NDP Embrace War in Afghanistan

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Maddin
NDP Embrace War in Afghanistan

The NDP has jumped at the chance to step into a pro-war government. And we must be plain about how explicitly it has done so. By all accounts, a de facto embrace of the war was preqruisite for the coalition ("Off the table")--and one Layton and crew didn't blink at. This is more than aquiesence; it is outright embrace of the war for parliamentary gains.

For many rank-and-file NDPers, Canada's illegal war and occupation of Afghanistan is not simply one issue among many, another pragmatic concern. Opposition to the war is based on fundamental commitments. It is ideological in the sense that opposing imperialist wars will always be part of a belief system with deep roots (one which opposes dispossession, slaughter, torture, dedgradation, etc.).

For those (within or supportive of the NDP) who are fundamentally opposed to the war, I can see this pro-war, war-time NDP governing coalition taking two different lights.

In the first, it demonstrates that the NDP's anti-war stance has been shallow and cynical. We know it took the NDP leadership a good while to come around to condeming the war, and we have seen that Layton was almost completely silent on it as an election issue (until some unexpected news turned the issue into campaign capital in the lead-up week). It's worth noting that, during the election, NDP headquarters had been sitting on a press release (fingers crossed?), waiting on the 100th Canadian as Afghan civilian deaths silently mounted. Since the party leadership was never genuinely or credibly anti-war, little is lost in selling out the rank and file, who've never counted for much beyond their raw support and campaign legwork.

 
In another light, it's not the crass cynicism of the leadership that matters. It's the failure of the PARTY to hold onto *any* core values, and, even more, the failure of the fight WITHIN the party to maintain any such core values. The pro-war coalition, then, marks the culmination of the hollowing out of the NDP. As the chorus of approval mounts, it leaves those opposed to war with nothing but their own marginality for company. For imperial war and occupation is just another issue among many, to be sidelined for little more than some cabinet seats in a status-quo capitalist parliament.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Maddin

Edit, para 4: 100th Canadian military death

remind remind's picture

Funny people just joining and/or thread proliferating, just to throw crap around all over the place to try and shake confidence in the coalition.

 Please do go join another party if they are more anti-war than the NDP.

___________________________________________________________
"watching the tide roll away"

Coyote

Your preference being . . . . a Conservative government?

 A coalition with the Marxist-Leninist party?

Oooh! Oooh! I know! Maybe we could form a coalition with all the other anti-war parties in the house of com . . . . wait. That don't work.

 

You make your deal with them's as there to be dealt with.

Fidel

So NDP'ers are supposed to hold their collective breath until the party wins a first past the ghost fluke or proportional voting, one or the other? Sounds like Trotskys again. According to them, any and all revolutions are imperfect and therefore no good can come of them - except for that one which will never happen. Everyone's a sellout except them.

Left Turn Left Turn's picture

Remind, there is somethin fundamentally wrong with the NDP joining in a pro-war coalition with the Liberals. It turns the NDP from an anti-war party, into a pro-war party that endorses war and occupation in Afghanistan. Why can't you recognize this basic fact?

Unionist

The NDP is an "anti-war party"? Left Turn, where have you been?

In spring 2005, Jack Layton struck a deal with Paul Martin to prop up the Liberal government in exchange for an "NDP budget" - a good move, IMHO.

Did you notice Layton making withdrawal from Afghanistan a condition of support?

When Martin's government fell, Canadian troops were already in Kandahar and Hillier was calling for killing the "scumbags".

Did you hear Layton call for withdrawal from Afghanistan? No, no, no, he called throughout that campaign for a "debate in the House" - and he never said, not for one second, what position he would take in that debate.

And do you recall when Jack Layton and the NDP first called for withdrawal from Afghanistan?

End of August 2006, on the eve of the Québec City Convention - when it became obvious that the rank-and-file delegates were going to issue that call.

And he's been waffling back and forth ever since (cf. Dawn Black and her ilk).

