Writers and Other Contrinutors Welcome

The Editor of this blog invites other contributors of lead articles, art and poetry etc. Photos welcome. Subject to approval of content etc. While editorially this is a left wing blog with a radical perspective, other opinion is of course welcome to the comments section. Everything being subject to moderator approval of approptiateness to this site.

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Up Next
Openinbg Up, A Gaping Vacuum on The Left
In Canadian Politics

Coyote Times is "essentially", at this point, a one man show, and I am really more a physical than intellectual person. New material here. especially as spring and summer come on, is going to be a tad spotty. (I can only sit on my ass for just so long, and cannot long be a Marat (French Revolutionary) hunkered down day and night writing tracts and agitprop in his garret. I am simply ill suited to it.) Even Tyee where I comment frequently, starts to wear on the patience of my ass from time to time.


That said, it has become clear to me, over this Federal Election, that there really is a great gaping vacuum that is opening up and begging to be filled... on the Serious Left in Canadian politics. I even hear rumblings that the Canadian Action Party (CAP), at least from its recently released programme document reported on CBC News, is or seems aware of that, judging from this document... and may be moving to try and fill it. How successfully, time will tell.

Anyway, more and more clearly this vacuum on the Left exists, and the rest of us had better begin to discuss it, and its possible direction of development etc. soon. Which, give me a day or two to write it, I will attempt to begin to do.

Watch for it.

Love, Peace and Revolution


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Crap Shoot Electoral Politics
by Coyote

"Ladies and gentlemen, let me begin by giving you a big welcome to Canada. Let's start up with a compliment. You're here from the second greatest nation on earth. But seriously, your country, and particularly your conservative movement, is a light and an inspiration to people in this country and across the world.”  Taken from a speech Harper gave to a June 1997 Montreal meeting of the right-wing U.S. Council for National Policy… reprinted in the esteemed online rag, The Tyee. I recommend, if you have not already, check out Tyee and read this speech. It is very enlightening. http://thetyee.ca/News/2011/03/23/StephenHarpersEyes/
Here we are again, in another round of choosing the lesser of Evil political choices, in what passes for “parliamentary democracy” here in suddenly neo-conservative capitalism Canada.  And while the alternative party choices to Harper’s fascists are “perhaps”, or may seem not quite so extreme in their right wing views as this quote from Harper above, since the late ‘70s, they have all acted more or less the same “in actual power… And the "drift" direction of development of all the parties to capitalism, without exception, has been toward their neo-liberal ideology, less in words than practise.

 The right wing Blairite NDP, who have themselves sought to be ever more overtly “busines friendly”, code for accepting the neo-liberal economic paradigm's parameters, have largely enabled and gone along with the dismantling of the postwar Social Democratic State of Capitalism, offering token resistance only, or at best working to slow it down. The Greens largely likewise on the dismantling of the Social Democratic State, saying pretty much nothing, have only an offer of “green capitalism” to mitigate “some” against the harm of “endless growth capitalism” upon population growth and environmental degradation. Nonetheless accepting that the endless growth, so much an integral part of the status quo and its casino capitalism, so-called "free market", will nonetheless continue unchallenged.

Finally then, there is the Liberals who much first introduced this extreme right wing period to us with NAFTA, which ties us closer to Neocon America, to tighter integration into and participation  in their war plans, in Afghanistan, the shifting of the tax load to the working class (GST) from corporations, and to cuts in social safety net spending. All these so-called “vanguard parties” to capitalism and its bullshit democracy have been, to one degree or another, enablers of its ruling class neo-liberal economic agenda. None have challenged it straight up, and up front, let alone to seriously organize the citizenry against it. (Which will take a serious "revolutionary" party, or preferably "movement".) 

Which describes pretty much, I think, regardless of what the “average Canadian” is currently thinking at this unravelling of their postwar prosperity period world, how at least what remains of a “serious Left” in this country must be seeing the economic and political realities of this sudden late neo-conservative capitalism Canada. At least I just can’t believe it is only I. I know for myself, there is even a certain despair at this retrogressive development going on across not only capitalism in this country, but across the full reach of global capitalism entirely, evidenced by the G20 demonstrations here, Wisconsin and other States in the US, in Greece and elsewhere throughout “advanced western capitalism”..

I can’t think, in fact, of one exception that has been left untouched… including Sweden and the other citadels of hereto Social Democracy. All have bent before and effectively submitted, to one degree or another, to the new neo-conservative/fascist wind blowing across the entire capitalist economy and its political institutions, and what has and is happening to the little even that passed for “bourgeois democracy” in the postwar II. Such as which period included waves of anti-communist and anti-socialist hysteria of course, as has placed the “Serious Left” in the decimated condition it is in, and needing to rebuild, in most “advanced” countries… including Canada.

