The NDP has gone off the rails

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Aristotleded24
The NDP has gone off the rails

There has been much hand-wringing about how the NDP has lost the votes in small and medium sized communities that were once the backbone of their support, particularly in Western Canada. Even a look at the 2011 results will show this. They fell well short of their 1988 high-water mark in BC and Saskatchewan, where they took a majority of seats in both provinces. In 2011, the Conservatives won BC, while the NDP failed to elect a single MP in Saskatchewan. The federal NDP hit its high-water mark in Manitoba in 1980. They only won 2 seats in Manitoba in 2011, down from 4 in 2008. So what accounted for this failure? Is there something that can be done?

I propose that making investment in railways would be a crucial component of a strategy to not only win back this Western Canadian vote, but could also be key to making inroads in Alberta, rural Ontario, and the East Coast. Communities in Western Canada grew up around the railroads. As the railroads in Western Canada were dug up, and lines abandoned, the fortunes of the communities followed. The consolidation of the grain handling business into inland terminals hurt small farmers badly. We need to invest in this once again. It will allow trade between regions, and breathe new life into the small communities. More young people may see a future for themselves without having to go to a big city (and we've seen with covid how cramming large populations into cities is not necessarily good for health). Or take the issue of "Western Alienation." Calgary is a major urban centre in Canada. Why do they not have any passenger rail service? The Calgary-Edmonton corridor is very busy with travel. Why is there this talk about high-speed rail from Quebec City to Windsor when there isn't even passneger rail service along this Alberta corridor? With the need for more public transportation in the face of climate change, rail transport is a crucial component. The NDP has already spoken to public transportation needs in urban settings, let's expand on that by helping out smaller communities. Finally, when having this discussion, let's not repeat the mistakes of the past. Let's engage respectfully with the many First Nations, and partner with them to not only provide transportation options that meet their needs but that also respect their traditional lands and way of life.

Misfit Misfit's picture

1. The generation who survived the 1930s on the prairies and fought for the creation of social democratic reforms in Canada through the CCF, that entire generation are now gone.

2. Agriculture has changed. Manitoba and Saskatchewan used to be filled with many small family farms. Today there are way fewer farms that are much larger and highly mechanized.

3. It costs about a million dollars to build one mile of track. For every mile of track there is an added cost of maintaining that track to safety standards. Both CN and CP were bought out by American hedge fund owners who stripped the rail lines of major assets to streamline them down to their bare bones in order to maximize profits. CN is in the process of trying to rebuild but it will never go back to the way it was before with their old branch lines.

4. Provincially, the NDP in Saskatchewan since the 1960s was never friendly with the farmers. They catered instead to the urban vote.

5. There was a mass migration of retirees from BC and Alberta into Saskatchewan twenty years ago which created an ideological shift from social democratic values to their right wing psychology. 
 

In the late 70s, grain prices were high. Many middle aged farmers sold their farms when land prices were high and moved out to BC where the weather was warmer to retire. Twenty years later, real estate prices were sky high in BC. Housing prices were dirt cheap in Saskatchewan.
 

For instance, in 1995 a three bedroom average bungalow in Regina that was built in the 1970s commonly listed at around $65,000.00. A renovated starter home in Moose Jaw would start at about $20,000.00 in 2000. I remember people then shocked to see an old character home in the avenues list for $135,000.00. Other old Victorian homes at that time were in the $80,000.00 to $95,000.00 price range. 
 

I remember a pilot instructor from the base bought a small house that was built in 1915 in Moose Jaw for $3,500.00. He lived in it for six years and transferred out and sold it for $6,500.00 in 2001. He told me that you cannot beat that anywhere in Canada.

So, retired couples in their early to mid 70s living out in the Okanagan and Vancouver and in Alberta where housing was sky high and the cost of living was through the roof, sold their homes for top dollar and moved to Saskatchewan en masse where the real estate was dirt cheap and brought with them their right wing ideology and psychology.

I spoke to a Saskatchewan Party insider who laughed at me and said that these out of province retirees have changed the demographic in the cities enough that the NDP will never get in again.

Moose Jaw has two provincial constituencies. They had been solidly NDP for years provincially. The NDP lost them both in the last election. I don't know if they even have a chance this time either. Perhaps in the south riding but I don't know. The demographic shift has been that bad.

The WWII veterans are gone. The old CCF farmers are gone. The out of province right wing baby boomers from BC and Alberta moved in and shifted the markers to the right and totally redefined the province.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

..the ndp has been ailing for a very long time. blaming the population only gets you so far. below is an alternative path for the ndp. it's as true today as it was back in 2001.

Link

The NPI's work was organized around a resolution submitted to a special NDP convention on party renewal that was held in Winnipeg in Nov. 2001 (culminating McDonough's renewal exercise). In the lead-up to that convention, NPI supporters had argued -- both within the NDP, and outside of it -- for a "new politics," linked more organically to social movements, and reflective of a more participatory, dynamic democratic process. Our thinking was that social change does not come solely, or even primarily, from electoral campaigns. It comes, rather, from deeper shifts in popular consciousness, ideology, and organization. That's why progressives must be campaigning on progressive issues, and working to build progressive structures of engagement and democracy, all the time, not just during elections.

Indeed, we argued, the success of progressive political parties ultimately depends on whether we are winning that day-to-day battle of ideas in society, and on our success in building alternative structures and capacities among the whole spectrum of communities fighting for social change. Without social movements, trade unions, environmentalists, feminists, queer activists, anti-racist organizations, civil libertarians, and all the rest striving to raise issues and win converts, progressive politicians don't stand a chance come election day. And even if, by fluke, they did happen to win (perhaps because of how the votes for other parties broke down), their power to implement progressive promises is utterly compromised without an aware, mobilized, demanding population behind them. We've learned that painful lesson many times.

