I was recently reading The Shock Doctrine – The Rise of Disaster Capitalism and it said that when your economic policy is highly unpopular with the middle and lower income brackets of society the only enforcement you can do is via violence. Unlike the wealthy they only recourse they have is to strike and demonstrate to get their rights recognized. The wealthy can “grease palms” to influence policy1.
When you’re dealing with strikes and demonstrations the only thing you can do is resort to violence to enforce policy.
In Canada we’re currently seeing the same types of behaviour directed towards the First Nations peoples on whose land we exist. The RCMP is even arresting journalists that are reporting on the violence they’re enacting on the First Nations opposing development on their own land.
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It looks like the Canadian Government is enacting unpopular economic policies via violence on some of the most vulnerable people groups we have in Canada. First Nations have been victims of colonialism via residential schools which enforced indoctrination on children up until 1996 when the last residential school was closed.
How are we not equating the actions if the RCMP and Canada to the regimes in South America in the 1970’s and 1980’s?
By no means do I condone any of the actions of white supremist groups, but I can see a path from the reduction in good manufacturing jobs to the behaviour they are exhibiting. They’re seeing an “unpopular” economic policy and they’re responding to it with violence.
In their case it’s just that the unpopular policy is reducing the unfair advantage white folks have had for generations as it makes some, very small, steps towards equity. So I think that their reaction is based on bad ideas, but I can understand how a group that feels like they’re struggling responds with violence as they see the struggle maybe getting harder.
If you’re interested in reading more about the loss of economic prospects in the Appalachian South then I’d recommend Hillbilly Elegy. It’s a good examination of what’s been going on, without condoning any of the behaviour.
These thoughts always lead me to question what I’m going to do about these policies? My overarching answer is that as a white dude who can get away with lots of stuff I need to use that privilege to make the lives of other people better.
It’s a vast responsibility that I don’t think I’ll ever finish, nor should I.
I like Matt’s flywheel to continue to produce content. I’d say mine is fairly similar. Follow a bunch of blogs, watch a bunch of YouTube videos. Piece together ideas from across the spectrum of what I’m reading online and reading in books to get the content/thoughts you read.
I’m always up for blog/YouTube recommendations so if you have any I’d love to have them.
1The Shock Doctrine Page 148