Media: let's bury the party beneath praises of Jack

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clambake
6079_Smith_W

clambake wrote:

Now, from the left. Thoughts?

Canada: The death of Jack Layton and the myth of national solidarity

*GASP*

He prevented the head-on clash between the working class and the Harper government? 

Drat! And I had a new party dress picked out for the occasion and everything!

Clearly I have been reading the wrong papers!

 

 

dacckon dacckon's picture

Layton did what he had to do to win. I recall a Tommy Douglas, visiting the United States and feeling ill at the sight of so called socialists who sat around quoting Marx and waiting for a revolution that would never come. He decided he had to do something other than sitting around. And he in his leadership race for the Sask CCF was won through his charisma over a more left-wing canidate. This is the truth of the matter. That is the choice, waiting as a protest-revolutionary voice for something that will never come, or winning elections and undergoing the slow process of evolving as social democracy was intended to do under thinkers such as  E Bernstein.

 

The notion that you can stop globalization or even attempt to alter it in a massive way is a bit silly.  You can embrace it and make it turn the wheels through things such as the nordic model. But not understanding that even during the recession, globalization actually increased shows that we must adapt or fall behind. The world is more connected than ever before and these connections will continue no matter what, as unfortunate it is that certain goverments do not create the necessary social-safety nets required for these rapid changes. You can have laissez-faire policies in economics and/or foreign affairs or you can intervene in a proper, pragmatic and cautious manner to create a better future.

 

But perhaps I agree that Roy shouldn't have been quoted, even if his wife personally recommended it to him because she liked the book. Although the subjects Roy was referring to was the Iraq War, a war with no proof behind it or  UN support, Roy's stance on Naxalites in India could be a controversial choice. I've heard some bad things about those rebels, but I'm not too educated on that subject. Perhaps its just a rumour that they are using child soldiers.

Aristotleded24

clambake wrote:

Now, from the left. Thoughts?

Canada: The death of Jack Layton and the myth of national solidarity

I find articles on the WSWS in general to be written witih ideologically loaded terms without a great deal of specifics to back them up.

Nonetheless, I think some of the articles critical of Jack's letter to Canadians highlight that as a culture, we have a fluffy, superficial understanding of the concepts of love, hope, and optimism. Indeed, people can get cynical when we see that superficiality used for corporate ends, for example the Obama campaign. It's not that people don't ever get angry or that things don't ever get bleak, and sometimes we have to fight fire with fire. There was absolutely nothing superficial or fluffy about the NDP fillibuster during the Canada Post lockout, and it was warranted. But at all times, these struggles have to be rooted in the deeper sense of hope and optimism for the future, and love for the people affected by the struggle. Any revolution or political movement that lacks these positive attributes is dangerous, and there are so many examples of movements borne out of anger and struggle that ended up violently and badly. I would argue that several of the previous struggles, from women's rights to abolition of slavery to racial equality to labour rights to equal rights for gays and lesbians (along with other movements I probably haven't listed) were at their core, rooted in hope, love, and optimism. I would also argue that the Arab Spring phenomenon currently sweeping the globe is, at its core, rooted in hope, love, and optimism as well, and that's why it hasn't denegrated into violent, sectarian struggles we have seen in the past when some marginalized groups fight back.

Aristotleded24

dacckon wrote:
Layton did what he had to do to win. I recall a Tommy Douglas, visiting the United States and feeling ill at the sight of so called socialists who sat around quoting Marx and waiting for a revolution that would never come. He decided he had to do something other than sitting around. And he in his leadership race for the Sask CCF was won through his charisma over a more left-wing canidate. This is the truth of the matter. That is the choice, waiting as a protest-revolutionary voice for something that will never come, or winning elections and undergoing the slow process of evolving as social democracy was intended to do under thinkers such as  E Bernstein.

 

The notion that you can stop globalization or even attempt to alter it in a massive way is a bit silly.  You can embrace it and make it turn the wheels through things such as the nordic model. But not understanding that even during the recession, globalization actually increased shows that we must adapt or fall behind. The world is more connected than ever before and these connections will continue no matter what, as unfortunate it is that certain goverments do not create the necessary social-safety nets required for these rapid changes. You can have laissez-faire policies in economics and/or foreign affairs or you can intervene in a proper, pragmatic and cautious manner to create a better future.

 

But perhaps I agree that Roy shouldn't have been quoted, even if his wife personally recommended it to him because she liked the book. Although the subjects Roy was referring to was the Iraq War, a war with no proof behind it or  UN support, Roy's stance on Naxalites in India could be a controversial choice. I've heard some bad things about those rebels, but I'm not too educated on that subject. Perhaps its just a rumour that they are using child soldiers.

I would quibble with your claim that globalization is here to stay (looking at things like rapidly rising transportation costs and that the EU project is currently going down in flames) but I would agree with your general claim that you have to go out and win over people to your cause. Or as Mike Layton related at the funeral, you can wait forever for perfect conditions, or you can make do with what you have.

melikesocialism

6079_Smith_W wrote:

clambake wrote:

Now, from the left. Thoughts?

Canada: The death of Jack Layton and the myth of national solidarity

*GASP*

He prevented the head-on clash between the working class and the Harper government? 

Drat! And I had a new party dress picked out for the occasion and everything!

Clearly I have been reading the wrong papers!

I'd say that the writer of this article got it pretty well right. While I think it is fair to say that Jack did act in a very caring and compassionate manner at times and did accomplish some valuable things in Toronto, which puts him many levels above other self-serving politicians like Bob Rae, Paul Martin, Jean Chretien and, of course, Stephen Harper, as the leader of the NDP he did indeed serve the interests of capital. He was a social democrat and that's what social democrats do, no matter how strenuously they may claim otherwise.

There is one line in this article that sums up what needs to happen now: "Workers and young people in search of a world free of oppression and war must learn to speak the language of socialism and the class struggle." This is what has been lacking in the NDP for a long time, well before Jack took over as leader. But he did nothing to provide this space in the party and in fact, probably hastened its demise. By all means, celebrate Jack for his accomplishments as a caring person living in a harsh economic system, but it will be very difficult to make a strong argument that he made the NDP a strong bulwark against the rapacious forces of capitalism.

ikosmos ikosmos's picture

Aristotleded24 wrote:
... Any revolution or political movement that lacks these positive attributes is dangerous, and there are so many examples of movements borne out of anger and struggle that ended up violently and badly. I would argue that several of the previous struggles, from women's rights to abolition of slavery to racial equality to labour rights to equal rights for gays and lesbians (along with other movements I probably haven't listed) were at their core, rooted in hope, love, and optimism. I would also argue that the Arab Spring phenomenon currently sweeping the globe is, at its core, rooted in hope, love, and optimism as well, and that's why it hasn't denegrated into violent, sectarian struggles we have seen in the past when some marginalized groups fight back.