Misfit Misfit's picture

Senior citizens generally do not change their political ideology unless there is a massive economic catastrophy like the severe depression of the 1930s which severely impacts them financially and forces them to change. Even the drought and the Great Depression of the 1930s did not cause everyone to change their political allegiances. Many people remained loyal to the Tory and the Liberal parties back then despite the hardships that they faced. It is like trying to teach an old dog new tricks.

I honestly don't see the optimistic ideological fluidity that you see in populations.

 

 

Misfit Misfit's picture

Your hardline left wing vote consistently represents roughly 18-20% of the Canadian population. You can try to scavenge for another 4-7 % with a good election campaign.

The right wing strategy is to unite the right and divide the left. The right wing needs the Green Party alive and well to divide the left into two political camps and keep it a two way race between the Liberals and the Conservatives. And as long as you have the left squabbling between two parties you will never have a unified coalition on the left to organize for anything.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

..the ndp had a policy of doubling pensions. don't know where that is today. healthcare. environment. food security. water. participatory democracy. 

..this and more appeals to seniors. the issue is activating the activists. join the activists not just sit in the back rooms trying to direct. build around issues. not just create a platform in back rooms then toss it out at election time. really engage people and not just try to control everything.    

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Misfit wrote:

Your hardline left wing vote consistently represents roughly 18-20% of the Canadian population. You can try to scavenge for another 4-7 % with a good election campaign.

The right wing strategy is to unite the right and divide the left. The right wing needs the Green Party alive and well to divide the left into two political camps and keep it a two way race between the Liberals and the Conservatives. And as long as you have the left squabbling between two parties you will never have a unified coalition on the left to organize for anything.

..and the ndp doesn't know how to counter this. i say stop with the dividing of people by political party. inclusion should be the goal and that can be built around issues outside the ndp. by the movements. the ndp can capitalise on this come election time.  

kropotkin1951

I have lived in an NDP riding since '93, when I moved to the socialist republic of Burnaby. I have had three MP's since then Robinson, Siskay and Johns. I keep doing my bit to send someone to Ottawa to fix this mess. Jack was endorsed by Svend for the leadership instead of running again himself. That included access to data banks and many volunteers who had been recruited from across Canada during Svend's leadership campaign. Jack led the party in the opposite direction from the one that the people around Svend believed he was going.

The big problem with the NDP central campaign is they think the leader has coattails. Jack had the magic carpet ride in Quebec but there were no coattails for NDP candidates on the Prairies or in BC and sadly hardly a bump in Ontario.

The key in my view is running on local issues using the NDP policy as the solution while highlighting the stellar qualities of the candidate in the riding. Of course that presupposes a solid phone and foot campaign from enthused volunteers. All the campaigns I worked on the main volunteers self identified as democratic socialists not social democrats. Its been painful starting out in a party that rightfully opposed NAFTA and all corporate rights deals and called for a withdrawal from NATO and justice for Palestine because that is what the membership at conventions passed to a party that has basically reversed itself on those issues by Leader edicts. If my MP was not Gord Johns who is the most effective environmentalist in the House I would have a hard time supporting them. Libya was just to painful for me.

Aristotleded24

Misfit, I always enjoy your take on Saskatchewan politics, both because I feel you offer a unique perspective and sometimes as a reminder that I need to check my pie-in-the-sky-naieve-starry-eyed thinking. I really do appreciate the history that you outlined on this thread. It helps explain why we are where we are. In terms of the growing farm size and mechanization, I think that is a destructive trend, and I don't even know if it is sustainable. I feel like farmers have a great deal of social capital as people who grow our food, and I feel like these big operations use this social capital to their own ends for profit. For example, hog production has been a massive issue here in rural Manitoba. We had huge barns full of pigs and it is very environmentally destructive. I also find it frustrating that as these big farm operations generate wealth, so little makes it into the smaller communities allowing people to make a viable living. I believe that the policies advocated by the National Farmers Union would go a long way to revitalizing smaller places, and they are openly in support of respectful relations with First Nations people. I can't understand why NFU endorsed candidates are rarely elected to higher office than the local RMs. Transportation plays a role as well, which is why you can say I "railed" on as long as I did in this opening post.

I'm sorry about your encounter with that Saskatchewan Party person, but as they say, pride goes before the fall. The PC party in Manitoba thought they could always count on having Brandon West in their pocket, and yet the NDP held that seat from 1999-2007. Things are always changing. If they change in one direction, they can change in another.

It looks like my intentions with my chosen thread title were not clear. I've been thinking a great deal about why, if the NDP is supposedly on the side of every-day people, why they don't connect with every-day people in smaller areas out west. My opening post focused on rail transportation as a means to address this (as krop mentions the importance of speaking to issues that are top of mind in any local community), so I was hoping a thread title about going "off the rails" would have been taken as a play on words in this context. You might even say that my own attempt at discussion has been "derailed!"

jerrym

Aristotleded24 wrote:

You might even say that my own attempt at discussion has been "derailed!"

Who ever heard of a babble discussion getting derailed?

Pondering

Aristotleded24 wrote:

I've been thinking a great deal about why, if the NDP is supposedly on the side of every-day people,.....

Were they really though?  From my admittedly shallow knowledge of their history they have always been union centric.

Misfit Misfit's picture

I'm telling you that the NDP talked incessantly about the dismantilization of the rail system and its impact on agriculture and its impact on the highway systems and the environment. None of these are new issues. Maybe the never talked about them in Manitoba but they certainly did in Saskatchewan. These issues have been talked to complete frustrating exhaustion in our province.

Manitoba needs the CN Churchill rail line. It is in serious disrepair.

But rail infrastructure projects are not going to happen. The railways are not going to invest the money. The sub lines have been sold off to small branch companies. The two main rail lines have been streamlined to get intermodal goods from Vancouver to Toronto as fast as possible. Grain is not cost efficient and not worth the investment to the rail lines.

The prairies do not have the population to justify the train service that you are talking about.

