The Left is Left Behind

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N.Beltov N.Beltov's picture
The Left is Left Behind

An interesting piece on the CCPA site by senior editor Ed Finn. In it, Finn address the following: If the left is right, politically, why isn't it more popular? A good catalyst for discussion, even if many NDPers will, no doubt, feel under attack.

But that's only fair. It's the NDP, as the largest organized force on the left,  that has been such an utter failure to address alternatives to neo-liberal orthodoxy and failed to abandon that repulsive prejudice and allergy to socialist ideas.

Quote:
In the United States, for example, President Obama's bailout of Wall Street has already soared beyond $2 trillion and could eventually reach the stratospheric level of $12 trillion or more, according to some reliable projections. In sharp contrast, his $787 billion economic stimulus package (designed to create or save jobs), while certainly not an insignificant sum, amounts to less than 8% of the enormous projected bank bailout. It's a horrendously expensive rescue operation that, if successful, will only restore and perpetuate the pernicious system that precipitated the crisis. The trillions are being spent, in effect, not to solve the economic problem, but to make sure it won't be solved.

In Canada, the Harper government's response has been similarly skewed.

The following gives a taste of Finn's remarks on the left...

Quote:
It is not because of its merits, however, that a system so clearly barbaric and destructive continues to be so widely sanctioned by electorates in the West. It is because most voters still don't see socialism as a preferable alternative, either politically or economically. And that is a failing of the socialist parties and governments, not of socialism itself.

N.Beltov N.Beltov's picture

Finn rightly points out that it is also a failure of the left, and here I include the NDP, to do its job. Finn speaks of a failure of political courage.

Quote:
The recent victory of the NDP in Nova Scotia was won by implicitly promising never to implement socialist policies, and instead to emulate the Tories and Liberals in cutting taxes and avoiding deficits. One of the voters whose emails were read on CBC Newsworld following the outcome of the election, told viewers: "I've waited all my life to see a socialist government in Nova Scotia. I'm still waiting."

The closest we've come to socialism in Canada was the CCF-NDP government Tommy Douglas headed in Saskatchewan. It was the government that, among its many accomplishments, overcame powerful medical, business and media opposition to bring public health care to this country. Political leadership and courage of that magnitude are nowhere to be seen in Canada today. The tendency is to shun any policy that might harm a party's credibility or incur the wrath of the rich and powerful.

If people are not offered a genuine alternative, but rather simply capitalism with a human face, or a "nice" capitalism, now long gone to that period of post-WW2 boom that shall never return, why shouldn't they vote for right wing parties? At least the right wingers actually believe the codswallop they're selling.

Mind you, in Latin America, there is a a socialist left that is having success after success, as Finn points out.

 

B9sus4 B9sus4's picture

The people swim in an ocean of poisoned media. Their thinking is conditioned by it -- which of course is it's exact purpose. Our voices don't reach the masses. Simple. They have been conditioned not to listen to us. I've had this experience recently: rightist-brainwashed workers shrieking at me that I'm a "conspiracy theorist" etc. for telling them the simple truth. They have been conditioned to shun truth as dangerous to them. They submit themselves to the "news"papers and watch TV to get their sports scores and celebrity gossip and with it they imbibe vast quantities of rightwing gibberish coded into the flow of pseudo-information that occupies their minds. That's it's intent. And obviously it works. For example, I was saying to some fairly intelligent fellows that The Simpsons is nothing but rightwing propaganda designed to make them complacent about the class system and cynical about the possibility of change (besides being an obvious shill for GE, Westinghouse, and the other Big Nuke corporations). Well, ha ha, as you might expect, the old man was mocked again (tin foil hat guy) and the whole conversation turned into a retelling of all the fabulous funnies from Homer and the gang. What can we expect at this point? The information ocean is poisoned like our lakes and rivers: pumped full of filth and lies crafted by whores hired by billionaire fascists and banksters. Can we be surprised then that the people sneer at socialism? They do what they've been told to do.

Frustrated Mess Frustrated Mess's picture

I think it is far more complicated than that.

I think consumer capitalism has been highly effective as it separates humans from our best interests in exchange for the illusion of prosperity. It offers cultural, intellectual, and economic layers all appealing to different sectors of the population to act in the interests of capitalism, as a master, and without examination of the realities or consequences.

