Where has the left gone wrong?

126 posts / 0 new
Last post
Brachina
Where has the left gone wrong?

 I don't just mean the NDP, but the general approach of the left, including activists and NGOs.

 Here's my option.

 

 It Primarily comes down to three things.

 

 1. Hypernegativity. If you go around all the time telling people why they and the way they live is wrong and bad and evil and call them names and stuff don't expect cooperation and support, expect defensiveness and for them to seek out those that make them better about themselves.

 

 Solution, Positive Reinforcement, compliments that are well chosen and meaningful can do much to not only shape behavior, but Identity encouraging people to be good citizens and more bold in standing up for what is right. An example would be a rescent report on women in the STEMs. Its was insightful report that said that women in the STEMs were being treated fairly and gave recommendations for encouraging more particapation in STEMs, and then the authors of the report got shit on for suggesting that gains in the area of fair treatment for women were made in the STEMs. What this achieved is making working in the STEMs sound more hostile and intimiadting undermining effect of encouraging more women in the STEMs. How I would handle it is I would have celebrated the gains and the growing opportunities, reinforcing that working for powitive change can bring results, and applauding those who have been conducting themselves fairly, reinforcing the identy of being fair to women in these jobs in them as a part of who they are and a value they share, and in the process make it a more tempting enviroment for woman. And push to see thier advice get adapted. And then I would put in an aside that reinforces that ideal while using that reinforced identity to gain more progress, something like its great to see progress being made, but they're is still more work being done in this area, I'm glad to see so many in these fields are open to that.

 2. Picking its battles. The left is horrible for this, every molehill is WWIII, every annoyance is rage worthy. The bullshit over a scientists T-shirt was a fucking embarrassment. Seriously the poor guys ended crying on TV, that's not being a feminist or a progressive, that was cyber bullying. There are women getting acid thrown in there faces, there growing numbers of poor women in this country, and so many other issues facing women and humanity and some people are worried a T-shirt on what should have been the greatest day of that man's life?

 Least people think I'm picking on just some feminists, I'm pretty pissed at the Enviromental movement for missing leading me on many issues, people and groups I trusted mislead me on many things such as nuclear and GMOs which with research I latter conducted made me feel like a fool. And they make mountains out mole hills. Like an idoling car, if letting your car run so you don't freeze is going to push us over the edge, where already fucked. Its greater systematic and technological and inferstructural changes that are needed, and on some level people know it. 

 So I vented my frustration with the left as a leftwinger alienated.

lagatta

What on earth is an idolling car? Perhaps the car has become too much of an idol? I don't have a fucking car, though I know people in rural regions may need one, that is not a judgement - it is the urbanism that is bad, not the people.

But I don't want their fucking car to kill me, thank you very much.

jjuares

Good points, Brachina.
One thing I hear on the left all the time is that "words have meaning". Usually that proceeds some cringe-worthy minute point about language. The left wins the language wars and the right wins all the real battles.

milo204

I'm not sure I agree about the first point on negativity.  I think the left is actually far more positive than that, hell the protests have marching bands, dancing, art etc.  and that's always been a huge part of it, that's how i got involved  in the first place, through a local music scene.

I think most of the points you bring up could be said of any and all political movements.

If you ask me the left is struggling under the weight of predatory capitalism.  Under the current scenario, money wins most times so the people who have it essentially control the public mind through bribery and brainwashing.  

if you want to "succeed" in this society (i.e. have financial security/decent job/consumerist trappings) for the most part you have to accept the status quo, keep your mouth shut and not have opinions that conflict with private power, those that do are weeded out and excluded and act as an example, sort of "the nail that sticks up gets hammered down..."

sort of a less violent version of in a dictatorship if you going against the ruling party you are jailed or killed.  that's a pretty strong deterrent to speaking out or trying to change things.

here it's more subtle, but no less severe.  there are major consequences for those that don't "go along to get along" or adopt a lifestyle that rejects those things.  

Ken Burch

lagatta wrote:

What on earth is an idolling car? Perhaps the car has become too much of an idol?

An idolling car is a motor vehicle that is burning too much gasoline as a result of its excessive worship of graven images and talismans.  But that's about all we know at present, because the study of automotive spirituality is still a very new academic discipline(which means a lot of grants are available).

Ken Burch

Where are leftists throwing acid in people's faces?  Hadn't heard of that happening.

lagatta

Usually acid gets thrown in people's faces by misogynists, some of whom are religious fundamentalists, some just very nasty and entitled. I've never heard of leftists doing it, not even the most extreme "propaganda of the deed" types. They might kill particularly nasty capitalists, former fascists etc, but acid attacks aren't even a mistaken leftists' tactic.

I was deliberately being facetious about idling vs idolling, because I found the original post far too negative. There are ups and downs in history, and while of course we must eliminate the dross of capitalism, racism and patriarchy from our approaches as much as possible, self-flagellation has never improved matters. And most of the leftists I know are far from morose.

