Ten Reasons Not to Move to Canada
by Sarah Anderson
Ready to say screw this country and buy a one-way ticket north? Here are some
reasons to stay in the belly of the beast.
1. The Rest of the World.
After the February 2003 antiwar protests, the New
York Times described the global peace movement as the world’s second
superpower. Their actions didn’t prevent the war, but protestors in nine countries have
succeeded in pressuring their governments to pull their troops from Iraq
and/or withdraw from the so-called coalition of the willing. Antiwar Americans owe
it to themajority of the people on this planet who agree with them to stay and
do what they can to end the suffering in Iraq and prevent future pre-emptive
2. People Power Can Trump Presidential Power.
The strength of social
movements can be more important than whoever is in the White House. Example: In 1970,
President Nixon supported the Occupational Safety and Health Act, widely
considered the most important pro-worker legislation of the last 50 years. It didnt
happen because Nixon loved labor unions, but because union power was strong.
Stay and help build the peace, economic justice, environmental and other
social movements that can make change.
3. The great strides made in voter registration and youth mobilization must
be built on rather than abandoned.
4. Like Nicaraguans in the 1980s, Iraqis Need U.S. Allies.
Reagan was re-elected in 1984, progressives resisted the urge to flee northwards
and instead stayed to fight the U.S. governments secret war of arming the
contras in Nicaragua and supporting human rights atrocities throughout Central
America. Iraq is a different scenario, but we can still learn from the U.S.-Central
America solidarity work that exposed illegal U.S. activities and their brutal
consequences and ultimately prevailed by forcing a change in policy.
5. We Can’t Let up on the Free Trade Front
Activists have held the Bush
administration at bay on some issues. On trade, opposition in the United States and
in developing countries has largely blocked the Bush administrations
corporate-driven trade agenda for four years. The President is expected to soon
appoint a new top trade negotiator to break the impasse. Whoever he picks would love
to see a progressive exodus to Canada.
6. Barak Obama.
His victory to become the only African-American in the U.S.
Senate was one of the few bright spots of the election. An early opponent of
the Iraq war, Obama trounced his primary and general election opponents, even in
white rural districts, showing he could teach other progressives a few things
about broadening their base. As David Moberg of In These Times puts it, Obama
demonstrates how a progressive politician can redefine mainstream political
symbols to expand support for liberal policies and politicians rather than
engage in creeping capitulation to the right.
7. Say so long to the DLC.
Barry Goldwater suffered a resounding defeat when
he ran for president against Lyndon Johnson in 1964, but his campaign spawned
a conservative movement that eventually gained control of the Republican Party
and elected Ronald Reagan in 1980. Progressives should see the excitement
surrounding Dean, Kucinich, Moseley Braun, and Sharpton during the primary season
as the foundation for a similar takeover of the Democratic Party.
President Bush is entering his second term facing an escalating
casualty rate in Iraq, a record trade deficit, a staggering budget deficit,
sky-high oil prices, and a deeply divided nation. As the Republicans face likely
failure, progressives need to start preparing for regime change in 2008 or
sooner. Remember that Nixon was re-elected with a bigger margin than Bush, but faced
impeachment within a year.
9. Americans are Not All Yahoos
Although I wouldn’t attempt to convince a
Frenchman of it right now, many surveys indicate that Americans are more
internationalist than the election results suggest. In a September poll by the
University of Maryland, majorities of Bush supporters expressed support for
multilateral approaches to security, including the United States being part of the
Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (68%), the International Criminal Court (75%), the
treaty banning land mines (66%), and the Kyoto Treaty on climate change (54%).
The problem is that most of these Bush supporters werent aware that Bush
opposed these positions. Stay and help turn progressive instincts into political
10. Winter. Average January temperature in Ottawa: 12.2¬?F.
Sarah Anderson (email@example.com) is a fellow of the Institute for Policy
COURTESY R. von PLEUGER!