The Church of the NDP is Closed...

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Slumberjack
The Church of the NDP is Closed...

The Church of the NDP is Closed, and good riddance!

Quote:
I say good riddance, because the one thing the Church of the NDP had no hope of doing, ever, was forming a government. That was because churches almost always put dogma and political purity ahead of success in this life -- just as the old NDP church certainly did...

Does anyone else find the tone of this blog entry disturbing? Now that the NDP has hit the big time like some fringe rock band that inexplicably managed to score a measure of commercial success with a hit song, not only at the expense of their original fans base, but also at the expense of the substance of their original but lesser known works, the original following that sustained the band with loyalty in years past, when no one else gave a damn, can now be considered as a bunch of church ninnies for objecting to selling out and compromise with everything that was previously despised. Apparently the new groupies and lifestyle are where it's at. The ninnies can squabble amongst themselves over any values that need to be jettisoned along the way.

Issues Pages: 
Snert Snert's picture

There's still CPC-ML, for any former supporters who crave principled irrelevance. 

Slumberjack

And the LPC for unprincipled irrelevance?  I mean, eventually you'd arrive there as well if everyone can just as readily be thrown overboard for the sake of expediency.

Snert Snert's picture

I guess I was never one of those fans of "indie" bands whose success made them pariahs ("You used to be about the music, man...") so this idea that someone is somehow being "thrown overboard" isn't really clear to me.  I hope the NDP listens to, and tries to represent, all of its members and supporters, but I hope they don't make the absurd mistake of thinking that some group has a special and unique "claim" to their ear.

And sometimes you have to add a little water to the wine.  C'est la vie.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

The NDP has four years to grow and develop far beyond its current 100+ MPs, but I'm not keen on adding water to their wine. Haven't they done that already?

Aristotleded24

I enjoy reading Climenhaga's work and the alternative take on Alberta politics he provides, but I am disturbed on 2 fronts. One is how it comes across as "gloating" that the "loonies" have been silenced. That is never good, and is the exact opposite of the strategy Layton used to earn people's trust. The second is that it makes church people out to be these crazy, unreasonable people. Yeah, giving the right an opportunity to say the left hates religion is a great way to go. That said:

Slumberjack wrote:
Does anyone else find the tone of this blog entry disturbing? Now that the NDP has hit the big time like some fringe rock band that inexplicably managed to score a measure of commercial success with a hit song, not only at the expense of their original fans base, but also at the expense of the substance of their original but lesser known works, the original following that sustained the band with loyalty in years past

I think in large part the NDP surge was fuelled by people coming back to the NDP, particularly in former NDP strongholds in BC and Saskatchewan (although in the latter case, not in large enough numbers for them to actually win), so I don't see any evidence that this victory came at the expense of the original fan base. I also noted that 2 of the big things the NDP talked about during the last campaign, health care and pensions, are traditional NDP staples. There is room to discuss how the NDP raised the issues or whether or not there were important issues that were neglected (which there were), but I think the above quote is simply not the case.

Malcolm Malcolm's picture

Many of us have maintained for years that the NDP was held back by a significant cadre of party activists who actually viewed electoral success as undesirable and who think that sniping from the sidelines is good enough.

Aristotleded24

But Malcolm, at the same time, it's also not a good idea to fall into the all-or-nothing thinking that only winning the first place race matters. The NDP can be effective in any situation by having clearly defined solutions on an issue, fighting for those solutions, and convincing the broader public that these are the correct ones. The federal NDP under Jack Latyon's watch has been, to date, very effective in raising issues and proposing solutions as a fourth party. And in BC, 2 NDP MLAs and several other activists were more effective in opposing Gordon Campbell's atrotious government than Carole James was with a larger caucus. And here in Manitoba, the NDP has basically been in cruise control, not really making that many significant changes that will improve the lives of Manitobans.

