Archive for essential reading

Lest We Forget: Reflections On Remembrance Day, Veterans Day, and the Current Corporate Assault on Freedom and Democracy Around the World

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 11, 2015 by jtoddring

The 21st century was the most violent and murderous period in human history to date. And with our current direction, the 21st century may well surpass it in violence and war. Have we forgotten the lessons of the past, or have we yet to learn them? Worse yet, not only has war not ended, but also, the threats to freedom have not ended, but only changed form, and grown stronger. Yet, the great majority of the people remain asleep, and live inside a bubble of illusion, or a dream.

I honour and respect those who fought to defend freedom against fascists and others who threatened it. But the irony is this. Not only have we continued the horrible tendency toward war, but we have also allowed fascism to arise again.

Although a great many still do not yet realize it, the corporate take-over of the economy, the financial system, the media, the political process and most governments of the world, and democracy itself, is nothing short of a fascist coup. It is the merger of business and the state: and that is corporatism, which as Mussolini himself said, is the proper term for fascism.

We are now faced with the duty to defend freedom once again. If we refuse this duty, this moral obligation, then our cowardliness and denial will result in the death of freedom, and the death of democracy, and a new and terrible era will begin.

The stakes could not be higher, nor the hour more late. What we do now, or what we refuse to do, will be decisive for the future of humanity.

What is needed, is a grassroots popular movement to reclaim democracy and freedom, and our human rights and civil liberties, all of which are being lost, and which are now under attack by a power-hungry business elite, and a political class which loyally serves them.

To be more direct, what we need is a second wave of democratic revolutions to sweep the planet, and to remove the power-mongers, the new tzars or pharaohs – the newly ensconced and presently ruling oligarchy of the global corporate elite – from power, and to restore power to the people.

The reality of our present situation is this. Either we will have a revolution, in which the people reclaim their power and reclaim their democracy and their freedom, and remove the presently reigning corporate elite from power; or we will see a new and more terrible dark age than the world has ever seen – and with it, not only a new form of fascism, and a new form of feudalism, with freedom and democracy destroyed and the great majority of the people reduced to serfs, or slaves, but also, a further acceleration of the rape and pillage mentality of this corporate-culture, with the result being a descent into the edge of extinction, and beyond, into self-annihilation. Surely these this latter trajectory, which we are now embarked upon, we cannot allow to come to pass in full fruition. Surely, the writing is on the wall, and we must stand now.

Lest we forget? The culture has already forgotten. Lest we remember, is more to the point. Unless we remember the dangers of any group of individuals becoming drunk with power or lost in an infantile grandiosity in which they seek to be rulers of the earth – as the presently ruling corporate elite have clearly become – then we shall be no more.

Amidst the parades and the honorariums, let us not forget our duty, not only to remember the past, but to respond to the present.

It is time to make a stand. Let the elders guide the young, or the young guide the elders, as the case may be, and whichever is needed, but let us stand now. We either stand now, and live in freedom, or we die slowly, and on our knees.

Stand.

J. Todd Ring,
November 11, 2015

No more war. Here is a musical playlist that I made for youtube on the subject.

For those who still have doubt as to the nature and urgency of the present situation, here is a short list of must-read works that will remove all doubt:

A Game As Old As Empire – John Perkins

When Corporations Rule the World – David C. Korten

The Corporation – Joel Bakan

The Shock Doctrine – Naomi Klein

The End of America – Naomi Wolf

Year 501: The Conquest Continues – Noam Chomsky

Necessary Illusions: Thought Control In Democratic Societies – Noam Chomsky

A Brief History of Progress – Ronald Wright

Collapse: How Societies Choose To Fail Or Succeed – Jared Diamond

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

When Technology Fails – Mathew Stein

World As Lover, World As Self – Joanna Macy

Wisdom of the Elders – David Suzuki

Brave New World Revisited – Aldous Huxley

The Power Elite – C. Wright Mills

Escape From Freedom – Erich Fromm

The Ecology of Freedom – Murray Bookchin

On Civil Disobedience – Henry David Thoreau

The Discourse On Voluntary Servitude – Etienne de la Boite

Enlightened Democracy: Visions For A New Millennium – J. Todd Ring

Holidays and holy days – and the dross and drivel which confuses and clouds over them

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 12, 2015 by jtoddring

Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter…Yom Kippur, Hunakkah, Passover… Ramadan: these symbolic expressions of union, communion, gratitude, faith and love – what do they matter?

