No More Tom Foolery?

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Aristotleded24
No More Tom Foolery?

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Aristotleded24

I know we already have a thread about Thomas Mulcair going, but I want to start one to deal specifically with the idea of the NDP having a leadership review to challenge Mulcair's leadership, which is what I believe the NDP should consider doing at this point.

I have never supported the idea of Thomas Mulcair for leader. I thought he was a Blairite from the early time, and with the one-year anniversary of his leadership ascension coming up, he has not been able to persuade me otherwise. I believe if Mulcair continues on this current path that the NDP will lose the next federal election, because he will not be able to inspire the majoirty of people who are turned off of politics. I've seen him in person, and he comes across as very dismissive of anyone who disagrees with him. ([url=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iBZLZFxJHmM]See this video for more evidence of that.[/url]) He also does not understand the party he chose to lead, having made offensive remarks about a "boilerplate from the 1950s" to decry the NDP's use of class-based language, language which had been used to great effect. Then there are the trade agreements like CETA and the TPP. He's musing about supporting them under certain conditions, when the terms of the agreements have already been leaked, and there is no way our trading partners will meet those conditions. These trade agreements need to be rejected outright, and maybe if the NDP spoke out forcefully and made the proper case, the uprising might force the Harper government to back down. His wait-and-see approach to these trade agreements is not fooling anyone on the right or left ends of the political spectrum. Take also his approach to national unity. He walked right into a trap that the BQ set, alienating not only nearly every provincial section in the country but possibly people in Quebec as well with the Unity Bill.

Keep in mind that Mulcair did not have a strong mandate from the beginning. A rookie MP who delivers the second-largest province to the NDP to vault it to Official Opposition status. It was a slam-dunk case, Mulcair should have easily won on the first ballot with that kind of a record. It's a much stronger record on the surface than what Jack had when he won on the first ballot. Yet still, he does not "get it." Since the NDP has been unable to rein him in, I think the NDP needs to seriously consider a leadership review to force the party brass to change course. How do we go about organizing this?

Lord Palmerston

Organizing a movement against Mulcair on the left sounds like a good idea to me.  He was very open about his Third Way politics and intention but a lot of people seemed too enamoured with the idea of "winning."  Now we basically have a Liberal Party under the NDP banner.

Even the narrative about "standing up to Charest" and his "resigning on principle" is kind of a joke.  

Centrist

OTOH, Mulcair is seemingly cut from the same cloth as Manitoba's Gary Doer - the most popular premier in the country at the time and the most successful New Democrat government in the country winning 4 elections in a row. I never heard of anyone ever requesting a leadership review of Gary Doer.

That said, I understand where you guys are coming from. 

socialdemocrati...

I'm also less than enamored with the NDP's increasing deference to NATO. And I'd also like a party that's more willing to challenge the status quo in Israel.

But when I see that video, I don't see a dismissive guy. I see someone I disagree with on a few points, which isn't the same thing as dismissive.

I also see a lot of people engaging in yelling, heckling, badgering, and basically asking questions that they have no interest in hearing someone else's opinion on. I work with a lot of brilliant, optimistic, and effective activists. But there's a kind of activist that's so belligerent, so resigned to pissing in the wind, and so incapable of basic conversational etiquette ("YOU FUCKING SELL OUT THE IMPERIALISTS DON'T DESERVE ETTIQUETTE!!!") that I seriously wish we weren't on the same side.

If these are the people that are going to challenge the party, you can count me out. Those types of people are fundamentally incapable of ever building a "movement", nor do they ever understand why more people aren't interested in joining their "uprising".

The only consolation is that these people will make themselves look so stupid that the NDP will be able to use them for a "sister souljah" moment, to make ideas like universal child care and carbon pricing look reasonable.

Lord Palmerston

Yeah I can't see this going anywhere...but it can open up discussion of alternatives, of buidling the Left inside and/or outside the party.

Aristotleded24

socialdemocraticmiddle wrote:
I also see a lot of people engaging in yelling, heckling, badgering, and basically asking questions that they have no interest in hearing someone else's opinion on.

You mean a politician might actually be heckled while speaking in public? I never thought!

