Comment: It is tempting to add a historical context to what is happening right now, specifically the Truckers’ Freedom Convoy 2022 and the attempts to test our resolve by the RCMP and the Police considering a confrontation and use of force against the protesters (eg., in Alberta). The state has all the resources to do this and to win the battle. However, numerous examples in history show that winning that battle usually leads to losing the war. Here are the most likely scenarios:
Poland, 1956. Following the death of J. Stalin, workers’ protests in Poland were used to remove the leadership of the “Stalinists” (B. Bierut) and install new leadership (W. Gomułka).
Poland, 1970. Workers’ protests against worsening living conditions and shortages of essential goods were used again, to change the regime. The government used the army, the army used sharp ammunition. Many protesters were killed in the streets, many were imprisoned. The political leadership fell (W. Gomułka) and another faction of the communist party came to power (E. Gierek).
Poland, 1980. Workers’ strikes all over the country. A great wave of patriotism and freedom aspirations of a nation. The birth of “Solidarity”. Government was waiting 16 month to collect information needed to disrupt the movement, to divide it, to weaken it with internal conflicts. At the same time, the government disrupted supply chains and blamed the shortages on striking workers, presenting them as unrealistic “extremists”. This eroded a large part of public support for “Solidarity”. Then, the government implemented a martial law that practically lasted two and a half years. Another regime change took place (gen. W. Jaruzelski replaced E. Gierek). “Solidarity and opposition leaders at various levels (about 10,000 people) were arrested and placed in internment camps. Later, came the amnesty but harsh dictatorial rules continued.
With time passing by, people began to shake off the fear and terror of the martial law, then forgot about it. Six years later, in 1988, strikes broke out again and the government was forced to negotiate with “Solidarity” the solution to the crisis (The Round Table talks in 1989). This time, the situation was different. Perestroika began in the Soviet Union, Eastern Europe was moving to the western camp (color revolutions). Communists had no choice but to make peace with the people. In a following national election, communists lost power and “Solidarity” activists were elected to the Parliament. Note: This is the official narrative. Nuances present a slightly different picture, but they don’t contradict the following conclusion:
People never forget. Once you defeat them and insult them, they will remember it and their resolve will grow. This usually leads to more confrontations. These confrontations take place repeatedly, until the government loses the war.
In most cases, competing political factions or parties use such conflicts in order to benefit from them politically. In some cases, they themselves create and support controlled conflicts. In such cases, intelligence agencies and some allegedly independent media play a role in the revolts in order to control the outcomes.
What does it mean for Canada today?
- For the truckers and protesters: Watch who is coming to help you, especially, the “experts” and “the advisers”. See both, the stick and the carrot, the government will use to soften your determination. Expect it and be prepared for it. Stay your course and keep your leadership strong and undivided. Also, watch agent provocateurs. Their role is to enable the use of force. Casualties in such confrontations are always desirable, they help the government demonize the protesters and gain public support. They also help the opposition in achieving a regime change.
- For the politicians and political parties: refrain from meddling in the protester’s movement. Sooner or later it will turn against you.
- For the political leadership: Absolutely avoid the use of force (police and/or army). People will never forget that and it will also be used by the opposition to remove you from power.
The only rational solution is to negotiate a compromise. If the leadership of Justin is questioned and he refuses to resign, it needs to be negotiated with all political parties. A vote and declaration of no confidence must be initiated by them. This may or may not keep the Liberals in power but it will also advance the truckers demands.