Except that they do.

As a naturally reclusive and largely solitary being, I often avoid such communal social gatherings, even though I honour and respect them, and value them deeply. But that is an indication of my own human limitations and short-comings, and not an indication of a feeling that these days and these celebrations are meaningless, trite or hollow, which they categorically are not.

Forgive me if I do not celebrate Columbus Day, or Presidents’ Day, or other such inanities and monuments of a culture gone mad. Celebrating conquest and empire is not something I want to do.

And forgive me if I also refuse to celebrate a crass and unholy materialism, a dedication to consumer fetishes, and the iconization of the mere flesh – flesh which is holy, but which becomes a barrier and a distraction, and even a prison, if not taken as a gateway, but instead, the destination, point of departure, and meaning of life. But I will celebrate, and commemorate, and mark, alone or together with others, the significant times and rituals which remind us all of what matters most: which is always, faith and love.

Be you secular, religious, anti-religious, spiritual, atheistic, or what have you, if you cannot commemorate love, at least – if not also, a wisdom which is superior,higher, broader and deeper than our own, as all the greatest of scientists, philosophers, poets and thinkers have done, by the way, then you are rebelling against common sense, and may the gods pity you, and bring comfort to your lost and beleaguered mind. We cannot, or need not, live in a shoe box of the mind, or the soul.

There are bigger realities than our own narrow views would suggest to the ever-changing flicker of consciousness, which we call, “me” and “I”. And as Heraclitus said, and Shakespeare quoted, “There is more to heaven and earth than is contained in your philosophy” – words I try to remember daily, for they sow humility: and with humility comes receptivity, and an open heart and mind – and everything that is truly valuable or worthwhile, stems from that.

There is something worth remembering, marking, making note of, and celebrating here, in these feast days, holidays, holy days, or cultural traditions of days of special note – or at least, some of these are worth remembering.

At the very least, let us celebrate love – even when it is strained, and perhaps most importantly when it is strained. You water your garden when it is dry, and has been without rain for some time – not when it is already drenched in a nourishing downpour. When it pours, celebrate, and when it is dry, remember, and nourish the good all the more.

Holidays and holy days: the former are for rest and relaxation, and sheer enjoyment; the latter, for remembering what is important. (And Martin Luther King Day is a holy day to me, or at least a day of great reverence for the Reverend, and it is so to many people, so let’s not be too quick to decide which is which.) Let’s keep remembering, and let us learn to forget that which distracts us from what is truly meaningful in life, or worse, clouds our minds with foolish or destructive illusions.

There is much to be remembered, much to be celebrated and commemorated, and more to the point, much to be honoured. And there is also much to be forgotten – or at least dispensed with.

Separate the wheat from the chaff. But don’t be so hasty in the process as to miss or overlook what is truly valuable, and worthy of being honoured, and remembered, nourished and sustained.

JTR,
October 11, 2015

Essential reading for Columbus Day:

Stolen Continents: The Americas Through Indian Eyes Since 1492, by Ronald Wright

https://www.amazon.com/Stolen-Continents-Conquest-Resistance-Americas/dp/0618492402/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1444603899&sr=8-2&keywords=Stolen+Continents%2C+by+Ronald+Wright

Year 501: The Conquest Continues, by Noam Chomsky

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1608464075?keywords=yea%20501%20chomsky&qid=1444604032&ref_=sr_1_sc_1&sr=8-1-spell

Columbus, The Indians, and Human Progress – Howard Zinn

https://dandelionsalad.wordpress.com/2009/10/13/columbus-the-indians-and-human-progress-by-howard-zinn/