Now, in the lead up to, and as this country finally goes into this federal election, we have the spectacle of Layton, the leader of the NDP, first trying to make a budget peace with the Conservatives, which effectively placed them to the right of the Liberal Party. (Even if they argue it was purely for “tactical” reasons, true or not, the optics were terrible, and has sown even more popular distrust of this Party.) Foreign policy-wise they are virtually deadpan silent, mouthing liberal niceties but raising no serious opposition to the country’s participation in Afghanistan, NAFTA and the Northern Command Agreements which sets the tone for further military integration and dependence. Now, they are fully onboard with the Anglo-American Empire intervention into Libya, while it is more and more fully clear that it is largely a Britain and France grab for the largest “proven” oil reserves in North Africa. (The US may itself also have ambitions of extending its current 1% share of Libya’s oil.  Certainly they have all been silent, including Canada, on the slaughters of civilians in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia etc… the US Empires choice held oil source  and port for its 5th Fleet. Such as is part of the Russian and Chinese claim of what is actually happening.

In any case, the NDP is saying even less of what it stands for or even “optically” indicating what it would do in power than the Liberals.

Liberal MP Ralph Goodale for example, while I don’t have his exact words immediately before me, on CBG News this morning, which I watched, was sounding more and more Left of the NDP… sounding like they were taking advantage of the NDP attempt to place itself to their right, in the early discussions leading to the budget. They are themselves angling for this, what passes for “left social democratic” vote, it sounded very much to me. Judge for yourself, from his Facebook page, which pretty much says the same thing.

“The Conservatives are using up every bit of Canada’s financial capacity on three big, risky, expensive projects: 
·      buying stealth warplanes without even the semblance of decent competition ($30 billion);
·     building US-style mega jails ($10 billion); and
·      extra corporate tax cuts for the six big banks and other large businesses that have already had their taxes cut by 35% ($6 billion/year). 
The net result is nothing left for families – for education, healthcare, pensions, child care or family caregivers.

The Harper regime is spending 1,000-times more to buy warplanes than they’re investing in helping students get to university or technical school.They’re spending 1,000-times more on jails than on youth crime prevention.
 The Harper regime wasted more on one-day of G-20 extravagance in Toronto last summer than they’ll spend in a whole year to help low-income senior citizens.
 This is just not good enough.  Even more pathetic is the Harper regime’s appalling lack of ethics. “

On the surface of it, sounding about where the NDP should be, rather than seeking a budget deal or "understanding" with the Conservatives.

The reality is of course, we’ve heard all this shit coming out of all these same “political players” to capitalism before. Meanwhile nothing changes, and our nation and world drains away and slides deeper and deeper into the fascist dead-end we are being led into with no serious existing options or prospects for a different political/economic course. Except for the Conservatives, there is only the sound of a great homogenous "suck" across the landscape. All of which leaves us with the net result of a diminsihed society from the postwar II even, costly blood and treasure draining engagements in the war schemes of The Anglo-American Empire, and the declining wellbeing of the environment and “the people”... as we’ve got.

This is where the Left practise for the near entire postwar period of capitalism, of buying into voting for the Lesser Evil at bullshit ruling class manipulated election times, code for voting NDP, has led. For the brief period of the Social Democratic State, or the Welfare State of Capitalism, as you wish, when capitalism did “seem”, and I would say “was”, by nth degree by degree evolving “in the direction of” a “kind of” State Socialism/Capitalism, there did again “seem” to be a good rationale for. That rationale however, long ago dissipated, starting in the late 1970s, with the effective movement of all the parties to capitalism, more and more, to the neo-liberal/neocon Right, including the NDP model of  hereto Social Democracy. Its previous vision is now nearly completely compromised... co-opted into full acceptance of the status quo.

The country is being betrayed, by NAFTA and the Northern Command and other economic, military and “security” agreements with the US, into “continental integration” or, more accuarately, absorption into the most extreme and dangerous example of capitalist economic and political conservatism in the advanced capitalist world… the United States of America. And as part of that agenda, we are being step by step “harmonized” economically and socially with them, meaning our hereto Welfare or Social Democratic State is being dismantled, and our citizens thrown into their system of Socialism for the wealthy and Corporations, and the most lean and mean Capitalism for everyone else, certainly the great mass of the working class.

In my view, as desperately decimated as the “Serious Left” is, in this late stage of capitalist development in Canada, in large part a consequende of all the anti-Left pogroms of our postwar history, it is necessary for it to recognize and come to fully understand, if there is to ever be any hope of its recovery to a new greatness, that this practise of wasting our material and human energy resources on a Lesser Evil NDP needs to end. It is past time. As relatively minor, perhaps even aged demographically as what remains of The Serious Left might be in this country, it is time at least, for it to begin to agitate and work as best it can, against this chain as ties us and “the people” down, and hampers the creation of a political pressure for any other alternative and more serious progressive development model.

