Thoughts on the Canadian Trucker “Freedom Convoys”

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Let me confess at the outset that, sadly, I have come to regard “freedom” as a tell for the expression of today’s brand of sociopathic and therefore highly adaptive libertarianism[1]. So, when I see “the Canadian truckers” (as I will call them) branded as a (highly replicable) “Freedom Convoy,” my back teeth start to itch. However, any popular outbreak on such a scale deserves an account, which I hope to give in this post. I’m going to try to avoid most of the current coverage, since the news flow is so polluted it’s almost impossible to parse. (I wish there were labor reporters like Kim Kelly, Mike Elk, or Jonah Furman on the ground; that there are not is interesting in itself; though perhaps crossing the border is still too hard.) Hence, I will avoid, in no particular order, triumphalism (“The Truckers Fighting Dystopia“), huffiness whether from Canada’s great and good (“We’ll lift our anti-COVID restrictions when elected governments decide, not street mobs“) or our own diplomats (“US Groups Need to Stop Interfering in Canada: Ex-US Envoy“), liberal aghastitude (here), heart-tugging stories (“EXCLUSIVE: Unsettling photos show heavily bruised great-grandfather, 78, after being forcefully handcuffed by Ottawa cops for honking his car horn to support Freedom Convoy as family says he is suffering from PTSD“), and all digital evidence, whether of tactics (here), honking (here), flags (here), funding on Facebook (here, here, here), or press conferences by the truckers themselves (here, here, here). I will not consider truckers as a putatively international movement; yellow jackets do not gilets jaunes make. Having damped down the triggers and the noise, I will look for the following signals: The likely class composition of the truckers (from industry statistics), the demands of the truckers (as documented by them), the response to the truckers (from Canadian reporting), and the leadership of the truckers (again from Canadian reporting).

First, however, I should state my position on what has come to be the truckers’ policy demand (distinct from what I regard as their central demand, documented below). Initially, the truckers’ protests are said to have come into being as the result of a mandate for a two-week quarantine after crossing back into Canada from the United States; not so easy, if you are accustomed, say, to moving auto parts from Windsor to Detroit more or less daily. This morphed into a demand for an end to vaccine mandates, and to an end to pandemic emergency orders generally (more on this shortly). For clarity and before I go on, allow me — my vaccines are “up to date,” in case that’s relevant — to express my views on vaccine mandates. If I were a judge, I would make a vaccine mandate pass one test: Is the mandate motivated by public health concerns? None of the vaccines are sterilizing, and so do not prevent harm to the public in the form of contagion.[2] Of course, if the Biden Administration — and the Western world, generally — had not settled on a disastrous vax-only policy, we would not be in lethal and demoralizing position, because we would have other mitigations to bring the case count down.

That said, let us proceed to realpolitik. To support a demand is not, after all, to support one who makes it[3]. First, the class composition of the Canada truckers.

Class Composition of the Canadian Truckers

When I concluded that the Capitol rioters were not working class but petite bourgeoisie, I had real data in the form of arrest records and newspaper accounts. We have no such data for the Canadian truckers. We do, however, have some useful data on the Canadian trucking industry. From Trucking HR Canada (PDF), “The Road Ahead: Addressing Canada’s Trucking and Logistics Industry Labour Shortages” (March 2020):

In recent years, there has been an average of just over 300,000 truck drivers working in Canada, equivalent to 1.7% of working Canadians. One out of every 60 working Canadians is employed as a truck driver.

There are two kinds of trucker:

• Long-haul truck drivers: Drivers spending at least one night away from home each week.

• Short-haul truck drivers: Drivers being home every night unless exceptional circumstances prevent them from returning home.

Drivers are distributed as follows:

1. Truck drivers are fairly evenly distributed between long-haul and short-haul drivers.

2. Employees are more common than owner-operators, accounting for 64% of drivers in both the long-haul and short-haul segments.

If we ask ourselves what sort of trucker is able to drive their rig to Ottawa, stay there for days, and even render their truck dysfunctional[4], the answer is clear: Owner operators (that is, (100% – 64%) * 50% = 18% of all truckers).[5] Without real data, it’s impossible to be certain, but I’m not the only one who’s come to this conclusion. From Passage:

It’s safe to assume that the people who made the trek to Ottawa aren’t the same people filing labour violation claims with the federal Labour Program. Rather than exploited workers in a deregulated industry, my guess is that the ‘truckers’ actually present in Ottawa were by and large self-employed owner-operators: the small contingent of wealthier small proprietors who have made out quite well in the new wild-west of for-hire trucking. It was a ‘revolt’ of the petit-bourgeoisie, financially backed[6] by wealthy right-wing grifters.

This weekend’s idiotic pageantry was thus a political consequence of the decades-long class project to remake the trucking sector, a project which has dismantled a highly unionized industry, formerly made up of relatively well-paying and stable jobs, and replaced it with a poorly regulated labour market of hyper-competition among small owner-operators and other precariously-positioned workers.

Now, if this were a labor dispute, it would be ludicrous to think that the Canadian truckers (these Canadian truckers could or should represent all truckers, just as it would be ludicruous for labor aristocrats to claim they represnted gig workers. However, this is not a labor dispute; the Canadian truckers are making a demand on the nation of Canada, on behalf (so they say) of the people of Canada. To those demands we now turn.

Demands of the Canadian Truckers

The demands of the truckers began, as we have seen, with quarantines, then morphed into a demand for an end to mandates, and then for an end to all emergency measures. (Now, apparently, we are bitcoin. Fine.) However, the key document is, to my mind, the “Memorandum of Understanding” (MOU) produced by Canada Unity, a participant in the convoy, which was widely distributed. I have embedded the entire PDF document in an Appendix at the end of the post; here is the first page with some highlights helpfully added:

A word on the document itself: Material like this doesn’t emerge within hours; people have been thinking about this. I will grant that the language is not as cray cray as, say, the Moorish Sovereign Citizens; in fact, Canadian trucking regulations are communicated in the from of “Memorandums of Undertstanding,” so perhaps that’s where the MOU drafters picked up the concept. (One has to wonder, however, about the epigraph from Jefferson (it’s fake). Wouldn’t a Canadian have quoted, well, a Canadian?)

More important is the highlighted legalese: As you can see, the parties to the MOU are “THE PEOPLE OF CANADA”, the “SENATE OF CANADA”, and “THE GOVERNOR GENERAL OF CANADA.” And who, you may ask, signs for “THE PEOPLE OF CANADA”? We flip to the end for the answer, which is highlighted:

Canada Unity signs for “THE PEOPLE OF CANADA.” In other words, the MOU distributed from within the Canadian truckers protest calls for the end of representative government as currently understood in Canada. This is the sort of thing the Bolsheviks might do on behalf of the Soviets, but the Canadian petite bourgeoisie even in its entirety doesn’t have the base to do that, or the party leadership, and the historical conjuncture seems not appropriate. However — just spitballing, here — if I were a squillionaire looking to transform representative democracy into a perpetual plebiscite of AstroTurf, the MOU is exactly the sort of document I would look upon with favor.[6]

Response to the Canadian Truckers

The WSWS summarizes the reaction of the Canadian goverment to the truckers as follows:

In Monday evening’s emergency parliamentary debate on the Ottawa occupation, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made a major concession to the armed besiegers of Canada’s capital when he declared, “Pandemic restrictions are not forever.” The significance of this remark was unmistakable, coming just three days after Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Theresa Tam, a Trudeau government appointee, told a Friday press conference that all COVID-19 measures would need to be “re-examined” in the coming weeks because “this virus isn’t going away.”

Within hours of Trudeau’s comments Monday, provincial premiers with jurisdiction over close to half of Canada’s 38 million inhabitants announced an end to all remaining restrictions—either immediately or in a matter of weeks.

Given that democidal elites are a parsimonious explanation for Covid policy in Canada as well as the United States, we can surmise that the Canadian truckers gave Trudeau and the Liberal Party the excuse and the cover to do what they have wanted to do all along. So all things work together for good!

Leadership of the Canadian Truckers

I have left the personalia for the end. Some Canadian reporting in Vice on the Canadian trucker leadership[7]:

James Bauder registered the Canada Unity Facebook page in late 2019, when he was a fervent supporter of the United We Roll anti-carbon tax convoy. Things didn’t exactly take off: In March 2021, his recently-registered website boasted a membership count of 30.

In 2021, Bauder started using his Canada Unity group as a front against COVID-19 measures. He organized his first convoy, headed to Ottawa, in October—long before any vaccine mandates for truckers were put in place….

Bauder and his small group began promoting their “memorandum of understanding.” The plan was to attract as many signatures as possible and deliver the document to Ottawa.

In November, Bauder delivered some of the signed copies to the Senate, to no effect. Undeterred, Bauder kept criss-crossing the country in his RV, extolling the virtues of his campaign and imploring Members of Parliament to endorse the memorandum….

Bauder’s campaign didn’t garner much buzz until this month, when an array of other characters joined the Canada Unity mission.

One of those organizers was Pat King, a former organizer with the Western Canada separatist party Wexit. King gained notoriety after he helped organize a rally in Red Deer, Alberta, that turned violent, and thanks to his repeated attempts to weaponize his misunderstanding of the law to repeal Alberta’s COVID-19 measures. King is a prolific streamer, using his social media pages to warn of “Anglo-Saxon replacement” and to make disparaging remarks about immigrants and the LGBTQ community, per videos cataloged by Anti-Hate Canada.

On Jan. 18, Bauder and King appeared on a livestream together to promote the Canada Unity website as “our official convoy page.”

Bauder made it clear this was not a leaderless movement: He said there were five organizers across the country, including himself and King, who were behind the convoy. He insisted they already had “tens of thousands” of participants signed up..

At the same time, King—who just a month before warned that “the only way that this is going to be solved is with bullets”—began pressing the idea that the movement had to be squeaky clean. It had to “make sure that we come off on this as professional as can be,” he said on one livestream, “because the whole world’s eyes are gonna be on us.” (Other organizers have tried to distance themselves from King, but he continues to lead a segment of the convoy coming from the West.).

Jason LaFace is an Ontario organizer for the convoy…. LaFace was previously linked to Soldiers of Odin, an anti-immigrant group, by anti-racism researchers. (Those researchers obtained an apology letter from LaFace, saying he dismantled the local chapter.) LaFace did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Benjamin Dicher, whose name is listed on the GoFundMe page, which has surpassed $6 million, is a People’s Party activist who has warned that the Liberal Party is “infested with Islamists.” Another of Operation BearHug’s [a name for the convoys] regional organizers is a former candidate for the arch-social conservative Christian Heritage Party.

And plenty more. A mixed bag, to say the least. Or perhaps not so mixed. I mean, I’m an animist at the most, the very most. I don’t believe in Odin.


The savage irony of the Canadian trucker convoy is that the vulnerability of the supply chain to its workers was first worked out on the left. That’s the thesis of labor historian Kim Moody’s On New Terrain (2017). Here is Moody in “Labour and the contradictory logic of logistics” (2019):

This article will argue that the system of logistics that has taken shape in the last two or three decades is deeply affected by contradictions inherent in capitalism that magnify the potential power of labour to disrupt supply chains. Among these are: the tension between the desire for the seamless movement of goods and the disruptive reality of competition and the fight for value appropriation up and down the supply chain; the push by both retailers and manufacturers for ever faster delivery of goods to market; the burden of high fixed costs that underlie the structure of contemporary logistics; and the growth of huge ‘logistics clusters’ concentrating tens of thousands of manual workers in important metropolitan areas. It will be argued that each of these contradictions renders the firms in these logistics networks highly vulnerable to worker actions. While such actions have been relatively rare so far, community-based pre-union organising in some major clusters, such as Chicago [or Detroit-Windsor –lambert], is laying the basis for a future upsurge in worker organisation.

Moody is, apparently, a prophet without honor on the left. So we have a ginormous “upsurge” that forces auto manufacturing to shut down. Led by whom? Petite bourgeoisie who believe in Odin and Anglo-Saxon replacement theory, that’s who. It’s enough to make a cat laugh. From the Monthly Review:

This vacuum on the left–ranging from weakness to betrayal–is wind in the sails of those who wish to co-opt legitimate disaffection in service of a turn to authoritarian capitalism. It’s not a stretch to say there is no left to speak of on the current political landscape. If organized labour is to have any relevance in the era of COVID, it must mobilize to counter and even stop far right protests around the country, and make aggressive demands that speak to the basic needs of working class people, such as housing security. But if unions and social democratic organizations aren’t willing to meet this threat with the organized will and response it requires, then new organizations are urgently needed that have the energy and vision to do so.

To put this in the U.S. context: If the Association of Flight Attendants, the International Longshoremen’s Association, the “Big Four” railroad brotherhoods, and of course the Teamsters had wished to, they could have done, on a national scale and with far more effect, what the Canadian Truckers are doing. These industrial unions might have demanded, at the very minimum, decent PPE for health care workers, and proper ventilation for teachers. At a maximum, they could have demanded that Americans be paid to stay home until Covid transmission in this country sputtered out, ending the pandemic here and setting an example for the world. But here we are.


[1] See Andrew Ditmer’s prophetic series, “Journal into a Libertarian Future,” which seemed a lot funnier in 2011 than it does today. In short form: “Freedom is how a libertarian says ‘f*ck you,'” as in p*ssing in the pool, infecting closed spaces, and so forth. I imagine libertarianism and Wesley Yang’s successor ideology will at some point clash directly, a battle I hope leaves both mortally wounded.

