28 November 2006

Bring Out Your Dead! The 2010 Clean Up Begins

'Force may subdue.' I visualize men using force. First, hand to hand. With fists, knives, truncheons, whips. Weals, red or livid, across flesh. Lacerations, bruises, the broken bone sticking in jags through the skin, faces horribly swollen and bleeding. Then try to imagine, in my own body, the pain of a crushed finger, of blows with a stick or lash across the face, the searing touch of red hot iron. All the short-range brutalities and tortures. Then, force from a distance. Machine-gun bullets, high explosive, gases, choking or blistering, fire.

Force, finally, in the shape of economic coercion. Starved children, pot-bellied and with arms and legs like sticks. Women old at thirty. And those living corpses, standing in silence at the street corners in Dope City or South Bumblebee, shuffling in silence through the mud.

Yes, force may subdue. Subdue in death, subdue by wounds, subdue through starvation and terror. Vision of frightened faces, of abject gestures of servility. The manager at his desk, hectoring. The clerk cringing under the threat of dismissal. Force - the act of denying man's ultimate unity with man.

- Aldous Huxley, 1936

Though Huxley wrote those words 70 years ago I would have quoted them before the 50th convention of my local Labour Federation if my union was more welcoming of free spirits. For we still cringe like beaten dogs, fuck I have done it, under the threat of dismissal. Oh we hit back when we get a chance, lingering for an extra couple of minutes over a mid-morning shit, reserving the wisdom doing a job for years imparts while your hectoring manager tries most unsuccessfully to keep production moving without asking you to contribute to the solution. In our boot holster we all carry our own pet form of micro-sabotage.
The mayor of Dope City has announced his own escalation of the philosophy of force. It is a plan to re-civilize his sore city. He says we can halve drug use and homelessness by 2010. I cannot imagine what the significance of that year is. Apparently more police, more force, is the cornerstone of the plan. The mayor is a shithead.
We do not need more force to better our city, we need more love. We do not need more shitheads, we need less of them.
Consistently applied to any situation, love always gains. It is an empirically determined fact. Love is the best policy. The best not only in regard to those loved, but also in regard to the one who loves. For love is self-energizing. Produces the means whereby its policy can be carried out. In order to go on loving, one needs patience, courage, endurance. But the process of loving generates these means to its own continuance. Love gains because, for the sake of that which is loved, the lover is patient and brave.
And what is loved? Goodness and the potentialities for goodness in all human beings - even those most busily engaged in refusing to actualize those potentialities for goodness in relation to the lover himself. If sufficiently great, love can cast out the fear even of malevolently active enemies.
Aldous Huxley, 1936
Force, in fact, is being applied with some enthusiasm all over our planet, not just Dope City. Anyone care to tell me where force is working to make the world a better place better than love might?


Ed said...

It appears that the mayor of Dope City wants to promote his city’s love, peace, and tolerance in the time honored way… through intimidation and violence.

Mr. Beer N. Hockey said...

The Mayor was on the radio today. People are pretty much laughing at him. He may as well have announced a programme to visit Mars by 2010. He was elected because the city thought it would be pretty fucking cool to have a wheelchair mayor but, despite being a pretty decent guy, he is in hopelessly over his head and is being bullied around by the monied, dimwitted, coke-happy folk who financed his campaign.

The problems of Dope City are deeply entrenched and worsening. The streets of Dope City have been tough for decades, since long before I walked them regularly. I would say, conservatively, that street trouble is 100 times worse than it was in the '80s.

I would think that the average person on the streets the mayor is concerned about would ask the same thing I was asked by a bar tough as I snuggled a pint of beer at the bar of the Grand Union once: "You planning on staying here long?"

Dope City's downtown eastside has been Canada's poorest and in many ways most remarkable neighborhood for decades. If the mayor were to somehow move out everybody who would not look good on camera in 2010 they would just end up somewhere else not very far away. They are not going to move to Saskatoon.