Tuesday, June 30, 2015

It's Time to Bury the Myth of the NDP Being the Party for Blue Collar Canadians

As the Layton-Mulcair tag team "Blairified" the NDP, it triggered some grumbling among its more devout members who briefly bemoaned the extinction of social democracy in Canada.  Even that passed quickly enough and the membership got used to being what they for so long so loudly decried - liberals. Yessir, real honest to Odin, market fundamentalist, neoliberals.

They still like to make themselves out as progressives (is there such a thing as a "closet progressive"?) but that's just pretentious.

Yesterday Emily Dee ripped the beard right off Tommy Mulcair to expose his true colours.  It was a scathing indictment of Mulcair and what he really stands for (hint: if you're blue collar that's not you).

Then there's well known and respected voice of the Canadian Left, James Laxer, who dismantles the Dippers' claims that the Green Party are just "conservatives with composters."  Laxer explores the Greens' economic policy platform and finds that, if anything, they're more progressive than today's Dippers.

Laxer doesn't even get into the Greens' policy to restore a free press in Canada or the party's clear and decisive foreign policy (remember Gaza?) that should shame Dippers into utter apoplexy.  And I think we'll give the environmental/climate change issue to the Greens hands down, won't we?

Ron, Define "Trust"
But don't worry, Tom Mulcair is just screwin' with ya.  I got that straight from Dipper apologist in residence Ron Waller who left this telltale remark: "Certainly the NDP is a right-leaning centrist party. But they can be trusted to move the political football back towards the center and eventually to the left-of-center."

They can be trusted - once they hoodwink enough voters to win the election - to change course?  What part of "trust" does Waller not understand?  This guy Waller also upbraided me for referring to Mulcair as "the Angry Beard." Talk about thin skinned!  Hell, I didn't even mention Tommy's dead, "serial killer" eyes.

(h/t Northern PoV for the Laxer/Rabble link).


ThinkingManNeil said...

As with everything else it touches, capitalism/corporatism taints, weakens, and then devours, and obviously politics and our democracy have not been immune to this. Neo-liberalism and "business friendly" policies, tax cuts, and incentives are a foot in the door for the corporatist agenda to push things rightward and eventually consume and ravage everything and everyone in its path. As we've seen through history, heavily regulated and constrained capitalism did provide a bounty for those of us living in the West - done on the backs of our fellow citizens in the Third World, of course - but because of its intrinsic, core dogma of "unlimited growth" it had to, and did, break free of those constraints by buying off politicians, academics, media, and think tanks to roll back regulations, shift blame for bad economics on the unions, poor and precariat, and tilt the playing field inexorably to its favour.

Mulcair openly admitted some months ago that it was that he was focused on shifting the NDP to the "mushy middle" to make the Party more acceptable - just as was done by Andrea Horvath's public fellating of Bay Street in the last Ontario provincial election campaign, something she could not have done without Mulcair's blessing. And the abandonment of democratic socialist terms and principles at one of their national conventions a few years ago just underscores that.

So where are we? Capitalism's seductive lures and inescapable infestation has pushed the NDP to the left-center-right ground that the Liberals once held, and the Liberals have morphed into what were once the Progressive Conservatives of Robert Stanfield and Joe Clarke with their open embrace of neo-liberalism that John Manley admitted to many years ago. And, of course, the Tories have themselves marched into an increasingly Ayn Rand-ian, fascist realm of free market, "Fuck the Poor" hooliganism.

That effectively leaves the Green Party, who ARE, by and large, the most progressive offering, IMO, despite their dogmatic, out-of-hand rejection of possible energy/climate change solutions posed by next generation nuclear power (LFTR's/MSR's). They are certainly more progressive than any of the parties when it comes to foreign policy and anti-militarism, and their desire for truly representative election reform, real environmentalism, and anti-corporatism measures are laudable. Certainly their values seem to mirror those of most Canadians.

Unfortunately, the reality is is that the Greens just haven't gained
traction with the vast majority of the public across Canada. Certainly, most, or a good many, identify with major planks in their platform and identify with the Party's environmentalism goals and ideals, but that hasn't paid off in votes in any significant way. I've yet to see a TV ad by the Greens, and it's been an ongoing struggle for Elizabeth May to be even heard in Parliament or on the media, such is the control of the corporatists.

If the goal this coming October is for Canadians to rid themselves of the Harper Reich - which I'm not sure will happen - I don't know how my voting for the Greens will help...


Gyor said...

Mulcair has shifted the NDP to the left compared to Jack, not the right. If you talk to Elizabeth May, tell her dumping sewage in the Ocean in wrong.

LeDaro said...