I did not derail your thread. I read your thread and I discussed the rail in my first post. However I am out of here because your condescending attitude is more than I can tolerate at this time.

Good bye!

Pondering

I find the rail discussion interesting. For me one of the solutions is if a rail company is closing a line, ownership of that line should revert to the communities served by it. I bet if they were owned and run cooperatively they would be financially self-supporting within years. If not then they should be subsidized. The rail should be regarded as a public roadway like a highway. Under that circumstance I think the communities could probably afford to own the train or trains but if not we should pay for those too and leave the running costs to the communities.

Canada is one country not just a series of provinces and regions stuck together at the edges. National solidarity is not build through military adventures or the honoring of them.

I was educated that the national railway was not the gift I thought it was at the time that it was put in. Having said that, it has unified the country.

All of Canada is my country. Indigenous territories and their people are my kin. I owe the people who inhabit its farthest reaches for that land even being part of Canada. It is they who establish Canada's sovereignty.

Manitoba and Saskatchewans are treasures. I don't think Canadians really appreciate the vast wealth in having what seems like endless wilderness lands and forests and water as well as minerals. We aren't part of the G7 because we are so clever. It is because of the wealth in the territory we control.

Ensuring that this country remains linked by train should be a top priority nationally. It's crazy not to. We are all spread out along the southern border. We need to support people willing to live far from heavily developed areas not make it hard for them to live there.

But this all comes back to "who's going to pay for it?" Most people have been completely convinced that the middle-class would have to shoulder the burden of paying for everything and they just can't afford it. Taxes are high enough. People have even been convinced that businesses pass on the taxes in the price of the product so the individual is really paying the business tax too. Everywhere we look people need money for something.

People are really unaware of the deep reductions in business taxes and the shift to personal taxes that have happened over the decades. Most people don't know how heavily subsidized the oil industry is.

We pretty much can't push for anything without indicating who would pay for it.

cco

Pondering wrote:

Aristotleded24 wrote:

I've been thinking a great deal about why, if the NDP is supposedly on the side of every-day people,.....

Were they really though?  From my admittedly shallow knowledge of their history they have always been union centric.

Unions are made up of everyday people, despite decades of right-wing propaganda to drive a wedge between them and the unorganized working class. The only difference is that union members are everyday people who are paid something closer to what they're worth.

Michael Moriarity Michael Moriarity's picture

cco wrote:
Pondering wrote:

Aristotleded24 wrote:

I've been thinking a great deal about why, if the NDP is supposedly on the side of every-day people,.....

Were they really though?  From my admittedly shallow knowledge of their history they have always been union centric.

Unions are made up of everyday people, despite decades of right-wing propaganda to drive a wedge between them and the unorganized working class. The only difference is that union members are everyday people who are paid something closer to what they're worth.

This can't be said too often. It is sad to see someone on this board take such an ignorant, reactionary position about unions.

Pondering

Michael Moriarity wrote:

cco wrote:
Pondering wrote:

Aristotleded24 wrote:

I've been thinking a great deal about why, if the NDP is supposedly on the side of every-day people,.....

Were they really though?  From my admittedly shallow knowledge of their history they have always been union centric.

Unions are made up of everyday people, despite decades of right-wing propaganda to drive a wedge between them and the unorganized working class. The only difference is that union members are everyday people who are paid something closer to what they're worth.

This can't be said too often. It is sad to see someone on this board take such an ignorant, reactionary position about unions.

What is the ignorant reactionary view of unions you are referring to? You pretty much just said absolutely nothing. About 30% of Canadian employees are unionized. In my opinion most unionized workers are middle-class and share middle-class concerns.

The NDP is stuck in the last century with their talk of "working class"  and "blue collar" as something separate from the middle-class. It is rooted in ideology not modern politics. People don't identify with those labels. It definitely doesn't apply to the 99% or even 80%.

P.S. The NDP went off the rails by focusing on union concerns which translated into defending oil jobs.

melovesproles

In my opinion most unionized workers are middle-class and share middle-class concerns.

I'm still not convinced you aren't doing parody. What has been a more effective way for the working class to ogranize than unions in your opinion? Twitter?

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

What has been a more effective way for the working class to ogranize than unions in your opinion? 

..unions have been ineffective against neoliberalism for a very long time. this is due to the structural control enforced, here in canada, by the union leadership in cahoots with the ndp. labour peace is their rallying call. if a direct democracy cannot be achieved within the labour movement it will occur outside. the square occupations are an example of this as well as the municipalist movements.

A new international municipalist movement is on the rise – from small victories to global alternatives

Aristotleded24

Misfit wrote:
I did not derail your thread. I read your thread and I discussed the rail in my first post. However I am out of here because your condescending attitude is more than I can tolerate at this time.

Good bye!

I'm so sorry to hear this. I guess attempts at humour don't always translate online the way people intend,. You actually understood pretty well what my intentions were. The "derailing" was in the posts that followed your response.

If you need to take a break I hope it works for you. I do hope to hear from you again on this and many topics related to politics, especially on the Prairies. You do bring valuable, unique insights and I think babble is all the better for it.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

..making change using existing structures does not work. we have years to look back on that shows this.

..an example is defunding the police. reforms within old structures does not work. new structures have to be built inside the old structures..ie municipalities. this can happen theoretically within unions and the ndp but there needs to be a change to the structures. or they will die where they are. neoliberalisim will ensure that.  

Pondering

melovesproles wrote:

In my opinion most unionized workers are middle-class and share middle-class concerns.

I'm still not convinced you aren't doing parody. What has been a more effective way for the working class to ogranize than unions in your opinion? Twitter?

I think unions are great. We need them to be much stronger. They aren't ideal but they are a net positive. I'm making multiple points.

1) Union workers are not the working-class anymore. Unionized workers have become middle-class therefore have middle class concerns.

2) Few people consider themselves working-class even if they are.

