Critical Reflection 4: the notion of Ideology

15 04 2010

What is democracy? Communists are said to have claimed that the Soviet dictatorship was the only true proletariat democracy, while Hitler and Mussolini are both said to have believed that their respective systems of governance were higher, more real forms of democracy (Shields, 1958: pp 29).

Democracy can be understood simply as a system of governance. Its roots lay in Plato’s Republic emerging from the Greek word demokratia – rule of the people (ibid). However, this definition is hardly exhaustive and as such, fails to capture its complexity when we consider that democracy, as defined by the Merriam-Webster (2010), “is a form of government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised by them directly or indirectly through a system of representation”. The Oxford English Dictionary (2004) maintains this definition but adds that a “democracy is a state of society characterized by a formal equality of rights and privileges”. …Keep reading after the jump

The Machine, hard at work.

4 03 2010

While under a different government, our home and native land decriminalized homosexuality and made it legal for same-sex couples to marry. But the current Conservative regime, with a failed attempt to ‘re-visit’ said issues in December of 2006 and little currency to undo the past, have opted to take a more coercively-passive approach to maintain their political ideologies and overarching dominant discourse on the matter.

In a new guide for immigrants applying for Canadian citizenship, Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, Jason Kenney, has had any reference to Canada’s progressive strides made on gay rights quashed. The Globe and Mail reported: “Internal documents show an early draft of the guide contained sections noting that homosexuality was decriminalized in 1969; that the Charter of Rights and Freedoms forbids discrimination based on sexual orientation; and that same-sex marriage was legalized nationally in 2005”. Despite having sided with same-sex marriage proponents in the 2005 parliamentary debates, Kenney is said to have “ordered those key sections removed”.

Kenny is but a pawn in much larger game – a game premised on dichotamizing ideologies that invariably forge a rift between the ‘right’ and ‘wrong’. In lieu of the preach on the abandonment of issues of equality for which our country has made many significant movements on its short history, I’d like to note that the politics of exclusion here pose both a hindrance and an instrument of empowerment. 

On the one hand, these ideologies attempt to suppress if not wholly erase history, imposing increased resistance upon the already marginalized; on the other,  the values of a suite of marginalized communities and their thoughts towards the way history is managed on the part of their government are verified, creating a parallel history that can and will be resurrected.