Certainly electoral success matters, but at the same time, you have to have some principles which you are willing to defend at the expense of winning an election, otherwise the whole exercise becomes meaningless. I look at how the Douglas/Lloyd government courageously brought in health care, knowing that they would pay a political price, and I wonder if the NDP anywhere in Canada would dare try something that audacious today.

outwest

"Many of us have maintained for years that the NDP was held back by a significant cadre of party activists who actually viewed electoral success as undesirable and who think that sniping from the sidelines is good enough."

Malcolm, if you genuinely believe this, then why are you so opposed to doing politics differently now (i.e. via cooperation)?

Slumberjack

Malcolm wrote:
Many of us have maintained for years that the NDP was held back by a significant cadre of party activists who actually viewed electoral success as undesirable and who think that sniping from the sidelines is good enough.

I can imagine that for some party activists, achieving electoral success at the expense of core values is quite undesirable, and justifiably so.  It's ironic that the two main parties have long considered the NDP's contribution to the political discourse in this country as little more than 'sniping from the sidelines.'  Now that the NDP itself is one of the two main parties, the choice before them is to likewise describe liberal chatter along those lines, or they can turn the tables on those groups and individuals among their base who foolishly continue to believe that what went in to the making of this new machine will in any way shape or form resemble what comes out of it.  I'm afraid the history of the NDP hasn't been very kind to supporters who insist on clinging to their social democratic values.  The schism has begun already, with the traditions of the old church now being described as unsuitable for further service to the cause.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Aristotleded24 wrote:
Certainly electoral success matters, but at the same time, you have to have some principles which you are willing to defend at the expense of winning an election, otherwise the whole exercise becomes meaningless.

I'm actually starting to agree with Brad Lavigne who said something along the lines of  the NDP actually needs to gain electoral office to implement its progressive policies. I think that's putting water in your wine a bit, to appeal to a wider constituency, so I suppose it's not a bad thing in the overall scheme of things.

remind remind's picture

Malcolm wrote:
Many of us have maintained for years that the NDP was held back by a significant cadre of party activists who actually viewed electoral success as undesirable and who think that sniping from the sidelines is good enough.

Exactly, and how weird that was, eh?!

Life, the unive...

Maybe it is because it is his 70th birthday and I am only a few years younger, but this reminds for all the world of when Bob Dylan was regarded a complete sell out because he decided to pick up an electric guitar. 

It always strikes me as funny that some on the left talks about democracy in certain ways when attacking the right, but when it has to find ways to, you know actually be democratic in action in the political sphere by working with others who have different views -compromise is not viewed as trying to find solutions to problems, but rather the complete sell out of all that ever was. 

I have a bit of news for you young whipper snappers- finding common ground is the ONLY way to move issues forward in a democracy.  Our history and the things we value as Canadians has shown this time and again.  Read up on the history of medicare if you don't believe me.  (Oh and Tommy Douglas was called a sell-out too by the ancestors of the same crowd.)

But if you prefer the other course- get you best Monty Python voice in order and be prepared to yell "splitters" at everyone who even slightly disagrees with you.

Slumberjack

Life, the universe, everything wrote:
It always strikes me as funny that some on the left talks about democracy in certain ways when attacking the right, but when it has to find ways to, you know actually be democratic in action in the political sphere by working with others who have different views -compromise is not viewed as trying to find solutions to problems, but rather the complete sell out of all that ever was. I have a bit of news for you young whipper snappers- finding common ground is the ONLY way to move issues forward in a democracy. 

Working with, compromise and finding common ground with whom?  Couldn't help but notice that the NDP is supporting the Conservative decision to impose sanctions against Syria.  Even Tom Flanagan is starting to get worried if all of this is leading toward a western re-colonization of Middle Eastern countries.  Tom Flanagan.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Life, the universe, everything wrote:
Maybe it is because it is his 70th birthday and I am only a few years younger, but this reminds for all the world of when Bob Dylan was regarded a complete sell out because he decided to pick up an electric guitar. 

I am probably just a couple of years younger than you, and your comment reminded me of the old joke:

How many folkies does it take to screw in a light bulb?

10...  1 to change the bulb, 4 to sing about the old one, and 5 to walk out because it is electric...

