Sunday, July 3, 2011

The Parkdale Liberation Front

(I am, as ever, indebted to the always fragrant and ever resourceful Mary Dowser for the transcription of this conversation held on a park bench somewhere in Parkdale. Assistant Commander Steve is, of course, a pseudonym. He is in his mid-thirties, slim, athletic. His responses were spoken with a world weary wryness that I found appealing.)

"From a long term perspective it's  .  .  .  .  the people who are really powerful!"

Mao Zedong

TVFP:       Am I correct in assuming that Assistant Commander Steve is based on Subcomandante  Marcos of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation?

ACS:         Yeah, no. He's cool though! Seen the Nettie Wild doc. Awesome.

TVFP:        So who’s in charge? Presumably the Commander.

ACS:        Right. Annie.

TVFP:      Is it possible to speak to Annie?

ACS:       Well right now she’s got a bit of the G-20 blues. Her doctor just told her the arm didn't heal properly and they'll have to re-break and re-set it. She got kettled during a peaceful demonstration and when she objected one of the Bill Blair's Serve and Protect kiddies slashed her forearm with his night stick. I'm the default spokesperson for the PLF.

TVFP:      How did you arrive at the name? It sounds rather ominous.

ACS:       We were having pints over at the Cadillac after some tennis and then when the sun came  out we moved across the street for lunch on the patio at the Rhino. So that was the idea. Have some libations. Think of ways to get our share before the real GRAVY TRAIN leaves the station.

TVFP:      By the GRAVY TRAIN you mean over paid, lazy City workers.

ACS:        No. I mean the REAL GRAVY TRAIN.

TVFP:      Could you explain?

ACS:        It’s not about respect for the tax payer. That’s the scam, the shell game. The poll looks you in the eye, smiles and hands you the  means to impoverish yourself. Hello man, you've just joined the race to the bottom. You see it’s about the redistribution of wealth. The sixties and seventies in reverse. The money is gonna walk. In this case in a limo right up the 400. Private Benjamin as your neighbour. America, the new sweatshop capital of the world. There are people here can't wait to earn 8 bucks an hour, live in a third hand trailer, drink dirty water, watch their children grow up to be crackheads. That's where the Parkdale Liberation Front  comes in. Direct action. Siphon off some of the dough, keep it local. Improve the neighbourhood. Water slides for the kids. That sort of thing.

TVFP:       John F. Kennedy once said: those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.

ACS:        That’s good. I like it. Who did he play for?

TVFP:       Do you have a manifesto?

ACS:        No, but we have some ideas that rock!

TVFP:      Would you care to share any of them?

ACS:        Car turnstiles on the Gardner Expressway. That was Annie’s idea. Hundreds  of
thousands of cars going through Parkdale every day. Direct action.

TVFP:       Car turnstiles?

ACS:        Awesome!

TVFP:      Charging how much?

ACS:        Buck a pop.

TVFP:      That would generate a lot of revenue.

ACS:        Except for queue jumpers. I hate queue jumpers. You jump the
queue. Ka-pow!  Paint ball splatter all over your windshield. Serves you right man!

TVFP:       So the PLF is prepared to take violent action.

ACS:        Yeah, even as we speak, we’re settin up a top secret water balloon factory!

(At this point in the conversation Assistant Commander Steve is interrupted by a call on his cell phone. It readily becomes apparent that he is talking to Commander Annie and that he is in some sort of trouble.)

ACS:        Okay, where were we?

TVFP:       You’re not really a revolutionary movement are you?

ACS:        You don’t think car turnstiles on the Gardner Expressway is revolutionary?

TVFP:       I suppose no more than collectivization or junk bonds.

(Note: I actually got it about 2AM and had a little chuckle as well as a sharp elbow from my transcription provider.)

ACS:        Right, got to go. Boss needs to be obeyed.

TVFP:      When’s the next meeting?

(Assistant Commander Steve laughs. He leaves the park bench, turns and shambles off and then begins to move at a faster pace. The dollar store toque comes off, the sunglasses go into the back pocket of his shorts. Then he is moving quickly, the long elegant lope of a distance runner. He turns and waves over his shoulder laughing and then kicks it up a notch. More to come on Assistant Commander Steve, Commander Annie and the Parkdale Liberation Front.)

Reseach assignment: Passport to Pimlico

Research assignment: A Place Called Chiapas

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