I don't have much time right now, but here is, I think, a very good example:

Stephen Harper is Canada's Prime Minister. He and many of his supporters regard him as an intellectual with strong strategic instincts. He is educated as an economist and, presumably, has some grounding in modern history.

However, Stephen Harper, intellectually, adopts a philosophy, neo-liberalism, which calls him to the service of interests that often run counter to the nation and people which he leads. His unexamined role, intellectually and politically, in the neo-liberal philosophical world, is to render Canada's natural heritage, its resources, to an invisible class of investors.

This is has been wonderfully illustrated this past week with the prime minister in the Arctic promising to improve the lives of northerners while simultaneously he promotes and perpetuates the erasure of the northern cultural landscape in the service of the invisible investor class. When the northern fish species has been wiped out, when the oil has been drilled, and the minerals raped from the land, Harper's role, intellectually and politically, will have been fulfilled.

It is perfect.

N.Beltov N.Beltov's picture

It's far from perfect. Quit exaggerating.

 

PM Harper, for example, will never get a majority government due, in part, to the disgusting attack by him and his storm troopers on cultural funding in the province of Quebec. Without a victory in Quebec,  Harper can kiss his majority goodbye. How is that perfect?

Frustrated Mess Frustrated Mess's picture

You missed the point.

Coyote

Medicare was not enacted until 1962. Eighteen years after Douglas became Premier, and in fact not introduced under Douglas, rather under Woodrow Lloyd. One of the keys to Douglas's electoral success was sound fiscal management and the paying down of the previous Liberal debt.

 

N.Beltov N.Beltov's picture

Ha ha. Maybe I should find a discussion board ... with people that are actually on the left. Good grief.

Frustrated Mess Frustrated Mess's picture

Douglas presided at a time when thrift was a value. It is no longer. Today what is valued is cheap and big and the bigger and cheaper the better.

But the point I was attempting to make is that all of us are products of a consumer capitalist culture from whose embrace we really don't want to escape no matter haw harmful the results. It is like a drug addiction. We know its killing us but we like the high. Even on issues of sustainability and ecological degradation, we look for false solutions that offer us the fantasy of maintaining our current lifestyles.

The failure of the left isn't a lack of a coherent political voice. The failure of the left is that left, the left of Western culture, really does like consumer capitalism and all the gadgets and conveniences it brings to us at the cost of our global land base, colonialism, and the dispossession and extermination of the world's indigenous peoples. The modern left, since WWII, has never really said "STOP!". It just says, "nicer, please." The modern left doesn't want to end the degradation it just wants to slow it down. It doesn't want to end the dispossession it just wants to leave behind more crumbs. It doesn't want to end the raping and pillaging, it just wants to leave a few bucks on the night stand.

The reason the left isn't popular is because there is no real political left of any consequence in Western society. There is only a nicer, friendlier imperialist political class. As Neil Young might have put it, "a kinder, gentler, machine gun hand".

N.Beltov N.Beltov's picture

Drowned out by the louder voice of consumer culture is not silenced altogether. Rabble itself is such an unsilenced voice.

And you might save a little venom ... for the right.  Have a better one.

Coyote

N.Beltov wrote:

Ha ha. Maybe I should find a discussion board ... with people that are actually on the left. Good grief.

N., I'm not going to respond in kind to this because I'm sure it was said out of frustration. Okay? We're both good people who have been on the same or opposite sides of many arguments without question each other's lefty cred before, I'm sure we can continue in that vein.

That said, I'm not at all going to claim to be the voice of the Left. On some issues, you have to drag me kicking and screaming leftwards to put me in eyesight of the Libs; on some issues, Che might tell me tone it down. I think most people are like that.

Everything I said is verifiable fact. You can check it out. And I do think Douglas, who was referenced in the piece we are discussing, can stand on his own without the hagiography of those who like to pretend he was not a practical, social democratic leader.

WillC

--

Frustrated Mess Frustrated Mess's picture

N.Beltov wrote:

Drowned out by the louder voice of consumer culture is not silenced altogether. Rabble itself is such an unsilenced voice.

And you might save a little venom ... for the right.  Have a better one.

