The NDP should consider a collective leadership

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cco

Unionist wrote:

Guess what: The PM has no power, in law or under the Constitution, to appoint anyone whatsoever, including senators, or judges, or members of cabinet.

Unless you're a strict monarchist, this, like the existence of the PM at all, would fall under the unwritten British imports that came along with that tricky phrase "similar in principle to that of the United Kingdom", no?

Of course, none of that applies to the NDP constitution, since when the CCF was formed, we didn't just put the words "similar in principle to the Liberal Party" in there. That came over time, with leader after leader and council after council making convention a more difficult thing to get any policy through. (The late Saint Jack Layton was responsible for much of this, in fact, with his desire to "modernize" the party by centralizing power in the leader's office and focusing campaigns on such big-ticket economic issues as ATM fees.)

Sean in Ottawa

epaulo13 wrote:

..happy new year!

..the last place i worked that was unionized was around 10 yrs ago. i’ve been mostly retired ever since. the union was bcgeu and the new contract at the time included a new wage category for new employees and an extended period whereby over the years you could, theoretically, almost reach the level of pay of the existing, grandfathered workers. there was a trend towards a lot of part time so it was therory only and most would never reach top pay. i was living in penticton at the time and if i wanted to vote where there was a meeting i would have to drive to kelowna which was about an hour away. i did that and when i got to the place found that it was an all day meeting. there were only about 3 people listening to the justification of this contract by maybe 5 union staff members. i asked questions and made my points but it futile. i was treated with respect but the contract was being recommended and there was absolutely no way that was ever going to change. i am telling you this and also with my other posts how entrenched this system is.

..if you want a collaborative approach to leadership of the ndp ideas are not the problem. ideas have never been the problem. how to cut through/alter this entrenchment is the key. there were 1500 cupw members in the vancouver local when i was there and that was even before they amalgamated with the letter carriers and couriers. the numbers were higher for toronto and montreal and these 3 cities were where the wildcats were coming from that made substantial gains but also altered the union relationship internally. it produced a better democracy. having large numbers of working folk in plant makes it much easier to organize. 

..that was not possible for the situation i described. we were working for many organization in many places. the work places were small and this also was the case in the larger cities. so it wouldn’t be the correct analysis to say look all that needs to happen is that the workers get together and change the system. i see the ndp membership in the similar/same situation. the organizational difficulty would be enormous..even if there was a will to do so. so it would not be the right analysis to blame the workers in the case of the union nor the ndp membership. nor is it a correct analysis to say that unions are democratic no more than you can say that the ndp is. the culprit is structure.

..i suggest that the task of changing the ndp or the unions from within will take more time than we have. there is a better chance of influencing this from the outside and in a timely manner. it starts by coming together with folks, here in canada, across the country, that are already collaborating. and we all know this is happening around the climate justice/indigenous/pipeline struggles. this means showing the way forward and not waiting around for the right leaders to come forward.

I like a lot of the thoughts in this post. I do see one problem -- and that is trying to crete change by coming together outside a particular structure is almost impossible. The reaons is how do you get a critical mass of people -- enough to effect change to relate to something that does not fit into anythign they recognize? We are nowhere near getting significant numbers to come out or engage to discuss macro problems outside of any recognizable purpose. I am not suggesting this is not ideal, I just don't see it happenign -- getting a large number of people outside a party and outsdie labour to come together and then think of a new process or structure for change.

This is why I tend to suggest remaking things that exist.

 

It is also sadly the same mechanism as to why we see so much top-down decision-making. People wrestle themselves to the top of structures and creating new ones is  very difficult. Now creating a new structure that is outside any existing democratic structure --means getting people to think in systems, and wide open ideas -- then getting a large vilume to do so at once and having it not taken over. Tall order.

Certainly if this were possible I would be happy to participate and endorse but the problem is I can't see how you fix this problem when you can't even get people to participate in the structures they already understand and know.

Michael Moriarity Michael Moriarity's picture

Unionist wrote:

I'm hoping someone here - besides of course epaulo - is interested in discussing whether or not it's too late for the NDP to decide against the superstar LEADER dictator model, and actually rage against the machine for a change. If it's too late - then wrap up the corpse and treat it with some posthumous respect.

