Acknowledging that the world is changed is the 1st step

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shartal@rogers.com
Acknowledging that the world is changed is the 1st step

21st century globalized capitalism has successfully restructured the labour market in Canada. The overwhelming majority of new jobs are either contract, part-time or on call employment relationships. Canadians who are under 30 are expected to have more than 8 employers before they are 40.

 Working short-term employment also means that we are less committed to the workplace and less invested in our relationships with coworkers. Concurrently we move more often,  We increasingly use credit to bridge the “cash flow problems” that occur as we move from job to job, fewer us have bank accounts,  and our social relationships, including those with our families and our friendships, are often shorter than they would have been  25 years ago.

 At the same time the commodification and sexualization of everything is reducing the cultural ideals to banalities.

 Historically the Left was organized either residentially; i.e. by community,  or by workplace; ie unions.  Solidarity was based on the pervasive understanding of a common experience and an  identifiable common future.  life characterized by multiple short-term employments or contract work weakens the attraction of the traditional union  and community mobilizing is weakened by shorter-term residencies.

 At the same time  we have lost the 8 hour day and gained an  large amounts of cheap  disposable stuff. Most employed people either have too little work or too much to do.  

 In my  opinion doing more of what we've always done is not an effective strategy to combat either neoliberalism or 21st-century capitalism.  However we cannot begin to  create new organizing models until we actually acknowledge that the world is changed. Therefore I am presenting this posting in the hope that collective thought might actually lead to  more useful action.

Regions: 
Fidel

I agree. This isn't the Canada or Canadian economy that Tommy Douglas and the CCF knew. It's not even the same country that it was in the 1980s. The very neoliberal nineties changed a lot as you say. People have less money to throw around on good causes. The new liberal financial regime has changed since 1975 or so. It has a tighter grip around everyone's finances from individuals to businesses and governments. The business cycle seems to have gotten shorter and shorter and surely not disappeared as proponents of the ideology claimed to be occurring at the height of the roaring nineties. Banks and the financial oligarchy seem to be calculating our disposable incomes down to the penny and dollar and taking it for themselves as interest owed on mortgages, student loan debt and whatever other money we've given ourselves by "easy" credit in lieu of real wage increases that haven't materialized for workers since 1982 or so. It's about debts lasting the life times of borrowers. It clearly is neofeudalism. They've worked to more efficiently drain stock markets of money, and now their sights are set on squeezing the proles for all we are worth. Relationships between workers and owners of the means of production have changed dramatically and the power of labour effectively neutralized as we compete with one another for what few decent paying jobs can be had in the new hollowed out economy.

The game is more rigged than it was at anytime in the 20th century. And while they gang up on the little people here at home, they are encircling old cold war enemies in Asia with military buildups. And those countries must surely realize by now that they have been financing the west's military build-up around them for decades. They realize the game has been rigged against them and all.

Policywonk

I don't disagree that things have changed in the way stated. But this isn't the entire story. We are running out of cheap (in terms of energy required to exploit them) resources and experiencing accelerating environmental deterioration, which are of course largely if not totally a result of the concentration of power and wealth.

Erik Redburn

This is a worthwhile thread topic.  Yes, growing scarcity of resources has to be factored in as well, as it's already making itself felt and will become irreversable, but I'm glad you pointed out that it's largely because of the growing disparity of wealth.  Ot wastage of wealth, as I like to put it.   The world has changed radically since the day of Douglas, and the left (broadly speaking) still has trouble keeping that in mind, but I also think its important to ask ourselves if these changes are in fact an unavoidable part of our political terriain.  I'd say yes and no to that.   Yes -the terrain of battle has been effectively altered by the sharp turn to the right, but no -it doesn't have to remain this way.  (not that we can simply turn back either)  It's an interesting question. 

shartal@rogers.com

I have never thought we should just give up. My question is how can we change how we organize to better find dialogue with people within the current reality of partime, contract and declining residential rootedness. The growing income gap is part of the issue but not all of our challenge. We need to look at new ways to collectivise the voice and asperations of individualised workers while trying to present at least some practical campaigns. Enforcing employment standards, inproving working conditions through legislaton, helping famiilies though child care and senior day cares etc. Perhaps we focus orgnaizing on broader interest groups or sectorially. I am not proposing that we abandon single empoyer unions or organizing by neighborhood. I am proposing that these forms of organizion correspond to a smaller number of working peoples live than they did 25 years ago.

Krago

shartal@rogers.com wrote:
21st century globalized capitalism has successfully restructured the labour market in Canada. The overwhelming majority of new jobs are either contract, part-time or on call employment relationships.

In the past 12 months, employment has grown by 1.3% (+223,000), primarily in Ontario and Alberta, and among private sector employees. Over this period, full-time employment increased 2.2% (+300,000), part-time work declined 2.3% (-77,000) and total actual hours worked rose by 2.6%.

shartal@rogers.com

If you look at second stage date you will see that the full time jobes are divided into a minority of permanent full time and a majority of shot term full time. THe terms that are often used are short term full time, and shot tern part time. Further full time now also includes full time on contaract. Some times consulting relationships. These forms of employment relationship involve temprorary attachent to a particular employer.