[2] If the argument is that we should vaccinate to prevent the health care system from being overloaded, then we might ask ourselves why we did not start doing that long ago by building slack into the system, and by, say, deprecating high fructose corn syrup.)

[3] Hitler, after all, was a vegetarian.

[4] Toronto Star: “Some trucks [sic] have removed their tires or split their brakes to make them completely immobile.”

[5] This may not be true for the Windsor protest: “Canada’s bridge blocking trucker protest is short on semis.”

[6] To be fair, Canada Unity withdrew the MOU, perhaps because people figured out what it really meant. I think the MOU is a bell that can’t be unrung.

[7] Such as it is: “‘You’re dealing with a bit of a leaderless group,’ Mayor Drew Dilkens said at a mid-day news conference with the city’s police chief. ‘It’s not like there’s one person you can go to and try and find a resolution.'”

APPENDIX: The Memorandum of Understanding

Here is the complete MOU:

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        I don’t think Ian Welsh has a lot of links in any of his posts. If his commenters want to see links, they bring links their own selves to the threads for one side or another of the discussion.

        The one link-heavy post-feature on Ian Welsh is the Weekly Wrap-Up by Tony Wikrent which has lots of article-teasers and their links, many of them from Naked Capitalism itself.

    1. Larry Carlson

      Welch’s perspective is interesting because he notes that the protests have a rural (or provincial) versus urban component. When you spend time in Canada, you realize that the handful of biggest cities (Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver, which have over 13M of Canada’s 39M people in their CMAs) are largely composed of immigrants and and PMC types. As such, there’s also a bit of a culture clash, with the CBC and the twitterati filled with contempt for the truckers, which is reflected in the criticisms made of them: funded by Americans who don’t share our Canadian values, dimwitted racists from the remote provinces, and insurrectionists with police and military backgrounds.

    2. Henry Moon Pie

      Good take also. This was the truth briefly stated:

      Societies are subject to revolution when an elite faction wants it, the enforcer class is unwilling to defend the status quo, and there is a significant popular faction who want change. All three are generally necessary.

      If I were among Canada’s current rulers, I’d be worried, not by the left, but by the right. The left doesn’t have an elite faction supporting it or the complicity of at least some police.

      If that’s true for Canada, it’s twice as true here. Our electable “left” fell for Joe Manchin’s ploy in the House. I appreciate AOC talking about capitalism, but when it comes to wielding any influence in DC, they’re a joke.

      The best the real left may be able to do is let the right take down the neolibs but be ready to step in with mutual aid when these Propertarians’ dreams turn out to be nightmares. The antifa approach just paints targets on the backs of its adherents without any realistic chance of stopping anything. What I remember of the May ’20 activities looked liked the geeks versus the jocks. More productive of sad laughter than an urge to stand up and sing “Solidarity Forever”–with feelin’.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        There has to be a way to exclude the Propertarians from this mutual aid survival activity when the time comes. The Propertarians have filled their own toilet. Let them swim in it. Or flush themselves down it.

        Would you let a hippo with diarrhea into your lifeboat?

  1. John

    Thank you, Lambert, this is worth a Water Cooler. And full enough to review this evening.
    This seems to me a chaos arising from neoliberalism analogous to the weather chaos arising from global warming.

    1. jr

      Seconding that, this posting is really clarifying for me. I was forming a different take on what was going on up there. An inaccurate one, I now see.

    1. Sub-Boreal

      Yes, not up to Taibbi’s usual standards. As a Canadian, I found it predictable but disappointing in how he forced our situation into ready-made USian political formats. And the superficial reflexive identification of some apparently leftish commenters there and elsewhere with the heroic trucker proletariat is getting tiresome.

      1. Basil Pesto

        yes, “oh god, am I laying in with the good guys or the bad guys? well, career politicians are lame and bad. and this is an industry I don’t know much about but it’s ostensibly super proletarian. better go all in on the latter being the good guys”. This sort of thing is a tedious and banal as identity politics itself; probably because ultimately, it amounts to a form of it.

        Everything the protestors are “fighting for” (and let’s not be dense and naïve, it’s not just vaccine mandates) – despite it all being what the neoliberal ruling class has been oushing in the direction of for the past year anyway; Let Er Rip, every man for themselves – will lead to bad outcomes, and, as we know, these will fall on everyone but disproportionately on the working class. Low-key jaw-dropping to see so many people fall for this as something organic and/or virtuous in its goals, which, again, are more or less in line with the big mean governments they purport to be railing against.

        Of course, many NC readers – myself included – have been pointing out for the last two years that failure to adequately deal with this pandemic will undoubtedly lead to some potentially nasty sociopolitical consequences. This may very well be the first such example.

    2. flora

      Thanks for this link. Taibbi is a good culture reporter. On the one hand, Ceauşescu had acceptable and forceful ideas per the past forced ruling consensus. On the other hand, he completely missed how times had changed right under him, even as he was led to the stake. Call it the “Ceauşescu bubble.” / ;)

      1. Carolinian

        How about Ottawa vs Kiev from a distinguished foreign policy commentator and Ottawan.

        As for the above and the list of the demands, supposedly there would be no convoy if not for demand number one so we might ask whether it was in fact reasonable. And if the quarantine was not in fact reasonable then this seems more like a pissing match between Trudeau and the truckers.

        However I’m not a Canadian and just as Kiev is none of my business neither is Ottawa. However I will take exception to the broad brush freedom=libertarians=sociopaths. Fauci and his wrecking crew are exactly what freedom is about. If libertarians are the only ones challenging arbitrary power then bring it on.

  2. clarky90

    Re; “……that the ‘truckers’ actually present in Ottawa were by and large self-employed owner-operators: the small contingent of wealthier small proprietors who have made out quite well in the new wild-west of for-hire trucking. It was a ‘revolt’ of the petit-bourgeoisie, financially backed by wealthy right-wing grifters.”……….

    The Great Break (1928–32)

    “On 2 August 1930, the villagers of Obukhovo celebrated Ilin Day, an old religious holiday to mark the end of the high summer when Russian peasants held a feast and said their prayers for a good harvest. After a service in the church, the villagers assembled at the Golovins, the biggest family in Obukhovo, where they were given home-made pies and beer inside the house while their children played outside. As evening approached, the village dance (gulian’e) began. Led by a band of balalaika players and accordionists, two separate rows of teenage boys and girls, dressed in festive cottons, set off from the house, singing as they danced down the village street.

    That year the holiday was overshadowed by violent arguments…………

    ……..The grain crisis of 1927–8 renewed fears of a ‘kulak strike’ in Stalinist circles. In response, Stalin reinstituted requistioning of food supplies and engineered an atmosphere of ‘civil war’ against the ‘kulak threat’ to justify the policy. In January 1928, Stalin travelled to Siberia, a key grain-producing area, and urged the local activists to show no mercy to ‘kulaks’ suspected of withholding grain. His battle-cry was backed up by a series of Emergency Measures instructing local organs to use the Criminal Code to arrest any peasants and confiscate their property if they refused to give their grain to the requisitioning brigades (a wild interpretation of the Code that met with some resistance in the government). Hundreds of thousands of ‘malicious kulaks’ (ordinary peasants like Nikolai Golovin) were arrested and sent to labour camps, their property destroyed or confiscated, as the regime sought to break the ‘kulak strike’ and transformed its overcrowded prisons into a network of labour camps (soon to become known as the Gulag).

    As the battle for grain intensified, Stalin and his supporters moved towards a policy of mass collectivization in order to strengthen the state’s control of food production and remove the ‘kulak threat’ once and for all. ‘We must devise a procedure whereby the collective farms will turn over their entire marketable production of grain to the state and co-operative organizations under the threat of withdrawal of state subsidies and credits,’ Stalin said in 1928. Stalin spoke with growing optimism about the potential of large-scale mechanized collective farms……….”

  3. marym

    Re: Labor reporters on the ground

    I posted the Jacobin link in today’s links. Here’s links to the author’s profiles @ Jacobin and Broadbent Institute, and twitter account. I don’t know if she’s personally on the ground in Ottawa, but an org for which she writes, Press Progress seems to be.

    Thank you for this post.

  4. Larry Y

    If the protests were done by First Nations, or Occupy, or anti-war… nope, doesn’t pass my smell test.

  5. upstater

    For an owner operator or a small firm, the cross border quarantine of 14 days would either result in bankruptcy or exclusion of any business bound to the US. For drivers at a large trucking company a 14 day quarantine on return would probably end up being paid leave and be an operational nightmare.

    We’re in upstate NY; there have always been a huge amount of Canadian trucks on I-81 and I-90. I notice that most trucks from Canada appear to be from large carriers, while US trucks seems to have far more owner operators, looking at logos and cab ID.

    While the MOU people have a public profile, the rest of the truckers can’t be characterized because we have no idea about motivations. It is impossible to survey them and i have not heard of signed petitions. I’d expect they are a pretty disparate group of people very unhappy with their jobs. Being a trucker is an awful job since deregulation, just like the railroads as posted in today’s links. A spontaneous thing like this goes nowhere, like OWS. The cops or army will be out.

    The US Army’s 10th Mountain Division is poised only 30 miles from the border and just a couple hours from Ottawa. Maybe they can get invited to help? We have an MQ9 drone base in Syracuse and they can help, too.

    BTW, auto parts were almost all shipped by rail, quickly and efficiently domestically and between the US and Canada. Degrading railroad service quality, JIT, deregulation and greenfield plants in the US south killed all that. Trucks were faster and perhaps cheaper… until now.

    1. lambert strether

      > While the MOU people have a public profile, the rest of the truckers can’t be characterized because we have no idea about motivations. It is impossible to survey

      The owner-operators I did not name or characterize. I fid, however, name and characterize the leadership.

    2. TrueF***Sam

      Two points on this: the quarantine would only ever apply to unvaccinated, if I am not mistaken. This is a vanishingly small number of people.

      An hypothesis of mine related to your comment about Canadian firms being larger carriers compared to US owners-operators (and Lambert’s comments about the petit bourgeois participants in this and the US insurrection). My impression is that Canadian trucking has many, many mid-sized firms (after the large ones). So not owner-operator households with one or two trucks, but 5-40 trucks (for example). Remember, this is still small business – but it’s also not the trucking equivalent of the subsistence small family farm. It would also be much easier for such a company to send off one or two trucks to participate.

      1. liz F

        You are correct; the two week quarantine only applied to unvaccinated truckers who seemingly take up about 10% of the whole. Even if Canada withdrew the requirement it would not solve the problem as the US has a similar requirement for its unvaccinated truckers. All truckers were warned about this back in November to give them time to get vaccinated

  6. hemeantwell

    Two points. My impression is that Kim Moody is both well-known and well-respected within what I will provocatively call Real Left circles in the US.

    Second point: your hitting on the petit bourgeois character of this eventually reminded me of the important role played by truckers in the runup to the CIA-fostered coup against Allende. Here’s a link to a Times article calling the 23 day strike in the month before the coup “catastrophic.”

    1. Sub-Boreal

      Thanks – it has been surprising how few have cited the obvious Chilean parallel from 1972. Not that Trudeau is our Allende, but history does rhyme to some extent …

      1. onemanincity2

        That is a good historical parallel. I have thought about it. There are similarities, for sure, although most certainly, the current Canadian PM will never be on the same league as Salvador Allende (who was a medical doctor, a student and union leader, and a politician who wanted the best for his country. His ideas and his actions cost him his life). Guess who was behind the murderous coup lead by Pinochet, and who sustained and supported the horror that followed?

    2. juno mas

      Yes, it appears the “it is only seven missed meals to anarchy” (overthrow), was employed by the CIA in Chile in 1972. Doesn’t appear to be working in Canada in 2022.

  7. KD

    Canadian Petit Bourgeois Odinist Far Right . . . doing the jobs that American Leftists are too lazy to do.

      1. Val

        Love the Viva. For those with an interest in hearing from the people protesting in Ottawa, Viva Frei is pro-human and has many hours of on-the-street interviews at the YT and Rumble/Locals. He also did a wonderful interview with the poet Dr Francis Christian last night on Rumble.

        Be forewarned, these Canadians are very charming, perhaps even more so than usual..

        And sincere thanks to IM Doc for his contributions here.

  8. Charlie Sheldon

    This has been an excellent and very helpful article, Lambert, as was Ian Welsh’s. Re: your comments on the vaccines, my wife and I were very nervous about the “new” vaccines but then Johnson and Johnson came out with one made in the traditional way and about exactly a year ago we took it, then a Moderna booster in October. We knew, taking the shot, the chances for infection were higher than the others, but the odds of hospitalization and death lower. We never assumed we wouldn’t get Covid, we just wanted to survive it and we did not to want infect others or our grandchildren, We are entirely fine with vaccine mandates, and masks, etc, to promote overall public health, but now the narrative is changing to this whole thing is a disaster and we simply have to learn to live with it because nobody wants inconvenience. Everyone these days is normalizing 2500 deaths a day, the subtext being, those people are either old or fat and should die anyway. I was in the hospital yesterday for a hernia operation, first time in a real hospital since Covid began, and even in the few hours I was there I could see the stress of this plague on the medical system. The nurses told me that nurses are fleeing in droves, burnt out, just like teachers. They are all terrified if and when the next variant appears. I said, when Covid began to be really noticed at the end of 2019, what Trump should have done in January of 2020 was to temporarily impose Medicare for all plus income support for those losing work because of testing reactions or businesses closing – ie the Relief act they passed but including Medicare for all. Had he done that he’d have been reelected in a landslide, I believe, because the Covid results then would be so different. Water under the bridge, now. Now we have relatively well-heeled mostly private business owners invading capitol buildings and driving their trucks to raise hell, claiming it is about freedom.
    We have fallen into a time of dark selfish energy, driving relentlessly toward massive change nobody can predict.

