companies – would make a dramatic difference in the lives of the Canadian people, and in this country. For one, there would be no crisis in our social programs – they would be amply funded. And not incidentally, a significant portion of the multi-billion dollar a year windfall to public coffers could go to investing in renewable energy and conservation. We give our oil away, and neither the environment nor the people of Canada benefit. How sensible is this?

Meanwhile, to site just one example:

“In 2005, Exxon reported third-quarter profits of $9.92 billion, 75% higher than its third-quarter earnings in 2004, and the largest quarterly profit ever reported by a US company.

“Exxon is reportedly giving its retiring chairman, Lee Raymond, a package worth nearly $400 million, in combined pension, stock options and other perks, including a $1 million consulting deal, the use of a corporate jet for professional purposes, 2 years of home security, and a car and driver.

“While testifying at a Congressional hearing last November, Raymond claimed that high gas prices were a result of supply and demand. “We’re all in this together,” he told members of Congress, “everywhere in the world.”

“”In 2004, Mr. Raymond,” Senator, Barbara Boxer (D-CA), was quick to point out, “your bonus was over $3.6 million.”

“After exhibiting a chart revealing the pay scale for each of the CEOs at the hearing, Senator Boxer told the oil executives: “Your sacrifice appears to be nothing.”

“According to Exxon’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Raymond’s paycheck rose to $51.1 million in 2005.”

– Evelyn Pringle, Will Big Oil Destroy the US Economy?

As with our oil industry, we are still currently shipping our forestry products out of the country with relatively little gained for the Canadian people. This is 19th century colonial thinking. We should immediately increase stumpage fees levied upon forestry corporations, and re-invest the money back into the forestry industry, supporting the growth of valued-added industries that take the raw logs and pulp, and turn them into high-value products for export. A log shipped to China is a gross waste of Canadian resources, and shipping lumber to the U.S. is little better. We can tax the rapacious cutting of our forests by big forestry companies, and feed the creation and support of value-added industries and sustained-yield ecological forestry in this country, thus creating a surge in jobs and tax dollars while preserving the long-term economic viability of the forestry industry and the ecological base which it rests upon. Instead of shipping logs, lumber and pulp, we would then be shipping furniture, musical instruments and other high value products, increasing our positive trade balance and public revenues enormously while protecting the forests from a senseless hack and slash model in the tunnel-visioned and myopic pursuit of short-term economic gain. Simply by making an intelligent shift in economic strategy with regard to these two giant industries – oil and forestry – we can bring profound and far-reaching benefit to the people of Canada. What we need is a bold approach that does not flinch when the corporate lobby flexes its muscle. Sorry MacBlo and Syncrude. The people of Canada come first.

Just as we need urgently to shift our international trade and economic strategies – away from reliance on and integration with the sinking U.S. empire, and away from excessive dependency upon and vulnerability to trans-national capital and international financial markets and institutions – we need to dramatically shift our economic policies and strategy domestically, at home.

We need to shift our basic macro-economic strategy: away from one of catering to big corporations, especially foreign-based multi-nationals, for whom we presently bend over obligingly, and whom we subsidize with massive tax breaks as well as direct and indirect subsidies; and toward funding and giving tax breaks to small and medium size businesses, the poor and the middle class. Small business is the engine of economic growth, the backbone of the economy, and the primary employer in the country, as elsewhere – as is widely acknowledged. It makes no sense to subsidize big corporations and tax small business to death. What makes sense is to reverse this pattern, reign in the corporate giants who now dominate the political process and receive huge tax breaks, and support small business. This would strengthen the economy, create jobs, increase our economic and political independence and sovereignty, and provide a functional, viable and prosperous, as well as more equitable alternative to corporate-dominated globalization.

***

Who would benefit from such a platform? Small and medium business, the poor, the middle class, students, children, the elderly – in short, the vast majority of Canadians. Who could we seek to support such a platform to truly “stand up for Canada”? The grassroots right – who voted in Harper and the Conservatives on the promise to stand up for Canada, who want tax cuts for the middle class, the poor and small business, who want a revitalized democracy, who want a strong economy and good jobs – and many authentic conservatives, who are not happy with the sell-out of the country to big business, financial institutions and foreign governments (ie: the U.S.). The left and centre, who want prosperity with equity, protection for and enhancement of social programs, expansion of environmental programs, a reduction of taxes on the poor and middle class, an alternative to corporate globalization – which 70% of Canadians say is not working in the public interest – and a preservation of our cultural, political and economic sovereignty. In short, across the political spectrum, support can be expected, if the platform is sufficiently bold and inspiring, and is communicated clearly enough.

There is no party currently offering such a platform or vision, no party that currently offers anything resembling a bold and inspiring vision for Canada. Should a party or coalition decide to offer such a vision, there could be a landslide of popular support that rises up in response. This is what I’d like to see happen.

If Chavez, Morales and Kirchner, in Venezuela, Bolivia and Argentina, can show leadership in throwing off the gross failure which is neo-liberalism, can assert authentic democracy in the face of decades of history with fascist regimes, imperial aggression and U.S.-backed coups, and present a viable, dynamic, moving, inspiring, wildly popular movement and vision for independence, solidarity and justice, what can we do in Canada with even more resources and economic strength at our disposal?

Sitting on the world’s largest oil reserves – the tar sands – and with one of the world’s resource-richest nations, one of the biggest economies in the world, a highly educated and literate populace and skilled and educated workforce, an infrastructure and technological base that has few rivals, and a history of social justice and peace that, while imperfect, is strong and runs deep, we in Canada are in a position not just to bemoan the social, economic, political and environmental difficulties that we face, but to take the lead. We can become the junior partner to a dying empire, and slide further into neo-fascist corporate rule, or we can break out of the mold, find solidarity with Europe and Latin America, as well the fast-rising star of India (the world’s largest democracy, home to the world’s largest middle class, with an economy that is set to out-pace China’s in economic growth this year), and set a course for economic and socio-political independence, in solidarity with other nations that are sick and tired of imperial power games.

It is a choice that we are going to face rather soon, and with increasing urgency, for the realities of deep integration with what has become a fascist state – the Security and Prosperity Partnership with the United States – are about to hit us. We had better awaken from the American dream now. This dream is becoming a nightmare. We need to chart a new course – our own course. A Canadian course.

***

The initiatives outlined above are not in themselves sufficient to remedy our social or environmental problems, but they are a necessary first step. If we do not take serious action now, we will only see the further unraveling of our democracy, the further drift into full-fledged neo-fascist corporate rule, the further destruction of our social programs, and the further destruction of the environment. If we care about any of these things, if we care about having or creating a just society, a peaceful society, a sustainable society, or even a society where the quality of life for all is preserved and enhanced, rather than undermined, then we need to take serious steps to renounce corporate globalism and corporate rule, and to reclaim our democracy and our sovereignty. Piece meal efforts will not do. We must now boldly present and act upon a plan to reverse the dominance of the trans-national corporations over our economy and political process. We must regain control of our currency, economy and parliaments. If we do not, then our fine words and nice ideas will go nowhere. If we do not regain control of the helm, then we are a drifting ship of fools, and our pious words are all in vain.

If none of the political parties can take the necessary steps and do what needs to be done, then they should announce themselves as irrelevant, and close up shop. My hope is, however, that the Canadian people can create the movement necessary to get one of the political parties, a new party, or perhaps a coalition that is created from members of all parties, to step up to the plate and get the job done. However it gets done, we need to act now. Time is running out on our sovereignty, our democracy, even our existence as a nation. Time for action.

