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Shock Resistance: Understanding Harper's Crisis of Democracy

'We can't lose this moment'
by Naomi Klein
im Elliott: As you outline so well in your book and in various interviews in the U.S. media, the current financial crisis holds the possibility of being one of those moments when the shock doctrine can best be applied. Can you comment on both the Harper government's economic and fiscal statement introduced last week, and on the Opposition's response to that - that is, the formation of a coalition - in the context of the shock doctrine?

Naomi Klein: Yes, absolutely. What I think we are seeing is a clear example of the shock doctrine in the way the Harper government has used the economic crisis to push through a much more radical agenda than they won a mandate to do.

At the same time we are seeing an example of what I call in the book a "shock resistance," where this tactic has been so overused around the world and also in Canada that we are becoming more resistant to the tactic - we are on to them - and Harper is not getting away with it.

What I think is really amazing about this moment is whatever happens next - whether we end up with this coalition or not, we will have an extremely chastened Harper. So the attempted shock doctrine has failed. I think we can say that decisively.

Guts, Goo and Obama's Imperial Dream

Continuity Error: Guts, Goo and Obama's Imperial Dream        
by Chris Floyd     
arack Obama's new "national security team" is a grim conglomeration of war criminals, warmongers and apologists for torture and empire who have been praised justly by some rightwingers as a continuation and validation of the Bush Regime's foreign policy. But despite the growing unease these choices have induced in some "progressive" quarters, they in no way constitute a "betrayal" on Obama's part. He has always made it abudantly clear that he stands squarely on the side of a militarist empire – expansive, dominating, brooking no challenge or hindrance to its actions or its preeminence. An empire conceived in bloodshed and dedicated to the proposition that no nation is created equal to the divine American state, whose "interests" – as self-servingly defined by whatever faction of the ruling elite holds temporary sway in Washington – must be pursued at any and every cost. A cost to be paid, of course, by the lesser breeds beyond the Homeland's borders, and, increasingly, by the American people themselves.

Obama's forthright stand on the issue of empire was evident throughout the campaign, in speeches, on his website, in his Senate votes and in his publicly announced positions – such as his always conditional, circumscribed promise to "end" the war in Iraq, on essentially the same terms by which George W. Bush claims to be ending it now. At no point in his much-ballyhooed "opposition" to the nation-gutting in Iraq did Obama ever once call it what it is: a crime. An abomination. An act of mass murder that has left more than a million innocent people dead.

Canada's Coup: Harper's Platform Gets the Plank

House Wrecker: Ending the Harper Threat to Canada
by C. L. Cook
he soon to be erstwhile prime minister Stephen Harper appeared tonight in a much hyped, but ultimately postage stamp sized address to the nation. Harper's brief message, less than half the length advertised to the networks, according to the CBC's Peter Mansbridge, delivered in as contrite a tone he could summon revealed little news.

As short as his speech was, Harper did find room to fit in a couple lies. Telling whoppers as blatant as any told south of the border these last years seems to be another Bush family trait the Harper regime has taken to heart. Harper tonight looked the camera in the eye, knowing millions of concerned Canadians were hanging on every word, and told one bald-faced lie after another.

Waiting for Michael: What's RAN's Policy on Great Bear Rainforest Protection?

Asking for clarification on RAN's position in the GBR collaborationist scheme
by Ingmar Lee
Dear Ran Forest Campaigner;  I am currently in the midst of a 1 1\2 month speaking tour around Europe, -with daily and nightly lectures at schools and university's across Germany and Denmark, on the topic of the 'BC Clearcutting Massacre.' I'm describing the desperate situation in Canada's Pacific primaeval forests and am explaining the connection between BC forest destruction and Germany's enormous paper consumption. Germany buys 17% of its source material for paper products from Canada. At 256 kilos of paper, per year, per person X 80,000,000 people, Germany is a huge contributor to Canadian forest destruction.
In particular, my talks focus on the, IMHO, shoddy deal over the so-called 'Great Bear Rainforest' and how BC's largest bureacratic environmental organizations, namely, Greenpeace, Sierra Club, ForestEthics and RAN have collaborated with government and industry with the resultant protection at just 30% of the intact forest there, -twice the size of Belgium. My environmentalism espouses the high-bar maxim that 'No More Commercial Extraction from Primaeval Forests', a concept which has found great resonance amongst my audience here in Europe.

Canada: Rights Concerns Cloud 2010 Games

CANADA: Native Rights Concerns Cloud 2010 Games
by Jon Elmer
A coalition of indigenous elders, social justice activists and community organisers is voicing opposition to the upcoming Winter Olympics, promising to continue their protests up to and throughout the 2010 games.

Taking advantage of a three-day media briefing hosted by the official Olympic body in late November, the Vancouver Organising Committee (VANOC), activists and native representatives invited the local and visiting international media to an office in the heart of the what is commonly known as Canada's poorest neighbourhood, the Downtown Eastside, to hear "the other side of the Olympic story".

First the Vote, Then the Promise

Vote First. Ask Questions Later.
by William Blum
kay, let's get the obvious out of the way. It was historic. I choked up a number of times, tears came to my eyes, even though I didn't vote for him. I voted for Ralph Nader for the fourth time in a row.

