I didn't endorse this Parliament. Did you? (3)

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Uncle John

I learned about wsws.org through this website and I noticed there were a lot of articles which were quite interesting. I admit that I am not a Trotskyite intellectual. One of them was very critical of the union movement, and their point was that the unions are betraying the working class so they can keep up the lifestyles of a middle class union bureaucracy. Replace middle class union bureaucracy with 'union elite' and you have an argument which could have come from the Reform Party. I mentioned this as someone on this thread was speaking about how there was a complaint that anything left of the NDP (or even Liberals) was actually a Tory ally. It seems that some leftist and ultra-leftist rhetoric could be useful to the Right.

I'll let Northern Shoveler's words speak for themselves.

Slumberjack

6079_Smith_W wrote:
And while I respect the will of populist movements generally, including most job actions, you'll excuse me if I have just a bit more respect for the rule of law. After all, I can think of a couple of times when populist uprisings have not turned out to be so progressive. 

And ultimately I don't think it is a healthy state of affairs for a country to be run by who can mass the greatest force in the streets, any more than I think the results of elections are the absolute and final word.

Who's rule of law exactly do you reserve your respect for?  By and for whom?  You seem to be content with a contemptible state of affairs that proves itself capable of massing people at their rigged stations of legitimacy every now and again.

Tobold Rollo

6079_Smith_W wrote:

Tobold Rollo wrote:

There are clear choices in terms of personality and platforms, but neither of these matter to policy outcomes.

Really? 

Corporate tax rates?

Gun registry? 

wheat board? 

Funding for women's groups?

Mega-prisons?

Support for public broadcasting? 

Maybe a Liberal-NDP coalition wouldhave been hauled into the backroom by the cabal which runs everything and forced to enact the same policies as the Harperites are poised to do, but I doubt it.

If present conditions persist:

Corporate tax rates will stay low, regardless of the party makeup of Parliament. An NDP government would never think of putting them back to the levels required to support the welfare state.

The gun registry is an economically insignificant bit of regulation. Maybe it stays, maybe it goes. Who cares? 

The Wheat Board will be eliminated or gutted until it exists only in name, regardless of the party makeup of Parliament. An NDP government isn't going to tamper with trade issues.

Funding for women's groups, and funding for any other group for that matter, will continue to fall, regardless of the party makeup of Parliament. An NDP government might shuffles some funds around between groups, but they could not commit new funds to group X without taking those funds from group Y.

Mega-prisons will be built, regardless of the party makeup of Parliament. Canada's prison population is expanding on pace with neo-liberalism's decimation of the middle- and working-class. They also result in increased GDP and union jobs. An NDP government wouldn't pass up on that.   

Support for public broadcasting will continue to fall, regardless of the party makeup of Parliament. An NDP government might increase their funding, but it would have to come from the women's groups. 

 

This will happen, not because politicians are pulled into some backroom, but as Chomsky puts it, because those in Parliament already understand their obligations.

 

Slumberjack

Uncle John wrote:
It seems that some leftist and ultra-leftist rhetoric could be useful to the Right.

The inertia of organized labour is proving its utility.

6079_Smith_W

@ Freedom 55

I think we have enough hypothetical arguments in this thread without wandering off into another one.

TO answer your question, probably not, and it depends on the circumstances. One of my problems with this whole discussion is the fact that it has turned into absolutist arguments. 

No the law is not always right, and no the electoral system is not always perfect, and neither are its results, but I think it is more important to work to have those systems working as well as they can, rather than put our faith in a system which is even more ad hoc and essentially based on force and fear with few rules.

But to bring this back to my actual point.... it is not unrest and a fear of communism which has brought marriage equality and access to abortion. It is public organizing, but it is also, ultimately - the law.

 

@ Slumberjack

Who is content? I am just saying that you gain nothing by ignoring the ways in which you can work to effect change using that system , 

Slumberjack

6079_Smith_W wrote:
Who is content? I am just saying that you gain nothing by ignoring the ways in which you can work to effect change using that system. 

Nothing is gained by ignoring questions surrounding the institutionalized processes, whereby initiatives and the social want toward change continues to be applied against a system that does everything possible to prevent it from occurring.

Northern Shoveler Northern Shoveler's picture

Wrong again on abortion.  Your historical view is wrong.  Abortion is not illegal in Canada because Morgentaler refused to follow the law and a jury of his peers on more than one occasion ignored the judges and refused to convict him for a clear violation of the Criminal Code.  Please show me the Act of parliament that legalized abortion.  You can't because it doesn't exist.  If the abortion activists like him, and my first wife who counselled women in the 1960's when that was still a crime, had followed your respect for the law nothing would have changed.

