Why Don’t Canadians Revolt?

From The Leveller

In the face of inequalities and crisis, why can Canadians barely be bothered to protest? Why not revolt?

Ok, as we knock out another issue in the Leveller temporary production zone (AKA one lucky editor’s apartment), we’re just spitballing… but here are a few possible reasons:

  • The weather — You can’t fight the power in the streets if the people are inside hiding from the cold.
  • The rent is too damn high — Who has time to revolt when you’ll get fired for taking a day off work, then lose your home? (Revolution? In this economy?)
  • Can’t teach an old dog new tricks — Canada is a country without revolution. In fact, it’s historically defined in fact by its refusal of revolution. The nation is descended from the colonists who refused to join the American revolt against an unaccountable Crown – who were then joined by the white upper-crust Loyalists who were running away from that revolution.
  • Reactionary history – We have more experience putting down Indigenous rebellions, interning ‘foreigners,’ and persecuting Wobblies and Communists than we do revolting.
  • Anglo don’t speak much French — But maybe there’s something we could learn from Québéc’s and France’s long history of mass strikes and student mobilizations? There’s some sort of cultural legacy of Anglo, WASPy Calvinist conformity that we need to jettison before we can really get anywhere.
  • Middle class values — Most Canadians like to think of themselves as middle class, even if that doesn’t align with their actual economic status. This still says a lot about our values and aspirations, however. How can Canadians revolt when most of us think money, politics and religion aren’t appropriate topics for dinner table conversation?
  • We’re all spread out — Revolutionaries like Abdullah Öcalan and Mao Zedong had to wander the countryside for years, building support. None of them had to deal with a country as enormous as Canada, or as cold – yes, we keep coming back to this point. Building up a revolution takes a certain critical mass, which is hard to achieve with such a dispersed population. All that wilderness takes a toll on you, if the frostbite and beaver fever don’t get you first.
  • It’s unprecedented — but despite this, and despite every previous point, we say “So what? Let’s do something new.”

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