Fluff it up all you like. This is an echo of the master's voice ... who says that violence by the master is OK but violence resistance is unacceptable. When the times change, and they will, I hope to hell that people like you will get out the way. And if you won't get out of the way, don't be surprised if that anger is directed at you.

A general point, and I'm only repeating myself here, is that anti-imperialism (for it was the anti-imperialism of Arundhati Roy that was mis-represented by S. Lewis in his otherwise good eulogy for Jack Layton) is well understood outside of the citadels of imperialism. And it is not the same as the sectarian support for this or that model of socialism.

The obtuse determination to misunderstand what is meant by anti-imperialism is remarkable among social democrats. We have: Empires existed in the past, but not anymore. Globalization is inevitable. Resistance is futile. Bombing is a good way to establish democracy. The NATO military alliance can be reformed and we oughtta try anyway. blah blah.

It's all the more repulsive when those who are unwilling to take an anti-imperialist approach want to drape themselves in the respect and courage that such a view deserves.

6079_Smith_W

melikesocialism wrote:

There is one line in this article that sums up what needs to happen now: "Workers and young people in search of a world free of oppression and war must learn to speak the language of socialism and the class struggle." This is what has been lacking in the NDP for a long time, well before Jack took over as leader. But he did nothing to provide this space in the party and in fact, probably hastened its demise. By all means, celebrate Jack for his accomplishments as a caring person living in a harsh economic system, but it will be very difficult to make a strong argument that he made the NDP a strong bulwark against the rapacious forces of capitalism.

Then it kind of begs the question of what the "working class" are waiting for, and how it is that Jack was so powerful that he could apparently prevent them from doing anything. If they are going to clash, perhaps they should just clash and be done with it rather than blaming it on the presumed failings and actions of others.

Policywonk

Aristotleded24 wrote:

dacckon wrote:
Layton did what he had to do to win. I recall a Tommy Douglas, visiting the United States and feeling ill at the sight of so called socialists who sat around quoting Marx and waiting for a revolution that would never come. He decided he had to do something other than sitting around. And he in his leadership race for the Sask CCF was won through his charisma over a more left-wing canidate. This is the truth of the matter. That is the choice, waiting as a protest-revolutionary voice for something that will never come, or winning elections and undergoing the slow process of evolving as social democracy was intended to do under thinkers such as  E Bernstein.

 

The notion that you can stop globalization or even attempt to alter it in a massive way is a bit silly.  You can embrace it and make it turn the wheels through things such as the nordic model. But not understanding that even during the recession, globalization actually increased shows that we must adapt or fall behind. The world is more connected than ever before and these connections will continue no matter what, as unfortunate it is that certain goverments do not create the necessary social-safety nets required for these rapid changes. You can have laissez-faire policies in economics and/or foreign affairs or you can intervene in a proper, pragmatic and cautious manner to create a better future.

 

But perhaps I agree that Roy shouldn't have been quoted, even if his wife personally recommended it to him because she liked the book. Although the subjects Roy was referring to was the Iraq War, a war with no proof behind it or  UN support, Roy's stance on Naxalites in India could be a controversial choice. I've heard some bad things about those rebels, but I'm not too educated on that subject. Perhaps its just a rumour that they are using child soldiers.

I would quibble with your claim that globalization is here to stay (looking at things like rapidly rising transportation costs and that the EU project is currently going down in flames) but I would agree with your general claim that you have to go out and win over people to your cause. Or as Mike Layton related at the funeral, you can wait forever for perfect conditions, or you can make do with what you have.

Globalization takes many forms, perhaps not all of them negative (e.g. exchange of information and ideas). It is not quite the same as Imperialism. Of course globalization, like economic activity, may be increasing, but that doesn't mean the increase can continue indefinitely. Adaptation may mean dealing with economic contraction by (in part) encouraging relocalization.

 

 

Aristotleded24

ikosmos wrote:
Fluff it up all you like. This is an echo of the master's voice ... who says that violence by the master is OK but violence resistance is unacceptable. When the times change, and they will, I hope to hell that people like you will get out the way. And if you won't get out of the way, don't be surprised if that anger is directed at you.

Where did I say that violence by the master was okay?

You clearly did not understand my post. Are you saying there was something superficial and fluffy about all those movements that I listed? That those movements did not accomplish anything? Where did I say that you don't fight back. Absolutely I support people fighting back and getting their hands dirty. I support the right of workers to go on strike, I supported the NDP fillibuster during the Canada Post lockout.

Once violence enters the pictures, it becomes very dangerous. For one, any violent uprising would be crushed in a heartbeat, and the whatever cause was represented would lose traction with the wider public. The other problem is that it can go horribly wrong. Do you think the Russian Revolution was a success? Many people in the Ukraine would beg to differ. Look at the fascist movements that brought Hitler and Mousolinni to power. Hitler and Mousolinni appealed for the affections of sections of the working class that were struggling, and we all know how that ended. Look at the ethnic strife that happened in the former Yugoslavia. Even look south of the border at the Tea Party movement. The Tea Party speaks to the legitimate anger that many Americans feel about their current economic situation, but is dangerous precisely because it is wrapped up in anger and bitterness without articulating a better vision for the future.

And what does imperialism have to do with the point I made, and where did you get the idea that I support imperialist military adventures?

Aristotleded24

Policywonk wrote:
Aristotleded24 wrote:
dacckon wrote:
Layton did what he had to do to win. I recall a Tommy Douglas, visiting the United States and feeling ill at the sight of so called socialists who sat around quoting Marx and waiting for a revolution that would never come. He decided he had to do something other than sitting around. And he in his leadership race for the Sask CCF was won through his charisma over a more left-wing canidate. This is the truth of the matter. That is the choice, waiting as a protest-revolutionary voice for something that will never come, or winning elections and undergoing the slow process of evolving as social democracy was intended to do under thinkers such as  E Bernstein.

 

The notion that you can stop globalization or even attempt to alter it in a massive way is a bit silly.  You can embrace it and make it turn the wheels through things such as the nordic model. But not understanding that even during the recession, globalization actually increased shows that we must adapt or fall behind. The world is more connected than ever before and these connections will continue no matter what, as unfortunate it is that certain goverments do not create the necessary social-safety nets required for these rapid changes. You can have laissez-faire policies in economics and/or foreign affairs or you can intervene in a proper, pragmatic and cautious manner to create a better future.

