One of the very first things that attracts your attention as a newcomer from the Middle East to Canada is the individualist nature of society. As a general rule, societies in the West are not family-oriented. The individual is the building block of these societies.
In a place where people are not living as tribes, families, or any other groups, corporations form the biggest blocks and enjoy the biggest powers. Having the same legal status as citizens, while having more tools than citizens, corporations became undefeatable dominants of the capitalist world. People are bullied and manipulated by corporations, but people, as individuals, are unable to stand up to it.
With this going on for a very long time, corporations dug their way into media, and from there into the state. Society is left helpless. In the last 10 years, since the beginning of the “war on terror”, governments and corporations in the West have been becoming more and more powerful, while societies are becoming weaker and weaker. People are giving more of their freedoms to those who are controlling them, and when they want that power back, they don’t get it.
Ninety-nine percent of America couldn’t do anything to change its financial system. That’s how badly this control is applied!
The reason for that failure is that people are still thinking as individuals. The only force that can protect individuals from corporations is society. The sum of people’s strength and awareness about issues that affect each one of them is the only force that can stand up to the resourceful greed of corporations.
For example, corporations here act as if they are doing individuals a favour when they hire them, even though the two entities are exchanging favours; one is giving money for someone else’s effort. Corporations succeeded in convincing people here that they are in fact doing a favour to society when they hire people and create jobs. The reality is corporations are monopolizing money, therefore jobs, and are forcing people to accept their terms; otherwise they will just “hire someone else”.
The truth is an employer is doing an employee a favour as much as the employee is doing him a favour. They are in fact equal. However, although businesses need the services of employees as badly as the employees need their money, the latter cannot impose a fair and equal balance in this relationship. An individual employee cannot say, “If you don’t treat me fairly I will go,” because the corporation can afford to let him go and hire someone else, but he cannot afford to be let go.
Besides not being held responsible by societies for this abuse of power, corporations managed to convince people here that they actually deserve to be tax exempted because they are “making jobs”. This claim is morally wrong and financially imprudent.
It is a financial mistake because it basically exempts anyone who is making money from chipping in and participating in the building of his country. So, under the current system, if you make money, then you shouldn’t give it to anyone; it is those who are barely making money who should pay to build roads for your expensive car and infrastructure to deliver water to your fancy swimming pool!
It is morally wrong because society is the one who should be telling corporations, “See, this service is required here, and if you don’t want to do the business on our terms, there will be other corporations who would love to take the job.” Society is the one who should stand up for corporations. Instead, it is empowering them further and further.
The form of control that is practised in the West is mind-blowing! People actually pay to be controlled!
This control is being implemented through media, and through the manipulation of the political elite, which happen to be the only two tools that society have.
The sad thing is, although there are some signs of awakening, and some attempts to carry out reforms, there are many people who have given up. The majority of people in Canada have given up, and didn’t cast their votes in last year’s elections.
On a side note, I don’t think that any political party here dares to adopt legislation in the House of Commons to forbid any party to form a government if it got less votes than the silent voters who did not turn out for elections. If the majority of a nation doesn’t take part in an election then this election is not truly representative, and it should be repeated. This way people will be more willing to vote because otherwise elections will just keep going on and costing them money.
With a media that is both driven by profit and manipulated by profiteers, people have been convinced that they need to consume all kinds of information that is not important to them, and ignore what is affecting them in their daily lives.
Society is the only entity that can take individuals out of their struggle with corporations. People need to reclaim their voice, or at least stop the bleeding of their freedom. People need to protect the tools that enable them to act as a society.
At this moment there are two imminent threats to our ability to act as a society. The first is a bill that threatens to restrict our ability to communicate freely with each other through a form of media that is not yet completely corrupted. The second is a practice that puts a big question mark on whether or not our political system is really representative.
The online spying bill and robocalls are imminent and easily identifiable threats to our ability to act as a society. Taking a stand against those two threats will be a great way for us to practise acting as a society. It will help us reacquire the basic skills of acting as a group, and at the same time, it will extend our ability to enjoy the same amount of freedom and representation that we have now. If we fail to act as a society, we will continue to be defeated as individuals, and will continue to give up more and more of our freedom to those who will continue to abuse it.
Ahmad Saeid is a blogger, journalist, photographer, and aspiring filmmaker who moved to Vancouver from Kuwait. He blogs at The Orient.