Will the NDP have to become more like the US Democratic Party/New Labour to form the government?

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KenS

The point of bringing up nationalization was the larger question of the trend in watered down goals of social democracy.

Its one thing to agree that there are watered down goals, and that needs to be turned around... and as a starter at least not allowed to get worse.

Its another thing to agree on what we want to make stronger. I picked nationalization because its the poster child for what we do not agree on. There is broad agreement that social democracy has gone limp on redustribution and fulsome regulation. But a lot of us- and I would submitt easily a majority- who agree on that much, do not miss the demise of calls for nationalization and feel it should stay in the dustbin of history.

I think I already said that. Regardless of whether you agree even somewhat, is it clear at least?

KenS

Lord Palmerston wrote:

It's funny how people invoke "nationalization" as a caricature of postwar social democracy, given that it was only a small part.  It was during the 1950s revisionism that the emphasis on public ownership was dropped and the idea of working with capitalism with Keynesian welfare state measures etc. was embraced.

You are contradicting yourself. First nationalization is a small part of postwar social democracy. [I would quibble with that, but dont think its an important point.] Yet the de facto dropping of nationalization is treated as emblematic of heightened 'revisionism'.

KenS

One can argue that "nationalization" is a charicature of the fuller socialist notion of taking over the commanding heights. "Of course 'nationalization' didnt work, because its a pathetic shadow of socialism."

Maybe, but the only nationalization that some people vainly hope will return to NDP agendas is a re-run of that stripped down version of socialising the commending heights of capitalism.

But we hardly care about the theoretical difference- because we are not interested in either, not even open to it. And the working class is even less interested.

So we can talk about common ground, or you all can lecture us on what could be. What is your preference?

 

socialdemocrati...

If we're having any trouble at all using our industrial capacity, it's because we've become nothing more than a resource state. When global free market pressures are unmitigated, we export our lumber, aluminum, oil, and so on, without ever creating the infrastructure to build it up at home (and all the job creation that would come with it). And on top of all that, those exports drive up our dollar, making our other exports less competitive, and destroying what manufacturing base we have left. (AKA, the Dutch Disease.)

A few well placed regulations and investments would fix that. High speed rail would also make it more viable to ship raw materials around Canada, instead of sending it south. A few investments in refineries. Some incentives to produce green technologies. All things that would create jobs, let alone other social benefits.

And if we have trouble using our industrial capacity, it's not because public ownership would do things better. IMO, public ownership is just "state-owned capitalism". It's nominally owned in the public interest (actually it's owned by the Crown but let's pretend it's in our interest), but the managerial structure is essentially the same, and it still operates within a capitalist system. So for all the feathers that are ruffled from nationalizing that industry, it still succumbs to the destructive pressures of the free market anyway.

Government is better off changing the rules of the game than becoming a player.

(There are exceptions, of course. Health insurance being a key one.)

laine lowe laine lowe's picture

I think that current crown corporations should not be privatised. I also think that recent privatizations should be reversed (ie. AECL). I also think that the threat of nationanlization should be weilded carefully to make major corporations behave in a responsible way (environmentallly, job security and quality). I also think the P3s should be avoided and abandoned as a failed concept. In other words, I think we should abandon any economic model that is tied to market speculation.

CanadaApple

I think it's fair to say that political discourse has shifted to "the right" over the past few decades. When this started I don't exactly know, it may have been the late 70's or the 80's under Thatcher, Reagan and Mulroney.  Personally, I think all the talk of "left,right and centre",  in poltics is a bit too simplistic, and my time here on Babble really only confirms this. I for one find it a little funny how Conservatives like to call the NDP "Liberals in a hurry", while the NDP tends to treat the Liberals and Conservatives as two-sides of the same coin. The point I'm trying to make is all this talk is really quite relative; it depends on you views as a individual. For example, some people might call me a stupid leftie, others might call me a centreist pushover. That's fine. I know I can't please everyone.