So (and I mean this with no disrespect), whom are you trying to kid? The NDP is what it is. And it is not what you say, not even close.

But now the NDP is feeling the heat from its members and supporters. It sees an opportunity. And for whatever motivations, it has decided to do the right thing - a positive move, which will express the disgust of the Canadian people against the vicious, draconian, anti-human Harper policies and style of governance.

Now that they are actually doing something positive, instead of just inconsistently saying some positive things, you want to put the brakes on them?

No. Stop creating illusions. Warn them, caution them, criticize them for straying from principle, for wavering on the war, and all the rest. But don't tell them they need to leave Harper in power, or worse yet, with a majority.

enemy_of_capital

Left Turn wrote:
Remind, there is somethin fundamentally wrong with the NDP joining in a pro-war coalition with the Liberals. It turns the NDP from an anti-war party, into a pro-war party that endorses war and occupation in Afghanistan. Why can't you recognize this basic fact?

 Here, Here.

Also Fidel. Why does someone have to be a Trotskyist to have principals? The war is not a minor issue it is the NDP a supposedly avowed anti war party (its membership almost unanimously voted on this issue at convention) allowing its parliamentary voice to turncoat on one of the most pressing issues of the day. Shame!

remind remind's picture

Because it doesn't, why can't you recognize that, left turn?

___________________________________________________________
"watching the tide roll away"

Webgear

I am speculating however do you think the immediate pullout will happen in 2011? Will the CF be sent on a peacekeeping mission to Africa? Do you think Dawn Black will become the Minister of Defence? What is going to happen with military spending? 

 

 

Cueball Cueball's picture

remind wrote:

Funny people just joining and/or thread proliferating, just to throw crap around all over the place to try and shake confidence in the coalition.

 Please do go join another party if they are more anti-war than the NDP.

___________________________________________________________ "watching the tide roll away"

Quit trying to manufacture consent by shadow moderating. The war in Afghanistan is probably the number II international issue in the world today, slightly behind the war in Iraq, and just slightly ahead of the new cold war with Russia. To try and relegate it to a sub issue of the NDP power grab is absurd.

Its a fact, anti-war activists lobbied hard to get the NDP to oppose the war in Afghanistan, and the NDP droping its pants right now on this issue only reinforces the impression that the the NDP leaderships commitment to this member instituted policy was negligible, as was indicated by the strange equivocations of Dawn Black over the last few months. 

Fidel

Unionist wrote:

The NDP is an "anti-war party"? Left Turn, where have you been?

In spring 2005, Jack Layton struck a deal with Paul Martin to prop up the Liberal government in exchange for an "NDP budget" - a good move, IMHO.

Did you notice Layton making withdrawal from Afghanistan a condition of support?

You can say that again. I dont even think the Liberals made mention of the exact role our troops would be taking on, whether peacekeeping or that "aggressive U.S. combat role" we found out about later.

Manley told the NDP he couldnt divulge details surrounding the handling of prisoners, or whether we'd be handing Afghans over to the Americanos to be tortured. The Liberals mumbled something about national security, or some such. Of course, that was when Libranos were accepting  marching orders from Crazy Jorge de la Yayo II in Warshington.

Left Turn Left Turn's picture

Unionist wrote:
In spring 2005, Jack Layton struck a deal with Paul Martin to prop up the Liberal government in exchange for an "NDP budget" - a good move, IMHO.

Did you notice Layton making withdrawal from Afghanistan a condition of support?

In spring 2005, Layton was negotiating conditions under which the NDP would support a Liberal budget, not conditions under which the NDP would join a Liberal government. That's an important distinction, which should not be taken lightly. The 2005 budget deal left all NDP MPs free to criticize the government on any issues so desired.  Furthermore, the NDP was not expected to continue to support the government beyond the budget, if the goverment subsequently brought forward measures that the NDP opposed.