Mound, it is very confusing. It is not clear what these political parties stand for. However I believe that anyone will be better than Cons.

The Mound of Sound said...

I understand your point, Neil, completely. I've heard these arguments many times from others. The Greens haven't gained traction yet but that effort sure won't be helped if I vote LPC or NDP. Far more important yet is that neither of these opposition parties is genuinely addressing the future my kids and everyone else's kids are going to have to endure. That, to me, makes the Dippers and the Libs a moral contagion. It led me to coin a term for Mulcair and Trudeau - "plague rats." I will not support the waste of vital time that's fast running out by voting for them.

Beginning with Layton and Ignatieff, Canada's political spectrum started to shrink dangerously. The Left fell victim to the NDP's overarching opportunism. I blame (and damn) Layton/Mulcair and Ignatieff/Trudeau for directly helping Harper achieve his prime objective of moving Canada's political center far and permanently to the Right. It's beyond me why anyone with a progressive bone in his body and concern for the future his children will confront would vote for any of those pricks.

Where it matters - the future of this country - they're all just shades of the same colour. We have reached a state of illiberal democracy in Canada, a very troubling and rarely considered phenomenon we explored at some length in a recent war studies course presented by King's College, London. Left unaddressed it can be something resembling a malignancy. It metastasizes. Look at America's "bought and paid for" Congress and its modern "transactional democracy" where people like Adelson, the Koch brothers and the Adolph Coors family call the shots. Curiously enough that same sort of transactional democracy infected Rome in its final years and contributed heavily to its collapse.

The evolution of the modern surveillance state (C-51 anyone) is a manifestation of illiberal democracy. The rise of the technocratic government, where the state and its people are administered, not governed in the sense of being led with vision, is another facet of illiberal democracy. This compression of the political spectrum very much a reality in Canada today is what occurs in illiberal democracy. The descent of the electorate into tribalism - another. The rise of inequality, political capture, the corporate media cartel - on and on and on. When the political spectrum is as truncated as ours today all of these infestations of democracy continue and even survive changes of governing parties. Look at Obama and all the excesses he should have stopped and reversed. Instead he's amassed more powers to the executive branch than Bush/Cheney dared to seize.

I understand all the arguments for strategic voting, Neil, but sometimes you have to do what's right. It took a while but eventually I came to understand Ralph Nader.

The Mound of Sound said...

Gyor, you're so hopelessly in the bag that I won't bother responding to your foolishness. By the way, I wasn't aware that Elizabeth May is dumping sewage in the ocean. Got some pictures of that. Sorry but your drive-by smears are getting old. Move along.

The Mound of Sound said...

Hi, LD. You might find some answers in my response to Neil's comment (above). Have a look and then, please, give me your thoughts. Be sure you've read Laxer's op-ed linked in the text of this post. Too bad Gyor didn't read it because, if he had, he wouldn't have made such an ass out of himself.

Anyong said...

When there are people walking around saying things like, "I was raised a Conservative and I will die a Conservative, what makes people who want change think it is going to happen? Since when have Canadians been truly open about discussing with an open mind, the political parties and situation in this country? I agree with most of the comment up top. I wish I had the opportunity to vote Green.

Anyong said...

But I wish.....

Anonymous said...

I fully agree with ThinkingMan that voting Green now is a lost vote.
With the exception of a few ridings.
My plan is to vote for "a killer's beard with angry eyes" or vice versa, keep him accountable for introducing PR, and THEN vote for whoever I fancy.

The Mound of Sound said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Mound of Sound said...

I understand A..Non, I really do. I simply cannot bring myself to vote for the "slightly less worse" alternative. Vote for your charlatan of choice. I'll vote for the person actually willing to do what's necessary to help my kids and theirs. You're willing to accommodate. I'm not, absolutely not.

If we had 30, 40 or 50-years to respond to the climate change problem, I might vote as you are. We don't the luxury of that much time. The way I see it, your voting poses a very real prospect of irreparable harm to future Canadians. In the times now upon us there is a grave responsibility attached to your vote. In my view a vote for Trudeau or Mulcair is an abrogation of that responsibility.

Ron Waller said...

LOL. This is getting silly.

First, I am not a NDP party member. I don't represent Mulcair's views. I'm not even involved with politics, except peripherally making the odd comment here and there. I have voted Liberal and NDP in the past. Consider myself a centrist Keynesian liberal as most Liberals were during the post-war era (1945-1984 in Canada.)

The reason I cannot support the Liberal party any more is because they continue to embrace neoliberal/neoclassical economic ideology despite its myriad policy failures including the 2008 financial fraud meltdown. There is nothing left-leaning or progressive about the Neo-Liberal party. (Of course, in a democracy one is free to pretend.)