    1. Phil in KC

      Charlie, you make several good points, the most puissant being the normalizing of 2500 deaths per day.

      My father was drafted in May, 1941 and spent four years in the Army, three years overseas, fighting on three continents, in deserts and jungles. His mail was suppressed for most of 1943, so that my grandparents thought him dead and had to make inquiries to the War Department concerning his status. He only came back to the U.S. because he contracted malaria. He did all this to protect us and defend our way of life.

      All we are being asked to do is wear a mask and get a shot, and that’s too much for these freedom-lovin’ truckers, who I guess have never heard that freedom isn’t free. But they don’t care as long as someone else pays the price. This makes me angry.

      1. Big River Bandido

        “All we are being asked to do is wear a mask and get a shot”

        We have been asked ordered to take an experimental drug which has not been properly vetted, has been proven to be both non-sterilizing and of very time-limited efficacy, and has legitimate risks which have been consistently suppressed in the media.

        Meanwhile, all other interventions — the ones that would be actually meaningful — are also suppressed.

        IOW, “our leaders” are acting out of pure malfeasance. This makes *me* angry.

        1. JBird4049

          Yes, to your opinion on the American Covid vaccines, but I just don’t get this hatred for wearing a mask. Their are very real dangers and benefits, which vary by vaccine, but even just wearing a cheap cloth mask can save lives including that of the wearer.

          I equate mask hatred with the irrational hatred for treatments like ivermectin. It no make sense as the dangers are likely nil, or not that much, while the likely benefits are life saving.

          What’s the point? Give or get the best information you can with the knowledge that this is a new disease with treatments that might be good or bad. Make your decisions and accept that there are no guarantees.

          But no, it’s political Kabuki, all appearance, no substance except for the suffering and dying.

          1. Oh the insanity

            BUT BUT BUT……The majority of cloth masks are useless and have been proven so in experiments. None that I am aware of meet the necessity of preventing 5 milicron invasion, the size of virus particles. Besides which the mental and health risks to children are enormous.

            1. JBird4049

              >>>The majority of cloth masks are useless and have been proven so in experiments.

              Using Lambert Strether’s layered defense cheaply made masks often offer some protection and masks are to be used with other protections like air filtration. Like multiple leaky layered umbrellas and the rain. Also, the better the quality of the mask the better the protection.

              Adults are able to handle the masks and many people have health issues like AIDS or cancer making them vulnerable. It is a balancing act, but using a damn mask is easy, and death is such a severe consequence.

              However, many object to any mask usage and our beloved elites, the credentialed ones, have refused to provide good masks to everyone. That is what I object to and really do not understand.

              There are many people vulnerable to the disease with the greater number of the sick making a more deadly disease arising more likely. People could spend money on getting a good mask. They could accept the inconvenience for the welfare of others. The government could give them away. Perhaps, the government could spend money on developing better, effective, less face obscuring masks.

              But no, and here we are. It is almost as if people are arguing for the right to shout fire in a crowded theater.

              1. drumlin woodchuckles

                The reason that ” our beloved elites, the credentialed ones, have refused to provide good masks to everyone ” is that they want to spread covid to everyone, deliberately and on purpose. But they want to keep their agenda hidden and make that spread look like fate, an accident, something we will just have to learn to live with, etc.

                Its easy to understand once you can bring yourself to admit to yourself that the goal of ” our beloved elites, the credentialed ones ” is to give everyone covid over and over and over again, deliberately and on purpose.

              2. Jeff

                “It is almost as if people are arguing for the right to shout fire in a crowded theater.”

                There’s probably lots of reasons why people don’t trust, but this is one of the more bizarre, made up takes I’ve heard.

                It’s absurd.

        2. Basil Pesto

          Meanwhile, all other interventions — the ones that would be actually meaningful

          What are those?

          If you’re talking about NPIs, including pool PCR testing, I agree. If we’re talking about Ivermectin, I have seen very little if any evidence that it would be more meaningfully effective than the vaccines, which, for all the valid criticisms of the idiotic vax-only policy, and the waning efficacy of the WT vaccines against Omicron, have had some actual, meaningfully beneficial impact.

          This is not to say IVM has zero efficacy – I don’t believe that it does. But I do hope we can get past this ‘but for Ivermectin’ idea that with unrestricted access to it, the pandemic wouldn’t be a massive problem. It would. It’s no more an enduring solution than the vaccines are.

          1. Basil Pesto

            in my ‘for all the…’ sentence I should have also mentioned the known adverse effects of the vaccines, which effect far more than I am comfortable with for a pharmaceutical that far too many are pretending is completely safe. But as a whole they don’t seen to be as harmful as the virus itself, by a long chalk.

    2. Basil Pesto

      They are all terrified if and when the next variant appears.

      Weird. Did nobody tell these people that the pandemic is over and we have transitioned into the glorious phase of benign endemicity??

      We have fallen into a time of dark selfish energy, driving relentlessly toward massive change nobody can predict.

      wonderfully put.

  9. onemanincity

    Thanks, Lambert and NC, for this post. It is always instructive and refreshing to read an analysis that is based on data, documents, and facts. Your post confirms my suspicions about these protests and the real motivations behind them, including the ideological affiliation of the organizers. Also, from the Ian Welsh article linked by ‘drumlin woodchuckles’, I would highlight this:

    “the police really haven’t done much, though that’s beginning to change in Ottawa. Few arrests, no impounding vehicles, etc…, outside of Quebec, where the province has simply sent in the vehicle inspectors (truckers hate vehicle inspectors) and made a point of photographing all the plates. I’m familiar with how left-wing protests are treated in Canada, and I am confident in saying that if this was some First Nations or anti-poverty protesters, they’d have been broken up already with however much violence the cops felt like using (probably a lot) and thrown in prison, with their vehicles already impounded.”

    I think that there has been evidence in the last few years, in Canada, of widely spread sympathy among military and police personnel for what you describe as a “brand of sociopathic and therefore highly adaptive libertarianism”, combined with racism and ultranationalism. Remember the armed military man who rammed his truck through the gates, near the Prime Minister’s residence in Ottawa, in 2020? He “acted alone”, but I bet you that his ideology is shared by more than a few of his peers:

    And from the (yes, very mainstream and corporate) CBC yesterday, this headline: “How organizers with police and military expertise may be helping Ottawa convoy protest dig in”. The article mentions the fact that several leaders of the “truckers” have been active members of the Canadian police and armed forces. Sounds very working class…NOT.


  10. IM Doc

    My two cents into this situation.

    I think I have made myself abundantly clear about the vaccine mandates in the past. There is no place in medical ethics for coercing any therapy that has not been completely vetted. There is simply no way to do informed consent on these vaccines – the risk cannot be appropriately ascertained and the efficacy certainly is not turning out to be as promised. There is no public health benefit whatsoever with the vaccines as they are right now.

    And unfortunately in the fullness of time, I am seeing more and more rather severe problems with the vaccines. It is certainly enough to give me pause. Some of these issues are happening in people who were coerced and threatened with unemployment.

    This is an honest question coming from me who was raised by LBJ New Deal Dems all my life — Has anyone thought to wonder why the working man in the past few years seems to be increasingly disgusted by the Dems – and headed to the GOP? —– These truckers are exactly the core consituency of the Dem Party that I grew up in….I do not know a single working class person in my world that wants to have anything to do with the Dems any more. I think that is a core problem that they need to be asking themselves. Can they have a winning majority with the PMC and the WOKE and the coastal elite? They are rapidly becoming just that.

    And as I have repeatedly said – the amount of intense and backfiring results these vaccine mandates have had on young American workers I am going to predict will change the political landscape of this country for the next decades. In my office daily is a tidal wave of young kids openly verbalizing to their PCP that they will never support the Dems again. Yes, it is that bad. I have never experienced anything like this in my life. I have never had this level of political discussion in my office in my life. And completely unsolicited from me. I now am seeing large numbers of young Latino men coming in the office with FJB or LGB T-shirts or bling. Unprecedented. Especially in my blue area.

    This trucker issue is just one manifestation of this whole phenomenon. I am sure we will be seeing more.

    I could not and cannot believe the Dems put their chips on the table with this kind of vaccine mandate. Literally instant revulsion by huge segments of their previous base. It is probably one of the single most stupid political moves I have ever seen in my life.

    1. Maritimer

      Thanks you IM Doc for your reasoned comments.

      These Truckers, via alternative Internet Media are very well informed about the Big Picture. This assault on Humanity goes far beyond forced injections alone. They may also have read books by Robert Kennedy, Peter Breggin, Scott Atlas regarding activities of WHO, WEF, BP, Gates and many other Globalists.

      These folks also have children which they want to protect now and in the future from, as Breggin describes them, the Global Predators. I hope all can agree that at this point in time it is totally unnecessary to be injecting young children. What then is the purpose of doing that?

      In a lighter vein, here is the ultimate in Schadenfrude from the Indian Ambassador to Canada in a one minute video. The background is that Chief Injector Trudeau was very critical of India and its Farmer Protest:

      That site is run by one of many Doctors who have been disciplined, threatened and decertified by CDN Public Health officials. In one case, eight Federales arrested an eighty year old dissenting Doctor in British Columbia and put him in a mental institution. Eight officers to wrestle down an eighty year old.

      Woe Canada!

      1. upstater

        From personal experience, Peter Breggin is a quack and should not be trusted. My son was his patient, having had a psychotic break in university. It was schizophrenia. After 6 months of high-priced weekly “treatment”, A second break occurred. When we came with our sobbing, confused, unthreatening son to his office for an appointment, he threw us out of his office without any sort of psychiatric referral. Had the trauma not been so bad I would have pursued the matter with the state licensing board. Breggin is a monster and practices only to work as an expert witness at high fees.

    2. Left in Wisconsin

      Has anyone thought to wonder why the working man in the past few years seems to be increasingly disgusted by the Dems – and headed to the GOP?

      This isn’t new. In the UAW back in the 1980s, we had a hard time getting 60% member support for Dems in national elections. And that was before NAFTA which, as lance here likes to remind, was brought to fruition by the Dems after Clinton was elected. It has been downhill ever since.

      The problem the Dems have now is that they are literally not present in wade swaths of the country, so regardless of what the program is, the pitch rings hollow because it is coming from people who know nothing about you and whom you rightly don’t trust because who knows what they are really up to. And there isn’t really much the Dems can do program-wise to get over this (though it would be nice to see them try). It’s pretty hard to say the Repub program, whatever it is, is better for working people than the Dem program. But it is certainly true that the Repubs can fake concern over your interests more credibly than the Dems.

      Sadly, what we most need is a functioning government and neither D nor R seems capable of delivering such.

      1. Collette

        Remember, Joe Biden supported NAFTA and voted for the losing wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libyan and Syrian , as did Harris when she became senator.
        Trillions wasted, millions dead, a generation of opioid addicts.

        And we’re supposed to send money to and vote for these a**holes?

        I will vote for anyone who goes against the above. Primary and secondary choice; Tulsi Gabbard.

    3. QuicksilverMessenger

      Thank you IM Doc for your continued reports on the vaccine and medical care front. As to your “I do not know a single working class person in my world that wants to have anything to do with the Dems any more”, I could not agree more.
      I have worked in the wholesale food industry, warehousing etc for twenty years now. We interact with LTL truck drivers, long haulers, small package on a daily basis. Some are Teamsters, some independents. Before that, I did local truck deliveries, and have also worked in construction, and I grew up working on a produce farm. I have met few who, in all these years, from these ‘working class’ jobs, who would admit to being a Democrat, or ‘on the left’, or had anything positive to say about them. Maybe some are afraid to admit it, or embarrassed.
      That quote from Lambert above in the article that says “It’s not a stretch to say there is no left to speak of on the current political landscape” seems true. At the least, there is no left, no Democrat, that includes these people. They are held in smug contempt, either as deplorable ignoramuses, or as not representative of the correct version of class struggle. I started to read that article from Passage written by the PhD specializing in ‘union research’ that is quoted above but stopped reading at “Ultimately, the number of truckers who prize their “freedom” to get others sick over maintaining their livelihood is likely to fall well short of the projections made by the political hucksters orchestrating this modern so-called Woodstock of the petit-bourgeoisie”.

    4. juliania

      Thank you, IM Doc, very much. This is indeed the sticking point , a bad policy being forced upon the public, and I am with the truckers on this . I don’t care what demographic they come from, and of course I know very little not being in Canada so I can’t be an authority, but a point that I find conclusive is the reaction of Canadian people lining the streets and giving as much support as they can to this protest.

      It is peaceful, and it seems that the focus is appropriate to what the general public is feeling. As long as it stays that way, concentrating on the rights of the people, it is a far better way to get attention than any other means I can think of. If I could, I would suggest it.

      1. Norm de plume

        ‘I don’t care what demographic they come from’

        Hear, hear. Me neither.

        Play the ball, not the man.