Under this coalition agreement, the NDP is expected to support the government for 30 months, regardless of what the government might do. It binds the six NDP members that Dion choses to be in cabinet, from criticizing the government due to cabinet solidarity. NDP MPs will be under pressure not to rock the boat and criticize the government. Also, The labour bureaucracy, because it support the coalition, will tell workers not to rock the boat and criticize the government, when it brings forward legislation that is not in the interest of workers.

martin dufresne

I am confident that no one will shut YOU up, Left Turn and that there are quite a few people in that position.

Unionist

Left Turn, you completely missed my point - completely.

I was challenging your assertion that the NDP is an anti-war party.

I said the NDP did not make withdrawal from Afghanistan a condition of propping up the Liberal government in 2005, at a key time of escalation of the war.

In fact, it did not even cite Afghanistan as a reason for voting non-confidence in November 2005.

So, to repeat: What's the big deal now????

You show me where in the "accord" that the NDP (or the Liberals, for that matter) have to support the war.

 

rrslif

Well, it should be easy for the NDP and Bloc now to gang up on the Liberals if neccesary to withdraw from Afghanistan. The Liberals are broke and have no leader.

jas

I'm not sure pulling out of Afghanistan would really be a
seal-the-deal issue right now. Is it at all possible for Babblers to
wait and see what issues might come back on the table IF and WHEN the
coalition takes government and STARTS making some gradual policy
changes, over time?? Instead of immediately branding all of the
coalition signees as war-mongers?

Just a thought !

ottawaobserver

It is all too easy to pull things apart.  This is why we have wars in the first place.  Peace takes patience and wisdom.  Let's ensure we bear that in mind.

remind remind's picture

I just call BS, on all the fear driven strawmen some people are creating regarding this in order to apparently manufacture their own disquiet regarding forging ahead into unknown territory. The NDP MP's can stand and vote nay any time they want,  whether in partial power or not. Party members do vote against their own government's Bills you know.

Moreover, this coalition is going to get rid of Harper, in the immediate blush of its creation. He cannot constitutionally stay at the helm of the CPC without facing a motion of confidence asap, or resign. This coalition has forced this fact and if that is all it does it is a good thing.

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"watching the tide roll away"

Cueball Cueball's picture

The issue of the war in Afghanistan, is NOT an issue of the personal conscience of NDP MP's. It is a party policy ratified by the majority of the membership. NDP MP's should not be put in the position of having to vote against their own government, in this situtation, the NDP MP's should universally vote against the war, if and when the issue is brought forward.

Left Turn Left Turn's picture

Unionist wrote:

Left Turn, you completely missed my point - completely.

I was challenging your assertion that the NDP is an anti-war party.

I said the NDP did not make withdrawal from Afghanistan a condition of propping up the Liberal government in 2005, at a key time of escalation of the war.

In fact, it did not even cite Afghanistan as a reason for voting non-confidence in November 2005.

So, to repeat: What's the big deal now????

You show me where in the "accord" that the NDP (or the Liberals, for that matter) have to support the war. 

I probably should have phrased the NDP's position on afghanistan better. I know the NDP isn't really an anti-war party, I just got caught up in my own rhetoric.

However, as I previously stated, the big deal is that the NDP is now joining in a Liberal government that will continue the Afghanistan war through 2011. That's a blatantly pro-war position if ever I saw one. Opposition to the coalition, on the grounds that it supports war and occupation in Afghanistan, should be basic stuff for those of us who are against war and occupation. Apparently it's not.

LeighT

people are making some assumptions here, that should be clarified by those who are more familiar with the details, but in the summer there was a proposal put forward with both lib and ndp on the cttee that said essentially, no more war-mongering in Afghanistan.  whatever Dion said or didn't say to media in the past week needs to be taken into consideration with a) what has actually been signed, b) what ndp and libs have agreed on to date on paper, c) what might be possible to further elaborate upon, and d) what might be pushed from below now or in future.

LeighT

i should clarify that i was responding to those who think the NDP 'embrace war in Afghanistan'.  I do not believe the NDP embrace war in Afghanistan.

remind,you may want to clarify who you are responding to.