***

Now that it is outlined, as to what needs to be done, the question that remains is one of strategy: how do we do it? Political strategy in the era of corporate dominance of the political process, the media and the economy is a tricky question. When most political parties are indebted to big business for the funds that get them elected, when the mass media is either directly owned or else controlled by corporations – via dependency on corporate advertising money – the political process becomes mired in the politics of vested interest, democracy is in crisis, and even public debate and discussion is largely quashed. Creating a popular movement for bold and progressive social change requires communicating a vision that will rally popular support and empower collective action. But the means of communication are locked up by corporate controlled media, who have no interest in changing the status quo. Any movement, party or coalition that seeks to create an alternative to corporate rule, that seeks to reclaim, renew and revitalize genuine democracy, will no doubt meet with bad press, or no press, given the present media environment. Thus, in order to reach out to the people, the newest and the oldest of tools for political mobilization will be required: the internet and the street. To reach out to the people with a bold and inspiring vision, to even begin to form a movement for creative action and positive social change, will require the use of the new town hall – the web – and the old town hall – the face-to-face meetings that used to be the staple of politics, before the electronic age. In the age of mass-media electoral politics, the new medium of the internet is often overlooked, and the old medium of town hall-style public meetings is forgotten. But this is where the movement will begin. This is where it will succeed or fail.

In order to accomplish the goals of reclaiming our democracy, protecting our sovereignty, our social programs and our environment; to create a just and sustainable society, and to preserve and enhance the quality of life for all, it will be necessary to make a few simple but crucial steps. The above outline of a platform can be taken as a starting point for creating a vision. Without a vision there is no inspiration, and therefore no action. A small group of activists – ordinary individuals – can take the initiative. From there, the enlistment of support from a few prominent Canadians will do to encourage more involvement and get the ball rolling. After that, it is a matter of old-fashioned political organizing – from the grassroots up. Go to the people, city by city, town by town, hold public meetings in libraries and churches, schools and union halls, universities and workplaces, and utilize the internet to its fullest capacity to compliment the face-to-face engagement of citizens. From there, it is a matter of either forming a new party from this emerging grassroots movement, getting an existing party to find the courage to take on the challenge, or forming a coalition from members of existing parties as well as ordinary Canadians to take the movement to the next level: implementation.

The path is hard, but the time is ripe. The political landscape has, in some ways, never been more ready for such a groundswell of change. There is an opening now. And there is a need. The urgency is almost ear-shattering. The longing for meaningful, clear-headed, good-hearted change is almost palpable. The movement that can fill this need – recognize the opportunity and act to create the flow through that opening – is going to meet with resounding success. It is now that we must dispense with pious hand-wringing and defeatist pessimism. There is always more day to dawn. The time is ripe, the moment is now. Let us begin.

JTR

January 24, 2007

Time for Action: Canadian politics and the future of Canada as nation

The Sinking U.S. Economy:
Poor Choice for an Economic Partner in the 21st Century

America’s Unsustainable Current Account Deficit

* The Dollar’s Full-System Meltdown

Economic ” Armageddon ” Predicted

Dollar Catching Asian Flu – Asia Times

Arab central banks sell dollar

As Dollar Plunges, Watch for US Government Bonds Sell -off – DEBKAfile –

The War To Save The U.S. Dollar – Trinicenter.com –

Fears for dollar as central banks sell US assets

BBC NEWS | Business | Is the global economy set for trouble?

Collapse of the Petrodollar Looming

Iranian Oil Bourse Opens for Business: A Final Step Toward US Dollar Collapse & Preemptive Nuclear Strike

Deep Integration & the SPP:


* Secret Banff Meeting of CEOs and the Defense Establishment : Militarization and the Deconstruction of North America

CBC – Top secret: Banff security meeting attracted U.S., Mexico officials

* CNN Video: Lou Dobbs Slams CFR & North American Union

*** De Facto North American Government in the Making: “Canadians must take back Canada”

Deep Integration – The Council of Canadians

* North American Union/Testimony, Publications and Reports – SourceWatch

*** Paul Martin’s Big Texas Adventure


Fascism in America:

*** Habeas Corpus Your words are lies Sir – YouTube – olbermann 10-18-06

***Bush Moves Toward Martial Law

Habeas Corpus, R.I.P. (12/15 – 2006)

General Tommy Franks calls for Repeal of US Constitution

Air Force chief : Test weapons on testy US mobs – Sep 12 …

Ten Minutes to Midnight: The Emerging Police State – Z Store

Fascism watch

War on Terrorism Watch: CAUT Resource Website – Home Page

The Guardian article, “This war on terrorism is bogus: The 9/11 attacks gave the US an ideal pretext to use force to secure its global domination”

Time for Action: Canadian politics and the future of Canada as a nation

Posted in Bush, Canada, Canadian, corporate rule, deep integration, economy, fascism, globalization, NACC, NAU, North American Union, policy, politics, SPP, trade, U.S. on January 25, 2007 by jtoddring

The long and the short of it is – I believe – unless we seriously address the macro-economic issues, we will not even have the option of meaningful parliamentary debate, much less effective action via parliament, for parliament will continue to be subsumed under corporate dominance. Whatever concerns or good ideas we may have would then be blocked from implementation, at least within the parliamentary process. We would then be left to plead from the sidelines – or bleat from the sidelines – having failed to tackle corporate rule, and thus having failed to reclaim our democracy and our nation. The same holds true in Canada, the U.S., U.K. or any other “liberal democracy” around the world, where liberal democracy has devolved into neoliberal or neoconservative corporatism.

I’d like to see the Green Party, the NDP, a new party, or a coalition that is created from elements of the existing parties – based on a shared set of principles, values and goals – address our current socio-economic, political and ecological situation in Canada systematically and boldly.

I’d like to see a party – any party – or a coalition of individuals derived from progressive elements of a number of parties – take on corporate globalism, the crisis of democracy, oil dependency and environmental issues, in a comprehensive, systematic, strategic and courageous manner, with vision and vigour.

This would entail a platform that communicated the realities of our current predicament to Canadians in a straight-forward, no-nonsense way – realities which polls show the great majority of Canadians already understand. And it would require the creation of a vision, a strategy and a platform for addressing these realities in a way that fits the seriousness of these issues, and not in a tepid or piecemeal way.

It would be a platform to take back Canada, to truly “stand up for Canada” (as Harper and the Conservatives promised, but promised insincerely) by reclaiming and renewing authentic democracy, and re-investing in our ability as Canadians to set our own independent social, economic, environmental and foreign policy values, goals and policies.

In order to accomplish this, we would have to form and implement a plan to reduce our economic dependence on the US, in terms of trade and economic policy, and we would have to take a courageous stand against corporate globalization and the defacto corporate rule which has emerged.

We would then, in terms of the details of such a strategy and vision to reclaim our nation, abrogate NAFTA, say no to the FTAA, deep integration and the SPP, gain control of our currency through capital controls and changes to monetary policy with the Bank of Canada, create a Tobin tax to deter financial speculation, repatriate the debt, and restructure our investment policies and regulations. Without these steps, we can forget about having a democracy, or sovereignty: all talk of other issues will be futile and hollow until or unless we address these fundamental macro-economic issues. Ignoring these issues while blathering about this or that noble cause is utter foolishness. We have no more time for such non-sense. Issues of domestic policy, foreign policy, war and peace, economic policy, social policy, environmental policy, health care, child care, pensions or any other issue become moot if we have no substantive democracy or sovereignty remaining. This should be perfectly obvious to all.

(We could start by revising our investment policies so that tax credits are given for RRSP’s only when the investment is in Canada, in Canadian companies or Canada savings bonds – which would go a long way both to strengthening the economy and toward gaining greater economic and thus political independence, and which also would provide a way to repatriate the debt, thus freeing us from dependency upon and manipulation (economic leverage, or simply blackmail) by international banks and financial institutions. Leaving the door open to international financial speculation is leaving our sovereignty up for grabs to the power of global financial markets. Watching capital flood out of the country rather than be re-invested in sustainable economic development, debt elimination and social programs at home, is equally senseless.)

A couple of points, at least, need to be realized, acknowledged, and acted upon.

1. Corporate-led globalization is not working for the vast majority – either in Canada or elsewhere in the world, does not benefit the vast majority, and is in fact destroying our social programs, quality of life, environment and democracy.