Second, by suggesting you don't call Mulcair the "Angry Beard" I was doing you a favor. I don't think Canadians respond well to this kind of militant partisan hatred. Politics is about rational ideas. It should be kept within the realm of the rational. If someone has to appeal to hate, that must mean they are short on rational reasons to support their cause.

Third, Emily Dee is a blind Liberal partisan (Pushed to the Right-of-Center and Mindlessly Shilling It.) During the Ontario election she claimed the Liberals were the left-wing party and the NDP leader was another Margaret Thatcher. Of course, after the Liberals won a fake majority on 38% of the vote the first thing they did was privatize the electricity system — a policy not in their platform, but one Thatcher was fond of.

Politics is corrupted by cognitive-dissonant partisans using any and all means to attain power. But it doesn't have to be this senseless. Hopefully 2015 will be the last unfair election and the debate will become less polarized.

Steve said...

Hi Mound, we share an hobby horse called the F35. Harper wants it and some suspect he has already cashed in his plain brown enevlopes. The military procurment boondogle alone should be enough to tell Canadians Harper must go. Anyway its hard to keep up with the bad news about the F35 but I found another nail for the coffin.

Ron Waller said...

"If we had 30, 40 or 50-years to respond to the climate change problem, I might vote as you are. We don't the luxury of that much time. The way I see it, your voting poses a very real prospect of irreparable harm to future Canadians. In the times now upon us there is a grave responsibility attached to your vote. In my view a vote for Trudeau or Mulcair is an abrogation of that responsibility."

People shouldn't think the federal election will have any impact on the Global Warming issue. It's certainly the most important issue of our time. The fate of civilization hangs in the balance. Our children's future is at peril. But this is an issue that presently transcends national representational democracy (which is too easily corrupted/captured because leadership is the weakest link.)

First, the problem is neoliberal/neoclassical ideology — namely, free-trade globalization. It creates a regulatory race to the bottom. Presently we are in an insane situation where Western countries pretend to cut emissions by exporting them to undeveloped countries. We obviously can't rob Peter to pay Paul.

The solution is an alternative system to neoclassical ideology. Thankfully we have one that worked extraordinarily well during the post-war era (1945-1980): that is the Keynesian mixed-market system. It creates a democratic economy where the people have control and oversight. (People make the best economic managers — they would never, for example, manufacture a global meltdown to make a quick buck manipulating markets.)

Of course, during the post-war era, environmental issues were not a priority as they are today. But the Keynesian system is well-suited to the task. First it provides an optimal regulatory environment. Neoclassical ideologues are opposed to almost all government involvement in the economy, including regulations, which is why they are fiercely opposed to all things Keynesian.

Ron Waller said...

Second, the Keynesian system employs make-work mega-projects to turn an economic slump into a boom. Like Republican president Dwight Eisenhower raised the top tax bracket to 91% to pay for an interstate highway system. This works just as well making huge investments in various forms of green-energy infrastructure.

Third, is the issue of trade. Free-trade ideology not only fails at creating prosperity, it allows corporations to skirt first-world regulations. The solution is managed trade (aka "fair trade.") This puts an emphasis on tariffs to control the behaviors of undeveloped countries (which presently have little democratic influence.) It allows responsible countries to punish environmental freeloaders and nations that cheat workers out of their fair share of wages and benefits. So instead of free-trade blocks and treaties we need common-regulation blocks.

The only way to make this happen is to go over the heads of our vain, corrupt, captured politicians: that is, with a global democracy movement (which one could call The Movement.) The goal would be to act as a lobby that represents human interests and counters the corrupt corporate lobby. To prevent The Movement from being corrupted it would have to be direct democracy. People elect spokespersons who represent the issues the people voted to lobby for.

Another reason our makeshift civilization is being run into the ground is economic competition among nations. For example, Germany's economic dominance over the euro-zone (massive trade surplus) puts other countries in an impossible situation (the common currency forces other countries to deflate their way to prosperity, which is an oxymoron; if they had separate currencies, they could devalue to eliminate their trade deficits.) The Movement would put the emphasis on international cooperation. (Fact is all development — presently measured in GDP growth because all goods and services are valued in currency — comes from cooperation. In a zero-sum game, no wealth is created, just moved around. It takes a positive sum game to create wealth, paid from "the banker", when people cooperate.)

Ron Waller said...

Therefore, The Movement would be able to unite civilization in a way that no representational system can. The Movement would be able to influence democratic elections and dictate to vain, unprincipled politicians.