Gnote

Using the same logic as that required to concure with the intial post, the failure to coalesce with the Liberals would signify support for the collapse of the economy.

 Maddin, there is simply insufficient appetite to end our participation in Afghanistan at this point.  Should that disuade us from acting on any front at all?

It sounds, to me, like you are suggesting we stop fighting to save health care, the homeless, the environment, and the economy, unless and until we end our participation in Afghanistan.

That is an illogical position, and not one befitting those who would lead us.

remind remind's picture

Again left turn, you are creating strawmen to kick down, you do not know what is going to happen in this respect anymore than I do. I could see the coalition taking a look at the books and saying, we can't afford to stay in Afghanistan, as a reason to leave.

Currently while they are struggling to make the coalition viable they have to keep as many people on board as possible. Once in power things can and will change.

They will NOT change under a Harper dictatorship regime, they will get worse.

But go ahead and support Harper's continuance, and the breaking of constitutional convention, your principles won't mean much, once the out flow from that hits Canadians.

___________________________________________________________

"watching the tide roll away"

Left Turn Left Turn's picture

I'm all for fighting hard on issues like health care, homlessness, the environment, and the economy. I just don't believe that joining a pro-war government is the right way to go about it. An accord, maybe, but not outright joining a pro-war, Liberal government. It's indefensible, as far as I'm concerned. It reeks as bad as it did back in 1914, when all those Second International parties voted for war.

Fidel

Jeez if this is the case, then it should be a small jump to the right to suggest the NDP must also be in favour of midnight golfing and gassing up with ginger ale, too. It all makes sense for me now. Thank you for this illuminating thread. I was lost in the foundry until now.

LeighT

Left turn, please go read the report produced last summer by Liberals.  It is explicit about stopping the war mission.   as remind says, if there needs to be pushing done, it can be done.

remind remind's picture

The Liberals would not have been able to say they had a potential stable government without a formal coalition, End of story. The NDP might as well fight these things you mention when they can.  Moreover, anything coming from the Liberals after Harper is gone can be voted against.

___________________________________________________________
"watching the tide roll away"

Webgear

Has anyone heard who will become the Minister of Defence?

Webgear

LeighT wrote:

Left turn, please go read the report produced last summer by Liberals.  It is explicit about stopping the war mission.  

 Do you know where I can find this report? Is there a link?

 

 

 

Slumberjack

Webgear wrote:
Has anyone heard who will become the Minister of Defence?

No, but it's times like these when I miss Sven Robinson the most. 

Webgear

Funny, I have heard that name mentioned on another forum. He will be promoted into the Senate and then given a seat.

 

 

Cueball Cueball's picture

That would be nice, but I highly doubt it. I am sure this is just some off-hand tory attempt at whipping up homophobic sentiment. Svend has been organizationally defrocked by the right wing of the NDP, and they are never going to let him back in. End of story.

The jewelry theft thing did not help his case either. 

Webgear

"The NDP is putting aside its differences that have existed historically with the Liberals on such issues as Afghanistan," said Thomas Mulcair, the party's only MP in Quebec."

http://cnews.canoe.ca/CNEWS/War_Terror/2008/12/03/7623241-cp.html

 

 

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

LeighT wrote:

Left turn, please go read the report produced last summer by Liberals.  It is explicit about stopping the war mission. 

Does this mean that the Kanadian Koalition government will be bringing home the troops in 2009? 

If not, why not? And if so, why wasn't it part of the coalition agreement?

LeighT

here's the link for that report.  the cttee had some libs and ndps on it.  you can read the language, and see what you think.  i did some rather nasty critique on it when it came out, but maybe the dynamics would be more in our favour now.  notably, then the libs had absolutely no backbone, and the ndp were outvoted.  notably in this report, the bloc dissented and stuck to the 09 date.  maybe with current dynamics, and a cooperative gov't or whatever they want to call it, the shift would, or could be substantial enough to make the difference.  at least more favourable.

http://cmte.parl.gc.ca/Content/HOC/committee/392/faae/reports/rp3598043/faaerp10/faaerp10-e.pdf

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

So please tell us on which page the report is "explicit about stopping the war mission" (your words)?

