Workers' Weekly On-Line
Volume 52 Number 2, February 13, 2022 ARCHIVE HOME JBCENTRE SUBSCRIBE

International News

State of Emergency and Mayhem with the So-Called "Freedom Convoys":

Anarchy Breeds Violence

In Canada, a mobilisation called the Freedom Convoy converged in Ottawa on January 29. It is being presented as an initiative of truck drivers demanding the revocation of the vaccine mandate applying to truck drivers entering Canada from the US that came into effect on January 15. Publications in this country, such as the Daily Mail, have taken up this theme. The protests have spread to Europe, with a so-called "European freedom convoy" mimicing the Canadian example expected to arrive in Brussels on Monday, February 14, and other convoys taking place in the US and Australia. It is being well-reported that these convoys have links with "white supremacists and far-right political parties".

Writing on the Canadian experience, TML Daily, newspaper of the Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist), re-affirms that these are not rallies of truck drivers, and its advice is Don't Blame the Truckers!

The newspaper says: "The demands of the promoters of the convoy are suspect from the get-go. For instance, while they protest against the Trudeau government's issuing mandates, those organising the entire affair behind the scenes in Alberta themselves rule by decree. This includes the Premier of Alberta, Jason Kenney, whose approval ratings have consistently been among the lowest, if not the very lowest, of any premier in the country. Kenney himself was in Washington DC at the National Governors Association Meeting at the time the convoy hit Ottawa, where he raised with members of the US Congress and Governors the demand for the US to end its vaccination mandate for truckers entering the US, and for favourable deals for the oil and gas sector his government represents."

What has become clear is that the mobilisation is a self-serving stunt to push factional rivalries in the contest over control of the supreme political power in Canada which, at this time, lies with the federal executive power. Taking their cue from the neo-liberal ideology and the positions of the factions within the ruling class, the media promote the mobilisation as being a truckers' convoy despite the fact that all discussion on the worrisome working and living conditions truckers face is taboo. All of it - the divisive stunts and expenditure of vast amounts of money to pay for policing, and the algorithms designed to portray "thousands" of rigs on the march - adds up to a massive disinformation campaign to hide the fact that it is up to the Canadian people themselves, in action in defence of the rights of all, to define what is democratic and what is not, what is pro-social and what is not, what is needed and what is not. The fact that organisers of this so-called Freedom Convoy won't even permit discussion on the living and working conditions of truckers, which are very difficult, is significant in getting to the heart of the matter of who is behind this convoy and who it represents. False photographs seek to create the impression of a huge convoy of trucks amassing. For the rich and powerful, at stake are the bonanzas that competing global private interests behind these parties are vying to control, lucrative contracts for infrastructure builds and other pay-the-rich schemes governments are putting forward in the name of "building back better" after the pandemic.

In a keynote article in TML Monthly, Anarchy Breeds Violence, on the "Freedom Convoy", Pauline Easton writes as follows:

The narrow supranational private interests behind the so-called "Freedom Convoy" that is making a nuisance of itself in Ottawa and other cities and provinces have lowered the level of culture to one word expletives and are doing their utmost to instil confusion and fear.

This is facilitated by the authority which exists at the federal and provincial levels which is self-serving. Any consideration for the well-being of the people and the polity has been replaced with self-serving cartel party posturing and in-fighting. These have degenerated to such an extent that epithets hurled at one another and the peoples who are fighting for their rights have supplanted political discourse. It shows what happens when retrogression is imposed and gives rise to anarchy and violence. This is not the answer to the all-round crises facing Canada and the world.

Today, anarchy describes the state of affairs when everyone fends for themselves as a result of the very rich putting the decision-making power and agencies of the state at their disposal. These supranational narrow private interests accept no authority above their own, making legislatures redundant to the decision-making process. The legislatures are reduced to paying the rich and putting all resources at their disposal. The cartel parties play a role by providing the façade of high ideals while the peoples are abandoned to their fate as a result of the absence of a unifying state authority which upholds the public good.

Anarchy goes hand in hand with violence because the methods used to sort out conflicts within the ranks of the rulers, such as elections, no longer achieve that aim. Resorting to the use of force is the only alternative the ruling class knows but when it comes to the blatant violations of law and order by goons calling themselves a freedom convoy in Ottawa, there has been a marked reluctance to use it.

Ottawa City Council has now declared a state of emergency. The ordinance does not provide police with increased powers or call in the military but does show the reluctance of the ruling class to use law and order measures when it is a matter of the contradictions within its own ranks. The Trudeau government went out of its way to say it defends freedom of speech and to protest so long as it is law-abiding but everyone can see that its law and order arrangements are reserved for Indigenous peoples and protestors fighting for social justice, against war and for other social and political causes, not for goons running around Ottawa in the name of freedom. It is a reminder of what took place in Washington, DC on January 6, 2021. The violent rampage against the Capitol and failed coup were called an insurrection. The Biden administration raised accusations of "sedition" and talks about laying charges of treason and the like but it has not managed to force its rivals for power to submit to its authority. And it can be predicted that the same will happen in Canada as well. It all underscores that the violence which accompanies the assertions of "freedom of speech" and to protest are inherent to the state of anarchy which has set in where various factions attempt to assert their supremacy while they unite when it comes to putting down the struggles of the people.

Constitutionally speaking, the arrangements which justify the use of instruments of law and order are basically designed to mete out colonial "justice". They enforce structures which breed discrimination, misogyny and intolerance against the affirmation of the interests of workers, women and youth as well as Indigenous peoples. Those who have usurped power through their stranglehold on wealth and privilege are having trouble using these instruments of law and order against their rivals for power when neither they nor their rivals for power enjoy the support of the people.

