What do you get when a deconstructionist joins the mafia ?

An offer you can't understand.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Another Reason I Wrote this Book

Guelph is a small city, not much more than a town surrounded by sprawl.
Rumours abound here about the city's Italians and which of them are mobsters and which aren't. The longer you live here the more rumours you hear, the more facts you hear, the more hypocrisy you sense, the more uneasy the whole mess makes you.
The police know who the gangsters are, and I don't just mean the local police. In fact the local police for the most part consist of recruits who come and go. It's a university town, Guelph's police force is a kind of Police Academy graduate school-practicuum campus. The Ontario Provincial Police, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the Combined Special Forces Units, and the Canadian Security Intelligence Services all know who the gangsters are, they've been following their activities for decades. However, Canadian rules of evidence are necessarily strict about bringing cases to court.
And so next to nothing happens. Especially now that money-laundering is the favoured activity of Canadian mobsters. The veneer of business respectability and the depth of local rumour and unease over the town's mobsters combine (in this case) to cast a shadow over business in Guelph. Consumers aid and abet criminal organizations in laundering the proceeds of crime every day, making us accessories during the fact.
I already find it hard to buy products from companies that treat third world sweat shop workers like slaves, and so avoid shopping in places like WalMart. Helping businesses that are laundering the proceeds of drug misery money makes me equally uneasy.
The only way I can help is by trying to distinguish rumour from fact, cause from effect, context from events, individuals from communities, secret society members from non-members.
If enough people become aware of the need to do the same, something can be done.
The world is headed for an environmental cataclysm, I don't want to get there and discover that the water and the food and every aspect of our surviving economy is controlled by gangsters, by extortionists and bullies who have friends in high places and friends among the arms dealers and the prostitute makers and the Third world resource sector slave trader, people who will be fully prepared to put me and my loved ones into their 'business plan.'
It's not that gangsters are immoral, it's that they are amoral, they may have a code of behaviour, but whatever it has in common with community standards of what is right and what is wrong arises only from the fact that they have amoral allies in all walks of life.
And what about the ethical Italians whose honesty and integrity is tainted by the existence of gangsters in their midst, in their families. They need community support, we need to give them our business, and stop giving it to their corrupt 'cousins'.
In order to do that we need to separate rumour from fact. And one of those facts is that it is not just Italians who are involved in organized crime.
In a way the truth is the smallest part of the process, the point of the fulcrum on which this whole edifice can be levered off its foundation once there is a community will to do so, a national will to do so.
But this is more like a Truth and Reconciliation process. This is not a witch hunt, this is about redeeming society, not condemning families or individuals.

2 comments:

Luke said...

My name is Luke Bowden and I am a freelance journalist working currently in Guelph. I have notably worked as a volunteer speaker for the last three years speaking in high schools throughout Wellington County about my own experience with mental illness (bipolar disorder) and the dangers of illicit drugs and harm reduction approaches.

I am shocked and apalled the more I learn about Guelph's business community. I now know that Tamil Tigers marijuana, Afghani Liberation Front hashish, Hells Angels cocaine and Asian Triads marijuana (called 'the Rush' or 39 Rush as it is a strain (M39) that requires a 60 day grow cycle but is pushed through in 30 days creating a cosmetic but unappealing marijuana (high volume, sometimes called 'highschool popcorn' that sells for about $500 less a pound). This is because Asian groups are known to be large fundraisers and money managers and these high volume grow operations provide a spate of cash flow. These funds, generated in local area high schools are fed back into a variety of international terrorist causes.

The word on the street is basically: The Hells run the border, Asians run money, African Canadians are good buyers but often rob you after 3-4 buys (this is not a stereotype it is a commonly held street level view and one held up by for instance parole officers).

What is absolutely disgusting about this entire enterprise is that ALL of these criminal fundraising, political terrorist fundraising and money laundering schemes (through property notably- one of the few means by which a municipality can generate revenue since the Harris government cut the teeth out of certain legislations for their Pro-Developer chums) are the result of a lack of political will.

If local community leaders, local politicians, local students, local activists, local journalists, local artists, musicians, mothers, fathers, sisters, daughters, husbands and wives actually CARED about their children and this community they would act in some way.

Rather as Prager ably notes, at some risk to his own safety although perhaps not as substantial as suspected, there is a need for community support and for people to make ethical purchasing decisions that shows a knowledge of the local economy beyond the puerile estimation that Farmers Market equals Good and Walmart equals Bad.

Good and Bad are very loose concepts in Guelph and Wellington County (notably one of the stingiest counties in Ontario despite their considerable and illicit resources).

Jerry Prager said...

Luke,
Obviously there are reasons for concern in Guelph, some extreme, some less so. It has been my intention to address this whole issue less with a crime and punishment agenda, and more with a social healing focus.
Obviously I agree with you about the need for ethical consumerism based on knowledge.
I would urge you to proceed with caution down this path, which is not to say, don't take this path. From my perspective these are very complex socio-politico-economic issues and while they need energetic attention, approaching them with extreme passion and the loss of ones sense of humour could be deadly.
But thanks for entering the debate,
just pace yourself, and be careful.