Coalition government activism

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Sara Mayo
Coalition government activism

The Conservatives are organizing rallies for Saturday December 6th in cities across Canada. The locations are here: http://www.rallyforcanada.ca/

(Most of the locations are City Halls and other seats of government, but some of the locations are very partisan and others just seem completely out of touch. For instance in Edmonton the chosen location is NDP MP Linda Duncan's office. In Hamilton, the location is a large park far from dowtown.)

On the other side, the NDP has just sent supporters an email inviting them to attend "Conversation for Change" rallies across Canada on Thursday December 4th in the evening.  No more specifics have been announced yet. 

 http://j-rad.ca/2008/12/conversations-for-change/  

and apparently Labour groups are organizing  a "Make Parliament Work" rally for December 4th at noon

http://www.makeparliamentwork.com/ 

Bookish Agrarian

December 6th- really- is there anything else the Conservatives are completely out of touch on left?

Vansterdam Kid

Uh, isn't the 6th the anniversary of the polytechnique massacre?

Michelle

"Conversations for Change"?  Who on earth came up with THAT?

Michelle

In other news, I'm moving this thread to the activism forum so that we aren't tempted to veer off into punditry about the coalition government issue itself, since there is already a general thread for that.

Tommy_Paine

You know how many people were talking about this at work today?

 

None.

 

 

Left Turn Left Turn's picture

What we need is some public showing of opposition to a Liberal-NDP coalition, from the left. There may be limits to how much left-opposition can be rallied against the coalition, but I thik it is a mistake to let the only public showing of opposition to the coalition be from the right.

Coyote

Well, if you find enough people on the left who don't want to see this happen, all power to you.

genstrike

What is the point of opposing this coalition from the left?  If the NDP were a serious leftist anti-capitalist party I can understand the sentiment of "no cooperation with the capitalists", but it isn't.

Webgear

Tommy_Paine wrote:

You know how many people were talking about this at work today?

None.

Really, we talked about this new possible government several times.

These are interesting times.

 

 

Unionist

Tommy_Paine wrote:

You know how many people were talking about this at work today?

None.

Maybe we should be initiating and leading that discussion.

genstrike wrote:

What is the point of opposing this coalition from the left?  If the NDP
were a serious leftist anti-capitalist party I can understand the
sentiment of "no cooperation with the capitalists", but it isn't. 

Exactly. 

Coyote

Yes. It's like I've always said. Let the serious anti-capitalist parties hang together.

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

genstrike wrote:

What is the point of opposing this coalition from the left?  If the NDP were a serious leftist anti-capitalist party I can understand the sentiment of "no cooperation with the capitalists", but it isn't.

This issue is not just about the NDP.

It's also about the trade union movement, and the apparent willingness of its "leadership" to hop into bed with the Liberals rather than mobilize the members to fight against the massive assault on the working class that is in the offing - no matter which party is in power.

This commentary on [url=rabble.ca[/url]">http://rabble.ca/news/coalition-lets-not-give-away-store][u]rabble.ca[/u... says it all:

Quote:
The aim of progressive policy must not be to enhance the power of capitalist governments but to increase that of working people. We cannot expect Stéphane, Iggy and Bob to do any such thing, even if the NDP has a few Cabinet posts.

The only force we can depend on is the pressure of independent popular and labour movements. In a situation of social and economic crisis, these movements can become an irresistible force.

And here is the fatal weakness of the coalition government scheme. Locked inside a Liberal-dominated coalition, the NDP would be unable to campaign against capitalist attacks. Accepting responsibility for the anti-labour measures of such a government could rapidly discredit the NDP and end its ability to continue as the bearer of popular hopes for social change.

At the same time, labour leaders' current pledges of unconditional support to a coalition will undermine the unions' ability to act independently in defence of workers' rights and needs.

Tying ourselves down in this manner is particularly dangerous in the midst of an economic crisis that is unprecedented, and shifting rapidly in unpredictable ways.

genstrike

M. Spector wrote:

It's also about the trade union movement, and the apparent willingness of its "leadership" to hop into bed with the Liberals rather than mobilize the members to fight against the massive assault on the working class that is in the offing - no matter which party is in power.

