I was chided by a liberal today for very rudely telling off a gun guy who presumes that his side is the “right” one to be on in the battle for civil liberties here in Canada. I always love it when people supposedly on my side take up for the other; way to prove that “liberals are milquetoast” belief the right holds of you, pal. But you know what? I don’t feel bad for telling the the con-job to fuck the hell off. Mr. Gunner had it coming; he was snotty and patronizing, and dared to use that “when I was young and foolish, I thought like you, too” canard on me. BIG mistake. You see, I’m not that young anymore. Youthful, yes, and I look young for my years, but I’m not exactly one of those green-haired kids you see at demos and some people think are the only ones that show up. I’ve already lived three years longer than Che Guevara, who died before he was 40. I don’t think of myself as middle-aged, but clearly I’m not a kid, and haven’t been one for quite some time. I have been in the struggle for all kinds of human and civil rights in Canada for more than two decades now, starting when I was 20 or so. I may not be a major figure, and I wouldn’t go putting on airs of being a veteran, but neither am I just some snot-nosed punk with naïve notions about making the world a better place. I’m old enough to have much clearer ideas than that, and more concrete patience as to how they are to be implemented.I am in the struggle, and I am committed to it for life. I committed myself to it little by little over more than half of my life to date. Each failure (and there have been many) has taught me something. I know the struggle is not going to be won by grand gestures or any other overnight victories. Time and experience and liberal lashings of extracurricular study have granted me that wisdom. That’s why I am vocal about just how much I don’t appreciate being patted on my pretty little curly red head by some good ol’ Johnny-come-lately with a gun who thinks he’s some kind of anti-authoritarian authority, just because he has a penis extension with an ammo clip. (Or because he wants one and can’t have it, thanks to the evil wicked federal government not granting him the privilege of having the supposed means to overthrow it. Same thing, really. Gun guys are all perpetual wannabes. Let them have a deer rifle, and they’ll all cry because you won’t let them have a machine-gun; let them have a machine-gun, and they’ll cry because you didn’t let them have a fucking bazooka. Big, fat, perpetually dissatisfied babies they are, at whatever age.)Anyhow, this all has me thinking: Just because the right-wing flibbertigibbertarians are now joining in our clamor for civil liberties in the wake of the G-20 fiasco, should we on the left seriously consider them as allies? My gut instinct tells me NO, WE SHOULD NOT. And my gut is not alone in this. My eyes and ears tell me so, too.Even a cursory look around should be enough to prove my gut check correct. Where were these guys at the G-20 protests? Were they marching? Were they supporting from the sidelines? Were they reporting with cellphones and home movie cameras? Were they blogging and tweeting in support of the jailed?None of the above. The right-wing gun-guy flibbertigibbertarians were all conveniently elsewhere. They were not even raising their pipsqueak voices in solidarity from afar, as I was. They would never cheer for a leftist standing up to authority. In fact, I’ll bet you dollars to doughnuts that before the G-20, they were all rah-rah for the Harpocrats, because those guys promised to get rid of the long-gun registry and because they hated the Dirty Fucking Hippies, and considered anyone who would protest global capitalist hegemony to be an anarchist deserving to get his or her head bashed in, like that poor soul in London the last time (who was, incidentally, just a passer-by). These guys all had absolutely NO problem with that, other than maybe what it cost and how bad it made capitalism look for just a split second there. But it didn’t concern these concern trolls. It was someone else’s head being bashed in, not theirs. And it was all happening at a safe distance.Now that it’s all suddenly right here in Middle Canada among us, and the evidence is all out there on YouTube that the cops were heavy-handed on orders from above, NOW all of a sudden they pipe up. Not that I’m unhappy to hear it, exactly–but jeez, gun guys, why so late to the party? Were you expecting to make a grand entrance with your guns, your ammo and your god-awful camo, and proclaim yourselves the saviors of us all? If so, you’re full of shit. You didn’t show up with your guns to the G-20 to clear the line of armored cops away from the people they were beating on. You didn’t show up at the jails, either, to blast the thousand-some arrestees free. No Molotov cocktails for you, oh no. That’s Black Bloc tactics, pure DFH stuff. You didn’t fire a single round in defence of the leftists, not even from a kiddie slingshot. Explain to me exactly how you and your weaponry are supposed to be the God-sent answer to tyranny, again?Oh yeah, I forgot. The feds, the same ones you voted for because they were right-wing lawn-order types, wouldn’t let you buy your widdle bang-bang guns and bring them in. And if you had, you’d have been mown down by the riot squad, not with rubber bullets either, and you knew it. You pissed your pants in fear of it.Poor babies.No, I don’t trust a conservatard with a gun to fight for the rights I have yet to obtain, because I’ve already seen how worse than useless they are at merely defending the existing ones. And it’s not because these guys have their hands shackled by us mean little lefties, or Big Bad Government, no matter how much they whine to that effect. It’s the fault of no one but the cons themselves. These guys are no Che Guevara; to them, he’s another Dirty Fucking Hippie. And a commie, oh noes. Those are the worst “authoritarians” of all, to hear the rightards tell it. They think every leftist is Joe Stalin underneath it all, even though there’s ample evidence throughout Latin American history that the much-feared leftist guerrillas were in fact the biggest real libertarians of all, while the official Communist parties of the various countries were at pains to distance themselves from Moscow and the guerrillas both, and the guerrillas, in turn, disdained Moscow as too authoritarian and the official Communists as too stodgy, too reluctant to fight for the people, and too busy trying to build their own electoral legitimacy in a fake-democratic system which was blatantly stacked against the Left on all fronts. But let’s not trouble their australopithecine brains with those facts, shall we? The point is, these right-wingers, even when they manage to organize themselves, are no freedom fighters. They couldn’t get up even the most half-assed of guerrilla armies. In Canada they have never done so yet, and in the US, they have only succeeded in making asses of themselves. They have much in common with the fascist cops they claim to despise–they eat too many doughnuts, and they LOOK like doughnuts, too. One would think they were cops manqués, and one wouldn’t be wrong; they are. And if they ever passed the entrance exams to police academy (which, heaven knows, takes no geniuses), they would turn into the worst kind of cop: the Bullyboy With A Badge, the kind that’s hot to crack hippie heads at a G-20 demo. They will never fight for others; they don’t rea
