What's it going to take to defeat neoliberalism in Canada?

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What's it going to take to defeat neoliberalism in Canada?

Bringing this conversation over from the What's it going to take for the Liberals to change their leader.

It started with post 95 in this thread:


Post 96, by Sean

The problem is that you assume that a party can make the change. What must be done is that neoLiberal values must be defeated whether they are in the Conservative party or the Liberal party. This does nto come by suggesting falsely that these two parties are identical (that is patently obviously untrue) but that both brands result in bad government. You need people to come to the ideas of the left.

If this were done and these ideas truly took over even the Liberal party -- why would we care? What's in a name? If neo-Liberal ideas take over the NDP how are we ahead?

We have to win the cultural political battle before we can engage in the partisan battle with any success.

Frankly, this is why organizations like the Broadbent foundation were created. The idea is that we have to change the popular ideas before we can elect better ones under any banner.


Sean in Ottawa

I would argue that as things stand right now there woudl be little difference if the NDP or the Liberal party were to disapear. The remaining party would become the home of the others with only a few going Conservative or Green.

It is possible that Canadians could see a party disapear. Therefore the battle is which ideas will predominate. The labels are less important: the Conservatives could disappear which would bring Conservatives to the Liberals and push that party right and its left would swamp the NDP and we would have a two party system. The Liberals or NDP could disappear making the other the left option. I think that the NDP has a more defined structure that even at low support would make it unlikely to go.

Neither of these are good options now. In both cases, while it may be less likely that the Conservatives would win, progressive policies and ideas will be buried. If this is to happen some day something else must happen first.

The social democratic values have to become more popular than neo-Liberal / centre ones. In the meantime we need the Liberal party to be the container for the centre and the NDP to be independent to develop and make these ideas popular. In short, we need the Liberal party to wither naturally not through scandal but by people moving to the ideas of the left.

I personal do not care which party names survive -- NDP, Green, Liberal. What I care about is that the ideology that currently is in the Liberal party not prevail and that the strongest ideology in Canada move to the left. I would vote for whatever container holds it. Right now I accept that it will be a smaller minority one kept alive by the existence of a mainstream container with the periodic chance of gaining power.

Until social democratic values are ascendent in Canada, the last thing I would want is a merger of the NDP and Liberal party through merger, or either one disbanding. The result woudl create a mainstream centre party and the elimination of the left party no matter which party name got snuffed out.

So how do we do change the levels of support for the ideas?

- many people here have spoken about that -- some acting in parties and some outside

- there are foundations

- a place like this must resist the temptation of becoming just a partisan horserace site (with people supporting parties like sports teams) - and have this place focus as much as we can on the policies, the theories and the ideas. Yes we can argue which parties support those but that ought to be secondary

- showing the public through marches and demonstrations is often frowned on but it is effective in demonstrating and growing support

- speaking to each other not just about parties but political ideas and policies is important -- many friends may dislike party politics but you do not need to name a party to speak about these ideas

- power is economic almost always (even racism is often founded in economic selfishness). Wrong economic ideas and assumptions must be challenged even when uncomfortable.

- we need electoral reform and should fight for it

I am sure there are many more....


A party and a leader that actually takes it on in a full-throated manner.

Sean in Ottawa

josh wrote:

A party and a leader that actually takes it on in a full-throated manner.

Helpful - very - but not entirely essential.


I think that is putting the cart before the horse. Anything a party pushes for is immediately suspected of being partisan. I think activists have to find a way. Once there is sufficient public support then a party can be pushed to adopt or simply will adopt more progressive positions. 


I agree and I think it has to be done outside the confines of a party because as soon as the message is viewed as coming from a party it carries all kinds of baggage and is assumed to be biased. 

A party like the NDP can to some extent try to promote ideas that will move the population to the left but they are constrained by the nature of the beast.

I think many of you grew up to a large extent already enlightened or came into adulthood as such and have trouble connecting with people who did not.