 

Ahem. Return to regular scheduled programming now.

Life, the unive...

Slumberjack wrote:

Life, the universe, everything wrote:
It always strikes me as funny that some on the left talks about democracy in certain ways when attacking the right, but when it has to find ways to, you know actually be democratic in action in the political sphere by working with others who have different views -compromise is not viewed as trying to find solutions to problems, but rather the complete sell out of all that ever was. I have a bit of news for you young whipper snappers- finding common ground is the ONLY way to move issues forward in a democracy. 

Working with, compromise and finding common ground with whom? 

This is why people like you will never get it despite all your lofty call to ideals.  The answer to your question is people

Get as old as I am, or Bob Dylan and you will eventually realize everyone else is as full of shit as you are.  (That's the all-encompassing "you" not the singling out of you "you"

Malcolm Malcolm's picture

Aristotleded24 wrote:

But Malcolm, at the same time, it's also not a good idea to fall into the all-or-nothing thinking that only winning the first place race matters.

snip

Certainly electoral success matters, but at the same time, you have to have some principles which you are willing to defend at the expense of winning an election, otherwise the whole exercise becomes meaningless.

 

I've never said otherwise.  I don't reject having principles.  I reject the false dichotomy that electoral success is antithetical to principle.  Had Tommy Douglas not formed a provincial government, Medicare would never have been introduced.

Those who decry electoral success as unprincipled are moral cowards who would prefer to snipe from the sidelines.  There are far too many of them on the left.  They are Stephen Harper's best friends.

Malcolm Malcolm's picture

outwest wrote:

Malcolm, if you genuinely believe this, then why are you so opposed to doing politics differently now (i.e. via cooperation)?

 

Oh bullshit.

I'm quite prepared to cooperate with those who share values with us.

What I'm not prepared to do is roll over so the right wing Liberals can have their entitlements back.

Malcolm Malcolm's picture

Slumberjack wrote:

I can imagine that for some party activists, achieving electoral success at the expense of core values is quite undesirable, and justifiably so.  

snip 

I'm afraid the history of the NDP hasn't been very kind to supporters who insist on clinging to their social democratic values.  The schism has begun already, with the traditions of the old church now being described as unsuitable for further service to the cause.

 

More bullshit.

Let me express this next point as calmly as I possibly can.

THERE  ISN'T  A  SINGLE  GOD  DAMNED  PERSON  PROPOSING  THAT  WE  SACRIFICE  OUR  CORE  VALUES  TO  ACHIEVE  ELECTORAL  SUCCESS  !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Not a single effing one.

I would appreciate it if you and others would stop peddling that lie.

Unionist

My, what a pleasant discussion! Cooperation!

 

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Just another Church fight. Innocent

Life, the unive...

No wonder there is shouting and bolding.

Aristotleded24

Malcolm wrote:
I don't reject having principles.  I reject the false dichotomy that electoral success is antithetical to principle.  Had Tommy Douglas not formed a provincial government, Medicare would never have been introduced.

The Douglas/Lloyd government was also the most uncompromising in terms of its social democratic principles, and was by far the most successful by any measure (duration of the term, average support during elections, and popular support upon the government's defeat) of any social democratic government ever elected.

Certainly people voted NDP this time around because they were tired of the same old same old. Watering down principles (for example, the failure of the NDP to articulate a credible foreign policy, see Libya) will only send those people away.

Malcolm Malcolm's picture

So excuse me, but WHO EXACTLY CALLED FOR A WATERING DOWN OF PRINCIPLES????????????

 

Jaysus but this bullshit slander really pisses me off.

NO ONE IS CALLING FOR THE PARTY TO ABANDON A SINGLE FUCKING PRINCIPLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

Now, can we have a discussion that actually has some vague basis in reality?

Aristotleded24

Malcolm wrote:
So excuse me, but WHO EXACTLY CALLED FOR A WATERING DOWN OF PRINCIPLES????????????