It is very depressing to see the backsliding here in Québec and elsewhere (people voted against the PQ, which is more than understandable given their nutty "identitaire" fit, but then we wound up with this disgusting reactionary crew) but there are some hopeful signs; just now the formidable response to Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois' call to fight the pipelines...

Brachina

 I wasn't suggesting leftists were throwing acid at people, even the more extreme leftwing groups would frown on that I believe. The point is some on the left were freaking out about the science guys T-shirt, while in women are having acid thrown in there face because some asshole can deal with rejection, or parents who slit the throats of thier daughters if they've been raped over honour (side note this is why I have no use for the concept of honour, its the worst sort of pride in dress uniform), its about priories.

 

 And this is true all down the line, Unionism, Enviromentalism, Socialism, Social Democracy, and so on. I found the idea in media that somehow weather the NDP constitution refers to socialism or not to be a joke, does anyone seriously think joe blow Q public is reading the NDP constitution? They barely bother to download the electoral platform and many don't bother with that, going on news reports instead.

 

 

iyraste1313

weather the NDP constitution refers to socialism or not to be a joke, does anyone seriously think joe blow Q public is reading the NDP constitution?....

nor obviously do the NDP membership!
It´s not the constitution that means anything, in the NDP nor in fact in Canada (the Charter of Rights is a toothless joke where not a Supreme Court Judge will touch it nor most even understands it!)

No it´s the policies and practices of the Party, which stands for globalization, finance capitalism, imperialism ad nauseum...basing its opposition on trivial arguments to make them look like opposition! Actually I find it somewhat offensive to read people equating NDP with the left...and this is part of the problem...most leftists are too busy playing organization politics not building socialist alternatives...

another serious difficulty for being leftist in fascist canada is that we are saturated overwhelmed by imperialist capitalist do whatever it takes to maintain the  status quo media of brainwash...so...

a so called leftist site like rabble is paralysed into endless debates based on misinformation and party obligations, instead of getting down to the business of building a  serious opposition and holistic movement to corporate capitalism, financialized corruption of the economic system and the authoritarian bureaucratic privatized system we live under...

Brachina

 Iyraste1313 you are exbit A sadly, I'm sure your a good person and mean well, but you can't see outside your own bubble and point of view and that can alienate people on the outside of politics, the people who vote.

onlinediscountanvils

NorthReport wrote:

Unionist is a good example of that.

You could see some others, sitting on their hands yesterday at the BC Fed Convention, while Mulcair was addressing the crowd.

Yes Unionist and those others may be well intended, and I believe they think they are, but unless we all can put our differences aside, and become unified, we will continue to be crushed politically by the right. 

 

There must be something wrong with my screen. Where did Unionist post in this thread? 'Cause I'm sure you didn't intend to talk about him behind his back.

Michael Moriarity Michael Moriarity's picture

milo204 wrote:

If you ask me the left is struggling under the weight of predatory capitalism.  Under the current scenario, money wins most times so the people who have it essentially control the public mind through bribery and brainwashing.  

if you want to "succeed" in this society (i.e. have financial security/decent job/consumerist trappings) for the most part you have to accept the status quo, keep your mouth shut and not have opinions that conflict with private power, those that do are weeded out and excluded and act as an example, sort of "the nail that sticks up gets hammered down..."

sort of a less violent version of in a dictatorship if you going against the ruling party you are jailed or killed.  that's a pretty strong deterrent to speaking out or trying to change things.

here it's more subtle, but no less severe.  there are major consequences for those that don't "go along to get along" or adopt a lifestyle that rejects those things.  

These are the same conclusions I've come to. The points are all massively supported by the facts, as Chomsky and others have demonstrated.

Aristotleded24

An aside, I think the Canadian Labour Congress missed a huge opportunity when CanWest Global went under. Why didn't the CLC buy up that media organization? Could you imagine how much the debate would have shifted if there was a major media outlet owned by the CLC?

Anyways, in the spirit of this thread, I thought I'd present some [url=http://greenactioncentre.ca/living-green-living-well/7-mistakes-environm... mistakes made by the environmental movement:[/url]

Quote:
1. Green consumerism

...

2. Always buying our own

...

3. Appealing to an audience with facts and figures

...

4. Doomsday messaging

...

5. Only drastic action is worth taking

...

6. Focusing on behavioural change only instead of structural problems

...

7. Losing sight of the big picture

Aristotleded24

milo204 wrote:
I'm not sure I agree about the first point on negativity.  I think the left is actually far more positive than that, hell the protests have marching bands, dancing, art etc.  and that's always been a huge part of it, that's how i got involved  in the first place, through a local music scene.

I think most of the points you bring up could be said of any and all political movements.

If you ask me the left is struggling under the weight of predatory capitalism.  Under the current scenario, money wins most times so the people who have it essentially control the public mind through bribery and brainwashing.  

if you want to "succeed" in this society (i.e. have financial security/decent job/consumerist trappings) for the most part you have to accept the status quo, keep your mouth shut and not have opinions that conflict with private power, those that do are weeded out and excluded and act as an example, sort of "the nail that sticks up gets hammered down..."

sort of a less violent version of in a dictatorship if you going against the ruling party you are jailed or killed.  that's a pretty strong deterrent to speaking out or trying to change things.

here it's more subtle, but no less severe.  there are major consequences for those that don't "go along to get along" or adopt a lifestyle that rejects those things.