 

But perhaps I agree that Roy shouldn't have been quoted, even if his wife personally recommended it to him because she liked the book. Although the subjects Roy was referring to was the Iraq War, a war with no proof behind it or  UN support, Roy's stance on Naxalites in India could be a controversial choice. I've heard some bad things about those rebels, but I'm not too educated on that subject. Perhaps its just a rumour that they are using child soldiers.

I would quibble with your claim that globalization is here to stay (looking at things like rapidly rising transportation costs and that the EU project is currently going down in flames) but I would agree with your general claim that you have to go out and win over people to your cause. Or as Mike Layton related at the funeral, you can wait forever for perfect conditions, or you can make do with what you have.

Globalization takes many forms, perhaps not all of them negative (e.g. exchange of information and ideas). It is not quite the same as Imperialism. Of course globalization, like economic activity, may be increasing, but that doesn't mean the increase can continue indefinitely. Adaptation may mean dealing with economic contraction by (in part) encouraging relocalization.

I would actually argue that we have been living in a globalized world since the 1860s with the invention of the telegraph, it's just that we have expanded on that basic infrastructure ever since. You go to some islands in the South Pacific where the sweatshops are, people will tell you that globalization is nothing new, it's been that way for a few centuries.

ikosmos ikosmos's picture

 

Aristotleded24 wrote:
Where did I say that violence by the master was okay?

Giving lectures about the harmfulness of violence by those who resist IS the master's voice. Sorry if you don't understand.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I thought this was to the point and rather amusing ....

WSWS wrote:
Canadian working people must not let themselves be politically chloroformed by the advocates of class reconciliation ...

6079_Smith_W

So I guess I had better get out of the way or I'll be in danger of being complained to death with awkward metaphors.

ikosmos ikosmos's picture

I'm feeling particularly chloroformed.

melikesocialism

6079_Smith_W wrote:

melikesocialism wrote:

There is one line in this article that sums up what needs to happen now: "Workers and young people in search of a world free of oppression and war must learn to speak the language of socialism and the class struggle." This is what has been lacking in the NDP for a long time, well before Jack took over as leader. But he did nothing to provide this space in the party and in fact, probably hastened its demise. By all means, celebrate Jack for his accomplishments as a caring person living in a harsh economic system, but it will be very difficult to make a strong argument that he made the NDP a strong bulwark against the rapacious forces of capitalism.

Then it kind of begs the question of what the "working class" are waiting for, and how it is that Jack was so powerful that he could apparently prevent them from doing anything. If they are going to clash, perhaps they should just clash and be done with it rather than blaming it on the presumed failings and actions of others.

The working class isn't waiting for anything. It doesn't exist as a conscious entity. That is the point that the writer was trying to make in the line that I quoted. It is only when those who are in the working class, which is most of us, are conscious of their position and their historical role as the agent for bringing about the end of capitalism, that this process will take place. And they will not reach this point of consciousness if they don't learn to speak the language of socialism and class struggle.

There has to be a space for this discussion, and that space is getting smaller all the time. As limited as it was, the NDP was one of those spaces. Over the years, party functionaries and leaders have done everything they could to reduce that space within the party, through attacks on communists and expulsion of the Waffle. It did not begin with Jack, but he did nothing to slow it down. In fact, I would argue that it has increased, as evidenced by the attempt at the last federal convention to make fundamental changes in the preamble to the constitution. 

Just after he was elected party leader in 2003, Jack was interviewed by Sam Gindin and Leo Panitch, and he was asked if he was still a socialist, to which he replied:"Socialist? I'm proud to call myself a socialist." Gindin then asked the following question: "One of the things socialism tried to do is to create worker intellectuals who didn’t just say I like the NDP because of its housing policy or some other policy, but because they actually understood the world. It was about democratizing knowledge and creating a cadre of leaders from below. They weren’t just participating. They were participating in a very different way. In a way that would really sustain them. So that when you lost a battle, you could put it in context. So the question is where does that kind of socialist get created in the NDP now." Jack replied that he didn't truthfully know but he gave no indication that he was opposed to creating those types of socialists.

During his time as the leader, the party did nothing to create the types of socialists that Sam Gindin was talking about. We have  plenty of people who like the party for its policies, and those who think that this is good enough, because it means we may just become the government in the near future. But what type of government will we have. Without a conscious effort to become a party of the type of socialists that Gindin referred to, there will be no reason for an NDP government to be in any essential way different from that of the Liberals or Conservatives.

 

 

 

6079_Smith_W

Actually melikesocialism, when I refered to the "working class" I wasn't talking about the working class so much as the fellow who presumed to speak for them, Mr Richard Dufour.

And Ikosmos, I know what you mean. This talk of unconcious entities is making me sleepy.

 

Policywonk

Aristotleded24 wrote:

Policywonk wrote:
Aristotleded24 wrote:
dacckon wrote:
Layton did what he had to do to win. I recall a Tommy Douglas, visiting the United States and feeling ill at the sight of so called socialists who sat around quoting Marx and waiting for a revolution that would never come. He decided he had to do something other than sitting around. And he in his leadership race for the Sask CCF was won through his charisma over a more left-wing canidate. This is the truth of the matter. That is the choice, waiting as a protest-revolutionary voice for something that will never come, or winning elections and undergoing the slow process of evolving as social democracy was intended to do under thinkers such as  E Bernstein.

 

The notion that you can stop globalization or even attempt to alter it in a massive way is a bit silly.  You can embrace it and make it turn the wheels through things such as the nordic model. But not understanding that even during the recession, globalization actually increased shows that we must adapt or fall behind. The world is more connected than ever before and these connections will continue no matter what, as unfortunate it is that certain goverments do not create the necessary social-safety nets required for these rapid changes. You can have laissez-faire policies in economics and/or foreign affairs or you can intervene in a proper, pragmatic and cautious manner to create a better future.

 

But perhaps I agree that Roy shouldn't have been quoted, even if his wife personally recommended it to him because she liked the book. Although the subjects Roy was referring to was the Iraq War, a war with no proof behind it or  UN support, Roy's stance on Naxalites in India could be a controversial choice. I've heard some bad things about those rebels, but I'm not too educated on that subject. Perhaps its just a rumour that they are using child soldiers.

I would quibble with your claim that globalization is here to stay (looking at things like rapidly rising transportation costs and that the EU project is currently going down in flames) but I would agree with your general claim that you have to go out and win over people to your cause. Or as Mike Layton related at the funeral, you can wait forever for perfect conditions, or you can make do with what you have.

