In the Network: Media Co-op Dominion   Locals: HalifaxMontrealTorontoVancouver
This post has not been reviewed by the Vancouver Media Co-op editorial committee.

(Re)Considering the 'idiocy' of the Occupy Movement -

Blog posts are the work of individual contributors, reflecting their thoughts, opinions and research.

Dominion Stories

Media outlets across BC have taken an uneven approach to the Occupy Wall Street Movement (OWSM). Many have insinuated there’s some confusion over OWSM’s message (there isn’t - it’s a wholesale critique of capitalism and an attempt to reclaim the Commons for the Public). And many have stigmatized the OWSM as a waste of public resources and argued that the protests have ‘cost’ the city more than $500k. However, somehow or another an important question has been lost in all this bias and prejudice, in and among our collective hopes and fears. It’s a simple enough question, but one that warrants careful and considered analysis: What does democracy look like?

How does democracy legitimize the flow of power: from the top-down or bottom-up? What does civic duty encompass in a democracy? Is it reducible to voting and participation in the body politic? If less than half the electorate votes, can voting be said to represent the will of the people? Is the field of possibility wide or narrow in democracies? Is democracy commensurate with choice? That is to say, are more channels on TV, a hundred varieties of toothpaste, and systematic appeals for aggressive individualization instances of democracy? Can democratic legitimacy be lost if an electorate is maneuvered into choosing from among candidates who represent the same ideological interests? Does the democratic political apparatus work to enable injustice or social justice? Who has the legitimate power to shape the horizons of possibility in a democracy? Who doesn’t? How do democracies embody the will of the people? Are petitions legitimate means of effecting meaningful change in democracies? In democracies, do governments or the people decide when to engage in militarism? What hierarchy of legitimacy decides between and among policies in democracies? What is more important in democracies: ‘free trade’ or fair trade? Do democracies generally invest more heavily in war and prisons or health and education? How does the accumulation and centralization of wealth inhibit the realization of democracy? By what means is inequality accommodated for within democracies? How is capitalism regulated by democracy? Do democracies legitimize taxation schemes that prolong economic dependency and favour the rich? Where does agency lie in democracies - in the economy, the people, or ___? What is the role of unions in democracies? Is collective resistance an aberration or representative of democracy?

Admittedly, Canada has an ambiguous if not troubled relationship with democracy. Confederation, for instance, was imposed by an entrenched elite. In fact, the authors of Confederation were categorical in their insistence that Canada could and should be created without the approval of the people who preceded its existence or those who currently populated it. By the same token, the North West Rebellion irrevocably subjugated local interests while cementing the will of the State as supreme. And in the modern era Harper’s fondness for the British Empire can be viewed as a tacit promotion of conservative, patriarchal hegemony, and a flippant disregard for ameliorating Canada’s colonialist legacy. Given these points, maybe Canadians shouldn’t be surprised if democracy seems as though it’s in short supply.

In any event, at a minimum the OWSM should remind us all of our collective responsibility to each other while challenging our understandings of democracy. In ancient Greece - the birthplace of democracy - a ‘private citizen’ was one who declined to participate in public life, and known as ἰδιώτης - an ‘idiot’. If there’s one thing that the OWSM protestors aren’t, it’s idiots.

Catch the news as it breaks: follow the VMC on Twitter.
Join the Vancouver Media Co-op today. Click here to learn about the benefits of membership.


Democratic rhetoric for an age that never existed?

I don't know why everyone has this stylized, romanticized image of ancient Greece. The only people who could participate in the democracy there were adult male citizens (who owned slaves). Furthermore, the majority never can justly, that is, with mercy, define anything. If there is no constitution in place that is agreed upon by the consensus of everyone in a society, some individual will be ignored, oppressed and more likely than not, killed. 

the north face coupons

Everyone knows that it must be challenging to shop whenever were on a budget, it is a good thing theres North Face Coupons to aid us do the trick.north face promotion codes Online shopping for a camping gear would be one of the better solutions to cut costs if you prefer a handful of extra bucks back in your wallet.north face coupons Nicely just in case you get lost in what to purchase or whatto perform, you will find sites that can direct you to the actualcorrect path if you want a number of top camping gear.

Creative Commons license icon Creative Commons license icon

The site for the Vancouver local of The Media Co-op has been archived and will no longer be updated. Please visit the main Media Co-op website to learn more about the organization.