Back in March, Chris Hedges planned to address a demonstration on Bill C-51. However, his plane was delayed getting into Toronto, so the crowd never heard what he had to say. Nonetheless, his speech has been made available at rabble.ca. It's well worth reading. The corporate state has won, he writes, and it's up to us to do something about it:
There are no internal constraints left to halt totalitarian capitalism. Electoral politics is a sham. The media is subservient to corporate power. The working class is being disempowered and impoverished. The legal system is a subsidiary of the corporate state. Any form of dissent, no matter how tepid, will soon to be blocked by an internal security apparatus empowered by anti-terrorist laws that will outstrip anything dreamed of by the East German Stasi state. And no one in Ottawa or Washington intends to help us. Opposition parties, such as the Democratic Party, may cry foul when out of power, but once in power they bow to the demands of the omnipotent military and security organs that serve our corporate masters.
Any state that has the ability to inflict full-spectrum dominance on its citizens is not a free state. It does not matter if it does not use this capacity today. It will use it, history has shown, should it feel threatened or seek greater control. The goal of wholesale surveillance, as Hannah Arendt wrote, is not, in the end, to discover crimes, "but to be on hand when the government decides to arrest a certain category of the population." No one who lives under constant surveillance, who is subject to detention anywhere at any time, whose conversations, messages, meetings, proclivities and habits are recorded, stored and analyzed, as ours are, can be described as free. The relationship between those who are constantly watched and tracked, and those who watch and track them, is the relationship between masters and slaves.
There will, if this law is not blocked, be no checks left on state power. State Security will operate outside the law. Citizens will be convicted on secret evidence in secret courts. Citizens will be subject to arbitrary searches and arrests. Due process will be eradicated. Internal security organs will serve as judge, jury and executioner. The outward forms of democratic participation -- voting, competing political parties, judicial oversight and legislation -- will remain, but become meaningless forms of political theater.
Once the security services become omnipotent those who challenge the abuses of power, those who expose the crimes carried out by government are treated as criminals. Totalitarian states always invert the moral order. The evil rule. The righteous are condemned.
Try to defend the treaty rights of First Nations people and you will go to prison. Try to halt the tar sands, fracking, or the bitumen-carrying pipelines and you will go to prison. Try to oppose Israel's illegal occupation of Palestinian territories and you will go to prison. And once you are seized by the Canadian Security Intelligence Service you can be subjected to sleep deprivation, sensory deprivation, the disorienting poles of extreme light and darkness or extreme heat and extreme cold, along with stress-position torture, waterboarding, beatings and pressure-point torture. And it will all be legal.
The only option we have, writes Hedges, is to rebel -- as Albert Camus defined the term:
The rebel, for Camus, stands with the oppressed -- the unemployed and underemployed workers, the people of the First Nations whose land and lives are being exploited, Palestinians in Gaza, the civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan, the disappeared who are held in our global black sites, the poor in our inner cities and depressed rural communities, immigrants and those locked away in our prison system. And to stand with them means a refusal to collaborate with political systems that mouth the words of justice while carrying out acts of oppression. It means open and direct defiance.
Something to think about before casting your vote in the next election.