For me, I had experienced that dismissive side of Mulcair in person, that video just confirmed it. Yes, the activists may have been a bit rude, but he really comes across as not wanting to be bothered by someone who questions him. Mulcair is very aloof, which also explains his mis-steps on trade and national unity that I pointed out. It's not a problem of lack of intelligence, Mulcair is evidently a very intelligent man, so something else is going on. That's why I raised the spectre of a leadership review, because I'm becoming convinced that these issues cannot be trained out of him.

Aristotleded24

Centrist wrote:
OTOH, Mulcair is seemingly cut from the same cloth as Manitoba's Gary Doer - the most popular premier in the country at the time and the most successful New Democrat government in the country winning 4 elections in a row. I never heard of anyone ever requesting a leadership review of Gary Doer.

Gary Doer also presided over lower average voter turnouts in Manitoba than anyone else. Also, the fourth election was won by Greg Selinger (not nearly as personally charming as Doer), not Gary Doer, and the incompetence of the Manitoba PC party plays just as much a role in perpetual NDP rule as anything the NDP is doing.

socialdemocrati...

Again, you have to distinguish between "dismissive" and "disagreeing". Between "not wanting to be bothered" and "not wanting to pander or agree". Someone asked his opinion on something where he's in open disagreement with strict anti-imperialist activists. He disagreed, but he did it with a lot of detail and respect. As opposed to saying "I'm not going to answer that", or "I reject that question", or "security, could you please do something about this person".

As another point, the NDP was in unanimous agreement about Libya, as the video pointed out. If letting NATO do this kind of thing without Canada is more important to you than (say) carbon pricing, proportional representation, child care, and so on, then maybe you should consider that the NDP isn't the right party for you in the first place?

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Gary Doer - look what he's become: Harper's mouthpiece in the US.

Aristotleded24

socialdemocraticmiddle wrote:
As another point, the NDP was in unanimous agreement about Libya, as the video pointed out. If letting NATO do this kind of thing without Canada is more important to you than (say) carbon pricing, proportional representation, child care, and so on, then maybe you should consider that the NDP isn't the right party for you in the first place?

I deliberately didn't say anything about NATO myself because the NDP has been doing poorly on the NATO file well before Mulcair came on as leader, and is a problem with the party regardless of who becomes leader. [url=http://www.rabble.ca/babble/canadian-politics/foreign-policy-elephant]That's a separate issue that I raised a while ago.[/url]

Lord Palmerston wrote:
Yeah I can't see this going anywhere...but it can open up discussion of alternatives, of buidling the Left inside and/or outside the party.

Not seriously, but perhaps we can organize enough people to vote in favour of a leadership review at the next convention to give Mulcair pause. If say, 20-35% of the people voted "Yes" on the leadership review question, he would have to listen.

Aside: Why can't the NDP open up avenues for party members not attending convention to vote on a leadership review? We can vote for leader, why not that?

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

I suspect that right now, two years or so before the next election, it's very important that the NDP appear as united as possible, and, with a relatively new leader, it's unthinkable to the party to have a leadership review now. After the next election - sure, if the party does not become the government.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

socialdemocraticmiddle wrote:

If letting NATO do this kind of thing without Canada is more important to you than (say) carbon pricing, proportional representation, child care, and so on, then maybe you should consider that the NDP isn't the right party for you in the first place?

Indeed I have left but only because the party keeps moving right. I hope when you go to the convention you demand that they take any mention of socialism out of the Constitution.  You wouldn't want to confuse all those liberal voters you are hoping to attract.

Good luck on your quest to get people like Debater to vote for you.  I suspect that voters who have voted Liberal in the past when faced with a Liberal party and the NDP acting like a liberal party they will likely pick the real Liberal party. 

socialdemocrati...

kropotkin wins the award for debating a strawman. good job. you gave that strawman hell.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

You shouldn't put yourself down in such a fashion. I think you have more in your brain than straw.

However if you want to trade, I'll trade my strawman for your false dichotomy.

socialdemocrati...

Right. Because the guy with "social democratic" in his name is secretly a liberal who wants to remove all elements of socialism from the party.

You often sound so cynical and bitter and defeated, I guess you need to find victories wherever you can, even if you have to make them up.

KenS

People wanting to get rid of a leader it is acknowledged they never wanted- that's a non starter.

And I would think it is obvious why this sucks for reasons that go beyond left, right, centre.