Sadly, I consider it very unlikely that the NDP will ever be the party you (and I) would like to be a member of. I had hopes for such a party arising in my lifetime if we were to adopt PR, but as things look now, I don't think I'll be around to see it.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

txs sean

..it's not as new as you think sean. the vancouver occupy attempted to create new ways of talking to each other at assemblies that were participatory. it was failing at first. luckily we had indigenous folks involved and the began teaching participitory ways that have been around 100s of years. our assemblies improved much but we still had a lot to learn. and then we were cut short by a ndp dominated city council with the blessings of the bc fed.

..there is just so much knowledge in within indigenous culture that can be useful to settler folk and in particular activist looking for a different path. we are so fortunate to have this option and it would be a grave error not to try it on for size..in collaboration with others.

..the remaking that you speak of is not a remaking at all if the structures stay the same. the is attempting to reform and this has been tried for many many years and failed. i once felt very deeply that cupw was an extension of me. this coming from throwing my whole self into it. by the mid 80's it was clear that it was not enough and the union limitations were so clear that you could not fix that without changing the world around it.

..it was also clear to me by this time that unions and the ndp were tools in the form of structures created by working people to defend themselves and alter the world. but unions and political parties are not people so must be evaluated on weather or not they are fulfilling their purpose. my assessment is that they are not. my assessment is that they are failing working people big time. the ndp may be better than the libs and cons but they have no vision no intention to alter what is causing us so much pain and destruction. unions trying to protect what they have has been gained in the past are losing ground year after year. again with no vision or intent to make change.

..now i ask you sean to go past offering your ideas and tell me who is going to bring about the reform that you seek? were are the movements that are involved with the reform that you seek? the movements that i suggest may or may not succeed in the end but they are at the table. and they have shown that they have considerable strength and power. 

cco

Please edit your post, JKR. The misuse of the quote tags gives the impression that I, not you, wrote that line. Thanks!

JKR

cco wrote:

Please edit your post, JKR. The misuse of the quote tags gives the impression that I, not you, wrote that line. Thanks!

Sorry about that.

JKR

Unionist wrote:

Guess what: The PM has no power, in law or under the Constitution, to appoint anyone whatsoever, including senators, or judges, or members of cabinet.

In practice, don't constitutional conventions give the prime minister these and other significant powers? I think many people would not accept it if the Governor General undertook these powers.

Brian Glennie

Unionist, you've been pimping for Mulcair on this board since 2011. He continues to be a disaster for us so I hope you'll understand if I take your advice on the NDP leadership with a grain of salt? 

Unionist

Brian Glennie wrote:

Unionist, you've been pimping for Mulcair on this board since 2011. He continues to be a disaster for us so I hope you'll understand if I take your advice on the NDP leadership with a grain of salt? 

Because of your oppressive language and personal attack (which I have flagged - which I rarely do - and hope that some moderator enforces babble policy), I actually find that whether you take my advice or not is of absolutely no interest to me. I'm trying, hard, to care, but I just can't work up the energy. Nor am I concerned about your salt intake. If you haven't figured out by now that an excess of salt, even a single grain (depending on size, of course) can be prejudicial to human health, then I would suggest seeking some professional nutritional advice. But don't take my advice.

Notwithstanding the above, if you have anything constructive to offer on the topic of this thread (difficult as that might be to imagine), please, please, say something. Anything. Please. Anything at all. Please.

Happy New Year!

 

Unionist

JKR wrote:
Unionist wrote:

Guess what: The PM has no power, in law or under the Constitution, to appoint anyone whatsoever, including senators, or judges, or members of cabinet.

In practice, don't constitutional conventions give the prime minister these and other significant powers? I think many people would not accept it if the Governor General undertook these powers.

"In practice", the leader of the party and his/her hand-picked entourage exercise virtually complete dictatorship over the party. It's precisely that practice, which happens to be unlawful under NDP rules, which I am questioning.

I don't care about the PM issue - it's not the topic of this thread. And no, I don't think replacing the PM's de facto power by Her Majesty (not the G-G)'s de jure power would be an improvement. I'm actually looking for a discussion as to how we can overthrow the tin-pot despots and vest power in the people - or, in the case of the NDP, the membership.

oldgoat

Brian Glennie wrote:

Unionist, you've been pimping for Mulcair on this board since 2011. He continues to be a disaster for us so I hope you'll understand if I take your advice on the NDP leadership with a grain of salt? 

 

Brian your language is intemperate, offensive and as unionist points out a personal attack.  Stop it, or I'll suspend your account until Meg gets back.

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