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A progressive dialogue on the future: An open conclusion to the series

This week marks the end of our weekly series "Reinventing democracy, reclaiming the commons," a project begun last spring to help mark the 10th year of rabble. The series reflected the role of rabble as a site for activists -- a place for people who want to change the world to go, where their values are reflected back to them and where the world is not put through the perverse filter of the corporate media.

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Occupy, the New Politics Initiative and reclaiming the commons

My nearly 30 years of experience as a social activist in Saskatchewan immediately attracted me to the NPI 10 years ago: I had despaired for years over the deep and irrational divide between NDP party politics and the active social movements which characterized Saskatchewan political culture. The two should have been working together -- at least informally -- yet they existed as two solitudes. The NDP establishment detested social movements (and distrusted the labour movement) as naive and uncontrollable troublemakers because when the NDP was in power they persisted in criticizing the NDP government and making things uncomfortable for the ministers. Roy Romanow once told me he thought social movements were "totally useless."

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Six important questions for the left

Anti-austerity rally in Toronto in September. Photo: Krystalline Kraus
The left need to resolve a handful of strategic questions for greater success.

Related rabble.ca story:

A progressive reading list for the summer

Eleven stories on the future of the left in Canada have now run in rabble.ca's ongoing series: Reinventing democracy, reclaiming the commons: A progressive dialogue on the future of Canada.

Every Friday since May 20, stories that explore the options and possibilities have been published. The series is currently taking a hiatus for August, with our next story due to run after Labour Day on Friday, Sept. 9.

The series will run in this, rabble.ca's 10th year, and is curated by journalist Murray Dobbin.

We invite readers to take a look at what we've published so far, add comments to the bottom of each story, or participate in chat about what has been run in babble, rabble.ca's forum.

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Beyond resistance: From the old to the new Left

Welcome to rabble.ca's extended series on the Canadian left -- Reinventing democracy, reclaiming the commons: A progressive dialogue on the future of Canada -- a look at where it stands after the 2011 federal election, and what the future can hold. The series will run in this, rabble.ca's 10th year, and is curated by journalist Murray Dobbin.

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Love in a time of climate crisis

Welcome to rabble.ca's extended series on the Canadian left -- Reinventing democracy, reclaiming the commons: A progressive dialogue on the future of Canada -- a look at where it stands after the 2011 federal election, and what the future can hold. The series will run in this, rabble.ca's 10th year, and is curated by journalist Murray Dobbin.

"The future belongs to the most compelling story." 

- Drew Dellinger

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A progressive dialogue: Beating the right at their own game

Conservatives have been winning -- in Canada and elsewhere -- for the last 30 years. That's because they've been playing to win.

Do progressives want to win? Moreover, do they know how? Observing how conservatives have won for three decades helps to identify three key elements to winning: big ideas; the infrastructure of success; and electoral realpolitik. Of course there are other elements, but omit any of these three critical legs, and the effort will topple.

Big ideas

A big idea is an idea that changes things. It is not an idea that fits in with things as they are.

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New Politics Initiative at 10: Time to look forward

There have been times in the past when there was a call for the NDP to move left: from the Waffle 40 plus years ago, to the New Politics Initiative in the more recent past. The times today, however, are different, perhaps radically so. Let us look forward rather than backward, uncertain as the exercise inherently is.

On the one hand, while unemployment and inequality are hardly new, these are truly tough times for far too many people. To paraphrase the great economist John Maynard Keynes, capitalism, never a thing of beauty, is no longer delivering the goods to most people.

Plus, compared even to 10 years ago, there is fresh evidence almost daily of the frightening consequences of climate change.

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