A sinking world, and sane responses to it

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 7, 2015 by jtoddring

My country is sinking like a rock (for reasons of corporate oligarchy, neoliberalism, corporate rights agreements, and an addiction to oil revenues and the politics of a resource extraction-based economy, and the thorough corporate domination of the political process), though the great majority of my fellow citizens do not realize it, lost in a stupor of denial as they are (I can think of twelve countries in the Western hemisphere which are either moving in a positive direction, or at least showing some fight – and Canada is not one of them); and so too is the greater part of the world descending, and rapidly so, into a morass of injustice and ecological suicide, to say nothing of concerns for freedom, human rights and democracy, (as well as a pervasive malady, and an epidemic, of economic fundamentalism, neoliberalism and neoconservatism being the primary, and reigning, quasi-religious orthodoxies, along with other forms of ideological and even “scientific” fundamentalism, which are widespread, and far more influential today than their mirror image, which is religious fundamentalism, and an even worse epidemic of illusions of powerlessness, as well as an epidemic of apathy, denial, conformity, and undue and excessive, and frequently mad obedience to power) with only a handful of countries as the exception. How am I not to be distressed, if not anguished, and even furious, or all of the above?

All of the greatest minds and greatest spirits have echoed the same thoughts about the modern world. As David Suzuki has recently said (paraphrasing from memory), “There has never been a better time for being scared and angry….. We should get mad as hell, and then fight like hell.”

Where is the fight in us? And why should we be ashamed of being distraught with a world that is on a collision course with both tyranny and collective ecological suicide, as well as being steeped in war, violence, rampant injustice, inequality, poverty and a culture of voyeurism, vicarious living, materialism, consumerism, and a pathological aversion to the real?

As the great sociologist Erich Fromm said (again, paraphrasing from memory), “Normal only exists in relation to a profoundly abnormal norm.” “The fact that there is neurosis [or psychological strain and distress] is a good sign. It is a sign of a healthy individual, an individual that is still struggling to be fully alive, and by necessity, is struggling against a society that wishes to turn him or her into an atomaton.”

As the saying goes, “If you can keep your head when everyone around you is losing theirs – you’re not paying attention.”

Calm is good. Heart-break for the state of the world is natural. And action is vitally needed – and urgently so.

Let’s see more action, and the heart-break will fade into a memory of times past, and lessons learned.

JTR,
October 7, 2015

Essential reading:

(A few among many other great books that could be included in such a list)

A Brief History of Progress – Ronald Wright

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

When Technology Fails – Matt Stein

Shock Doctrine – Naomi Klein

A Game As Old As Empire – John Perkins

The End of America – Naomi Wolf

Necessary Illusions: Thought Control In Democratic Societies – Noam Chomsky

Year 501: The Conquest Continues – Noam Chomsky

Escape From Freedom – Erich Fromm

The Ecology of Freedom – Murray Bookchin

The Chalice and the Blade – Rianne Eisler

World As Lover, World As Self – Joanna Macy

Ancient Futures – Helena Norberg-Hodge

Brave New World Revisited – Aldous Huxley

Roads To Freedom – Bertrand Russell

Wisdom of the Elders – David Suzuki

Walden – Henry David Thoreau

On Civil Disobedience – Henry David Thoreau

The Discourse On Voluntary Servitude – Etienne de la Boite

Mutual Aid – Peter Kropotkin

Peter Kropotkin Was No Crackpot – Stephen Jay Gould, Natural History, June, 1997

The Hero With A Thousand Faces – Joseph Campbell

Conservatives swing further to the far right – other major parties are little better

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 5, 2015 by jtoddring

The Conservative party of Canada is clearly playing into fear, xenophobia and racism as a way to win votes, as its “War on Terror” narrative, its racial baiting and its new snitch line show. This is sickening.

Mind you, the Liberals and NDP have eerily similar agendas to the Conservatives on key issues of the environment, the economy, trade and democracy. They may smell better, and look better on the surface, but scratch the surface on either of them, and you find a clear submission to anti-democratic, neoliberal, and neo-feudal, corporate rule.

