Monday, February 02, 2015

Are Canada's Disaffected the Raw Material for a Leftist Renaissance?

Europe is still reeling from the victory of the Syriza party in the recent Greek elections.  It was a matter of days before that spread to austerity-wracked Spain's Podemos movement that has gone from nothing to the country's second largest political party in just six months.

Now The Tyee's Crawford Killian asks whether Canada's politically disaffected might provide the fuel for a similar movement to displace our neoliberal parties.

Could we see a Syriza or Podemos in Canada? It's clear that our dismal voter-turnout numbers reflect a political alienation far deeper than we would like to admit, especially among our young people. But as bad as their experience has been since 2008, it hasn't been as brutal as that of young Greeks and Spaniards. Even our Occupy movement was more a fad than a coherent political challenge to the status quo.

...In a recent New York Times column, economist Paul Krugman damned and blasted the austerians and said, "If anything, the problem with Syriza's plans may be that they're not radical enough."

Radical or not, Syriza and Podemos pose a powerful challenge to the narrow centre-right spectrum of acceptable thought. That could encourage some of our cautious Liberals and New Democrats to try out some ideas that are radical only by comparison with the dull orthodoxy of Stephen Harper. If they do, they might find that many Canadians are way ahead of them -- including the two out of five who didn't even bother to vote in the last election.

The Liberal left has been left behind as their former party shifted decisively to the right and embraced neoliberalism.  Many New Democrats bridle at the centrism imposed on their party under Layton and Mulcair, the Blairification of the NDP.  And then, as Crawford points out, there is this massive disaffected population that feels no meaningful connection to our current political apparatus.

It's apparent that neither Trudeau nor Mulcair is reaching out to this segment of the electorate.  It may be high time for a new political movement, one that understands the value of political philosophies consigned to the dustbin by those who have implemented dysfunction as the status quo for Canadian politics today.


Lorne said...

I do wonder though, Mound, if the gradual devolution of things in Canada is the reason we are not nearly as galvanized as in Greece and Spain, both of which experienced more abrupt transitions.

Are we the frogs being slowly boiled in the pot?

The Mound of Sound said...

It will take the right, natural leader at the right time to galvanize the disaffected Lorne but, you're right, it may never happen.