Census Canada recently conducted its 2006 survey of Canada. Many of you filled out the short form and a minority got the super long form. I wish I had had the super long form.
A little known tidbit is that I love filling out forms. I'm serious! There's something insanely pleasing to me about filling out forms, like completing the Sunday New York Times Crossword, except really easy! I'm a geek, and that's okay!
Anyway, I want to talk about arms dealers- Lockheed Martin in particular. LM was contracted by our federal government to help automize national census surveys. New forms are supposed to be scanable, so citizens are asked to fill out their forms examination style--in capital letters, writing inside the boxes, using blue ball point pen etc.-- so they can all be swiftly entered into an accessible database.
I sent out an email to friends noting my own concern with the Canadian Government hiring and American arms dealer to help manage our personal statistics, especially in light of US homeland security legislation which would require LM to disclose all information in case of suspected....um...ANYTHING. And, I forwarded links to various action groups and articles such as:
Vive le Canada
Count me out
I got the following response in an email from a long lost friend:
"I don't understand the opposition to LM just because it's an arms contractor. There are a lot of arms contractors that do a lot of other things that are useful and not associated with the arms business. And besides, the arms business itself cannot be said to be inherently immoral."
Yeah, and Shell Oil invests in alternative energy sources. Does this counterbalance it's campaign of terror in Nigeria?!?
WOW! I am sure that there are some arms dealers that do nice and 'useful' things, but they also produce and sell KILLING MACHINES to people, groups, governments so they can KILL each other. Obviously this friend of mine had not read my earlier post on the HOW WE ALL SUPPORT MILITARIZATION!
And, no, long lost friend, I don't think that businesses are 'inherently immoral'. I don't view corporations, businesses, governments or other institutions as inherently evil. They are made up of people, most of who are pretty 'good' parents, sisters, brothers, lovers etc. etc. etc. We get so caught up in blaming people and things, that we forget to critique the SYSTEMS that are harming us all: power structures and organizing relations that (re)produce inequality. See, I do believe that militarization is inherently immoral. It predicates itself on racism, classim, sexism and homophobia to name a few systems of difference... and reproduces these inequalities over and over again.
No I don't believe that Lockheed Martin (LM) is EVIL, but I do believe that it is guilty in participating in the (re)production of militarization-- the process whereby war/conflict is continuously being normalized. People may question whether or not the US should have invaded and occupied Iraq, but few question whether or not America should have an army. We see the presence of heavily armed men, our heterosexual defender-heroes as a necessary evil.
We some how feel the need to protect ourselves in the global battle for .... er... something??? Um, against terrorism from drugs and Islam. We do not question the very presence of a military systems globally and how they influence organizational systems and even peace 'marches'. We do not question enough how fighting/conflict/war become normalized behaviours for men. How masculinity is constructed in ways that make it okay for boys to hit each other, how 'fallen soldiers' come to signify the nation public, televised events such as funerals and monuments, and how so many of us have rationalized killing people in terms of defending our freedom, rights, and democracy (terms we can barely grasp and yet cling to desperately).
Why are so many American's quoted by media saying that while they are against "the war in Iraq," they support "the American troops" (Or as David Cross said ""Although I am against the war, I do support our white troops").
Did I mention that my long lost friend in the email above is a spokesperson for the Canadian Department of National Defense (I googled him!) ??? Nope, neither did he!!
I want to recommend two films, not for 'all the answers' but for presenting some crucial perspectives and questions:
'The Corporation' - a Canadian documentary based on a book of the same name, which examines the structure and legal rights of corporations as.... well... basically enabling the social, political, economic and environmental destruction that so many are fighting against.
'Why We Fight' - an American documentary looking at and beyond the development of a military-industrial complex since WWII, examining the ways in which militarization is woven into the very fabric of what is now the USA.
PHOTO: Snowshoeing, Seymour Mountain, North Vancouver, February 2006.