The same is basically true or your other example. Marriage equality was won in court battles not in the parliament.  They did pass it after the judges told them had to but to imply that this came from electing NDP MP's is not correct.  It came from people suing the government not mobilizing to elect social democrats.

6079_Smith_W

@ NS

Re: abortion, the quesiton of its illegality was settled in court, and I believe access to it is covered by provincial health regulations, no? And it seems to me the government and the courts took an active role on a number of occasions:

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/story/2009/01/13/f-abortion-timeline.html

Do I think there is a time and a place for civil disobedience and resisting the law and government? Absolutely, in some cases. Not all.

But I think the first priority has to be to make that law and government work and to try and achieve our goals through them.  

Freedom 55

Freedom 55 wrote:

So if the supreme court ruled that InSite must shut down, and abortions were ruled illegal; would you say [i]those[/i] laws should be respected?

6079_Smith_W wrote:

TO answer your question, probably not, and it depends on the circumstances.

 

So your "respect for the rule of law" is conditional. I happen to agree with you (probably... depending on circumstances). I do find your position interesting, considering how you've been taking Tobold to task with your assertion (which I don't even think is correct) that he only supports voting when he agrees with the outcome. Sounds like you feel the same way about the courts.

My point is that we can't simply leave these matters to the courts (or parliament). We desperately need strong and determined extra-parliamentary movements that will fight to defend and expand our rights. And no, I'm not talking about your straw-person invocation of "populist uprisings" based on "force and fear". I'm talking about doctors willing to put themselves on the line, as Northern Shoveler has referenced. If InSite gets shut down we need to open other safe injection/inhalation sites. And we need a movement that is capable of providing material and emotional support to those nurses, social workers, doctors, and the families of those who do put their personal liberty on the line.

6079_Smith_W

@ Freedom 55

Of course if you are going to ask me if there are some bad laws which should be resisted I have to say yes. I can think of more cases in which I would work to change the law; whether I would break it or not depends the circumstances.

That is not the same thing as saying that one should not do one's best to respect the law and government and work with it. 

I can think of far more things in which I disagree with the law, or actions of government but comply with it.

I certainly don't imagine that our government is the only avenue for change, and I have said as much. but as imperfect as they are, it is certainly better than public policy being made only based on those who can shout the loudest. Not only do I think it is a myth that it is the only effective means of change. I think we should resist any means for it to be that way. After all, the right wing has often proven itself much more effective at it than the left, and not just in recent history.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

..in the early 60‘s postal workers did not have the right to collective bargaining nor the right to strike. in spite of this several wildcats took place predominantly in montreal and toronto maybe vancouver as well. analysis at the time was that these wildcats were sending messages to the rest of the labour force that they could also engage in illegal strikes. to contain this kind of thinking  collective bargaining was granted to postal workers thus control through legalization. as a result of granting collective bargaining to postal workers the government was eventually forced to grant collective bargaining and the right to strike to the rest of the public service.  

..my concern is in the value of voting vs collective action. i have always argued that we should be involved in voting for governments and at the same time i see that it doesn’t bring meaningful change no mater who i vote for..whether they are in power or out. yet this is where the resources and focus goes. while actions that really do work, as i have laid out above, get tossed aside as being to radical or crazy ideas from the far left. while most might argue that they are calling for political action and not just voting there is little discussion on why movements are not being built as “the” vehicle for change.

..in contrast i see what is happening in venezuela and bolivia where not only election of left leaning governments, supported by mass movements, is happening but those said governments are transferring decision making power to worker organizations. in the case of bolivia it is also by writing into the constitution control over large tracks of land to indigenous peoples.    

Fidel

Tobold Rollo wrote:

Fidel wrote:

 

First off the NDP has never been the federal government, and neoliberalism works by way of a top-down regime of falling overall tax revenues collected by Ottawa and generally resulting in dog-eat-dog competition between provinces for leftover scraps.

I have explained why this line of argument doesn't work. The NDP was not a federal government during the rise of progressive institutions and economic rights, demonstrating that we don't need a socialist party in government to establish socialist institutions.

That's oversimplifying things. You've basically spit on the efforts of a lot of people in the last century to win all kinds of rights and social protections including the CCF and NDP. It's not that they did not exist and were not part of the political lanscape because they were. Medicare is proof enough of that. The fight to protect socialized medicine in Canada continues.