[url=https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Revelation+13&version=NIV]You could also reframe this argument theologically (emphasis mine):[/url]

Quote:
And I saw a beast coming out of the sea. It had ten horns and seven heads, with ten crowns on its horns, and on each head a blasphemous name. The beast I saw resembled a leopard, but had feet like those of a bear and a mouth like that of a lion. The dragon gave the beast his power and his throne and great authority. ... People worshiped the dragon because he had given authority to the beast, and they also worshiped the beast and asked, “Who is like the beast? Who can wage war against it?”

The beast was given a mouth to utter proud words and blasphemies and to exercise its authority for forty-two months. It opened its mouth to blaspheme God, and to slander his name and his dwelling place and those who live in heaven. It was given power to wage war against God’s holy people and to conquer them. And it was given authority over every tribe, people, language and nation. 8 All inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast ...

Whoever has ears, let them hear.

“If anyone is to go into captivity,
    into captivity they will go.
If anyone is to be killed[c] with the sword,
    with the sword they will be killed.”[d]

This calls for patient endurance and faithfulness on the part of God’s people.

Then I saw a second beast, coming out of the earth. It had two horns like a lamb, but it spoke like a dragon. It exercised all the authority of the first beast on its behalf, and made the earth and its inhabitants worship the first beast, whose fatal wound had been healed. And it performed great signs, even causing fire to come down from heaven to the earth in full view of the people. Because of the signs it was given power to perform on behalf of the first beast, it deceived the inhabitants of the earth. It ordered them to set up an image in honor of the beast who was wounded by the sword and yet lived. The second beast was given power to give breath to the image of the first beast, so that the image could speak and cause all who refused to worship the image to be killed. It also forced all people, great and small, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hands or on their foreheads, so that they could not buy or sell unless they had the mark

gadar

What/who is 'left'. Once we figure that out, we can figure out what went wrong.

As far as major political parties go, I dont see a party that is 'left'. They are relatively right or left of eachother. But none of them represents 'The Left'.

'The Left' went wrong when it was hijacked by capitalist political parties wearing a 'left' mask.

Aristotleded24

I should also mention that in his book "Death of the Liberal Class," Chris Hedges documented the rise of popular socialist movements in the US around the 1900s and how those movements were destroyed to enable the US to enter WWI. If it was a simple matter of changing hearts and minds, we would have achieved a much different society a long time ago.

alan smithee alan smithee's picture

If FDR didn't die,the Cold War wouldn't have happened and the United States would be a much different country.

iyraste1313

'The Left' went wrong when it was hijacked by capitalist political parties wearing a 'left' mask....

...thank you gadar for this!

I tire reading about how we can't marginalize ourselves from the voting public, ad nauseum...this sentiment is what destroyed the soul of the Green Party, the NDP or CCF etc.

The voting public remains mesmorized by the Canadian Brainwashing media...but not to be cynical nor pessimistic, because the people who s livlihoods are being destroyed by the capitalist monster, the communities in the way of the ecocidalists, the people being dropped onto the streets for lack of work, the people being sickened by the contaminations called food in Canada, the people trying to live a good life in rural community, only to be threatened by the bureaucracies under the tutelage of the corporations seeking to destroy the competition...likewise these are the marginalized..these are the people with potential to support a true anti capitalist libertarian antifascist political movement...let s forget about left masking parties, corrupt to the core, who never never will challenge the rule of the elites, and seek out the people with true potential, not afraid to support the truth

NorthReport

So tommy Douglas was some scumbag right-wing politician

We have a left of centre political party and I question those who do not support it

It is their lack of solidarity that contributes to blocking the lefts progress

lombar

Tommy Douglass is LONG GONE and the folk we have now are not the firebrands that fought free trade in the 80s. They are pushing childcare when people are starving. Pushing raising minimum wage to still well below poverty in most cities. This current 'left of center' party is offering no real changes, just band aids and more of the same.

Slumberjack

Brachina wrote:
 I don't just mean the NDP, but the general approach of the left, including activists and NGOs. 

The fact of the matter as far as I can tell is that the parties of the left, (Marxists, Leninists, Communists, etc) that exist within construct of our political system are not at all engaged in the discussion.  And not to mention the anarchists.  As leftists, if you're not engaged in discussion and strategy with such persuasions, then it becomes unclear as to what wrongs 'of the left' one is talking about, unless this thread is specifically referring to activists and NGOs who have this mythical vision of what the left actually is, and the wrong being discussed here refers to getting waylaid in every direction but left.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

lagatta wrote:

I was deliberately being facetious about idling vs idolling, because I found the original post far too negative. There are ups and downs in history, and while of course we must eliminate the dross of capitalism, racism and patriarchy from our approaches as much as possible, self-flagellation has never improved matters. And most of the leftists I know are far from morose.