3) The NDP is confused and without direction. They will not win while trying to be centrist enough to get elected while picking up every social justice issue that appear.

That is how they messed up on environmentalism. They were afraid to oppose Trans Mountain and Mulcair actively promoted Energy East. That the Green party exists is testament to the failure of the NDP to represent the true interests of Canadians by which I do not mean go radical.

Scrap what the Liberals and Conservatives are doing/not doing. Do not let the words Liberals did X Conservatives did Y escape an NDP mouth. Ignore the "scandal" surrounding WE. It doesn't matter. It isn't anything new. Everyone has known forever that the Liberals are corrupt. The only part of the WE scandal that matters at all is the stealth privatization of government services which cost taxpayers more.

The NDP has to decide if they want to win an election or not. If not, stay on course. If so, get focused on Canadians not on the Liberals/Conservatives/underprivileged. It is a losing recipe.

I was very critical of the Leap Manifesto because of the way it was introduced, starting with indigenous rights which immediately classified it as a special interest document. Even of those willing to maybe read it most probably stopped at the romanticized approach to writing it up. The economics of it were left to last. It was intended to be inspirational. What it did to right was present a roadmap which no one read.

Right now the top concerns are the economy and climate change. Accepted wisdom is that the middle-class always ends up paying for everything. Businesses must be taxed as little as possible or they will set up shop elsewhere. Taxes are too high now so we just can't afford to do any better. We need temporary foreign workers because Canadians aren't willing to do many jobs. If welfare or unemployment benefits are too generous people won't be incentivized to work. It costs more money for governments to deliver services than it does for private industry. P3s save taxpayers money.

People will cry for the plight of the poor but they won't vote to improverish themselves to help others.

When we argue for clean water for reserves and housing for the homeless and free transit +++ people support all those things but believe that we can't possibly afford all that so anyone promoting it all is not a serious contender for government. Hence, the NDP moving so far to the center.

The NDP doesn't need to move to the centre. They need to shut down all the noise and focus on convincing Canadians we do have the wealth to do it all. "Let the wealthy pay" doesn't do that.

The more I think about the the better I think it would work. Imagine if the NDP started talking only about taxes all of the time. Who used to pay them and who pays them now. That would force people to sit up and take notice. It would start the debate.

Once that debate is moving along well start talking about how we spend the money.

The next subtopic is how international trade deals are approached and who really benefits from them the most.

It then becomes entirely unnescessary to say "Liberals did X and Conservatives did Y" because it will be clear that they did it as the only parties in power since the 70s.

The NDP has to prove that the Conservatives and Liberals are terrible money managers.

 

Misfit Misfit's picture

Oh my!

Webgear

What is the middle-class? How is it defined in Canada? 

Ken Burch

I always thought it was the labour movement that CREATED the "middle class".

Webgear

Is there a difference between "middle class" and "middle soical class"?

 

Pondering

Ken Burch wrote:

I always thought it was the labour movement that CREATED the "middle class".

They created it and became it.  They know it is their taxes that will skyrocket. 

kropotkin1951

Pondering wrote:

Ken Burch wrote:

I always thought it was the labour movement that CREATED the "middle class".

They created it and became it.  They know it is their taxes that will skyrocket. 

Your economics seems to be from the Fraser Institute.

melovesproles

..unions have been ineffective against neoliberalism for a very long time.

Yeah for sure but removing organized labour from the table was one of the central goals of the neoliberal project from its beginnings. So arguing that unions are to blame for neoliberalism is a little like saying the tram is to blame for automobile emissions. I agree that in some cases some blame can be assigned to union leadership and the tendency of the union movement to go on the defensive instead of expanding the fight to protect the ever-growing precariat. But I don't see the defeat of neoliberalism without a strengthening of the labour movement. Unless it's by something more reactionary and less worker-friendly. I also think this idea that unions and unionized workers are monolithic and middle class is not grounded in reality. 

if a direct democracy cannot be achieved within the labour movement it will occur outside. the square occupations are an example of this as well as the municipalist movements.

The Occupy movement and Municipalism are broad based movements. I respect the Occupy movement but what have been its real gains? A growing mass consciousness of inequality, but that hasn't translated into any change in power politics (yet at least). I also don't have a lot of faith in a municipalism that isn't grounded in a strong relationship with labour.

Pondering

kropotkin1951 wrote:

Pondering wrote:

Ken Burch wrote:

I always thought it was the labour movement that CREATED the "middle class".

They created it and became it.  They know it is their taxes that will skyrocket. 

Your economics seems to be from the Fraser Institute.

I didn't say that is what I think must or should happen. It is what the middle class has had drilled into their heads for decades. Just saying "no that isn't so" isn't enough.

That is why I am saying there needs to be a focus on showing people how taxes have been reduced for the wealthy and increased for the middle-class and how that can be reversed. People need to see how wealth is being transferred as we speak to people who are already wealthy.

Take the WE scandal. Focusing on Trudeau part in it is a waste of time. The real scandal is why the summer jobs program wasn't used. The transfer of wealth through privatization of services is happening throughout government.

Convince the middle-class that they will be better off economically under an NDP government and you win. As long as the NDP remains known as the conscience of parliament and economically naive they won't win.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

melovesproles wrote:

..unions have been ineffective against neoliberalism for a very long time.

Yeah for sure but removing organized labour from the table was one of the central goals of the neoliberal project from its beginnings. So arguing that unions are to blame for neoliberalism is a little like saying the tram is to blame for automobile emissions. I agree that in some cases some blame can be assigned to union leadership and the tendency of the union movement to go on the defensive instead of expanding the fight to protect the ever-growing precariat. But I don't see the defeat of neoliberalism without a strengthening of the labour movement. Unless it's by something more reactionary and less worker-friendly. I also think this idea that unions and unionized workers are monolithic and middle class is not grounded in reality. 

if a direct democracy cannot be achieved within the labour movement it will occur outside. the square occupations are an example of this as well as the municipalist movements.