lly care about the oppressed. Here or abroad, they will only jeer at the poor to “get a fuckin’ job”, ignoring the fact that most of those wretches already have two or three apiece and still can’t make enough to buy a decent house. The only people they will fight for is themselves, although they might pat the likes of me smirkingly on our heads and nobly claim they’re doing it for us, because we’re too silly and wussy to scream for more and bigger guns. (They think we only scream for ice cream.) Some might even eloquently fool themselves (and a few of us) into believing that there really is some higher purpose to what they’re doing. But at bottom, no, they’re not doing it for anybody but THEM. That’s why they voted for the Tories in the first place–or local fringe parties who think the Tories aren’t right-wing and authoritarian and pro-capitalist enough. It behooves us on the left to remember that. Don’t watch their mouths when they talk; watch their feet when it comes time to vote. These guys will never vote for the common good. Pure, unenlightened self-interest is their modus operandi, now and forever.Don’t believe me? Fine, take a good hard look at anyone who ever accomplished anything for civil rights and liberties anywhere. Tell me who they were, what their politics were. Was Rosa Parks a right-wing white guy with a gun, agitating for the right to unlimited guns? No, she was a middle-aged black lady who’d been a staunch, quiet civil-rights campaigner for many years before she simply sat down and stayed put on that bus in Montgomery, and wouldn’t budge when Whitey ordered her to. How about Gandhi? Damn, the dude kicked out the British Raj from India without firing a single shot–or even a literal kick! He walked around in white loincloths, not camo fatigues. He organized protests, not armies. And both of these heroes had such a mass following that it was impossible to ignore them. They won in the end, not with bullets but with ballots.Closer to home, Tommy Douglas–CCF socialist and Baptist preacher–gave every individual in Saskatchewan the right to free healthcare, education, highways and more. His socialist initiatives were so successful that every other province in Canada eventually copied them, even those with conservative premiers. Under Lester B. Pearson, a Liberal, the changes wrought by the leftist Tommy Douglas and his provincial government became enshrined in federal law. Pearson also let the Vietnam-era draft dodgers, conscientious objectors, and peace activists in, and more than 25,000 of them came to call Canada home. All have praised its peacefulness and freedoms; none have tried to import US-style gun-mad politics here. And Pierre Elliot Trudeau–another Liberal–patriated our Constitution from Britain, and appended our Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Thanks to those two documents, we are (or were, before Harpo) better off than our cousins to the south, rights-wise. I’ll bet you good money that the rightards aren’t even remotely familiar with the text of either one. I can tell you this much: Neither the Constitution nor the Charter guarantee ANYONE the right to guns.And need I remind you that the Underground Railroad ended in Canada, where slavery was abolished long before it was even thought seriously about in the US? I’ll give you a broad hint as to why that is: it certainly wasn’t Tories, or any other conservatives, who agitated for that abolition. And it’s a pretty safe bet that conservatives weren’t sheltering any runaway slaves, either.The entire history of the Americas is rife with conservative oppressors and liberal-to-leftist freedom fighters. There is not one conservative who ever fought for human rights, and not one socialist or true, un-milquetoasty liberal who didn’t.And no, the leftists didn’t all have guns. They didn’t all need them: Tommy Douglas needed only his pen, some paper and a microphone to become our Greatest Canadian. Even Dr. Ernesto “Che” Guevara, who famously left behind his medical kit and kept his rifle when fighting in the Cuban revolutionary war (which his column won at Santa Clara), would say that it the people’s revolutionary consciousness, not his gun, that was his best and most effective weapon in the struggle for human rights. The gun was merely his back-up, a tool for holding off the enemy. It was not the instrument of change; the mind was. It was only when he could make no progress with the people that his revolutionary guerrilla armies failed. Where no mind for change exists, there can be no revolution; there cannot even be a victorious struggle for one person’s rights, let alone the “individual” rights of all. No individual’s gun, nor indeed the collective ownership of lots of guns, can change that. The US is lousy with guns; have they overcome the tyranny of Wall Street and the Pentagon yet? No, because the mind for positive social change is one thing conservatives have never had, and never will. Not even the so-called “libertarians” of the right. Those guys will fall right in behind authoritarians like dominoes, when all’s said; the topdog/underdog mindset is all they know. And they want to be topdog; they don’t resent authority unless they don’t have it to themselves. They don’t want to build a world where there are no topdogs or underdogs. They are conservatives, and the only thing they conserve is the old order, in which women and minorities stay in “their” underdog place, and white male topdogs with guns run the show.No, they are not our allies. They never were, and never truly will be. And woe betide anyone who is lulled by a few nice words from them into thinking otherwise.“If you tremble indignation at every injustice then you are a comrade of mine.” –Ernesto “Che” Guevara, one TRUE libertarian.