Based on unfolding events, how is what is happening to be assessed? How is the character of this historical period to be determined? Should the peoples accept that there is no alternative to the state of anarchy and violence which exists?

To determine what is happening it is necessary to recognise that a great conflict is taking place between two fundamental outlooks; one which is counterrevolutionary and fights to preserve the status quo and the positions of privilege and power and another which is revolutionary and fights to bring in the New and open a path for society to progress. Only if the situation is looked at from the point of view that reveals the need for change, progress and the advancement of society can the status quo of anarchy and violence be ended and the retrogression be stopped. Only the working class and people have an interest to do that. In this regard, it really does not matter anymore what "ism" a person or an organisation espouses. What matters is whether the outlook of the fighting forces is consistent with the demands of the times and they are acting in a manner which provides solutions that favour the peoples. Without this, putting labels on things - including ideologies - is meaningless. It is not just meaningless but in fact it is harmful. It stops people looking at the reality because they are too busy getting incited, cursing one another and hoping the cartel parties, courts and agencies of law and order will sort out the problems in a manner which favours them.

The interest of those who occupy the top positions of power at the federal and provincial levels is served by the preservation of the status quo. They are trying to maintain control by concentrating more and more power in the hands of the executive which is, in turn, controlled by narrow private interests. When it comes to the workers, women, youth and Indigenous peoples, they rant against those who refuse to submit to their unjust laws and violations of their rights, calling them troublemakers or this or that "ism". The workers, youth, women and Indigenous peoples are called all kinds of names in the hope that they will be blamed for the disorder. In this vein, the official media are blaming the nuisance in Ottawa on "truckers" even though it is orchestrated by private interests and has nothing to do with the claims truckers are making on society to improve their living and working conditions.

The factions within the ruling class, their advisors and pundits also throw epithets at one another, accuse each other of sedition and the like. What it reveals is that the world the rulers have created for themselves is not working out for them. The conditions demand an authority which is in tune with the times, with the need to stop paying the rich, uphold the rights of all, renew the political process so that the people - not representatives of the most narrow supranational private interests against the well-being of the peoples - can rule and humanise the social and natural environment.

The history of civilisation shows us that those who profited from the status quo in any particular period always fought tooth and nail to stop the creation of a new form of society, even though the conditions were calling for it. They gave birth to outlooks that viewed the developments purely from the angle which served them.

Today, such self-serving outlooks are being promoted on the world scale. Their specific feature is that they do not take into consideration the conclusions drawn from the study and analysis of the contemporary developments and what they reveal. For instance, pay-the-rich policies make the rich richer and the poor poorer and this trend is presently out of control. No matter how hard they try, the rulers are having trouble having their pay-the-rich decisions accepted by the people as good for them. So they do it more and more in secret. It is also a fact that permitting state-organised racists and fascists to organise and flourish is a matter of grave concern to society. They are fostered and backed by the highest echelons of wealth and power to cause disruption, instil fear, stage coups as in the United States. The mimicry of this is on parade in Ottawa and has the residents of the city fuming and furious. Canada's rulers and their cartel parties also appease the wars the US wages abroad and try to pass the US and NATO off as peaceful.

The Government of Canada and the cartel parties in the federal Parliament use what are called identity politics and hurl epithets at one another to wage the factional fight among themselves and embroil the people to choose a side. They incite passions which serve to divert attention from their own corrupt rule by claiming they uphold high ideals. Their attempts to justify the dangers their appeasement of US warmongering causes are reaching the limit of absurdity.

So too at the provincial level, the factional fights over control of the reins of power are vicious and it is the people who pay with their lives when they are forced to fend for themselves. The rulers' law and order agenda is reserved for the people who fight, while they treat what are called white collar crimes and their own conflicts of interest with kid gloves. The crimes committed by the highest echelons including the courts against the Indigenous peoples, the working people, seniors and youth are facilitated and those committed against the peoples of the world are either attributed to corrupt leaders in their own countries, hiding the fact that they were put in place by foreign powers which benefit, or as inevitable collateral damage. The double standards and clash of outlooks which determine who and what are dispensable and who and what are indispensable is more naked than ever and have shaken the regimes which claim the superiority of the so-called liberal democratic institutions to the core.

It is crucial in these circumstances that the peoples speak out against what the rulers are doing and against their self-serving excuses and failure to carry out their social responsibilities which show more than ever that they are unfit to rule.

The habit of asserting the superiority of one belief over another, or one person or party over another, or of implementing policies, decisions and practices which declare some peoples or countries dispensable and others indispensable are all used to make sure the struggles of the peoples do not make headway. But the peoples are laying the claims on society which they must and this is the way forward. Meanwhile, the rulers are out of control. They cannot control the contradictions within their own ranks which are erupting in violent acts whose suppression escapes them.

The character of this period and what should be done is revealed by paying attention to the conditions themselves from the perspective of contributing to the advance of the society, from its present phase to the next. If this is not done, the state of anarchy and violence will lead to the grave dangers which lie inherent in blocking society's path to progress. This includes embroiling the peoples in war.

Recognising the claims all human beings are entitled to make by virtue of being human is the key to opening society's path to progress. Affirming the right to be begins by affirming the right to take the decisions which affect our lives.

Fight for the Peoples!
Fight for Peace and to Hold Governments to Account!


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