Where has the left gone wrong?

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Unionist

KenS wrote:

I doubt that you would mean to say that kind of partsanship is THE biggest obstacle... but it comes off that way, despite the last paragraph.

Just re-read my post, please, please.

I said partisan allegiance is NO KIND OF PROBLEM in uniting people in real-life movements, in my experience.

I said it doesn't even ARISE FOR DISCUSSION in those movements.

I said it's only an issue for PEOPLE WHO ARE DISCONNECTED FROM REAL LIFE STRUGGLES. I described the number of such people as a HANDFUL OF INDIVIDUALS.

And if I didn't say all that clearly enough - hopefully the above is clear.

But the diversion of real movements into illusions that the only way to achieve real change is through the ballot box... yes, that's a problem - not the only one by any means - but, as I said, "one of the big ones".

 

Unionist

KenS wrote:

Unionist wrote:

The frenzied insulting dehumanizing discussions here, based on brainless unquestioning adherence to one party or another, are the work of a tiny handful of persistent individuals -

If it is so few people, why not just ignore them?

Are you serious? You want to check my participation in the polling threads? You want a list of babblers whom I never respond to ever (it's short, PM me), and a second list of those whom I respond to only when they are dealing with something real - i.e. not mocking each other for being Liberals or NDPers or whatever?

You haven't seen my posts ridiculing kindergarten soccer-fan style pissing matches, never taking sides between the urinators? Need some links?

I ignore them. I don't ignore you - because you never engage in that crap, and because you have thoughtful viewpoints on real issues which obviously come from real engagement in real movements. But them? I ignore.

 

KenS wrote:
Unionist wrote:

.. individuals who, undoubtedly, are so disconnected from real-life movements and struggles, that they actually dare to judge strangers by their partisan allegiance.

Just a different personal takem for what it is or is not worth:  I doubt a connection to those movements and struggles would make them any different. Same internalized blinkers. And I see the same folks in the 'real-life movements' I am involved with.

Agreed. But there, they are mostly irrelevant and ignored. As they deserve to be here.

Do you see, though, that my main and only point was to question how JKR divvies up the "left" by party label, and proposes that unity among partisans of different parties should be on the agenda to move the left forward? I reject that agenda. No partisans of different parties needed to sit down and iron out partisan differences to launch the student strike of 2012, or the Idle No More movement, or the G20 protests, or the massive anti-austerity movement taking place today in Québec, or any single aspect whatsoever of the environmental struggles going on today.

The political stars try mightily to parasitize off these movements. They should be told: "Support us humbly as true allies, or get the fuck out of our way!"

lagatta

Yes, it is the same in my tenants' association. There are quite a few anarchists or "communistes libertaires", very much involved in the neighbourhood assemblies that sprang up during the Québec Spring, but no arguments about the merits of their outlook, or support to Québec solidaire, the PQ, or even the Liberals. Probably because the issues "on the ground" are simply too evident and urgent.

I was one of those involved in fighting a notorious slumlord who had a decrepit series of apartment blocks on avenue Christophe-Colomb north of Jarry, occasionally getting fines for the unsalubrious and downright dangerous state of his buildings (i.e. a balcony falling off). It took years to get the municipal authorities to act. We were (surreptitiously) leafleting inside one of the buildings and narrowly missed the slumlord's son, talking to the super to the effect that "after all, they are "des nouveaux-venus" (newcomers to the country) and used to conditions like that".

Slumlord did get hit with fines and orders to act, but the city wound up taking the buildings off slumlord's hands (and yes, slumlord received compensation for his dreadful housekeeping). Some of the buildings are now private housing (with some rent-control rules) but there is a housing co-op and non-profit housing.

jjuares

6079_Smith_W wrote:

@ jjuares

Yeah, it is hard to say. And I am sure it also has to do with what circles one is in and where.

Personally, I find "aboriginal" and "indigenous" to be kind of odd - not to say wrong - because both are four-syllable words that sound like they were cooked up by committee or in some university, and aren't nearly as common usage as "native". And it seems good enough for Alberta Native News, and Native Communications Network (to name just two of many). If I know I am talking about something or someone that falls under treaty, I'll generally say "FN". If I don't, or I am talking about more general Native issues I'll use the other term.