For myself, I will not give any money donations to the NDP, or any other party to capitalism. And such energies as I still have, I will not squander away on them either. Nor any of the other old vanguard parties of The Left still wed to now ancient notions of revolutions from another time… for all their historical lesson value. Nor will I vote for them.
And if that means that I will not vote at all… so be it.

I will, however, do everything I can for the creation of a movement or movements of defense, agitation, and the street challenging power of “the people”… the great mass of the working class. I will do everything I can to contribute to the building of a mass movement and organization of the people, to transform society away from capitalism, and in the direction of a more truly democratic, co-operative and egalitarian economy and larger political society.

But as for voting any further for what is, and the people who speak for it… it holds absolutely nothing, not even hope for me. Not any longer.

I will no longer play Crap Shoot Politics with The System’s players.

Next: Towards a Serious Left Political Programme Development for Canada.

build the movement of the people...


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Crap Shoot Politics

Next: To Vote or
Not to Vote _ the coming
federal election.

Unfortunately, the country is heading into a federal election at a time when its very independent and progressive existence has never been more threated, and when it is fully engage under conservative/fascist leadership in the imperial war schemes of what was a dominant US Empire, now evolving into a broader Anglo-American Empire. This latter which, like the Old US Empire now near terminally enfeebled, is seeking a new alliance basis  to continue the old Western Colonial domination of the world... especially the Middle East. 

And in this coming federal election, we have the spectacle of all the vanguard parties to capitalism in Canada, virtually without exception, competing with each other to see who can be more Right, without "overly" losing their traditional bases in the populace, and all effectively committed to this new rising Anglo-American Empire global push. Particularly, it increasingly seems, Social Democracy manifested as the NDP in this country, is evidencing as much of a desire, be it for opportunist political expediency or whatever, to co-operate/work with the Conservatives as the Liberals. Indeed it has now almost entirely abandoned its positions on the Left, and planted its feet firmly on the Right side of the "business friendly" spectrum.

Those of us on the Left who see and understand what is going on here, perhaps to here having at least felt we could hold our noses and vote NDP, as the lesser of all the evils... what are we to do? Should we continue to vote NDP, even while they seem to have abandoned near all of their progressive instincts, and are coming out more and more effectively supporting, at least "going along with" this rise of the most aggressive fascist tendency within capitalism in the entire post WWII in this country? 

OR, is it finally time to abandon this collaborative "going along with" the NDP, and the Greens who have proven themselves fundamentally no better, and husband our precious remaining manpower and other resources in the building of an alternative option? 

Which questions I will begin to attempt to address in my next article here on Coyote Times.

Watch for it, and express your own views.

Peace, Love and Revolution  

Monday, March 21, 2011

Chinook In Winter

Early Morning Feeding
by Coyote

Rude awoken into the cold still dark,
Winter Solstice morn,
From where I was gripped firm my wife’s warm cheeks,
To be set here on the new fallen snow,
Still in mournful shock,
My breath clouds becoming beard icicles,
My cheeks puckered like taught crumpled parchment.

I am one with leafless limbed ash grey trees,
Chiselled from hoarfrost,
Reached out to me as though they are in pain,
Like frozen synapses in mid writhing,
Lost their connection.
To the life giving force of the Spring sun,
To which they still reach, long and aspire.

And there amidst the rising morning fog,
As it were their sea,
Exhausting impatient puffs of white smoke,
Chinook insists with his hoof in the snow,
That I heed right now,
His priority in all things on earth,
As might tend to distract my attention.

Which makes me cranky.
“Ya buggers you and that Thoroughbred skanky ,
If knew could be over that fence and blown.
To starve down to bone,
 Upon the dry grass ‘neath that foot of snow,
Or the bark and rot of the fallen low.”

Ah, smarter than that.
“We’d rather delight in the irony,
Of your pathetic hubris slavery.”
 They say in one voice.
Upon which we glare each at the other,
 Shared hostile affection brother to brother.
They are my Horses.

“Neigh!” they quick counter.
“You are but our slave poor human flounder,
For so long as you learn and ‘wise behave.
Feed us then go knave!”
Even Barn Cat upon the hitching rail,
As well waits my service and flicks her tail,
Showing her askance,
And shuns my hand with not so much a glance.

 She will not pacify me either one small fave.
“The barn now!” she mews. “You’re also my slave.”

Dec. 24, 2010


Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The Military We Really Need
The final installment.

