rabble’s been making some lists, checking them twice. Now you’re going to find out who we think has been naughty and nice in 2008. With the economic crisis we were short on candy canes, and because of the ecological crisis we wanted to set a hard cap on the distribution of lumps of coal – so we have kept this to a Top 10 format.
First, we present our naughty list, to be followed shortly by the nice list. Believe us, it was especially hard to cap this list, so we encourage you to continue it on babble…
Naughty in 2008
The Governor General (and, by extension, Queen Elizabeth). Prorogation was her prerogative, and we don’t even get to know her rationale for giving the Harper government a stay-of-execution in face of a coalition ready to pull the plug. The GG may have set a disastrous precedent where any embattled minority PM can merely padlock Parliament to cling to power. The more pressing disaster for Canadians is the prospect of a potential majority government sometime in 2009 for …
Stephen Harper. Even the Globe and Mail was calling for his resignation as Conservative leader, such was the over-reach and arrogance of the Sweatered One late in 2008. Steve’s Grinch-like uber-partisan heart was laid bare with his ham-fisted attempt to bankrupt democracy by cutting federal subsidies to political parties. And Harper’s ugly ideological core was exposed with his stimulus-less economic update. 2008 will go down as the year that neo-liberal economics was finally widely discredited, but the PM has yet to get the memo. We must also mention Harper’s blatant demagogic misrepresentation of the functioning of Canada’s parliamentary democracy. This was beyond naughty. It was inexcusable, and rabble will continue focusing on this issue in 2009.
The CRTC, for siding with Bell Canada and Big Telecom against consumer and net neutrality. In November, the CRTC announced that they would not force Bell to stop its controversial practice of net throttling.
Canwest-Global, for all the usual reasons of right wing corporate media, but this year in particular for their rampant use of SLAPP suits. It’s hard to even satirize the bullying behaviour of this media giant, and if you try you can find yourself in court.
Sarah Palin. Just when you thought the neo-conservatives down south couldn’t lower the political discourse any more into the gutter, along came this hockey mom from Alaska. Her naughtiness, manifested as hyper-confident ignorance (epitomized by this surreal interview moment), at least helped secure the Republicans’ decisive defeat on November 4.
The ‘international community,’ for fiddling while the Earth burns and for turning a blind eye to the seemingly endless and endlessly cruel siege of Gaza. Is this naughty item really just a way to raise two important issues? Yes, but then everybody invokes the ‘international community’ for their own purposes. And besides, we are really tired of year-after-year going by without resolute action being taken by the international community on these two fronts. There’s no escape from our ecological and political predicaments globally without taking serious action on climate change and for justice in Palestine.
Barack Obama. Within weeks of November 4, ‘change’ began to look a lot like ‘continuity,’ or at least Clintonuity, as key appointment after key appointment in the incoming Obama administration put a damper on hope and euphoria: a neo-liberal ‘shock therapist’ on the economy file, a ‘war cabinet’ on foreign policy, a homophobe at inauguration and a chief of staff with a reputation as a bully, a hawk and a staunch defender of Israeli apartheid … this isn’t looking much like the change that progressives wanted to believe in.
The RCMP. Rest in Peace, Robert Dziekanski. How long will we tolerate the cops investigating themselves? How many more families will be denied fair and impartial justice?
NATO. Let’s face it: this acronym is an anachronism. In 2009, the Cold War military alliance will turn 60. Bogged down in a disastrous and unjust war in Afghanistan – its first ever operation outside of Europe – here’s hoping that NATO doesn’t live to see its 70th.
The global capitalist economy. ‘Socialism’s comeback,’ which a New Statesman headline recently heralded, can’t come soon enough. First, there was a food crisis that sparked hunger riots around the world; then global finance melted down, sparking a wave of bankruptcies and bailouts. While there were golden parachutes for some of the culprits, the real victims are facing a free fall of concessions, layoffs and plant closures. 2009 would seem to demand a New Year’s revolution. The labour movement and its allies will need to resolve to fight back hard over the course of the tumultuous year ahead.