But the American/Canadian split? Not sure if it is a point of pride , other than to us white guys, whether one is getting ignored and screwed around by one government or the other. And it ain't much to be proud of. I know that in terms of some Native and FN people's own allegiances that border is kind of irrelevant - at least from what I hear. Any intertribal pow wow or event I have been to both flags have been there.

but, /drift


Good point. The one term I always avoid is "Indian" . I have asked some of the FN people I work with about proper usage. Interestingly they always give me subtle complex answers with the one exception of one lady who says she always just uses the tern native.

JKR

Unionist wrote:

JKR wrote:

Solidarity on the left would require progressives who support the NDP, Liberals, Greens, and BQ, and even the few who support the Conservatives and also progressives who don't support any political party to come together and respectfully cooperate on some kind of common agenda.

Respectfully - no. Rather than identifying the problem, you've just exemplified it. Real people, in real life, are not defined by, nor divided along the lines of, the political parties they may "support".

 

I agree. Many people choose not to participate in partisan politics and their understandable choice should be respected. I can see how someone would think that partisan politics is part of the problem and choosing not to participate in it might help bring about a more just society. Personally I think participating in partisan politics is helpful if it is done in a way that respects all other people, including people who don't participate in politics. I think if we start from a position of respecting everyone's humanity a lot of our problems, political and otherwise will work themselves out.

jjuares

Ken Burch wrote:

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.

 


I agree. To me this desire for respectability seems to centre on gaining the respect if not support of voices within the mainstream media. I find that laughable. I am willing to bet Harper doesn't read Rabble and if he were to accidentally encounter this site he probably wouldn't lose too many sleepless nights over all the things being said about him.

onlinediscountanvils

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

On the occasions when I've "supported" the NDP at the ballot box, it's never been out of "solidarity" with the party, but rather out of solidarity with people who are oppressed in ways that I am not (specifically; women, immigrants, and refugees). I reserve my solidarity for people - not institutions of the broadly definied Left, whether they be political parties, unions, or NGOs. I see solidarity as something that flows either horizontally or downwards. I am happy to work in solidarity with oppressed and marginalized people, but I owe nothing to institutions that are often bastions of entrenched privilege - especially institutions that seldom show any signs that they might be willing to fight in solidarity for the things that I need.

Unionist

JKR wrote:

Many people choose not to participate in partisan politics and their understandable choice should be respected. I can see how someone would think that partisan politics is part of the problem and choosing not to participate in it might help bring about a more just society. Personally I think participating in partisan politics is helpful if it is done in a way that respects all other people, including people who don't participate in politics. I think if we start from a position of respecting everyone's humanity a lot of our problems, political and otherwise will work themselves out.

Yes!

onlinediscountanvils wrote:

On the occasions when I've "supported" the NDP at the ballot box, it's never been out of "solidarity" with the party, but rather out of solidarity with people who are oppressed in ways that I am not (specifically; women, immigrants, and refugees). I reserve my solidarity for people - not institutions of the broadly definied Left, whether they be political parties, unions, or NGOs. I see solidarity as something that flows either horizontally or downwards. I am happy to work in solidarity with oppressed and marginalized people, but I owe nothing to institutions that are often bastions of entrenched privilege - especially institutions that seldom show any signs that they might be willing to fight in solidarity for the things that I need.

Yes yes!

Now we're getting somewhere.

 

NorthReport

All you are doing is pointing out reasons why the left has never formed government in Ottawa.

And if that is what you consider progressive, well let's just say we differ on that.

Unionist wrote:

JKR wrote:

Many people choose not to participate in partisan politics and their understandable choice should be respected. I can see how someone would think that partisan politics is part of the problem and choosing not to participate in it might help bring about a more just society. Personally I think participating in partisan politics is helpful if it is done in a way that respects all other people, including people who don't participate in politics. I think if we start from a position of respecting everyone's humanity a lot of our problems, political and otherwise will work themselves out.