We already have this problem, except it is with the labour bureaucracy's tendency to hop in bed with the NDP rather than mobilize the members to... what you said.

I don't see how a coalition changes this reality for better or worse.

 

EDIT:  looks like we're getting off topic a little.  How about I repost this in the unified coalition thread and we can discuss criticism from the left over there?

Fidel

Coyote wrote:
Yes. It's like I've always said. Let the serious anti-capitalist parties hang together.

I think some things beg clarification.

The CCF-NDP have been for mixed market economies ever since the Winnipeg Declaration.

Liberal and Conservative parties went from being pro laissez-faire capitalist to pro mixed market economy toward the end of the 1930's depression. They were both somewhat Keynesian until mid-1970's - early 1980s.

The NDP never accepted and always criticized Friedmanite neoliberal voodoo at the root source of the currently onrushing collapse of financial capitalism around the world. The NDP has always stood for public power and public ownership where feasible. And the NDP has always made a strong case for social democracy.

Coyote

I'm for the mixed market economy, Fidel. I was wondering where these pure anti-capitalist parties were, in my ironic fashion.

D L Fernie

The Conservative Party has called for a national series of "Rally for Canada" (http://www.rallyforcanada.ca/) public demonstrations this Saturday, December 6th.

December 6th?

..."the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women in Canada? Established in 1991 by the Parliament of Canada, this day marks the anniversary of the murders in 1989 of 14 young women at l'École Polytechnique de Montréal. They died because they were women.

As well as commemorating the 14 young women whose lives ended in an act of gender-based violence that shocked the nation, December 6 represents an opportunity for Canadians to reflect on the phenomenon of violence against women in our society. It is also an opportunity to consider the women and girls for whom violence is a daily reality, and to remember those who have died as a result of gender-based violence. And finally, it is a day on which communities can consider concrete actions to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls." – Status of Women website

The Tories took "equality" out of the Status of Women's mandate and slashed their budget in 2006, and in the budget a couple of days ago wanted to prevent legal actions for pay equity now choose THIS day for their rallies? It's beyond ironic.

 

remind remind's picture

I would say planned is more like it. What a good excuse to disrupt planned commemorations, they most likely would have done it before, if they could have found a good enough reason. They still didn't, but think so anyway in pure doltish male patriarchy thinking.

___________________________________________________________
"watching the tide roll away"

Sara Mayo

Looks like some Conservatives are also organizing a rally for December 4th at Rideau Hall, right before the noon Parliament Hill pro-coalition rally by labour groups:

http://manu.rcc.ryerson.ca/~gelmer/?p=117

 

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

genstrike wrote:

We already have this problem, except it is with the labour bureaucracy's tendency to hop in bed with the NDP rather than mobilize the members to... what you said.

I don't see how a coalition changes this reality for better or worse.

The labour bureaucracy in former days had a tendency to hop into bed with the NDP, a small social-democratic party whose politics (utterly reformist as they are) are actually further to the left than those of the majority of the labour rank-and-file. In more recent years, and now with this coalition nonsense, the labour bureaucracy has had a tendency to hop into bed with the Liberal Party, a large centrist party frequently in government, that does the bidding of the most powerful sectors of the capitalist class.

If you cannot see the difference, and recognize this historical progression as a step backwards for labour, then I can only conclude that you are blinded by partisan and sectarian considerations. 

Left Turn Left Turn's picture

It is important that those of us who oppose the coalition from the left, make some sort of a showing at the rallies that will be held across the country on Thursday in support of the coalition. To this end, I will hand out copies of John Riddell's article against the coalition, at the rally the BC Fed is having in support of the coalition, Thursday, 6pm, in front of Canada place.