The Occupy movement and Municipalism are broad based movements. I respect the Occupy movement but what have been its real gains? A growing mass consciousness of inequality, but that hasn't translated into any change in power politics (yet at least). I also don't have a lot of faith in a municipalism that isn't grounded in a strong relationship with labour.

..txs for your post.

..no one is removing unions from anything. by moving grievances ect into the back rooms it removed the militancy of the worker that created the unions in the first place. that was a corporate victory. when the auto workers first unionised in canada if there was a dispute with the boss they downed their tools and marched en mass to the bosses offices. until the dispute was settled the workers wouldn't go back to work. now, many years later, the union leadership in cahoots with the ndp have a tight control over that militancy. and they do nothing with it when we are attacked on all fronts. look at what is going on in ont and mb. i do understand that even with this state of affairs being in a union is always better than not. but moving forward in these times facing multiple crisis that includes the ability of people to survive on the plant, that will never be enough. 

 ..occupy taught us that direct democracy was possible when left parties and unions were not enough to stem the attacks by capital. it defined the 99% vs the 1%. meaning all those artificial divisions between people were just that..artificial. inclusion became the goal. this was an enormous achievement.

..with all due respect it doesn't matter whether or not you have faith in themunicipalist movement . very few on this board do. you can see that in the posts. passing comments on rare occassions only. what i'm pointing out it's a powerful force. defunding the police is the most current example. there are many other. i have documented some here. p.s. many union members participated/participate in both the occupy and municipalist movements. 

Link   

Pondering

Unions, Occupy and the Municipalist movement are not over. The war will not be won on a single front or through a single organization.

People are attacking neoliberalism on many fronts from the creation of alternative currencies to collectives for everything from housing to transit.

The Liberals are not ideological. They do whatever keeps them in power. They are very adept at figuring that out. They are in no way prepared to face an election in this moment. The Conservatives and Bloc have already declared their intention to bring the government down. The Conservatives took it back but they will say the throne speech is so bad they couldn't possibly support it. They are setting themselves up to win the next election based on being more fiscally responsible.

Trudeau doesn't want to face an election even more than the NDP. He hasn't consulted with Singh so I believe he plans to present something the NDP can't refuse. That way if an election does happen the NDP will be blamed. Then if the Conservatives and Liberals are close more progressive voters will go Liberal to keep the Conservatives out and to get whatever goodies the Liberals offered in the Throne Speech.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

..canada is a colonial power. much of it was built via the liberal party in power. i.e. the indian act. the economy which colonizes it's people. thus the liberals are very much ideological..and racist. their range though is not as narrow as the cons. they have a broader left right spectrum. 

R.E.Wood

An interesting poll has been commissioned by the Broadbent Institute, and outlines that "Canadians expect bold action to deal with the economic and social impact of the pandemic."

It seems to tie in with the topic of this thread as a way for the NDP to find its way back onto the rails.

https://abacusdata.ca/recovery_covid_throne_speech/

 

Aristotleded24

R.E.Wood wrote:

An interesting poll has been commissioned by the Broadbent Institute, and outlines that "Canadians expect bold action to deal with the economic and social impact of the pandemic."

It seems to tie in with the topic of this thread as a way for the NDP to find its way back onto the rails.

https://abacusdata.ca/recovery_covid_throne_speech/

 

As in literally investing in rail transport for economic recovery, transportation efficiency, the environment, and revitalization of small-to-mid-sized communities across the country? As in restoring passenger rail service along lines that have not had it for decades, including  Highway 1 between Portage la Prairie and Kamloops and from Kenora to north shore Lake Superior to Sudbury and then onto Ottawa?

Pondering

epaulo13 wrote:

..canada is a colonial power. much of it was built via the liberal party in power. i.e. the indian act. the economy which colonizes it's people. thus the liberals are very much ideological..and racist. their range though is not as narrow as the cons. they have a broader left right spectrum. 

Old history doesn't define the present. I see the currant Conservatives as ideologically driven because their mantra is unchanging. No matter what the problem the answer is lowering taxes and letting the private market drive solutions. Their exception is oil which they justify by oil playing victim and putting it on a national scale of importance but even then their preference is tax cuts. Their goal is unchanging. The point of winning is to advance  their ideology.

The NDP will never cut services or cut taxes unless it is to shift them to the more wealthy.

The Conservatives and the NDP have lines they won't cross based on ideology.

The Liberal Party of Canada is certainly pro-business but that isn't an ideology. What ideological line will the Liberals not cross if it suits them?

 

 

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Old history doesn't define the present.

..see lng and tmx pipelines. very current very colonial very racist.  unchanged. and it isn't just pro business. it saturated the whole of the canadian government/bureaucracy with a neoliberal dominant position. and that also colonizes the peoples of canada for the benefit of capital. this is an ideology. not someone buffing the rolls for the boss. 

melovesproles

The Liberal Party of Canada is certainly pro-business but that isn't an ideology.

That is a ridiculous position. You hide behind the fact that the dominant hegemonic ideology is pro-business. Having power on-side doesn't make it less ideological.

Buying Transmountain was clearly ideological. There was no electoral reason for it. Anyone with a highschool level understanding of Canadian politics knew that there were no seats for the Liberals to gain in Alberta and that it would weaken their position in Quebec and coastal BC. Which is exactly what happened. The Liberals did it because of their slavish pro-business ideology. It's the same reason why they have been such a failure when it comes to Canada keeping its promises on fighting climate change during their time in government. 

melovesproles

 ..occupy taught us that direct democracy was possible when left parties and unions were not enough to stem the attacks by capital. it defined the 99% vs the 1%. meaning all those artificial divisions between people were just that..artificial. inclusion became the goal. this was an enormous achievement.

I basically agree with most of what you are saying and thank you for the link to the thread. It looks interesting and I'll do some more reading. I just think it's dangerous to overstate what these movements have accomplished so far. There is a critique that Occupy and the Spring uprisings were unable to accomplish their goals because they don't have a clear theory of power politics.