First, I'm just a citizen, not an expert. I have "some" living experience familiarity with the military, especially the Navy, less the Army, and the Airforce only from a distance. (My Dad, who became a small plane pilot late in life, always had a special interest in the RCAF and fighter planes.)  Though I definitely, from the evidence of living it for some years, and personal contact, do not believe that all the Commanders General/ officer corp know a "great deal" better than myself. (Which was essentially the problem I had in the military :-) That said, in any case, the citizenry needs to attempt to make "logic sense" of this issue, re the kind of military the country needs... IF we are to pay for it, as we will, and it is to be of a type we actually need in the "national interest". What you want, I suggest, is NOT what we have;  a military that is much dependant upon and under the control of the US Empire "national interest", in controlling foreign lands for their own imperial purposes. (However they dress it up, or attempt to hide it behind layers upon layers of bullshit.)

And the kind of military forces you need is, by and large, to my mind and experience, determined by the operating vision you have of the country... of Canada. 

  • Are you subservient to another country, being in fact, however much you idealize it, put lipstick on it, or never speak of it? In which case, if true, admitted or not, your country is the more likely to be engaged by the dominant country, in fighting foreign wars with it, or acting as a kind of "diplomatic surrogate", acting as an "enabler" in relations with third party countries.  Especially if the country you follow about, not unlike a puppy dog in my service experience, is such as the US, which has extensive "foreign" interests it occupies and/or otherwise controls through a system of foreign military bases etc.
  • Or are you, in fact, a truly independent country... with potential enemies near or/and far, but concerned purely with the security of your own borders, lands and resources? In which case you have no imperial ambitions or extensive foreign "assets" that you feel you must "protect/control", within the country of another? If true, one can assume you have an operating foreign policy that starts from the premise of non-interference in the internal affairs of other countries. It is up to other people and countries to resolve their own problems, as we seek of ours. Period. Which does not mean that one may not have a view of these matters, express them, or even choose to do what one can, short of direct military intervention to effect an "indirect" influence. But always short of direct, especially military interference within the affairs and lands of another people and country. (Again, one of the pivots of your foreign policy is, it is up to all national peoples to resolve their own internal affairs.)
While there are doubtless many other particulars that go into determining the kind of military you need or have, these are the two broad starting points, in my view. Which, if true as I say they are, places this country into the first category, by all logical reckoning. For the legal and empirical evidence says that our current civilian governance and military command commitments in agreements, constant joint exercises, integrated command structures, equipment and parts dependencies, and or engagement in foreign conflict zones and other service with and at the behest of the US Empire, clearly places us so. Ours is ipso facto a subservient country, much owned and or controlled economically by foreign, largely US corporate interests (but others as well), and sharing the same essential foreign policies with it. Our military culture reflects that reality. Of which reality, most Canadians are pretty much well aware... if not knowing what to do about it.

Now some will and do defend this, and think it is the way it should be. I understand that. Especially powerful interests within capitalism in this country, and on the political Right, who see their, and the country's interest precisely as a hewer of wood and drawer of water for the US, and being an ally of it abroad, militarily and broadly in all other contexts. While a long line of  Liberal governments, with the brief exception perhaps of the Trudeau period, were as well a party to this "quasi-colonial" stamp on the country, in my read and experience of the historical record, it is in the process of being fully sealed and delivered by the Harperite, Conservative/Fascists now. We are increasingly fully engaged as an adjunct to the US Empire. The die, economically and militarily, is cast.

But clearly I advocate for the second option above: A fully independent country, that takes its borders seriously, North, East, West AND South, owns, controls and husbands its own lands and resources in first, the interests of its own people and their fully rounded national economic development. They make, or should in my view, the "stuff" they need for themselves and for the purpose of being self-reliant fully as much as possible. THEN "possibly" trading "some" of its resources for what others can do more prudently. In this latter, the interests of the people, their needs and that of their homeland being considered first.

The Vision and The Military Need

Canada's submarine, HMCS Corner Brook loading politicians
during recent "sovereignty assertion" manoeuvres in our North. 

So, clearly I advocate for a vision of the fullest sovereignty and independence for the country... over our territory, airspace, and economic resources... raw materials, plant and equipment. And I do this from the perspective that what we, in fact have, is something a great deal less than this... more a territorial, resource and military "quasi-colonial" adjunct of the United States. This dependency, I say, hampers the country's "all rounded" economic development and decision making, ties it via blood and treasure to engagement in the foreign wars of an "imperial other", that majorly serves its own interests and not those of this country. Which is the product of and  leads to economic and military agreements such as are already in place and being contemplated further.  (NAFTA, Norther Command Agreements etc) Which additionally, at the very least, conclusively jeopardizes the fullest territorial, economic, military and political sovereignty of this country. Indeed it has already created a condition of "quasi-colonial" dependence and obedience to the diktats of the US Empire.