Globalization takes many forms, perhaps not all of them negative (e.g. exchange of information and ideas). It is not quite the same as Imperialism. Of course globalization, like economic activity, may be increasing, but that doesn't mean the increase can continue indefinitely. Adaptation may mean dealing with economic contraction by (in part) encouraging relocalization.

I would actually argue that we have been living in a globalized world since the 1860s with the invention of the telegraph, it's just that we have expanded on that basic infrastructure ever since. You go to some islands in the South Pacific where the sweatshops are, people will tell you that globalization is nothing new, it's been that way for a few centuries.

Elements of archaic globalization existed in the Hellenistic Age, and perhaps before that. Archaic globalization was followed by proto-globalization, with so-called modern globalization developing in the 19th century.

takeitslowly

and i read the star today and they said the Ontario NDP is standing up for the right of condo buyers...that sounds very.. socialist to me lol.

Aristotleded24

melikesocialism wrote:
I'd say that the writer of this article got it pretty well right. While I think it is fair to say that Jack did act in a very caring and compassionate manner at times and did accomplish some valuable things in Toronto, which puts him many levels above other self-serving politicians like Bob Rae, Paul Martin, Jean Chretien and, of course, Stephen Harper, as the leader of the NDP he did indeed serve the interests of capital. He was a social democrat and that's what social democrats do, no matter how strenuously they may claim otherwise.

I don't think that's quite accurate. The NDP budget in 2005 cancelled corporate tax cuts in order to invest in housing, transit, child care, and the environment. Unfortunately, the Parliamentary configurations that followed eliminated any influence the NDP could have had on the federal budget, so those investments did not have any significant long-term impact.

Aristotleded24

ikosmos wrote:
Aristotleded24 wrote:
Where did I say that violence by the master was okay?

Giving lectures about the harmfulness of violence by those who resist IS the master's voice. Sorry if you don't understand.

So how do you see the resistance playing itself out? What do you see as the goal for this resistance?

ikosmos ikosmos's picture

You were making a general point about violence or at least it appeared that way to me. So my point was general as well.

knownothing knownothing's picture

Yeah it seems like the only people willing to stand in front of a bullet are the Arabs!

Fidel

ikosmos wrote:

It's quiet here and I'm thinking that my small, but important, point has no serious rebuttal. I encourage those who usually find themselves on the left IN the NDP - or left OF the NDP altogether -  to look at my claims here about the necessity for clarity on anti-imperialism, what this actually means, how it is not the same as the policies of the NDP (under Layton or under someone else) , and see if they don't agree with the general thrust of what I've written here. Anti-imperialism - what Roy has identified as resistance to Empire - is a step up from mainstram social democracy and is furthermore not identical to advocacy of some sort of socialist alternative. Anyway, any critique is welcome.

Imperialism has changed over time. Lower classes who lived in those times had no vote. They had no right to protest. There was no such thing as women's rights. And basically money chased power for centuries at a time. Today it's the reverse.

After imperialism came feudalism, then colonialism, and then industrial capitalism. Today it's called capitalism and even predatory capitalism and corporatism. But in Marx' day, industrial capitalism was the way. Marx did not predict that bankers and financiers would overthrow industrial capitalism. He thought industrialists would never be so complacent as to let a parasitic banking system take over. Marx said that parasitic bankers and financiers would undermine capitalism, and it has. The old theory of capitalism worked by the formula MCM - money invested in commodities and labour produces profit. As of about 30 - 35 years ago, it's just M-M, or today's system of financial engineering and chaos as jobs are offshored and crippling various nations' abilities to pay their bills.

But they have taken over. Supranational corporations are more powerful today than the state or any previous capitalist entity in the traditional sense. The relationships between workers and the owners of the means has changed drastically over just the last three decades. Marx is still relevant but not in the same way Marx thought he would be. Marx said let industrial capitalism globalize and develop into every part of the world. Because at some point all of that will belong to the workers. Materialism and capitalism, from what I can fathom, must either give way to the will of people and populism or transform itself into something that does not consume itself the way it normally does. Wars will eventually be fought by robots and remote control drones as they are being waged and most one-sidedly so today as we post notes to one another. Over 43 countries have robotic military equipment and-or aerial drones. This will either end in total destruction or culminate in tech advancements which could eliminate problems with scarce energy and other resources. Scientists say the next 100 years will be the most important in human history and likely determine our fate as a viable species. Like the sci-fi movie says, at the precipe we will either change our ways or perish. But this is highly speculative.

There are true populists and reactionary "anti-imperialists" in the democratic capitalist third world who are unafraid of mobilizing the working class toward revolution. But in those countries the imperialists bared their fangs long ago under a number of brutal US-backed right wing dictatorships themselves unafraid to haul out the military and shoot protesters in the streets if necessary. We don't see much of that reported in our corporate sponsored newz papers here though. What we have here is called fascism or even neofascism and all the trappings of "democracy". Marx didn't mention fascism, but it arose in opposition to another movement born of the same French revolution, socialism. Fascism began as a mix of nationalism and socialism, but then shifted to the far right politically by the 1920s. It's fake democracy, we know, but millions of us on the left and right are not willing to call it imperialism here in the richest countries. We are privileged not to have to suffer under naked imperialism in its true form. They didn't have medicare, UI-Ei-O or pensions in Cuba, for instance, leading up to the revolution. We are not as poor as Venezuelans were before Hugo Chavez and who still are to a large degree. in other words, Canadians are not ready to pick up pitch forks and rifles to storm Parliament Hill. We're not there yet, and the bastards are still not brave enough to create those kinds of conditons here that existed in pre-1959 Cuba or pre-Chavez, pre-MMP elections in Venezuela, a country where CIA spooks look a lot like Mormons, tourists, righties posing as lefty critics of the Chavez government etc and are hard to miss.

Fascists work in more subtle ways than imperialists of old. We have to be just as clever. Jack Layton was clever in a good way imo. Jack Layton spoke truth to power but in ways that neofascists and the colonial administrativeship  found difficult to counter, and millions loved him for it.

Fidel

knownothing wrote:

Yeah it seems like the only people willing to stand in front of a bullet are the Arabs!