Inclusion becoming the goal is nice but again not very concrete. Positive messages are great but often fleeting. The movie 'Avatar' had a nice anticolonial message but it hasn't changed the world. When the labour movement was strong it accomplished real material gains (for union and non-union workers) because it had a method for exercising its power. Defund the police has a lot of positive promise but it is still early and not impossible that the right is able to coopt it in some ways. At least municipalism is about taking power but in a lot of the cities I have lived in, the municipal movement seems more interested in things that have a broad class consensus like bike lanes and less interested in making cities liveable and affordable for their low-income or homeless residents. Again though, I think I'm on board with most of what you are saying about democracy, inclusion and problems with the union movement. I'm not convinced that the decoupling of the labour movement and the broader left hasn't been a big reason for boths weakness under neoliberalism.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

..txs melovesproles

..you raise important issues. they are also complex. i'm going to take a bit of time to construct a response that will move the discussion hopefully forward.  

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

I basically agree with most of what you are saying and thank you for the link to the thread. It looks interesting and I'll do some more reading. I just think it's dangerous to overstate what these movements have accomplished so far. There is a critique that Occupy and the Spring uprisings were unable to accomplish their goals because they don't have a clear theory of power politics.

..part 1

..for me this was never about that. in 2011 i spent a lot of time studying the square occupations and posted my findings on this board. this includes my time with the van occupation.

..prior to these square occupations unions were ineffective and left parties were co-opted by capital. as the indignados stated “none of them represent us”. activists around the world were in despair. there was no where to turn.

..that is until those occupations. both in spain, greece and a lot of n.a. occupations never allowed unions nor left parties to participate in the deliberations. while their memberships were. participatory democracy occurred. there were no official leaders. and there were plenty of goals. environment, money out of politics, citizen banks and much more. it was all about process that came from the bottom up. this was an inspirations across the world for activists. a way around representative politics that benefited only the rich and powerful. and maybe the populations as an after thought. many of the spanish indignados went on to the municipalist movements.

..it is my belief that global capital is so powerful and entrenched that the political systems would never allow a real left government. 2 examples greece and venezuela. a corbyn election would have been interesting.

..it is my belief only a global economic collapse would end that power. and this organizing from the bottom up will already be feet hitting the ground ready with ideas and structures to replace the collapsed. so the whole capitalist shit show doesn’t begin again. so that the collapse is made a little bit easier. like a plane falling from the sky where the pilot manoeuvres a for softer landing. and hopefully decision making from the bottom up.

..here in canada many movements have come together under an environmental justice banner. it moves forward under indigenous leadership via the pipeline struggles. no point looking for a clear path because there is none. like the black lives matter movements to the south of us. this is all new territory for all of us. resistance is what defines us.   

..this post will raise more concerns i'm sure. but it is a more hopeful position than believing a left party will come and save us. we make change ourselves, from the bottom up, or it doesn't get changed. 

Left Turn Left Turn's picture

Ken Burch wrote:

I always thought it was the labour movement that CREATED the "middle class".


Only if you use the non-Marxist definition of "middle class". According to Marx, the "middle-class" is the Petit-Bourgeoisie.

alan smithee alan smithee's picture

Aristotleded24 wrote:

There has been much hand-wringing about how the NDP has lost the votes in small and medium sized communities that were once the backbone of their support, particularly in Western Canada. Even a look at the 2011 results will show this. They fell well short of their 1988 high-water mark in BC and Saskatchewan, where they took a majority of seats in both provinces. In 2011, the Conservatives won BC, while the NDP failed to elect a single MP in Saskatchewan. The federal NDP hit its high-water mark in Manitoba in 1980. They only won 2 seats in Manitoba in 2011, down from 4 in 2008. So what accounted for this failure? Is there something that can be done?

I propose that making investment in railways would be a crucial component of a strategy to not only win back this Western Canadian vote, but could also be key to making inroads in Alberta, rural Ontario, and the East Coast. Communities in Western Canada grew up around the railroads. As the railroads in Western Canada were dug up, and lines abandoned, the fortunes of the communities followed. The consolidation of the grain handling business into inland terminals hurt small farmers badly. We need to invest in this once again. It will allow trade between regions, and breathe new life into the small communities. More young people may see a future for themselves without having to go to a big city (and we've seen with covid how cramming large populations into cities is not necessarily good for health). Or take the issue of "Western Alienation." Calgary is a major urban centre in Canada. Why do they not have any passenger rail service? The Calgary-Edmonton corridor is very busy with travel. Why is there this talk about high-speed rail from Quebec City to Windsor when there isn't even passneger rail service along this Alberta corridor? With the need for more public transportation in the face of climate change, rail transport is a crucial component. The NDP has already spoken to public transportation needs in urban settings, let's expand on that by helping out smaller communities. Finally, when having this discussion, let's not repeat the mistakes of the past. Let's engage respectfully with the many First Nations, and partner with them to not only provide transportation options that meet their needs but that also respect their traditional lands and way of life.

Nothing will ever change without pipelines. We can't move in any direction without taking on Big Oil. Alberta would resoundly disagree with railways. The oil running those railways is far more valuable

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Inclusion becoming the goal is nice but again not very concrete. Positive messages are great but often fleeting. The movie 'Avatar' had a nice anticolonial message but it hasn't changed the world. When the labour movement was strong it accomplished real material gains (for union and non-union workers) because it had a method for exercising its power. Defund the police has a lot of positive promise but it is still early and not impossible that the right is able to coopt it in some ways.

..part 2

..i didn’t care for the avatar solution. war! i would have liked the author to have more imagination. say a description of an interesting peace process that was truly anti colonial. instead he inserted a simplistic hollywood tool.

..inclusion is a concept and can/has been applied/defined on the ground by those involved in the issue at hand. i point to this piece as an example. it is very relevant and concrete.