It is very depressing to see the backsliding here in Québec and elsewhere (people voted against the PQ, which is more than understandable given their nutty "identitaire" fit, but then we wound up with this disgusting reactionary crew) but there are some hopeful signs; just now the formidable response to Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois' call to fight the pipelines...

..i agree with lagatta and will add that the struggle to stop the pipelines in bc is also very positive and empowering. as was the role of cope in the recent van election.

wage zombie

1. Outspent and outgunned by the money powers who own everything.

2. Losing leads to more losing.  We need to feel confident winning small victories before we'll be able to win big victories, however focussing on winning small victories can look kind of like compromising.

3. Unwilling to take advantage of breakthroughs in our understanding of brain science and advertising.  Focussing on strategies for persuasion strikes many leftists as unethical.

4. Inability to achieve results when we do get into power.

I think Aristotled's list in #13 is good too, and there is some overlap.

wage zombie

After reading Brachina's post #8 I'll also add:

5. Listening is not a very well developed skill in Western culture, and the left is hindered by this.  It's not really an issue with top down movements, but grassroots movements need everyone to be more or less on the same page.  Principles are important but when we think we've got everything figured out already it's hard to really listen to where others are coming from.

NorthReport

This issue was addressed today at the BC Federation of Labour by Jim Sinclair.

Lack of solidarity. 

Ever hear of the song "Solidarity Forever".

The right-wing now has it in spades - just look at the recent congressional elections in the USA, including the re-election of Scott Walker, Governor of Wisconsin. The Chambers of Commerce, the GOP, the Tea-Party, The Koch Brothers, Karl Rove, etc., know that your chances of winning at the ballot box are greatly enhanced if you are unified, even if you are vastly outnumbered by the potential voting public. 

Look at how often the 2 right-parties in Canada support and vote vote for each other's legislation in Ottawa or in our provinces as well.

There are ways to defeat the right, but the left is too busy attacking each other. 

You could see some people, sitting on their hands yesterday at the BC Fed Convention, while Mulcair was addressing the crowd.

Those people may be well intended, and I believe they think they are, but unless we all can put our differences aside, and become unified, we will continue to be crushed politically by the right. 

NorthReport

Hassan Yussuff was at the BC Fed Convention today talking about electing NDP MPs. He gets it.

Ken Burch

NorthReport wrote:
So tommy Douglas was some scumbag right-wing politician We have a left of centre political party and I question those who do not support it It is their lack of solidarity that contributes to blocking the lefts progress

It's a left-of-centre political party that is obsessed with keeping its distance from activists and with the useless objective of "respectability"(a term that is always code for "accepting most of the status quo and settling for trivial tinkering around the edges, while at the same time treating those who don't give up on changing the world with just as much contempt and derision as Harper shows them".)  The voters have no reason to think an NDP government would challenge neoliberalism and corporate domination, would make a real fight against internal oppression, would democratize the political and economic systems, OR break with the militarist status quo on foreign policy.

The voters don't even have any reason to think that the attack on the social would stop under an NDP government.

And all this obsession with looking "respectable" and "moderate" has achieved is to drag the NDP back down to 21% federally.

The NDP can only break  through if it stands with those who've been jknocked down and locked out and are now rising up...NOT with those who hate and fear the dispossessed and the powerless and the peace and social justice movements.  You can't build a left party by appealing to the comfortable, the cynical, and those with any stake at all in the status quo.

 

Oh...and nobody mentioned Tommy Douglas in this thread at all...so what the Mouseland was THAT line about?

 

NorthReport

The NDP is now the official opposition for the first time in Canadian histoy, but let's kick the shit out of them because they are not perfectly what you want them to be.

With that kind of attitude good luck affecting any substantial progressive change, because all you are doing is helping to ensure the right keeps control of Canda like they have since its inception.

Fortunately people like Hassan Yussuff understand that.

Ken Burch

The NDP are the official opposition at the moment, but they've fallen back to a weak third place in the polls and stayed there for almost four years because, in their fixation with trying to be "respectable", they gave up most of what made them distinctive...and it's only the policies where they were clearly to the left of the Liberals that ever gave the NDP any reason to exist.

It's been all downhill from the moment Mulcair forbid the NDP MPs from supporting the Quebec students...even though the ONLY people who ever would have opposed those students and their cause were hopelessly right-wing Harpercons.

People who want the poor kept at a distance and look down on activists don't HAVE any left of centre views.

And all of this is what's left the NDP at 21% now...where it's probably doomed to stay.

There was a chance to reshape politics and life in Canada...but Mulcair refused to take it.  All he cared about was looking "respectable".

Remember, every left party that focused on "respectability" ended up standing for nothing.

The only question now is where the NDP goes after it's centrist strategy drags it back down to third place next year(as we both know it has to).

Mulcair forgot that his party is also supposed to remain a movement, and, unlike the other parties, is supposed to be about transforming life for the better.  The voters WANTED the NDP to be different, and he wouldn't let it be.