Rabble is no such thing. Rabble is a diverse group of people representing any number of interests but no coherent political movement, analysis, or strategy. Most people come here to debate the issues of the day, some to grind an axe, some to provide the dessiminated talking points, and some purely for entertainment. But babble is not changing the world.

If anything, babble proves my point in that the people here, generally, are supportive and engaged in the political system that perpetuates the status quo.

Your comment about venom strikes me as quite odd. What, exactly, did I say that was venomous? I made no personal comments or attacks, I expressed no anger, and I have, I think, been quite polite. I simply argued that the left is left behind because it doesn't really exist in viable and radical form that actually challenges the established consumer capitalist order. And the reason for that is because most people who regard themeselves as left don't really oppose the fundamentals of that system.

Edited to add: The lnked article in the OP in this thread is very good:  http://www.rabble.ca/babble/aboriginal-issues-and-culture/canada-you-stole

Tommy_Paine

 

I think all these NDP threads-- not all of which I have waded through, so I  appologize ahead of time if I am rehashing the points of others-- is that there's this idea that all we have to do is get the NDP elected, and the left wins.    And, when the NDP does get elected, and nothing much changes, it's because of betrayal or what have you.

I believe that it's rather unfair to the NDP to be a revolutionary party inside a system that was constructed specifically to stop anything that challenges the established powers in this country.

Review your elementary school social studies, Canadian history.  The political system was constructed by people who had a deep and abiding hatred and contempt for democracy, for sharing power, and a deep and abiding hatred of anyone but those from thier own class with proper breeding.

We still live in a time where "United Empire Loyalist" is a title attached with honour in some circles.

I mean, ewwwww.

We on the left have unreasonable expectations of the NDP, not to mention Parliament and our Legislatures.  We have this expectation that those institutions can be our vehicles for change.

Stuff and nonesence.

 

remind remind's picture

Well framing this whole arguement from a right wing religious analogy does not help any left framing of anything

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

Ed Finn wrote:
 

Last month in this space, I chided the majority of Canadian voters for alternating their support between the right-wing Tories and Liberals, implying that the New Democratic Party would be a better choice. No doubt it would, but the improvement would probably be marginal. Given the NDP's current leaders and their timidly uninspiring centre-left policies, the transformation of Canada into a democratic socialist state would still be a dream.

Good ol' Ed Finn! I always liked his stuff.

Tommy_Paine

 

But Finn argues that all we need is a strong leader, a leader with guts.

Some...paternalistic figure...to save us....

What we need is people like ourselves to notice that we're alone, that no one is going to save us, that it's time to become adults and look to our own two hands.

 

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

Tommy_Paine wrote:

But Finn argues that all we need is a strong leader, a leader with guts.

Some...paternalistic figure...to save us....

He doesn't argue any such thing.

Tommy_Paine

Sure, he invokes he visage of St. Tommy, and laments the absence of strong leadership:

 

"The closest we’ve come to socialism in Canada was the CCF-NDP government Tommy Douglas headed in Saskatchewan. It was the government that, among its many accomplishments, overcame powerful medical, business and media opposition to bring public health care to this country. Political leadership and courage of that magnitude are nowhere to be seen in Canada today. The tendency is to shun any policy that might harm a party’s credibility or incur the wrath of the rich and powerful."

And later, he finishes with the example of Obama who is trying to steer a course away from inevitable conflict.

Obama's not the problem, nor is a lack of gutsy leadership here in Canada.

Maybe they're waiting for us.

 

remind remind's picture

Exactly Tommy!

N.Beltov N.Beltov's picture

Tommy_Paine wrote:
I believe that it's rather unfair to the NDP to be a revolutionary party inside a system that was constructed specifically to stop anything that challenges the established powers in this country.

Fair enough. I'm not personally advocating that the NDP play such a role. I also think, just to make it clear, that the existence of the NDP in the Canadian political context, by providing some support for working class approaches to politics makes the Canadian political landscape better than the one in the USA in which the Democrats and Republicans have appropriated the terrain and turned their political battles into a meaningless choice between Pepsi and Coke. 