The era of modern protest belongs to the American left

quote:

American protests — outside of a few exceptions — are almost entirely on the left. The largest demonstrations have been against police brutality. Kaiser polling estimates that 26 million people, or about one in 10 Americans, have participated in the protests following the killing of George Floyd. My statistical “regression” analysis of the June 2020 national Kaiser poll identifies the demographic groups that are significantly more likely to have participated in these protests, in addition to uncovering which Americans are more likely to support the protests, even if they themselves have not turned out in the streets.

These results show that younger Americans (18-29), self-identified Democrats and highly educated Americans are significantly more likely to participate in a BLM protest. Similarly, supporters of the Floyd protests are significantly more likely to be younger, Democrats, highly educated, higher income and Black.

My findings suggest that the BLM movement and its supporters are eclectic and represent a wide range of Americans. These individuals are, relatively speaking, a combination of more privileged — the highly educated and those with high incomes — and less privileged — young Americans and people of color — in their demographics. Importantly, 67 percent of Americans reported they somewhat or strongly supported the Black Lives Matter movement in June of 2020, compared to 55 percent in August 2017. So, not only is the movement widespread, but its popularity has grown over time.

BLM has spawned demonstrations in the tens of thousands in major cities across the country. The protests are a manifestation of contemporary democratic rebellion — placing its trust in the wisdom of the “average” American, rather than in the allegedly superior abilities and understandings of political or business elites. I argue in Rebellion in America, after examining a decade of US social movements, that the populism of the right — driven by the Tea Party and Trumpism — is extremely thin due to its inability to sustain mass movements over time.

In contrast, democratic protest movements like the Madison protests, Fight for $15 and BLM represent a vigorous form of mass action. These movements, because they challenge concentrated political and economic power, require large numbers of people who are active over extended periods in order to sustain themselves.

The rise of BLM threatens to destroy the conventional myth — thrown around by many journalists and academics — that right-wing populism is a political force that’s on par with left-wing protest movements in its size and scope. Trumpism and MAGA may generically be referred to as a “movement” in the media, but they fail to satisfy most of the basic prerequisites of a mass movement: mass protests, grassroots community organizing that sustains action over time and mass public outreach organized from the ground up in opposition to the status quo.

Rather, Trumpism is an elitist, top-down affair, centered on a single billionaire and reliant on the cult of personality of a tabloid-style political entertainer. Trumpism will struggle to persist as a national political phenomenon once this presidency comes to an end. It is not an organic, bottom-up phenomenon due to its reliance on a single demagogue. Without the benefit of mass attention conferred on this president via sustained reporting on his activities from the news media, Trump is unlikely to retain the critical mass of support he currently receives from more than 40 percent of the public.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

At least municipalism is about taking power but in a lot of the cities I have lived in, the municipal movement seems more interested in things that have a broad class consensus like bike lanes and less interested in making cities liveable and affordable for their low-income or homeless residents. Again though, I think I'm on board with most of what you are saying about democracy, inclusion and problems with the union movement. I'm not convinced that the decoupling of the labour movement and the broader left hasn't been a big reason for boths weakness under neoliberalism.

..final post

..it depends on where you live. spain as well as other cites scattered around the world are more advanced. in the autonomy link i posted earlier lists a number of them. here in canada not so much. i do like the looks of the free transit movements here. they are making progress slowly but surly. they have expanded their perspective over the years to include issues such poverty.

..i’m not sure the broader left was ever coupled with unions. union leadership in cahoots with the ndp, for as long as i can remember, never wanted to confront capitalism. their big idea was to elect the ndp as a way to solve our problems. this approach was/is a failure even though some good came from it.

..i understand this from my many years in cupw and after that with the bcgeu. there is a world of difference. in cupw they fought to include movements and in bcgeu they totally shit on broader left. as did the clc and provincial feds of labour. labour councils was where the action was back then. there was more inclusion. 

..the operation solidarity days in bc in ‘83 had the bc ndp screaming from the wings at the bc fed to get the demonstrations under control. at the time you could smell the possibility of pulling down the socred gov who was making major cuts across the board. the bc fed betrayed the movements and everything came to a halt. and the cuts came in.

eta:..que was different. there was the que general strike where a solidarity occured. and the actions very radical. 

Pondering

melovesproles wrote:

The Liberal Party of Canada is certainly pro-business but that isn't an ideology. (Pondering)

melovesproles wrote:
That is a ridiculous position. You hide behind the fact that the dominant hegemonic ideology is pro-business. Having power on-side doesn't make it less ideological. 

Neoliberalism is contemporarily used to refer to market-oriented reform policies such as "eliminating price controls, deregulating capital markets, lowering trade barriers" and reducing state influence in the economy, especially through privatization and austerity.[6] It is also commonly associated with the economic policies introduced by Margaret Thatcher in the United Kingdom and Ronald Reagan in the United States.[7] Some scholars note it has a number of distinct usages in different spheres:[citation needed]

Liberals are very into privatization but not austerity by a long shot. CERB was definitely not neoliberal. Neither was the tanker ban.

melovesproles wrote:
 Buying Transmountain was clearly ideological. There was no electoral reason for it. Anyone with a highschool level understanding of Canadian politics knew that there were no seats for the Liberals to gain in Alberta and that it would weaken their position in Quebec and coastal BC. Which is exactly what happened. The Liberals did it because of their slavish pro-business ideology. It's the same reason why they have been such a failure when it comes to Canada keeping its promises on fighting climate change during their time in government. 

Buying TMX was economic. They did it to get a higher price for Alberta oil not for Alberta's votes although they may have hoped for a few. The Liberals have been very clear that they support the oil industry long term. Remember the slogan? Balancing the economy with the environment? The Liberals passed two laws on resource development that O'Toole is promising to get rid of. Bill C-69, the tanker ban, I don't know the other one. They instituted a carbon tax which O'Toole also promises to get rid of. Those actions maybe laughable to you but to the average Canadian Trudeau has taken action on the environment and he is about to take more. These are not neo-liberal positions.