On the environment, as David Suzuki has said, only the Green party has any seriousness about it. And for that reason alone, given that the crisis is so urgent and action on it so critical, the three major parties can in no way be supported. All three major parties are committed to pipelines, tar sands, big oil, a resource extraction-based economy, throwing us back a hundred years or more, to our former status of hewers of wood and drawers of water, and a surrender to the interests of an international corporate elite – with the results being, among other terrible consequences, that any one of the three major parties would spell ecological disaster for Canada and the world.

In terms of the economy and trade, all three major parties are now firmly neoliberal, pro-corporate and pro “free trade.” The Liberals openly support CETA, the corporate rights deal that is being pushed through with Europe; and the NDP has been decisively evasive, ambiguous and wishy-washy on the issue. Only the Green party has taken a stance against this disastrous, NAFTA-style free trade agreement, which would give corporations the right to sue the Canadian parliament, thereby over-riding, and effectively nullifying and destroying Canadian democracy.

Neoliberal policies of free trade have been economically disastrous, (see Naomi Klein’s, Shock Doctrine) benefiting only the rich few and the big corporations, while harming the other 99% of the people; and worse, they have been disastrous for the environment, for social programs, and most importantly, for sovereignty and democracy. NAFTA, CETA, FIPA and the TPP are all neoliberal corporate rights agreements, which put the interests of the large corporations over the people, the planet, and even above democracy. These corporate rights deals must be opposed, and defeated. This is absolutely critical.

Because all three major parties are either in open support of CETA, or in the case of the NDP, are decisively sitting on the fence, none of them can in any way be supported, since CETA would effectively mean economic, ecological and social disaster for Canada, as well as the destruction of Canadian democracy.

So yes, the Conservatives are acting more and more like Republican extremists, and can in no way be supported – but neither can the Liberals or the New Democrats.

Voting for the lesser of evils means voting for evil. We cannot continue to do that any longer.

The Liberals may have marginally better policies than the Conservatives, and the NDP marginally better policies than the Liberals, but all three are in lock-step agreement in terms of the core and key policies: in support of big oil, neoliberalism, austerity and free trade. The rest is simply window dressing – PR to hide the ugly facts.

The NDP may be slightly preferable to the Liberals in terms of policies, but only slightly; and in another way, they are worse, in that they pretend to be social democrats with a real alternative. They are not, and they have none. The NDP is now a neoliberal party of the right, in drag as left of centre democratic socialists.

The Liberals, meanwhile, may be slightly less offensive than the Conservatives, in terms of promised policies at least, but they too have slid far to the right, and are now right wing conservatives, in reality, in drag as centrist Liberals.

The Conservatives have gone the furthest to the right, and are now veering into the realm of US Republicans – all the while, presenting themselves as moderate centrists, if not liberals.

The whole charade is a sordid mess of empty posturing, PR and spin, and a thin veneer masks the underlying reality: that all three parties are now in complete submission to the corporate powers.

Once again, from every indicator, we now have to conclude that we have three neoliberal, pro-corporate, pro big oil, pro free-trade parties in Canada. And that is a tremendous tragedy, and a disgrace. What has happened to our critical intelligence that Canadians are clearly willing to settle for so little? More to the point, what has happened to our courage?

“Oh, Canada, our blah and weenie land…. True servility, until the promised land…..”

The major parties have lost their courage, or their integrity, or both. But that is not the central problem in Canada. The central problem is that the Canadian people do not demand more, and better.

All three major parties in Canada, the Conservatives, Liberals and NDP, are now parading themselves as the party for the middle class. Well here’s a news flash – the middle class are being wiped out by the very same policies the big three parties are committed to. The middle class in Canada, as in the US, Europe and around the world, are being wiped out by an ideological program of corporate globalization, or what is known as neoliberalism, with the offshoring of production and profits, de-industrialization, deregulation, privatization, austerity policies for the many, and tax breaks and subsidies for the corporations and the richest few, and above all, by “free trade” deals – which are in reality corporate rightsagreements – deals such as NAFTA, CETA, FIPA and the TPP. And all three major Canadian parties support these disastrous, pro-corporate, neoliberal policies and “trade” deals. The entire charade, as I say, is completely disingenuous, and utterly deceitful. And Canadians are falling for it – hook, line and sinker.

