We are living in times of localized and globalized oppression and repression. And we are also living in times of localized and globalized resistance and affirmation. It matters how we help each other to put the pieces together. Because how we put the pieces together will shape what we know and what we choose to do about it. How we build understanding of social reality and help each other interpret the events of our lives, will also reveal the politics of our future action.
The Indian author, Arundhati Roy has said, “At a time when opportunism is everything, when hope seems lost, when everything boils down to a cynical business deal, we must find the courage to dream. To reclaim romance. The romance of believing in justice, in freedom and in dignity. For everybody. We have to make common cause, and to do this we need to understand how this big old machine works – who it works for and who it works against. Who pays, who profits.”
So what can we tell each other about how this big old machine works? I am sure I am not alone in feeling overwhelmed by the juggernaut of militarization and greed thundering across our planet. Even on a quiet evening in the west end of Montreal we know (as Amnesty International’s current campaign against torture says so chillingly) “it may not be happening here, but it is happening now.” Without any exaggeration we can say we live in times in which the brutality of power and the power of brutality are as menacing as they have ever been. We are living under a reign of bullies with the ruthless manipulation of democratic institutions and historical record, unprecedented militarization, violence, expropriation, pillage and impunity on a global scale.