I understand that the Canadian Peace Alliance is urging the anti-war movement to attend the rallies, in the hopes of providing moral support for the withdrawal of Canadian troops from Afghanistan. This position could be a positive one, if it gets the anti-war movement out with banners, signs, and information on the pro-war position of the coalition. This position could also backfire, if it simply puts more bodies out at the pro-coalition rallies, and allows the coalition to claim more support.

Unionist

M. Spector wrote:

The labour bureaucracy in former days had a tendency to hop into bed with the NDP, a small social-democratic party whose politics (utterly reformist as they are) are actually further to the left than those of the majority of the labour rank-and-file.

"Further to the left"?

Please draw me a diagram to explain what you mean by "left".

This is where we part company. You should spend a huge amount more time with workers, my friend. Your left credentials will be taxed to the hilt. Show me one single - one single - example in Canadian history where workers have turned away from the NDP because the NDP is too "left". The NDP in power has, with distressing regularity, compromised with the wealthy and attacked the workers. I'm quite sure you don't need the litany of examples. Never once - never once - have workers rejected them because they were afraid the NDP would usher in Bolshevism or some variant thereof.

We part company.

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

The majority of the Canadian working class votes Liberal and Tory.

It's historical fact.

Fidel

M. Spector wrote:

The majority of the Canadian working class votes Liberal and Tory.

It's historical fact.

Except that now they're actually a minority. Combined eligible voter support for the two old line parties wasnt 43 percent of total in the last election. It's the democracy gap

Unionist

M. Spector wrote:

The majority of the Canadian working class votes Liberal and Tory.

 

And you think that's because the NDP is too left-wing for that majority?

Quite a leap.

genstrike

M. Spector wrote:
genstrike wrote:

We already have this problem, except it is with the labour bureaucracy's tendency to hop in bed with the NDP rather than mobilize the members to... what you said.

I don't see how a coalition changes this reality for better or worse.

The labour bureaucracy in former days had a tendency to hop into bed with the NDP, a small social-democratic party whose politics (utterly reformist as they are) are actually further to the left than those of the majority of the labour rank-and-file. In more recent years, and now with this coalition nonsense, the labour bureaucracy has had a tendency to hop into bed with the Liberal Party, a large centrist party frequently in government, that does the bidding of the most powerful sectors of the capitalist class.

If you cannot see the difference, and recognize this historical progression as a step backwards for labour, then I can only conclude that you are blinded by partisan and sectarian considerations. 

First, the labour bureaucracy (all right, aside from the CAW, and of course not counting the CLAC) continues to hop in bed with the NDP on both federal and provincial levels.  Furthermore, the labour bureaucracy seems to be going in exactly the same direction as the NDP on the coalition deal, so they are still in the same bed.

Meanwhile (at the risk of starting a row with Fidel again) the NDP, when elected on a provincial level, often acts in a manner similar to the Liberals and lets down those who support it.  At least where I live, the NDP is to the right of a lot of rank and file workers and students.

I am not blinded by any partisan considerations, as I am not a member of any political party (although some people on here seem to think I am for some reason).  I volunteered for the NDP once, and they promptly reneged on their campaign promises and backstabbed me on what was my #1 issue at the time, so I no longer support the NDP in any meaningful way besides occasionally throwing them my vote if they manage to not piss me off too much during an election.  Why should I continue to work to elect a government that attacks me as a student?  And I am not all that sectarian, I have worked well with people from an alphabet soup of lefty organizations in the past, including the NDP.

Michelle

Tommy_Paine wrote:

You know how many people were talking about this at work today?

 

None.

Check again today.  You might get a different result.  No one was around for the press conference yet.

Whereas yesterday, everyone I saw was buzzing about it.  Of course, I have a desk job where everyone is at computers and getting news updates all day.  And I went to a Toronto Chapter Fair Vote AGM last night.  So it's possible that my sample was a bit skewed. :D

 

Michelle

TORONTO RALLY FOR COALITION GOVERNMENT!

Saturday, December 6th, 12 noon, Nathan Phillips Square (in front of City Hall at Queen and University).