We need to fundamentally re-orient our economic policies and strategy in order to create prosperity with both equity and sustainability. We urgently need to find or create, and to implement, an alternative to corporate-led globalization.

The prediction that corporate-style globalization is a race to the bottom, has born out in experience. The gap between rich and poor has widened over the past 15-25 years, in both “developed” and “less developed” nations, as well as globally. The numbers of people living in poverty has grown, both in the “first world” and the “third world.”

Corporate globalization has wiped out jobs, whole industries, countless small businesses, social and environmental programs, and is in the process of wiping out the middle class.

It should be clear to any who are paying attention that this is not working. This neoliberal/neoconservative global corporatist order is working only for the already obscenely rich. The number of billionaires keeps increasing, but the vast majority of humanity keeps falling. Maybe the two are related?

2. The U.S. economy is a sinking ship. We need to cease immediately our strategy of aligning ourselves ever more deeply with this failed state and empire at eclipse. We need to halt the rapid slide into deep integration with the U.S., and immediately begin to diversify and shift our trade alliances. While the U.S. is sinking economically, Europe, Latin America, India and China are rising fast. If we are intelligent, we will shift our trade and economic alliances in response to these rapidly changing global economic realities.

The EU and the BRIC alliance make far more sense as trade partners now, when the U.S. is in rapid decline, than does the teetering giant to the south. The BRIC alliance – Brazil, Russia, India and China, with many other Latin American and Asian countries joining – is the rising star. Given the choices between closer ties with the U.S. (via NAFTA and the SPP), or the EU and the BRIC alliance, smart money would certainly be on the latter. In fact, the smart money, and most of the big money, is already moving or has moved out of the U.S. We are very slow in the uptake if we as a country do not get this.

In terms of a rejection of corporate globalism, Chavez has shown what a bold approach to macro-economic and social policies can achieve, especially when backed by large oil reserves and the economic and political power that comes with these. There is no reason why Canada could not be even more bold: we hold more oil reserves than Venezuela, and have more resources and greater economic wealth and power than Venezuela.

We should be radically restructuring our tax and subsidy policies with regard to the oil and gas industry in Canada. With the increased tax revenue, we can do far more than has been done in Venezuela, Venezuela having comparably fewer resources and less economic power to work with. With this increased public revenue from the oil and gas industry we can adequately fund, protect and even enhance our social programs, expand dramatically our environmental programs, and get serious about the environmental and social issues we face. More importantly, we can gain and preserve a greater degree of economic, social, cultural and political independence: we can preserve our nation. Presently the Alberta government, presiding over the bulk of the nation’s oil reserves, which it claims as its own, is charging an absurd 1% royalty rate on oil extraction. Meanwhile, the federal government actually subsidizes the oil companies, to the tune of multi-billions a year. Is this not just a little ridiculous?

There is no reason to let Exxon take a long straw from Texas and suck out our oil – at least not without the biggest part of the profits going to the Canadian people. Venezuela, under the leadership of Chavez, has increased the windfall profits tax on oil companies, reaping an additional USD $3 billion a year into the public purse. The oil industry in Venezuela now generates about one third of the nation’s GDP, and approximately half of all government revenues. This windfall to the public purse is being used to eradicate poverty, fund education and public health care, and, in short, lift the quality of life for all people in the country. In Bolivia, President Evo Morales simply turned the profit distribution for the oil industry on its head. Before, oil companies took 80% of the profits, while 20% of the profits went to the people of Bolivia. Now the people of Bolivia get 80% of the profits, and the oil companies are happy to receive 20%. Are the oil companies leaving en masse? Of course not. They want the oil, and they can still make a hefty profit. The countries with oil have the upper hand. They can either concede to essentially giving away their oil, or they can insist that the bulk of the profits go to the people of the country, while leaving room for ample – though not extortionist – oil company profits. The difference is one of fair trade versus economic predation.

Who’s oil is it anyway? The trans-national oil companies certainly have less of a legitimate claim to it than do the people of the country. The oil companies can still invest, operate, extract, and make a profit. They simply can’t make a killing. If we had a party or a coalition that showed real leadership, this one act of socializing the oil industry – not expropriating it, but making 80% of the oil profits go to the Canadian people, and not the global oil companies – would make a dramatic difference in the lives of the Canadian people, and in this country. For one, there would be no crisis in our social programs – they would be amply funded. And not incidentally, a significant portion of the multi-billion dollar a year windfall to public coffers could go to investing in renewable energy and conservation. We give our oil away, and neither the environment nor the people of Canada benefit. How sensible is this?

Meanwhile, to site just one example:

“In 2005, Exxon reported third-quarter profits of $9.92 billion, 75% higher than its third-quarter earnings in 2004, and the largest quarterly profit ever reported by a US company.

“Exxon is reportedly giving its retiring chairman, Lee Raymond, a package worth nearly $400 million, in combined pension, stock options and other perks, including a $1 million consulting deal, the use of a corporate jet for professional purposes, 2 years of home security, and a car and driver.

“While testifying at a Congressional hearing last November, Raymond claimed that high gas prices were a result of supply and demand. “We’re all in this together,” he told members of Congress, “everywhere in the world.”

“”In 2004, Mr. Raymond,” Senator, Barbara Boxer (D-CA), was quick to point out, “your bonus was over $3.6 million.”

“After exhibiting a chart revealing the pay scale for each of the CEOs at the hearing, Senator Boxer told the oil executives: “Your sacrifice appears to be nothing.”

“According to Exxon’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Raymond’s paycheck rose to $51.1 million in 2005.”

– Evelyn Pringle, Will Big Oil Destroy the US Economy?

As with our oil industry, we are still currently shipping our forestry products out of the country with relatively little gained for the Canadian people. This is 19th century colonial thinking. We should immediately increase stumpage fees levied upon forestry corporations, and re-invest the money back into the forestry industry, supporting the growth of valued-added industries that take the raw logs and pulp, and turn them into high-value products for export. A log shipped to China is a gross waste of Canadian resources, and shipping lumber to the U.S. is little better. We can tax the rapacious cutting of our forests by big forestry companies, and feed the creation and support of value-added industries and sustained-yield ecological forestry in this country, thus creating a surge in jobs and tax dollars while preserving the long-term economic viability of the forestry industry and the ecological base which it rests upon. Instead of shipping logs, lumber and pulp, we would then be shipping furniture, musical instruments and other high value products, increasing our positive trade balance and public revenues enormously while protecting the forests from a senseless hack and slash model in the tunnel-visioned and myopic pursuit of short-term economic gain. Simply by making an intelligent shift in economic strategy with regard to these two giant industries – oil and forestry – we can bring profound and far-reaching benefit to the people of Canada. What we need is a bold approach that does not flinch when the corporate lobby flexes its muscle. Sorry MacBlo and Syncrude. The people of Canada come first.

Just as we need urgently to shift our international trade and economic strategies – away from reliance on and integration with the sinking U.S. empire, and away from excessive dependency upon and vulnerability to trans-national capital and international financial markets and institutions – we need to dramatically shift our economic policies and strategy domestically, at home.

We need to shift our basic macro-economic strategy: away from one of catering to big corporations, especially foreign-based multi-nationals, for whom we presently bend over obligingly, and whom we subsidize with massive tax breaks as well as direct and indirect subsidies; and toward funding and giving tax breaks to small and medium size businesses, the poor and the middle class. Small business is the engine of economic growth, the backbone of the economy, and the primary employer in the country, as elsewhere – as is widely acknowledged. It makes no sense to subsidize big corporations and tax small business to death. What makes sense is to reverse this pattern, reign in the corporate giants who now dominate the political process and receive huge tax breaks, and support small business. This would strengthen the economy, create jobs, increase our economic and political independence and sovereignty, and provide a functional, viable and prosperous, as well as more equitable alternative to corporate-dominated globalization.