Aristotleded24

KenS wrote:
People wanting to get rid of a leader it is acknowledged they never wanted- that's a non starter.

And I would think it is obvious why this sucks for reasons that go beyond left, right, centre.

Okay, so I've made it clear why I disagree with the direction the party is taking. What should I do now? Or is my opinion simply not welcome in the NDP and would I be better advised to vote for someone else after having worked to elect local NDP candidates in 3 consecutive federal elections?

socialdemocrati...

I honestly believe that the best way to reduce U.S. violence would be to emmigrate there and get involved. Canada's role in these conflicts is symbolic. Even in the most wildly optimistic dream, where you could create some kind of groundswell where Canada denounces (say) the counter-terrorism mission on Mali. Then what? If you want to stop violence initiated and perpetuated by other countries, you have to go fishing where the salmon are.

Arthur Cramer Arthur Cramer's picture

Ari, I don't know how we push on the left. Maybe its time for another Waffle? Should we be speaking to Laxer? By the way, I had wished Doer lost the third time. I knew the Tories would run the province into the ground and finish them off. Sellinger is a nice enough guy, but a Liberal in terms of how he governs.

Aristotleded24

socialdemocraticmiddle wrote:
I honestly believe that the best way to reduce U.S. violence would be to emmigrate there and get involved. Canada's role in these conflicts is symbolic. Even in the most wildly optimistic dream, where you could create some kind of groundswell where Canada denounces (say) the counter-terrorism mission on Mali. Then what? If you want to stop violence initiated and perpetuated by other countries, you have to go fishing where the salmon are.

Again, it's not my intention to discuss issues around NATO in this particular thread. If other people discuss NATO here, I can't stop them, and I haven't engaged on this topic at all on this thread. Yes, the video deals with the subject of NATO, but that's not why I posted it. I posted it to show how, in my own personal experience, Mulcair is dismissive of people who disagree with him. The issue isn't the pertinent point, it's Mulcair's behaviour. The other issues I raised in this thread are pertinent to Mulcair, and I've laid out very clearly why I think he's going the wrong way on them.

And yes, I realize that a leadership review is quite serious, but I raised that possibility because I honestly see no other way to address these issues. I was willing to give the NDP the benefit of the doubt after Mulcair won, but he has clearly been charting his own course and imposing his will on the party. That's not the way I like to do politics.

6079_Smith_W

Boom Boom wrote:

I suspect that right now, two years or so before the next election, it's very important that the NDP appear as united as possible, and, with a relatively new leader, it's unthinkable to the party to have a leadership review now. After the next election - sure, if the party does not become the government.

I agree with that.

Though more importantly, if you consider that Mulcair is catching more hell at the moment for actually doing something right, this conversation is a bit funny, IMO

http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/story/2013/03/12/pol-mulcair-in-washingt...

I mean, you want to start a movement to reconsider his leadership, I think someone beat you to it.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

socialdemocraticmiddle wrote:

Right. Because the guy with "social democratic" in his name is secretly a liberal who wants to remove all elements of socialism from the party.

You often sound so cynical and bitter and defeated, I guess you need to find victories wherever you can, even if you have to make them up.

I said take the socialist references out of the Constitution I never said anything about the taking social democracy out of anything. It should have been removed years ago but the party likes to lie to the left to gain support and volunteers. Having a reference to socialism in the Constitution is just barefaced hypocrisy.

After working for the party for decades, partially because of its stands on foreign policy not just Canadian policy, you tell me I was always in the wrong party and then you call me cynical.  I and other idiots like me kept the party alive as a third party only to see it morph into a pro free trade, pro NATO, pro tar pipelines party and you can't think of any reason why that would bother me.

I am sorry I was so stupid as to have thought that those ideals were worth fighting for when it fact it is obviously only power that is important. Its your fucking party now not mine so good luck in reaching for the brass ring but please don't try to claim to have any socialist leanings in Tom's party.

I love the fact that you not only want to kick people out of your party for daring to raise foreign policy issues but you also suggest they should leave the country and move to America. WTF is with that?  The RCAF bombs Libya and provides heavy lift capabilities to the French invasion forces in Mali and your party agrees to it.  It is not just America anymore that is to blame there is blood on Canadian hands now too and there is no parliamentary opposition to it. 