    5. Alphonse

      I am not thrilled to see some of the people among the truckers. I am not convinced that they matter: what matters is what the mass of people understand it’s about. Which is the elimination of restrictions: vaccine passports, vaccine mandates, mask mandates, lockdowns. As one wise leftist has pointed out, in our authoritarian era you are never far from an authoritarian no matter where you are on the political spectrum.

      I do not accept Lambert’s test of whether vaccine mandates were instituted for reasons of public health. I find them unconscionable.

      Let’s assume that in health terms, mandates are fully justified. The vaccines are known to be perfectly safe and reduce transmission. Still, it is inevitable that a significant minority refuse. To sustain the policy, the government must then coerce, segregate and/or discriminate.

      I think the consequences of this are dire. Among them:

      1. You have now created a hostile minority within your society. They have been told that they are outsiders, no longer members of the community. They take this to heart. Your public interest is no longer theirs. The longer the situation lasts, the harsher the discrimination, the more entrenched and embittered they will become. I think it’s likely that bitterness will last a generation.

      2. You have built segregation and discrimination into the social fabric. Practices that would previously have been unthinkable become normalized. There is now a segregation bureaucracy whose jobs depend on justifying segregation. None of this will go away easily.

      3. Those who took the vaccine come to see the unvaxxed as selfish, unworthy and inferior. When someone is socially disadvantaged, human beings naturally seek justifications even if there are none (as with racism). Here, the government actually promotes such attitudes because they need to sell the policy to the public at large. Not only have you created a minority that feels under siege: you have created a majority who come to hate them. I have seen so much hate. It is not right and it is not healthy.

      A policy intended to protect the community in practice divides the community and excludes a minority. This is the essence of racism and other forms of prejudice that tear societies apart. Maybe this is justified on legitimate health grounds: but that only makes it worse. Historically it is extremely common to accuse marginal groups of spreading disease. Wielding science only fuels the fire.

      Despite the delusions of authoritarians, a society ruled by coercion cannot last. Nearly all the time nearly all the people consent to follow social norms. Law and force only apply in the rare cases when something fails. This is not just a moral issue: it’s a practical one. Monitoring and controlling citizens at a fine-grained level is extraordinarily costly – in terms of money, social capital, opportunity costs, you name it.

      If we want to be a free and open society, we must actually act free and open. This then creates the trust that allows regulation through consent, not by force. Words and intentions are empty: what we do as a society is what we become.

      If we want universal vaccination, the only effective path is persuasion. Bring people on board, generate consent, bring people together. You will never reach 100% success: but you will do very well, and the trust generated will strengthen the social bonds you will need next time there is a crisis. Instead of Lambert’s test, I suggest this: consent.

      Turn to force instead and you will hit a wall. Many people are now beyond persuasion, and you have created divisions that will last a lifetime. This whole exercise has been tragically short-sighted. The damage to public health will be the least of the harms.

      It boggles my mind that I should have to say this. We are so corrupted by technocracy that we focus on technical problems like health to the exclusion of our existence together in society.

      1. cnchal

        > Monitoring and controlling citizens at a fine-grained level is extraordinarily costly – in terms of money, social capital, opportunity costs, you name it.

        Nonsense. That’s what power sucking data centers and AWS is for. Amazon micromanages their workforce to the nanosecond so whip cracking sadists can have their crapola delivered in hours. Scale that up and sell it to governments, the price of fine-grained control of citizens approaches zero per citizen.

  11. ambrit

    I was going to compare this Truckers Action to the Bonus Army of the early 1930s, but had to give the idea up because the two don’t share very much of a background. The Bonus Army was comprised of ex-servicemen and their dependents. This group would skew very “lower class,” being originally composed of draftees. The Bonus Army, as far as I could determine, was ‘organically’ organized; a true collective action. The Government responded, eventually, with force. Today, empty threats.
    History this time isn’t even rhyming.

    1. t

      I dunno. When you go through this and some other reporting, it starts to look a lot like the Tea Party which was 100% astroturf but quickly, like a virus, had real people loudly concerned about very superficial stuff and distracted with hate and fear.

  12. polar donkey

    I have a running argument with my former boss. Liberal democrat. Cries all the time about conservatives will overthrow democracy yada yada yada. My response is always the same. I shrug and say liberals sure aren’t doing anything to stop it. Why don’t you do something to improve people’s lives and clean up democratic party corruption. To which he replies there aren’t enough votes because of stupid voters and Republicans are more corrupt. I just shake my head.
    If you aren’t a student of history you can at least watch episodes I-III of Star Wars movies. They’re all about this. The elite PMC Jedi are defenders of the Republic, but really out of touch weirdos who live in privilege. The Republic is corrupt and increasingly incompetent. Jedis, lacking any self-awareness, become enemies of the average citizens, while fighting endless wars in defense of the Republic. Needless to say the rest of the story doesn’t go well for the Jedi nor the Republic. I’m pretty sure these movies made billions of dollars yet no one seems to have paid attention to the plot. After 25 years of failure by the Jedi, they complain down beaten people will listen to some Hutts.

    1. megrim

      I agree wholeheartedly with this take on episodes I-III. What an ungodly mess those movies are but they are actually trying to say something really important.

    2. cocomaan

      I love the positive take on Episodes I-III. I’m a huge fan of the Plinkett reviews on Youtube, but what you say is true. It’s about the fall of a republic due to decadence, a story as old as dirt and always entertaining.

    3. griffen

      A very unworthy film in my opinion, Episode I*. Just borderline watchable now. But the ending, you get the glimpse into the “secret Sith” who will not only assume temporary powers to restore peace, but during episode II they utilize a gullible fool to actually endorse the thing!

      Emperor Palpatine, in my summary readings afterward, was viewed as a stand-in / political substitute for a Republican seizing control of the Senate.

      *Lucas laughs last of course, all the way to the $billions Disney paid for the franchise.

  13. TrueF***Sam

    (Canadian here)
    I won’t disagree with much of Lambert’s analysis, but a few points to bring perhaps a bit of nuance (mostly things that are being very, very much missed by outsiders and underplayed to some degree locally):
    1) Very much underestimated elsewhere: the vast majority of covid restrictions are provincial, not federal authority. Some of the federal ones (international travel and air transport) are high-profile, though.
    2) This basically means that you can tell the rabid partisans by the nature of their complaints – if the Feds/Trudeau are at fault for everything, they’re either hard-core conservatives or outright right symphathizers. If [insert conservative premier(s)] are at fault for everything, they’re hardcore Liberal (possibly NDP). [Does not apply to Quebec, one half-hour later in Newfoundland.]
    3) Ontario’s premier, Doug Ford, is keeping his head down and wants this all to fall to Trudeau – it’s not like he’s out there actively helping Ottawa, mobilizing police, or clarifying which rules are provincial. He has an election coming up in June this year. This approach is mostly being repeated in other provinces, with some differences (Quebec very different) – blame the feds, duck and cover. It’s also very clear that Ford and others would far, far prefer the Feds have to mobilize federal resources instead of them – i.e. the military (because RCMP is provincial police force in many provinces). Trudeau does not want to be the second Trudeau to deploy the military domestically (that would drive the right berserk in a bad way).
    4) Provincial announcements lifting restrictions (or setting timelines) have made it pretty clear the convoy protestors/their leadership (widely referred to here as #FluTrucksKlan) really do not care about the policy specifics – the only core, unmutable thing they want is Trudeau’s resignation. Draw your own conclusions.
    5) It has not helped that the conservative party is going through its own throes of deciding between the somewhat-moderate leadership of O’Toole or throwing him under the bus and doubling down on social conservatives and anti_Trudeau everything. Well, O’Toole’s gone, and everyone angling to replace him has been flirting with the protests – swerving back to hrumph-hrumph when they sense it’s getting really unpopular. Not that anyone expected courage from the federal conservatives, but unified party leadership might have kept the twitter-happy from getting too far over their skis and outright associating with the very nasty parts of the protest. (We shall see but I think this will hurt them long-term)
    6) To make an obvious point: yes, there are lots of ‘normal Canadians’ who symphathize with parts of the ‘movement’ complaints about covid restrictions. Some of those non-awful people are out protesting. Some will come out and hold signs supporting. Some just say ‘I don’t like this convoy stuff, but I am pissed off about …[insert own thing].” No-one I know thinks schools have been handled well – not a single person – but they mostly disagree about what should have been done. (Schools of course entirely provincial responsibility, some delegation to municipalities – but that doesn’t stop about a quarter of the pop from blaming Trudeau anyway). But the leadership of the convoys is a different matter – they’ve just found a social wave they can surf on and grift off. As Lambert showed, most of these grifters have just been throwing lines out hoping for a bit for ages.

    1. eg

      Resident of Ontario here, and TrueF***Sam nails it. I would add that the Ottawa incident is about to be overshadowed by the Ambassador Bridge blockade, which has serious economic consequences. I suspect that the Canadian Conservative Party of Canada, elements of which have been playing footsie with the movement as a way to wrongfoot Trudeau and his Liberals, are about to start backpedaling furiously if the Detroit-Windsor choke point isn’t rapidly cleared.

      1. Ian Nemus

        Resident of Ottawa (well, one of its suburbs), and yes, TrueF***Sam and eg have it right.

        The only thing I would add is that it’s odd that the bridge blockades to date haven’t been happening to provinces like B.C or Quebec, but provinces with Conservative Premiers like Doug Ford (brother of Rob Ford) and Jason Kenney.

        It’s almost as though the protestors know that the authorities in those provinces won’t take steps to rein them in.

        1. TrueF***Sam

          Good point eg on the Ambassador bridge – I wasn’t ready to figure that out yet, and you are right – conservatives predictably jump in when it really hurts business. (For outsiders – Ottawa, the protests, Ottawa’s downtown, and the amount of ‘business’ in downtown Ottawa are ALL smaller than you think).
          And yep – of course while Ontario’s key crossings are more concentrated targets, but very much right Ian that the protesters intuited that Ford wants to stay out of the fight, too much electoral advantage in kinda-sorta flirting with the right (while implementing policies that are pretty mainstream – at least in Canadian context).

  14. Neohnomad

    A few quibbles if I may,

    In current lexicon, I am not sure that the phrase “petit-bourgeoisie” is understood by the larger audience, in the way the speaker intends, in reference and as opposed to the other social class classifications. In the manner of “You say petit-bourgeoisie, but who even talks like that anymore!?”

    Nor am I sure that petit-bourgeoisie is all that good of a classification for owner-operators or even for other “owners” of their means of production(other tradesmen, skilled labor, and the like); As opposed to employed skilled labor.
    For instance, a employed-trucker can’t say “Familyblog you” to: the Boss, the Market, or the Government; cause bills to pay.
    Whereas the owner-operator can’t say “Familyblog you” to: the Market or the Government; cause, again, bills to pay.
    Do the owner-operators have a bit more leeway in decisions and circumstance cause they don’t have a boss, sure maybe but also more responsibility, but I think not enough for them to consider Themsevles to be that much different from truckers over-all.
    In skilled labor, there is a strong undercurrent of desire/goal; to own your own tools, strike out on your own, be your own boss. Not everyone will, not everyone can, fine sure, but those that have usually once were the employed-skilled labor.

    In trucking sub-culture specifically there has long been a view of “if we just band together and not drive for a handful of days, a whole lot of people will get really desperate *wink wink nudge nudge*.” But no ever did cause of the logistics(heh) of making that work and again, Bills to pay.
    So trying to claim which side of the left-right paradigm did or should have come up with a logistics work stoppage is not really pertinent.
    Economics first, even bigots want concrete material benefits.

    1. MP

      The question of class is not determined by whether you can say FamilyBlog You to someone, though that’s a part, but about whether you are alien to the value you produce. If you work for an employer, you are paid a wage separate and apart from your labor value. If you are an owner/operator you are much closer to a feudal artisan and pre-capitalist where you directly sold the products of your labor to the buyer, and the exchange value of your labor time never enters the equation, nor is there a social relation to intensify labor and to maximize the working day. If an owner/operator chooses, they can appropriate their labor time into leisure, etc.

      1. djrichard

        Somebody else’s writeup embedded in Lambert’s writeup

        a poorly regulated labour market of hyper-competition among small owner-operators and other precariously-positioned workers.

        We are all the precariat. If we had a revolt of the precariat would we exclude independent truckers? Would we exclude the bigots? How about those with delusions of grandeur and Machiavellian dreams? Not that you are harping on those last two, but it’s my opportunity to make a point more broadly.

    2. Henry Moon Pie

      I know nothing about proper Marxist nomenclature, but these truckers, if they owner-operators be, are like the small bar and restaurant people. These are the last American dreamers, hoping to strike it rich through outworking and outsmarting the other guy. Judging by business failure rates, most of these visionaries are fools buying propaganda long ago grown stale.

      But they’re petal-to-the-metal people, whether they’re driving 18-wheelers or not. Long days and nights. Sweating tax payments. Now chasing suppliers. You’re nuts if you try it.

      And if somebody tries to shut you down, with no explanation and no guarantee you’ll be left whole…They lost it en masse.

      To be honest with you, they’re not folks I especially enjoy being around. But they’re human beings, and their motivations are often not all that different from ours, just expressed differently. They have no social sense, because they’re alone in a canoe, paddling madly trying to get upstream. Even family becomes an obligation that must be met.

      And our society strives mightily to produce them by the millions.