Having said that, I realize that use of "left,right and centre" in politics has become the norm, so one can't really help but to use it, otherwise they get left out of the conversation. So I'll use it because I have to, not so much because I want to. At any rate, I can't think of an alternative. The only thing I can really come up with is to treat everyone with respect, regardless of opinion. I really do think most people want to make things better in the world,on one level or another, but disaggreements arise on how to do it. Maybe if we can do that, politics doesn't have to be so vile at times.

Now, with regards to the OP, the honest answer is I don't know, and I don't think anyone here really does either. The next election is three and a half years away. Who knows what's going to happen between now and then? Some people think that the rise of the Occupy Movement can mark a shift to "the Left". Perhaps that's true, it's within the realm of possibility afterall, and if it is the case, then the answer to the question may be no. On the other hand, "Austerity" seems to be the buzz word of the past year of so, which could actually mean a shift further to "the Right", in which case the answer may be yes. The words "may be" in those last two sentances are key though. Because like I said, I really don't know. The answer will probably be clearer in the years to come.

And I'm sorry if this doesn't make sense to anyone reading it but me. =

gunder

"Nationaliztion" as code for MASS nationalization is patently absurd, since as you point out, LP, it has never meant that, even prior to the postwar consensus.

What the economic debate within the NDP should be about is economic democracy.  We no longer have anything resembling a "mixed economy" and it's time to acknowledge that.  That means creating a better  legislative and cultural environment for co-operatives and unions and independent businesses, but it also must mean the government playing a more direct role in some sectors, including the  resource sector.  Very few people in the NDP, even on the traditional "left", expect or want to nationalize oil and gas, but what about mining? Pulp and paper? Textiles? The market hasn't done a good job of using our industrial capacity, and I can't recall any "experiments", failed or otherwise, with government administration in those sectors.  If it isn't about losing votes, then why not have those discussions? Why can Danny Williams do what the Federal NDP can't?  Or how about providing the environment for community-based bidding on abandoned plant and capital? That would be economic democracy in action, but I guess it would  also be scary  "democratic control" and "socialist" thinking like that went out a bajillion years ago.  If we refuse to have these debates, even on our own terms. we'll  keep getting bad public policy, regardless of which party is in power or what regulatory regimes exist.

 

gunder

I should clarify that I'm not unreservedly in favour of nationalizing any of the above, but it's unwise to exclude discussions like that from broader ones of economic democracy on the grounds that the *idea* of "nationalization" is distasteful.

Lord Palmerston

KenS wrote:
You are contradicting yourself. First nationalization is a small part of postwar social democracy. [I would quibble with that, but dont think its an important point.] Yet the de facto dropping of nationalization is treated as emblematic of heightened 'revisionism'.

Not at all.  I'm not using the term "revisionism" with a disparaging intent.  There was a "revisionism" in 1950s social democracy in which public ownership was deemphasized and Keynesianism, the welfare state and a managed economy were embraced.  One of the most important thinkers was Anthony Crosland.  In his book The Future of Socialism Crosland described his project as "revisionist."

The Winnipeg Declaration was the CCF's key "revisionist" document.

JKR

Lord Palmerston wrote:

It was during the 1950s revisionism that the emphasis on public ownership was dropped and the idea of working with capitalism with Keynesian welfare state measures etc. was embraced.

The social democratic countries have been able to provide much better living standards for the working class without nationalization:

Top 10 Countries with the Best Work-Life Balance

Quote:

1. Denmark
2. Norway
3. Netherlands
4. Finland
5. Belgium
6. Switzerland
7. Sweden
8. Germany
9. Portugal
10. France

OECD

The experience of nationalization behind the Iron-Curtain and in Maoist China showed the world the economic weakness of nationalization. Nationalized monopolies create a lack of competition that fosters inefficiency and waste.

The NDP should show Canadians the advantages of setting up the kind of social democratic systems they have in countries like Denmark, Norway, the Netherlands, Finland, Belgium, Switzerland, Sweden, and Germany.

KenS

When I say that nationalization should stay in the dustbin, I'm not talking mass nationalizations- I mean any, other than possibly the exceptional one off.