 

Yes, and as I was saying there are real revolutionaries in this hemisphere. But they live lives few of us could tolerate given the comforts we're accustomed to here with everything from universal health care to EI, pensions, and basic human rights that just don't exist in countries I visited when I was younger. The people there in countries like Guatemala and Honduras, and Belize etc are really oppressed and for many years. And I've read about the revolutionaries. I can sort of relate to them living in the bush on the run from government soldiers and paramilitaries. I've lived and worked in the bush in remote parts of Northern Canada, but it's not the same as the jungle. And I am "mature" now and doubt I could hack Canadian bush life anymore let alone running around the jungles of Central and South America. Yes they are in need of anyone willing to go down there and stick it to the imperialists any which way. I don't recommend it though for anyone over the age of 35 or so. A word for anyone thinking of going down to those countries to realize their purpose in life against the backdrop of actual imperialism in the raw: The US-backed militaries and right wing death squads don't screw around down there. Lots of road side check points, maybe a little shack in the middle of nowhere with maybe one guy and a machine gun strapped around his shoulder and ten chances to one never heard of Arundhati Roy or Stephen Lewis.

But if volunteering for the revolutionary's life isn't for you, then consider doing as much as you can in this country to affect change for the better and right next door to the heart of imperialism central and dictating things to the stoogeaucracy in Ottawa. You can vote for the NDP and still be a socialist. I've come to the conclusion that it makes the most sense to vote for the most democratic party with the best overall platform and with the best mathematical chances of overthrowing the long-time stoogeaucracy in Ottawa. Unless you're being oppressed in the traditional sense, we should get out there and pound the pavement for the NDP and do what we can when not organizing the masses to storm Parliament Hill and takeover the factories - the ones that weren't offshored or pawned off to rich Americans decades ago and counting. I'm not even sure we want to own some of the old world economy factories they've offshored. A lot of it is not worthwhile and even harmful to the environment anyway.

I think it's kind of like when Izzy Mandelbaum said in an old Seinfeld episode, It's go time! We should decide whether we are true revolutionaries and go where needed to bang heads with actual militarist governments and their mercenaries, or that we are ready to fight a good fight here on home turf where the CCF-NDP have helped make life so much more worth living than in those countries where imperialists violate basic human rights daily and with impunity. The problem is that they need good people in Central and South America, but the left also needs clever and articulate people here in the pseudo-democratic northern colony. We could bring modern democracy and perhaps raise social spending in Canada as a percentage of GDP to at least the kapitalist OECD country average, and kind of like when the CCF introduced medicare in North America for the first time. There are still very many revolutionary achievements to be made right here in this country and without having to prove our mettle as revolutionary heroes pushed beyond the brink of fearing a government's bullets. 

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

Dan Gardner, in the Ottawa Citizen, wrote:
Last week's tears and testimonials have given rise to a new conventional wisdom. "The response to Jack Layton's death suggests Canadians are looking for a political leader who transcends the grubby world of politics as usual," as John Ivison put it in the National Post.

That would be lovely if it were true. But recent history provides little reason to think it is....

Stephen Harper has been in politics his entire adult life, whether as a politician, a political aide, or a political activist. And while he may once have been described as an idealist - or an ideologue, if you prefer - that is in the distant past. Even his supporters would agree that since assuming the leadership of the Conservative party he has been ruthlessly pragmatic: He does what he must to win.

Some find that admirable. Others are reminded of Sean Connery's advice in The Untouchables. "He pulls a knife, you pull a gun. He sends one of yours to the hospital, you send one of his to the morgue. That's the Chicago way."

Remember "Paul Martin Supports Child Pornography?" That's politics the Chicago way. Harper has been doing it ever since, insinuating that a Liberal MP's family member was involved with terrorists, calling the coalition a "coup," lying about the Constitution, stonewalling the House of Commons. It's not a coincidence that the first government in British parliamentary history to be found in contempt of Parliament was Stephen Harper's.

And don't forget the attack ads. Viciously personal, sustained, and launched in the relative civility between election campaigns, they marked a new low in Canadian politics. They were also devastatingly effective.

Stephen Harper has won three elections in a row, each with a larger share of the popular vote than the last, and each against politicians who wouldn't, or couldn't, do politics the Chicago way.

So please forgive me if I roll my eyes when I am told that the genuine shock and sadness we saw last week is proof that Canadians yearn for a politician who takes the high road. That is a hypothesis unsupported by evidence.

I suspect a simpler explanation is closer to the truth.

Jack Layton was energetic and engaged. He was fully alive. Even his opponents had to grant that. We saw him bounce back from surgery and cancer treatment to fight a historic election campaign. It was inspiring. His opponents had to grant that, too.

Then he died. It was as sudden as if he'd been shot - and just when he had become the leader of the official opposition, the reward for a very long struggle.

We were reminded that even for the gifted and the vital, life can be unjust and far too brief. We were reminded that our existence is unavoidably tragic. We were reminded we are mortal.


[url=http://www.ottawacitizen.com/technology/Canadians+just+fine+with+politic...

 

melikesocialism

Fidel wrote that "Fascists work in more subtle ways than imperialists of old. We have to be just as clever. Jack Layton was clever in a good way imo. Jack Layton spoke truth to power but in ways that neofascists and the colonial administrativeship  found difficult to counter, and millions loved him for it." The point that Richard Dufour makes in the WSWS article is that the capitalists (I don't want to get into the debate about whether we live in a fascist society at this point) didn't have to counter what Jack was saying. It wasn't a threat to them. The corporate state (as Chris Hedges appropriately calls it) has been prepared to make concessions to workers to prevent any major challenges to their dominance. The reason they made those concessions was because there was a time when the workers had some power and a higher level of class consciousness. There were strong communist parties and unions, and there was the CCF and later the NDP with the Waffle and many of those worker intellectuals that Sam Gindin referred to in the interview with Jack.

The beef I had with Jack was not that he wasn't a clever politician and that he didn't fight for the right things. There is no doubt that he was  basically a good man trying to do the right thing in a hostile environment. I was a member of the NDP for many years and have fought in many elections, using the same tactics, understanding the necessisty of doing so in the existing political process.

That is not the point. If I believed that Jack was being clever in the short term in order to lay the groundwork for the ultimate transformation of capitalism, then I would wholeheartedly praise him. But there is nothing to indicate that he was doing that. If he was, then we would  have some evidence of that in his approach to the development of democracy and open debate within the NDP and the development of those kinds of socialists described by Gindin.

This never happened. During Jacks' tenure as party leader, the party has become less democratic and debate has been stifled. And, as everyone is aware, Brad Lavigne and the other party bureaucrats are making a push to purge the party of the last vestiges of socialism through major revisions of the preamble to the constitution. There is nothing to indicate that Jack wanted anything other than a social democratic party with an ultimate goal of a permament accomodation with capitalism.

Fidel also wrote that "There are still very many revolutionary achievements to be made right here in this country." If he means by revolutionary achievements  further concessions in public health care, public pensions, unemployment insurance, affordable housing and environmental legislation, I wouldn't hold my breath.

