Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Briz Wevera begins...

The other night, I had an erratically intense conversation about the relationship between politics and human rights. A comrade and I got into a discussion about freedom of speech which quickly led to fist-to-cuffs about state authoritarianism.

Although his thoughts were expressed with conviction, he did not persuade me to rethink my position on what kinds of "rights" the state has over the people: None.

Whether it is freedom of speech or property ownership, the government has no right to impose its authoritative standards upon any person.

Whose standards are these anyways? Obviously not those that are derived from the poor or middle class. They are generated by the rich through an uncomplicated process of bureaucracy. The result is an impossible guideline for those who run mom-and-pop shops, make and sell papads in Dharavi, or single-mother street vendors in Mexico City to adhere to.

What does a federal state know about the lives of the people who live in the slums of Rio or 'gang' members in Compton? Did growing up with money and networking one's way into office provide an insightful look into the needs of the people?

The only purpose of the state is to serve and protect its people. Workers of the government are civil servants whose job it is to cater to the people. They have no right to waste our time, money, or freedom, all of which are exhausted by 'economic crises' or 'swine flues'.

That long night of drinking, bantering and barraging has shown me that we are not there yet.

However, we are getting there. It requires the youth, perseverance and, of course, freedom of speech.

One day, the revolutionaries will rise again.


(Fishy tip: H1N1 outbreak in Manitoba is disproportionately higher in the First Nations community. They blame it on lower health standards, I blame it on a guilty conscience that wants to have a tabla rasa)


  1. Brit Brit Brit.... I so do love reading your thoughts.

    I do have to throw in a 'devil's advocate' bone here though (you know you love it). I would argue that you cannot (now that the world is developed the way it is) lay claim to a governments ability to impose authoritative standards across the board as a country's sole downfall. Yes I am opening up the proverbial 'can of worms' here because drawing that line is so vague that one could argue it doesn't exist at all.

    To get to my point - While I agree whole-heartedly that "[standards] are generated by the rich through an uncomplicated process of bureaucracy" ultimately affecting the unfortunate ma and pop shops and all those less fortunate, you could also argue that deregulation in the modern western world can be even scarier for the masses as un-checked greed can posses even the most educated minds. While I agree that governments protect first and foremost the rich and powerful, De-regulation in the United States has been a significant catalyst to the last global economic recession. Unchecked greed and those in positions of power within the private sector preying on the less fortunate have shown a devastating outcome.

    Just some food for thought.

  2. Excellent food for thought! I much appreciate the other side of the coin. Nonetheless, my point was not that the government should take its hand out of the economy, rather it should do its job: serve and protect people.
    Thus, if a company has children labourers stitching and sewing our next Gucci gear, it is the state's duty to intervene.
    Also, do not forget that the state and the corporation are carnally linked. The latest 'economic recession' has allowed the state to intervene into the economy and lay claim to massive percentages of major businesses. For example, the Canadian and American governments now own almost 60% of General Motors. Coincidence or intent?
    Another thing that the state has been able to do is scare the shit out of its citizens with threats of terrorist attacks. As a result, people handed their freedoms over all wrapped up in a bow: Wire tapping, illegal checkpoints, illegal inspections, the list is endless.
    The problem with the state using an iron fist to control, as opposed to monitor, the economy is exactly how we have all ended up the way we are.
    These are issues that people of the 'leftist' doctrine forget to explore. They believe that to be anti-corporation means that you have to be pro-state socialism. To me, both paradigms are incredibly warped and extreme.
    As a solution, we must limit the state's responsibility to that in which we originally endowed it with: service and protection. Everything else is for the communities of people to work with. I think that we just think the world has gotten too big when, in fact, it's getting smaller. Our communities can span globally and be based on interests as opposed to national borders.

    We are not there yet, but we need to work towards it.

    Keep writing back!