The post above is an example of how a candle is still held out for nationalization is held out as a solution for all manner of 'localized' problems in capitalism. And fond references to the bygone 'mixed economy'. Turning away from all taht is an example of what I am holding out as NOT being part of generalized rightward shifts. That may have been oretty much the whole proximate reason for social democracy turning away from that, but we're not interested in even talking about going back there.

@ LP. Yes, Crossland Labour de-emphasisied nationalization. But there was still a place for it, and the NDP left does tend strongly to want to go back there, and see it as a problem [if not t big one] that we never do. Which in turn is another example of what is wrong with this party, its limits, etc.  Are you disagreeing with me about that?

Slumberjack

Catchfire wrote:
I don't know about that, Michelle. I think Niki Ashton will keep the party close to its leftist roots...

Here's a nifty nick name for Niki then.  Hail Mary.

KenS

Anti-imperialist politics is another example, and one that is going to be more controversial than picking on nationalization.

I will always 'vote for' the anti-imperialist choice. But its not a deal breaker, and I see lefty propensity to treat it as a deal breaker as a material obstacle to focusing on building a majoritarian coalition around what is both vital and within our reach even though we are still moving in the wrong direction: unapologetic and fulsome redistributionist and regulationist approaches to capitalism.

Slumberjack

Lord Palmerston wrote:
There's indeed a contradiction in social democracy in that the ability to pursue reforms (that are opposed by capital) depends on a healthy capitalist economy.  

Mostly these days its the other way around if you leave off the democracy part of 'social democracy.'  Nearly a trillion dollars of 'liquidity' put on the table by the ECB recently.  Where did it come from?  Does any of it include Flaherty's generosity of spirit on our behalf?  No one knows for sure exactly...but then again no one is raising the issue either.

Slumberjack

We don't have a party in this country raising any of these issues....not the continuing Israeli aggression in the Middle East, not the socialization of capitalist gambling losses, not the aggressive Canadian foreign policy, not the sluice gate wealth extraction schemes going on from one end of the country to the other by way of resource plundering... nothing.

KenS

Hopefully it wont derail the discussion to bring an example in from the leadership campaign.

There have been a number of comments whether Topp's apparent shift to the left is 'sincere', and more likely he is positioning/pandering for the eadership race.

Topp has not shifted left, he is not insincere, and this is for sure being used to benefit and positioning in the race, but that is not where his initiatives come from.

KenS

He is reflecting the thinking and discussions carried on in the 'backrooms' [IE, Layton, Broadbent and a number of other 'lesser lights' like Brian Topp]. That and the May breakthrough [including the more modest by substantial one in the ROC]. 

The thinking being that there is a shift in the political environment and in what Canadians are looking at and willing to look at such that its time we can considerably 'stretch' the substance of what we propose. 'It is time' both in that we can do it, and that we need to start moving now to capitalize on the opportunity.

I think the fact that happened is part of why a more aggresive politics is more withing our reach- and it isnt a coincidence that the need is growing more desperate. But that does not mean there is traction/room for all the the nostrums that lefties in practice treat as if they are a package deal. The statements that people do not expect the moon, and of course would be happy with substantial movement that falls short of their aspirations... come off as less than convincing.

Arthur Cramer Arthur Cramer's picture

Well, there is a possibility. I mean, it was happening under Jack (blessed be his memory). I do think the party as a whole including the leadership is considerably further to the left then the Libs. Notwithstanding, if the party goes the Democrat route, I'll simply quit, and withdraw from politics.

Simplistic answer maybe, but the truth.

Rabble_Incognito

Whoever asked this question it's a good question.

If the NDP talks about becoming more like the Democrats, or becoming more centrist, I'll leave them and their 'principles' faster than you can imagine. And I'd hope the party would lose in elections horribly.

You know, the more I listen to the NDP 'strategists' here the more I wonder if the NDP is really the place for me. I mean, are foundational principles on the table with the NDP? Are principles 'flexible' depending on the need to spin it? I hate that about election talk - moving the party to the center - or the country - not sure what is meant - I presume Canada is to the left already, globally, since it has public universal health care.