The free trade deals in particular, which are supported by all three parties, will guarantee that the middle class continues to be eviscerated and driven into the growing underclass. We would be extremely foolish and naive to think otherwise.

The working class and poor, of course, will fare even worse. Generally speaking, and with few exceptions, the only ones who will benefit – other than by being thrown a few token crumbs from the table of corporate feasting and engorgement – are the richest 1%. This is who the big three serve now. The rest is hollow pretense, and an extremely dishonest and empty posturing, for the sake of getting elected.

All three major parties in Canada, at different times in the past, had integrity. Not any longer. They have surrendered to the powers of big money and big corporations, and are actively ceding the powers of parliament, and democracy, as well as selling out the country, to what the leading business journal of the Western world, the Financial Times, calls, the “de facto world government” of neo-feudal, global corporate rule.

Other countries have begun to reject the neoliberal, “free trade” policies which haves become the staple of the global corporate agenda, and which are being pushed forward by Wall Street, the IMF, the big banks, the ECB, WEF and WTO, along with Bay Street, the big oil companies, and the Canadian Council of Chief Executives – the CEOs of the biggest 200 corporations in Canada, and the group which runs this country.

But Canada is foolishly continuing to follow the lead of Washington and London, the US and UK: two of the countries which are facing economic implosion and fiscal insolvency – as well as the death of the middle class, with soaring poverty and inequality, the rise of insecure, underpaid “McJobs”, and a dismantling of the manufacturing base, as all production is shifted to China and other low-wage nations, in the short-sighted rush for higher short-term corporate profits – as a direct result of precisely these Friedmanite, corporate-led policies of “The Washington Consensus,” which have laid waste to the economies as well as the people of the United States and Britain, along with much of the world.

In the US, we now see a rapidly growing groundswell of popular support for the one presidential candidate who has rejected the neoliberal agenda which has been shaped by the large corporations and the billionaire class: and that is Senator Bernie Sanders. Senator Sanders actually has a bold and intelligent vision for rebuilding a nation in economic tatters, reclaiming democracy, and setting a course for peace and prosperity for all.

Meanwhile, in Canada, we have the politics of The Great Yawn, and politics as usual, as the country and the people are eaten alive by a rapacious and insatiable global investor class.

Before we see any hopes for a better future for the people of Canada, Canadians will have to become considerably bolder, as well as more imaginative, and above all, we must face the fact that there has been a corporate take-over in Canada, as in the US, Europe and around the world, and rise to the challenge to defend and reclaim our democracy.

Rolling over and playing dead is simply not an intelligent, nor a moral option. Nor is voting for any of the big three political parties, which is effectively the same thing, and an act of self-neutering, or self-castration.

J. Todd Ring,

October 5, 2015

J. Todd Ring is the author of Enlightened Democracy: Visions For A New Millennium

See also:

Free Trade, CETA, TPP, and the US and Canadian Federal Elections – J. Todd Ring

https://jtoddring.wordpress.com/2015/09/29/free-trade-ceta-tpp-and-the-us-and-canadian-federal-elections-some-critical-perspective/

The Shock Doctrine – Naomi Klein

Neoliberalism: Profits Without People – Noam Chomsky

A Game As Old As Empire – John Perkins

Global Showdown – Maude Barlow

The Great Turning – David C. Korten

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

A Brief History of Progress – Ronald Wright

Collapse: How Societies Choose To Fail Or Succeed – Jared Diamond

Here is an excellent, and devastating critique of the NDP – from the left. (Although, the article, while excellent on analysis, is short on strategies, vision or answers.)

The NDP and the Election – Canadian Dimension

https://canadiandimension.com/articles/view/the-ndp-and-the-election

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/

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