Why we need to remember our support in our critical support of the NDP

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Cueball Cueball's picture

See, not the slightest interest in addressing any concerns whatsoever. Just filling dead air with propaganda leaflets.


N.Beltov wrote:

Fidel wrote:
You chastized me for flubbing a description of Neoliberal ideology in another thread. I think youve been guilty of waxing a little thin on the Canadian intracacies for it yourself, N.B. Remember what you said, that Neoliberalism is not a scandalous plot but simply the way capitalism works nowadays. Well, it's not working, and the NDP has nothing to do with what the Liberals did in 1995, or what Mulroney and Liberals did before that. The NDP opposed the Neoliberalization of Canada since Trudeau's time.


At least I understand that it is an ideology. It's not clear to me that you've understood this.

Granted, we can expect something new to come along, once this package of ideas loses its credibility. Personally, I expect a more barefaced Canadian imperialism. And we both know that some NDPers, having long forgotten stories of cats and mice,  will lap this up like a thirsty cat laps milk.

Of course, and they would be the federal NDP that has no federal record in power for you to make such a conclusion. If you understood anything of what you refer to loosely as neoliberal ideology, you would have to admit that this isn't the same Canada that existed in the days when Lester B had no choice but to implement Tommy's socialised medicine nationally, or watch from the sidelines as the next government did it for him. Times have changed. Canada's economy and social transfer and money creation do not work nearly the same as things did in the 1960s or first half of the 70's. You are out of touch with what's happened in Canada since the CCF ruled Saskatchewan and made it a far better place to live than when the Liberals ran roughshod there, friend. Here's why:

The truth is, N.B., the one which you will flee from by the end of this paragraph, is that social democrats have governed through this western world neoliberalisation of economies, and they have achieved far more on the social front while in federal power and strong opposition there in those countries than any provincial government has been able to in Canada since Mulroney and Chretien/Martin. Why is that? Well, we first have to examine how the unique neoliberalorama is setup in Canada at the federal level. Once we admit to certain truths about Bananada which has been Puerto Ricanized since the neoliberal trade deals/betrayals, you don't have much of an argument. And you will continue to be unable to present a valid and progressive alternative to the NDP with a snowball's chance of being elected to phony majority or even phony minority government with full of crap, right wing Liberals backing them up.

ETA: Here's a hint. Don't bother reading Marxist critiques of the neoliberal setup in Canada. Most of them I've read simply blame provincial NDP governments for being unable to create socialism in one province period end of story. They are very good at describing the negative effects of neoliberal ideology in Manyanada, but they will leave you lacking an understanding of how the neoliberalorama forces each province to rely largely on "free market forces" for jobs and revenue. And most babblers fall victim to the same conclusions that you make, which is that if provincial NDP governments are incapable of creating a decent social democracy, then their federal counterparts will be just as ineffective in federal government. And that's a false assumption with nothing to back it up.

bagkitty bagkitty's picture

Fascinating choice of words being used in here. I have noticed a number of posters make the statement (or statements to the effect) that "the Gay community owes nothing to the NDP". Correct on face value... But then I run across this:

Cueball wrote:
[...]All of the major parties have members who support gay rights, and Liberal members in particular were supportive by and large on the issue of gay marriage.[...]

To which I have little choice but to respond along the lines of "Give me a fucking break, and go out and get a fucking clue." Over a quarter of the Liberal caucus voted against extending the right to marriage to same sex partners (the vote on C-38) and the rest of them indulged the nays, if not actually going out and praising them for "following the dictates of their conscience on this difficult question" - (a similar reaction to the BQ members who voted against marriage rights was also observable, fortunately on a much smaller scale). At the same time, the sole NDP dissenter voting nay was severely disciplined by the caucus and leader. It is really insulting to come even close to suggesting that there was even a rough similarity between the parties on this vote and on this issue. While there were decent members in all the parties, only one party had the decency to whip the vote... and to take action against the member who violated this. And it wasn't the Liberals... Indeed it is a testimony to the Liberals ability to spin the message that they aren't spat upon by the Gay community for their cowardice for not taking an official party position and perfidity for embracing the nays in their ranks astounds me still.