What we won't see anytime soon is Tobold Rollo posting from his new or even temporary residence in a southern US right-to-work state and explaining how the CCF-NDP and Canada's civil society groups were never a factor in the high standard of living in those long-time bastions of political conservatism. Because we know you're just not that curious. ;-

Northern Shoveler Northern Shoveler's picture

Fidel you are not debating you are just insulting.  Obviously you have run out of real arguments. Given you have been reduced to stupid insults  I declare Tobold the winner of this debate.  

Fidel if you bring up the southern states one more time I am really going to lose it.  Jim Crow lived there through all the years of Canadian activism. You are showing you have a limited ability to integrate various historical trends into a coherent thesis.  

Uncle John

Oh I see. Accuse one poster of talking out his ass and then accuse another of being insulting.

Hypocrisy looks so good on you.

Tobold Rollo

Fidel wrote:

Tobold Rollo wrote:

Fidel wrote:

First off the NDP has never been the federal government, and neoliberalism works by way of a top-down regime of falling overall tax revenues collected by Ottawa and generally resulting in dog-eat-dog competition between provinces for leftover scraps.

I have explained why this line of argument doesn't work. The NDP was not a federal government during the rise of progressive institutions and economic rights, demonstrating that we don't need a socialist party in government to establish socialist institutions.

That's oversimplifying things. You've basically spit on the efforts of a lot of people in the last century to win all kinds of rights and social protections including the CCF and NDP. It's not that they did not exist and were not part of the political lanscape because they were. Medicare is proof enough of that. The fight to protect socialized medicine in Canada continues.

I'm not spitting, I'm simply giving credit were credit is due - to the thousands of farmers and workers who put their bodies on the line - and it does not appear to be due in any meaningful sense to the 17 New Democrats that happened to be in Parliament in 1963. We really have to dispense with this Great Man theory of Canadian history.

If we're going to give credit to the NDP for social programs and argue that if we don't vote for the NDP their resulting absence will result in the erosion of programs by other parties, sooner or later we are going to have to come to terms with the fact that progressive policy was quite strong in the absence of a progressive party in Parliament. 

 

Tobold Rollo

...

Tobold Rollo

...

6079_Smith_W

Strangely enough, I was going to mention the southern states as an example of a place where a certain popular movement was able to exert its will despite the law. I could also have mentioned the fine old tradition of the orange lodge in Canada. 

That's the problem with claiming government doesn't really have any meaning. What do you do when someone comes along who can shout louder than you?

But seeing as we have a clear voice of authority who has declared the winner, are we done?

Tobold Rollo

I can't speak with any authority on the political history of the southern US.

Northern Shoveler Northern Shoveler's picture

Uncle John wrote:

Oh I see. Accuse one poster of talking out his ass and then accuse another of being insulting.

Hypocrisy looks so good on you.

Thank you for reading at least a tiny bit of my posts.  I recommend the arguments in them as well.  

I did not say any poster was talking out their ass. I said that accusing someone of sharing believes with a historic figure when the accuser has not read those beliefs would be blowing smoke out their asses.  I agree it is colourful but really if a poster throws around a Russian commie name as an insult and it might be referring to one of my posts I think I get to respond with a little black humour.

I did not presume the poster would debate in such a low brow manner. I gave them the benefit of the doubt and my first presumption was that they had read Trotsky and could teach me something because I never have.  

So how should I describe someone who uses a term like Trotskyite without actually knowing what it means. Please I would like to know. 

Kiss Kiss

6079_Smith_W

Tobold Rollo wrote:

I can't speak with any authority on the political history of the southern US.

LOL

No no no, Tobold, you have been declared the winner. 

Fidel

Tobold Rollo wrote:

Fidel wrote:

Tobold Rollo wrote:

Fidel wrote:

First off the NDP has never been the federal government, and neoliberalism works by way of a top-down regime of falling overall tax revenues collected by Ottawa and generally resulting in dog-eat-dog competition between provinces for leftover scraps.

I have explained why this line of argument doesn't work. The NDP was not a federal government during the rise of progressive institutions and economic rights, demonstrating that we don't need a socialist party in government to establish socialist institutions.

That's oversimplifying things. You've basically spit on the efforts of a lot of people in the last century to win all kinds of rights and social protections including the CCF and NDP. It's not that they did not exist and were not part of the political lanscape because they were. Medicare is proof enough of that. The fight to protect socialized medicine in Canada continues.

I'm not spitting, I'm simply giving credit were credit is due - to the thousands of farmers and workers who put their bodies on the line - and it does not appear to be due in any meaningful sense to the 17 New Democrats that happened to be in Parliament in 1963. We really have to dispense with this Great Man theory of Canadian history.