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        i’ve had a file on the desktop called “Class” for a long while now.
        i put things like this in there…so that if i ever get the free time to think deeply about it, i can maybe write up/make a map of what all that actually means these days.
        intellectually, emotionally, and historically(including family history), i glom onto the working class…and have spent most of my life among the working class…as well as among the poor, below them.
        but i (sort of) own the means of production…farm, shop…both tiny…but i am all but excluded from “The Market”.
        I FEEL like a Wobbly…but they won’t have me,lol.
        anyhoo…i look at my little county/town…and, as with so many such social things, it does provide a bit of a scale model.
        ie: there’s an obvious division between petit bougie, and “worker”…but it has much more to do with aspiration and social formation than with means of production.

        do the po folks who have somehow gathered enough $ to get a food truck, and park it just outside of city limits(i advised this,lol) to avoid city entanglements, count as petit bougie?
        except for the existence of the truck, i’d say No….they are essentially black market taco makers….and the brick and mortar taco makers will weaponise the health department just as soon as they become aware of it.
        anyway…Class is something we should have a giant Lambert Wormhole Wander about sometime.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          > Class is something we should have a giant Lambert Wormhole Wander about sometime

          This is why I am reading Bourdieu (and I think I made a mistake by beginning with the Capital volume, when I should be begun with his classification volume, but it is too late to change now and I will have to wait).

          That said, the famous one-page chapter 52* on “Class” in Kapital Volume III is clearly not sufficient, even if we forget it was written in Victorian England. Here is what Marx writes:

          The first question to he answered is this: What constitutes a class? — and the reply to this follows naturally from the reply to another question, namely: What makes wage-labourers, capitalists and landlords constitute the three great social classes?

          At first glance — the identity [ha ha] of revenues and sources of revenue. There are three great social groups whose members, the individuals forming them, live on wages, profit and ground-rent respectively, on the realisation of their labour-power, their capital, and their landed property.

          However, from this standpoint, physicians and officials, e.g., would also constitute two classes, for they belong to two distinct social groups, the members of each of these groups receiving their revenue from one and the same source. The same would also be true of the infinite fragmentation of interest and rank into which the division of social labour splits labourers as well as capitalists and landlords-the latter, e.g., into owners of vineyards, farm owners, owners of forests, mine owners and owners of fisheries.

          Today, we forget the landowners in a bourgeiosie/workers binary. That’s probably a mistake. Marx also refers to “the infinite fragmentation of interest and rank” But I think we have seen a positive Cambrian explosion of this “interests and ranks” since Marx’s day.

          Interesting, though, that Marx’s perspective could be reduced to “follow the money”….

          NOTE * Really ought to be 42…

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        > I know nothing about proper Marxist nomenclature, but these truckers, if they owner-operators be, are like the small bar and restaurant people

        They are. That our vocabulary for discussing class is extremely impoverished, while vocabulary for discussing identity is rich, perhaps even too rich, is… a problem.

        Now try to figure out a policy for ventilating bars and restaurants — since #COVIDisAirborne — without taking class into account, I don’t think it can be done.

  15. David

    Not my continent, but I’m bound to say that I find this “Memorandum of Understanding” a very strange document. As its title suggests, a MoU is a memorandum (ie a written summary) of an understanding between two or more parties. It is specifically not a legal document, and not binding except morally and politically. It doesn’t need to be, because it is just the writing down of what the parties have decided to do. So a standard MoU would run something like:

    Parties X, Y and Z
    For reasons A, B and C
    Have reached the following understandings.

    I really wonder who wrote this, and what on earth they thought they were doing.

    1. C.O.

      It certainly doesn’t suggest a genuine understanding of how the Canadian government works, or how MOUs are actually developed, although I concede the point that the role such documents play in the trucking industry is different because of industry norms there.

      While I do think these trucker groups tapped into some genuine broader dissatisfaction, they have also done some accidental clarifying they may not realize. They have made absolutely clear that no, the police have not changed their fundamental nature since before the NWMP was first created to beat down Indigenous people and keep the poor in line in what became the western provinces. Once I was able to sort out what demands they were trying to make, I had to laugh. They have made clear that either they have been manipulated into calling for the things that the democidal (thank you for this coinage, Lambert) provincial and federal governments want to do anyway, or that was the end game for the truckers who have the most access to the media. I’m not surprised they’d like that MOU back, because it adds to the bits making what they are doing look like a farce. It’s hard not to imagine Trudeau huddling with his communications team trying to figure out how to say, “No right wing truckers who are speaking to the media, don’t make me do what I want to do, I want it to look like I’m in charge!”

    2. Don in Oakville

      The MOU looks like standard “sovereign individual” / “free men on the land” stuff.

      I have no idea of how, or whether, its authors are representative of the group(s?) on the streets of Ottawa.

      1. TrueF***Sam

        While I don’t claim great familiarity, it does appear to have all the hallmarks of sovereign citizen legal-sounding gibberish. I’d add that the French has enough screamer errors (that anyone remotely capable of editing in French would catch) that it’s clearly not involved any capable legal/professional Canadian hands that can do better than google translate. (Which could mean it’s from ‘away’, or could mean from some domestic sources whose familiarity with French starts and ends with ‘French version required.’) That said, I can’t say for certain – because I can’t bear to read the original – that it’s not faithful to the English version in style.

        1. Ian Nemus

          I’ve scanned through it, and although I didn’t notice any ‘screamer errors’ this section caught my eye.

          Vous pouvez être un héros

          Translated: “What can I do as a Canadian? You can be a hero.”

          That’s an anglicisme if I ever saw one. So at bare minimum, I’d say the original writer was an English speaker, who then had someone else or something else translate it somewhat directly into French.

      2. C.O.

        Good points. Who gets hold of the microphone is a seems pretty small number of people in this trucker protest, even given that when thousands of people protest they likely aren’t all going to make individual statements.

  16. marku52

    There was an astute comment over at Ian’s the other day, something like “The existing system is collapsing around our ears, something new will takes its place. but only the fascists have the energy to do it.”

    sounds about right.

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        We were the Third Phase Trials.

        the general population.
        the unvaxxed…however they got there…were the Control Group.

        1. ambrit

          That would make a god t-shirt design. Like with “Security” and “Event” signage, a flourescent coloured vest with a big, bold, “Control” on the back. Then maybe some Biohazard symbols on the shoulders.
          I’m waiting for someone “official” to suggest that the Unvaxxed be made to wear coloured stars on their cloths, “for public safety,” of course.
          “Unclean! Unclean!” *Rings bell piteously.*

    1. cocomaan

      What’s interesting about the full FDA approval is that you cannot get the FDA approved drugs yet. If you ask for cominarty or however you spell it, you won’t find it.

    2. IM Doc

      So please inform us all when the two approved vaccinations will be available in the USA –

      The approved Pfizer vaccination is called Comrniaty – the approved Moderna vaccination is called Spikevax.

      Neither is available nor being used here in the USA. We are still only using the EUA authorized versions. The vaccinees are still being forced to sign a document stating that this is experimental and being used under an EUA. THE EXPERIMENTAL VERSIONS ARE THE ONLY ONES BEING USED HERE IN THE USA.

      Yes – the two products have been approved by the FDA. However, those two approved formulations are not being used in the USA nor are there any plans to do so in the near future. Once they do use the approved products in the USA – several things will happen. First of all – a complete disclosure of all side effects will have to be done on any and all advertising including PSAs – just like all other approved therapeutics. Secondly, stringent side effect monitoring will have to begin and have to be reported to the public just like every other approved therapeutic. And like all other approved therapeutics, things like black box warnings may become a reality for these injections. Thirdly, there are all kinds of hoops that will need to be traversed with actually approved meds when kids and vaccination schedules are involved. This is not the case under an EUA. So they are just not going to provide the approved vaccines now or in the conceivable future. And our FDA is just ok with this – and our media has not said a peep.

      No one ever said that Big Pharma was not well versed in bamboozlement.

      Is there any difference between the EUA and the approved formulations? – well – maybe – maybe not. I have heard multiple stories in conferences. Unfortunately, much of this information is proprietary.

      So – ABSOLUTELY NOT – the vaccines still being given today are EUA only – we have yet to give a single approved COVID vaccine in the USA outside of research.

      1. fool's idol

        I hesitate to contradict you given your credentials and regard here, but the claim that Comirnaty (the approved Pfizer COVID vaccine, versus the EUA “version”) is not available in the US has been examined by several news sources, and all that I have found say it is false.

        * Here is USA today (
        * Here is Politifact (
        * Here is Newsweek (

        They all claim its falsehood, and that the pre- and post-approval formulations are identical, on the authority of CDC, FDA, or Pfizer sources, of course, and so if you are inclined to distrust those sources you may not find this convincing.

        The Newsweek piece also, however, explains why some patients receiving Pfizer doses after the FDA approval date are required to sign an EUA – they are receiving doses manufactured before the approval.

        My anecdotal experience is consistent with this explanation: when I received a booster dose in January 2022, I was not required to sign an EUA – the dose I received was manufactured in November 2021. (I was required to sign an EUA for the first two doses in mid-2021.)

        1. Yves Smith

          The formula being identical does not mean that Pfizer distributing the vaccines made under the EUA an experimental vaccine. It may seem like a technical distinction but in fact if the vaccine being sold is not Comity, it is sold only under the EUA. My old attorney was an FDA specialist; many of her partners were FDA commissioners. She and they would object to the claim in the articles, which effectively take the position that the approval is retroactive. It isn’t. Any Pfizer vaccines made before the approval are sold pursuant to the EUA.

          1. fool's idol

            That is not what I took away from the articles, so I’m surprised to hear you say that. The Newsweek article, in particular, says “Chris Beyrer, an epidemiologist at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, told The Washington Post in August that Pfizer COVID vaccines made before the approval could not legally be given Comirnaty branding, even when they are exactly the same.” It then goes on, as I said above, to explain that this legal distinction is why some patients have to sign EUAs even after approval.

            So the article does make the distinction you point out, and I see nothing in any of them to suggest a claim of any “retroactive” effect – precisely the opposite. It is the legal (but not chemical) difference between doses manufactured under the EUA and doses manufactured after full FDA approval that is being highlighted.

            1. Yves Smith

              This is separate from the point that the approval was clearly rushed. No major drug has been approved this quickly. Even STAT cleared its throat about the virtual lack of a statistical review for the EUA, let along the normal process of checking that everyone in the trial existed and their demographics, medical history, and results are accurate. There is no evidence more was done for the full approval.

        2. IM Doc

          I would ask anyone out there in the USA who are getting vaccines or boosters – to take a photo of the bottles and lot numbers and submit them to Yves if they are given the actual approved products Comrinaty or Spikevax. I too would like to know if the approved products are actually being used. They certainly are not where I am.

          Unfortunately, if your vaccine center gave you an EUA booster and did not give you a form to fill out, they are taking on quite a legal risk. It should say on your card if you were given Comrinaty or not – if it does not say that – you were not given the approved product. If it does – I would urge you to forward that to Yves – in an email – again – it would be comforting to me to see that these approved vaccinations have been started to be given. So far neither myself, anyone in my community, nor anyone among my extensive contact email list all over the country has seen it being done.

          I am sorry – but none of the three sources you cite have shone themselves with glory the past 2 years as far as the pandemic has gone. Especially politifact. If I recall correctly – they were the cludgel being used to ban people from Twitter and Facebook for pointing out the vaccines were non-sterilizing. But if anyone out there can confirm they were given these approved products with lot numbers, I for one would be relieved.

          As someone who chaired an IRB for a very long time, any attempt to pass off or use a medication manufactured during testing or research or now an EUA phase as an approved med would be met almost assuredly with severe consequences from the IRB and maybe the law.

          There is no such thing as retroactive approval.

          1. fool's idol

            Obviously I didn’t take a picture of the vial my 3rd dose came out of – I wish I had.

            My vaccine card does not say “Comirnaty”, but I wouldn’t rely on that as dispositive. I’ve seen cards with all manner of things written on them – “Pfizer” spelled four different ways, lot numbers left off, etc.

            (Additionally, as I’m sure you’re very familiar with, it’s common for vaccine records provided to patients to omit brand names and simply state the disease the vaccine targets. Of three colleagues who have received yellow fever vaccines, only one had a carte jaune that listed a brand name.)

  17. Katniss Everdeen

    So we have a ginormous “upsurge” that forces auto manufacturing to shut down. Led by whom? Petite bourgeoisie who believe in Odin and Anglo-Saxon replacement theory, that’s who. It’s enough to make a cat laugh.

    You forgot to mention that it’s been reported that 90% of Canadian truckers are vaccinated.

    It’s tremendously disappointing that so many commenters here are OK with government forced jabs of inadequately tested, experimental drugs, number as yet to be determined by those who profit from them, and biometric tracking of compliance as a requirement for participation in society innocuously known as a “vaccine passport.”

    As if such a system is only being established to keep hospital beds available for those who need an appendix removed or a stent placed, and has absolutely nothing to do with future control of dissent.

    I, for one, am grateful to those petitely bougey Odinists, nativists and horn honkers for seeing the dystopian future and protesting to prevent it. As if owning your own truck somehow makes you too “well-off” to speak for “labor.”

    jeezus h. christ.

    1. Yakone

      Some segment of the “left” doesn’t like acknowledging a self-employed person is still a worker. It doesn’t matter you have to sell the product of your labor to live, rather than the labor itself.

      It’s good to be suspicious when someone insists on subdividing the working class.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > It doesn’t matter you have to sell the product of your labor to live, rather than the labor itself.

        Yes, it does. Entirely different life decisions and experiences.