But speaking specifically militarily here, to achieve and secure this new vision I advocate, we need a military as well with a quite different vision of the country and itself, a quite different cultural ethos, organized and trained differently for a quite different mission from that which is its present. For example, my friend and co-writer here, Koot Coot, has observed and posed the question elsewhere on Coyote Times:

...the inappropriateness of the F-35 stealth attack fighters that the "Harper Government" wants to spend billions on. I can't understand why the opposition focuses ONLY on the expense when the impracticality and unsuitability for Canadian needs is so much more relevant in my mind and a deal killer right there.
     The F-35s are designed specifically for attacking defended air space with the assistance of a mother ship to provide navigation and targeting support. Thus they seem only useful to a country planning on invading other developed countries with sophisticated air defenses (ala "Shock and Awe" over Baghdad).
     For more Canadian uses like patrolling the Arctic they are not so useful due to limited range (due to limited fuel capacity, they also have to be refueled enroute to almost anywhere either by air or landing and fueling). Not handy for protecting Canadian sovereignty in the North.
     They are also a single engine aircraft, again not the most dependable configuration for a patrol aircraft patrolling the vast wilderness of the Canadian North.
Which is exactly the kind of eye that needs to be turned to the Canadian Forces, given this different vision of the social, economic and political direction in which this country needs to develop, IF the object is a fully sovereign/independent Canada, friendly to all but beholden to none. (And my friend Koot Coot started out in the US, coming to Canada as a young man.) The threats that exist to this country, its territorial, airspace, resources, economic and political integrity are not found far off in the Middle East, or even Kosovo. Those were and are European and US Empire agendas. The threats described to this country exist, fortunately/unfortunately, much closer to home; within those who would sell the country off, and externally, again much closer to home, in the persons of those who covet our vast resource richness, much already own and control our economy, has historically had a"contingency plan" in place for invading this country, and now under recent Northern Command agreements has the jointly agreed "right" to do so . 

US made Chinook CH-47 Helicopter  of which Canada plans to purchase 15.

Russian Mi 28 "Combat Helicopter"
It is not the only threat to the territorial, economic and political integrity of this country for sure... only the most serious. We have such other threats as a consequence of illegal activity and attempts to enter the country off our West coast, fisheries issues, a similar threat to that of our southern border along the "northwest passage" of our North, from Russia and other, including the US again (They are everywhere about us.) Likewise there is a need to monitor and control the immediate skies about our entire perimeter.

We have enough immediate threats to our territory, people and resources here, close to home, to claim our attention, military assets and dollar resources such as we can afford for this task, without frittering it away by the billions fighting wars in far off lands, certainly for or as a surrogate to one of the major threats to the sovereignty of this country... the US Empire that has long coveted us itself. Rather than troops being trained to fight "in place" or "set" battles alongside the US Empire forces, entering made up impoverished Afghan villages on the Canadian prairies, for example, we need an emphasis on light infantry forces trained to fight a more "Ranger" or "guerrilla" style of war. A war that is of greater likelihood and consequence to be fought on our own diverse territories, against what is the more likely, hopefully never occurring, a superior ground and air force of much greater numbers and better equipped than we. 

Which is by far a more likely scenario nonetheless, much closer to home. Such as say, intruding its way across our southern border, or across from Alaska, or even our high north, disputing our sovereignty and/or claiming a "right of invasion" given it under an agreement signed by those who have already betrayed us from within our own parliamentary institutions.  Even if some future government, which they might refuse to recognize, removes its signature and abrogates these agreements. I mean, it's not as if the US doesn't have a history of this either.

In any case, we have been placed in a pickle here.

But first, for the moment ignoring the politics, we need an Army equipped, trained and in place to fight a more "light infantry", "Ranger" or "guerrilla" style of warfare over an extended period and landscape, much living off the land and the people, up against a significantly superior force in numbers and war toys. (It is though, a potential enemy our military have much trained alongside, and know much about, even intimately. Possessed of such knowledge and experience being far from all a total loss.) And we need, perhaps joint, army and naval bases and a permanent presence in our High North, that has become familiar with the issues of fighting there, as the Russians are, for example, and for constant patrol. (Which, in part, we cannot afford now, because we are squandering our resources fighting the US Empire cause in Afghanistan etc. It is nothing short of criminal.)

Again, we need light and high speed naval ships, designed to "slow down" and worry sea invaders, and do patrol and interdiction along our own extensive shores. A case can likely be made as well for submarines, to assist similar, with even more stealth capacity, and to quietly patrol on station, our northern waters on a constant basis, for extended periods. The operative principle again being, for all our armed forces, direct defense of the homeland on the homeland, as that which shapes our entire defense investment, training, form and style, and the kind of military equipment assets we develop and manufacture "for ourselves". Self reliance, NOT dependence.