I believe Unionist is fully correct when he asserts that the NDP (and by extension the other parties) owe something, and have responsibilities to, amongst others, the Gay community. With particular reference to the Gay community, the NDP has done more to address these responsibilities than any of the others. If people wanted to make the point that the party has sometimes had to be dragged or pushed, kicking and screaming, to realize these responsibilities, I can point you to sources that will support that argument. But when you try to make that point with the issue of same-sex marriage and the votes on it, you are not just misguided, you are point blank wrong. If you want to trot out an issue where you think the NDP does poorly, please find one that actually fits the case, And while the offer still stands to point you in the direction of documentation in support of the contention that the NDP has not always been "stellar" in addressing the concerns of the Gay community, I would much prefer you find some other community to graft your generalized comments onto.


Liberals suck. Might as well cash in your lefty membership, you're finished as a progressive before you even got started.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

..i read once that when the car unions were forming, in canada, grievances where handled differently then they are today. i read that if there was a serious issue, production would stop and the workers went to management offices and nothing would move until the issue was settled. then they grievance procedure was introduced which moved things into rooms away from the shop floor.
..in the same way our struggle is on the streets and not so much in the parliaments. the street is where progressive policy begins and where it is ultimately defended. this always has been and it always will be. to want to focus more energies on the street is not reaching for purism but a defensive mechanism as we are, in these times, losing to much through the grievance procedure.

Cueball Cueball's picture

The point of the OP was that the NDP is the party of these constituencies. Irregardless of the fact that it is certain that the NDP did whip the vote and the Liberal party did not, it is in fact the case that the Liberals introduced the legislation (kicking and screaming as you say) and the entire cabinet voted for it, and indeed the party leader also led by example, stating in fact that he was against it but that it was the constitutionally correct thing to do.

The support may have be equivocal, but in fact, when it came down to a free vote, 67 percent (the great majority) of the Liberal party members voted for it, in a free vote. So, to a certain extent the fact that the NDP did not whip the vote goes against your case, since it is impossible to tell if the NDP would not have rung up similar numbers as the Liberals if the vote had not been whipped.

In fact, Liberal support was substantive and essential to getting the legislation passed. Under such circumstances you might be able to claim that the NDP had a superior position to the Liberal party, but I don't think you can claim that the NDP is THE party of LGBQ community. Support in both the NDP and the Liberal party is substantive on key issues.

This point is contained nicely in this statement from you:

bagkitty wrote:
I believe Unionist is fully correct when he asserts that the NDP (and by extension the other parties) owe something, and have responsibilities to, amongst others, the Gay community. With particular reference to the Gay community, the NDP has done more to address these responsibilities than any of the others.

Your summary quite clearly establishes that the LGBQ community has support to a greater or lesser extent in all parties, and in particular, in the Liberal party support is substantive and strong; In the vote I am pretty sure the cabinet, if not the backbench was whipped, and they introduced it with the intention of making it pass. I don't think the NDP has any right to claim a monopoly here at all, even if it may be "better".

To my mind the rise of equal rights for LGBQ community has to do with a tremendous social shift, engineered not by any party or political movement, but by LGBQ community itself. The impact of this social shift has been felt in all parts of the spectrum of the political sphere. The NDP may have been more receptive to that shift, but they were not the sole advocate of it. Not even close. It is not even a "left" wing bedrock issue, as we can see by the manifestation of homophobia in the left all over the world for many many generations.

Credit goes to LGBQ community, not the NDP, or even "the left".

Cueball Cueball's picture

Fidel wrote:

Liberals suck. Might as well cash in your lefty membership, you're finished as a progressive before you even got started.

bagkitty bagkitty's picture


When did "irregardless" become a word?

I, unlike the poster you are referring to, never described the NDP as the party of anything. I described the Liberals as cowardly and perfidious - particularly in reference to the vote on C-38. To be more precise, they are cowardly, perfidious opportunistic bastards who openly embraced the homophobes in their own party in the immediate aftermath of the vote. When you try to make the case that, on the question of party behaviour during the vote on C-38, the parties represented in parliament are all even roughly comparable, you are mistaken. As I pointed out in my earlier post, the NDP was the only party that imposed party discipline on this issue of basic human rights. This completely separated them from those parties who, and I recognize that the following description is interpretative, considered respect for basic human rights to be less important than concerns over party cohesion and therefore allowed their members to vote as they bloody well wanted. If you are looking for roughly comparable parties to compare on this particular issue, it is the BQ that is roughly comparable to the Liberals... both allowed "free votes" - and while the overwhelming majority of BQ MPs opted to do the decent thing, the party qua party failed to stand front and center in support of basic rights. They were significantly "better" than the Liberals, but as a party they were also essentially gutless. I am quite willing to acknowledge, as I did in my previous post, that there are decent individuals represented in all parties who were part of the debate of C-38 - there is, however, a distinction to be made between individual actions and collective actions. The NDP was the only grouping in parliament during the C-38 who demonstrated a party commitment to basic rights.

