Protesting - Archaic
Within the last three hundred years, we have seen popular uprisings challenge the status quo in the form of civil unrest, civil war or outright revolution. Topics range from taxation without representation of the American Thirteen Colonies, The French Revolution which toppled the monarchy, The American Civil War, The Bolshevik Revolution and takeover of October 1917, and then some. These uprisings were a direct product of a deep rooted injustice in the system.
In the American Thirteen Colonies, it was the British Crown imposing taxation on millions of its subjects without granting it the rights of representation as said subjects. Their revolution created the most powerful nation on earth to date. The French Revolution toppled an ancient regime where the rich controlled ALL the money and the poor were increasingly unable to carve out their own destiny. The American Civil War, a breakaway instigated by the growing power of the north over the rural way of life in the south, led to open hostilities and formation of a rogue state. And finally, the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917, which saw the Communists rise to power and take control of a down-trodden and weakened Imperial Russia. These historical movements were triggered by mass protests, riots, vandalism, vigilantly justice and an outright hatred of the status quo.
In every scenario, these movements came about because of a lack of freedom. This lack of freedom was either in the ruthless oppression by colonial troops, the taxation of the poor who had no money, the overwhelming superiority of one group over another or a last resort to finally change a lifestyle that had existed for almost a thousand years. These people were at their wits’ end. They had nowhere else to go. Nothing else to achieve or accomplish. They had NOTHING. They revolted and rioted and protested in the streets because there was little else they could do. They couldn’t go to the ballot box due to that franchise being non-existant or because they didn’t meet the voting criteria.
So why is protesting still taking place in the Western Democracies? I’ve talked about this before. In our country, like many in western democracies, we have the right to vote. We have the right to enter politics, join political parties and influence policy. These truths were not evident in the examples I mentioned above. If you have a bone to pick with the government, there is no censorship, no jail time for voicing your opinions in print or in a public forum like within the ranks of a political party.
I feel protesting exists today because those who partake are not the average person. They are a relic of a dying age, encouraged by film, media and romanticism that the common people can somehow rise up against an institution or government and overthrow it in protection of their idealistic beliefs. Such was true of the past, when freedom and democracy were not commonplace, but it is truly the total opposite that exists now.
Within the ranks of these street protesters are typically students, the unemployed (by choice) or the left wing socialist seeking the re-distribution of wealth from the evil rich to the working poor. They do not reflect the masses as the masses in a western democracy are the comfortable and hard working middle class. They represent an enabled group, protected by our welfare state and social safety net, void of all motivation and encouragement for anything greater than themselves and more. What’s more - this demographic has, traditionally, the lowest voter turnout out of any demographic. True, they have the right to take to the streets without getting shot or arrested, void of any public misconduct of course. But do they really have a logical or explicable reason to complain? Have they the ethical or logical right to complain about something in which they have decided to never be involved? The answer is simple - No.
Protesting in Western Democracy is not a populist response to a great injustice, especially in Canada. Our rights are intact, our government is not running structural deficits, our job growth is up and unemployment is down. While protesting in the United States may be justified - given the massive gap between rich and poor - it’s not the violent type you see in the Arab world, where their rights don’t even exist. In Halifax, we managed a paltry hundred people at best. While New York City boasts thousands upon thousands. They have a real bone to pick with their financial institutions and government. We are just acting like sheep up here in Canada, just ready to complain about something to fit the mindset of the revolutionary and the lazy student/labourer.
The point of this post is not to decry or defame any profession or group. It is to show the historical realities of street protesting and revolution in general. Historically, these actions have taken place during a period of great injustice, outright lack of rights for the general population, and poor living conditions for the majority of the population.
With the majority of Canadians living a comfortable life, and with our government not running structural deficits (we just received $25billion in shipping contracts, so our government is obviously not broke), Canadians need to realize that protesting, in its current form - without any real direction or set of plans, is just an excuse to relive the romantic concept of a two hundred year old movement.
I suggest, sincerely, that these street protesters, join a political party and begin to partake in shaping public policy, write about their dissent, or suck it up and get a real job that contributes to the tax dollars the rest of us are paying to keep you alive. I’ve had enough of your diatribe and idealistic notions of utopia - unless resources are unlimited, you are more fictional than Star Trek and will forever remain a footnote in history and an eternal joke.