Fidel

I think right now, too, that there is a concerted effort by certain political parties to paint a jobs picture that is worse than what it is in our largest province where so many manufacturing jobs have been lost since, well, the Hudak Tories are telling everyone that the losses started with McGuinty's Liberals. And to be fair to the Liberal Government of Ontario, it's not true. Manufacturing type jobs are usually higher paying and good for the economy as they tend to be full-time or fuller-time than seasonal, construction jobs etc, and the fly-by night variety that tend to vaporize at around the same time when higher paid workers and people in general stop spending in the economy due to recessions and layoffs. And very many have a gloom and doom outlook on manufacturing in Ontario right now.

But whether we are NDP or Liberal or hard core Marxists, manufacturing will always be an important driver of economic prosperity and increasing standards of living. There was a little rebound last year and not what the Tories have made the situation out to be, which is somewhere between hopeless next and dooms day. And we must admit that neoliberalism isn't working. But Dalton McGuinty's crew have spent a little money on job training and creating some number of government jobs over the last while. They've done a lot of things wrong and broken a lot of promises since 2003, but they haven't been driven by a total neoliberal agenda since 2008. They've not reversed any of the neoliberal policies from a time when the Mike Harris gang were pretty much doing what the Liberals would have done anyway. But if I had to choose between swallowing poison, the Hudak Tories or Pinocchio McGuilty, I might lean a little toward Pinocch'.

klexo

Fidel wrote:

I think right now, too, that there is a concerted effort by certain political parties to paint a jobs picture that is worse than what it is in our largest province where so many manufacturing jobs have been lost since, well, the Hudak Tories are telling everyone that the losses started with McGuinty's Liberals. And to be fair to the Liberal Government of Ontario, it's not true. Manufacturing type jobs are usually higher paying and good for the economy as they tend to be full-time or fuller-time than seasonal, construction jobs etc, and the fly-by night variety that tend to vaporize at around the same time when higher paid workers and people in general stop spending in the economy due to recessions and layoffs. And very many have a gloom and doom outlook on manufacturing in Ontario right now.

But whether we are NDP or Liberal or hard core Marxists, manufacturing will always be an important driver of economic prosperity and increasing standards of living. There was a little rebound last year and not what the Tories have made the situation out to be, which is somewhere between hopeless next and dooms day. And we must admit that neoliberalism isn't working. But Dalton McGuinty's crew have spent a little money on job training and creating some number of government jobs over the last while. They've done a lot of things wrong and broken a lot of promises since 2003, but they haven't been driven by a total neoliberal agenda since 2008. They've not reversed any of the neoliberal policies from a time when the Mike Harris gang were pretty much doing what the Liberals would have done anyway. But if I had to choose between swallowing poison, the Hudak Tories or Pinocchio McGuilty, I might lean a little toward Pinocch'.

The "jobs picture" is horrendous. We should not sugar coat 9%+ unemployment with much higher real unemployment. 

As to who to choose between if it came down to McGuinty vs. Hudak, that is not a difficult question to answer is it? 

klexo

I thought this might fit here. Immanuel Wallerstein's latest, on the "Social Democratic Illusion" 

http://www.binghamton.edu/fbc/commentaries/

He concludes: "The social-democratic solution has become an illusion. The question is what will replace it for the vast majority of the world's populations." 

 

 

shartal@rogers.com

I suggest that readers of this thread should consider the issues raises in Labour- dependent contractor? Contractor? Employee? HELP! under babblers help babblers,

Fidel

klexo wrote:

I thought this might fit here. Immanuel Wallerstein's latest, on the "Social Democratic Illusion" 

http://www.binghamton.edu/fbc/commentaries/

He concludes: "The social-democratic solution has become an illusion. The question is what will replace it for the vast majority of the world's populations." 

 

Well apparently he is not advocating that we takeover the current means of production which are unwieldly and wrecking the environment. I agree, and I think we would want to take possession of a future means of production - ones which are not obsolete. 

Canada's social democrats have realized that the bulk of future means of production do not exist yet. It will come from investing in public research and development. R&D of future technology is also stagnant under the capitalist system and tending toward military research as a driver of technology as usual. This is the most crucial point in human development.

Canada's social democrats have made a stand not on a futuristic means of production worth taking possession of. The NDP decided after the neoliberal nineties that the cornerstone of socialism in Canada is our public health care system which does have an important role to play in a future with man's needs at as the central focus not plastic widgets or an economy driven by energy from dead plant material. The NDP is very focused on the future and the environment. Opinion polls have revealed that Tommy's vision for medicare in Canada is still more wildly popular among Canadians than any level of voter support for the big money parties, and it is a thorn in their side. They are working on overthrowing that idea though. And the NDP is fighting hard to retain the most successful socialist program in Canadian history. This is the cornerstone of socialism on which social democrats make their stand today. And the right, as usual, is finding it difficult to kill an idea. 

Fidel

Observe one possible future means of production.  See additive manufacturing.

Proles may own the means of production sooner than later.

I wonder if it will end up being cheaper to buy a new 3-D printer than to replace toner or ink cartridges.

I think that the future could be very promising. Imagine that your community needs a new MRI machine, or five new ambulances costing over a million bucks apiece today? No problem just print them up locally and with a range of add-on features for as cheap as possible. Or even a new hospital. Yes, that, too, could be printed using a scaled up 3-D printing machine that makes its own concrete and creates a new building in a continuous pour.

stevebrown

That looks really promising, Fidel. Right now it seems limited to a plastic type composite material, which wouldn't work for everything, but with advances in nanotech this could change everything.

But yes, it'll probably sell at staples for 49 dollars but the nanotube cartridges will cost a years salary.