What good will it be for the party to gain government, yet forfeit its soul? 

autoworker

Why doesn't the NPD's socialist faction form its own party, rather than being the tail that insists on wagging the dog?

autoworker

@kropotkin1951: You might think of joining the Greens, if you can accept the Clarity Act.

nicky

This is the resolute, principled Tom Mulcair whom I backed for the leadership and strongly support today:

 

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/mulcair-champions-case-of-g...

KenS

I hear what you are saying A24. And you arent the only one.

But the formal processes are neither the problem or the solution.

Tom Mulcair not only won a free and fair election. But there was a ton of discussion, and I think people knew what they were voting for.

Coming to the present- there should be leadership reviews, but there aren't. Thats not because someone(s) "ran it down". It is because constitutional change is VERY difficult because of the two-thirds majority requirement. When One Member One Vote was proposed it got surprising consensus support. But that was fragile. And it wa achieved and maintained by keeping it simple. If you get into "the details," people who were never sure they wanted this start going sideways. If you want OMOV, stick to that. Leadership reviews get into heel digging disagreemnts about how. So you dont go there.

And predictably, people dont want to go back there.

But even if there were formal leadership reviews [like every year?]- Tom Mulcair would easily pass.

Having unsupportive 'forms' doesnt help. But the content is the issue. You can make the NDP far more pro-actively democratic, and it is still the same big tent. And the overwhelming majority in that big tent dont agree about everything, and from time to time largely dont like what is going on.... but they are satisfied with the 'long wave' of the ideological orientation of the party.

Which in turn consigns another group of people to being a perpetual minority. Not without influence, but rarely in a position to say they are satisfied.

It doesnt have to be that way. But that is [at a minimum] the way it has been.

janfromthebruce

It is because constitutional change is VERY difficult because of the two-thirds majority requirement.

Just to be clear, constitutional change using two-thirds majority requirement is the normative standard in "rules of order". Ditto for "changing bylaws".

And I am with Nicky on this when I also read that article. I didn't vote for Mulcair because I was a Topp supporter but Mulcair was my 2nd choice.

 

 

Brachina

This is a waste of space thread. Mulcair is doing a great job and I'm very happy with him.

KenS

"waste of space thread"  Smile

 

and fanboy gushing has what social utility now?

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Brachina wrote:
This is a waste of space thread. Mulcair is doing a great job and I'm very happy with him.

So, because you are happy with him, everyone else should just fall in line?

onlinediscountanvils

autoworker wrote:
Why doesn't the NPD's socialist faction form its own party, rather than being the tail that insists on wagging the dog?

 

My guess is that would be a bitter prospect for many, considering that 'tail' was once the whole dog. 

6079_Smith_W

I think criticism, holding him to task, and even opposition is fine. It is a good and necessary thing, actually.

On the other hand, I think a leadership review is premature, and would actually undermine everyone's credibility. These criticisms of style and policy might be valid, but I don't see any critical mass there. To start off by saying we want to get rid of him (and I don't think that is mis-reading of this) and then go looking for the ammunition sounds more like disappointment with the results of the leadership campaign that was just held not too long ago.

If that's what you want, fine; but I think this is not the right time. As Boom Boom seemed to imply, he got elected, and he deserves at least a kick at the electoral can.

and @ ODA
There was at least one well-documented case of that tail being cut off, for good or ill (I think ill). But you are never going to have a party in which everyone is of the same mind about everything. These tensions are always going to exist - in every party.

 

sherpa-finn

Great thread / discussion. I think this debate really highlights some of the significant differences between Babblers on strategy, given what we see as most likely political scenarios moving forward in 2015 and beyond.

With some notable exceptions (no names named), I suspect that most Babblers would define themselves as left-leaning NDPers, - ie those caught on the squeaking, creaking hinge between social democracy and democratic socialism.  Given the historic political breakthrough in 2011, we are now all trying to read the tea-leaves for 2015, trying to envisage how best to replace the Tories with as progressive a government as possible.

