Saturday, September 6, 2008

What's political?

I recently watched a doco called Love and Fearlessness. I found the link from Submedia.tv. Who by the way have been very cool in uploading a video I edited of an infamous incident at the 08 RNC. Check it out http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BP8BUaEAv9c.

Anywas, the point, is this doco was about the loitering laws that are used to criminalise homlessness in a particular province of Canada. Basically the rule is you can't just be in public and you certainly can't sleep in public. The police can fine you, arrest you and take all the belongings you happen to be holding. The way they get away with this shit is by selectively enforcing these laws. If your some student it's perfectly ok for you to be sitting infront of the library, but if your homeless you get arrested.

So this got me thinking about my local situation and what the laws are like here. To be honest I don't know. I know a few homeless people, but I've never enquired as to how they manage to avoid state persecution. Sheltered me.

Then I started thinking about how in the activist circles I know, we rarely think about our local situation. We are media fiends. We decide what movement is most pressing based on what's currently being portrayed in the media. So we don't really pay much attention to the kids starving on our streets that are being hunted by the police. We're more likely to campaign about the impoverished kids in another nation. There was a fairly big movement in Australia a while ago around the Australian Gautanamo Bay inmate, David Hicks. It was great that this happened, but how many people stopped to think about the abhorant situation faced by inmates in Australian prisons everyday?

Personally I think that this preference toward the "exotic," is a huge weakness.

There are many reasons I think this, but the one I want to address here is that allowing the media to set our agenda means that we are always responding to them. We never have the element of surprise. Hell, even if they weren't surprised by us, at least if we're not letting them tell us when and where all the maijor conflicts are going to take place, we might be able to strike at a time that is particularly inconvenient...

My brain just fried, I need to eat. More later.

5 comments:

crymson_dynamo said...

Although I didn't see the documentary, I'm going to go out on a limb here and guess that province was Alberta (Canada's answer to Texas). Was talking to a friend of mine who lived on the streets in Alberta for a couple years the other night. He said the cops were pretty repressive there, they'd literally bust you if you spit while walking down the street (so long as you look homeless). They would also come down on street performers. What was cool though is that there existed a counter cultural economy that emerged. An underground economy that ran on 'calgary Dollars' (worth google'in) where an hour of your time, no matter the labor, was worth the same as another's laborer's hour. To get started you'd either network amongst other people in the same situation or go to gypsy like 'job fairs' where those interested would barter/purchase your labor based on your particular skill(s). The strength of this market was profit was removed from the equation. The market became diverse enough that you could even purchase cars with 'calgary dollars' or sell those dollars for real dollars (although as a rough estimate a calgary dollar was in actuality worth about three Canadian dollars, but would sell dollar for dollar). It was kind of like a voucher economy that resembles capitalist relationships, yet is practical in that it resembles fair wages. weird... Ironically these markets are young and ripe for exploitation.

The west coast in Canada is, in a sense is a better place in Canada because their is more of an underground social order. As in Alberta jobs are ubiquitous as oil is peeking there (Canada actually provides more oil to the U$ than any other country), you can make ten to fifteen dollars an hour out West working a McJob (demand for labor is strong), so there exists little patience for alternative ways of life. A good rule of thumb is follow the cash, follow the conservative attitude of the voters. There are strong political sentiments in Alberta to separate from Canada so can contribute less to the federal government as they produce significantly more per capita than other provinces. Needless to say they take issue with left. The climate is also better in Western Canada (you're less likely to freeze to death in the winter) that contributes lessen sentiments to the homeless issue. The response to this pressure has produce diverse ways of living (fuck me, I'm starting to sound conservative).



'We are media fiends'

Very well put, reminds me of your reviews of shit like Zohan, Fight Club, V for V etc... Middle class whiteness is too caught up with pacifying ourselves with media and latching on to the existential struggle of other oppressed groups to fill the emptiness of our struggles. We (maybe the neo royal we?) are faced with the neo conservative postmodern futility of day to day life where the mechanisms to rebel other(s) are v/blogs (perhaps making us more alien). Gotta love what we've done with free speech (to paraphrase David Cross) we call each other fags while anticipating the next Frank Miller film adaptation. We luvs 'us' are toxic mimics. I'll now stop my rant as I'm falling into reference media trap....

Anyways, good to see you back on the web, always appreciated your work man.

-Josh/Dave

PS.

Still any chance of you posting some of any of your old vlogs?


http://calgarydollars.ca/

Everything4every1 said...

I actually didn't back up stuff like I thought I did. I did want to put some of the old stuff back up but I don't think I have it any more. I'm taking a bit of a break from the internet at the moment. I'll still post here. But any significant re-emergence and revival of stuff on old topics etc. will probably happen when I've got a break in like late November.

What's the David Cross thing you were talking about? Sounds funny. Got a link or anything?

Deepthi said...

Hi!

I was just watching your feminism and prostitution series on youtube, and for some reason, the last two videos (where you make your actual argument) were missing. I wasn't sure if you were aware of that, and it possible, could you please upload them ?

Thanks so much !

Dan said...

Hey. I found Everything4Every1 via SubMedia. I am impressed with the thoughts you've expressed here so far. I'm wondering if you would like to write pieces for my revolution-oriented site from time to time. Check out the site -- http://HERE.am -- and let me know if you'd like to lend your voice. Feel free to contact me at daniel.mims@gmail.com -- thanks.

Nick said...

A good point. Don't let the mainstream media think for you. This comment is so late.