Likewise for our airforce, with which I am least familiar, I admit, but that which best defends the homeland, assists the mobility of and covers ground forces across our entire territory, and makes it as light, fast, hit and run as possible. A case may be made for some relatively long range heavy lift and bomber aircraft, but it is light infantry troop carrying helicopters that most seem to have potential to me, for rapid deployment and movement about the regional theatres of operations. It strikes me that in the case of the most real invasion scenario, aircraft dependent on permanent and/or paved airfields, are the most likely to be the least useful and most vulnerable, from the get go. Aircraft that can be used in natural and diverse, less than ideal terrains, seems more appropriate to me. Some ideally dual equipped as gunships.

Reserve Unit of Canadian Rangers on
northern training manoeuvres 

Light, diverse, self-reliant, rapid deployment and support, hit and run, easily maintained in the field and diverse terrains/conditions for extended periods, are some of the descriptive concepts that best describe what should characterize the military that this country needs, in my view, to best serve our own "national interest". This as opposed to dependant on the eyes, ears and command priorities of "others", or the repair "parts" manufactured by them.

But again, one's view of our military needs will be shaped by your vision and perceptions of the country's "national interest". Mine is very particular, and only includes the US as preferably a friend and neighbour for sure, but held to a distance for a time, as we sort this all out. Unfortunately, because it is simply part of our geographic, political and economic reality, that they are a potential, even most likely  "invasion source". It's their historical record in the world also, again unfortunately, and in this country, Lest We Forget the War of 1812 entirely.  And I don't think we should.


Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Sometime tomorrow, the final installment will be up, in this series about the reality vs the needed vision of the country, Canada, and the reality vs the kind of military this vision needs... In the real world with the real neighbours we have, friendly to all but beholden to no dominant power.


Monday, March 14, 2011

War of 1812 (Canada & US) "Climax of Action at Crysler's Farm"
painted by Adam Sheriff-Scott, photo by J. Gray
Whither Canada's Armed Forces 
Second in a series considering the country and its armed forces.

First, for a statistics eye view of Canada's militray, check out a Profile of The Canadian Forces, provided by StatsCan at this link:

Recently and currently, the Canadian Forces have plans in place, purchased or are purchasing the following. From a CBC News report found here:

According to news reports and what the military has said to date about its requirements, the purchases are expected to fall into five categories:
  • Up to four heavy-lift long-range transport planes to move troops, tanks and entire hospital units halfway around the globe in one shot. Estimated cost: $3 billion.
  • Up to 17 heavy-lift, mid-range transport planes to replace Canada's aging fleet of Hercules aircraft. Estimated cost: $4.6 billion
  • A fleet of between 12 and 15 heavy-lift helicopters to move troops and supplies quickly around war zones. Estimated cost: $4.2 billion.
  • Three new troop carrier ships. Estimated cost: $2 billion.
  • Up to 1,000 new trucks for the army, likely to be built in Quebec. Estimated cost: $1.1 billion.
Particular notice should be taken of the fact that most of what is involved here, particularly in the aircraft and troop carrier ship procurements, is that they are  designed for heavy lift, as the report says, "to move troops, tanks and entire hospital units halfway around the globe in one shot. Estimated cost: $3 billion."  Which speaks to the Conservative/Fascist view of our armed forces and their role as, though never said publicly of course, but apparent in the empirical reality and evidence, being an adjunct extension to the US Imperial interest in controlling "faraway lands" around the globe, especially currently the Middle East and oil shipping lanes.

In short, everything here in these procurements, is complimentary to the actual foreign policy role we are engaged in, of being a virtual extension of global US Imperial policy and interests. By Conservative policy makers, the US interest and ours is seen as one and the same. And we only speak our so-called "policy mind" after they have first spoken theirs, and ours is seldom anything other or less than theirs. Unless we ourselves have a real material national interest in The Gulf and Afghanistan, for example, i.e. there is some empire building material benefit we are to derive in these places for ourselves, we are there merely to serve what I claim; the US Empire interest. We are, in effect, serving as a kind of loyal "colonial military" adjunct, much for example as did say The Ghurka's of Nepal, or troops from colonial India for the British Empire. Though, for sure, the Ghurka's certainly, were an outright integral part of the British Empire Army. On which score they were at least more honest. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-10782099

Of course, the US and Canada share the North American continent. Like Russia and China share Asia over much of their territory. As such, we are probably destined to have a close kind of relationship with the US, hopefully "friendly", even outside of the current one in which they are the dominant continental power and "supplier of value added finished products" to our being the more or less humble "supplicant", hewers of wood and drawers of water and other resources for The Empire . (The classic "colonial" relationship , in our case, possibly more correctly "quasi-colonial, for at least our "formally" independant Statehood .) Though in ongoing neo-liberal economic and neo-conservative political times. there is a greater dependancy all around on cheap labour "offshore Asian value-added" products... becoming increasingly problematic to both Canada and the US economies.