      2. Roland

        The petty bourgeoisie are a working class–often a very hard-working class. Unlike proletarians, the petty bourgeoisie have some control over their means of production.

        Over time, in a capitalist society, the petty bourgeoisie gets put under a lot of pressure. Some of them can break through and join the big bourgeoisie, in a happy realm of pure ownership and high finance. Most petty bourgeois, however, will get broken by debt and liquidated as a class.

        The professional petty bourgeoisie ends up happy just to be well-credentialled, well-coddled, salaried, proles. The commercial petty bourgeoisie are lucky if they can eke out a marginal contractor existence, still petty bourgeois in form, but prole in substance.

        So the petty bourgeoisie can become a class-enemy of the big bourgeoisie who, after all, are liquidating them, and punking them, too. But does that make the petty bourgeoisie the class-ally of the proletariat?

        We already know that the professional petty bourgeoisie has mostly aligned with the big bourgeoisie. The professionals like to feel like they’re part of something important and authoritative, and they’re willing to give up their once-vaunted professional independence to remain within a system. The big bourgeoisie groom and train their pet professionals, and turn them out.

        The commercial petty bourgeoisie will put up more fight, but the contradiction is that most of them once aspired, and, despite their difficulties, still aspire, to become bigger better badder bourgeois themselves. How can the commercial petty bourgeoisie win a class war against the big bourgeoisie, when they actually agree with the bourgeois mode of ownership? LOL. So the best the commercial petty bourgeoisie can do is to try to reset the game clock, to a time when the big burghers weren’t beating them so badly. In a word: Reaction.

        Thus the stressed, disclassed petty bourgeoisie, whether professional or commercial, will usually embrace the politics of authority and reaction.

        Nevertheless, as a proletarian, I think we should ally with anybody who defies or challenges the big bourgeoisie, whether those challengers make good class-allies or not. For one thing, revolutionism requires real life practice, so we proles need to gain experience in public defiance whenever opportunity affords. Don’t hesitate to hijack the nearest bandwagon.

        For another thing, don’t over-think. Just “stick it to The Man.” Don’t worry about the verbiage of some slipshod Odinist. You can be certain that most of the protesting truckers don’t care.

        I live in a small city in central British Columbia. Support for the truckers is very high, but aside from a few kooks, nobody is talking about sovereign citizen BS. People are simply war-weary after fighting COVID for two years, under leaders who never even wanted to win. People are angry that some have been ruined, while others enrich themselves. And people are getting really worried about inflation, and they are not at all interested in somebody telling them why they should like it.

        Again, don’t over-think. Workers (even if not proles) are in the streets, against a bourgeois government. That’s good enough for this prole.

        1. Basil Pesto

          And people are getting really worried about inflation, and they are not at all interested in somebody telling them why they should like it.

          Then they should be fighting to solve the proximate cause, which is Covid (to say nothing of decades of obscene profiteering by corporate leaders, who continue to be completely ignored except by progressive wonks when it comes to the inflation discussion), rather than pretending the latter doesn’t exist, no? I’m pretty sceptical that the policies they are out there on the streets for are in alignment with the mainstream conservative-liberal consensus of Let Er Rip For Freedom, rather than what appears to me to the the more authentically proletarian (I don’t really give two shits about these silly labels but then I’m super privvo and quite a few people evidently do, it seems) position of WSWS as outlined in a post further down.

          Covid identity politics that are a hugely effective divide & conquer strategy, and are quite deliberately taking us away from the ol’ Universal Concrete Material Benefits (to wit: actually doing meaningful things together to stop Covid). Again I remain surprised that so much of the readership here is falling for it.

      1. Basil Pesto

        lol, you sound like the people that attack Taibbi: “what happened to you, man?”

        puh-leese. Lambert did the work, his conclusion didn’t comport with your prejudices: “I’m anti- vaccine mandate. the truckers are anti- vaccine mandate (ignoring all the rest of the stupid shit they’re against, that gives them common cause with your garden variety Atlantic writer). therefore the anti- vaccine mandate truckers are on the side of the angels and the everyday ordinary non-elite normals aka The Good Guys. Any reporting that casts doubt on this conclusion must therefore be bad and unreliable and the result of some kind of MSM chicanery, as though only the MSM were capable of malign, stupid, underhand behaviour.” And for this, Lambert has apparently jumped the shark? Jeezus H. Christ indeed.

        The vaccine mandates for these vaccines are dumb and wasteful and I do not support them. But they’re a second order problem compared to the greatest problem there is; a malevolent and out of control SARS virus. Again, if you think only The State and The Law is capable of diminishing your freedoms and way of life, wait until you see what SARS2 can do (if you are indeed inured to what it has in fact already done up to this point). It will chew us up and spit us out. Tucker Carlson et al have no interest in pointing that out, of course. Hardly good for business for one thing.

        I note that, when a post is made talking about the actual impact of the pandemic on the working class, the usual types – the Unherd-onauts, the mandate aghastitudists – remain completely silent in the comments.

        Divide and Conquer, working magnificently. We’re in serious trouble.

      2. Norm de plume

        With you there Flora, and Katniss. It is ‘clarifying’, and not in a good way.
        Funny how we all see how race is being used to obscure class in furthering elite interests, but seem happy to employ class (an inherently woolly and I would argue in this context, pointless and distracting concept) to do what, perhaps inadvertantly, amounts to the same thing.

  18. Kent

    If and when U.S. truckers decide to strike, you better have a month or two worth of non perishable food at home. More power to the street mob. It’s what started the American revolution.

  19. KD

    What Lambert says about supply chains is the key. If people actually want something like Medicare For All, its never going to happen if you vote for Progressive Democrats. If you have coordinated transportation strikes that shut down the supply chain, and shut down the economy and its clear it will not start again until we get Medicare For All, you will actually get it, Republican or Democrat, because you are hitting Capital where it hurts. Coordinated labor unrest combined with JIT inventories and foreign supply chains means massive gains for workers if a leadership emerges willing to use it.

    Here you have tons of workers getting shafted and feed up by COVID restrictions, and the fake Left does nothing to try and harness it, because they are not serious about any of the crap they claim to believe in.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Coordinated labor unrest combined with JIT inventories and foreign supply chains means massive gains for workers if a leadership emerges willing to use it.

      The dereliction of duty by the industrial unions, as noted in the conclusion, is enormous, similar to the SDP voting war credits to the Kaiser in 1914, even if deaths are your only metric, as opposed to opportunity costs. Complete collapse of liberal institutions all around. Politics abhors a vacuum, so naturally conservative leadership puts itself at the head of the parade.

      1. KD

        It would seem that any kind of labor movement in the Anglosphere is going to by necessity be more rightist than leftist, along the lines of Polish Solidarity actions, because the official Anglo Left is essentially the nomenklatura for the corrupt Neoliberal Establishment, and has no cultural affiliation with the workers and no stomach to rock the boat, anymore than the Soviet nomenklatura in Poland had. If anything, yelling “far right” at it only helps to legitimize as an authentic expression of labor.

        1. Ashburn

          KD: Yes (!) to both your comments. I’ve come to believe electoral politics in the US, at least at the national level, is a complete waste of time. It’s totally corrupted. Labor actions: strikes, slowdowns, walkouts, sickouts, sitdowns, are how change will happen, not through voting. Also agree that the ‘Right’ is likely to benefit from this as the Left is lost in Wokeland. As someone who commuted in to DC to work for 25 years I always marveled at how easy it would be to shut the federal district down. No need for a thousand truckers, 100 would do just fine.

  20. Ingrid

    here is a comment that someone sent out to one of the garbage propaganda Canadian “news” sites that tells the truth about what is really happening in downtown Ottawa:

    “I have never been prouder to be Canadian. Those who oppose the protest are consumers of toxic MSM. The streets are spotless, crime has dropped by 90% in downtown Ottawa, homeless are clothed and fed, hockey games for locals, flowers laid daily at memorials and statues, free food on every corner and even a mini food bank for residents, no honking now, saunas and hot tubs, bouncy castles and kid’s play areas, over 110 signed affidavits from residents applauding the convoy. This weekend: free ‘flatten the fear’ pancake breakfast for the whole city and memorial service for lives lost during pandemic and a medical debate with all levels of government invited to talk to doctors who say science supports the truckers. THIS is my Canada.”

    1. eg

      That’s not the “truth” my daughter is experiencing in Ottawa where her work in a restaurant in the Market and what little face-to-face learning there is planned for Winter term has been completely disrupted.

      1. Ian Nemus

        Yes, as a resident I can say that those claims are complete horse ploppage.

        The sauna aren’t there for the locals, it’s to keep the truckers from freezing to death in cold weather. Crime may have dropped in the downtown core, but only because there’s a constant police presence.

        Ingrid’s post also left out the parts about residents being keep awake at night by truck air horns being sounded constantly, and reports of people being harassed by protesters.

        And a state of emergency having been declared by the Mayor a few days ago.

        1. Ian Nemus

          The Rideau Centre also has been closed for a few weeks now. However, it wasn’t closed by the City, but by the owners out of safety concerns.


          As for the horns being stopped, that’s only due to a temporary injunction filed by a 21 year old resident. It expires 5 days from now.


          Granted, the judge is probably going to renew the injunction. But it’s not as though the City actually did anything to enforce local bylaws around noise.

    2. no one

      I live in Windsor and I am an eyewitness to the border blockade. I totally agree that THIS is my Canada. Although I do not necessarily agree with their views. I totally agree with the protestors’ tactics of blockading capitalist supply lines, being disruptive, and disrespecting authority. And while I despise Ontario’s premier, I admire his tactic of refusing to meet with his counterparts, which delays resolution.

      In this nation of pearl-clutchers and “protect my property values” voters (apologies to Matt Stoller), this is the best protest we will ever get.

      If only truckers with big rigs felt as strongly about climate change, First Nations’ rights, and free college tuition!

      1. Michael Fiorillo

        Details, details…

        So, we’re supposed to take comfort from the fact that the Right has hijacked traditional Left tactics (If largely aspirational) and is demonstrating the hollowness of the liberal State? Somehow, I suspect there’s potential for this to not turn out well for most of us.

        I find morally vain and class-blinkered liberals to be insufferable, and a major reason we’re in the predicament we find ourselves in, but that doesn’t mean I take comfort in right wing opportunism and gaslighting.

        1. no one

          Welly, the first political casualty of the protest was the Conservative Party leader, and it is most amusing to watch our cowardly and mean politicians duck and dodge and pass the buck. That they’ll do something once they figure out how to escape responsibility for their action/inaction is the real story, not the right wing opportunists.

          If any of my lefty friends were to ask for career advice, I’d recommend getting into the trucking business. Admittedly, it’s a hard and not very rewarding job, but when the moment comes, it’s great to have the tools on hand to choke the economies of three nations and stall the means of production.

          1. Michael Fiorillo

            I get that, but having that power is no guarantee it will be used intelligently or in the people’s interests. That seems to be the case here.

      2. marym

        They’re having a temper tantrum because they don’t want to be forced to get vaccinated. There are some good reasons for this, as Lambert stated succinctly in his “one test.” However, if some reporting from Canada is representative, similar to the US, this merges into anti-mask, anti-any-mitigation, open everything up with no precautions (and in the US little to no healthcare), and hassle healthcare and retail workers along the way – which is similar to what the capitalists want. At this point this particular protest is also hurtful to both the capitalists and the workers dependent on the roads being open for business.

    3. Shleep

      This is bunk. I live about 7 blocks from Parliament. While my neighbourhood (The Market) has largely been sparred the indignities inflicted on downtown & Parliament, until the injunction against honking was granted, the noise was audible and constant.

      Friends report being verbally abused, and having their masks ripped from their faces. Another who works at a restaurant on Sparks St (one block south of Parliament – closed due to the protest) tells me that their back door is knee deep in excrement.

      Ottawa announced last Friday that there would be fines for those supplying the truckers with fuel or food. On Wednesday, I watched 5 guys fill 28 gas cans from a pickup-mounted tank. The police pulled up, discussed it with them, and left.

      The homeless may be fed and clothed, but not by the protesters.

      Free food on every corner: seriously????

      There does appear to be widespread support from the rural areas: pickup trucks with farm plates inundate downtown on the weekends.

      One startling thing I’ve seen quite a few of is pickups from Quebec flying the Maple Leaf AND the Fleur-de-Lys (Quebec’s flag). “Rarely observed” would be an understatement.

      And that MOU? Farcical. Am I reading it right, they have the signatures of the Leader of the Senate and the GG?

    1. Arizona Slim

      Honk! Honk! This American stands with the Canadian truckers.

      And I second what IM Doc said about the mandates. One of my friends had to get jabbed in order to keep her job. Side effects so far: Unable to use her legs and experiencing hallucinations right afterward and tinnitus that hasn’t disappeared yet.

      Suffice it to say that my friend has things to say about the Democrats that can’t be repeated on this family blog.

  21. politicaleconomist

    RE: “If we ask ourselves what sort of trucker is able to drive their rig to Ottawa, stay there for days, and even render their truck dysfunctional[4], the answer is clear: Owner operators (that is, (100% – 64%) * 50% = 18% of all truckers).”

    Lambert, your arithmetic implies that that the representative group able to protest consists of only HALF of the owner operators. Did you mean to say that only long-haul operators are in the representative group?