 

sherpa-finn

C'mon folks, - let's get real. Who here really believes that social movements alone - or for that matter, parliamentary politics alone - will move Canada significantly to the Left?  And if so, you should share round what you're smoking.

"The Left" in Canada (self-defining socialists?), by any creative stretch of the imagination, probably comprises less than 10% of the population. So any progress to be made in electoral terms inevitably means moving to the soft liberal centre and winning support of another 10 or 15% of the populace so as to be able to wield some minimal influence in Parliament.  Blame what or who you will, that is the simple arithmetic of our electoral reality. And as we have seen in recent years, electoral politics can and do make a difference ....

But let's just agree that Parliament was just not designed to transform capitalism. The best we can hope for (IMHO) is a sympathetic social-democratic ear and voice in Parliament, - responding to the voices of active social movements outside. Movements that may not define themselves as part of the traditional Left, but that bring the legitimate voices of marginalised (often non-voting) citizens to the political table in a way that voting never will. 

With that in mind, it would certainly be nice if we could all agree that:

a) this combined inside / outside strategy is probably the most promising lever for progressive social change in the available arsenal; and

b) those on the inside are not all sell-outs; just as those on the outside are not all unrealistic Utopians.

For this change strategy to work, both components (in the House and on the streets) need to succeed, and actually - we need each other.

Hopefully, each and every one one of us can determine where s/he personally feels most comfortable and useful. Some of us may even cross to and fro between the two, with varying degrees of personal ease / social discomfort. 

Geoff OB

sherpa-finn wrote:

C'mon folks, - let's get real. Who here really believes that social movements alone - or for that matter, parliamentary politics alone - will move Canada significantly to the Left?  And if so, you should share round what you're smoking.

"The Left" in Canada (self-defining socialists?), by any creative stretch of the imagination, probably comprises less than 10% of the population. So any progress to be made in electoral terms inevitably means moving to the soft liberal centre and winning support of another 10 or 15% of the populace so as to be able to wield some minimal influence in Parliament.  Blame what or who you will, that is the simple arithmetic of our electoral reality. And as we have seen in recent years, electoral politics can and do make a difference ....

But let's just agree that Parliament was just not designed to transform capitalism. The best we can hope for (IMHO) is a sympathetic social-democratic ear and voice in Parliament, - responding to the voices of active social movements outside. Movements that may not define themselves as part of the traditional Left, but that bring the legitimate voices of marginalised (often non-voting) citizens to the political table in a way that voting never will. 

With that in mind, it would certainly be nice if we could all agree that:

a) this combined inside / outside strategy is probably the most promising lever for progressive social change in the available arsenal; and

b) those on the inside are not all sell-outs; just as those on the outside are not all unrealistic Utopians.

For this change strategy to work, both components (in the House and on the streets) need to succeed, and actually - we need each other.

Hopefully, each and every one one of us can determine where s/he personally feels most comfortable and useful. Some of us may even cross to and fro between the two, with varying degrees of personal ease / social discomfort. 

Well put, Sherpa-fin. We need both sides of the coin to have any value, at all.  The only thing that might trigger a significant shift to the left is an economic crisis, exacerbated by the growing gap between the 1% and the rest of us.  Unfortunately, I don't think most of us have the stomach to champion that scenario.  (And who's to say it might not have the opposite effect, shifting a terrified populace to the far right?)  Let's work on that alliance between the parliamentary and extra-parliamentary left, such as it is. 

Aristotleded24

Okay Ken, I've criticzed the NDP many times on this board, and even actually called for a challenge to Mulcair's leadership, buton this point I'm afraid you are way off base. It's wild accusations of the NDP selling out that are not backed up with any specific, verifiable facts.

Ken Burch wrote:
It's a left-of-centre political party that is obsessed with keeping its distance from activists and with the useless objective of "respectability"(a term that is always code for "accepting most of the status quo and settling for trivial tinkering around the edges, while at the same time treating those who don't give up on changing the world with just as much contempt and derision as Harper shows them".)  The voters have no reason to think an NDP government would challenge neoliberalism and corporate domination, would make a real fight against internal oppression, would democratize the political and economic systems, OR break with the militarist status quo on foreign policy.

I don't see where the NDP is doing what you are suggesting. For one, I was pleasantly surprised that the NDP opposed Canadian bombing of ISIS in Iraq, and was impressed with Mulcair's speech following the Ottawa shooting urging us as a nation to not give into fear. And Mulcair has criticized the investor-state dispute mechanisms of the free trade agreements (although is rolling over on the FTA with South Korea was disappointing), has called for a national housing strategy, a strategy on transit, a $15/hour minimum wage for federal employees, and a national child care strategy. And while I am disappointed that he's holdling the line on personal taxes, he has proposed that corporate taxes need to go up and has also proposed a finanical transaction tax.

Ken Burch wrote:
And all this obsession with looking "respectable" and "moderate" has achieved is to drag the NDP back down to 21% federally.