During the past eight years when I've listened to news programs on the radio each day I've made sure to be within a few feet of the radio so I could quickly change the station when that preposterous man or one of his disciples came on; I'm not a masochist, I suffer fools very poorly, and I get bored easily. Sad to say, I'm already turning the radio off sometimes when Obama comes on. He doesn't say anything, or not enough, or not often enough. Platitudes, clichés, promises without substance, "hope and change", almost everything without sufficient substance, "change and hope", without specifics, designed not to offend. What exactly are the man's principles? He never questions the premises of the empire. Never questions the premises of the "War on Terror". I'm glad he won for two reasons only: John McCain and Sarah Palin, and I deeply resent the fact that the American system forces me to squeeze out a drop of pleasure from something so far removed from my ideals. Obama's votes came at least as much from people desperate for relief from neo-conservative suffocation as from people who genuinely believed in him. It's a form of extortion – Vote for Obama or you get more of the same. Those are your only choices.

Rally for Canada: The Last Refuge for Harper

Rally for Canada: The First Refuge for Harper
by C. L. Cook
here is a crisis of democracy unfolding in Canada. Yes, staid, stable, and plainly boring Canada is in the middle of a politcal power struggle that has injected the capital Ottawa and the nation with a substance foreign: Excitement!
Forget Obamarama; Canada today is buzzing with the hope three successive minority-government rule will be coming to an end. What this potentially means is real change, for the time being, in the way the country is run.

Canada's Uranium Bonanza Trampling First Nations

Uranium exploration activities in Algonquin homeland
by Ardoch Algonquin First Nation
ate on November 28th, the Ardoch Algonquin First Nation was advised that Ontario, Frontenac Ventures Corporation, the Algonquins of Ontario and Shabot Obaadjiwan First Nation had signed a memorandum of accommodation in regard uranium exploration in the Algonquin homeland near Ardoch, Ontario.  This memorandum of accommodation was signed while a consultation between Ontario and the Ardoch Algonquin First Nation was still being developed to insure a comprehensive and fair process. The present agreement represents the colonial relationship that the Crown has had with Aboriginal people for the last century and a half in which treaties and land sales follow an extended period of intimidation, denial of responsibility, divide and conquer, and outright illegal actions.  The history of this situation speaks for itself.

Frontenac Ventures Corporation staked and registered mining claims in 2006-2007.  Ontario failed to notify and consult with the affected First Nations.  Ardoch Algonquin First Nation was advised of the staking by private land owners.  Ardoch advised Ontario of its obligation to consult when development of this kind is anticipated.
Ardoch, advised Shabot Obaadjiwan of the staking and Ontario's duty to consult.  When Ontario refused to consult with Ardoch in good faith, Ardoch advised Frontenac Ventures to remove their personnel and equipment from the site and Ardoch and Shabot secured the entrance to the land. Ardoch repeatedly asked for fair consultations which followed Supreme Court decisions to take place between Algonquins and Ontario. Frontenac Ventures Corp then sued Ardoch and Shabot leadership for 77 million dollars and obtained court injunctions which demanded the removal of Algonquin security and permitted exploration activity to proceed. 

Canada Secret Service Spying on Ongwehonwe

Canada Secret Service Spying on Ongwehonwe: Desperate for Something to Do, Or is the Colonial Hierarchy Cracking Up?
by MNN
s we are seeing more and more clearly everyday, Canada has always been a totalitarian for-profit enterprise even though it tries to masquerade as a democracy. Canada is a Euro colonial settler state that governs by passing race laws. Every now and then declarations of legal rights are made to make things look kosher. But when push comes to shove, these are ignored. Things are done at the point of a gun by open terror and genocide.

What information could the Canadian Secret Intelligence Service [CSIS] possibly be looking for in Mohawk communities? How many dogs we have running loose? How many rusted cars and old fridges are standing in our yards? We notice they don’t want to report on how bad our water is, or how corrupt the band council is or about the lack of funds for our education, medical care and housing. So what’s happening?

Hope for Bringing in Canada's Change

Canadians for a Progressive Coalition
by CPC
he Liberals and NDP have agreed to form a coalition government with support from the Bloc Quebecois. They will bring down the Conservative minority government with a vote of no-confidence and form a coalition government with mixed cabinet on December 8. This week, we can expect a massive campaign trying to discredit the validity of a coalition government.
There will be millions of dollars put towards this. It is absolutely critical that we respond strongly.  We may lack the money, but we, the 60% of Canadians who voted for progressive plaforms, certainly have the numbers.  We will need to push with everything we have this week to show the country and our MPs that Canadians support a progressive coalition.
[UPDATE: D4/08 The Governor-General agreed today to the prime minister's request to close parliament until January 26th. It si the first time in Canadian history parliament has been closed in this manner. - lex] 

Behind the Gaza Blockade

Gaza: Beyond the blockade
Sameh Habeeb reports on the humanitarian crisis taking place inside Gaza's sealed borders

It has been almost four weeks since Israel decided to completely seal the borders of the Gaza Strip. While Israel has maintained a partial blockade ever since Hamas took power in June of 2007, this is the first time that the Israeli government has elected to stop foreign journalists from entering the Palestinian territory. 
On Monday, a small number of trucks bringing much-needed fuel and other supplies were permitted to enter for the first time since the full blockade began on November 5th, but within hours the gates had been sealed shut once again in response to rocket fire emanating from inside Gaza. In our conversation with Sameh Habeeb, via phone from inside Gaza City, we hear first hand of the devastating influence that the blockade is having on the lives of those trapped inside the Gaza Strip.

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