Our left of center posture in the world, like our health care, helped make us great, and productive - our corporations don't have to pay health insurance, so that cost is zero. American companies have to pay health insurance. So moving our country to the center, and moving health care into the private realm to be 'centrist', would be 'folly'. It would reduce our competitiveness and reduce some of our citizens to serfs working to pay off health care debt burdens.

Move the country to the center, to the right, and the NDP will lose people that came to the NDP thinking it 'meant' something like social justice or even brotherly mutual support, lending a hand, or a strong public purse and functioning public sector and public health care.

Harper has already put health care on the table for carving up. He's now tying it to provincial productivity with his fed transfer payment scheme.

Meaning is in the principles, not the spin or the positioning of your party in the public eye for a brief moment to satisfy a quest for power. Left of centre is partly why people want to come to Canada - because it is held to be a rational, compassionate place, and for the first time in it's history, folks are coming to the NDP for the same reasons.

Centrism was how Obama disappointed and injured millions of people - he caved in to health insurance companies and their lobbyists - corporations do not need more laws to help them become more powerful, but centrism gives corps that power - I'm going to talk it up at the convention with people, and the candidate that talks about centrism the most, or moving the NDP or Canada a smidge to the right, is the one that loses his principles, in my mind. And they deserve to lose.

KenS

Me too.

I dont see the never dying merger idea having traction, but if it did, I cannot see that it would not amount to being the Dems.

Rabble_Incognito

Oh and after this note I'll shup - If the leader, whoever that is, moves in a direction that pleases a Tory, tories will sieze upon that change in direction. And good for him. If you try to play his game, you deserve to lose. And since it is his game, you probably will.

The NDP needs to define the game for the next election, and avoid being sucked into heeding conservative ideals.

Slumberjack

Rabble_Incognito wrote:
You know, the more I listen to the NDP 'strategists' here the more I wonder if the NDP is really the place for me.

There is no other place, apart from tented encampments that no one takes seriously except for the police, or apart from storming the chilly palace on Parliament Hill; with no popular plans existing at the moment for that type of strategy. It's either the case that the NDP leadership cabal takes firm direction from a progressive party membership, and is held to that direction by an insistence on a set of core principles, or the membership is dragged along, casting apologies overboard along the way, by a zeitgeist that appears informed mainly by ambitions toward power above anything else.  In the US, progressive politics is in a state of crisis and abandonment as a result of this latter model being adopted by left leaning democrats, when the signs and speeches were there all along throughout Obama's campaign to inform them as to what to expect.

DaveW

Rebecca West wrote:

US Democrats are closer to our LPC than the NDP, and I would hate to see the NDP go that centrist.  I think any NDP alignment with the Libs is a mistake.  There's a reason Canada doesn't have the USian two-party system. 

you are right, but to grow, the NDP will have to reach new voter groups, mostly to their right

The Liberals were a classic "catch all" party, occupying  a (very) broad middle ground, and hence their multiple long-time majorities, like the US Democrats, who at one point were supported by US industrial unions and much of Wall Street, Northern blacks and Southern whites, Protestant establishment and Jacksonian populists. All aboard!

The biggest social democratic parties in Europe, like the Socialists here in France, all have as their main voting bloc the liberal and  State-supported middle class; teachers are the largest single professional group voting Socialist. Public sector unions are the most important labour constituency, not factory or industrial labour.

That is the future of the NDP if it grows closer to majority status.

 

 

 

NDPP

Slumberjack wrote:

It's either the case that the NDP leadership cabal takes firm direction from a progressive party membership, and is held to that direction by an insistence on a set of core principles, or the membership is dragged along, casting apologies overboard along the way, by a zeitgeist that appears informed mainly by ambitions toward power above anything else.

NDPP

I think this is well put. I would only say that based upon the 'progressive party membership's' virtually unbroken losing streak, as opposed to the 'NDP leadership cabal',  it looks like the first choice is strictly hypothetical and it will be no difference party door number two. Unfortunately also, as the cabal is quite cold bloody aware -  the worse things are made for us, the better their ultimate chances at seizing the big brass ring of power. And that old ndp trump card 'the others are worse', will continue to work its immodest black magic. PT Barnum was right. There's a new party member born every minute.