I know that many social democrats in Canada think that, with the proper strategies and the right language, we can convince capital to create another Sweden right here. Well, their fellow social democrats  in Sweden are going to be hard pressed to preserve what they have. And capital in Canada has no reason to make further concessions, because there are no social formations that can bring that kind of pressure on them, due in part to Jack's unwillingness to strengthen the socialist element within the NDP. There is no reason to believe that an NDP government will result in any fundamental change simply because it will have no reason to do so.

ottawaobserver

Too bad he wrote the part about "Canadians yearn for a politician who takes the high road. That is a hypothesis unsupported by evidence" before the Harris-Decima poll came out showing the NDP tied with the Conservatives for first place.

Aristotleded24

melikesocialism wrote:
The point that Richard Dufour makes in the WSWS article is that the capitalists (I don't want to get into the debate about whether we live in a fascist society at this point) didn't have to counter what Jack was saying. It wasn't a threat to them.

Then Mr. Dufour wasn't paying that close attention. Jack attracted plenty of venom during his tenure. He was smeared with the scandals for living in co-op housing, Shouldice clinic, and the "massage parlour" incident. When he called for troops to be withdrawn from Afghanistan, he was called "Taliban Jack." Not to mention the shrieking editorials in the dying days of the 2011 campaign about how a federal NDP government would be a disaster. If you look at the comment section of any mainstream media outlet, you can always find comments suggesting that the NDP are far-left communists, that Canadians reject their crazy far-left socialist ideals, and that an NDP government would mean that the Bolsheviks have taken over.

As for Sam Gindin, what kind of practical experience does he have in terms of on-the-ground social movements?

ikosmos ikosmos's picture

It's a useful discussion when a popular social democratic leader such as the late Jack Layton can be shown to be wanting in many important ways. But it's nothing personal. Social democracy - by its failure to elaborate a genuine alternative to neo-liberal atrocities, by its unwillingness to confront empire in a sustained and serious manner, by its determination to put distance between itself and its (watered down but still genuine) socialist history and past, by its role of "corraling opposition behind a section of the political establishment and thereby neutering it", by the appropriation of anti-imperialist rhetoric when it is nowhere near anti-imperialist (and never will be) for the purposes of honouring its late leader, by a million different ways - is what's wanting and not good enough.

Anti-imperialism. Socialism. That is the way forward. There is no other way. Thatcher was right ... but in an upside-down, Hegelian sort of way. Her idea must be turned on its head to reveal the rational core inside.

melikesocialism

ikosmos wrote:

It's a useful discussion when a popular social democratic leader such as the late Jack Layton can be shown to be wanting in many important ways. But it's nothing personal. Social democracy - by its failure to elaborate a genuine alternative to neo-liberal atrocities, by its unwillingness to confront empire in a sustained and serious manner, by its determination to put distance between itself and its (watered down but still genuine) socialist history and past, by its role of "corraling opposition behind a section of the political establishment and thereby neutering it", by the appropriation of anti-imperialist rhetoric when it is nowhere near anti-imperialist (and never will be) for the purposes of honouring its late leader, by a million different ways - is what's wanting and not good enough.

Anti-imperialism. Socialism. That is the way forward. There is no other way. Thatcher was right ... but in an upside-down, Hegelian sort of way. Her idea must be turned on its head to reveal the rational core inside.

God, I wish I had said that. Nicely put. It's amazing how someone else can express what you are thinking better than you can. And I would like to emphasize as well that it is not personal -  it is indeed social democracy that is not good enough.

ikosmos ikosmos's picture

Well, yea. I liked Jack Layton as much as any member of the NDP did. But that's not the point. The catalyst was when I went ahead and read Stephen Lewis's outstanding eulogy ... and then went ahead and read A Roy's statement from 2003 when I was bothered by the quote for some reason.

Anyway, peace to the memory of Jack Layton.

Fidel

melikesocialism wrote:

 The point that Richard Dufour makes in the WSWS article is that the capitalists (I don't want to get into the debate about whether we live in a fascist society at this point) didn't have to counter what Jack was saying. It wasn't a threat to them. The corporate state (as Chris Hedges appropriately calls it) has been prepared to make concessions to workers to prevent any major challenges to their dominance. The reason they made those concessions was because there was a time when the workers had some power and a higher level of class consciousness. There were strong communist parties and unions, and there was the CCF and later the NDP with the Waffle and many of those worker intellectuals that Sam Gindin referred to in the interview with Jack.

The beef I had with Jack was not that he wasn't a clever politician and that he didn't fight for the right things. There is no doubt that he was  basically a good man trying to do the right thing in a hostile environment. I was a member of the NDP for many years and have fought in many elections, using the same tactics, understanding the necessisty of doing so in the existing political process.

There are 20 some odd registered political parties in Canada. I personally would love nothing better than for the Marxist-Leninists to have a strong voice in Ottawa. Right now even the Green Party is underrepresented by a mathematically absurd electoral system that makes it easiest for two old line parties to elect their MPs than any other party. Unfortunately the right and their corporate newz media did a job on communism over the last 70 years or so. We have a responsibility to our socialist roots to take advantage of the real opportunities that exist for the left. We need to position ourselves in the best possible way numerically within an obsolete electoral system which many other other rich capitalist countries scrapped 50 and 100 years ago. Canada is more behind the capitalist times than many capitalist countries more democratic than this one and where the left have stronger voices in houses of parliament. Marx said to win the battle for democracy, and that's what the NDP has been trying to do for a long time. We need a modern democracy and to fight for at least the same social advances made in other rich countries by the left decades ago. Otherwise there are real revolutionaries waiting for us to join them and mobilize the workers against brutally oppressive imperialist regimes in Latin America. Most of those heroic revolutionaries would give their lives for the chance for their children to attend public school and see a doctor when necessary. Many have sacrificed their lives to the good fight already, in fact. Don't throw that in their faces. Get out there and make a difference in the most realistic way, here or there. Choose your fight wisely or get out of the road. The NDP is in the best position to win election than at any time in history of the party. Democracy and the country is at stake here. It might not be as sexy as running around the jungles of Central America and mobilizing the oppressed, but I think it's a worthwhile cause.

ikosmos ikosmos's picture

It's interesting that when some NDP supporters cannot refute strong arguments against their party's approach ... from others on the left ... they have recourse to the "yea, well, no one's listening to you anyway so fuck off" argument. This is a confession of failure. It's not really all that different from the conservative argument of "we have more guns and the police" so STFU.