A broad range of community activists, social organizations and labour groups are getting together to plan this rally this week.  Please come out if you want to see a coalition happen! 

There will be major anti-coalition propaganda happening this week by Harper and his supporters.  This is your chance to show on-the-ground support for a coalition government.

I believe there are also going to be actions right across the country this week - please post them here!

Also, in case people are wondering, at the Toronto rally we are also going to acknowledge the importance of December 6th by highlighting Harper's cuts to women's programs as one of the reasons he needs to be tossed out. 

Stargazer

I'll be there.

Michelle

Here is a list of rallies across the country:

St. John’s, NL December 4th 7 p.m. St. Theresa’s Hall, Mundy Pond Road

Halifax, NS December 4th 5:30 p.m. Maritime Hall Halifax Forum, Windsor & Almon Street (enter off Almon Street)

Charlottetown, PE December 4th 7 p.m Murphy’s Community Centre, Richmond Street

Moncton, NB December 4th 7 p.m Moncton City Hall Front Lawn, Main Street

Regina, SK December 4th 7 p.m. Education Auditorium, University of Regina,

Edmonton, AB December 4th 6 p.m. Winston Churchill Square

Winnipeg, MB December 4th 7 p.m. Marlborough Hotel, 331 Smith Street

Vancouver, BC December 4th 5 p.m Vancouver Trade & Convention Centre, Ballroom "A"

Ottawa, ON December 4th Noon Parliament Hill

Toronto, ON December 6th Noon City Hall, Nathan Phillips Square

Black_Lotus

Is there anything going on in Quebec? Somehow, I suspect the Quebec turnout for the "Rally for Canada" will be rather low...

Michelle

Yes, I've heard there are actions happening in both Montreal and Quebec City, but I don't have the details...anyone else?  lagatta maybe?  Unionist?

Sara Mayo

It's really funny to see the anti-coalition www.rallyforcanada.ca website. At the bottom they have twitter posts, and almost all of them are supporting the coalition and many mention the details of pro-coalition rallies. Internet democracy at work!

lagatta

The site says there is a rally here, on the 6th!

Montréal
Saturday, Dec. 6 12 noon
Complexe Guy-Favreau
Réné Levesque at Berri

I haven't heard anything about it, between the Polytechnique commemorations and the Québec elections...

Le T Le T's picture

I have noticed that the Toronto Pro and Anti rallies are scheduled for the same day and same time. The Pro being at Nathan Phillips and the Anti being at Queens Park. We can only hope that both groups will not decide to march on University Ave..Surprised

jas

<>
I think it would also be effective to show up at the anti- rallies with
coalition support signs infiltrating the crowd. Ruin their television
coverage. The one in Winnipeg is on the 6th at the Leg'. (pretty sure
they didn't think that one through, as there will probably be some kind
of polytechnique memorial that day and time as well).

Le T Le T's picture

"I think it would also be effective to show up at the anti- rallies with
coalition support signs infiltrating the crowd. Ruin their television
coverage. The one in Winnipeg is on the 6th at the Leg'. (pretty sure
they didn't think that one through, as there will probably be some kind
of polytechnique memorial that day and time as well)."

 

You might get hurt. You will not have the sympathy of the cops either because you infiltrated someone else's demo (i.e. trying to start shit).

So if anyone was to do that, make sure you know what you are getting yourself into.

 

ETA: Although, if a larger group of people "got the locations mixed up" it might work out in the end.

Unionist

lagatta wrote:
The site says there is a rally here, on the 6th!
Montréal
Saturday, Dec. 6 12 noon
Complexe Guy-Favreau
Réné Levesque at Berri
I haven't heard anything about it, between the Polytechnique commemorations and the Québec elections...

It's being supported by [url=http://www.ftq.qc.ca/modules/nouvelles/nouvelle.php?id=1810&langue=fr]all three union federations[/url]. Another unprecedented show of unity between rival union groups on a political issue. It's too bad about December 6...

