Unknown-1 Unknown-1 billblairPeople who weren’t there often ask, how could the German people, a highly civilized and democratic nation, allow itself to be overtaken by Fascists?

The answer is: easy peasy. No problema. And if you think this could never, ever happen to us in civilized North America, you need only look around for examples of how it could, and is, happening here. As we sit up here in our blessed nation of Canada, we can only gape at the spectacle of Tea Partiers, rightly called Fascists, taking our neigbour to the south, hostage. It’s not just about the USA; in this age of hyperconnectedness, the woes of the US directly and indirectly affect our economy and our culture, like it our not. The USA is no longer ‘united’; instead, it is being destroyed by deep and bitter ideological divisions poisoning all relationships. I vividly recall a conversation with two young steel workers from Pittsburgh whom I met on a train to Munich in 2010. They told me that they did not dare to raise political topics with their co-workers and certain of their friends and family either. It was dangerous to do so, and if you insisted on stating your opinions, you would pay the price. They were young, intelligent, and shook their heads when I pointed out that they were describing a society slipping into a fascist mind set.

But let’s not dwell on our neighbours’ foibles. Let’s look at ourselves. How are we doing? Last night I went to a live theatre event at the Fire Hall Theatre in Vancouver. My friend Carmen had free tickets to Tommy Taylor’s You Should Have Stayed Home, A G20 Romp! which turned out to be out to be a riveting 75 minute, eye witness account of what can happen to you during a peaceful protest in Toronto, Canada.  For those who didn’t read the fine print, the G20 Summit Conference in 2010, resulted in 1000 people, many of them just coming out of restaurants or work, being incarcerated and handcuffed for more than 36 hours in giant metal cages, with no door toilets, and water only given when the ‘inmates’ started rioting. It took $1billion and 10,000 uniformed police officers, 1,000 security guards, and several Canadian military forces to ‘keep order’. Apparently, the chief of police was having a bad day and gave orders to ‘take back the city’ at the end of the conference.  The ‘inquest’ that followed was damning but turned out to have no clout or teeth. There is no independent body to investigate police brutality in Toronto. Who knew? I didn’t. The only reason I found out about this shocking abuse of power is because Tommy wrote an 11,000 word report on his ordeal and posted it to his Facebook page, with the result that he took his story on the road. Nothing was ever done to punish the people involved in this crime against citizens. Nobody got sued. Tommy went on the road to tell his tale of horror and abuse of power in one of the models of democracy, Canada.

I told him that he needs to turn his story into a movie, so that everybody in Canada gets the message. He replied he needs money to do that, and where is that coming from? I suggested Peter Munk, the ageing philanthropist and founder of Barrick Gold. Maybe crowdsourcing is the answer to the funding problem.  Isn’t strange that we can spend $1billion on the police, but there is no money for telling the truth. We have just proved that we can easily oppress and abuse citizens, without consequences. So the next time you wonder about why certain nations and societies fall to Fascist dictators, look to our fine nation. Unless we decide to stay home, shut up, and close our eyes, we could all end up in a cage.

How to Oppress Democratic Citizens for Dummies

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