Not true, and the NDP is not that much noticably to the right of where it was under Jack when Jack won 30%. The NDP has dropped in the polls because it performed so far outside of its traditional support range that a correction was bound to happen. The same thing happened with the Liberals. For nearly all of Canada's history, the party to which Canadians turn when they don't want a conservative government has been the Liberals, and they are souring on Harper. The Trudeau mythology is also very strong in the media, and for all the talk about how MSM is dying and losing audience, it still plays a powerful role in shaping opinions about policits. And by the way, 21% is on the very low end of estimates of public opinion support that the NDP has recieved since 2011, and even the worst post-2011 polls have shown the NDP doing better than it ever did under Jack's watch. I also remember the endless discussions about how Jack sold out the NDP, and for his supposed popularity, he was derided as a car salesman in the MSM for nearly his entire tenure as NDP leader.

Ken Burch wrote:
The NDP can only break  through if it stands with those who've been jknocked down and locked out and are now rising up...NOT with those who hate and fear the dispossessed and the powerless and the peace and social justice movements.  You can't build a left party by appealing to the comfortable, the cynical, and those with any stake at all in the status quo.

Agree wholeheartedly.

Left Turn Left Turn's picture

I'm not going to go into a whole analysis of what is wrong with the left, but I do want to point out one negative tendency that I've noticed over the course of my time on the left (a little over a decade). This is the tendency of many activists to reduce left activism to the level of a hobby.

It happens like this. Many activists decide to focus their efforts on one or two issues that they've decided are the most important from a moral perspective. They continue to prioritize their one or two issues even when activism around them is in a downturn. They'll continue to put on events around their one or two issues, even if it's clear that the only people who will show up are other activists who've also decided to prioritize the issue.

There may occasionally organize events that draw a larger crowd, and there may occasionally be a surge of activism around their issue, but by and large their activism will be in-services for the left. And the group they organize with has a small, mostly static membership of people who've become friends, and whose friendship is a large part of the reason they continue to do organizing work together.

The issue where I see this quite a lot in Vancouver is Palestine activism. There's about 2-3 dozen people in the Vancouver area who are regular Palestine activists, but they're divided into 5 or 6 different groups based on who they've become friends with, which is basically those who they have the most agreement politically. These groups have a number of 'hangers-on' who will come out to their events, many of these being the members of the other Palestine groups, plus other activists who prioritize anti-imperialist struggles above all else.

There are occasional upturns in Palestine activism, as happened during the attack on Gaza back in July and August; but by and large, Palestine activism is in-services for self-identified Palestine and anti-imperialist activists.

And they seem to pay no attention to what else is happening on the left that might negatively impact turnout at their events. Case in point, the newly formed group 'Youth for Palestine' chose to have a protest against the closure of the 'Al-Aqsa' mosque, on the same day as the municipal elections.

iyraste1313

 ¨Let's work on that alliance between the parliamentary and extra-parliamentary left, such as it is. ¨

Yes this is essential...just that if any extraparliamentary left thinks that the likes of the NDP are going to back them up on any issue, with educational speeches and proposed legislation via private members Bills, they are doing their movements a serious disservice....name the issue...the slaughter of the autonomous republics of the Ukraine?, the rights of the Palestinians to gain their mandated homeland? The endless parade of corporate free trade agreements? The elimination of the total corruption of the financial institutions? The rights to consultation and consent by the Indigenous Nations, therefore the shutdown of the mines and pipelines and hydro dams in violation of their rights to consent?

I can go on endlessly...What´s wrong with the majority of the left in Canada?...certainly amply demonstrated through this thread!...maybe they ought to open their eyes to reality...the NDP just uses these movements, takes for granted their support, with eyes only on maintaining their respectability to the media of brainwash....

and we are pleased with the NDP statements on the ISIS? based on trivia!

Where were their statements opposed to the sacrosanct international laws of national sovereignty, the greatest crime against the Peace (Nuremburg), where were their statements condemning the USA and Israel for their logistic support for the ISIS, which would be shut down tomorrow if that didn´t exist...Goodness I could go on a rant forever against the total cowardice and nebulous trivia of the policies of the NDP...

Movement activiities demand the end of the capitalist system...which needs the fracking, the pipelines, the violations of Indigenous rights, the globalization corporate free trade agreements to survive and yes they are in a desperate last attempt at survival.
Why isn´t the left examining the reality of the capitalist system as it goes down the tubes...look at what is going on!

 

Yes of course there must be a symbiotic relationship between the extraparliamentary left with a political movement. But the political movement is what we are waiting for...something which is now being experimented with in Greece, in Spain, in syrian Kurdistan, et al....

And if the left would stop trying to pretend that the NDP was that political movement, maybe we could get on with the work to create it!! 

Unionist

The left went wrong when it went right.

Cortina

The left has gone wrong because 1) ignorance (largely due to a lack of introspection, typical of ideologues), 2) preference for electoral success over principle.

1)  The Left always wants to blame and reallocate, instead of searching to fundamentally change dynamics through PRE-allocation. http://www.markajansen.nl/index.php/geldsysteem/book-review-modernising-...

