The hypocrisy of Harper’s freedom of speech knows no bounds

Freedom of speech of the reactionary ruling classes

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By PAULINE EASTON
Millions of people in France and around the world have declared their opposition to terrorism and defended the people’s right to speak since the shooting in Paris on January 7 and the violence and chaos that followed.[1]

Freedom of speech, association, religion and the like are fundamental democratic principles which serve to block all attempts to usurp power by force on the part of those who do not serve the public interest. This was the case in the 17th to 19th centuries in the battle against the stranglehold of obscurantist forces represented by the European feudal aristocracy and the Church. It is the case today where those who represent the most narrow monopoly interests at home and abroad cannot tolerate any opposition, any resistance to the anti-social offensive and its inter-monopoly, inter-imperialist striving for domination.

What the reactionary ruling classes call the battle against the forces of evil is in fact a battle between the Old World which is passing away and the New World which is striving to come into being. It can only be waged by defending the fundamental principles of the enlightenment movement of yesteryear, including the democratic rights as brought into being by the men and women of the Renaissance and Enlightenment periods, and the enlightenment movement of today which defines rights on the basis that they belong to the people by virtue of being human. The right to speak freely is a fundamental defence of the right to conscience, that is to say, the quality which distinguishes human beings from any other animal species.

It is not fortuitous that those who have usurped power by force and are engaged in the most heinous practices which characterize state terrorism actually do so in the name of defending democratic freedoms. They call them the fundamental values of a democratic society and say that those they call Islamic fundamentalists want to destroy them because they are “evil.” It is a simplistic narrative to cover up the sharpening inter-imperialist and inter-monopoly contradictions and U.S. imperialist striving for world domination in rivalry with the big powers of Old Europe, which are leading the world to a war of worldwide proportions and destruction on an unprecedented scale.

In this regard, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper stands second to none in justifying the suppression of those he deems a threat to his rule and agenda while declaring he is a champion of free speech. It would be laughable if it were not so dangerous.

Michael Harris, writing for iPolitics,[2] put it this way:

“…it was beyond hypocritical this past week for the PM to portray himself as a champion of democracy and free speech after the dreadful killings in Paris. He even politicizes tragedy.

“Here is the real man the one who dedicated his entire communications effort to smothering free speech, who undermined access to information, the life-blood of any democracy, with endless delays in handing over government documents that belong to us. In some cases, his government has simply — and unconstitutionally — refused to fork them over. He has also mused about charging $200 per access request – which would certainly suppress the urge to ask.

“The real man has muzzled his own workers — even demanding loyalty oaths from them. He wanted the right to ask prospective government employees about their politics. He has viciously attacked any individual or institution that opposes him, from former parliamentary budget officer Kevin Page to the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada.

“The real man repeatedly has tried to turn the Internet into a servant of the police state, disguising his intent with nonsense about child pornographers and ‘protection.’

“The real man has starved the opposition of even the most basic information about the budget and deprived Parliament of the ability to debate legislation through the cynical use of enormous omnibus bills. […] laws are being passed without scrutiny […]

“The real man doesn’t speak to his fellow premiers as a group, banishes journalists from public buildings and thinks Sun News is where it’s at.

“It didn’t take a genius to work out that Harper’s reaction to the robocall scandal would be new legislation that will make it harder to catch cheaters the next time. And trust me, there will be a next time. So let it be said clearly: Stephen Harper is a champion of screwing free speech and democracy at every opportunity.”

Endnotes

1. Following the attacks in Paris, as part of the anarchy and chaos being sown across Europe in the name of defending “security” and “freedom of speech,” security forces launched large scale anti-terror raids on Friday, January 16, with operations taking place in Belgium, France and Germany.

France remains on high alert with 10,000 troops deployed in the name of ensuring security. The French state continues to round up suspects it says provided logistical support in the killing of a policewoman and four hostages. It is also reported that a suspicious package caused the evacuation of Gare de l’Est train station in Paris on Friday morning. Meanwhile, on Friday afternoon, reports emerged of a hostage-taking in the town of Colombes northwest of Paris.

On January 13, Charlie Hebdo published another issue, which featured a cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad holding a sign reading “Je suis Charlie” on its cover with the slogan, “Tout est pardonné” (All is forgiven).

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said on January 10 that the country is in a “war against terrorism, against jihadism, against radical Islam, against everything that is aimed at breaking fraternity, freedom, solidarity.” He said he has requested that the Ministry of the Interior and the Ministry of Justice step up measures to monitor those convicted of terrorism.

In Belgium, police killed two suspects in a raid on an apartment on the evening of January 15 in the eastern town of Verviers. News reports state weapons and police uniforms were found at the apartment. Across the country, 13 people were arrested in other raids.

In Germany, hundreds of police raided sites across the capital Berlin on Friday morning, arresting two men suspected of planning a “violent act” in Syria. The investigation had been ongoing for months, according to the local news site Die Welt. A police spokesperson said there was no evidence that the suspects had been planning an attack in Germany.

2. To read the complete article “Meet the Real Stephen Harper,” by Michael Harris on the iPoliticswebsite, click here.

Source: TML Weekly Information Project

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1 Comment

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One response to “The hypocrisy of Harper’s freedom of speech knows no bounds

  1. Pingback: Harper government’s freedom of expression: A photographer and Palestine | Tony Seed's Weblog

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