About Community and Jungle Individualism

Retrospective: Awakening

The word community seems empty and vapid in the mouth of so many.
In fact, they want everyone to hold it with honor and to place it on a pedestal when it is in their own interests, especially when they are in politics. Thinking of that aspect it is galling, and it would be definitely better if it has a uniform meaning to everyone.
In political terms the commune is power, the strength of organizing and the swaying influence to make things happen on behalf of the collective so that the slightest gain can benefit all.
But somewhere along the way, not to be sarcastic, the word community has lost its significance, and it is a regrettable loss to the conscious few. Some gave their lives and dreams for everyone to exist in the commune, in a more organized environment, one that is able to serve its members with dignity and respect.
Thinking of 1969, particularly Sir George Williams (Concordia University today), where the computer riot took place, it would be great to make that historic moment remain the landmark event for the continuation of civil liberty activism in Quebec.
Members of the community who took part in that event to resist racial exclusion and discrimination would be heartened to know that we as whole value what they did.
As a matter of fact, that group of rebels, as they were viewed, is still active in community building. It was a pleasure to see them at Maison D’Haiti in a panel to recount what happened that day.
It was a necessary lesson for many who needed to become familiar with that specific aspect of (the history of political and social) activism in the community. This past Black History Month recognition was educational in many ways.
Two days after the panel, during a private talk with one of the persons who took part in that riot, the individual told me, “We’re more responsible now for our oppression than ever before.” That was a shocking observation; Montreal seems more inclusive in the eyes of many today.
Seeing more members of the community behind the television screen, it gives the impression that racism is simply a story of yore, that Quebec had finally turned the page. Somehow, we’re living in a post-racial society, as many would like to believe.
In reality, we are far from even seeing this post-racial world; police brutality and racial profiling are still a part of the routine. In fact, the racial abuse is even more rampant and persistent.
The popularity of social media has changed very little in our case. The period so many longed for after Obama is simply imaginary; society has not become more inclusive. Instead, with the rise of the extreme right we are witnessing more violence than ever.
Mass killings by white supremacists, instead of acts of terrorism by Muslims, are more common, yet we still allow our egotism to let us remain equally selfish and divided.
Such an absurdity!
Not long ago, a Montreal Gazette journalist wrote, “While the Black Lives Matter movement commands attention in the U.S. and in Toronto, Montreal’s Black communities seem to have fallen silent, at least as far as traditional activism goes.”  (Michelle Lalonde, February 24, 2016).
Here, sadly, it is the Gazette that is trying to understand why activism in the Black community is non-existent, pitiably in the form it exists now.
While still in Asia (South Korea), that article captured my attention. That statement needed precise answers instead of concise statements to justify this level of collective weakness. We seem to have blindly given up on our self-determination and rights to exist, let alone the privilege to become equally successful in society. We’re falling behind (in) every expectation, and that is due to selfishness instead of the divide and the barriers that were set before us in the system.
Throughout the years, more Blacks have found their spaces or a little spot where they feel comfortable in the system. Instead of “we,” “us,” as we used to say, it is the “I” that has taken all the room.
So, the commune has become less and less a part of the collective consciousness. Everyone is trying to represent the measure of collective success; as a result it is not impossible to see the Black Lives Matter movement incapable of taking root in Montreal.
At present, there is a collective lawsuit that has been launched by the Black Coalition of Quebec against racial profiling and other race-related matters in Montreal. As it is the reflection of the current reality, there seems to be very little support if any for the lawsuit by the same people who are constantly victims of police brutality and discrimination.
The more Blacks find doors being opened for them in the system the more the commune is losing its significance amongst groups of younger Black leaders.
In the end, that form of jungle individualism is just a big slap in the faces of those who stood in the face of racial exclusion and discrimination to fight for a better tomorrow.