    1. skk

      This owner operator aspect has to be delved into further. How much have they borrowed using their own homes and family funds as security ? Anyway to use the Mao version of MLM thought, ” middle peasants ” are not the enemy.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > ” middle peasants ” are not the enemy.

        Straw man, much? Did I say they were the enemy? Consider reading the post:

        In other words, the MOU distributed from within the Canadian truckers protest calls for the end of representative government as currently understood in Canada. This is the sort of thing the Bolsheviks might do on behalf of the Soviets, but the Canadian petite bourgeoisie even in its entirety doesn’t have the base to do that, or the party leadership, and the historical conjuncture seems not appropriate.

        I raise a question of operational capability. Now, the few individuals “leadership”? A different question entirely.

  22. Dick Swenson

    I found this item from a Canadian blogger interesting.

  23. Jason Boxman

    So I gotta ask, because I’m not sure I understand. How is it parsimonious in this context? It’s an economical conclusion (as Jefferson uses the word, so thrifty, or concise) or it’s an incomplete conclusion, lacking sufficient depth, overly reductionist?

    Just curious. Thanks!

  24. Anthony G Stegman

    When i see how the Canadian truckers are able to bring an important part of the economy to a standstill I feel joy. I am less interested in the politics than I am of a segment of the non-elite population to have such an impact. Were it to happen in the good old US of A I would feel even more joyful. There is something about convoys of large trucks that is empowering as well as uplifting. Here in the United States effective demonstrations and protests have been a thing of the past. They need to return, in whatever form. DHS be damned.

    1. Roland

      A lot of the people in the light vehicles might be truckers, or family or friends. Not everyone brought a big rig. Does that mean they don’t count?

      As for “yahoos,” have you taken part in a public demonstration? I’ve only been in about half a dozen worthy of the name, but in every one of them, we were noisy and pushy and truculent.

      Don’t get me wrong, quiet vigils have their uses, too, although I have never been in one myself.

      One thing no one can dispute: there has been real no rioting. So far, Stanley Cup games have proven to be a lot more dangerous to Canadian cities than a nationwide trucker dispute. I used to live in Vancouver.
      I got a memory of standing on my balcony in 2011, watching a pillar of smoke rising from downtown. Now those people were hooligans.

  25. Eustachedesaintpierre

    ” The Miiddling Sort of People ” were those as described in Brian Manning’s book 1649 – The crisis of the English Revolution ” who were the main agents who got that ball rolling. The poor were largely uninvolved, many of whom despite suffering from the enclosures were Royalists & those who were early versions of the Left – Diggers / Levellers, were eventually suppressed by those who they fought with.

    He also makes the point that the although the printing press had been invented – if I remember correctly about 80 years earlier, the potential for propaganda had not been realised by the elite, but rather helped by the fact that many parliamentarians were actually printers, they were able to take full advantage of this. When Charles II took back the throne, the first versions of newspapers were issued that presented the establishment line – not as clear cut but I believe that the internet has had a similar effect today, hence the scramble to censor.

    Some examples of the printing here including an example of a Gerard Winstanley woodcut of which a few still exist –

    1. Swamp Yankee

      The printing press that Europeans used was developed by Gutenberg c. 1440 A.D. China had ones that were older.

      1. Eustachedesaintpierre

        My bad, thanks for the correction – A very hard read about a decade ago & I can only recall certain points from a mass of information that Manning spent many years researching in an effort to discredit revisionists.

  26. Gerd

    This protest shows what can be accomplished by a small number of people. There are only a few hundred people protesting in Ottawa at the moment. There are a few hundred or less shutting down border crossings.

    It reminds me of terrorist activities in the past, such as Northern Ireland. There were only ever a few people involved in violent activities but it was enough to terrorize large swaths of the population.

    The internet now makes it much easier for small groups to get together and protest anything. And if you are white and blue collar you generally meet with a compliant police force.

    I presume we are going to see more and more of these types of protests where a relatively small group of people can cause trouble in society.

    Along with the internet allowing groups to get together, it also supports and amplifies opinions. The groups in Ottawa are strongly supported by 10% of Canadians and somewhat supported by 20%. They are in a minority. Likewise the majority of Americans did not support the Jan 6th riots. However the participants, either by delusions or only listening to those that support them, seem to believe their opinion is the only one that matters.

    p.s. I would love if the media asked those claiming “my body my choice” therefore believe in a womans right to choose.

  27. lance ringquist

    we may get a real left someday, but i am not holding my breath. with labor leaders deeply in bed with the nafta democrats who have spent over 40 years selling them out to the point where most of the youth i know, do not know a union member, or never set foot, let alone worked in a factory, leave the deplorable wide open for another trump or worse.

    enough voters were suckered by the nafta democrats once again in ex-industrialized states where they squeked into office.

    i think the poor results of their votes, coupled with their rage that they allowed themselves to be duped again puts PA. MI. WI., even MN, IL, IA. in play.

    canada already had a series of nafta billy clintons starting with mulroney, Trudeau is there empty suit hollwman obama, a disaster.

  28. The Rev Kev

    I have to say that there is also the matter of the timing of this protest movement. We have been going through the Pandemic for over two years now and it is pretty obvious that the authorities have been handling it in a self-destructive way and by that I mean they have taken measures that are all about the good of the economy rather than the good of people. In some countries, they literally threw their people to the wolves in order to not have economic disruptions which would have been bad for the portfolios of the elite. And people now see how the wealth of the elites has skyrocketed while those of everybody else has shrunk. And now? People are being told by the authorities and the media that that pandemic is over now so everybody can go back to work and all help will be withdrawn. Except for the vaccines which are being seen in their true light that is. Just mind where you step so that you do not trip over any bodies. So maybe all the restrictions that people have been living with are now being seen by some people – these truckers for example – as just so much theater as they authorities were never handling the pandemic seriously and with the Pandemic being declared “over”, they have reached their breaking point.

  29. marym

    Here’s a new post by the author referenced in my comment @ 2:34 pm. The linked post has numerous links to other news media stories about the referenced incidents.

    In the US anti-vax/anti-mandate protesters are sometimes also anti-any-mitigation, and anti-worker, so the claims here don’t seem unfamiliar. As we’ve discussed a lot at NC recently, an incident of particularly outrageous behavior at a protest may not be representative of the protest as a whole, and may even be the work of provocateurs. I’m not Canadian or familiar with these media sources, so interpretations of this reporting may vary.

    “Despite claiming to fight for the “freedom” of “working-class” people, real workers in Ottawa have reported experiencing harassment, assault, and intimidation.

    Health care workers across Canada have experienced similar intimidation and harassment from convoy participants and supporters. In Toronto, police suggested health care workers avoid wearing scrubs or clothing that would identify them as health care workers as a safety precaution. In Vancouver, employers also suggested health care workers avoid wearing identifying clothing. In Calgary, convoy supporters harassed health care workers outside their workplace.

    Ongoing harassment prompted an Ottawa physician to write an open letter denouncing the actions of convoy participants. The letter has been signed by over 1,600 doctors and health care workers across Canada.”

    1. vidimi

      ‘far right’ is another one of those words that have lost all meaning recently. it is now used against anyone challenging the prevailing views and it is applied to anyone from glenn greenwald and matt taibbi to hitler. It is almost never applied to politicians like biden, clinton, trudeau, or macron, however, even though they are all pushing a far-right agenda.

      1. marym

        Terminology for describing class interests and political factions isn’t really adequate to the times, which is one of the themes in this whole discussion thread. There are factions among the elite and their followers, though. It’s useful to see the commonalities, as well as the distinctions among them.

        1. vidimi

          yes, which is why it’s ridiculous to describe such a diverse group as the truckers as ‘far right’ since the only thing linking 100% of them is their objections to the vaccine mandates. because turdeau said so? but there are different factions even among the elites. most of the elites want the mandates in place, a few others don’t or at least see opposing them as an opportunity to further other interests. which faction is more right wing?

          1. juanholio

            Not every Canadian Trucker Enthusiast is from the far right, but everyone on the far right is a Canadian Trucker Enthusiast.

  30. Skip Intro

    We are BitCoin – I believe I quote the eminent Cory Doctorow in saying “90% of all conversations about cryptocurrency are nonconsensual”.

  31. begob

    “Freedom is how a libertarian says ‘f*ck you,’” as in p*ssing in the pool, infecting closed spaces, and so forth.

    Definition of an asshole: the guy who systematically allows himself special advantages in co-operative life out of an entrenched sense of entitlement that immunizes him against the complaints of other people.

  32. jimmy cc

    it wouldn’t surpeise me if.most of the truckers protesting are independent owners.

    Most small business owners dont go into business to become rich, they do it to have more independence and control over their lives.

    no surprise they would be at the forefront of the movement

      1. divadab

        Yes – under the monopoly State capitalism that rules now. Under classical capitalism, regulated by an actual government (not one owned by the monopolists like today), not so. Emphatically.

    1. Jeff

      As a small business owner, one of the wins was reacquiring how my time is invested and the flexibility of deciding that Monday needs to look different than Thursday.

      Does that make me right wing?

  33. Amfortas the hippie

    i admit that i have paid little attention to Canada in the last 30+ years…so i don’t know who this guy is, or how reliable:

    but it’s the sort of thing i would do, and smells like Chris Arnade from down here in central texas.

    the problem…as with so many things…is who’s take to trust.
    ontological crises, piled up upon each other…nobody knows what’s real.
    on the one hand…the MOU writers and the handful of righty nutters who have put themselves out in front of the parade…are what i have been expecting for some time. the Machine fears a lefty leaning uprising…Bernie, but with heft.
    the Machine can accommodate pseudofascism, however….just like the 30’s(Junkers, Italian elite)(or at least Machine thinks it can)

    but then there’s all this anecevidence that there’s real discontent among the ordinary folks…somewhat inchoate, but that’s to be expected.

    as i’ve been worrying about for a long, long time…the lack of an Actual Left Wing Movement leaves a Void…one that will be filled by Righty Opportunists when things get intolerable.
    compare the us response to Occupy and the Bundy people.

  34. Amfortas the hippie

    and here’s 2 paragraphs from a guardian article that exemplify exactly the confusion of tongues i’m talking about:

    ““There has been a pervasive narrative in this movement that any violence is not the fault of the protesters, but instead instigated by ‘Antifa’ … or orchestrated by the deep state,” said Stephanie Carvin, a Carleton University professor and former intelligence analyst. “In my view, this is entirely consistent with that narrative.”

    Quiggin’s reports also reveal the intensely conspiratorial nature of the occupation.

    Protesters have made constant allusions to a conspiracy theory which holds that the World Economic Forum is seeking to use the Covid pandemic to stage a “Great Reset”, which would purportedly create a “Marxian-inspired totalitarian system”. Many proponents of this conspiracy theory blame the Forum for creating Covid-19 itself.”

    1. the Davos Set is, in fact, the enemy…well and good…but they sure as hell ain’t “Marxist”,lol.
    2. the “Deep State” objectively exists….and is well documented in having engaged in just that kind of shenanigans(see: cointelpro, and a million other examples)

    so the vasty untermenchen know in their bones that something’s wrong…but can’t figger out what…except for disparate and incoherent and contradictory narratives…because the last 50 years of Mindf*ck has worked too well.
    that incoherence and confusion provides a wide open gate for the herds of pseudofascist vanguardians to rumble through and take the lead.
    …because there’s no credible narrative from the Actual Left…it having been subverted by 100 years of anticommie nonsense and false equivalence(biden=lenin), and the sort of false flag eruption of Wokesterism…further discrediting “the Left”.

    1. vidimi

      the world economic forum is by definition a conspiracy: a clique of powerful people making secret decisions that impact millions of people.

      1. Michael Fiorillo

        No, it can simply be an Overclass consensus, arrived at “openly,” and using the available tools of propaganda and manufacturing of consent.

        1. vidimi

          it’s not very open if we don’t know the details. we know that they do meet in davos, we have a rough idea of the agenda (e.g. the great reset), but we are left to speculate on the contents.

          obviously, manufacturing consent is a versatile tool that is used often, but our consent is not asked for everything.

          1. Michael Fiorillo

            They speak most directly in the language of behavior; watching what they do explains a lot.

            I don’t mean to overstate the directness of it all; specific strategies and tactics will frequently be secretive (although even then there’s usually a Powell Memo circulating openly), but there’s much in the public record that reveals the gist of their purposes, and is confirmed by their actions.

    2. JTMcPhee

      It’s interesting to me how completely the Gilets Jaunes have been obliterated in I both mainstream and alt media space (or maybe I just don’t know where to look.)

      Seems there are parallels and interlinks between what’s happening in Canada and what’s happening in France — and to an extent even in the US, and a lot of other places, like Myanmar and India and maybe even the Great Whore, Albion. A great “malaise” based on uninformed sensing of a death wish that will, if effectuated, drag us all down — emanating from the overclass, looking for a channel to run in, which will only happen if some kind of leadership emerges,displaying a “vision” of a homeostatic political economy that ordinary people being stripmined by the oligarchy can understand and line up behind and take actions based upon that model.

      Hard to see that kind of leadership and direction emerging from the simmering pot of Bernays Sauce that the overclass is cooking us in…

      The Gilets Jaunes are still a thing, far as I can tell, maintained by the continued strip-mining and in the French case, that supercilious “looking sown their long French noses” attitude of dismissal of the demos, and who cares if they are committing democide as long as the baguettes are fresh and the wine continues to flow?

