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)