Slumberjack

This is why the theoretical discussion is my sole indulgence here for the most part, in the main because leftist politics in this country has been reduced to pure hypothesis.  I thought PT Barnum said 'sucker' born every minute...or was it 'customer?'

Doug

Lord Palmerston wrote:

So I keep hearing from many social democrats that class-based politics and nationalization was OK in the 1960s but not today...why is that?

Class-based politics isn't going away any time soon but the form it takes has to change. The industrial working class it once was based upon is now a small minority in society and so organizing on that basis makes about as much sense as starting a farmers' party and expecting it to make a difference. As for nationalization, it's a policy tool that one is forced to admit often did not accomplish what was intended and diverted public resources from more equitable uses. It also didn't accomplish greater economic democratization, which granted, was often not intended but is still a powerful criticism of nationalization as a policy tool in the postwar period.

 

Quote:

My question is why someone in say a routine white-collar occupation is inherently less "socialist" and less open to a redistributionist platform or a class-based appeal than an industrial worker?

Empirically, that's tended to be the case. I don't think it has to be so but left-wing parties have tended to stick closely by their industrial and government worker constituencies and so have tended to have less useful things to say to post-industrial private sector workers.

Quote:

There's indeed a contradiction in social democracy in that the ability to pursue reforms (that are opposed by capital) depends on a healthy capitalist economy.  

 

No question - and this is also not going away any time soon.

Doug

Slumberjack wrote:

Mostly these days its the other way around if you leave off the democracy part of 'social democracy.'  Nearly a trillion dollars of 'liquidity' put on the table by the ECB recently.  Where did it come from?

 

It literally came from nowhere. Central banks can do that.

Aristotleded24

In the context of the NDP leadership race, I think the discussion about "Blairizing the party" or more specifically, which leader is likely to accomplish this, is quite misplaced. Obviously the leader has a great deal of sway over the party, but it's almost like some people expect a leader to come along and save them. The best example I can think of was how the NPI disbanded with Layton as leader thinking they had "won," and over the course of time Layton gradually shifted rightward. Perhaps if the NPI had remained we wouldn't even need to have this discussion? And leaders can change their tune. Look at Saskatchewan where a right-wing Lingenfelter was forced to run on a left-wing platform in the election. Granted that was a particularly extreme case where the party had to hide behind policy as its leader's image was irrevocably tarnished, but it shows that leaders can be pushed.

In other words, (assuming this is about Mulcair), instead of worrying about how Mulcair might shift the party rightwards should he win the leadership, why don't the rest of us organize and mobilize to the point that he wouldn't dare try?

socialdemocrati...

For all the people who want a party that denounces all NATO led wars, and who want to put nationalization back on the table for more than a few select circumstances... hasn't the NDP *already* shifted to the right?

toaster

I actually think the Democratic Party is closer to our Conservative Party (the Republicans don't even register, way further right than even the Wildrose in Alberta), especially under Obama.   So, no the NDP should not try to become the Canadian version of the Democrats.

KenS

The NPI ran out of gas and died of its own weight, not because people thought they had 'won with Layton'. The most that might have done is 'enabled' and rationalized the already existing fact that NPI wasnt going anywhere after the Convention, and the activists didn't really know what to do about it.

And the more pertinent point: I dont get the feeling this thread is about the possibility of Mulcair being Leader. I see it as an attempt to back away from that and look at the bigger and longer term picture.... which is also where I see your contribution fitting, I just happen to disagree with the point about NPI.

To the degree Leader choice relevavce does overlap this 'bigger question'...

Whether Leader's like Layton do not get people what they thought they were going to get [I didn't, for what that is worth], that does not mean that there are considerably worse choices that can be made.

josh

Yeah, there's simply no place for that nasty nationalization business.

Quote:

Iceland has recovered rapidly. The government nationalized the country's three largest banks, which had engaged in wild financial speculation. Creditors, not taxpayers, were forced to swallow most bank-related losses. It imposed capital controls to protect the country's currency. It tightened financial regulation.
. . . .
As a result, the recession in Iceland ended in the second half of 2010. Private spending increased and exports began to rise. Through the first half of 2011, its once-crippled economy grew 2.5 percent. Wages rebounded, boosting people's purchasing power. Income inequality declined. And despite the bank seizures, which critics claimed would sow financial chaos, Iceland's sovereign debt is now stronger than that of, say, Ireland, which refused to nationalize its financial sector.