Also, the immense prosperity produced during the Keynesian era (that created modern living standards in developed countries) was founded on unionization. But since only a fraction of workplaces were unionized this allowed plutocrats to destroy unions playing class warfare. A goal of The Movement, however, would be to unionize the globe. This would make it much harder for the plutocrats to take control again. It would also make it easier to organize protests and even global work strikes.

Last, is the creation of a global constitution of human rights which can only be accomplished by something like The Movement. This would make healthcare, welfare, education and environmental and worker-protection regulations human rights. The only way civilization can stand is united. A civilization divided into nations is a divided civilization that will one day fall. The Movement has the best shot at uniting humanity and not only saving civilization from destruction, but making it into something all citizens of the world can be proud of. (Our civilization at present is a disgusting, racist sh*thole.)

The Mound of Sound said...

Sorry, Ron, but you're clinging to delusion when you advocate for this "Movement" nonsense. That would require a different world than the one we have today. It is premised on the existence of an ordered, relatively stable community of nations whereas the century that awaits us is chaotic.

Like many theorists, you isolate or exclude factors that defeat your concept. I wish you could get a stint on the International Space Station so that you could look own on our planet and see it's nothing like what you imagine.

Ron Waller said...

I've heard Naomi Klein talk about the same thing. Haven't read her latest book yet, but in it she says: "Only mass social movements can save us. If that happens, well, that changes everything."

Clearly one united social movement is the most ideal and would wield the most power. Removing corruptible personal representation (primitive leadership structure) and replacing it with activist-driven direct democracy is the best way to manage it (the best of all worse alternatives.)

Of course, The Movement would not be created over night. It's about uniting social movements (activist groups, NGOs, unions, etc.) across local, state, national and international levels to fight for common causes. (The Movement should eventually have chapters across all of these levels.)

This is not premised on nations but the very opposite: it's founded on people transcending national divisions. The Movement would start out in some developed countries then spread. It would be outlawed in fascist and communist dictatorships and driven underground. But people in The Movement in other countries would find ways to help, like demand The Movement be made legal in these countries (or face tariffs/sanctions.)

If you can point out any factors that I have isolated or excluded, please do so. I'm always looking to better a model I'm working on. Your criticisms so far has been vague generalizations. Nothing substantial or factual. Your appeal to fatalism is not helpful. It's not our future to give up on. Therefore we must fight.

FFIBS said...

Appy Canada Day MoS.

The Mound of Sound said...

Et tu, Willy. Et tu.

Anyong said...

MOS: My comment is written with the best of intention and with compassion. There have been many movements throughout the world that have drawn attention to and made changes. One that is most prevalent is the "Gay Movement". Ron Walker's comments are worth consideration. I have commented often there isn't a government including Elizabeth May's(given she seems to be the most honest speaking and willing to apologize)worth putting into power with the governance of this country. And, if we have to choose between the lesser evil; then we oust them out every four years. The biggest most frustrating thing about the Canadian system is: We have to put in place NOW, a limit on how long politicians can remain in power. Five years at the most. All we have to do is look south and observe how eight years is too much there.....the obscene amount of wasted tax payers money on re-elections. The fact remains, the sun will eventually burn out so striving to have your name on the wall being the first consideration above all else, is not going to make one iota of a difference if that was all the endeavor. The First Nations had it right. If the Chef did not do what was right for the people, the women had the right to get rid of him. There is another good answer to governments that do not have the countries interests at heart. There ought to be a body of people separate and independent of government that has the power to call them out and I don't mean the Senate as it is now. Dismissing RW's comment, is acting like our present PM. He has turned down a PC potential candidate from NL because the Candidate participated in a little skit about McHarper.

The Mound of Sound said...

Sorry, Anyong, but I don't think you've made out your case for term limits. If we had your system in place Trudeau would not have been around long enough to bring in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms without which Harper would have had a free hand to completely restructure Canada.

I wasn't in a mood to be similarly expansive in rejecting Ron Waller's notion about some multi-national "movement." You only have to look at the disparities that are rapidly growing among nations to see that the sort of cohesiveness that would be essential to this sort of movement no longer exists if it ever did. There's a rise today in illiberal democracy and states are failing as never before in the post-war era. There can be spillover effects as we saw in Tunisia and then Egypt or ISIS in Syria and then Iraq but these types of movements tend to be very violent more often than not. The last great widespread "movement" was communism and a lot of its reach was achieved at the barrel of a gun.

Your idea of a body of people independent of government that has some undefined power "to call them out" isn't well thought out. What people, who chooses them and how, to whom do they answer, what qualifications do we require of them? On and on and on.

Well at least you had your say. To suggest that I sound like Stephen Harper is as offensive as it is ridiculous. Try harder next time, please?