The problem is that the NDP is far more successful at stamping out political fires on its left flank than similar fires on its right flank. Part of what the NDP does is to undermine support for political formations and movements to the left of it. The fact is, and obstinate NDP heads can explode in apoplexy for all I care, a stronger left would mean a stronger NDP. But, by and large, this isn' t wanted and is, in fact, sabotaged. We now have a situation, for example, in which decades of pathological anti-communism, a political trend that the NDP played no small part in nurturing and benefiting from, has led to a situation in the labour movement where efforts to organize, union density, and other key factors in the health and future growth of that movement are at a very low ebb. The working class socialist and other left political trends have, for the most part, been marginalized and virtually silenced in the labour movement. But these trends were a rich source of past successes, of a fighting tradition, and a wellspring of activists who helped organize and thereby mobilize the working class in the past. Therefore, the NDP DOES bear a general responsibility for the problems as outlined by Ed Finn even if the NDP is not, ever, going to be a vehicle for socialist change in Canada.

 

Tommy_Paine

I don't mean to imply that Finn is wrong about everything. Hardly.

But we really have to pardon the cliche, "think outside the box."   And, in the final analysis, Finn, like almost everyone, keeps wanting to fight battles on the ground of our opponents choosing-- not just choosing, but ground of their own creation.

The wierd thing is that for, geez, a couple of decades at least, the left have been the conservatives, in that we have been trying to preserve this, protect that, advocate against this change or that.    The right have been the agents of change.

We've been too long on the deffensive.   Way, way too long.

 

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

Tommy_Paine wrote:

Sure, he invokes he visage of St. Tommy, and laments the absence of strong leadership:

"The closest we’ve come to socialism in Canada was the CCF-NDP government Tommy Douglas headed in Saskatchewan. It was the government that, among its many accomplishments, overcame powerful medical, business and media opposition to bring public health care to this country. Political leadership and courage of that magnitude are nowhere to be seen in Canada today. The tendency is to shun any policy that might harm a party’s credibility or incur the wrath of the rich and powerful."

Sure, he laments the lack of leadership and courage, but if you read the last sentence you quoted (and the rest of Finn's column!) you will see he is lamenting primarily the lack of socialist policies, not individual political saviours.

Fidel

Canadians have turned their backs on most of the NDP's socialist policies and some of the best leaders this country never had. Big money buys government in Ottawa. And now that the second-hand ideology is flopping again in a major way, the two old line big money parties are having to prop each up for a lack of voter enthusiasm. It's the democracy gap in Canada - it's become a gaping chasm.

N.Beltov N.Beltov's picture

Tommy_Paine wrote:
The wierd thing is that for, geez, a couple of decades at least, the left have been the conservatives, in that we have been trying to preserve this, protect that, advocate against this change or that.    The right have been the agents of change.

We've been too long on the deffensive.   Way, way too long.

This is consistent with Finn's claims. The failure to elaborate genuine, i.e., socialist, alternatives to neo-liberal orthodoxy in addition to defending past gains is precisely what he's addressing here.

Fidel

I dont buy that. Canadians would not vote for socialist economic policies today in any greater numbers than they did in the 84, 88, and 93 elections. Liberals lied about opposing neoliberal free trade deals and balanced budgets at the expense of workers and the unemployed, and now what we have are voter turnouts that arent much better than in the US. The US doesnt want to trade freely with Canada - they want to dominate Canada. That's what the two old line parties are paid to make happen.

With the capitalist system in North America you get two flavours of democracy, chocolate and vanilla and always from the same old cow with taxpayers owning the end of the beast that wants feeding always. Those are the choices. It's actually duller and greyer than Soviet communism. It's rust

 

Frustrated Mess Frustrated Mess's picture

Quote:
I dont buy that. Canadians would not vote for socialist economic policies today in any greater numbers than they did in the 84, 88, and 93 elections.

How can there be socialist policies without a socialist government? Are people voting against socialist politics or  a weak capitalist party?

George Victor

You are teetering on the edge of the answer, FM

The people haven't the foggiest idea of a way out, anymore. The environmental challenge on top of disappearance of the historical social relationships within capitalism (and consumer fetishism) make it all too much.

But, then, as you have pointed out, FM, there ain't a helluva lot of believable political-economic thought given over to national survival or global, evident hereabouts, either.

Slumberjack

Frustrated Mess wrote:
If anything, babble proves my point in that the people here, generally, are supportive and engaged in the political system that perpetuates the status quo.