 

***

Who would benefit from such a platform? Small and medium business, the poor, the middle class, students, children, the elderly – in short, the vast majority of Canadians. Who could we seek to support such a platform to truly “stand up for Canada”? The grassroots right – who voted in Harper and the Conservatives on the promise to stand up for Canada, who want tax cuts for the middle class, the poor and small business, who want a revitalized democracy, who want a strong economy and good jobs – and many authentic conservatives, who are not happy with the sell-out of the country to big business, financial institutions and foreign governments (ie: the U.S.). The left and centre, who want prosperity with equity, protection for and enhancement of social programs, expansion of environmental programs, a reduction of taxes on the poor and middle class, an alternative to corporate globalization – which 70% of Canadians say is not working in the public interest – and a preservation of our cultural, political and economic sovereignty. In short, across the political spectrum, support can be expected, if the platform is sufficiently bold and inspiring, and is communicated clearly enough.

There is no party currently offering such a platform or vision, no party that currently offers anything resembling a bold and inspiring vision for Canada. Should a party or coalition decide to offer such a vision, there could be a landslide of popular support that rises up in response. This is what I’d like to see happen.

If Chavez, Morales and Kirchner, in Venezuela, Bolivia and Argentina, can show leadership in throwing off the gross failure which is neo-liberalism, can assert authentic democracy in the face of decades of history with fascist regimes, imperial aggression and U.S.-backed coups, and present a viable, dynamic, moving, inspiring, wildly popular movement and vision for independence, solidarity and justice, what can we do in Canada with even more resources and economic strength at our disposal?

Sitting on the world’s largest oil reserves – the tar sands – and with one of the world’s resource-richest nations, one of the biggest economies in the world, a highly educated and literate populace and skilled and educated workforce, an infrastructure and technological base that has few rivals, and a history of social justice and peace that, while imperfect, is strong and runs deep, we in Canada are in a position not just to bemoan the social, economic, political and environmental difficulties that we face, but to take the lead. We can become the junior partner to a dying empire, and slide further into neo-fascist corporate rule, or we can break out of the mold, find solidarity with Europe and Latin America, as well the fast-rising star of India (the world’s largest democracy, home to the world’s largest middle class, with an economy that is set to out-pace China’s in economic growth this year), and set a course for economic and socio-political independence, in solidarity with other nations that are sick and tired of imperial power games.

It is a choice that we are going to face rather soon, and with increasing urgency, for the realities of deep integration with what has become a fascist state – the Security and Prosperity Partnership with the United States – are about to hit us. We had better awaken from the American dream now. This dream is becoming a nightmare. We need to chart a new course – our own course. A Canadian course.

 

***

The initiatives outlined above are not in themselves sufficient to remedy our social or environmental problems, but they are a necessary first step. If we do not take serious action now, we will only see the further unraveling of our democracy, the further drift into full-fledged neo-fascist corporate rule, the further destruction of our social programs, and the further destruction of the environment. If we care about any of these things, if we care about having or creating a just society, a peaceful society, a sustainable society, or even a society where the quality of life for all is preserved and enhanced, rather than undermined, then we need to take serious steps to renounce corporate globalism and corporate rule, and to reclaim our democracy and our sovereignty. Piece meal efforts will not do. We must now boldly present and act upon a plan to reverse the dominance of the trans-national corporations over our economy and political process. We must regain control of our currency, economy and parliaments. If we do not, then our fine words and nice ideas will go nowhere. If we do not regain control of the helm, then we are a drifting ship of fools, and our pious words are all in vain.

If none of the political parties can take the necessary steps and do what needs to be done, then they should announce themselves as irrelevant, and close up shop. My hope is, however, that the Canadian people can create the movement necessary to get one of the political parties, a new party, or perhaps a coalition that is created from members of all parties, to step up to the plate and get the job done. However it gets done, we need to act now. Time is running out on our sovereignty, our democracy, even our existence as a nation. Time for action.

 

***

Now that it is outlined, as to what needs to be done, the question that remains is one of strategy: how do we do it? Political strategy in the era of corporate dominance of the political process, the media and the economy is a tricky question. When most political parties are indebted to big business for the funds that get them elected, when the mass media is either directly owned or else controlled by corporations – via dependency on corporate advertising money – the political process becomes mired in the politics of vested interest, democracy is in crisis, and even public debate and discussion is largely quashed. Creating a popular movement for bold and progressive social change requires communicating a vision that will rally popular support and empower collective action. But the means of communication are locked up by corporate controlled media, who have no interest in changing the status quo. Any movement, party or coalition that seeks to create an alternative to corporate rule, that seeks to reclaim, renew and revitalize genuine democracy, will no doubt meet with bad press, or no press, given the present media environment. Thus, in order to reach out to the people, the newest and the oldest of tools for political mobilization will be required: the internet and the street. To reach out to the people with a bold and inspiring vision, to even begin to form a movement for creative action and positive social change, will require the use of the new town hall – the web – and the old town hall – the face-to-face meetings that used to be the staple of politics, before the electronic age. In the age of mass-media electoral politics, the new medium of the internet is often overlooked, and the old medium of town hall-style public meetings is forgotten. But this is where the movement will begin. This is where it will succeed or fail.

In order to accomplish the goals of reclaiming our democracy, protecting our sovereignty, our social programs and our environment; to create a just and sustainable society, and to preserve and enhance the quality of life for all, it will be necessary to make a few simple but crucial steps. The above outline of a platform can be taken as a starting point for creating a vision. Without a vision there is no inspiration, and therefore no action. A small group of activists – ordinary individuals – can take the initiative. From there, the enlistment of support from a few prominent Canadians will do to encourage more involvement and get the ball rolling. After that, it is a matter of old-fashioned political organizing – from the grassroots up. Go to the people, city by city, town by town, hold public meetings in libraries and churches, schools and union halls, universities and workplaces, and utilize the internet to its fullest capacity to compliment the face-to-face engagement of citizens. From there, it is a matter of either forming a new party from this emerging grassroots movement, getting an existing party to find the courage to take on the challenge, or forming a coalition from members of existing parties as well as ordinary Canadians to take the movement to the next level: implementation.

The path is hard, but the time is ripe. The political landscape has, in some ways, never been more ready for such a groundswell of change. There is an opening now. And there is a need. The urgency is almost ear-shattering. The longing for meaningful, clear-headed, good-hearted change is almost palpable. The movement that can fill this need – recognize the opportunity and act to create the flow through that opening – is going to meet with resounding success. It is now that we must dispense with pious hand-wringing and defeatist pessimism. There is always more day to dawn. The time is ripe, the moment is now. Let us begin.

 

 

JTR

January 24, 2007

Time for Action: Canadian politics and the future of Canada as nation

*****

Further information:

 

The Sinking U.S. Economy:
Poor Choice for an Economic Partner in the 21st Century

America’s Unsustainable Current Account Deficit

* The Dollar’s Full-System Meltdown

Economic ” Armageddon ” Predicted

Dollar Catching Asian Flu – Asia Times

Arab central banks sell dollar

 

As Dollar Plunges, Watch for US Government Bonds Sell -off – DEBKAfile –

 

The War To Save The U.S. Dollar – Trinicenter.com –

 

Fears for dollar as central banks sell US assets

 

BBC NEWS | Business | Is the global economy set for trouble?