I am prepared to go out on a limb and hypothesize that most of us would prefer to see an NDP majority Gov't elected in 2015, one that would campaign on a left-leaning platform and then govern accordingly.  However, many of us think that an unlikely combination for a whole bunch of reasons,- and are processing the comparative advantages and disadvantages of what we consider more likely alternatives:

Scenario #1:  The NDP campaigns to the left in 2015, secures its base in Qc but probably makes little additional headway elsewhere.  Maybe the Liberals are pushed irrevocably into third place, but otherwise the political landscape doesn't change much, - the Tories are still in power and we remain in Opposition, dreaming about the possibilities of 2019.

Scenario #2: The NDP campaigns to the centre (as "The Only Alternative to Harper"), and secures enough disenchated Liberal and Tory voters to become the gov't.  Most likely the Mulcair Gov't is not much more progressive than the Liberals of the 60s and 70s, but its a great leap forward from the Harper Tories on a whole range of important issues. 

Scenario #3: Like in Scenario #1, the NDP campaigns to the left, secures its base in Qc but probably makes little additional headway elsewhere.  However, the Liberals make a bit of a comeback under Trudeau, the Tories are reduced to minority status and the NDP + Libs negotiate some sort of coalition arrangement to have a vaguely center-left government.

Scenario #4:  Like in Scenario #2, the NDP campaigns to the centre, but voters prefer the Liberals as "the real centre / alternative to Harper" and the NDP is reduced to its historic role of 3rd party. 

My own sense is that Mulcair was chosen as leader last year because a majority of NDPers have signed on to Scenario #2 as their preferred option, with Scenario #3 as back-up.  And in that regard, I would say that Mulcair seems to be keeping pretty well to the script and doing a reasonable job. This is certainly no time for a leadership review.

To my thinking, what he/we will need most in the run up to 2015 is a strong slate of high-level candidates outside Qc to help make the case that the NDP is indeed a credible gov't-in-waiting. 

 

autoworker

onlinediscountanvils wrote:

autoworker wrote:
Why doesn't the NPD's socialist faction form its own party, rather than being the tail that insists on wagging the dog?

 

My guess is that would be a bitter prospect for many, considering that 'tail' was once the whole dog. 

It might represent the beginning of a new breed. Besides, who can resist a cute puppy?

KenS

sherpa-finn wrote:

Scenario #2: The NDP campaigns to the centre (as "The Only Alternative to Harper"), and secures enough disenchated Liberal and Tory voters to become the gov't.  Most likely the Mulcair Gov't is not much more progressive than the Liberals of the 60s and 70s, but its a great leap forward from the Harper Tories on a whole range of important issues. 

Unfortunately there is a Scenario #2.5 that is both very feasible, and much more discouraging.

While we might not want to admitt it, when faced with the real life item, "government like the Liberals of the 60s and 70s" would be a breath of fresh air. Real progress from where we sit.

Scenario 2.5, the unfortunate, is that all we get is "not Harper at least".

Without Harper as the alternative, what we got from the Nova Scotia NDP government is no more than the bitty progressive this and that we got out of the previous PC government. Which leads to, "what are we doing this for?"

Getting rid of the Harper govt [not just Harper, because he may leave] is no small thing. But even getting along with that watered down progressive of 60s/70s Liberalism is not ncessarily on the menu.

The question is whether we would get anything out of a 2015 NDP victory more than we would get from a victory by Trudeau the Pretender. Out of the latter it is guaranteed that we get nothing more than not Harper. But that does not in itself mean we would get more out of a Mulcair government, or even that more will be on offer in the election.

Michael Moriarity Michael Moriarity's picture

In a thread on Dec. 28, 2010, I wrote this:

Michael Moriarity wrote:

From what I have seen of him on video, I think that Mulcair has the "Royal Jelly". The unlearnable aura of competence and sincerity that makes people feel that they can trust him to make decisions for them. Whether he would actually improve the situation if he became Prime Minister is another question, but I am cautiously optimistic that he might, despite his faults.

My opinion hasn't changed much since then. I voted for him as leader because I believed that none of the other candidates were likely to prove much more left wing than he would, but they would all be much less likely to become Prime Minister. My fondest hope is that Mulcair and the NDP will form a government and keep their promise to enact MMP. Then it will make sense for the left wing of the NDP to join with other socialists from outside the party to form a new, clearly left party.

I would join it, and hope to elect a few dozen MPs, who could advocate for causes that centrist parties are afraid of, and even take part in left coalition governments. Until that happens, I will continue to support the NDP as the best hope for some sort of positive change, and Mulcair as clearly the most talented vote getter in the party.