Address the arguments. Right is right no matter if it is the view of a single person. You would think that people who claim to be on "the left" would recognize this.

6079_Smith_W

Wow... the National Post is still hammering away on the funeral:

http://www.nationalpost.com/opinion/columnists/worshipping+idols/5336973...

I think every second editorial has been about Layton since his death. 

It's getting kind of pathetic, though I suppose it might be a perverse ploy to get readers, since I doubt I'd even bother looking at it otherwise.

...Never mind that Stephen Harper did far more to damage the Christian left by cutting funding to Kairos than Jack Layton ever did.

 

SRB

6079_Smith_W wrote:

Wow... the National Post is still hammering away on the funeral:

http://www.nationalpost.com/opinion/columnists/worshipping+idols/5336973...

<snip>

I think every second editorial has been about Layton since his death. 

Yes, I have rarely read a less charitable, more unChristian piece of writing from a professing member of the clergy than that National Post piece; the only explanation has to be the Post's desire to attract notoriety with more vituperation. This is a typical Conservative tactic and one that is evidently also employed by Conservative Christians.  

As for De Souza, I suppose he doesn't consider Rev. Brent Hawkes to be a Christian or a member of the Christian left because he wasn't bible-thumping his way through his reflection at Jack's funeral (hardly appropriate given the attendance of  people of a variety of faiths, no faith and residential school survivors, as well as the national audience). 

Personally, I thought Hawkes' speech contained true Christian ideals of forgiveness, love and comfort even if they were understated (or more accurately, thoughtfully and sensitively expressed).   I doubt very much, though, that De Souza would recognize any people who might belong to the Christian left as Christian according to his definition anyway (which says more about his Christianity than theirs). Plenty of "Christians" called Tommy a godless communist back in the day.

Aristotleded24

SRB wrote:
Personally, I thought Hawkes' speech contained true Christian ideals of forgiveness, love and comfort even if they were understated (or more accurately, thoughtfully and sensitively expressed).

I thought his sermon was a great example of putting "love your enemies" into practice. As he mentioned, Hawkes is gay and married to his partner. I can't imagine what it must have been like during the fight for equal marriage, when the Conservatives were vehemently opposed, with Harper making noises defending traditional marriage, the homophobia that was expressed including in the Conservative caucus, and the fact that Harper voted against equal marriage essentially telling Hawkes that he was less than human.

And yet, with sincerity and honesty, Hawkes said, "hi Stephen, how is Laureen doing?"

SRB

Aristotleded24 wrote:

And yet, with sincerity and honesty, Hawkes said, "hi Stephen, how is Laureen doing?"

Yes, it was a lovely moment.

6079_Smith_W

Yeah, I'm sure deSouza could leach Hawkes a few lessons about dogma and judgment Though before he goes slagging other Christians he should probably read what the boss has to say about it in Mark 9:38-41

And I'm sure he didn't mention the Christmas Eve service because he's jealous that Hawke's congregation can fill Roy Thompson Hall.

I don't know why he is blathering about the death of the Christian left anyway. It's not like the Conservatives had any foundation in church ministries like the CCF. And if you look at the organizations that set up in church basements there aren't too many of them working to build the military or more prisons.

And as for our current government, near as I can tell the Harperites seem to be doing their best to hide their true beliefs under a bushel basket.

 

ottawaobserver

I loved the moment where Hawkes said "Hi Prime Minister, how's Laureen doing?" on a number of levels. First, it demonstrated the humanity that Jack Layton was trying to teach others by example. Secondly, the Prime Minister should be graciously thanked for exercising his discretion to hold that state funeral, and this was a lovely gesture to him and Laureen from Hawkes on everyone's behalf.

Third of all, it completed the process of normalizing gay marriage in our society. The spiritual leader probably most responsible for moving the issue of equal marriage forward in our country greeted, and was greeted by, the Conservative Prime Minister of Canada, the one-time opponent of and leader of the major political party opposed to legally recognizing the right of gays and lesbians to be married in our country.

Game over on that issue forever, now. And Jack would have been thinking at least in part about that when he conceived of the funeral arrangements. Brilliantly handled all-round.

ikosmos ikosmos's picture

melikesocialism wrote:
And I would like to emphasize as well that it is not personal -  it is indeed social democracy that is not good enough

Another babbler (M.Spector) made reference to a blog by Daniel Tanuro. On this blog Tanuro mentioned something that could be added to the list I made, viz, "Every struggle of the workers, even the most immediate, must be supported and considered as an opportunity to increase consciousness and orient it toward a socialist perspective."

On the one hand, we see how important this is and, on the other hand, we see the million and one excuses why the NDP - even its best and most articulate leaders - never gets around to this. And that's just not good enough.

Fidel

ikosmos wrote:

It's interesting that when some NDP supporters cannot refute strong arguments against their party's approach ... from others on the left ... they have recourse to the "yea, well, no one's listening to you anyway so fuck off" argument. This is a confession of failure.

What confounds socialists like myself is this beauty contest where social democrats are deemed too ugly to participate. They who are with finely preened feathers, pristine beaks and all singing in harmony inside the chicken coop are above joining a united front on the left in the tradition of 1930s Spain. We can't reproduce that effort, because then we might have to actually defend democracy out there in the streets if big money interests try to reverse the outcome. What dirty, dirty work that would be. And they are much too pretty to rough it down in the jungles of Central  America where real revolutionary heroes are in tough against actual imperialists. Shit or get out of the water closet and give someone else a turn, you beautiful people. Because your perfect revolution will be a long time coming.

Erik Redburn

melikesocialism wrote:

ikosmos wrote:

It's a useful discussion when a popular social democratic leader such as the late Jack Layton can be shown to be wanting in many important ways. But it's nothing personal. Social democracy - by its failure to elaborate a genuine alternative to neo-liberal atrocities, by its unwillingness to confront empire in a sustained and serious manner, by its determination to put distance between itself and its (watered down but still genuine) socialist history and past, by its role of "corraling opposition behind a section of the political establishment and thereby neutering it", by the appropriation of anti-imperialist rhetoric when it is nowhere near anti-imperialist (and never will be) for the purposes of honouring its late leader, by a million different ways - is what's wanting and not good enough.

Anti-imperialism. Socialism. That is the way forward. There is no other way. Thatcher was right ... but in an upside-down, Hegelian sort of way. Her idea must be turned on its head to reveal the rational core inside.

God, I wish I had said that. Nicely put. It's amazing how someone else can express what you are thinking better than you can. And I would like to emphasize as well that it is not personal -  it is indeed social democracy that is not good enough.