 

Collapse of the Petrodollar Looming

 

Iranian Oil Bourse Opens for Business: A Final Step Toward US Dollar Collapse & Preemptive Nuclear Strike

 

Deep Integration & the SPP:


* Secret Banff Meeting of CEOs and the Defense Establishment : Militarization and the Deconstruction of North America

 

CBC – Top secret: Banff security meeting attracted U.S., Mexico officials

 

* CNN Video: Lou Dobbs Slams CFR & North American Union

 

*** De Facto North American Government in the Making: “Canadians must take back Canada”

 

Deep Integration – The Council of Canadians

* North American Union/Testimony, Publications and Reports – SourceWatch

 

*** Paul Martin’s Big Texas Adventure


Fascism in America:

 

*** Habeas Corpus Your words are lies Sir – YouTube – olbermann 10-18-06

 

***Bush Moves Toward Martial Law

 

Habeas Corpus, R.I.P. (12/15 – 2006)

General Tommy Franks calls for Repeal of US Constitution

 

Air Force chief : Test weapons on testy US mobs – Sep 12 …

Ten Minutes to Midnight: The Emerging Police State – Z Store

 

Fascism watch

War on Terrorism Watch: CAUT Resource Website – Home Page

The Guardian article, “This war on terrorism is bogus: The 9/11 attacks gave the US an ideal pretext to use force to secure its global domination”

Posted in Bush, Canada, Canadian, corporate rule, deep integration, economy, fascism, globalization, NACC, NAU, North American Union, policy, politics, Security and Prosperity Partnership, SPP, trade, U.S. on November 30, 2006 by jtoddring

North American Union:

Time to Re-Focus

The progressive and left media have clearly developed into a strong chorus of voices across the Western world, but a pack mentality has in some ways arisen. Group think has emerged – or resurfaced – and with it, internal self-censorship. There are things that are discussed, and there are things that are collectively, unconsciously, deemed to be out of bounds for discussion.

The progressive and left media is largely focused on documenting the litany of evils of this corporate-dominated socio-political and economic order. This is worthwhile and necessary, but off the mark in terms of a primary focus of efforts.

Polls have shown for some time that the vast majority of people in the U.S., Canada and the Western world have lost faith in this economic and political system. Polls repeatedly show that the great majority view the economic system as inherently unfair, the democratic system as hollowed out by the dominance of corporate interests, and the whole affair as being ecologically suicidal to boot. Continuing to convince the general public that the system of corporate monopoly capitalism is not working in their interests, is preaching to the converted.

What is needed now, is not more focus on documenting the evils of a social order dominated by big money, but a rallying cry – a focused effort to rally the great majority to a cause they already believe in: the struggle for a free and just, democratic society, and the end of corporate dominance over politics and the economy. Action is needed. The people are informed. They need now a rallying focus. The crisis of legitimacy is approaching critical mass across the Western world, particularly in the United States. There is an opportunity now for bold vision and bold action.

Democracy vs. Empire

I would suggest that a natural focus for such a move from criticism to proposition, from documenting evils and informing the public to rallying popular movements for justice and social change, would be the unfolding formalization of corporate power in the Americas, vis a vis the North American Union. This is a focal point that can unite the right and the left, can bring together a broad and diverse coalition and united popular movement from across the political spectrum at the level of the grassroots; for almost everyone, at any point on the political spectrum, at the level of the grassroots populace, is overwhelmingly opposed to further concentration of corporate power over our lives, governments and societies, and that is precisely what the NAU is all about.

The defining struggle of the present is not between left and right, liberal or conservative, but between democracy and empire. What we need to agree upon, and what 80 to 90% of the people of the U.S., Canada and Mexico can agree upon, is that democracy is preferable to tyranny. With the rapid back-door implementation of a North American Union underway, bypassing Congress, Parliament, and public debate, the issue at hand is the survival of democracy, as flawed as it may be, or the emergence of what can only be accurately described as corporate fascism.

At the level of the grassroots, both liberals and conservatives, right and left, overwhelmingly agree that democracy is preferable to fascism. This is our rallying point. This is where the crisis of legitimacy is turned into decisive action at a time of great danger, and great opportunity.

The straw man that terrifies

Progressives and the left seem terrified of being branded as “conspiracy theorists.” It is a fear that is unfounded. The political climate has changed. Of course the corporate-owned and corporate-dominated media will still use this straw man. But the vast majority of the people in the Western world now correctly believe that powerful business and political elites meet behind closed doors to discuss, plan and implement policies that serve their own interests, but not those of the general public. With on-going closed door secretive meetings of the WTO and North American Summits, it is pretty hard to deny the reality of this – it would take a determined effort, in fact, to pretend this is not happening. After Seattle (1999) and the Quebec Summit (2001), the closed-door high-level talks of the power elite became well-publicized. It is by now obvious to just about everyone that high level policies are being determined by a powerful corporate elite and their political counterparts, outside the realm of democratic forums, and without public debate or even oversight. And the fact of corporate dominance over the political process is by now undeniable to virtually everyone, across the political spectrum.

In fact, we are now seeing right-wing, conservative Republicans from Texas – about as staunch a group of supporters as the political right would ever wish for, until recently – move to a direct denunciation of, and opposition to, what they are rightly calling the emerging “corporate fascism.” Who would have thought? But it is happening. Traditional conservatives are becoming disgusted by the corruption and anti-democratic trends of what many have called corporate rule.

A basis for unity within diversity

The divide between right and left is narrowing, at least on this core issue: do we live in a democracy or a tyranny, and do we prefer democracy, or do we prefer fascism. Most on the right, as well as the left, are unequivocal about this: we may disagree on a number of important issues, but we can agree on this – we decidedly prefer democracy to corporate-fascist rule.

What the right and left, liberals, conservatives and progressives can agree upon – at least 85% of the population can agree upon, regardless of political persuasion – is that fascism is an abomination, and democracy, however flawed, is infinitely more desirable. With the writing being clearly on the wall, we can see the drift we’re on: we’re heading for full-fledged corporate fascism. The Patriot Acts and Military Commissions Act makes this unthinkable possibility, a present and grim reality. We need to take action now to stop this trend.

The rise of corporate power

This is the obvious trend in the Western world; in the United States in particular, but also in Canada, the U.K. and Europe: we are moving into a fascist order. In terms of economy, the concentration of corporate power has been increasing steadily, and in fact exponentially, over many decades. As most already know, corporate power now overshadows political power and democratic governments – exactly as Jefferson had warned, nearly 200 years ago. We failed to head his warning, and are now paying the price.

As of 2004, the 500 biggest corporations on the planet controlled over USD $20 trillion in annual revenues – approximately three times the U.S. economy. The political leverage of such awesome financial power would be hard to overstate – and is commonly grossly understated.

The corporate giants have been consciously and with great determination consolidating their power and their dominance over political processes and democratic governments for decades. This trend can be dismissed as a conspiracy theory, but such straw man arguments simply evade the obvious reality. This is, as Chomsky put it, an institutional analysis. Our political and economic institutions are intertwined, clearly, and the result of the interplay between monopoly capitalism in the economic realm, and a democratic process trying to stay afloat and maintain its integrity within such a context, is the on-going and increasing dominance of monopoly capital over democratic forums. We should not be surprised at this. In fact, it would be surprising if it were otherwise.

The straw man revisited:

Institutional analysis and an acknowledgement of class

What is being put forward here is a view that has already been accepted as fact by the vast majority of people across the Western world – hence the lack of fear needed about being branded a “conspiracy theorist” – and it is a view that is founded simply upon institutional analysis, an empirical observation of the widely accepted facts, and a recognition of the reality of class in Western societies.

The business and corporate elite are of a class, comprise a class, and act, by and large, as a class. The existence of class in Western societies may be denied by the more “disciplined” academics, but as far as the general public is concerned, it is an obvious fact. Clearly the Bush family dynasty, to pick a random example, has more economic and political power, as well as more wealth and resources at their disposal, than say, a gas station attendant in Austin Texas, or a gas station owner in New Jersey. There is no need to shrink from class analysis – in public or private discussion. Everyone knows that the Western world is a class-based “civilization” (and I use the term loosely).

I am not a Marxist, nor do you have to be a Marxist to recognize that class exists in the Western world, and plays a very major part in what we call political economy, or the way our societies function – or dysfunction. Only the corporate spin-merchants and the deeply indoctrinated can deny the existence and importance of class in the Western world. For everyone else, it is a fact.

