Who’s in Control?
Where are the Ratepayers?
I thought the Ratepayer movement was going to collapse – and in fact, in my mind it has collapsed. And the reason it collapsed is it wasn’t based on anything: it was based on nothing except people signing a petition.
I mean, if you sign a petition it’s kind of nice – but that’s the end of it, you just go back home and do whatever you were doing: there’s no continuity, there’s no real engagement, it’s not sustained activity that builds up a community of activism. In essence, all people did was answer a poll question – that’s not organizing. I think an awful lot of movement activity goes into things like that, and it doesn’t get anywhere – in fact, that’s what leads to burn-out. I mean, you had all these people collecting all these signatures, and they worked hard, they got so many signatures you could show that almost all of the community wants a change in direction and a change in council.
Then they went to Edmonton and presented their petition, and everybody there said, “Gee, that’s really nice that you did that. We’re going to act on your behalf and support you all the way. Just leave it with us.” – then the Ratepayer Executive returned home and waited… and waited… and waited… and are still waiting while doing nothing else but waiting. Because there’s nothing that the government likes better than saying, “Oh, come convince me. Then, I’ll keep you waiting.” That stops you from continuing to organize, and getting people involved, and causing disruption, because now you’re talking to some government smart guy (or his bought and paid for consulting firm) – and you can do that forever, while they shut you down and toy with you, as obviously is what they have done here because they are the ones in control. All the while showing you no respect. After all, why should they have any respect for people who are trying to undermine their power? It doesn’t make any sense.
Once again, it is proven that playing by the rules can get you nowhere fast, especially when you are outgunned, outsmarted, and outmatched by those who do this for a living, on our dime. No, at times the only way to realistically get things done is by making waves or as it has been said “the squeaky wheel gets the grease”. But of course, this Ratepayer Executive didn’t know that because in their self-important elitism they had nobody to give them the history.
A lot of this get nowhere with the Ratepayer Executive I attribute to the fact they had little to no historical memory of what worked before, refusing to talk to people such as myself who have been there, on the inside and in the trenches. The other reason is they are lead by an establishment type who being too much of a ‘nice guy’ only knows how to play by the rules, having no street smarts at all, being as I said too nice not knowing how to get down and dirty when need be (much as what Blair Painter will prove to be) when up against those who play hardball for a living.
These are the people who got us nowhere and who are now maneuvering to get their people in positions of power, who if successful will become our leaders. Leaders who never accomplished anything because they were scared to take action, while being scared of their own shadow. Some kind of leaders, I personally can do without. “No guts, no glory” should be on everyone’s minds when thinking about casting a ballot for this lot and their chosen ones.
Are we going to let these “do nothings” take control of our community? I think not!
The trouble with the Ratepayer Executive is they got off to the wrong start by believing in illusions about how power operates and how you effect change – and we shouldn’t have those illusions, any more than we should have illusions about whether the media’s telling us the truth half the time. If you don’t have the illusions, then you don’t get burnt out by the failure – and the way we overcome the illusions is by developing our own institutions, where we can learn from experiences like this.
This Ratepayers organization should have built on the previous Ratepayers organization but they didn’t. They didn’t take advantage of learning from the hard fought battles that went on before them by those who were in them. They could have learned lots. Then we could have carried on to the next step in being more proactive. But that wasn’t the reaction of the Ratepayer Executive. The reaction among the executive wasn’t, “Well, we obviously misunderstood the way things work” – it was, “We did the right thing, but we partially failed: we convinced the population, but we didn’t manage to convince the government who just played us.” So now we give up and stop fighting and wait for the election and hope our ‘chosen ones’ get elected (Much as what the previous Ratepayers did in openly fielding various members of their executive (including their President, Fred Pyke) in running for council seats. However, they were not in denial or openly hypocritical about their politics as what we see with the current Ratepayer executive).
Well, that’s one of the ways in which you can kid yourself into believing that you’re still relevant and doing your work, when really what you’ve done is allowed yourself to be beaten while selling out your membership.
In the last few weeks this council has run roughshod over this community with respect to the CLC, instead of shutting down council and thereby preventing them from doing the things they have been doing (and still plan on doing) while drawing much needed attention to these matters, they have instead chosen to go on hiatus. They’ve given up the ship.
That in essence is what they have done, instead of being more proactive they caved and now are trying to sell the illusion that they and their candidates are the only viable alternative to what we have now. That they’ve earned our respect, trust, and admiration, and therefore are deserving. I think not! As they have clearly shown that they are second best in a game where only first counts.
As I’ve already said, we need to take back control of our community from the wolves who are presently tearing it apart, but not to only land up giving it back to the jackals, when there is clearly a much better alternative by way of the “Middle-Way” option.
These guys played by the rules and got nowhere which just goes to prove that sometimes what you need in leadership is ^not necessarily someone who’s a ‘nice guy’ but someone who maybe isn’t so nice but who can think outside the box to get things done. Mediocrity gets you nowhere. The Ratepayer Executive are living prove of this… as is their “unofficially” declared candidate for mayor.
All that is human must retrograde if it does not advance.