Canada's planned purchase: US manufactured Boeing Globemaster for heavy global reach to serve The US Empire
So, while we yet retain the "formal" appearance and Britsh Parliamentary  trappings etc of independant Statehood from the US, and indeed, with the huge assist of Mother England in 1812 fought successfully to retain it, its critical  underpinning, economic independance has long been and is more and more being compromised and made meaningless.  Begun under the Liberals and being pushed to new limits under the Harper Conservatives, continental integration measures such as NAFTA and a host of other Security and Prosperity Partnership agreements are in the process of stripping this national independance of any real  content. For a Mexican view, this link is some useful:


And as I've said already in the first part of this article, Canada's military, underlined by the nature of the procurement list above,  but especially in training, joint US-Canada military agreements, style, ethos and Command mindset reflects this, what I describe as quasi-colonial economic and political reality of Canada's position vis a vis the US. We have gone from being such a country and military part of the old British Empire, now a hollow shell, to playing the same essential role for the US Empire, with but the briefest period of intervening actual independance in the immediate postwar II. (As a "maybe", or "kind of".)

At the outset of US Northern Command in April 2002, Canada accepted the right of the US to deploy US troops on Canadian soil. 
"U.S. troops could be deployed to Canada and Canadian troops could cross the border into the United States if the continent was attacked by terrorists who do not respect borders, according to an agreement announced by U.S. and Canadian officials." (Edmonton Sun, 11 September 2002)
With the creation of the BPG in December 2002, a binational  "Civil Assistance Plan" was established. The latter described the precise "conditions for deploying U.S. troops in Canada, or vice versa, in the aftermath of a terrorist attack or natural disaster." (quoted in Inside the Army, 5 September 2005).

We, Canada, as a country, are in a time and reality place in our relationship with the US Empire, where we very soon have a choice to make, even if only passively so, by our inaction... before it is made for us by the most politically reactionary, pro-corporate and pro-American government that this country has likely ever had... at least not since the Great Depression. The one difference being, that the then Conservative government in Ottawa, of "Iron-Heel" Bennet was British Empire Loyalist. This time around, the Conservative government of Harper's is more US Empire Loyalist. (Though the old British Empire still gets some genuflection and lip service. I need only mention "The Queen", to tease that out of the knee bending blighters.)

Coming from a particular historical tradition of this country, of submission and loyalty to Empire and "authority", and quiet acceptance of a secondary status, it is not going to be easy. But... and it's a mighty big BUT... if the decision can finally be taken, and the citizenry set in motion to secure and enforce a full "national prolitical and economic independance", it is going, at some point, to need to be backed up by a military that is quite different in training, culture and ethos from what we currently have. And all of that is going to have to begin to be created and built over the course of the struggle itself, to secure the independance of the country, hopefully relatively peacefully at least.

But we should make no mistake or presumptions on the degree of difficulty and risk. on many, many fronts that it is more than likely to be.

NEXT in Part III, I will consider an outline of the kind of military we would have already IF we were truly independant and fully dealing with the "national interest". Hence, what we will need when and IF... and the risks.

"Guerilla Warfare: Picket Duty In Virginia"


Sunday, March 13, 2011

On Screen Tomorrow

Okay, I am not the most astute seer into the future. What I had thought would be a quick article on Canada's military is already at three in the written already and planning stages. A critique of our military requires a parallel critique of "the nation(s)", Canada. Our military is but an armed reflection of the reality of the country, particularly at least, the State, its political realities and economy. So, in practical terms, it turned out to be impossible to critique one without, and relating it to the other, the military.

Tomorrow, my second installment: Whither Canada. And with it, our military.

Love, Peace and Revolution         


Friday, March 11, 2011

Canada Serving The US Empire Cause In Afghanistan

The Canadian Military Considered 

The Canadian military has probably, across its entire history, most typically been either an outright or quasi "colonial" armed force, than anything fully serving the real, predominant or exclusive "national interest" of Canada.  Which is my own, but I think an essentially correct statement. Certainly it was my experience in the Canadian military, not a particularly "in depth" or certainly "glorious" one I'll grant, across a "fair" length of time as first a kid of under 14 yrs in Sea Cadets, in the reserve Regina Rifle Regiment, and finally in the full time then Royal Canadian Navy. 