Yes!

onlinediscountanvils wrote:

On the occasions when I've "supported" the NDP at the ballot box, it's never been out of "solidarity" with the party, but rather out of solidarity with people who are oppressed in ways that I am not (specifically; women, immigrants, and refugees). I reserve my solidarity for people - not institutions of the broadly definied Left, whether they be political parties, unions, or NGOs. I see solidarity as something that flows either horizontally or downwards. I am happy to work in solidarity with oppressed and marginalized people, but I owe nothing to institutions that are often bastions of entrenched privilege - especially institutions that seldom show any signs that they might be willing to fight in solidarity for the things that I need.

Yes yes!

Now we're getting somewhere.

 

bagkitty bagkitty's picture

Getting back to the OP, I was going to suggest one of two things:

1) Failure to keep up to date lists of who is to be put up against the wall come that happy day.

2) Endless excursions into its collective navel (although I will concede that academic imperative to publish or perish has a lot to do with this).

 

6079_Smith_W

Not sure what you mean NR. And I agree with Unionist, but I don't see that it is any news flash.

If my support for the NDP has to go as far as backing them at times when they have been pushing the nuclear industry, then sorry but it doesn't.

Brachina

 The navel gazing is a really good point, the left loves the sound of its own voice. 

Unionist

NorthReport wrote:

All you are doing is pointing out reasons why the left has never formed government in Ottawa.

The left has never formed government anywhere in Canada.

If you mean the NDP, one of the biggest reasons the NDP has never formed government in Ottawa is because when it has formed government in the provinces, it almost invariably forgets where it came from (taking its unwashed constituents for granted) and starts acting "responsibly", so that the rich and powerful will allow them to stay in government for a while.

That's what happens to people who think they're smarter and more progressive than "average Canadians" (they even call them average families and other such insulting terms). Invariably - they ain't.

So, that's another thing the "left" does wrong. It sits around trying to figure out why "we" have seen the light and everyone else hasn't. Perhaps it's because "we" are hallucinating.

 

6079_Smith_W

Unionist wrote:

The left has never formed government anywhere in Canada.

Actually, if you are framing it that way (the left as party, that is) they wouldn't get my unqualified support either.

 

JKR

NorthReport wrote:

All you are doing is pointing out reasons why the left has never formed government in Ottawa.

And if that is what you consider progressive, well let's just say we differ on that.

 

I think on occasion the left has formed governments in Canada that have been progressive. In our history on occasion we've had governments establish the CPP, GIS, Medicare, transfer programs to the provinces for social assistance and education, CMHC, social housing programs, a constitution that protects some basic human rights, labour rights, grants for public transportation and public housing, not sent our military to Vietnam or Iraq, supported increasing child care spaces, and programs that have attempted to create more equity for groups like First Nations, visible minorities, immigrants, LGBTQ, the disabled, the homeless, and poor, etc,...

genstrike

bagkitty wrote:

Getting back to the OP, I was going to suggest one of two things:

1) Failure to keep up to date lists of who is to be put up against the wall come that happy day.

 

With apologies to Gilbert and Sullivan...

 

As some day it may happen that a victim must be found,

I've got a little list — I've got a little list

Of society offenders who might well be underground,

And who never would be missed — who never would be missed!

There’s careerist opportunists who kiss up to bureaucrats

And anyone who is a member of the young New Democrats

The Marxist academic who thinks he’s all that rad,

Who hasen’t done a thing since he was an undergrad

And worst of all the bore who is a campus journalist.

They’d none of them be missed, they’d none of them be missed

 

(chorus)

You may put them on the list, you may put them on the list

For they'd none of them be missed, they'd none of them be missed

 

There’s the person at the meeting who doesn’t know his place

And that bloody trotskyist!  I’ve got him on the list!

And the people who eat vegan food and shove it in your face

(say, how’s the vegetarian option tonight?)

And the lifestyle anarchist!  They never would be missed!

Then the idiot denouncing with enthusiastic tone

All leftist groups but his and every party but his own

All leftist fashionistas who own a stupid hat

All persons who disagree with me about Kronstadt

And that singular anomaly, the Labour Zionist,

I don’t think he’d be missed; I’m sure he won’t be missed

 

(chorus)

 

There’s the 9/11 truther, and the others of his kind

And the anti-flouride-ist!  I’ve got him on the list!

