Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Slowly, But Surely, Alberta's Stark Reality Dawns

In January I wrote a post titled "The Stark Reality Albertans Face", in which I tried to briefly describe the true reality facing us. Since then as the UCP's efforts to liquidate Alberta have accelerated and the impacts have been felt across the population more and more groups are starting to take action.

I've been interacting with a lot of first time politics followers, there is the rise of the MD war room and the newer Wall of Moms and Dads, inspired I assume by Portland's Walls of Moms and Dads standing against the police which is itself ironically mired in some leadership drama at the moment which somewhat mirrors an issue they encountered today.

Mistakes like this kill movements and are seized upon by the system which has no such moral qualms in its organization or execution. It happened to Occupy. It's happened to Black Lives Matter. To Indigenous protests, and it can happen to the movement against the UCP too. The more people opposed, the more people united, the more chance for conflict.

Those in the system operates in small groups and don't care if their agendas completely align so long as some of their objectives do. Accomplish the objective and deal with the fallout after. You can't fight every war at once.

Political movements, and the partisan left in particular however often fall in to a trap of trying to fight every battle at once expecting perfection and nothing else. This doesn't exist as much on the political right where those of opposing internal factions, find it easy to unite under a common banner even if it doesn't align with their agenda completely. They take a "it's better than nothing" approach.

They also fall in to the trap of trying to get everyone to rally under unified banners rather than individuals pushing a unified message. It's the classic "democratic" way but always runs on the assumption the other team is playing democracy.

What if they aren't? What if they're just holding out until you make your inevitable mistake?

Political movements require momentum, and it's not infinite. Sooner or later if a movement runs up against a stonewall the momentum will slowly die out as the lack of progress puts more emphasis on differences. People start looking for explanations why such and such isn't working. The system simply has to hold out until self-doubt reigns and the internal conflict (which they will likely covertly amplify) tears the movement apart.

It happens time and time again.

Momentum comes in a wave and the movement is it's most powerful at the peak of this wave but it can be challenging to identify before it passes. It is in this window of time that change can be demanded and voices may be really heard.

Obtaining critical mass is really only half the battle and I find very little thought is ever really given to how to deploy it once it's obtained. Yes you can have rallies, make signs, and hope the government "listens" but that's usually where political action ends. A hard reality to face is that even if a government is actively undertaking efforts to attack your quality of life and effectively your future few want to sacrifice their remaining quality of life to get it back. 

This of course results in a situation where movements don't go far enough to address the true situation opting instead of superficial corrections and token reparations that don't actually change anything of importance. The unfortunate reality I have found is that by the time you figure out how bad it is, it's actually worse. Only a fraction of the criminality is ever visible at any given time most of it is hidden, potentially to be discovered in the future, and potentially not. But there is always more than you know. Always. In effect the people are always fighting the last battle they already have lost they just don't know they've lost it yet. By the time they discover they have they've already lost several more. A steady decline.

When a government is pushing through "record amounts" of legislation fighting 1 or 2 policies doesn't cut it. The UCP has lots of legal battles on the go and it's not stopping them from passing more. It's death by 1000 paper cuts, even if you prevent a few the rest will get ya and it will never be as good as what was. It keeps people on the defensive, rather than offensive.

Instead of fighting bad policy, you should be fighting the fact you have to fight bad policy in the first place. That's the real root of the corruption. Who is writing these policies? Who are they working for? Would you have to be on the defensive all the time if the government had any intention of good faith? Look at all of the effort the AMA has put into trying to negotiate with a government that never had any intention of negotiating with them. Look at all of the leverage they've lost and actions they can no longer take they once could because they wasted their time being lead around naively thinking that if they just played ball, and even agree to *everything* the government wanted in the first place, that the true reality would not take hold.

The government had already won and they didn't even know it, and that was a failing on their part. They discovered they had lost the battle and the next day the government launched a website that would have taken months to develop and polish all ready to go. Now the true agenda is coming out and I'm certain more waits behind the curtain, will that be underestimated too?

While the rising numbers are great, a recognition I'm still waiting for in the Alberta political landscape is that the fuckwad UCP are in fact listening. They're listening intently. They're just not responding how you want them to respond. Their own actions, and now their internal correspondence show they are listening. But what are they doing in response? Devising propaganda tactics to counter it.

They know their policies are going to be unpopular and they really don't give a fuck what you have to say about it. They hire people using your tax dollars to convince you you're wrong. That's it, that is the extent of how much you can ever expect them to listen.

If the momentum peaks, and the anger becomes unbearable, they will throw you a bone or some hand sanitizer to quell the anger but don't mistake that for "listening". They heard you the first time, and the second, and after all of the energy expended they did the bare minimum possible just enough that some of the anger subsides. You don't see them re-hiring those 25,000 EAs who could really help with all this though, do you? Death by 1000 paper cuts, congrats on getting some crumbs.

They're listening, rest assured, given their entire presentation is public relations that must be designed and broadcast. Countering the UCP must be done with the assumption this is the case. They are not a government, they are hostile. No government working for the people would want their future decision making to be "prohibitively expensive" to escape.

However bad you think it is, it's already worse.

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Richard Fantin is a self-taught software developer who has mostly throughout his career focused on financial applications and high frequency trading. He currently works for CenturyLink

Nazayh Zanidean is a Project Coordinator for a mid-sized construction contractor in Calgary, Alberta. He enjoys writing as a hobby on topics that include foreign policy, international human rights, security and systemic media bias.

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