 

Alot of people don't seem to know what social democracy means anymore and like many other once descriptive terms, like liberal democracy or humanism or socialism, become almost meaningless or twisted for all the wrong reasons.  The Marxist fringe is of course as frightened of social democracy in action as the neo-Liberal right is, as its message is a fundamental challenge to both hidden agendas.  Social DEmocracy does have a track record of success, and some ideological underpinnings, but doesn't require permanent social warfare or the over-the-rainbow promises that go with it, which is probably why it frightens the extremes so much.

The NDP supporting the Libyan war (not humanitarian intervention) was a big mistake which will continue to hurt them on their left flank, but I'm afraid Muammar Qaddafi just isn't a figure that the average Canuck is going to rally behind.

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

That was no "mistake". Social democrats have been supporting imperialist wars since 1914. It's part of the package.

And you create a false dichotomy by suggesting the alternative to supporting imperialist intervention in Libya is "rallying behind" Qaddafi. It's just another way of saying "yea, well, no one's listening to you anyway so fuck off".  

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

Fidel wrote:

Gee if only the NDP had voted against the Tories and Liberals, like the NDP usually does 90% of the time.

Yeah. Then they might have had a shred of credibility with people who oppose imperialist wars. Too bad.

I guess if Tommy Douglas had voted with the Liberals and Tories in favour of invoking the War Measures Act in 1971 you would have been making the same fucking excuses for him as you make today for the Libyan war vote.

Fidel

Gee if only the NDP had voted against the Tories and Liberals, like the NDP usually does 90% of the time. Moammar Gadaffi would still be in power, and the Warshington-based IMF would still be heaping praise on Gadaffi for pursuing his "ambitious reform agenda", just like they did with their former ideologically aligned friend Slobodan Milosevic. The treacherous bastards could have been reasoned with for the sake of maintaining political integrity if only for the sake of avoiding the anti-NDP rhetoric. Because, and you know, our system in Canada is very democratic, and it's the NDP falling short of that mark. Far better that we endure the vicious toadies in federal power rather than jump ship for any unknown quantity that comes along, like those ugly social democrats.

And screw those guys in Central America. They've spit on the memory of Marx by falling so short. Latinos should aspire to more than just universal health care and education for their children who currently have no future as cane cutters and mowing the grass of sprawling ranches owned by the rich with just machetes in their pathetic little hands, their child labour is that cheap nowadays. What low life underachievers they turned out to be. 

Fidel

Yes, and look where it got Tommy and the NDP then and all. After some stern words from the NDP, trudeau and his muscle the little fascist from Shawinigan went right out and ordered the rounding up of hundreds of socialists, union leaders, social workers etc.  Those were the good old days when "Profunc" was in effect.

It's called democracy. Or at least, this is what a lot of Canadians think it is. Do we sit in the corner and preach to the inch-wide and mile deep, or do we compromise and extend ourselves a little? 

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

Fidel wrote:

Yes, and look where it got Tommy and the NDP then and all.

How little you understand the importance of being on the right side of important issues, even if you don't win!

That courageous position on the War Measures Act is one that has been recognized by the Canadian left as a high water mark in the history of the NDP. It's one of the things historians mention when reviewing the career highlights of T.C. Douglas.

Just as the vote to bomb Libya will go down in the annals of the Canadian left as a shameful low point for the party. You can't do shit like that and not expect adverse political consequences.

Fidel

M. Spector wrote:
 You can't do shit like that and not expect adverse political consequences
 

What was Tommy's policy on CIA-al-Qa'eda terrorism and colder war maneuvering? Come to think of it, there are still very many who fully believe that Qaeda is a genuine anti-NATO outfit opposed to the blood-for-oil crusaders. Yeah, let's hash all that out in Canada's Parliament before the NDP has a chance to get down to the incidentals, like forcing our dirty oil on unsuspecting oil magnates in Texas, poverty, homelessness, and unemployment. Because I'd much rather the NDP settle this colder war baloney for us once and for all. Afterall, it's why a record number of Canadians voted for Jack and the NDP. No they are not foreign policy experts nor are they all agreeable to 100% socialism either, but they did cast votes. Someone has to represent them and their interests if only for four years at a time. Yes it's very easy to find the speck in someone else's eye. Right-rightists in the U.S.A. and this country are extremely good at it. It's not an ideal situation.

And I am not sure why the Socialist International printed anti-Gadaffi material around the same time the NDP was turned off of him. Do you know? 

Erik Redburn

M. Spector wrote:

That was no "mistake". Social democrats have been supporting imperialist wars since 1914. It's part of the package.

And you create a false dichotomy by suggesting the alternative to supporting imperialist intervention in Libya is "rallying behind" Qaddafi. It's just another way of saying "yea, well, no one's listening to you anyway so fuck off".  

 

Stil holding a grudge for WW1 Spector?   Ypu must be older than I thought, or perhaps just unable to look beyond the easy labels people like to apply to themselves and others.  If ypu insist, it's probably better to blame the anarchists for that particular conflagration, but maybe give em some credit too for helping bring down the old aristocratic order.  I should also credit the Marxist-Leninists and Maoists support for communist imperialism in an unbroken line, from the invasion of Poland in the twenties, to the refusal to back out of Eastern Europe after WW2, to the invasion of Tibet, Korea, Hungary and Czechoslovakia post-war, to less direct interventions in Greece, Ethipia, Angola, CAR and various Latin American states, to the most recent violance committed against 'Chechnya' and "'Georgia' and Croatian, Slonenian, Albanian and Bosnian civilians.  I'm sure mother Russia was supplying the Serbs with arms and $upport, in their particular 'pan-Slavic' tradition.  Sorry but Imperialism isn't an American invention, but 'social democrats' do at least have some pacifist traditions as well and have often rejected imperialist ventures like Vietnam and Iraq in the past. What can I say?  We're complicated -if that is we are indeed a we.

But no, that's no false dichotomy or binary, that's more a Marxist habit.  I was simply pointing out that a guy like Ghaddafi being overthrown isn't going to rally a lot of suport here or lead to the immenant arrest of our parliament.  As I've had to repeat too many times already I didn't support the NDP's position on Libya when it counted, and I'm not that impressed by them backing away from it later.  But OC that's never enough here.

Erik Redburn

Back to the subject, yes, the media is obviously trying to make it look like the NDP's success was only a product of Jack Layton (whom they previously wrote off) and therefore a temprary aberation from the natural order.   It's fascinating watching the national press corp embarrassing themselves so openly, going after the official opposition over nothing rather than the sitting government which openly flouts the rule of law. 

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