The Liberals are neither dedicated to the free market nor against social programs. They are supportive of big business but not slaves to neoliberal ideology.

There is no base that will be outraged by social programs or pro-business legislation. There is no one angry over too much immigration or strongly supportive of increased immigration. The liberal base and most Canadians are pro-capitalism but still supportive of social services.

We have to understand the Canadian mindset to change it. What basic set of beliefs do Canadian's hold about how the world works? About who pays for what? What do they see as self-evident truths?

An example being: If social assistance is too generous people won't go back to work.

That is probably true of many people. If Basic Income were 100K a year many people would not go to work.

Instead of just arguing for higher minimum wages or basic income or affordable housing questions have to be asked and the answers debated. If a Canadian works 40hrs a week, what should their minimum living standard be? What about if someone is not working for whatever reason? Should basic income be the same no matter where you live?  What qualifies as a necessity of modern life? A cellphone? What is the value of not having any homeless people?

The NDP can't win under current conditions. They have to change the playing field so that people will support NDP policy as not only the nice thing to do but the smart thing to do to improve your own personal living standards.

Top notch public education should not be considered a cost. It is a long term investment in the country that pays off economically relatively fast.

Not providing temporary workers with a path to citizenship creates an underclass of illegals who distort the labour market. If someone is good enough to work here they are good enough to live here. That's an argument that can work.

The left has to fight the perception that we are sweet but unrealistic and we would take money from everyone to hand out to the poor.

Aristotleded24

alan smithee wrote:

Aristotleded24 wrote:

There has been much hand-wringing about how the NDP has lost the votes in small and medium sized communities that were once the backbone of their support, particularly in Western Canada. Even a look at the 2011 results will show this. They fell well short of their 1988 high-water mark in BC and Saskatchewan, where they took a majority of seats in both provinces. In 2011, the Conservatives won BC, while the NDP failed to elect a single MP in Saskatchewan. The federal NDP hit its high-water mark in Manitoba in 1980. They only won 2 seats in Manitoba in 2011, down from 4 in 2008. So what accounted for this failure? Is there something that can be done?

I propose that making investment in railways would be a crucial component of a strategy to not only win back this Western Canadian vote, but could also be key to making inroads in Alberta, rural Ontario, and the East Coast. Communities in Western Canada grew up around the railroads. As the railroads in Western Canada were dug up, and lines abandoned, the fortunes of the communities followed. The consolidation of the grain handling business into inland terminals hurt small farmers badly. We need to invest in this once again. It will allow trade between regions, and breathe new life into the small communities. More young people may see a future for themselves without having to go to a big city (and we've seen with covid how cramming large populations into cities is not necessarily good for health). Or take the issue of "Western Alienation." Calgary is a major urban centre in Canada. Why do they not have any passenger rail service? The Calgary-Edmonton corridor is very busy with travel. Why is there this talk about high-speed rail from Quebec City to Windsor when there isn't even passneger rail service along this Alberta corridor? With the need for more public transportation in the face of climate change, rail transport is a crucial component. The NDP has already spoken to public transportation needs in urban settings, let's expand on that by helping out smaller communities. Finally, when having this discussion, let's not repeat the mistakes of the past. Let's engage respectfully with the many First Nations, and partner with them to not only provide transportation options that meet their needs but that also respect their traditional lands and way of life.

Nothing will ever change without pipelines. We can't move in any direction without taking on Big Oil. Alberta would resoundly disagree with railways. The oil running those railways is far more valuable

Why do you think Albertans would take issue with Calgary, Medicine Hat, and Red Deer having reliable passenger rail service?

Aristotleded24

epaulo13 wrote:
..canada is a colonial power. much of it was built via the liberal party in power. i.e. the indian act. the economy which colonizes it's people. thus the liberals are very much ideological..and racist. their range though is not as narrow as the cons. they have a broader left right spectrum.

Pondering wrote:

Unions, Occupy and the Municipalist movement are not over. The war will not be won on a single front or through a single organization.

People are attacking neoliberalism on many fronts from the creation of alternative currencies to collectives for everything from housing to transit.

The Liberals are not ideological. They do whatever keeps them in power. They are very adept at figuring that out. They are in no way prepared to face an election in this moment. The Conservatives and Bloc have already declared their intention to bring the government down. The Conservatives took it back but they will say the throne speech is so bad they couldn't possibly support it. They are setting themselves up to win the next election based on being more fiscally responsible.

Trudeau doesn't want to face an election even more than the NDP. He hasn't consulted with Singh so I believe he plans to present something the NDP can't refuse. That way if an election does happen the NDP will be blamed. Then if the Conservatives and Liberals are close more progressive voters will go Liberal to keep the Conservatives out and to get whatever goodies the Liberals offered in the Throne Speech.

What does any of this have to do with the specific public policy agenda item of investment in railways as a means of revitalizing small and mid-sized communities and to improve transportation efficiency?

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

..from the opening post

I propose that making investment in railways would be a crucial component of a strategy to not only win back this Western Canadian vote, but could also be key to making inroads in Alberta, rural Ontario, and the East Coast. Communities in Western Canada grew up around the railroads.

Let's engage respectfully with the many First Nations, and partner with them to not only provide transportation options that meet their needs but that also respect their traditional lands and way of life.

..i believe this cannot be talked about without including a broader discussion of the ndp state of affairs. that discussion would not be a drift in my estimation.

Pondering

Aristotleded24 wrote:

What does any of this have to do with the specific public policy agenda item of investment in railways as a means of revitalizing small and mid-sized communities and to improve transportation efficiency?

I misinterpreted the thread title but I was responding to the claim that the Liberals are ideologically driven.

I did say in another post that I very much support rail as a means of connecting communities particularly north/south as key to national unity.