Resistance Is Futile: All Effective Protests Will Be Put Down
Date: Monday, September 12 2005
Resistance Is Futile: All Effective Protests Will Be Put Down
By Christopher Hall
When record high fuel prices washed over our continent after Hurricane Katrina washed over the American Gulf Coast, truckers in New Brunswick, Canada started what they hoped would be a continent-wide protest against high fuel prices. Hundreds of big rigs stopped along the Trans-Canada Highway, at weigh scales and truck stops, and on other routes in the northwestern part of the province.
The protest was effective and couldn't be ignored: Some grocery stores in northern New Brunswick started running out of fresh produce, meat and milk after 3 days, while farmers were complaining about shortages of animal feed. Ironically, even some gas stations also closed due to fuel shortages.
"We are hearing from members in all Atlantic provinces," said Stephane Robichaud of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business in an interview with a local newspaper. "Dairy farmers are having to throw away milk because they can't move it out; stores have no bread or milk left on their shelves because the supplies can't get in; gas stations are starting to run out of fuel in parts of Atlantic Canada, and countless businesses are being affected because of transportation disruptions."
Shoppers also told reporters they were angry. "I'm mad at the truckers because there's no bread, no vegetables, no nothing," said Louise Carrier, a grocery store customer in Moncton. "It's the population who are hostage right now."
Eric Bijeau, spokesman for the protesters, estimated that at one point as many as 1,000 trucks were been stopped in the northern New Brunswick blockade, a figure the police disputed. He said he hoped the protest spreads to other provinces and into the United States.
"We are being screwed by the refineries," Bijeau said.
Bijeau said the group he represents, the New Brunswick Northwest Truckers Association, sent a letter to Prime Minister Paul Martin asking that the federal government step in and stop profiteering by the major refineries. "We are asking you to intervene at the refiners' level, where it is clearly demonstrated that the refiners' profit margin has increased from .09 cents per litre to .43 cents per litre," the truckers stated in their letter. "The costs are too much. They are driving people out of business. We have to do something... This is a clear case of the rich gouging the poor."
The traffic stoppage affected only trucks- cars were able to use the highways as usual, although there were some slowdowns around the truck blockades.
As the economic impact of the protest mounted, Premiers of three Maritime provinces and Quebec held an emergency conference call to discuss the "paralysis" on the Trans-Canada Highway and called for an end to the truckers' protest. There was solidarity among government leaders that the blockades must be found to be illegal and dealt with quickly.
And so they were. After being advised that the truckers were in violation of a minor traffic regulation that carries a $168 fine, a grim-faced, angry New Brunswick Premier Bernard Lord saw his opportunity and announced on September 8 that the truckers' blockades had to come down by the end of the day and that the RCMP were authorized to use "whatever means necessary."
"The blockade is not acceptable and must end immediately," Lord told reporters during a break in a provincial Conservative caucus meeting in Alma, N.B. "The RCMP has the full support of the government to proceed forcefully. The RCMP have the mandate to enforce the law, and it's clear that the government has indicated to the RCMP, that we're fully supporting of their efforts to enforce the law," said Lord after the meeting.
The truckers ended the protest that day.
Now, as the realities of Peak Oil, the coming energy crisis and inevitable economic collapse become more and more obvious to all and are starting to seriously affect us here at home instead of just the poor, exploited people of other countries, the New Brunswick provincial government has clearly stated their position that they will tolerate absolutely no form of effective protest or civil disobedience and will use whatever means necessary (implying the possibility of the use of deadly force) to continue business as usual. Our politicians have said outright that they do not favor or support reducing the taxation on fuel, have no intent to do so and say they are powerless over the oil companies and world markets. Any assistance they have proposed, although well-intentionally aimed at low-income families, does not even begin to alleviate the current increases, let alone the inevitable future ones.
Because of Hurricane Katrina and the record fuel prices it helped create, the gloves are now off and the laws and policies the governments (both in the U.S. and Canada) have put in place since 9/11 under the guise of "the war on terrorism" and "national security" will be used to ensure that any effective protest or civil disobedience about any serious issue will be put down- by deadly force if all else fails. What has happened to the independent truckers in New Brunswick will also happen to any other group or organization that decides to make an effective stand. As we plunge further into the bleak future and economic chaos of Peak Oil, martial law will be the only way for the government to deal with the economic refugees that will be created. The politicians know this and have actually been preparing for it behind closed doors for many years now.
What is being played out on the highways of New Brunswick and in the "evacuee centers" of the American Gulf Coast after Katrina are simply practice sessions for when the trouble really starts. As more and more economic refugees are created by the effects of global warming or as people default on their mortgages, go into bankruptcy and lose everything they worked so hard for because they have to buy fuel to go to work and heat their homes, there will be an inevitable and righteous undercurrent of anger that is going to boil to the surface.
The government now wants you to know in no uncertain terms that they will not tolerate any crap from you if you have a problem with being broke, freezing and homeless and they will grasp at any straw and do anything they have to in order to maintain the status quo: Larger, growing profits for big business and larger, growing pressures on ordinary citizens to continue to provide them. Those truckers were not just protesting for themselves, they were protesting for us too. Now, Louise, exactly who's holding who hostage?
[Editor's note - I couldn't find any links for this story. If anyone has one, or if the anon who posted it wrote it, I'd apppreciate knowing that in the comments. Dr. C]
[Proofreader's note: this article was edited for spelling and typos on September 12, 2005]