LeighT

M. Spector, I think both you and I agree that we don't want people dropping bombs on civilians, or doing all kinds of other nasty things.

when i made the comment you are quoting in your #37 here, i was as of this date in Dec. trying to remember the sense of that report from over four months ago, with lots of other reports inbetween.  I recalled that there was a different emphasis from earlier reports, and 'war' was not being encouraged at all.  this emphasis has in the past been called the distinction between a war mission and other kinds of missions.  quite different from 'killing Taliban' and other kinds of nonsense that we've heard in the past.  And Certainly Much different from the title of the thread, NDP embrace war in Afghanistan.  so to write a quick note on the jist, it came out as it did.  

i've now gone back in files to find the item.  you can read it, critique the heck out of it.  do whatever you like with it. 

the point remains that if we actually want to stop our troops from participating in violence in Afghanistan, the presence of the bloc and ndp and some liberals (who did respond to our efforts to keep Canada out of Iraq) will make it easier to get access to real information about what exactly we're doing over there, what we're spending and where, and all the other kinds of info that have hitherto been very very difficult to pry out of the Harperites.  with info, and with ongoing efforts we have a better chance of really stopping the war.  Certainly more so than with Harper in power.

And there's lots of other arguments that people on this board have made already.

i'm done arguing for now. demos are tomorrow.  maybe with some hope that we actually have some power, and with better info, mobilizing folks against the war won't be so hard as it's been in the last bit.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

LeighT wrote:

i've now gone back in files to find the item.  you can read it, critique the heck out of it.  do whatever you like with it.

In other words, you're just wasting our time by throwing out a 160-page document for us to read in order to support your ridiculous assertion:

Quote:
Left turn, please go read the report produced last summer by Liberals.  It is explicit about stopping the war mission.

If you were honest, you would simply say, when asked to document your assertion, that you had misspoken, and that in fact the Liberals never produced any report that was "explicit about stopping the war mission." Instead, you throw this piece of crap at us and suggest we read it, when it says nothing to support your lying Liberal propaganda. 

jas

Thanks for the info, LeighT. Don't mind Spector.

Webgear

I am going to agree with M. Spector's assessment on LeighT’'s ridiculous assertion.

 

Summer

At page 116 (p. 2 of Appendix 1) it says:

Quote:

Whereas,

the House recognizes the important contribution and sacrifice of Canadian Forces and Canadian

civilian personnel as part of the UN mandated, NATO-led mission deployed in Afghanistan at the

request of the democratically elected government of Afghanistan;

the House believes that Canada must remain committed to the people of Afghanistan beyond

February 2009;

SNIP

therefore, it is the opinion of the House,

that Canada should continue a military presence in Kandahar beyond February 2009, to July 2011,

SNIP

(c) the government of Canada notify NATO that Canada will end its presence in Kandahar as of July 2011, and, as of that date, the redeployment of Canadian Forces troops out of Kandahar and their replacement by Afghan forces start as soon as possible, so that it will have been completed by December 2011;

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

Yes, that's from the motion that was adopted by the House of Commons.

What's your point? 

If you are reading this, you have just proved once again how annoying signatures/tag lines are. Support their abolition.

Left Turn Left Turn's picture

Quote:

(c)
the government of Canada notify NATO that Canada will end its presence
in Kandahar as of July 2011, and, as of that date, the redeployment of
Canadian Forces troops out of Kandahar and their replacement by Afghan
forces start as soon as possible, so that it will have been completed
by December 2011;

That motion says Canada will remain in Kandahar until 2011, and commits only to a withdrawal from Kandahar in 2011, not from Afghanistan. Not good enough.

Fidel

I remember reading about an Ontario government welcoming war resisters from the former Soviet Union in the late 1980's. There has been plenty of disinformation surrounding Afghanistan and its recent history.

