22 January 2010

Ownership of a Movement Matters

Over at DAMMIT JANET!, there's a discussion about whether the NDP's Jack Layton, or any other politician, is wrong to call the grassroots movement against prorogation "our" movement; that is, the movement of the NDP.

From the point of view of a population sector that is left consistently unheard and certainly unrecognized, let me say that ownership matters. Particularly when it involves the disenfranchised. Appropriating a grassroots movement for partisan purposes is like researchers who appropriate the knowledge of the poor or other marginalized persons for the purposes of producing books and adding another line to their curriculum vitae.

The grassroots movement of Canadians Against Proroguing Parliament is bringing Canadians together like never before. We come from all party affiliations - and none. Many of us have voted ever since we became eligible, others aren't old enough to vote. More of us have turned away from the polls in disgust with the options presented on the ballot, and with a party and voting system that skews the results and leaves us unrepresented.

That Jack Layton should suggest this grassroots movement is "the New Democrat movement" leaves me stunned. YES, members and supporters of the NDP are welcome to join this GRASSROOTS movement. As are Liberal, Green, Bloc Quebecois and Conservative supporters. But let no political leader suggest this movement is theirs.

Recommend this post