My plan for this column was to explain why I graded Sonia Furstenau’s “4-Day Work Week” as the “significant” notion in the three Parties’ election platforms of the recent BC election. But eventually I realized it was not alone. I will not apologize, lest I infringe on Trudeau’s copyrighted “I apologize” signature line, but I will try to make things right. Since she is as astute as to raise these issues, I feel Sonia will forget my hard to forgive attention lapse.
Sonia touched on several issues of general concern beside the 4-Day week. Such as “Basic Income” for young citizens, and the “re-nationalization” of BC Ferries. These transcend the 4-Year electoral mandate and cut into the fast growing “Democratic Deficit”, the moniker being a PRopaganda euphemism meant to make us relax our vigilance on those bent on sheltering themselves from Democracy and us.
“Basic Income”, BC Ferries, and the 4-Day workweek ought to be at the forefront of the NDP platform, next to Denticare and Pharmacare which were also absent from it. Chanting “We work for you” which is what they did, will not do because it is a platitude.
Most pertinent is the utter failure of the three “leaders” to show any understanding of the “New Normal” the Pandemic will bequest us. No one of them showed any acumen in meshing the cost of enduring the Pandemic with that of the transition to the “New Normal”. Certain is that we need to have bold plans and new tools with which to face the task. It is not likely that the Post Pandemic social and the economic realities can be managed with the tools of the past. We meed a changed mindset.
I will now glance at the lineage of the BC Ferries. The system was privately owned until Super-Capitalist Premier W.A.C. Bennett, super-socialistically “nationalized” the BC Ferry system. That was in 1961. Later, Premier Campbell, fearing ferry sailor mutinies (labour strikes), made the Ferries into an “independent” Corporation.
Strangely, it is Green Sonia, not Socialist Horgan, who seeks to re-nationalize the BC Ferry system “for the people of BC”, as Bennett put it when he nationalized it. Socialist Horgan stood unfazed, did not even applaud Sonia, he just fell speechless like a fish on dry beach.
Time now for a very short visit with the original theme of this column, the “4 day work-week”. The current 5-day work-week resulted from an increase in productivity that was substantial in absolute terms but minuscule by comparison to the enormous growth since. Yet, the powers-that-be steal from us the 4-day workweek for reasons akin to Grace McCarthy’s response to suggestions that the Vancouver city block where the Eaton Center was built be made into a square. “What? Make a square for people to protest against us?” Grace exclaimed and Vancouver lost its own Trafalgar Square, or Place de la Concorde. (Grace was a fierce Minister in the Bennett cabinet).
Those who are strong on “growth” fight against shortening the work-week. They have it easy because we have been brainwashed to feel lost when we get our nose off the grindstone. This because of the ghastly “education” we have received, uphold and perpetuate. “It is the system stupid !” the sign says. The “prophets of the system”, be they “professionals, like Economists, Teachers, Priests, Lawyers, Advertisers etc, or simply “casual” victims of the system, like ordinary Parents and Journalists, take turns to tame the human brain and incarcerate it for a life in the “system box”. We were taught, learned, practice and perpetuate the mentality of subservience to the Lords, Heavenly and Temporal. The “curriculum” includes the Work Ethic and Loyalty to “hands that feeds us”.
It is thus that we “accept” being told by John Horgan or Justin Trudeau when we, the electorate, need an election with which to reafirm our vows to have them “govern” us. We are trained to respect their “right” to chose the time of “granting us a ballot”, emulating Kings and assorted despots whom we may not address unless they address us, first.
We carry this nonsense in our crania and pass it on from generation to generation lest the rubbish becomes lost. To make space for that, we suppress innate creativity instead of strengthening the wings of the mind to roam and soar outside the “Box”, where the “new” awaits the innovators to harvest it and process it into civilization. True, some people recover and build civilization but those are the “applied sciences”, the result being lopsided, because the “soft sciences” such as Governance, are taboo.
The advent of the Pandemic exposed our induced incapacity for leisure. We are discovering that we cannot tell apart “Leisure” from “Laziness”, this while the distinction is material and understanding it is important to our well-being.
We need Change and to get it we must break loose from the mind shackles of induced Change-fearing that holds us back from realizing our potential for progress. Chasing Change it is the noblest pursuit on the human scene. Let us have a renaissance ...