 


http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-505123_162-57323068/comeback-countries-lesso...

KenS

That would be in the category of exceptions.

In general, we shouldn't have anything to do with 'lemon capitalism'. Like nationalizing paper mills out of a misguided notion of saving jobs and communities.

Nationalizing the banks in Iceland was because citizens were left holding the bag after the wreckage. There was worse than no value in the financial system, and you have to have one, so the government and citizens 'owned' it by default.

Nothing to write home about. Even if they have ended up profiting from it.

socialdemocrati...

The banking sector *should* be highly regulated. And there *should* be a significant government role in setting monetary policy.

That's what we have in Canada. Five banks, plus a Central Bank as a crown corporation. A shining example of the mixed economy.

Nationalizating a few of our banks *might* make sense if the banking system was in crisis. But they aren't.

Because the system we have is working pretty darn well.

 

gunder

I freely admit, I do hold a candle out for "state capitalism".  I think in can work in exceptional cicumstances, as you say.  But I am also for less-centralized economic democracy, like strengthening credit unions and co-operatives and creating a regime for community ownership.  That's what "public ownership" means to me, and I would be seriously dismayed if the NDP decided to throw it all under the bus because "nationalization doesn't work", "Worker control is scary", "co-operatives are nice, but we need to accept the free market" and other such nonsense.  By the same token, I blame the conflation of those concepts to a great degree on the "old left" in the party who see themselves as the self-appointed guardians of righteous thinking and never miss an oportunty for a good horrangue, even when it's obvious they are their own worst enemy.  But moderate socialism has a place in any broad social democratic movement, and frankly, it's essential for ideological cohesion. 

The whole business of the preamble was emblematic of that.  Rather than repudiate mass nationalization, Mulcair and co. simply excised all reference to public enterpise altogether.  Collective rights? Gone. Intervention in the market? Wouldn't dream of it. Subtly rooting out the undesirables like that is not the same as expanding the party.  Go on and have a big tent, but at least let me stand huddled at the back, instead of pissing into it from the outside.

 

gunder

"Anti-imperialism" is an entirely different kettle of fish. It's a catch-all phrase like "anti-capitalism" that can mean whatever the user intends it to mean.  It depends on the tools you use to oppose, counterbalance or temper the empire.  I don't want a party thatr makes Hugo Chavez-like pronouncements, and I don't think it's helpful or illustrative to many Canadians for us to bring "imperialism" into the discourse full-on.  However, if someone went around loudly advertising themselves as a pragmatist on foreign affairs and resorting to the standard line about standing with our allies, then yes, that would be a dealbreaker, and that person would alienate a large part of the NDP base, beyond the "socialists" to the NDP's moderate core and many of the young professionals it's trying to keep in the fold.  That's why Topp said he supported the Palestinians on day one, why Mulcair says he doesn't want "useless" (read: imperialist) wars, why Nash and Dewar focused on peacekeeping.  The Centre isn't tptally myopic.  They realize too that maintaining a safe distance from any imperialist project is a sine quoi non for holding on to Quebec.  Public ownership is a specific set of policy instruments the party can choose to use or not use as circumstances require. Throwing them all away is no more in our strategic interests than invading Iran would be.

 

socialdemocrati...

Speaking of Iceland and their banking sector...

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/economy/currencies/ice...

There's a difference between an economy in crisis and a stable economy. Iceland nationalized their banks because they had become toxic and needed to be cleaned out wholesale. We already have our national Bank of Canada, along with 5 highly regulated banks. Our system IS a mixed system. And it's working well enough that Iceland wants to peg their currency to ours, not the other way around.

socialdemocrati...

What you're talking about -- workers cooperatives and worker ownership -- is completely different from nationalization, which is just capitalism run by the state. The less we keep dwelling on old ideas of nationalization and crown corporations, the more we can move onto new and successful policies of worker empowerment. Companies owned by employees are becoming increasingly common in Brazil, seem to actually do more for workers than something like Petro Canada, and don't carry as much political baggage.