More or less, based on the observation that anything spoken of endearingly that comes prefixed with the word "New" has a familiar ring to it along the lines as you describe.

George Victor

"The Left is Left Behind" for good reasons, and this thread describes them in outline, none of them having to do with the attachment of prefixes.

FM ran a thread, beginning in 2006, a saga that lists (it's active again) the many ways in which homo sapiens sapiens is fouling his nest. Three years ago, it began to be difficult to deny our species incredible penchant for self-destruction. A political cartoon by Gable from September,2007, shows a couple of people boating in Arctic waters, one saying: "Wonderful news! The unprecedented rate of Arctic ice melting...attributed by a growing number of scientists to global warming...will open to development vast untaped reserves of gas and oil!

A nearby,  tiny cake of ice, barely supports two polar bears. One turns to the other and observes, reflecting on the "wonderful news" statement: "Homo sapiens - noun - latin translation - wise man".

One year earlier, another cartoonist had posed his subjects, a man and his son, in the living room of their house. The man is reading a "Hummer...User's Manual". He turns to his son and says:"Yes, the earth is getting hotter than ever and yes, its probably due to human activity. But I'll let you in on a little secret no other adult will ever tell you...we actually don't care about our kids' future."

In Canada, the "left" that appears on ballots across the country is unable to describe a way out of this environmental dilemma without being labelled radical and a threat to the finely balanced workings of an economy that is still expected to provide jobs and retirement in some sort of decent conditions - even if the "55 and out" mirage of tropical beaches is fading like the small print on that Asset Backed Commercial Paper. This is FM's "status quo", of dreams of a lifestyle that was laid down in postwar plenty, but faced with more than disappearing ice floes in the Arctic as a result of that lifestyle.

FM has been reading some more economics, lately, and finds, perhaps, a small ray of light in that dark world in the works of Jeff Rubin, late of the CIBC World Markets world.

Perhaps an economics that recognizes our dependency on fossil fuels will fuel a realistic political philosophy.  But we have to deal with the reality of a despairing electorate and the bait and switch work of their tacticians in the meantime.  And the meaningless offerings of the voyeurs hereabouts will certainly not lead to solutions for this immediate political crisis.

 

 

Fidel

Frustrated Mess wrote:

Quote:
I dont buy that. Canadians would not vote for socialist economic policies today in any greater numbers than they did in the 84, 88, and 93 elections.

How can there be socialist policies without a socialist government? Are people voting against socialist politics or  a weak capitalist party?

I think that of the Canadians who do vote, they vote for their interests. According to the last federal election, 22% of registered voters believed that Tories represent their interests. Somewhere less than that are Liberal Party supporters. Support for the old line parties combined is a couple of centimetres deep but a kilometre wide. It used to be a mile wide during the prosperous cold war era when no end could be seen for capitalist economic expansion.

And then there is the NDP with our 2.54 cm wide but kilometre deep support. We would need to spend as much money propagandizing the public as what those other two big money parties spend. We'd need a war chest of comparable amount in order to compete with the autocratic parties. Rules for sports say teams can't pay off the refs, so why should money be allowed in politics? Democracy is the right's most hated institution and always will be.

 

clandestiny

the difference between the left and the right is that the right HAS TO spend 'loadsa dough' to con the people outta their kids' virginity (hey, i'm getting old tired and nasty!) not to mention their personal wealth and all their countrys' futures; with their souls thrown  into the pot iffen they believe in God (re: SHE gave humankind dominion over the earth, so extinction of gorillas/polar bears whales etc  habitat might infuriate GOD at HER followers, who abetted in the poisoning of the earth's air water etc)...it seems empowering the masses just sets up the reactionaries to slip into power, which they then use to completely redraw the historical facts and feed the greedy lil bastards' illusions who then vote for the likes of bush harper and ghenhis khan and reagan/caligula etc because it is 'politically incorrect' when bush harper are the actual standard bearers of political correctness! The more one knows about this society the more one must marvel at its utter lack of any morality, or honesty. The allies, for example, hurriedly rush the D Day landing when the USSR in '43 began marching into Europe, and a communist Europe looked possible (the Dieppe landing 2 years earlier was just a feint to buy off Stalin, it turns out- the allied leaders wanted the Soviets and nazis to destroy each other while they sat back; though try tell 1800 dead Canadian troops that!)...the untold millions of people died for churchill's convenience, and the history books like to pretend it was all straight out good guy bad guy!