  35. rangoon78

    Modest proposal from the fringe (Trotskyists)
    Modern science has shown that the closure of all nonessential workplaces and the transition to remote learning for all schools for a period of two months could quickly bring viral transmission under control and lay the basis for the full-scale elimination of COVID-19. These necessary lockdowns must be accompanied by the provision of full financial and social supports for all workers and small-business people affected.

    Two-month lockdowns must be combined with the globally coordinated production and distribution of vaccines and high-quality masks to all countries, as well as the use of mass testing, contact tracing, the safe isolation and treatment of infected patients, and a dramatic expansion of health care infrastructure. At every essential workplace and hospital, workers must have access to the highest quality N95 or better masks, as well as modern filtration and ventilation systems. All nonessential domestic and international travel must cease immediately to allow for the elimination of the virus in each country.

    The working class must take matters into its own hands.

    1. Basil Pesto

      I appreciate WSWS’ work on the pandemic and I agree with your post to the extent that I am convinced these techniques will work – for various reasons, including that I lived through just one such example of those techniques working and got to enjoy the wonderful benefits of mostly normal existence that followed while the rest of the west was suffering terribly

      But, respectfully, I have a problem with labelling these policy prescriptions as Trotskyist or whatever when 1) they are, as I see it, merely rational common sense which *should* be divorced from any ideology (and that also goes for the prevailing neolib ideology that’s determined not to see them implemented, but then. neoliberalism is a “stealth” ideology that doesn’t go around being loudly proud of itself – conceptually I suspect it remains foreign to most people); and 2) doing so is going to give normal people who still have the usual red-baiting fears the heeby jeebies and turn them off the ideas before we even get the chance to explain the rationale behind them. The letter gives the whiff that they are more interested in overthrowing capitalism (which, I get it, Trots gonna Trot) and using fixing the the viral pandemic that more or less everyone hates as the conduit through which to do it, and as an opportunity to bring that about as much as end the pandemic. I just think that, by chucking in all the ideological alogans etc., it will turn a lot of people off the idea – even more than they are already- in a way that is self defeating.

      I also don’t know what “The working class must take matters inti their own hands” actually means. What does this look like? The WSWS’ letter doesn’t really explain it. And assuming that the Canadian trucker sookfest is an organic and worker-driven protest (I’m not convinced, but surely at least some fraction of it is worker-adjacent), how’s that going to work if some or many of those workers think that Covid isn’t a serious problem and isn’t worth solving?

  36. Wukchumni

    Good job sifting through the chaff, Lambert!

    One fine day in the fall of 2020 had a truck rally of about 30 all decked out in Trumpinalia, i.e. flags/ and as it went up and down Hwy 198 a few times-it really struck me, how perhaps 50-60 people within those trucks could make such an oversized statement, and we’re talking pickup trucks-not 18 wheel big rigs.

    I’ll admit that a Canadian trucker sit down strike (the Rolling Zones?) was not on my list of causes for revolution, but the idea that it spawned copycat attempts all over the world tells you what a pressure cooker of a orb it is now. Oddly enough there’s no cause for a vax/mandate protest here, zed’s dead baby.

    Lost Together, by Blue Rodeo

  37. Mickey Hickey

    Back in the good old days owner-operators dominated the intercity trucking business. In the 1970s’ I knew a McCloskey who made a very good living as an owner-operator. There were Rules and Regulation changes introduced in Canada in the 1970s’which favoured large fleet operators at the expense of the individual owner-operators. McCloskey was a very unhappy camper as he became an employee with a large fleet owner. Around the same time Franchising was booming and a lot of small retail businesses were forced to join Franchisors. Ask yourself why selling donuts cannot be sold profitably by independent individuals. In Canada 90% of truckers were vaccinated, the 10% unvaccinated had little effect on the economy. What happened is that responsible Gov’ts in Canada have made enemies by enforcing closing of many small businesses. It is the owners and employees of these businesses that rushed to help the truckers disrupt the economy. They are fixated on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau not realising that Health is a Provincial responsibility and it is the Premiers of Provinces that are imposing Vaccinations, Masking, Social Distancing, Quarantining and other restrictions. Trudeau has a lot of support and is widely seen as having done what needed to be done. The Premier of Ontario, Doug Ford a right wing politician has done a surprisingly good job although he is letting Trudeau shoulder most of the responsibility due to the upcoming Provincial election in June. My family looks at Canada, Germany and Ireland and see that Canada is by far the best governed of the three during the Covid crisis. The excellent Government Healthcare Plan probably had a lot to do with it.

  38. Eclair

    Thank you, Lambert and commenters for some great insights and analysis on the Canadian Trucker Protests (or whatever alternate label you prefer.) Talk about ‘the fog of war!’

    I imagine the independent owner-operator truckers, Canadian or USian, little bubbles cruising through the night on the Interstates or TransCanada, unattached, atomized. Maybe seeing a familiar face at a truckstop, over steak and eggs.

    Now they’re hanging together, doing stuff together, talking amongst themselves, raising money together (well, that didn’t turn out as expected), shutting down roads, getting the attention of politicians who ordinarily wouldn’t pay them attention beyond a condescending smile. Being the lead in the nightly news shows.

    Stuff like that is heady. Solidarity; maybe not perfect because of all those years of being ‘self-sufficient,’ but working at getting there. It gets results. Often not the ones you want or expect, but hey …. the power of knowing you have your buddies at your back and you’re standing up, together, for a cause, it’s addictive.

    These feelings were some of the best parts of Occupy, for those few heady months in the autumn of 2011. Even a decade later, the memory of being a part of something bigger than oneself opens up a craving for that intoxicating rush.

    The Establishment can only allow those feelings to take hold in groups that hold the ‘correct’ views. The rest must be kept atomized.

  39. eg

    The Premier of Ontario announced a state of emergency this morning. I anticipate a swift resolution to the Ambassador Bridge blockade and a slower grind into irrelevancy for the Ottawa crowd.

  40. Gulag

    One important thing to keep in mind when analyzing the nature of political movements–it is often the psychological impact of the organizing achievement (the truckers freedom convoy) on the inherited patterns of cultural intimidation that pushes other people (of all political persuasions) through individual barriers of fear into public life (for and against what is happening).

    You see this phenomena happening now (over the past 10 days) in the streets of Ottawa where ordinary people from a multiplicity of social backgrounds decide to go into the streets to see what’s up, with many ending up giving various degrees of support to the truckers (from gasoline and food to fist- bumps and verbal statements of support).

    It probably is the actual social experience of many of the truckers as well as many farmers and construction workers that have provided them with the necessary strategic sophistication to pull this off (in Ottawa and other Canadian cities and provinces as well as at key border points).

    Freedom then becomes a rallying cry because narrow political/economic or covid mandate goals seem inadequate to capturing the actual ongoing psychological experience.

  41. ShanghaiNoon

    Reply to Article

    In the analysis in this article and the comments, I noticed that there is constant mention that the protestors are petite bourgeois and not unionized labor. So what? It’s not the 1930s. Yes, there is a sharp divide between the left and right and an intense rhetorical divide between Republicans and Democrats in the USA. The bottom line is that there is a very real oligarchy in Canada and the United States. It currently identifies mainly with Biden and Trudeau. There is also an extensive group of public servants who support Biden and Trudeau. The leaders and the public servants have failed. People know that these oligarchs are not economic leftists and are opportunists; people also understand that the public servants at the CDC and other institutions failed miserably.

    The failure has been across the board; the government and people have failed; however, people have every right to protest. If politicians, celebrities, and business people pressure everyone to comply with mandates and masks, and do not do it themselves, they lose credibility to tell other people what to do. (Our elite supporting BLM and Antifa while those groups were violently protesting further destroyed elite credibility.) I think the postponement of student loans and currently not charging interest on those loans and some loans to small businesses have been helpful but insufficient government actions.

    But overall, Western governments have failed because the governments initially did not treat COVID as an act of war. China did treat it as an act of war — Chinese measures are upsetting to both American liberals and conservatives for different reasons. Any time there is even a minor outbreak, the local Chinese government temporarily shuts down the economy in the area and stamp out COVID. They did that the whole time and the people complied because they trusted their government would also abide by the same rules.

    The bottom line is that America and the West were unwilling to adopt an East Asian solution. They were too divided. Conservatives did not want to shut down businesses, and the left did not want to shut down borders or roaming gangs of trouble makers. Squabbling about petite bourgeois protests versus working-class protests so that you can feel morally better about your position will not help Trudeau or Biden. It will also not solve any of the problems.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Squabbling about petite bourgeois protests versus working-class protests so that you can feel morally better about your position will not help Trudeau or Biden. It will also not solve any of the problems.

      Well, this comment certainly did build to a climax. If the mildest of class analysis allows me to feel “morally superior,” bless your heart, I plead guilty. (It’s obvious, for example, that the capacities of owner operators and by-the-hour drivers differ, in terms of being able to take time off from work, to immobilize or even abandon trucks, and so forth.) The Capitol seizure was driven by a similar class composition, interestingly.

      As for “not the 1930s” — except for the oligarchy part, of course — that, like the rest of your comment, is so vague it’s impossible to respond to it. So I won’t. I do want to thank the rest of the readership who took class analysis seriously, and worked to advance it.

      NOTE You urge that China treated Covid as “an act of war.” That makes no sense. Nor is there evidence for it. An act of war is “an action by one country against another with an intention to provoke a war or an action that occurs during a declared war or armed conflict between military forces of any origin.” Presumably China didn’t provoke a war with itself, so who did China treat as the provoker? Are we now to believe that the virus originated in the United States? (The subsequent behavior of the West v. China is a different issue.)

  42. RudyM

    I am very sympathetic to the trucker convoys and hope their actions can make a dent on the issue of vaccine mandates.

    I lost my job thanks to an employer vaccine mandate, and have moved to Texas as a result. I am currently unemployed. It’s hard to say when I had moved to the right, but it wasn’t really solidified until around 2016. In fact, I was still reading Naked Capitalism pretty enthusiastically before that.

    While I had arrived at the more populist right, I was never particularly sold on small government conservatism. Since the debacle of the Covid-19 “response” (which seems to be about lots of things other than actually responding to a pandemic), I have become much more open to arguments in favor of small government in principle. I had been open to some sort of nationalized health care, but after seeing the way Biden has linked Medicare/Medicaid funding to vaccine mandates, I have lost interest in such ideas. The current situation has made as clear as possible the reasons why a strong central government engaged in providing lots of supposed assistance is an incredibly risky idea. MMT has made a lot of sense to me in economic terms, but politically I now fear it gives government entirely too much power. I would rather give up the potential goods it could provide than risk losing fundamental freedoms, so many of which are under attack from the left.

    I believe in the freedom(s) that elites like you are so quick to poo-poo.

    I wouldn’t call myself a libertarian, but I am much more sympathetic to libertarianism than I was two or three years ago.

    And I can’t imagine voting for Democrats again any time soon in national elections. Probably never. I will be voting Republican in order to stop the Democrats.

    I will never forget which side of the political spectrum took my job away from me because I refused a rushed vaccine I consider quite dangerous. The so-called left now takes away people’s jobs. I had come to hate the left before this, but it’s reached an entirely different level. Don’t underestimate the anger that’s out here in middle America. This may still come to a shooting conflict. That’s another good reason to be in Texas rather than a blue state, although I am afraid I wouldn’t be much use to anyone as a guerilla.

    (Note: I am not happy with Trump’s role in pushing the vaccines through, or in his continued talk of how great they are, but I will vote for him over anyone the Democrats conceivably will run for president in the real world.)

    Odin saves!

  43. Grant

    It’s really about human rights and freedom. Should the government be able to force or coerce you to have a potentially dangerous injection against your will or should you have personal autonomy and be able to make a conscientious objection to forced or coerced injection of a controversial public health measure. I vote for supporting the basic human rights and freedoms to decide what we have injected into our bodies and the bodies of the children we are caring for.

    I support vaccinations for those of us who are at risk but fail to see the wisdom of forcing injections on the small minority of people who are unvaccinated at this late stage when omnirom is so much less of a threat and other enlightened countries are backing away from strict covid control measures. Look at how Israel is having such high covid rates in spite of such high immunization and fourth booster rates! The vaccines are clearly not stopping or controlling the spread of the virus!

    I am much more concerned about the violation of human rights at this stage than any possible gains of forcing the small number of unvaccinated people into submission. 90% of people in BC over age 5 have had at least one dose of immunization. The argument for the greater good is much diminished now that we are in the omicron endemic stage where a few extra vaccines will surely not be effective in stopping the spread of this virus.

    The risks of the vaccines have been downplayed by mainstream media and exaggerated by the antivaxxers with the truth being somewhere in the middle. I’ve looked thoroughly into both sides and believe that what is most important at this stage is to respect each other’s opinions and allow Canadians to make personal health choices in accordance with their beliefs and use education and incentives rather than forcible coercion at the risk of loss of employment or loss of personal freedoms whenever possible.

    I am appalled by the government’s refusal to meet with protest representatives and make any concessions or efforts to resolve the underlying issues which a huge number of Canadians have expressed concerns about. I think when this many citizens gather to support a human rights issue they deserve an adequate response. The truckers I have listened to are all calling for peaceful, respectful and nonviolent behavior from their supporters. They have invested too much time, expense and energy to simply pack up and go home with nothing but condemnation from our government.
    I am proud to have supported the peacefully demonstrating working class heroes in Ottawa who are standing up for personal freedom and opposing forced injections of a potentially dangerous substance.

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