<a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Health_care_in_Canada#Medical_Care_Act">wikipedia</a> wrote:
Medical Care Act
The Saskatchewan program proved a success and the federal government of Lester B. Pearson, pressured by the New Democratic Party (NDP) who held the balance of power, introduced the Medical Care Act in 1966 that extended the HIDS Act cost-sharing to allow each province to establish a universal health care plan. It also set up the Medicare system....

Pearson's Liberals had two choices: 1. enact medicare or 2. let the next government do it for them

[url=http://horror.kaiserpapers.org/shoddy.html]184 HMO Horror Stories[/url] for those who spit on Tommy's legacy

Northern Shoveler Northern Shoveler's picture

6079_Smith_W wrote:

Tobold Rollo wrote:

I can't speak with any authority on the political history of the southern US.

LOL

No no no, Tobold, you have been declared the winner. 

There you go again with your great leaps of logic.  I declared him a winner in a debate involving Canadian politics. I said nothing about any debate about the southern states.  It is really tiresome to have to respond to people who deliberately misconstrue posts when it is clear they are way to smart to have missed the obvious.

6079_Smith_W

erm.... I think that's what I was refering to. You have declared him the winner. Is there a problem? 

Tobold Rollo

Fidel wrote:

Pearson's Liberals had two choices: 1. enact medicare or 2. let the next government do it for them

Agreed, but the motivating pressure wasn't from the NDP, as our Canadian heritage folklore tells us, usually from the mouth of a beaver, Mountie, moose, or maple-syrup bottle. It was from elites who worried that if some concessions weren't made things could get much worse for them. Howard Zinn makes the same case against the New Deal: it was strategy for rescuing capitalism.

Uncle John

I think I explained myself pretty well. On the wsws.org site they are dissing the unions. The wsws.org site describes itself as Trotskyite. I was using the word Trotskyite associated with the ideas I found on a Trotskyite website. I have also learned there are a number of Trotskyite Internationals, or at least Internationals which call themselves Trotskyite. From what I have read on their various websites they seem to be more concerned about ideological purity and dissing the other flavours of Trotskyism than actually doing anything positive which would help anybody. I get the impression they are upper-middle class debating clubs staffed by bored university intellectual snobs who like to lord their specialized knowledge over generally (but not specially) educated petty bourgeois and lumpenproletarian peons like myself. Some of the articles quote Trotsky at length, so I have read some of his stuff. And also a lot of stuff from people who call themselves Trotskyite. And through their perspective they seem to be coming up with things which might be useful for Conservatives. Like the aforementioned union-baiting.

One thing these sites all seem to agree on is that people like me have to learn a lot more to understand the nature of society. How is that going to happen when people are being insulting?

I was not wilfully engaged in red-baiting or cold war. If the word Trotskyite is offensive I guess I mean followers of Trotsky. I do not know how Trotskyites like to be referred to as, as this is not common knowledge. Revolutionary Socialists? I don't know.

Fidel

Tobold Rollo wrote:

Fidel wrote:

Pearson's Liberals had two choices: 1. enact medicare or 2. let the next government do it for them

Agreed, but the motivating pressure wasn't from the NDP, as our Canadian heritage folklore tells us, usually from the mouth of a beaver, Mountie, moose, or maple-syrup bottle. 

 

Take away medicare in Saskatchewan and the elites have no pressure to concede anything. Otherwise we might have had an official opposition NDP party by the late 1960s instead of today. 

Tobold Rollo wrote:
It was from elites who worried that if some concessions weren't made things could get much worse for them. Howard Zinn makes the same case against the New Deal: it was strategy for rescuing capitalism.

But we also have to concede that capitalism was not rescued as is or as it was. We still have mixed market economies and lots of government intervention as opposed to what collapsed by 1929-30s in North America and around the western world.

And realistically New Deal socialism, or American style Keynesianism, did not save America from socialism as some conservatives have said about it. FDR actually saved them from fascism. That was until approximately the begining of the doctor and madman's reign in Washington. Even Nixon said, though, that we're all Keynesians now. Trudeau caved  in to right wing rhetoric on the economy concerning inflation and stagnation by 1984 or so.

And some Americans say that fascism took hold of America decades before in 1947 with the signing of the National Security Act creating a military dictatorship and the CIA. I tend to agree with that view.

And Canada does whatever it is they do down there economically and politically. We even have the same two mirror image parties running the show here. That is, until now.

MegB

Closed for length.  Do carry on in a new thread.

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