As for anti-imperialism, I agree with you. There's a good amount of common sense among the leadership candidates. They were all vociferous opponents of Iraq AND Afghanistan. They don't oppose all wars, but then most Canadians don't. I'm pretty comfortable as long as we don't end up spending millions or billions of dollars propping up an American occupation.

Here's the main point:

Is there anyone worried about an NDP shift to the right on a policy that hasn't *already* been thrown out the window?

For the people who hold a candle for the idea that the NDP will re-nationalize Petro Canada or that we'll denounce NATO, I'm telling you that the NDP has already gone to the right. The ship has sailed.

Read the 2011 platform again, and ask, what's most vulnerable?

The only answers I find are too far fetched, and would only happen if we full on merged with the Liberals.

flight from kamakura

JKR wrote:

Lord Palmerston wrote:

It was during the 1950s revisionism that the emphasis on public ownership was dropped and the idea of working with capitalism with Keynesian welfare state measures etc. was embraced.

The social democratic countries have been able to provide much better living standards for the working class without nationalization:

Top 10 Countries with the Best Work-Life Balance

Quote:

1. Denmark
2. Norway
3. Netherlands
4. Finland
5. Belgium
6. Switzerland
7. Sweden
8. Germany
9. Portugal
10. France

OECD

The experience of nationalization behind the Iron-Curtain and in Maoist China showed the world the economic weakness of nationalization. Nationalized monopolies create a lack of competition that fosters inefficiency and waste.

The NDP should show Canadians the advantages of setting up the kind of social democratic systems they have in countries like Denmark, Norway, the Netherlands, Finland, Belgium, Switzerland, Sweden, and Germany.

exactly.  the sort-of-sad thing is that if quebec were independent, it would probably figure on that list.

socialdemocrati...

I think that's the kind of social democracy I have in mind, too. To emulate a country like Norway, the Netherlands, or Finland. Two out of three sent troops to Iraq. So in some ways, we're already a step ahead.

laine lowe laine lowe's picture

The social democratic countries have been able to provide much better living standards for the working class without nationalization.

From 1917 to 2008 [url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Absolut_Vodka]Absolut Vodka[/url] was a state owned money maker for Sweden. It was sold to Pernod Ricard by the centre-right Alliance coalition.

Slumberjack

KenS wrote:
That would be in the category of exceptions.

Argentina as well.

Lord Palmerston

socialdemocraticmiddle wrote:

For all the people who want a party that denounces all NATO led wars, and who want to put nationalization back on the table for more than a few select circumstances... hasn't the NDP *already* shifted to the right?

Yes, but I think there's still a difference between traditional Keynesian social democracy and Third Way social democracy.  Nationalization was only a small part of it, and it wasn't all that "anti-imperialist" either.

JKR

flight from kamakura wrote:

exactly.  the sort-of-sad thing is that if quebec were independent, it would probably figure on that list.

If Quebec became independent with its own currency, it could become North America's equivalent of Europe's advanced northern social democratic countries. The PQ might be wise to propose just that.

KenS

Dont know that it matters to the questions being considered, but I dont think its likely an independent Quebec would want a free standing currency. And it woudnt even need Canada's permission to use the dollar.

That true as far as you know FFK?

Lord Palmerston

Doug wrote:
Class-based politics isn't going away any time soon but the form it takes has to change.

While it's wrong to conflate the working class with industrial workers, the decline of the industrial working class base was indeed significant.  "Mass production" in many respects brought together workers into more cohesive communities which led to greater solidarity.  Postindustrial employment in contrast is more dispersed, work schedules more irregular, etc. which makes these solidarities harder to create.  There's certainly empirical evidence that lower-level clerical and sales workers have lower levels of class consciousness than manual workers do.

As mentioned, social democratic parties have been successful with another constituency, salaried employees in the public sector.  The high levels of unionization and the defense of the public sector have obviously led to high support from this group.   