maybe being a leftist is being punished for caring

remind remind's picture

no good deeds go unpunished

BTW this thread title still is nasty

Fidel

M. Spector wrote:

Ed Finn wrote:
 

Last month in this space, I chided the majority of Canadian voters for alternating their support between the right-wing Tories and Liberals, implying that the New Democratic Party would be a better choice. No doubt it would, but the improvement would probably be marginal. Given the NDP's current leaders and their timidly uninspiring centre-left policies, the transformation of Canada into a democratic socialist state would still be a dream.

Good ol' Ed Finn! I always liked his stuff.

I think Ed Finn is depressing. He can not know what a federal NDP government would achieve, because in the same vein that we've never had a Marxist-socialist government, we've never had federal NDP rule either. All these crankyTrotskyites waiting for that perfect revolution which will never happen might as well suggest there is no point in trying to unite workers around the world or even democratize our huge corner of it here in the second largest country in the world. I wish people like Finn would go do something else other than point out the left's weaknesses instead of doing what Marx said to do, which is to revive the spirit of revolutionary change. Gotta start somewhere, and the NDP would represent a breath of fresh air in the halls where real power resides in this country. If Marxists want to eventually have a chance at being elected to Parliament and have voters voting with their hearts and minds instead of by fear, then vote NDP damnit. You get one day every four years (until recently anyway) to protest and have it count for something. Don't waste that opportunity.

George Victor

Sock it to 'em Fidel!Wink

Tommy_Paine

Gotta start somewhere, and the NDP would represent a breath of fresh air in the halls where real power resides in this country.

 

An NDP majority government would get no where near the halls where real power resides in this country. 

We have, in fact, a former NDPer in one of the very significant halls of power over at the PR firm Navigator; Robin Sears.   He has more power than any M.P. will ever have.  And the firm he's a flying monkey for has more power than any Cabinet Minister.

That's one of the things holding back the left--  we don't really understand power.

I think an NDP government would be better than the tory diumvarate, but  I don't hold out much hope for the kind of significant changes we believe a majority government in a democracy could bring about.  And it's not because they're namby pamby about it-- though they might be-- they could be fire breathing marxist idealogues for all it matters.

Parliament isn't where the power is.

 

remind remind's picture

nope it isn't, and speak for yourself, ;0 I understand  power just fine, though I agree most people do not, the left included..

Jacob Richter

"The working class cannot simply lay hold of the ready-made state machinery, and wield it for its own purposes."

Frustrated Mess Frustrated Mess's picture

Quote:

That's one of the things holding back the left--  we don't really understand power.

The left doesn't want power. It wants those who are in power to be more generous to those closer (in proximity) to them.

Tommy_Paine

remind wrote:

nope it isn't, and speak for yourself, ;0 I understand  power just fine, though I agree most people do not, the left included..

Okay, I'll revise that then, the left, save remind, don't understand power......

Laughing

Tommy_Paine

The left doesn't want power. It wants those who are in power to be more generous to those closer (in proximity) to them.

Hmm.  Maybe that's what defines progressives from the left.

I agree generally though.  We want power less concentrated.  But that's asking those with power to share some out to us. 

They aren't powerfull because they like sharing.

There's many more knowledgable in these things than I, and perhaps they can contradict me, but I don't know where those with power will part with it before there's serious bloodshed.

It's a game they play for keepsies.

 

remind remind's picture

serious blooshed or a huge natural  disaster

Frustrated Mess Frustrated Mess's picture

Quote:

There's many more knowledgable in these things than I, and perhaps they can contradict me, but I don't know where those with power will part with it before there's serious bloodshed.

They've shared the illusion of power and they've shared wealth, following bloodshed, WWI & WWII, through the Fordist compact, unionization and industrial wages, and through Keynesism.

The Left, in Canadian history at least, has never sought power. In fact, the established left, trade unions, political parties, have most often sacrificed the radical elements for accomodation with those in power even when such accomodation meant not only sacrificing the radical left's leadership, but the workers and followers as well.