 

socialdemocrati...

I personally think that the WTO and IMF are corrupt, ideological organizations, and I know that NAFTA is riddled with corporate favors. I think the NDP does some positive work on these files, but I'd like a party that's more critical of "free" trade and globalization. I'd also like a party more critical of American foreign policy in the age of the hyperpower.

But let's not confuse mere disagreement with the NDP with calling the NDP dismissive, phony, or "not social democratic". (Or "not progressive".)

Social democracy has always been a mix of free market policies with regulation, nationalization, and wealth transfers to make for a more fair society. The NDP is advocating for policies like carbon pricing, a federal minimum wage, and aboriginal sovereignty, which all fit nicely into a social democratic tradition. The NDP is also advocating for national child care, increased home care, and a national infrastructure plan, all paid for by asking corporations to pay more taxes. By those facts, the NDP is a social democratic party. And Mulcair belongs here as much as (most of?) the other MPs.

So what about trade? What about foreign policy?

Trade is an ongoing debate in the social democratic tradition. People often point to the Scandinavian countries as the best examples of social democratic countries in 2013. But what a lot of people fail to acknowledge is they have some of the lowest trade barriers in the world. Their model is to give a lot of leeway to businesses, and tax those profits to pay for the magnificent safety net they built. It's not a model I personally like. But I'm not about to fly over there and call them corporate sellouts, let alone throw a fit about their membership in "Socialist International".

Latin America has the same debates. Take this article:

http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Americas/2013/0307/Chavez-vs-Lula-Two-dis...

It compares Hugo (RIP) to Lula. It puts all kinds of labels on policies, trying to classify them as "more left", "more right", "more socialist", "more capitalist", "more moderate", "more conservative". The fact of the matter is, both leaders would be social democrats by any Canadian standard. Arguing about who is the truer social democrat in the age of the American hyperpower would be like arguing about the color of the drapes while the house burns down.

Foreign policy is an even bigger question mark. Safe to say, social democrats are concerned with human rights in all its forms (anti-racism, anti-poverty, women's rights, civil rights, gay rights, indigenous rights). Every social democrat has probably at one point called themselves "anti-war". But anti *which* wars? Even the CCF had J.S. Woodsworth opposing Canada's entry into World War 2, while the majority of his party was in support of it. You can say a lot of things about WW2. But one thing we can't talk about is the "official social democratic position", because there isn't one. If there's room for reasonable social democratic debate about World War 2, then safe to say there's room for a wide range of opinions on a lot of wars.

So do I disagree with the NDP on some things? Yes. But I stop short of accusing them of lying or selling out. I refuse to appoint myself the arbiter of all things social democratic, and I get mad when other people are arrogant enough to appoint themselves. My only consolation is that these types of people never build any critical mass, and can't organize much beyond a webforum or a clubhouse.

But I also get mad when people say "shut up and fly with the party". There HAS to be room for dissent and criticism. (I was at the riding association a few weeks ago doing just that.) I just think that if you want to have a maxmimum effect on party politics, it ought to be loyal dissent, and civil criticism.

And if the party is so far gone that the issues YOU care the most about are completely out the window, maybe party politics is no longer your best vehicle for change. I personally work with a community organization in my old neighborhood, because I care very much about anti-racism and anti-poverty work. If Libya and the like are your biggest concerns, you would achieve far more if you did everything you could do break into American politics. In the age of the internet, there are TONS of communities that are organized around specific goals, and have room for international participants. Folks should get off rabble now and then.

North Star

socialdemocraticmiddle wrote:

Social democracy has always been a mix of free market policies with regulation, nationalization, and wealth transfers to make for a more fair society. The NDP is advocating for policies like carbon pricing, a federal minimum wage, and aboriginal sovereignty, which all fit nicely into a social democratic tradition. The NDP is also advocating for national child care, increased home care, and a national infrastructure plan, all paid for by asking corporations to pay more taxes. By those facts, the NDP is a social democratic party. And Mulcair belongs here as much as (most of?) the other MPs.