I "served" across two quite distinct periods in time, in the history of the Canadian Forces, both with their particular and unique features no doubt, but both at the same essentially the same in their character. For the greater period of my service, the Canadian Military was steeped in British Military traditions, of heirarchy, dress and "ethos". Indeed it was the tail end period of the British Empire itself, with loyalty to the Queen, Great Britian, and the British Empire still a dominant cultural feature of the entire country, and reflected in the Canadian military as well, of course. And this military fought the wars of Mother England in both the 20th Centuries World Wars, save near the post WWII end of The British Empire, when Britain was basically left alone to fight for and lose its African, Asian and Middle East colonies. After which the British Empire sun that it was said in the day would never set, did in fact.

During which latter period, the Canadian "quasi colonial" military, reflecting the similar character of the State, was already beginning to "transition" in dress, cultural style and ethos... and loyalty, moving away from the British Motherland, except in the most formal terms, to closer association and wannabe your puppy dog behaviour with the new rising empire of the postwar II age, The US Empire. (Though the brief tenure period of Prime Minister Pierre Elliot Trudeau did manifest a brief and relatively shallow display of a never fully tolerated, let alone realized "independent" spirit and national and foreign policy display... for which time and content there is still a certain Canadian populace "nostalgia".)

But by and large still, this country was exhibiting again, that ruling class behaviour stamped upon it across near all of our history from earliest colonial times with Britain, with the noted brief lived exceptions of course, of wanting to be a part of, serve and hold the coat of The Winner at World Domination. With which second place and living vicariously through a "real winner", we were "quite" content. It was there, in our insecurity of place, was our greatest perceived safety and road to economic prosperity... serving another.  (Which essential character of our history both civil and military, while essentially true, through the postwar prosperity period that was what I call the Social Democratic State of Capitalism, or the Welfare State, we did somewhat shy in our relative material comfort, from fully serving the New US Empire. While we did fight their "anti-communist" cause in Korea for example, we later served only as their bum-boy "diplomatic" enabler in Vietnam, and throughout their anti-communist subjugation period in Latin America. Though of late, in The Gulf area of Iraq and Iran, and Afghanistan, under both the post-Trudeau Liberals and current Conservative/Fascists, we are back to a more activist role in serving the domination ambitions of the US Empire.)

And Paying The Price

And with this quasi-colonial essential history, mindset, and face to the world character of the country, whether others saw it or not, and I think they did, or were just too polite to say so to our face, our military likewise was shaped in large part to serve others primarily... first Britain, and of more recent history, this US Empire. Over the cold war period especially, with our attention directed north towards the Russians, ignoring the quiet takeover of our economy and the growing internal political influence that was in reality coming from the south, our military was increasing involved with and over time effectively being "integrated" into US military command and other structures. Not unlike current Egypt. (Through the DEW line, or Distant Early Warning system in our north, which was to warn of an impending polar attack from the then Soviet Union, that never came of course, later through NORAD, the US dominated Fortress North America military command structure.  And over time through joint air, land and sea ventures and exercising,, the scuttling of our own strategic independant military equipment procurement and supply capacity , especially in air defence, which was the Avro Arrow fighter jet, and onward, downward into the ranks and upwards through the officer corp, US perceptions of threats and priorities, our equipment needs and what OUR priorities should be, has seen, I suggest, our entire military culture become effectively Americanized hand in hand with the rest of our State. Which is not to say it is total or complete yet, just pretty much so, the latter through NAFTA and other so-called "continentalist" commitments.)

Of late, because of threats to our land and offshore rights and claims in the North, coming some from the Russians and Europe, but especially the US claim that our previously uncontested sovereignty over the Northwest Passage was now "intenational waters", to which they have a right of uncontested use, we have engaged in some modest northern military exercises to bolster our historic, if not acutally enforced claim. As part of which our State and military sought to organize the Inuit to watch these waters for us. (Seriously.) Despite this need to have a serious military presence and capacity in our own North however, contested mostly by our hereto "friends", we are strategically and tacticly hampered, in fact, militarily enforcement-wise, by our material and cultural integration into serving the military and Empire ambitions and foreign wars of the US.  Which we continue to do without much serious or evident questioning. 

We are still largely a quasi-colonial country, is my analysis conclusion, with a like military capacity that reflects that... pracrically set up, with the culture and military training and other more material capacity to serve a more dominant Imperial power... currently the US Empire. (And which persists despite all the accumulating body of global evidence, and the evidence from within its own borders, that this Empire is already beyond its "Best Before" date... only dangerous, as much to itself as anyone, in its final thrashing death throes.)

NEXT: Whither Canada. What kind of a military do we need, now already, and in the future?

Exercise Trident Fury 2007

See this link re details this Trident Fury Naval Exercise;