I usually consider most of the comments from the "the NDP is always under attack here" element to be little more than whinging... but when confronted with comments from someone trying to say that the actions of the Liberals and the NDP over the vote on C-38 are substantially similar, I begin to wonder if I should be taking the whinging a little more seriously.

[ETA: oh, and you might want to get a handle on this LGBQ acronym you have been using. The most common usage is LGBT, LGBTQ is more inclusive, and I have seen it taken as far as LGBTTQQTSIA... I would suggest you might want to check your usage - it is unfortunate but the designation itself is highly debatable... although normally the debate centers on whether it should be extended beyond the T, not dropping the T entirely and putting a Q in its place. Ah well, technical details]


As if anyone cares....

The actual formal affiliation of unions with the NDP is complex and isnt the same as how much in practice, as an organization, they support the NDP. National unions are not affiliates anyway.

With the CAW, what people see is the National Council expressing support [or not] for the NDP, and changes in that. Either way [support, yes or no] is not binding on any level of the national, let alone the locals and regional councils. And what the National Council is saying doesnt even tell you how much as a body with resources they are in practice supporting the NDP [or not].

Steel and UFCW are always more unequivocal about their support. But they talk about it less. You could say its more even and more embedded as part of the organizational culture.

Some public sector unions that are virtually as supportive of the NDP [federal and/or provincial] as Steel and UFCW are not affiliated at all, and don't have exectuve and staff beyond the local level volunteering for the NDP.

N.Beltov wrote:

What has been studiously avoided here in heaping claims of "organic" NDP-labour links is that those links go both ways and, importantly, the harmful effect of the NDP on the labour movement should be UNDERLINED rather than treated by silence. The milquetoast labour response (at least by higher labour bodies outside of Quebec) to recent Israeli atrocities and war crimes in the Meditteranean Sea being a case in point. It's probably fair to say that the NDP pollutes the labour movement with its Zionist bias.

Edited to add: I've made this point already in a different context. The Conservatives and other right wing political forces try to smear the NDP by treating links to the labour movement as virtually evidence of criminality when, as I'm claiming, the harm goes the other way. And the Conservatives know that, I think.

I think you would have to strain to see what actual effects the NDP has on trade unions. Sure, you can make an argument that they are part of the general apparatus that keeps workers distracted. But you can make the same argument about trade unions themselves.

Labour unions go there own way on just about every major issue. Where SOME veer into tilting towards the stands of the NDP, because its the NDP, is [sometimes] where there are NDP governments [or govts in waiting]. So that doesnt happen with the federal NDP. Period. There used to be much more Zionism in the CLC and some unions, particularly in Ontario [which also meant it showed in the stances of the national unions]. That change is chalked up directly to demographics- the retirement of a generation of labour activists now over 70 [at least], and a major change in who is in unions. It had nothing to do with the NDP.

On the other hand, when it comes too issues most important to unions.... where they have something at stake beyond international and social justice issues, they have a great deal of influence over what the NDP will and will not do, both at the level of Caucuses and in decisions made by the membership based organization. I'm referring to issues around which the influence is beyond the numbers participating within party processes. For international and social justice issues where the stands of everyone are more transparent, the effect of unions is like any other grouping that brings as many activists in. And where labour people bring the most weight to the NDP, on issues where they have the most at stake, they are much more likely than not to be dragging the NDP towards NOT doing the progressive thing.

Cueball Cueball's picture

bagkitty wrote:


When did "irregardless" become a word?


You know, I never cared for the acronym much. And yeah, I drop the T because I don't really care that much. Some do. I don't. Call me old school. My entire line of thought on this issue comes from the OP, and its assertion that the NDP is the party of LGBQ community. I didn't think it up now just to make a debating point. I made my point about the OP, some others responded, then you responded to me, I have now clarified further my original point vis the OP in detail in response to your previous post to me.

So your previous post is a response to my views in the context of the OP.

I don't think the NDP is the party of LGBTQ community as stated in the OP. Those are the reasons why. Indeed, the great majority of Liberals were onside (67% is generally considered a large majority). They tabled it, ensured that it was properly vetted by the supreme court in order to ensure its success and more importantly rejected using the "notwithstanding clause"  as suggested by the CA in order, to squash it entirely. The Liberals (and in particular the "leadership" of the party) were an essential and active force in the evolution an enactement of the SSM bill. So in my opinion I don't think you can substantially say that the NDP has the monopoly on being the party of LGBTQ people, at least in this case.