As a class, the business elite and the giant corporations they run, have been making concerted and highly conscious efforts to expand and consolidate their power. There may be intense rivalries among the corporate elite and the financiers who control them, but there are some things that, as a class, they all agree upon. What do the big corporations and their financial barons want? Well, we don’t have to guess; it’s pretty obvious. They want maximum profit and maximum shareholder return. What does this mean? It means a drive toward market dominance – ie monopoly, or at least oligopoly – and it means slashing costs. Market dominance is a matter of PR, as well as manipulating governments for preferential treatment wherever possible (big corporations abhor free markets – they insist on government subsidy, protection, and a “playing field” severely tilted in their favour). Slashing costs entails some common goals and values among the business elite: cut labour costs, push down wages, fight and roll back environmental and all other regulations, externalize costs wherever possible and make the public pay for the mess we create. These are common class interests among the business elite. The system we have created allows it and also necessitates it to be so. You don’t find corporations relocating to areas of high labour organization, good wages, strong environmental and labour regulations, and a profitable but clearly delineated business environment. No, you find corporations moving to areas where labour has been crushed or demoralized, where wages are low, where environmental and workplace safety laws are lax or non-existent. Profit drives the beast, and we should not be surprised at the results.

Note that I am not saying that the profit motive is irreconcilable with labour and environmental legislation that protects workers and the earth. The Scandinavian countries have shown that a capitalist economy, while full of fundamental flaws, can be made tolerable at least. I am not advocating, to paraphrase Thoreau, an ideal society at once, but at once a better order for society. Such an order can include for-profit business, but it cannot tolerate monopoly capitalism, nor can it tolerate the take-over of democratic governments by an all-encompassing all-dominating corporate oligarchy. I am not anti-business; I am anti-fascist – and that means, in practical terms, in terms of present day realities, being actively opposed to the corporate take-over of democratically elected governments.

The Historical Context

To do justice to the topic, we must put it into historical perspective, however briefly, as accessibility allows. (Concision has its limitations, but it does widen the potential audience.) For two hundred years popular movements, mainly the labour movement, but others crucially as well, worked very hard to create a more just, equitable, and democratic order of society for the Western world, from the 1700’s through to the 1930’s. When the Great Depression hit, the suffering was so enormous, and the failing of unregulated capitalism so glaring, the entire capitalist order came under increased and serious attack – from within. Popular movements were powerful, and the crisis of legitimacy of the ruling order was real, and imminent. Something had to be done. Franklin Delano Roosevelt and his administration understood very well that major compromises had to be made, and had to be made immediately, or revolution may ensue. The business elite of the U.S. as well as across the Western world, were terrified of a socialist revolution. A compromise was worked out. It was called “The New Deal.” It was a purely pragmatic project, a concession to the ordinary working people – the vast majority – by the business elite who, by that time, already dominated the political process as well as the economy, and did not want to lose all power. Wages would go up, a greater share of the wealth – created primarily by the workers themselves of course – would be granted to the ordinary working person, a safety net would be created, and some measure of regulation would be imposed upon corporate capitalism for the protection of the populace and the stability of the economy. This was all by way of concession. It was not a noble and magnanimous expression of brotherly or sisterly love on the part of the ruling class, but a carefully crafted compromise to ensure the continued dominance of the elite business class. As with virtually every other achievement in the struggle to raise real standards of quality of life for the great majority, the initiative and the pressure came from below, from the grassroots and popular movements, with governments and business conceding, reluctantly, only when there was no other choice. In Canada it was the same: adopt “New Deal” policies, or watch the democratic socialist movement take power. The time frame was a little later – 1940’s instead of 1930’s – but the realities and the pragmatic response was the same.

From 1945 until the mid 1970’s “New Deal” programs expanded: social programs and a safety net, including old age security pensions, unemployment insurance, increasing wages, public education, and universal public health care in Canada and virtually all Western nations, with the glaring exception of the United States. Standards of living – real standards, not just GDP – as measured by quality of life, increased along with wages for the vast majority, and the middle class was born. This era of New Deal politics and economics coincided with what has been called the golden age of post-war capitalism. It was a time of unparalleled economic growth, combined with a compromise between business and the working majority. It was a time of decent wages, job security, good social programs, a safety net for all, and generally rising expectations. This is what the baby boomers grew up with, and came to expect. Unfortunately, it was a short-lived bubble.

In 1971 the U.S. unilaterally abolished the gold standard, and the era of globalization began. The power of large corporations had continued to grow rapidly during the previous period, and with the advances in transportation and communications, combined with increased global trade and the dismembering of capital controls, corporations began moving to globalized systems of production and distribution at a much more rapid pace. As production could be moved offshore to regions with lower labour costs and fewer or no regulations, and a more thinly distributed consumer class was emerging in countries around the world, the bargain with the Western middle class was no longer needed. In fact, the middle class itself was no longer needed, neither as producers nor as consumers. The pattern set by Henry Ford – pay your workers well and they can afford to buy your product – was now viewed as obsolete. Production could be moved to Mexico or Indonesia, where labour costs are a fraction of those in the wealthy Western nations. And a concentrated middle class in Europe and North America became unnecessary as well, as a global consumer class was now present, more thinly spread out over the earth. With the middle class now disposable, obsolete as tools of both production and consumption, the bargain of the New Deal compromise could be broken. It was roll-back time. All of the gains of the past 30 to 40 years – in fact, all of the gains of the past 200 years – cut be rolled back, or simply put on the chopping block. Big business was now truly global, and there was no need to compromise with a concentrated middle class in the rich Western nations. The fall of the Soviet Bloc further confirmed this fact. There being no rival system, the business elite could act with impunity, and destroy all gains made by popular movements since 1750. Thus began a new era of corporate monopoly capitalism: the era of intensifying class warfare in the context of corporate globalization – what became known as neoliberalism; or neoconservatism in its other flavour. The age of swashbuckling capitalism was back. It was rape and pillage for all.

Say it like it is:

Global neo-capitalist feudalism and the consolidation of corporate power

With the onset of globalization, capitalism – and Western liberal democracies – entered a new, more feudal era: what has accurately been described as global neo-capitalist feudalism.

In the three decades that we have had corporate globalization, wages have fallen or remained flat while corporate profits have gone through the roof, the gap between rich and poor has widened dramatically, the number of people living in poverty has increased steadily – both globally and within the Western nations; social programs have been eroded, slashed or eliminated, environmental regulation has been rolled back or dismantled, and, most serious of all, the very fabric of democratic societies has been undercut: the corporate powers have launched an assault on democracy; not a frontal assault, which they knew would fail, but an end-run around democratic sovereignty.

For corporate and business elites, and the political elite who serve them, democracy is anathema. For the business and corporate elite, this is easy to understand: when democracies are actually, authentically functioning, they tend to favour the public interest, and the great majority of people want things like decent wages (ie higher labour costs), environmental and workplace safety regulations (ie: cuts into stratospheric profits), social programs like public education and health care, pensions and a safety net (ie: programs that diminish the willingness of the populace to work for nothing, or next to it). In short, a functioning democracy means compromise with the public interest, and a reduction in profits. This is clearly unacceptable to the corporate elite, as they have shown by the record of their actions. For the political elite, when it is not a case of simple shared interests with the elite business class – that is, a financial tie in, or buy in – it is a case of arrogant elitism. “We know best; the masses are not fit to participate in our notion of democracy – they should be passive observers, at best, or better, distracted and uninvolved in the decisions that shape their lives.”

The efforts to consolidate corporate power, and to institutionalize corporate power in Western societies – and globally – has been ongoing for at least three decades. GATT, NAFTA, the WTO and the failed MAI were all expressions of the conscious, highly determined drive by big business to consolidate and institutionalize their dominance over the political process, democratically elected governments, and the world in general. Each of these “trade agreements” – which are much more about ensuring corporate hegemony than about trade – further advanced a common corporate agenda of asphyxiation of and dominance over democratic governments. With each of these, corporate power, and most specifically, the rights of the elite investment class, was enshrined and ensconced to a further level. Under the WTO regime, democratically elected governments cannot decide, for example, that a gasoline additive known to cause brain cancer, will be banned in that country. The attempt by a democratically elected government to pass legislation that protects the health and well-being of its citizens, or even asserts the interests and desires of its citizens, will be rebuked and punished by the WTO regime. In this case, it was the Canadian federal government that naively tried to pass a law that protected Canadian citizens’ health and expressed the desires of the Canadian people. The WTO ruled that the Canadian government was in violation of WTO regulations by legislative action that was “tantamount to expropriation” by affecting “potential future profits.” The Canadian government backed down, and corporate rule held. “Power to the shareholders!” You could almost hear the cry from the rooftops of Wall St., beneath the snort of scotch and the puffing Cuban cigars.

