Come from the Shadows

Come from the Shadows: part 7

From Terry Glavin’s book Come from the Shadows: The Long and Lonely Struggle for Peace in Afghanistan, pages 140-141:

By September 11, the Canadian “left” was in the hands of a generation that had come of age with what the historian Shulamit Volkov calls an “ideational package”: a collection of cultural codes taking up the empty space where, say, a class analysis would usually go. The phenomenon can be tragi-comical. On March 15, 2008, a protest in Calgary against the Atlantic seal hunt, a sustainable tradition vital to the income of working-class Newfoundlanders, transformed itself at a pre-arranged moment into a protest against both the presence of Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan and the Israeli “siege of Gaza.”

The cultural codes Volkov finds embedded in the post-1960s ideational package include anti-capitalism, anti·imperialism, anti-Americanism and an often dangerously heavy dose of anti-Zionism.

…Paradoxically, the anti-Americanism that was abroad in Canada at the time drew most heavily from a distinctly American sensibility. The American counterculture had eclipsed old-school left-wing politics in Canada. In the years following the Vietnam war, it was like some contagious version of narcissistic personality disorder had become deeply embedded in Canadian culture. By September 11, if an American hippie celebrity was sneezing somewhere, you could be certain that a leading Canadian social democrat would soon be coming down with a cold.

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