2) The Left is not at all introspective, and will support a nominal leftie, actually on the right, if it is convenient in terms of LOCAL alliances.  The local is the enemy of change.  Think national.  If you are thinking local and you are progressive, then you are in HIDING, at best.  And you are not interested in the interests of normal people. see http://bilbo.economicoutlook.net/blog/?p=29570

 

 

Cortina

The left has gone wrong because 1) ignorance (largely due to a lack of introspection, typical of ideologues), 2) preference for electoral success over principle.

1)  The Left always wants to blame and reallocate, instead of searching to fundamentally change dynamics through PRE-allocation. http://www.markajansen.nl/index.php/geldsysteem/book-review-modernising-...

2) The Left is not at all introspective, and will support a nominal leftie, actually on the right, if it is convenient in terms of LOCAL alliances.  The local is the enemy of change.  Think national.  If you are thinking local and you are progressive, then you are in HIDING, at best.  And you are not interested in the interests of normal people. see http://bilbo.economicoutlook.net/blog/?p=29570

 

 

wage zombie

Quote:

 ¨Let's work on that alliance between the parliamentary and extra-parliamentary left, such as it is. ¨

iyraste1313 wrote:

Yes this is essential...just that if any extraparliamentary left thinks that the likes of the NDP are going to back them up on any issue, with educational speeches and proposed legislation via private members Bills, they are doing their movements a serious disservice....name the issue...the slaughter of the autonomous republics of the Ukraine?, the rights of the Palestinians to gain their mandated homeland? The endless parade of corporate free trade agreements? The elimination of the total corruption of the financial institutions? The rights to consultation and consent by the Indigenous Nations, therefore the shutdown of the mines and pipelines and hydro dams in violation of their rights to consent?

What part is the "extraparliamentary left" taking to push actions on these issues you're listing?

Other than the action at Burnaby Mountain, which so far seems to be having some positive effect in terms of your last point, where's the opposition to the other issues you're bringing up?

Quote:

I can go on endlessly...What´s wrong with the majority of the left in Canada?...certainly amply demonstrated through this thread!...maybe they ought to open their eyes to reality...the NDP just uses these movements, takes for granted their support, with eyes only on maintaining their respectability to the media of brainwash....

How is the NDP using these movements?  What kind of actual support is the NDP getting from these movements?  I'm surprised to hear that there is support available to be taken for granted.

Are you one of these people being used by the NDP?  Is your support being taken for granted?

Quote:

Yes of course there must be a symbiotic relationship between the extraparliamentary left with a political movement. But the political movement is what we are waiting for...something which is now being experimented with in Greece, in Spain, in syrian Kurdistan, et al....

And if the left would stop trying to pretend that the NDP was that political movement, maybe we could get on with the work to create it!! 

We are waiting for the extraparliamentary left as well.  Don't get me wrong, when there are actions I participate.

But I don't understand why you'd go on and on about the NDP being such ineffectual losers who don't get it and can't get anything done when the extraparliamentary left doesn't have their shit any more together.

Unionist

wage zombie wrote:

 

Other than the action at Burnaby Mountain, which so far seems to be having some positive effect in terms of your last point, where's the opposition to the other issues you're bringing up?

 

That very question sums up the problem brilliantly. But not necessarily in the way the questioner imagines.

 

wage zombie

The issue of Ukraine was brought up.  Here in Vancouver, I've seen two demos with close to 100 people each--demos pushing the idea that Canada should take a more active role against Russia.  I have seen no demos opposing such intervention.

The implication being made was that the "extraparliamentary left" is doing just fine, but it's the political arm that is failing us.  I appreciate that Mulcair and the NDP should be criticized for how they've responded to a possible coup in Ukraine.  But where is the social movement pushing for this better policy?  The implication is that there is such an active social movement, supporting the NDP and being taken for granted.  But I don't see it.

I don't want to turn this into a pissing contest being social movements and the NDP.  I support both, and I think we need both of them to be effective and coordinated, as Sherpa-finn outlined in #29.

What I'm responding to is the idea that we've got a highly effective "extraparliamentary left", and that the reason we're not getting anywhere is that the NDP keeps throwing it under the bus.

Brachina

 Actually its the other way around, Mulcair has done brilliantly, but its the messes created by the NGOs and Activists and Twitteriti or what whatever that poisons the ground making things harder. This is not universally I believe the Broadbent Institute for example has done a great job, the battle over Northern Gateway went well, even Keystone may work out, but alot of mistakes have been made and people Alienated.

Webgear

Who is the left?

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

..representative democracy isn’t working. not here not anywhere that i know of. there is no more democracy inside the parties than there is outside of them. decisions are made by a few and mostly for the specific reason of getting into power. so people began to look to themselves for solutions. this is why the occupy movements began. this is why idle no more was born. this is why the que students rose up. this is why the anti pipeline movements are becoming so strong. people are finding solutions to problems that our representatives find insurmountable.