For one, Gary Doer did a swell job of actually watering down the NDP's principles here in Manitoba.

outwest

Malcolm, you wrote: "I'm quite prepared to cooperate with those who share values with us."                            

               

Good; we agree then. I'm of the mind that the Liberals left standing who voted for their party and didn't capitulate to the Tories in the election are far more progressive than many here would like to suggest, and despite what pressure their back room boys bring to bear.   It's the former faction we need to strategize or push to merge with in order gain votes.  

Aristotleded24

outwest wrote:
Good; we agree then. I'm of the mind that the Liberals left standing who voted for their party and didn't capitulate to the Tories in the election are far more progressive than many here would like to suggest, and despite what pressure their back room boys bring to bear.   It's the former faction we need to strategize or push to merge with in order gain votes.

We don't need to entertain the idea of formally merging with the Liberal Party. We need to find out how to win their votes. Why do you think Francoise Boivin did not try to re-enter Parliament under her former party's banner?

Malcolm Malcolm's picture

Outwest, all a merger gets us is the rotting corpse of a discredited party tied to our backs.  There may be stupider ideas than formally merging with the Liberals, but I can't think of any.

Aristotle, what pisses me off is the assumption that wanting to win always and necessarily means being prepared to sacrifice principles.  It's complete bullshit, routinely offered up on this list by people who would rather be marginalized because they lack the moral courage to try and change things.

I don't want to win elections for the sake of winning elections.  I want to win elections because we have things to do - and doing them by "influencing" right wing parties will take too bloody long.

Sometimes electoral effectiveness means moving more slowly than we would like.  I remind you all that Tommy Douglas did NOT introduce universal, single payer health care in 1944.  That doesn't change the fact that he introduced univeral, single payer health care.  Nor does it alter the fact that, had he NOT won the elections of 1944, 1948, 1952, 1956 and 1960, it never would have happened.  Not in Saskatchewan, nor anywhere else in Canada.

There is absolutely no moral virtue in deliberately choosing electoral marginalization - as too damned many on the left frequently do.

Moral victories are neither.

outwest

Yeah, Reformers thought it was a pretty stupid idea to formally merge with the hated PCs too, and look where it got them.

Slumberjack

Malcolm wrote:
THERE  ISN'T  A  SINGLE  GOD  DAMNED  PERSON  PROPOSING  THAT  WE  SACRIFICE  OUR  CORE  VALUES  TO  ACHIEVE  ELECTORAL  SUCCESS  !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

They won't be called core values.  Instead they'll be referred to as dogma, and purity.  New core values will take their place.  Just like the word peacemaking has made inroads as an acceptable part of the NDP lexicon, or working with the 'international community' (western imperialism).

Slumberjack

Life, the universe, everything wrote:
This is why people like you will never get it despite all your lofty call to ideals.  The answer to your question is people

Get as old as I am, or Bob Dylan and you will eventually realize everyone else is as full of shit as you are.  (That's the all-encompassing "you" not the singling out of you "you"

Anti-imperialism is a lofty ideal now is it?  As disturbing as this article is, I believe it described the situation accurately enough.  The people under NATO bombardment in Tripoli would likely thank you for your concern if they knew about all of this common ground seeking.  Or are we only talking about certain people.  BTW, I never did give a fuck about Dylan or his music.  It's as he described it later in his career, which is to say a bunch of meaningless words that anyone could make something from, like astrology, without all the thought that went into it.  The article should be summarized as such:  You'll never become a better NDPer than when you prove yourself capable of consigning relations and struggles to the past in order to maintain your place.  We're witnessing the birth of another form of liberalism.

KenS

Aristotleded24 wrote:

The Douglas/Lloyd government was also the most uncompromising in terms of its social democratic principles, and was by far the most successful by any measure (duration of the term, average support during elections, and popular support upon the government's defeat) of any social democratic government ever elected.

They did always stick to their guns when governing once the course of action was set. But in setting that course of action they were cautious, deliberate, and very cognizant of the limitations of where they thought the people of Sasketchewan would go at a given time.

And it is plotting a course of action, not executing it, that is the question here. We are not talking about a federal NDP government.

