Sunday, September 13, 2015

On Corbyn and Mulcair

A prominent New Dem voice, Michael Laxer, reflects on socialist Jeremy Corbyn's reclamation of Britain's Labour Party and, in it, sees the sad state of today's New Democratic Party under Mulcair.

Meanwhile across the pond here in Canada, the "Third Way" strategy and approach has, on the other hand, triumphed entirely. We are witnessing an election where the Liberals are actually seeking to portray themselves as to the progressive "left" of the NDP, while the NDP seeks to frame itself as fiscally responsible with right-wing narratives about "balanced budgets" that they then ludicrously attempt to claim are somehow a continuation of the spirit and politics of Tommy Douglas!

Hence yesterday on CBC Radio we are treated to the farcical political moment that sees former Saskatchewan NDP Finance Minister Janice Mackinnon trying to celebrate and justify the total bankruptcy of the NDP campaign while Bob Rae celebrates and defends the Liberal "left shift," such as it is.

The utter emptiness of the tone of this "debate" and the very fact that it can happen at all reveals the trouble at the heart of the social democratic narrative in Canada -- that being that it has ceased to exist as a narrative in this election, and on our political landscape, at all.

The ideological differences between the two parties have lost any meaning in a context where a radio discussion like this is even possible.

...This is the reason the Liberal "left shift" may very well work despite all of these arguments. Mulcair has shifted the tone and much of the content of the NDP campaign with such overtly reactionary nonsense that they have literally opened up this space for the Liberals themselves. It is the NDP's Third Way thinking and strategy that has allowed Trudeau to reframe the election, to revive what was a failing campaign and to show such a recent and clear rise in the polls.

They have allowed Trudeau to seem to be bearing the anti-austerity torch as absurd as that is and despite the fact that the Liberals are an inherently Third Way party.

One could, of course, also point out that there is no reason to think that Mulcair, after running from the right, will suddenly govern as a leftist. In fact, all of the evidence of recent NDP provincial regimes run by centrist NDP leaders, like those of Nova Scotia and Manitoba, would indicate the opposite.



Troy said...

This demonstrates we shouldn't give up. We need to keep fighting, even if we're with or without support.
Even if it takes fifteen, twenty years, keep fighting. It's important to never give your opponents anything easy. They'll score their cheap points whenever they can.
Stick around. Hang around. Eventually, you can build something up, even if you need to start from the very foundations.
Fight for good policy. Fight against bad policy. Whether it's your opponents, or your supposed allies.

Northern PoV said...

"In fact, all of the evidence of recent NDP provincial regimes run by centrist NDP leaders, like those of Nova Scotia and Manitoba, would indicate the opposite."

No argument there ... in fact Hollande in France did the same.
And the young Syriza PM in Greece has apparently also succumbed despite his mandate for the opposite.

A real pattern - and it is perhap not always the result of gutless hypocrites...
Methinks some thug from the IMF/Bilderberg group shows up (figuratively in the form of credit ratings etc and in the case of Greece & France, likely literally) and gives them a binary choice: our way or hell on earth.

Corbyn and Sanders could encounter the same thing if they ever get to the "top'.

In Canadian history the Libs could get more done simply cause they didn't go into gov't with the socialist label and thus provided a less clear target.

The Mound of Sound said...

@ Troy - It's important to me that the Left gives up its slavish obsession with reclaiming power and, instead, works to rehabilitate social democracy as a viable political ideology. The era of neoliberalism has caused the political spectrum to shrink until a narrow political heterodoxy emerges of grey suits stuffed with wet cardboard.

In Canada, when the New Democrats become the new liberals who represents the Left? They'll tell you they still do but that's bullshit. Look at the background of their leader - an unrepentant Thatcherite, neoliberal market fundamentalist, ex-Liberal cabinet minister, Likudnik who once courted Harper's favour. WTF? This guy changes positions like some of us change underwear.

I don't get New Dems. They've seen this all before. They watched as Britain's Labour Party was "Blairified." Blair even giddily threw in with Bush/Cheney and launched his country into an illegal, unwinnable war that claimed more than a hundred thousand civilian lives.

Now when, more than ever, we need a strong voice on the Left to champion a restoration of social cohesion and a rebalancing of the conflicting powers of labour and capital, the party of the Left has gone AWOL.

The Mound of Sound said...

@ NPoV - with reluctance and dread I'm coming to believe that Chris Hedges could be right. The system of government may have become so atrophied and dysfunctional that the only way out for the populace may require tossing it out and starting over.