It should not shock us then, when news begins to surface that the North American business elite have been holding back-room meetings with the political elite of the three nations of Canada, the U.S. and Mexico to further institutionalize and consolidate their power and their dominance over the political process and society in general. The Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP) which was signed by U.S. President George Bush, then Prime Minister of Canada Paul Martin and Mexico’s President Vicente Fox, is just such a back-door putsch. The back-room planning and implementation of a North American Union is set to institutionalize corporate power via the newly created North American Council on Competitiveness (NACC). Under the SPP, “regulatory harmonization” is planned to be completed for the three nations by 2007. Full integration of the economies, military, intelligence, security frameworks, and legislative/regulatory frameworks of the three nations is set to be implemented in full by 2010. The NACC is to be the de facto North American government, consisting of 30 CEOs, 10 from each nation, which will “brief” Parliament and Congress. Anyone who cares about democracy should speak now. This ups the ante dramatically. This is the formalization of corporate rule.

Despair not:

The crisis of legitimacy and doors of opportunity

Lest the discussion of these issues create hand-wringing passivity and despair, it should be noted that the business and political elite of North America are not pursuing such a bold strategy out of a strength, but out of weakness. Yes, the financial barons and big corporations have awesome economic power, and yes this translates into real political power. But the writing is on the wall for this order. Global and national polls show clearly a broad and deep crisis of legitimacy across the Western world and around the globe, for business leaders, politicians, political parties, and in fact, the entire liberal democratic system, which by now, as most understand, is a system of corporate monopoly capitalism. The business and political elite are highly aware of this fact, acutely aware of it. It is with a sense of fear at the inevitable sweep from power that this grand and bold plan is being implemented; not out of confidence, but out of terror and desperation. We simply have to look to the fact that the meetings taking place to orchestrate this greatest of changes any of the three North American countries has seen in approximately 200 years, are being held in secret: the media is not invited or even notified, the public is being kept in the dark as much as possible, and it is being kept away from Congress and Parliament.

The reason the NAU is being drafted and implemented away from public view and outside Congressional or Parliamentary debate is that its authors know full well it would never stand a chance if exposed to democratic debate or public scrutiny. It is the fear of the people that drives such secrecy. It is the fear of loss of power. It is the position of weakness to resort to such deceptive tactics. It is because the people are ultimately far more powerful than any group of elected or unelected elites that these deals are done in private: they would not survive the light of day.

I am not sure on the political climate of Mexico and how the Mexican people would react if they knew their “leader” – Vicente Fox – was quietly negotiating the merger of Mexico with the U.S., but it is abundantly clear that the overwhelming majority of Americans and Canadians do not wish to see their national sovereignty dissolved into a giant continent-wide mega-state. One of the architects of the NAU “grand idea” has stated that it was understood that a direct frontal assault on democracy would fail, hence we have had to go for “an end-run around national sovereignty.” Another has said, “we have a 2 year window of opportunity.” (This coincides with the rest of Bush’ term in office – unless he is impeached before then.) What all of this indicates is a shadowy coup by powerful business elites who are afraid of losing their power. It is a bid to consolidate corporate power while it is still possible. It is an end-game strategy. It is an act of desperation and fear.

We must remember that the protests of Seattle in `99 surprised the business and political elite. They were caught off guard. They had no idea such a powerful coalition or confluence of popular movements was uniting to oppose corporate-led globalization. They were a little shell-shocked.

In 2001, at the Summit of the Americas in Quebec City, the political and business elite thought they were well-prepared. Big fence, tear gas, thousands of police, water canons. The power elite thought they could deal with the protestors and the dissent by simply putting up a wall.

By early 2002 the World Economic Forum’s global poll had come in. The WEF meeting just two weeks later was reported to be one filled with a mood of dejection and sullenness. The founder and chairman of this elite business planning group essentially admitted defeat. The polls showed a world-wide crisis of legitimacy for the reigning corporate-globalist order. (Liberal democracy is a misnomer, as liberal democracy was destroyed some time ago by corporate monopoly capitalists). It is a crisis of legitimacy that is both broad and deep. The writing seemed to be on the wall at the 2002 WEF meeting in Davos. With public trust in business and political leaders running neck and neck with used car sales men and lawyers, somewhere at the bottom of the legitimacy rankings, it is only a matter of time until the entire corporate-globalist order disintegrates, as its foundations collapse. Somewhere between Seattle 1999 and Davos 2002, the corporate elite lost the global propaganda war; and they know it.

After the Quebec Summit of 2001, a big fence and lots of police began to be insufficient to deal with the growing protests and popular dissent. Increasingly, the meetings of the business and political elite – whether meetings of the WTO, the G-7, or the North American Forum – were held in remote locations, far from the public eye, or on turf that was known to be safe.

By the time we arrive at March 2005, with the signing of the Security and Prosperity Partnership – one of the key steps toward full implementation of a North American Union and the Orwellian-named North American Competitiveness Council (NACC) – we have “the three amigos”, Bush, Fox and Martin, meeting privately in Waco Texas. With the latest round of meetings of the North American Forum, September 12-14, 2006, the media were not even informed of the occurrence of the meeting. It was held in a luxury hotel in the Canadian Rocky Mountains, far from the public eye, and under a total media blackout.

The extreme measures taken to avoid public discussion or parliamentary/congressional debate on the issue, is an indication of the profound weakness of the position of its authors. Sun Tzu knew this very clearly many centuries ago: the Chinese classic, The Art of War, advises that when one’s position is strong and one’s enemy weak, this is the time to attack; when one’s enemy is powerful and one is weak, do not attack, use an indirect approach. By now all the leading strategists for the business elite have read Sun Tzu, but even if they hadn’t, the point is obvious: attack directly if you are strong enough, use subterfuge if you are weak. A bold move is being implemented here; there is no question; but the boldness shows desperation, not strength.

The corporate-globalists have already lost the main battle: the battle for the hearts and minds of the people. They have lost the propaganda war. The crisis of legitimacy that is clearly revealed in global and national polls shows the people to have lost faith in this order. Once the hearts and minds of the people is lost, only force is left as a means of ruling. Hence the emergence of fascism.

But when the people have lost their faith in the ruling order, it is only a matter of time until that order collapses like a house of cards. The Leninists found that out when the Soviet Bloc collapsed. Down went an entire social order. Next is the corporate capitalist order. The people have lost faith. It is time.

This is what the political and business elite fear: a collapse of their house of cards, just as the Soviets experienced. This is why the desperate measures are being taken now to consolidate power – while it is still possible. The tide has turned. This is a desperate end-game bid.

Add to this context the reality of the United States being an empire in decline. The U.S. is now deeply in debt to China and a number of other nations, having gone from being the world’s biggest creditor to the world’s biggest debtor nation (thanks mainly to neo-conservative Republicans under Reagan and Bush 1 and 2). Much of the big money has already left the U.S., has gone to Europe and China. The central banks of Europe, Asia and the Arab nations are moving money out of the U.S. The U.S. dollar is falling, and will continue to fall. The U.S. has to bring in $2.8 billion a day to prop up its economy, in light of a $70 billion a month trade deficit. The smart move for Canada and Mexico now would be to increase ties with Europe, Latin America and other rising economic regions, not tie ourselves to a sinking ship.

The reason for the back door putsch for deep integration is that the U.S. economy is about to melt down: the U.S. is an empire at twilight, and it’s corporate elite want Canadian resources, particularly the tar sands – with one to two million barrels of oil a day – to rescue this sinking ship. Canadian CEOs are on-board, but the Canadian public doesn’t want this, and rightly so.