Maybe we even substantivel agree... here?

You seem to be arguing the quality of that support in comparison to other parties. That is fine. My point stands in terms of the OP.

Irregardless of that. If you are going to try and trump people on grammar points it would be best if you chose to do so on a solid basis as opposed to an arguable one. Personally I like irregardless. Also, it is in the common vernacular. Also, it is even in some dictionaries. The one used by my web browser for example. Therefore, it is substantively a "word".

But why not quibble on this point of dictionary defined language and semantics? It seems apropos, since as I remember it the Canadian Alliance forwarded several private members bill aimed at invoking the notwithstanding clause on the grounds that the dictionary definition of "marriage" was a union of a "man and a woman". Some people argued that the definition could indeed be changed. Language could be reinvented, remodelled... was maleable... Why stand on ceremony.., eh?


That's good to know, about CAW locals.  I didn't realize that.


The phrsaeology in an email from Brad Lavigne is better than that being used in NB NDP emails

Brad wrote: Jack Layton and your New Democrats head back to their constituencies with a clear record of results for middle-class families and hard-working Canadians.


Still falls short of where I believe the NDP should be but it does have an oblique reference to the working class.

Cueball Cueball's picture

Yeah, kind of like the relative you don't really want to mention at the soire.



When did "irregardless" become a word?" -bagkitty

 Is this a hint to those who do not master the English language (and I am not talking about Cueball, here) to shape up or forever hold their peace?  Smile

Sean in Ottawa

Many unions in Canada over time have had less and less to do with the NDP. The reason is not what it may seem. Unions understand collective action. Most members of the CLC rather than work independently instead work through the CLC which is the national voice of labour. The CLC of course has a strong relationship with the NDP that is two way. The NDP is not only supported by the CLC but also supports and is listens to the CLC. Have a good look comparing the websites of the NDP and the CLC. Compare that to any other party and you will see clues to the relationship. Yes, like it or not, be angry with it or not, the NDP is the party of labour.

To suggest that it is no more so than any other party is to indulge in a rage-filled fantasy, denying the good work not only of many within the NDP but also those within the labour movement who work to build this relationship.

No labour does not owe the NDP nor does the NDP owe labour. Each side owes its own history and the toil of many years on their own side for this important relationship.

Be angry, that can lead to change. But forgetting who you are leads you to a different kind of hange that is destructive leaving nothing behind.

Cueball Cueball's picture

Revealing in full force the reality, which is that the definition of labour actionable here excludes most of the working class.

Sean in Ottawa

This has always been true although perhaps not the way you think.

I gather you mean that non-unionized workers are not included.

On this you are right and you are wrong:

On the one hand it is true that non-unionized workers are rarely involved in political policy making and lack the ability to individually make a difference. As well, many of them are at low wages and lack the ability to get involved in things on a volunteer basis. Unions do what individuals cannot do-- not only is the strength in numbers but the ability to dedicate workers to speak to issues affecting many workers. So, I would agree that, unfortunately most of the working people who are non-unionized cannot participate. Of course this speaks to the value of unions.

However, the unions, particularly the national unions, are well aware of both the struggles their workers face and the fact that they are in fact, among workers the fortunate ones. National unions speak of solidarity and by that they do not mean with only other unions. There is a culture of solidarity with other workers who are not unionized.

If you look at the policy positions of the CLC, for example, you will see that this national "union of unions" constantly reaches out to fight for workers who are not unionized. The CLC constantly is supporting policies on medicare that recognize the reality that most workers have no extended coverage even though most unionized workers do. The CLC takes positions on national pension reform, recognizing that most workers do not have a pension, even though most unionized workers do.

When I say that the CLC is the national voice of labour, I mean that the CLC, while it is supported by union membership as a union, it represents workers who do not have formal representation themselves.

Of course, there is an agenda here based on whatever anger some people have towards the NDP that in the last comment appears now to be anti-union. I guess that is fair enough since once you cannot deny the relationship between working people and the NDP you have to go after the organizations of working people. In the end, each of us standing alone can be honourable and pure but we will never individually be strong enough to be political actors. It is our organizations be they political or labour that can provide hope and through all the anger at whatever issue you hold most dear, it is important not to forget this. By all means fight to turn our organizations in to what you want them to be, hold them to account and criticize, but to deny their value and call for their destruction does not help any of the causes you claim to support.



