Saturday, 21 April 2012

Rights or wrongs

I realize I have not actually chosen nor publicly emoted my side in the student protests going on outside my front door. Strangely, I don't seem to have any opinion at all. On the one hand they are protesting $325 a year which, when compared with my last grocery bill, sounds almost like pocket change. And they are protesting the government spending less of my stolen money so that they... what, don't have to work a part time job? On the other hand, they do have a right to protest and I would be the last person to deny them that right. Maybe it's more about choosing the right battles.

Quebec has the lowest tuition in all of North America, and the highest taxes, so it is difficult to sympathize with their situation. And from my perspective as a college drop-out who has still managed to find some kind of living which often requires specialized training maybe my life's completely perpendicular path to the one they are on makes me too far removed for their plight to genuinely understand it.

It does not help that I feel the educational system is yet another propagandist vampire industry fed by the corporatocracy in it's requirement of a degree to get a job as a data-entry clerk or a machine operator... I have done both of these jobs in the past and will describe them as the most mind-numbingly dull thing one can do for 8 hours a day... Paint dries quicker... Thus I question even the need for high-school for some of the grunt-work jobs out there. Protest that, and you have my support.

I doubt I am alone in my lack of empathy, especially when they have chosen to block highways, vandalize buildings and halt public transit during rush hour. You have rights, but those people who were late for work, also had a right to get to work on time and not be ripped a new one by their boss for their tardiness. Then there are those who would have had to stay late to make up that time, who would now have to pay the day-care extra for being late.

I think it would have helped their cause to not have been limited to the single cause of $325 per year, and they really should have considered the whole inflation concept. I used to get a massive cart of groceries for less than $325 and it wasn't full solely of Ramen noodles (because I would rather starve than eat Ramen noodles), but seemingly overnight that cart is both smaller and more expensive (not to mention probably full of things which are hell-bent on killing me at the same time, but that is a different argument for another time). It feels like within the last 5 years $500 has lost $100 of it's value and if that trend continues their $325 will inflated away in no time. I guess there are not too many people organizing the student protests who have chosen an economics major, because they should probably be protesting how many fewer Ramen noodles they can buy with $100 instead of the tuition hikes. I would support that protest too.

Also, this is only a small drop in the bucket of austerity.
  • How much tax do you think I will have to pay during the 2 years extra that I am told I now have to wait until retirement? And as a student, what do you expect your retirement age to be by then?
  • If the government(s) has no money, why are F-35's still on the agenda? 
  • Why am I hearing reports of a $100 instant charge on my taxes to cover medicare? Wasn't medicare already coming out of the pot called 'the rest of my damned income taxes'? 
  • Why is corrections Canada closing prisons to 'save money' while they are actually building more prisons than they have slated to close?
  • Why is the government writing 'back to work' legislation for privately owned companies like Air Canada, who then have the balls to turn around 2 days later and try to lock out a different group of employees? (To their credit, the government slapped their hand on that one, but still...)
I agree that the students should not be pepper sprayed, tear gassed, and flash bombed but I also think they have a certain level of criminality that they need get control of at the same time which is hurting their cause.

Preventing other students, who paid to go to school, from going to class is another problem. This is not the same as a workers union strike preventing scabs from entering the workplace for the very simple reason you are not card carrying union dues paid members, and they have not been hired to do your job while you man the picket lines. They paid for an education, just like you did and they are allowed to get what they paid for if that is their choice. It is their right to choose to join the cause, or go to class.

Your right to public assembly and protest is infringing on too many other peoples rights which is where the protest has turned wrong and its all over a week's pay at a part time jobs worth of money per year for an education that might even be so pointless that you never actually work in your chosen field in the future... Unfortunately, I don't think this battle can be won, and I would suggest that it wasn't the one worth fighting to begin with. True, you are fighting the power, and truly the power needs to be fought, but you stand on such narrow grounds that most of the rest of us can only say "grow up, and get a real job"!

And with my distaste for the government and it's corruption, it is hard to believe I am one of the people saying that...


1 comment:

  1. In fact, here is the comprehensive guide to everything the students, and the rest of Canada should be pissed of about: a@ the intel hub