When the American, Canadian and Mexican people find out what is going on, there will be an outrage that will be heard round the world. The time is now to let the reality of this nefarious plan be known. Delay now may be extremely dangerous. As Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “There is such a thing as “Too late.” ”

The issue at hand

The central and most pressing issue of the day, at least for people in the U.S., Canada and Mexico, and the area of focus we should be concentrating upon, is the question of democracy versus empire. This issue should and can bring together all concerned citizens from across the political spectrum, for while we may have widely divergent opinions and views on many issues, the one thing we can pretty much all agree upon – at least 80-90% of the population in any case – is that authentic democracy is vastly more preferable than corporate aristocracy, or more simply and starkly put, democracy is preferable – in almost any form – to fascism.

With the plans being rapidly implemented – from behind closed doors, under the radar, behind the backs of the public, outside the scrutiny of Congress, Parliament and the democratic process – for a North American Union which will merge the three nations of the U.S., Canada and Mexico into one mega-state – run by and for the biggest corporations on the continent – it is time to sharpen our focus. It is time to stop preaching to the converted, time to stop focusing excessively on documenting the litany of evils of this corporate-dominated order, time to stop trying to convince the people of what they already know and have come to believe – that this order is not serving their interests, nor the interests of the ordinary person or the vast majority – and begin to create a rallying point to channel the deep and broad popular discontent into decisive action, and take the opportunity held within this crisis of legitimacy for corporate globalism, and make of it a new day. The time is now. The danger is real. So too is the opportunity.

The Security and Prosperity Partnership – an “informal understanding” between the leaders of the U.S., Canada and Mexico – has been on the public record since at least as early as March 2005. Considering the SPP has implications far greater than NAFTA, it is a subject that merits serious attention. To date, virtually all of the mainstream media, as well as the progressive media, have ignored it. The silence is deafening. This has to change. We need to be talking about this. And we need to stop it.

JTR

Further information:

INTEGRATE THIS! A Citizen’s Guide to Fighting Deep Integration

A Conspiracy of Silence: The North American Competitiveness Council Decides the Fate of Canada-U.S. Integration – Behind Closed Doors

* Secret Banff Meeting of CEOs and the Defense Establishment : Militarization and the Deconstruction of North America

*** De Facto North American Government in the Making: “Canadians must take back Canada”

***NDP | Conservatives plan to fast track new limits on Canadian sovereignty

* Lou Dobbs video CNN – The North American Union

video – Across the spectrum: N American Union Highway has Texans up in arms

Fortress North America: Deep Integration in The New Security Environment

* North American Union/Testimony, Publications and Reports – SourceWatch

* Articles on NAU – Canadian Action Party

*** Paul Martin’s Big Texas Adventure

The Reality of Class:

Talking about Class in the Wall Street Journal

Class Warfare: Interviews with David Barsamian: Books: Noam Chomsky,David Barsamian

U.S. Faces “Economic Armageddon”:

* The Dollar’s Full-System Meltdown

Economic ” Armageddon ” Predicted

Dollar Catching Asian Flu – Asia Times

Arab central banks sell dollar

As Dollar Plunges, Watch for US Government Bonds Sell -off – DEBKAfile –

The War To Save The U.S. Dollar – Trinicenter.com –

Fears for dollar as central banks sell US assets

BBC NEWS | Business | Is the global economy set for trouble?

Collapse of the Petrodollar Looming

Iranian Oil Bourse Opens for Business: A Final Step Toward US Dollar Collapse & Preemptive Nuclear Strike


Fascism anyone?

*** Habeas Corpus Your words are lies Sir – YouTube – olbermann 10-18-06

*** MSNBC: Olbermann – Bush signs military 6166 act – video

The End of Habeas Corpus and the Belligerent Despot-in-Chief – Ralph Nader

Bush Lone Victory: Defeating the Bill of Rights

The Corporation – video

Fascism watch

An empire at twilight:

Superpower’s global dominance in question

50 Years After Suez, US Hegemony Ebbing Fast

“The United States is Terrified” – Noam Chomsky on Latin America’s Move Towards “Independence and Integration”

The Crumbling Empire: Latin America and Asia Breaking Free of Washington’s Grip – Noam Chomsky


The crisis of legitimacy:

Global corporate rule is now fragile

Confronting the Empire – Chomsky at the World Social Forum

The Global Crisis of Legitimacy of Liberal Democracy – Social and Economic Policy – Global Policy Forum


Books

Amazon.com: The American Empire And the Fourth World: The Bowl With One Spoon (Mcgill-Queen’s Native and Northern Series): Books: Anthony J. Hall

Amazon.ca: Silent Coup : Confronting the Big Business Takeover of Canada: Books: Tony Clarke

Class Warfare: Interviews with David Barsamian: Books: Noam Chomsky,David Barsamian

Amazon.com: The Power Elite: Books: C. Wright Mills,Alan Wolfe

Amazon.com: Escape from Freedom: Books: Erich Fromm

Necessary Illusions; Thought Control in Democratic Societies

Year 501: The Conquest Continues

Stolen Continents: 500 Years of Conquest and Resistance in the Americas: Books: Ronald Wright

Failed States: The Abuse of Power and The Assault on …

Powers and Prospects

Mutual Aid A Factor of Evolution – Kropotkin – libcom.org library

Ancient Futures: Learning from Ladakh: Books: Helena Norberg-Hodge

The Ecology of Freedom: The Emergence and Dissolution of Hierarchy: Books: Murray Bookchin

The Chalice and the Blade: Our History, Our Future: Books: Riane Eisler

America’s “War on Terrorism” – Chossudovsky

The Globalization of Poverty – Chossudovsky

Profit Over People – excerpts – Noam Chomsky

Globalization and Its Discontents – Joseph Stiglitz – book

Confessions of an Economic Hit Man – book

The Great Turning: From Empire to Earth Community

Amazon.ca: Challenging Corporate Rule: A Workbook for Activists: Books: Tony Clarke,Sarah Dopp

Insurrection: Citizen Challenges to Corporate Power – Books: Kevin Danaher

Amazon.ca: Another World Is Possible: Globalization and Anti-Capitalism: Books: David McNally

Amazon.ca: Earth Democracy : Justice, Sustainability, and Peace: Books: Vandana Shiva

Amazon.ca: Globalization from Below : The Power of Solidarity: Books: Jeremy Brecher,Tim Costello,Brendan Smith

Amazon.ca: All You Can Eat Greed Lust And The Triumph Of The New Capitalism: Books: Linda McQuaig

Amazon.ca: It’s the Crude, Dude: War, Big Oil and the Fight for the Planet: Books: Linda Mcquaig

The Party’s Over: Oil, War and the Fate of Industrial Societies: Books: Richard Heinberg

Powerdown: Options and Actions for a Post-Carbon World: Books: Richard Heinberg

The Long Emergency: Surviving the Converging Catastrophes of the Twenty-First Century: Books: James Howard Kunstler

Crossing the Rubicon: The Decline of the American Empire at the End of the Age of Oil: Books: Catherine Austin Fitts,Michael C. Ruppert

A Short History of Progress: Books: Ronald Wright

Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed: Books: Jared Diamond

From Naked Ape to Superspecies: Books: David Suzuki,Holly Dressel

Good News for a Change: How Everyday People are Helping the Planet: Books: David T. Suzuki,Holly Dressel

Amazon.ca: Too Close for Comfort: Canada’s Future Within Fortress North America: Books: Maude Barlow

Amazon.ca: The Fight for Canada: Four Centuries of Resistance to American Expansionism: Books: David Orchard

Amazon.ca: Empire: Books: James Laxer

Amazon.ca: Global showdown: How the new activists are fighting global corporate rule: Books: Maude Barlow

Hegemony or Survival: America’s Quest for Global Dominance (The American Empire Project): Books: Noam Chomsky

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