 

Afghanistan, Another Untold Story

>by Michael Parenti

Quote:
Barack Obama is on record as advocating a military escalation in Afghanistan. Before sinking any deeper into that quagmire, we might do well to learn something about recent Afghan history and the role played by the United States.

Less than a month after the 11 September  2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, US leaders began an all-out aerial assault upon Afghanistan, the country purportedly harboring Osama bin Laden and his al Qaeda terrorist organization. More than twenty years earlier, in 1980, the United States intervened to stop a Soviet “invasion” of that country. Even some leading progressive writers, who normally take a more critical view of US policy abroad, treated the US intervention against the Soviet-supported government as “a good thing.” The actual story is not such a good thing.

Some Real History

Since feudal times the landholding system in Afghanistan had remained unchanged, with more than 75 percent of the land owned by big landlords who comprised only 3 percent of the rural population. In the mid-1960s, democratic revolutionary elements coalesced to form the People’s Democratic Party (PDP). In 1973, the king was deposed, but the government that replaced him proved to be autocratic, corrupt, and unpopular. It in turn was forced out in 1978 after a massive demonstration in front of the presidential palace, and after the army intervened on the side of the demonstrators.

The military officers who took charge invited the PDP to form a new government under the leadership of Noor Mohammed Taraki, a poet and novelist. This is how a Marxist-led coalition of national democratic forces came into office. “It was a totally indigenous happening. Not even the CIA blamed the USSR for it,” writes John Ryan, a retired professor  at the University of Winnipeg, who was conducting an agricultural research project in Afghanistan at about that time. . .

 

 

Cueball Cueball's picture

...an interesting place to stop that narrative. Anyhow...

It is simply irresponsible not to vocally denounce the war in Afghanistan, and continue to preassure the NDP to hold to its commitments to its membership, regardless of the state of affairs here, or any partisan loyalties, or desire one might have to mute critcism for partisan reasons.

The lives of Afghans are just as important as our own, and just because they are far away, and do not vote in Canadian elections, is no reason to discount their interests, or Canada's role in imposing war, tyrrany and privation upon them.

Fidel

I think that not only has Afghanistan become a client state of U.S. empire since not long after the end of the USSR, so has Canada become a nation increasingly defined by U.S. interests. I think there would have to be wholesale changes made in Ottawa before we can begin to say no to Uncle Sam. Empires don't last, and I think it's possible that Canadians may see social democracy and more egalitarian ways for men and women here in our own country some day. In the mean time, war and warfiteering reign merrily. If Canadians want the NDP to stop our participation in U.S.-led phony war on terror, then the NDP will need a phony majority in Ottawa at the very least. And phony majorities arent cheap and generally require a well-funded war chest for propagandizing voters with some version of the truth phony or otherwise.

Cueball Cueball's picture

"... the truth phoney or otherwise."

Nice phrase.

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

Fidel wrote:

If Canadians want the NDP to stop our participation in U.S.-led phony war on terror, then the NDP will need a phony majority in Ottawa at the very least.

And yet, according to you, joining a coalition with the Liberals will accomplish all sorts of nice things without the NDP needing a phony majority. But bringing the troops home in 2009 isn't one of them.

The only possible explanation is the NDP's political cowardice and opportunism.

Fidel, further up the thread, wrote:

So NDP'ers are supposed to hold their collective breath until the party wins a first past the ghost fluke or proportional voting, one or the other? 

No, but according to you the people of Afghanistan are supposed to hold their breath until the NDP wins an election outright.

If you are reading this, you have just proved once again how annoying signatures/tag lines are. Support their abolition.

melovesproles

The NDP´s position on Afghanistan was the #1 reason why I voted for them this time out, they are getting weaker and weaker on everything I once admired about their policies.  I would love to see Harper kicked out of power and I recognize that there have to be compromises but if it was impossible to get the Liberals to change their position, then the NDP should have at least managed to get an open vote on their respective positions in Parliament.  This looks like they are simply abandoning their position and with Obama calling for an escalation in the conflict this looks very short sighted and unprincipled.

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