Activists Of All Stripes Upstaged By Pandemic

railway blockade pipeline[…] While all are rightfully saluting our health professionals, and the grocery clerks, and the truck drivers, there are others to be considered as well. For some lives have been disrupted more than others.

Please during this strange and anxious time, spare a thought and say a prayer for unemployed activists of all stripes, the one-timers, the full-timers, the masked and the unmasked, the blockaders and the street-marchers.

Starbucks is closed, so what is the point of smashing its windows? Not much point either in staging a “die-in” (the term itself should be seriously avoided considering the nature of the crisis we’re in) in front of a fried-chicken outlet.

There will be no one there to look at your mock mortality. And if you’re the kind of social justice warrior who’s up a-night worrying about, I quote, “the oppressed bodies of the chicken,” then these are melancholy times.

“Dream of feathers and flocks, my young friend — better days will emerge, the Cock will crow and the fast-food chains await your return.”

Downtowns are empty so “performance” activists have no audience. These days they could jump up and down all day in the intersection of Yonge and Bloor and at best only a few pigeons and a few vagrant pedestrians would be there to notice.

So what’s the under-occupied oppression artist to do? Stay home and memorize the hot bits of Das Kapital and do a binge-watch of (pre-pandemic) Michael Moore movies. (On penalty of nervous shock, do not watch Planet of the Humans.)

Before the pandemic, the rail services of this country were a veritable playground for enthusiastic demonstrators.

You could have a blockade in B.C. one day, Quebec the next, and hit Via Rail in Ontario whenever the mood struck you. These good folks are now totally stymied.

For it is established (somewhere in Einstein’s early work on trains and relativity, I think) that to have a blockade, something must be moving. This is especially true of trains, the great man asserted.

Or as another genius put it even more succinctly — I believe it was famed lawyer Johnnie Cochran — “If the trains are stopped, they’re impossible to block.” […]

The same for the Extinction Rebellion crowd. Can’t shut down airports that are already shut down. Even if you could, can you practice safe social-distancing?

The pandemic has also closed down a lot of good plays and theatricals. Of which, the one most to be missed is the “How Dare You” non-musical starring the young Swedish climate contralto, Greta Thunberg.

It is sadly in hiatus.

Who does not miss the querulous arias of the young musician, that hard, dramatic stare, as she, a Jeremiah in pigtails, with a fury that only immaturity can fuel, gave vital throat to its central hymn: “You old people are stealing my future.” Brought the house down, every time.

I should also mention the displaced pronoun warriors — the xirs and zes and hirs and zirs — those inventive complainers, who took grammar out of the schools and put it to work in special interest politics; the drear COVID has pushed them off the stage, too.

There are ever so many white horses out there these days without their accustomed riders. We miss ’em all. With apologies to C. Lamb, Where are they “gone, the old familiar farces?”

Read rest at National Post