I didnt read Cues comment as anti-union. Unlikely.

And as I think Cue was saying, you were onto something about how unions are more braodly representative of the working class than might appear on the surface.

Cueball Cueball's picture

You were doing really great there Sean, until you turned into a dickwad, here:

Sean in Ottawa wrote:

Of course, there is an agenda here based on whatever anger some people have towards the NDP that in the last comment appears now to be anti-union. I guess that is fair enough since once you cannot deny the relationship between working people and the NDP you have to go after the organizations of working people. In the end, each of us standing alone can be honourable and pure but we will never individually be strong enough to be political actors. It is our organizations be they political or labour that can provide hope and through all the anger at whatever issue you hold most dear, it is important not to forget this. By all means fight to turn our organizations in to what you want them to be, hold them to account and criticize, but to deny their value and call for their destruction does not help any of the causes you claim to support.

Almost had me convinced that you were onto something, until it you made it clear that your real intention was berate me into silent subserviance, and the rest was just a bill of goods you were selling to justify the latter.

In fact, I am on record here as supporting unions in general. Rather than being anti-union, I believe that unions are actually useful, the NDP, not really. Sorry.

Sean in Ottawa

Ironic isn't it that you would say I was trying to bully you into silent subservience as you break the basic rule of this place by going after me with personal, perhaps sexist insults. I think you could do well to take a long look at your last post snd question who is trying to do what to whom. It won't be pretty but sometimes reflection isn't pretty.

There I speak of comments, you, failing to respond to them adequately, decide to come after me personally to call me names.

I was not trying to bully you. I spoke only of your last comment having had some respect for you (damaged as it is at this moment). I was arguing against losing the voices of those who disagree with individual things from the participation of the whole as I would like to see the party, and the union movement benefit from those voices who are needed, not to destroy it but to bring it closer to where it needs to be. I am trying to argue for more voices acting within not eliminating any. Naturally, I was arguing out of respect for democratic process, in the confidence that if people stayed the party could reflect a collective will

However, after your last comment, it cannot be for me to argue how a voice like yours could be missed since I do support the idea of respectful disagreement through the argument of ideas rather than personal attacks when the ideas run out.

Cueball, we can all be hypocritical and we can all be wrong at times. This is your turn to check yourself. You have useful things to say often enough. Here you do damage to them as well as yourself.

Sean in Ottawa

Cueball wrote:

Revealing in full force the reality, which is that the definition of labour actionable here excludes most of the working class.

As you say you are an advocate of unions. And I am inclined to believe that having read other comments you have made, please explain this quote. The quote remains anti union on its face, denying the reality that unionized workers can and do represent those who are not unionized and that is a principle of the union movement.

And read my comments carefully, they were about this comment not about you. The only thing I said about you was that you claim to support a particular position that you in fact do support. Hardly the greatest of insults up there with "dickwad."


I presume that proportional representation would lead to a viable party to the left of where the NDP currently stands. Canada has a history of parties that were designed to move either further to the left or to the right on the political spectrum (ex. SC, UFA, Progressives, CCF, NDP, Comm PC). With FPP, the NDP seems to be at the moment the only viable option for people on the Left to elect candidates who hold in some part the same beliefs as they do.

An interesting issue is whether the NDP has become less of a vanguard over the years. By this I wonder, whether the positions it takes in 2010 are closer to "main-stream Canadian" beliefs than the positions it took in 1960 were to "mainstream" beliefs at that date. 

Cueball Cueball's picture

What? My pointing out that the special relationship between the NDP and CLC as proof that the NDP is generally speaking a "party of labour" basically ignores the fact that most "labour" in this country is not "organized" labour somehow indicates that I am "anti-union". I notice that you only thought it worthy of discussing the issue of how this special relationship between the CLC and the NDP counts as charity work for everyone else's benefit, after I made this simple point. But by no means was the idea that "labour" existed outside of the organized labour NDP relationship central to your first analysis. Simply put, when you used the word labour, you meant organized labour, not working people in general.

In that light its hard to see how one is to believe that you really think that your last explanation is really central to your view, since the existence of this other "labour" didn't even figure into your first assessment, at all. Top that off with a general personal attack upon me accusing me basically of just coming up with more excuses for attacking the NDP, being anti-union, and going "after organizations of working people."

I guess you are alleging that none of that was "personal".

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Long thread.


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