Confessions Of A Not So Radical Leftist
In Canada, where I have lived all my life, I am, as labelled by Conservatives, a bleeding heart Liberal. But like a lot of Canadians I was very much influenced by the ongoing political volatility of US, where I spent a good deal of my youth, due to its proximity to my home town of Fort Erie Ontario.
I was not so radicalized in the 60s by Dylan and Phil Ochs & Joan Baez who were the people making real sense at the time and later by Tom Hayden, Abbie Hoffman, Ken Kesey and Alan Ginsberg. I watched America explode over the Vietnam fiasco, and saw the power that Leftists could wield if they set their minds to it. I marveled at the million man march on Washington. I was saddened beyond belief at 9/11. I shook my head at the endless war in Afghanistan. And I was totally disgusted by the events of 1/6.
I came to see Conservatives/Republicans for what they had really become, probably since the days of Ronald Reagan, which are tools of the establishment: the corporate interests who had no compassion for the people who worked for them and no respect for the laws that governed them. Who wanted to avoid paying people what they were worth or their fair share of taxes, never realizing that it would eventually destroy the middle class, and eventually take with it a sizeable chunk of their market that would result from a radical decrease in buying power that average consumers would be experiencing.
I came to see the division between left and right fairly clearly when we moved to Ottawa and my dad became a big shot in the Immigration department and my stepmom was the personal assistant to the Liberal finance minister, Walter Gordon. This was before the Reagan years in the US and the Conservatives were just starting their eventual enslavement to big business.
I was still in high school then, but had a very good friend whose dad was in the US military, and worked at the US embassy. His name was Chuck and he was one of the first truly radicalized Americans I had ever met. A lot of that rubbed of on me and shaped my views going forward.
The Blindness of Greed
This shortsightedness of big business and the rich is something I call The Blindness of Greed. It is also the Achilles’ Heel of the capitalist system, where corporations are owned by the market and its shareholders, and live or die based pretty much on their profitability.
The left wing view was simply that this system was flawed in a way that is now becoming highly evident, and will likely lead to a huge cataclysm. I believed it then. I believe it now.
It’s no mistake that a number of market analysts are predicting the same thing. Right now they are voices in the wilderness, but the voices are growing louder. And the scariness becomes more and more scary.
The not so radical leftist believes in power of the people. And that’s a wonderful thing to believe. But it’s also a hard row to hoe, when you consider that right leaning governments, that are generally enslaved by the rich and corporations, tend to want to restrict the power of the people in any way they can.
This explains why there is no law that assures the that everyone can earn enough money to actually live on or be taken care of in their old age. There is also no attempt to raise taxes on the rich and corporations, and so the deficit continues to grow, and programs like universal health care and much needed infrastructure improvements continue to languish in some legislative purgatory.
Where Is The Common Sense Revolution When You Need It?
And where is all the righteous indignation that the left is so famous for? Well, it’s a matter of priorities. Most of the people in the US are too busy worrying about the shockingly high number of people refusing to be vaccinated against the Corona virus. They are also consumed with actually making a living in an economy that has been turned on its ear by this same plague.
And here I am up in Canada, worried about a lot of the same things, but to nowhere the degree that Americans have to worry, because the anti-vaccination movement here is not being fanned by our politicians, no matter how creepily right wing they happen to be.
Or maybe we’re just a more common sense country, and don’t take politics here as seriously as the Americans seem to.
All the big issues are on hold until the ship rights itself again.
Here, being a not so radical leftist has boiled down to telling some little old lady shopping for groceries that her mask has slipped down below her nose. Hey, it’s a dirty job but some lefty has to do it.
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