Not true. That's primarily post WW2 social democracy. The Social Democratic Party of Germany was originally a Marxist party. Lenin and Luxembourg refered to themselves as social democrats until 1914. The use of the term social democracy was abandonned by the radical left after 1914 because of its ties to those social democrats who voted to supply war funding to their own countries during WW1.

This is to a certain extent why I believe blaming Mulcair isn't the answer. If we take post war social democracy as a starting from the Clement Attlee's Labour government, we see a steady shift to the right. In fact in 1945, Labour went about building the welfare state despite the fact that government debt was 225% of GDP. Slowly but surely basic tenets of post war social democracy jettisoned. First the issue of public ownership was abandoned. The major changes of neoliberalism were never challenged by social democrats. While Thatcher may have abolishedncapital controls in the UK, capital controls were abolished by social democratic parties in other countries. Social Democrats have started using the language of "competitiveness." Even the NDP points out that it wants to keep the corporate tax rate below the US one for this reason. We saw the SPD government in Germany a decade ago increase labour market flexibility which has caused an explosion of precarious work there. And now the French Socialists are about to do the same.

So what does social democracy stand for today? If the NDP wins in 2015 and we have decent growth and no deficit we will get some progressive legislation, but if there's a huge deficit and global downturn as the NDP takes power don't expect the NDP to challenge orthodoxy. No social democratic party in power during the global crisis has attempted to combat the downturn with a pro-growth plan. I don't see how the NDP can somehow escape the trend of what is happening to social democracy everywhere else. The Ontario & Saskatchewan NDP certainly didn't when faced with these issues in the early 1990's while in power.

KenS

North Star wrote:

If the NDP wins in 2015 and we have decent growth and no deficit we will get some progressive legislation, but if there's a huge deficit and global downturn as the NDP takes power don't expect the NDP to challenge orthodoxy. No social democratic party in power during the global crisis has attempted to combat the downturn with a pro-growth plan. I don't see how the NDP can somehow escape the trend of what is happening to social democracy everywhere else. The Ontario & Saskatchewan NDP certainly didn't when faced with these issues in the early 1990's while in power.

"Decent growth" is only a [faint] possibility. And setting "no deficit" as your standard, means you [and many others] are not paying attention to the Harper agenda. 2015 being an election year, there either will be no deficit, or close to the target. But that will be after over 20 years of slashing both spending, AND the fiscal capacity of government. The later is the particular long term plan/vengeance of the Harper years: "Starve the Beast."

Even with the annual deficit gone, and "modest growth".... there will be no fiscal capacity to do anything other than continue to administer the decimated government. Thats the plan Stan.

Which is why Topp and Cullen proposed raising taxes during the leadership campaign: we absolutely need it, and because they are both convinced that astutely rolled out, it can be a cornerstone winning strategy. Mulcair said no during the campaign, and I beleive he has since made affirming comments.

Leaving aside what Mulcair in particular stands by, social democracy that cannot make winning conditions out of whatever is available, that only wins by flying in under the radar.... that is worth what now?

North Star

KenS wrote:

North Star wrote:

If the NDP wins in 2015 and we have decent growth and no deficit we will get some progressive legislation, but if there's a huge deficit and global downturn as the NDP takes power don't expect the NDP to challenge orthodoxy. No social democratic party in power during the global crisis has attempted to combat the downturn with a pro-growth plan. I don't see how the NDP can somehow escape the trend of what is happening to social democracy everywhere else. The Ontario & Saskatchewan NDP certainly didn't when faced with these issues in the early 1990's while in power.

"Decent growth" is only a [faint] possibility. And setting "no deficit" as your standard, means you [and many others] are not paying attention to the Harper agenda. 2015 being an election year, there either will be no deficit, or close to the target. But that will be after over 20 years of slashing both spending, AND the fiscal capacity of government. The later is the particular long term plan/vengeance of the Harper years: "Starve the Beast."

Even with the annual deficit gone, and "modest growth".... there will be no fiscal capacity to do anything other than continue to administer the decimated government. Thats the plan Stan.

Which is why Topp and Cullen proposed raising taxes during the leadership campaign: we absolutely need it, and because they are both convinced that astutely rolled out, it can be a cornerstone winning strategy. Mulcair said no during the campaign, and I beleive he has since made affirming comments.

Leaving aside what Mulcair in particular stands by, social democracy that cannot make winning conditions out of whatever is available, that only wins by flying in under the radar.... that is worth what now?