The Candian Left is quite content with the spoils from industrial consumer capitalism and has no real stomach for challenging it other than at the hard margins where the power elite are prepared to tolerate a little give and take for the sake of maintaining the democratic illusion of choice.

Fidel

Tommy_Paine wrote:

Gotta start somewhere, and the NDP would represent a breath of fresh air in the halls where real power resides in this country.

 

An NDP majority government would get no where near the halls where real power resides in this country. 

We have, in fact, a former NDPer in one of the very significant halls of power over at the PR firm Navigator; Robin Sears.   He has more power than any M.P. will ever have.  And the firm he's a flying monkey for has more power than any Cabinet Minister.

That's one of the things holding back the left--  we don't really understand power.

So youre saying Robin Sears is a king-maker in the same vein as Paul Desmarais and Bay Street? And NDP MPs could be invited to shindigs at the Desmarais mansion in Florida, if they really wanted to run elbows with money and power and vice versa?

Tommy_Paine

 

No, I'm saying Sears and others know that politics and power are nothing more than what one can do to, or for, people.  Sears isn't, I imagine, a major power broker as you lay it out-- though it's clear he's no bit player.  

It's more a measure of the impotence of MP's and Cabinet Ministers.

 

Fidel

I think a first-time federal NDP government would be really good for democracy in this semi-frozen Puerto Rico with a few polar bears.

And besides, I still want to see all those old line party senators made to go out and get real jobs.

Jacob Richter

Tommy_Paine wrote:

The left doesn't want power. It wants those who are in power to be more generous to those closer (in proximity) to them.

Hmm.  Maybe that's what defines progressives from the left.

I agree generally though.  We want power less concentrated.  But that's asking those with power to share some out to us. 

They aren't powerfull because they like sharing.

There's many more knowledgable in these things than I, and perhaps they can contradict me, but I don't know where those with power will part with it before there's serious bloodshed.

It's a game they play for keepsies.

Since you're a working-class person who's skeptical of independent working-class politics, what's your solution, then?

Frustrated Mess Frustrated Mess's picture
Fidel

You'd be lookin' fa Spamalot on YouTube, mate. It in't there no more.

George Victor

J.Chretien understood power.  At one  point he said (partly to defer responsibility in Liberal fashion) that the twenty somethiing in red suspenders on the floor of the exchange held more power than himself.  That proved to be accurate indeed, a decade and a half later.

But while he was saying that, Chretien had also empowered his erstwhiile minister of finance, and PM-to-be, to cut the $40 billion yearly deficit and head off the charge of Tar Patch-funded masses under the CRAP banner from the west. That was a powerful blow to social services everywhere, and empowered the Harrisites of Ontario to continue the work of downloading destruction from which the province is struggling to recover by retaining some smidgin of power to tax.  But even the masses who would benefit  from that effort in their old age, have joined the happy anti-tax chorus.

Now, where were we in those explanations about the "seat" of power and its underpinnings?  How about the "power of the purse" and the ignorance of the led? 

Philo8

B9sus4 wrote:

The people swim in an ocean of poisoned media. Their thinking is conditioned by it -- which of course is it's exact purpose. Our voices don't reach the masses. Simple. They have been conditioned not to listen to us. I've had this experience recently: rightist-brainwashed workers shrieking at me that I'm a "conspiracy theorist" etc. for telling them the simple truth. They have been conditioned to shun truth as dangerous to them. They submit themselves to the "news"papers and watch TV to get their sports scores and celebrity gossip and with it they imbibe vast quantities of rightwing gibberish coded into the flow of pseudo-information that occupies their minds. That's it's intent. And obviously it works. For example, I was saying to some fairly intelligent fellows that The Simpsons is nothing but rightwing propaganda designed to make them complacent about the class system and cynical about the possibility of change (besides being an obvious shill for GE, Westinghouse, and the other Big Nuke corporations). Well, ha ha, as you might expect, the old man was mocked again (tin foil hat guy) and the whole conversation turned into a retelling of all the fabulous funnies from Homer and the gang. What can we expect at this point? The information ocean is poisoned like our lakes and rivers: pumped full of filth and lies crafted by whores hired by billionaire fascists and banksters. Can we be surprised then that the people sneer at socialism? They do what they've been told to do.

Very well said. George Orwell wrote similarly yearrs ago.

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