..i see this more a democracy issue than a left one. people are rising up because they want a bit of control over there lives. they face climate change they face austerity they face growing corporate power. they face so many negative attacs. and you would think that political parties would get that and that they would then begin to transform to a more participatory manner. but they are not. not one little bit. and i don't see any movement from the grassroots demanding their party changes. except for que solidaire and cope which i see as experiments in participitory democracy. 

jjuares

Many of the issues the left focuses on such as gay rights, racism, and feminism are quite compatible with capitalism. Indeed they even enhance capitalism by making more of us full participants in the economy , more workers and consumers. The Green Party points out that they are not on the left and most of them seem to believe that environmentalism and capitalism are perfectly compatible. I personally don't buy that argument . To me being on the left has to involve a critique of the plutocracy that runs our country and a desire to do something radical about their power.

Pierre C yr

The problem on the left is its divided. Not the liberal-ndp separation thats myth. There are significant numbers of red libs in the liberal party but not enough of them imo now to make any junction there possible. No most of the divisions are over priorities and over separate issues. That has always been the case and always will be as the social democratic left isnt an ideological block as much as it questions itself and its own over what needs to be done constantly. 

Half heartedly engaged people may not appreciate it enough to be able to support a party like the ndp into power often or for long. The only real solution for that is civic engagement that can be done with education and promotion, but more likely only when things will get bad enough.

As example we just voted this week for a new contract with only 12 members out of 80 bothering to show up. Even though very serious issues of contracting out are hanging over many workers heads which can come at any time and the poor contract got passed. In that I think our CUPE leadership let us down at the negociating table.  

Its sad but the left must get used to being a bad times party. We wont get much chance to prevent problems in power. We will have to become ready to mostly fix them. And have ideas and policies at the ready and well proclaimed for it.

 

 

Left Turn Left Turn's picture

wage zombie wrote:
The issue of Ukraine was brought up.  Here in Vancouver, I've seen two demos with close to 100 people each--demos pushing the idea that Canada should take a more active role against Russia.  I have seen no demos opposing such intervention.

Stopwar held a demo at the end of October, mainly to oppose Canada's involvement in the new war in Iraq. In addition to Derrick O'keefe, who spoke against the new war in Iraq, local activist Roger Annis spoke against western imperialism in Ukraine.

Here's the video of the excellent presentation that Roger gave on the situation in Ukraine in late September

[url=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XIjMApxHYdw&list=UUXVvxLkc_m7IzXoDn8tl8z... in Eastern Ukraine & the New Cold War[/url]

 

Pondering

Thank-you Left Turn. That was really informative.

swallow swallow's picture

Unionist wrote:

wage zombie wrote:

Other than the action at Burnaby Mountain, which so far seems to be having some positive effect in terms of your last point, where's the opposition to the other issues you're bringing up?

That very question sums up the problem brilliantly. But not necessarily in the way the questioner imagines.

Yes, yes it does. I was fascinated to learn that there apparently is no effective extra-parliamentary organizing outside of Burnaby. 

I think this was a thread topic when i first encountered babble, a thousand years or so ago. 

genstrike

In response to the original question, are you referring to the "institutional" left composed of the NDP, union leaderships, etc., or the activist left?

Because they've both got a lot of problems, just not the same ones.

DaveW

... the left got defeated in the 1980s and early 90s, with Thatcher, Reagan, Mulroney, Free Trade, Neoliberalism, and the collapse of the Soviet bloc. And in response, the mainstream social democratic left essentially gave up on the traditional program of the left....

uh, that simplifies way too much;

the mainstream social democratic left followed its electoral audience from the 1950s onward, which became steadily higher-income, more comfortable, more suburban, more public sector / less private sector, less political, and  the stagflation of the '70s provided many with cover to break entirely with the prescription of a large public sector

this trend began long before the collapse of the Soviet Union  (which of course was a very good thing, no regrets for Brezhnev and co.)

if precarious workers/ contract temps /the disenfranchised etc. are looking for a new electoral home, maybe like Quebec Solidaire, then provide it, but don't imagine large electoral groups are waiting to jump aboard, no sign of that ...

wage zombie

wage zombie wrote:
The issue of Ukraine was brought up.  Here in Vancouver, I've seen two demos with close to 100 people each--demos pushing the idea that Canada should take a more active role against Russia.  I have seen no demos opposing such intervention.

Left Turn wrote:

Stopwar held a demo at the end of October, mainly to oppose Canada's involvement in the new war in Iraq. In addition to Derrick O'keefe, who spoke against the new war in Iraq, local activist Roger Annis spoke against western imperialism in Ukraine.

Here's the video of the excellent presentation that Roger gave on the situation in Ukraine in late September

[url=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XIjMApxHYdw&list=UUXVvxLkc_m7IzXoDn8tl8z... in Eastern Ukraine & the New Cold War[/url]

Thanks for posting that.  I wanted to go to that event but it was unfortunately the same night as my ndp riding association meeting (dun-dun-dun).  I didn't know there was video online.

Pages