Tigana Tigana's picture

Free fair-use Wink graphics for coalition fans are here:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/tiganatoo/sets/72157607249041378/ 

Fidel

genstrike wrote:
Why should I continue to work to elect a government that attacks me as a student?  And I am not all that sectarian, I have worked well with people from an alphabet soup of lefty organizations in the past, including the NDP.

Gary Doer didn't privatize the remainder of federal money creation powers in 1991 as a bailout for Canada's big time banksters. And Gary Doer didn't sign GATS, FTA, or NAFTA. Gary Doer didnt sell off Manitoba's most profitable utility, the telephone company, to rich friends of the conservative party at a firesale price. Doer, like McGuinty, is constrained by the elimination of federal transfers for PSE to the tune of several billion dollars since 1995. Doer is obligated to play politics four four year stretches at a time though - and that's what provincial governance is reduced to since globalization and deregulation began. G&D is about removing sovereign decision making from our elected politicians and making Canadians more reliant on "the market" in general. And right now the market says if you can't afford to pay the full cost of your education, like a relatively small number of Canadians from better off families are able to,  then you will pay significantly more for your education over 20 or 30 years with highest in the world interest rates on student loan debt. Gary Doer didn't decide that there should be two prices for higher education in Canada - or that PSE should be defunded in order to pave the way for private sector interests - that's "free market forces" and especially so since a neoliberal agenda for G&D was set in motion. Your vendetta with Dary Doer doesnt make sense to me or CSF. You should consider forming your own student union, "Students Against Doer" (SAD)

Michelle

In Toronto, we have confirmed that Jack Layton and Stephane Dion will be the keynote speakers at our rally, and our master of ceremonies will be Mary Walsh!

So come out this Saturday!  This week is the beginning of seven weeks of building support and pressure for coalition!

12 noon, Nathan Phillips Square, in front of City Hall.

oldgoat

So who's gonna be there?  I'll likely make it. 

 

 

Lord Palmerston

Michelle wrote:

In Toronto, we have confirmed that Jack Layton and Stephane Dion will be the keynote speakers at our rally

Are you trying to turn people away from the rally?

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

Presumably, rally attendees are expected to cheer when Layton speaks.

What are they expected to do when Dion speaks?

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

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

*crickets*

 

 

Oops, did I ask the wrong question?

 

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

oldgoat

M. Spector wrote:


*crickets*



 



 



Oops, did I ask the wrong question?



 



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






 



There are no wrong questions, but as I learned as a child in school, plenty of wrong answers.



 



Speaking for myself, I didn't really cheer at all.  I don't go to these things often because I'm really not a crowd kind of a guy, but I'm glad I attended.



 



Dion got cheers, Layton got more cheers.



 



My own impression was that Dion does better in front of a crowd than he does a camera, but this is really Jack's kind of event.



 



Anyhoo, it was fun and I saw people I knew from different parts of my life, not just rabble.

Sarann

The Canadians for a Progressive Coalition has a petition on their web site.  It's  more a matter of being counted isn't it. 

Pride for Red D...

Does anyone know if there are going to be more rallies ?

Wilf Day

At the Coalition rally in Peterborough a few hours ago, before the Liberal and NDP speakers the convenor called for a minute of silence in honour of the 14 victims of the Montreal massacre and of the three latest Canadian casualties in Afghanistan (one of who was from Peterborough).

And then we all cheered all the speakers.

And when one of them attacked Harper for fanning the flames of disunity, a woman starting singing O Canada and the crowd instantly joined in with great gusto. Well, it kept us warm, at least.

And a few minutes later in a similar moment she called out "en francais this time" and we all sang O Canada in French.

And I handed out lots of Fair Vote Canada "It's time to fix our voting system" leaflets. 

A good rally.

 

Wilf Day

Round one to the Coalition:

Place, numbers for Coalition, numbers against:

Toronto: 3,000 versus 500

Montreal: 1,000 versus 30.

 

Pride for Red D...

Thomas Mulclair is in Outremont, and parts of Outremont are pretty ritzy.

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