But the low level of class idenity among those in the tertiary sector is largely due to the fact that social democratic and labor parties didn't mobilize these groups as "workers" in the past, even though these occupations have been much more "proletarianized." 

Yet there are much higher levels of inequality and poverty, which should make the potential audience for a redistributionist program larger than in the more prosperous postwar years.

Courting high-income professionals is a tricky matter, they are for the most part quite liberal on social issues and certainly there is a significant minority with progressive politics.  The Democrats in the US do very among this group and this is the constituency they largely target; in Canada this is just about the strongest constituency for the Liberals nowadays.  Their "post-materialist" and more pro-market (even if more regulated than the orthodox laissez-faire/conservative approach) politics are often in conflict with the more materialist politics of the traditional left.

(To corroborate Ken's point about "broad tents": I should point out that attracting the "liberally minded" middle classes was a goal of the NDP since its founding.  In the 1960s and 1970s, the NDP while never getting pluralities like social democratic parties elsewhere had a significant working class constituency, but the inroads into the "liberally minded" constituency were pretty minimal.  This was of course largely a Liberal constituency.)

vaudree

I think that one has to be realistic about what one can accomplish in a single term. I think that the NDP would probably be a minority unless the Liberals implode - which means that, from now on, every convention, every by-election will be about momentum and whose got it. There are too many factors in play to know now.

Even with a minority, the NDP knows that Liberals run like NDPers before an election but drop most of their best policies after. The NDP can use what the Liberals ran on to coerce them into supporting good things. I don't think that we should become Liberals because, underneath their rhetoric, they are a pro corporate party. What we have in our corner is that Liberals holding the balance of power will not be in any rush to defeat the government.

Lord Palmerston, we can crush them without becoming them.
Michelle - even the leader is beholden to policy decided at Convention and is only one MP. The NDP tends to recruit fighters and the new leader will have enough sense to keep the fight in them.

Ippurigakko wrote:
I see Green Party of USA is very closer to NDP than Green Party of Canada, they very similar platform.

True, our Green Party are basically very environmentally friendly Liberals.

 

socialdemocrati...

The fact that the middle class has been squeezed is bad for the country, but it's a huge opportunity for the NDP. It used to be that problems like outsourcing, downsizing, and underemployment mainly affected the manufacturing sector in the 80s and 90s. But now with digital communication coming along as far as it has, particularly in developing countries... now these are white collar problems too. They're outsourcing customer service, computer programming, accounting, even legal work. The firewall between the working class and the middle class is gone. I won't be petty towards the people who callously thought they wouldn't be affected. Even if they only recently found religion on globalization, there's still room in the choir.

KenS

Privatization of utilities may be bad. But that does not make even 're-nationalization'- of what is most naturally a public asset- a good idea.

As someone engaged in fighting Nove Scotia Power, Inc.... we'd be worse off if it was back in government hands- even with an NDP government.

Rabble_Incognito

Ilosttrackofwhoexactlysaidit wrote:

 As for nationalization, it's a policy tool that one is forced to admit often did not accomplish what was intended and diverted public resources from more equitable uses. It also didn't accomplish greater economic democratization, which granted, was often not intended but is still a powerful criticism of nationalization as a policy tool in the postwar period.

I am not sure I can agree with this statement because I'm not sure I'm processing it correctly - but I'll try to comment - I think products like electricity, telephone and gasoline can all be cheaper, and if they were cheaper, it could be 'good' for the poor, because poor folk have less money to buy these products. I'd call that an economic benefit for the poor. I'd argue, economic 'good things' happen for the poor when you nationalize a product like electricity, gas, or telephone, because each dollar a poor person has, buys more stuff (because presumably there is no need to feed shareholders profit). I think it is feasible that you could take over companies that have been 'imprudently' sold off to private enterprise in capitalist feeding frenzies, for example, like BNPD (Ontario Hydro deconstruction), Bell Canada and Petro Canada. The fact that each company was once a publicly owned entity means it can be a publicly owned entity once again. I'd call cheaper electricity, telephone and gas 'good' for the poor. I don't know if it's more democratic, but I'm sure most poor would agree that in these cases, cheaper is better.


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