I took action in the Senate because I could no longer sit idly by while our government compromised the well-being of Canadians and my generation. Their agenda is perpetuating massive injustice as it cuts public jobs and services, degrades our environment, and facilitates the rise of the top 1 per cent while unemployment and poverty increase. Youth are given no guarantees -- of a decent job, or of a healthy environment in the future. This is especially the case for those who society marginalizes the most, including by class, race, gender, immigration status, and sexual orientation. Despite inflation being quite low in the past couple of years, the cost of living is always rising, making it harder and harder for the average person to get by.
The majority of Canadians are against the Conservative austerity agenda. But this agenda continues to be pushed forward without significant, national, concerted opposition against it -- yet.
The youth-led uprisings across the world that are challenging elites offer us ideas for re-imagining democracy, and hope for making democracy work for us by using people power.
Uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt overthrew authoritarian leaders. Fifty thousand students protested tuition fees in London. Young people in Greece have been occupying Syntagma Square since June. In Chile, 100,000 youth rose up and seized 300 schools with the goal of rebuilding the country's broken education system. What began with a dozen students in New York, has incited occupations in every direction, including south to Oakland with a massive general strike and north to Canada with the occupations of dozens of parks and even of banks. These have become models of collective indignation and action. They have disproved accusations of an apathetic generation long held over our heads.
There are common veins throughout the protests: frustration at the appalling wealth and power concentrated in the hands of the few at the expense of the many; the refusal to let politicians throw away our futures; and the taking of matters into our own hands. While with the Occupy movement in particular, the message on placards is mostly about re-inventing our economic system, the way they are organizing to have this message heard, by coming together in the streets with an intensity not seen in decades, embodies the beginning of a re-creation of democracy we so urgently need...If the Occupy movement is any indication, the "progressive democracy" they are re-creating will be smelly, nutty, anarchic and deadly. As for the author of the above profundities--try as you might you're no Rosa Luxemburg, sweetie.