I agree with you that social democracy can't make winning coniditions of whatever is available- but social democratic governments have done more with less than we have now in the past. I mentioned the economic situation of the UK in 1945. There's also the New Deal and while the CCF in Sask completed an ambitious agenda in 4 terms, it managed to accomplish more in its first term than social democratic governments do today in several terms.

But yeah fiscal capacity is a major issue and until the NDP is willing to address it, they remained limited in what they can do. 

I agree with you that the Cons are really gunning for that balanced budget. Growth will probably remain weak but not non-existant. However the global economy is still a wild card. If there is another major downturn and the IMF, World Bank and G20 finally come to their senses and recommend another round of stimulus will Harper listen? He's already bucked international trends before. Even if he rejects a coordinated stimulus Canada may still end up in the red anyway with another downturn.

knownothing knownothing's picture

Mulcair is doing a great job. Can you imagine if Brian Topp had won? He would have been eaten alive.

 

Mulcair has gone toe-to-toe with the energy sector and he has come out with a draw. That is a win in my books.

He has a strong environmental record and shows real nuance when dealing with complex issues.

Also, he has been honest and consistent.

 

Frankly, anyone who has a problem with Mulcair should give him at least 1 election.

Be a good soldier!

 

KenS

I'll be a 'good soldier'.

But his game with the energy sector has only begun. Its premature to say that he has come out with a draw- even so far.

North Star

KenS wrote:

I'll be a 'good soldier'.

But his game with the energy sector has only begun. Its premature to say that he has come out with a draw- even so far.

Yup. Hard to call it a draw or anything unless we know what the game plan is. Does he still subscribe to the Dutch Disease idea or has that been thrown overboard for political expediency? Is the desire for a west to east pipeline an end to itself or party of a broader strategy to retain jobs in Canada while boosting renewables?

The oil sands are a serious issue not just for Canada but the entire planet: http://www.vancouverobserver.com/sustainability/2012/05/11/canadas-oil-s...

Some leadership with a definitive answer would be nice.

Arthur Cramer Arthur Cramer's picture

If you want to use the anolgoy of military service, being "a good solider" doesn't mean going "Ready Aye Ready" without thought. I know, I served. People have a right to challegne it seems to me. I am personally troubled by much of what Mulcair proposes, but will work for his election and hope for the best. But others chose not to and challenge instead, I have no issue with it. It seems to me that dissention out of concience is a key part of being a New Democrat. At least, that's how I see it.

6079_Smith_W

People have the right to do a good many things, and if someone wants to start a campaign to reconsider his leadership there's not much anyone can do about it.

It does beg the question of good faith and taking part in a leadership campaign if someone just isn't going to accept the results, and I say that even if Mulcair may have done some things that people have not expected. As I assume you are saying Arthur, the die is cast for this round.

Another thing to consider is that Mulcair is not simply leader of the NDP, and this is no longer just an in-house issue. He's leader of the official opposition, and I'm not so sure how a very public airing of dirty laundry would go over in the eyes of an electorate that is wondering whether a party is fit to run the country.

Again, I think there is a big difference between criticism and dissent, and wanting to overturn campaign results.

 

nicky
KenS

I think that belongs in the Tom Mulcair thread, or the NDP one.

This one is about the direction of the NDP.... into which your posting fits well of the article that speaks to why you support Tom.

Slumberjack

Obviously we're not going to be witnessing a revolt from within anytime soon, no matter what.

janfromthebruce

knownothing wrote:

Mulcair is doing a great job. Can you imagine if Brian Topp had won? He would have been eaten alive.

 

Mulcair has gone toe-to-toe with the energy sector and he has come out with a draw. That is a win in my books.

He has a strong environmental record and shows real nuance when dealing with complex issues.

Also, he has been honest and consistent.

 

Frankly, anyone who has a problem with Mulcair should give him at least 1 election.

Be a good soldier!

 

It would great to leave Brian Topp out of this discussion. One can't assume what would happen in the future. That said, Topp was Layton's confident and key strategist which got the NDP to the top - govt in waiting.

KenS

Since we're making predictions now- I doubt it.

Eventually: probably. [Given indications of where Mulcair will go.]

Soon: not likely.

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