Caissa

That article is a condescending waste of bandwidth. Pure apologetics for the adoption of Blairism.

Slumberjack

There you go Caissa.  However, as we witness in this thread, the article doesn't suggest itself as a form of thin edge rationalization, because the entire wedge has long been inserted, to the extent that no one seems to notice it, let alone find it uncomfortable.  What it attempts to accomplish though is to change what was once only whispered among a select few into a topic for serious, open discussion within the party.

KenS

Thats funny, Climenhanga as 'Blairite'.

You all are reading in too much. The notion of disparaging thoughts about the Church of the NDP, and its sacred cows. has traction beyond the right end of the NDP. And plenty of people on the 'left end'- while they would never openly make fun of people who are their allies for internal party dynamics- would still see the humour in it.

Life, the unive...

Slumberjack wrote:

Life, the universe, everything wrote:
This is why people like you will never get it despite all your lofty call to ideals.  The answer to your question is people

Get as old as I am, or Bob Dylan and you will eventually realize everyone else is as full of shit as you are.  (That's the all-encompassing "you" not the singling out of you "you"

Anti-imperialism is a lofty ideal now is it?  As disturbing as this article is, I believe it described the situation accurately enough.  The people under NATO bombardment in Tripoli would likely thank you for your concern if they knew about all of this common ground seeking.  Or are we only talking about certain people.  BTW, I never did give a fuck about Dylan or his music.  It's as he described it later in his career, which is to say a bunch of meaningless words that anyone could make something from, like astrology, without all the thought that went into it.  The article should be summarized as such:  You'll never become a better NDPer than when you prove yourself capable of consigning relations and struggles to the past in order to maintain your place.  We're witnessing the birth of another form of liberalism.

Read much?  Lofty calls to ideals- not the same as lofty ideals?  For someone who is so caught up in semantics- you don't seem to bother with triflings like what people actually say much.

Slumberjack

Life, the universe, everything wrote:
Read much?  Lofty calls to ideals- not the same as lofty ideals?  For someone who is so caught up in semantics- you don't seem to bother with triflings like what people actually say much.

Reading eh?  Are you picking up where GV left off?  This entire post of yours has its roots thrust down into semantics.  Let me rephrase the question to see if you'll instead provide an answer this time around.  Has anti-imperialism become a lofty ideal, the stuff of leftist church fanatics?

George Victor

"GV left off" because he was sickened by this endless, vacuous crap peddled hereabouts and defended by the gutless PC, Sj. 

Slumberjack

I can't argue with you there George.  We are in fact touching on the substance of centrist politics in this thread, and those who aspire to be part of it.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Layton gave a press conference when the caucus meeting wrapped up today, and he says he's still standing for seniors and working people, and against corporate tax cuts - I don't hear anyone else saying this.

voice of the damned

Slumberjack wrote:

 

BTW, I never did give a fuck about Dylan or his music.  It's as he described it later in his career, which is to say a bunch of meaningless words that anyone could make something from, like astrology, without all the thought that went into it.

 

I remember when one of the Big Five Canadian banks used The Times They Are A'Changin' in their ad campaigns, late 90s or so, and there was a lot of moaning from leftists of a certain age about how this was a desecration of the progressive values supposedly inherent in the song. Two things occured to me...

 

1. There is nothing explicity left-wing about the lyrics.

 

2. It was presumbaly Dylan himself who made the decision to sell the rights to his music on the open market.  

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Back on topic...

Layton gave a press conference when the caucus meeting wrapped up today, and he says he's still standing for seniors and working people, and against corporate tax cuts - I don't hear anyone else saying this.

Snert Snert's picture

But did he mention nationalizing all industry?  What about a $30 minimum wage, financed by a 99.9% capital gains tax?

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Snert wrote:
But did he mention nationalizing all industry?  What about a $30 minimum wage, financed by a 99.9% capital gains tax?

 

Layton's not an idiot, which you would have to be, to advocate that stuff.

