LETTER: Jobs before morality

From reader Charles Jeanes

Readers may have seen this post last week on social media:

“This blows my mind every single day. That a handful of old white men hold the fate of humankind in their hands. And they refuse to act because they are afraid of losing their money. It’s a lousy reason for a planet to die.”

Another post making rounds last week showed Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, super-progressive Democrat in U.S. Congress, with Greta Thunberg, teen-aged Swede famous for leadership on climate change; the post declares the two working together for a “Green New Deal.”

Canadians celebrated the “birth of our nation” in the same week, July 1, marking Confederation.

I’ll connect dots here: why the nation-state of Canada exists; a tiny number of incomprehensibly wealthy capitalists directing humankind; climate change; “Green” politics to solve our challenges.

Canada, like USA, Israel, and a few other first-world states founded in colonial contexts, must enact restorative justice for taking land/ stealing futures of people native to the land when settlers invaded. European capitalism was in its early stages in the 17th century and attained global triumph in the 20th, and the shape of what Canada must be was determined by this fact.

Though there are men not “white” among the few who rule humanity’s world today, it was Euro-capitalists who framed the global system and still are most influential. While the few are more responsible for the fate of humankind than the mass of us, all of us in some degree made this world what it is. We have not forced transformation upon the system where so few own so much. We are all therefore responsible for what the systems do to our planetary home, by failure to end them.

Canada is not more moral than other nations, though we do seem to feel that way toward Americans. Our guilt in climate change is in the sale of our filthy Alberta oil abroad, sales that polls say the majority of Canadians want to continue as a basis for our first-world affluence. The Green New Deal now bringing praise to Ocasio-Cortez and Thunberg is in fact a new edition of The Leap Manifesto as composed by Naomi Klein and other Canadians. We wrote it, we won’t enact it.

Canadians elect a federal government this year. It won’t address climate change nor restorative justice. Why not? “It’s the economy, stupid!” Jobs before morality, every time.

Charles Jeanes


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