The way they think the masons are out to read your mind

I think we’ve got the gist!  I’ve got you on my list!

And high-and-mighty activists of an overbearing kind,

Such as what-do-you-call him, what’s her face and also… never mind

(Oh, where to begin)

All leftist event planners who want to host a star,

She couldn’t get one this time; she got me so there you are

And worst of all the leftie who’s an opera lyricist,

I don’t think he’d be missed, so I've got him on the list

 

(Chorus)

onlinediscountanvils

bagkitty bagkitty's picture

Author, author!! (Librettist just doesn't have the same "ring" to it)

swallow swallow's picture

Awesome. What you fail to realize about Kronstadt, however, is the balance of productivis.... No don't shoot arrghhhhhhhhh

Unionist

JKR wrote:

I think on occasion the left has formed governments in Canada that have been progressive. In our history on occasion we've had governments establish the CPP, GIS, Medicare, transfer programs to the provinces for social assistance and education, CMHC, social housing programs, a constitution that protects some basic human rights, labour rights, grants for public transportation and public housing, not sent our military to Vietnam or Iraq, supported increasing child care spaces, and programs that have attempted to create more equity for groups like First Nations, visible minorities, immigrants, LGBTQ, the disabled, the homeless, and poor, etc,...

Agree with all of that, except perhaps the bolded part. Those measures were taken, not necessarily because the "left" was in power, but because people in real struggles exacted concessions from the ruling classes. Too often, we are faced with the fetish of getting the "left" into power (NDP or whoever), without remembering to prioritize the movements which historically led to progressive change.

Bacchus

Agreed. Will we fight to get the NDP in power federally then sit back and say all is done? Like with the Rae NDP gov't in Ontario?

 

How well did that work for us?

 

Its action we want, not a 'left' gov't. Harper could stay in power for 50 years if he took up the actions to better society

 

bagkitty bagkitty's picture

bagkitty wrote:

Getting back to the OP, I was going to suggest one of two things:

1) Failure to keep up to date lists of who is to be put up against the wall come that happy day.

2) Endless excursions into its collective navel (although I will concede that academic imperative to publish or perish has a lot to do with this).

 

(yes I am quite aware I am quoting myself)

I forgot to mention the big one:

3) SCRUPULOSITY.

Caissa

Number 1 is a casualty of number 2, bagkitty.

onlinediscountanvils

Unionist wrote:

JKR wrote:

I think on occasion the left has formed governments in Canada that have been progressive. In our history on occasion we've had governments establish the CPP, GIS, Medicare, transfer programs to the provinces for social assistance and education, CMHC, social housing programs, a constitution that protects some basic human rights, labour rights, grants for public transportation and public housing, not sent our military to Vietnam or Iraq, supported increasing child care spaces, and programs that have attempted to create more equity for groups like First Nations, visible minorities, immigrants, LGBTQ, the disabled, the homeless, and poor, etc,...

Agree with all of that, except perhaps the bolded part. Those measures were taken, not necessarily because the "left" was in power, but because people in real struggles exacted concessions from the ruling classes. Too often, we are faced with the fetish of getting the "left" into power (NDP or whoever), without remembering to prioritize the movements which historically led to progressive change.

Exactly. In the U.S., it's arguable that (at least domestically) more progress was wrested from the hated Nixon administration than was granted by any of the Democratic presidents who followed. Which of course is a testament to the strength of organized peoples' movements, rather than Nixon's politcs.

KenS

 

bagkitty wrote:

Getting back to the OP, I was going to suggest one of two things:

1) Failure to keep up to date lists of who is to be put up against the wall come that happy day.

2) Endless excursions into its collective navel (although I will concede that academic imperative to publish or perish has a lot to do with this).

Caissa wrote:

Number 1 is a casualty of number 2, bagkitty.

I think the reference to up against the wall is more literal than you were thinking. If not entirely as in firing squad wall, then with that as the model.

 

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