The New Politics Initiative - 10 years after

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Unionist
The New Politics Initiative - 10 years after

Let the discussion begin!

Unionist

I checked around quickly to see if there were any threads open on this new rabble series of retrospective articles on the NPI - didn't see any, so unless I was wrong, here we are.

I loved this article by Jim Stanford (as I usually do) and thought its content was remarkably timely:

[url=http://rabble.ca/news/2011/11/history-npi-movement-and-party-then-and-no... history of the New Politics Initiative: Movement and party, then and now [/url]

I won't quote all the good bits, but this seemed like a good jumping-off point:

Quote:

The dichotomy between movement and party was surely never more striking than on election night, 2011. As New Democrats wildly celebrated their stunning rise to Official Opposition, most movement activists were distraught over the prospects of a Harper majority and what it would mean for our society. How will we now stop Harper, and (more importantly) everything he stands for? Having effective and progressive spokespersons in Parliament will help, of course, as will presenting a credible electoral threat to Harper in 2015. But that won't remotely be enough. Even more important, we must have large numbers of Canadians able and willing to complain, agitate, organize, and demonstrate. Articulating demands, writing letters and lobbying, educating our neighbours and members, hosting public meetings, producing credible progressive research, organizing increasingly forceful protests: that is the bread and butter of social movement organizing. If it isn't happening (and in recent years, we haven't had nearly enough of it), social change will not occur, because Canadians won't be excited or organized enough to demand it.

Electoral parties don't usually do that kind of work. They focus, rather, on fine-tuning a message (backed up by effective electoral machinery) in order to appeal to a larger slice of the existing spectrum of political opinion. The goal of social movements, in contrast, is to change those opinions.

So without activists successfully pushing the goalposts of commonsense popular consciousness, any electoral party will tend, by default, to be obsessed with refining its message and image so as to broaden its appeal within status quo politics. Indeed, as official opposition, the federal NDP is quite likely to do exactly that -- unless our grassroots activists succeed in raising popular visibility and support for our issues: inequality, the environment, labour rights and jobs, human rights, and (urgently under Harper) the future of democracy itself.

Your thoughts?

 

KenS

 

my highlighting...

Quote:

Electoral parties don't usually do that kind of work. They focus, rather, on fine-tuning a message (backed up by effective electoral machinery) in order to appeal to a larger slice of the existing spectrum of political opinion. The goal of social movements, in contrast, is to change those opinions.

So without activists successfully pushing the goalposts of commonsense popular consciousness, any electoral party will tend, by default, to be obsessed with refining its message and image so as to broaden its appeal within status quo politics. Indeed, as official opposition, the federal NDP is quite likely to do exactly that -- unless our grassroots activists succeed in raising popular visibility and support for our issues: inequality, the environment, labour rights and jobs, human rights, and (urgently under Harper) the future of democracy itself.

The NDP appeals to a larger slice of the political spectrum. Period. Leave out that qualifying word 'existing' [political spectrum].

We need social movement activists. I'm one too. But there is a conceit that we are THE ones pushing the goal posts. 

In the first place, the goal posts are not moving, or going the wrong way.

Social movement activists just talk more of moving them.

But I agree that we are necessary for pushing the issues.