Slumberjack

Boom Boom wrote:
 Layton gave a press conference when the caucus meeting wrapped up today, and he says he's still standing for seniors and working people, and against corporate tax cuts - I don't hear anyone else saying this.

Visited the CPC website lately?  They must be plagarizing Layton's material, because seniors and working people apparently rate a mention or two there as well.  As for corporate tax cuts, they can't get much lower without jacking up the deficit even more, and so Layton can stand pat on the current rate and still come across as a raving socialist.  It's not exactly clear if he's against further tax cuts, or against the existing ones in place to the extent that a NDP government would roll them back.  Unless there's a little more substance from the CPC song and dance, I'm afraid we're channelling into a steaming bowl of pabulum.

Fidel

Slumberjack wrote:
As for corporate tax cuts, they can't get much lower without jacking up the deficit even more, and so Layton can stand pat on the current rate and still come across as a raving socialist.

Socialism? My-my aren't we ambitious today! 

The reason the NDP isn't pushing very hard for higher corporate tax rates is because it's chicken feed. What we can do in the mean time in between this neoliberalorama now in it's third edition of collapse in three decades and utopian socialism you insist the NDP is denying us  would be to raise overall federal tax revenues to just the OECD capitalist country average, which would mean roughly $35 billion more every year for social spending and infrastructure. 

SOCIALISM? lol! How about getting out of the blocks first and raising fed tax revs to at least the average level of 28 other capitalist countries spending more socially per capita on their citizens, and spending higher percentages of GDP on social spending overall than the very neoliberal practitioners in Ottawa have since 1993.

Inch by inch it's a cinch. But mile by mile, it's a pile. Steady as she goes there, Sparky. lol!

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

"The reason the NDP isn't pushing very hard for higher corporate tax rates is because it's chicken feed."

Actually, it's futile. Harper can govern contrary to anything the NDP proposes, because they have an ironclad majority. As someone wrote recently, Layton has less influence now than when Harper was in a minority.

Slumberjack

Fidel wrote:
Inch by inch it's a cinch. But mile by mile, it's a pile. Steady as she goes there, Sparky. lol!

Neoliberalism has a head start in this race, and they're much faster.  We'll eventually have to punt those turtles across the finish line to stand any chance at all of closing the widening gap.  And my how time flies when disaster capitalism has us all heading over a cliff.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

That quote I used in post #46 - here's the source:

Jack and Stephen: Kings of the Hill

excerpt:

“In the euphoria of the moment, one can interpret Mr. Layton as having seemed like he won the election, when in fact he lost and he’s in a worse position to influence Parliament than he was prior to the last election,” said Goldy Hyder, a Tory lobbyist and general manager of Hill & Knowlton’s Ottawa office.

“That is bound to be the source of some tension as the relationship evolves.” A former Harper adviser made this prediction: “Layton will be much more confrontational than (Michael) Ignatieff, since he’s freed from the responsibility of forcing an early election. He can go over the top whenever he wants.”

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

..all governments need an active/aggressive constituency that supports it during it’s term in power. without it not even harper could make substantive change.

..today there are very few governments in the world that could ever make real change like what happened with our medicare or that is so lauded in the scandinavian countries of europe. nor could they even protect them. capital has grown so concentrated..so powerful..so global that it has become almost impossible to get anything by them.

..without a doubt there is a need to have an active constituency that was ready to take on it’s opponents in the street. the most governments get in canada is around 40% popular vote more or less. and that is a soft vote. you can’t call on that vote to come out for you to take on capital so you need to build that support. the ndp leadership isn’t doing that work and the captains of labour won’t even come out to protect their own let alone for political actions that would threaten the status quo.

..so i ask in all sincerity what are we to do? 

 

 

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

epaulo13 wrote:
..so i ask in all sincerity what are we to do? 

My position is well known here, that with Harper leading the Conservatives, the best the Opposition can hope for is the NDP and Liberals to gain enough seats so as together be able to overthrow Harper. That means the NDP has to remain strong, but also that the Liberals have to rebuild and become relevant again.

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