An Ecology of the Endless NDP Discussions

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KenS
An Ecology of the Endless NDP Discussions

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KenS

Peter Cassidy started a thread in which he called for more of the support part of critical support of the NDP.

Substantively, I probably agree most with the take Unionist had on that. But that is going just by what people said in that thread. Which is only the half of it. I'll try for the other half now.

I kind of take it as a given that the amount people criticise the NDP says nothing about how much they may also support the NDP with their votes, and even their money or vounteer time. Considering that about 2% of the population gets that involved with a political party, that is no small level of commitment.

So I already figured that a number of people who here criticise the NDP virtually endlessly, also support it a great deal. And on a level of what is explicitly said, I totally aggree that those two phenomena not only can coexist, but fit very nicely. 'In principle,' for sure. And in practice to a large degree as well.

But thats just what is said.

Then there is the elephant in the room.

There are a number of people here who really have no time for the NDP period. Cueball just being the most obvious or persistent. The rest of the persistent critics will explicitly say [as is occassional for Unionist], and for some you can just read between the lines, that the criticism is in the spirit of wanting to push the NDP in that direction.

I think that is true, but with limits. Because one side or aspect of the elephant in the room is that these folks know that the actual NDP, while it might for a time have particular positions that satisfy them, the likelihood the overall direction of the NDP will even minimally satisfy them approaches zero.

I'll call them the Ambivalents. Understood to mean very [and permanently] ambivalent.

The elephant in the room is that in practice, the overall flow of the criticism of the NDP is not just about getting it to shift position....   it is a stand in for a vacuum of a politics of the left. In the absence of a real living politics of the left, we'll live with, and pretend we are sustaining ourselves, by ceaselessly criticising the NDP.

So the Ambivalents are people who support the NDP to some degree because they feel that it fills enough of a positive role. But whether or not they explicitly acknoweldge it, the NDP does not and unlikely ever well satisfy them.

They are differentiated from the critics who really have no time for the NDP period, that babble is just another venue to expose the NDP for the sham it is. [Call them the Implacables maybe?]

But despite the Ambivalents' quailified support for the NDP, they share with the Implacables the 'meta' role that criticism plays beyond the NDP position being discussed in any particular thread. And that is the elephant in the room that is part of virtually every one of those threads that succeed each other on issues/positions that seamlessly run through time.

KenS

Note: "myths" that I am talking about that people carry around are not only, or mostly, of the variety of "what could be."

I pick up on more of the variety of alternatives that already exist, but I think don't have the qualities or capabilities people have attributed to them, to which the NDP compares so poorly.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Is the circus in town? That's a lot of elephants, Ken.Laughing

Cueball Cueball's picture

If you really wanted to have a serious discussion about the relationship between the NDP, LGBTQ issue, labour, social justice and peace, (add women, since it was excluded from Peter's OP) one would really just open up individual threads about the relationship of the NDP to these constituencies and relevant issues, so that these could be examined on a case by case basis.

But no, what was actually happening was a boilerplate call for support, based on some very questionable assertions about the intrinsic relationship between certain constituencies and the NDP. Instead we are exposed to these endless rounds of discussion about on what basis one should support the NDP, based largely on the premise that it is "the least worse" alternative, as opposed to what the NDP is, could or should be doing.

I think the latter would be a much more positive framework for discussion.

KenS

Lot of elephants. And probably hard to keep track of all of them.[Or tell them apart.]

Oh well.

I can see it may not be clear what I'm trying to get at. Whats my purpose here?

But I would have thought Cueball that its clear I'm not trying to do any of those things you are talking about.

I could easily have started a succesor thread to the previous discussion. Didn't. Shifted emphasis. Didn't do that either.

 

Cueball wrote:

Instead we are exposed to these endless rounds of discussion about on what basis one should support the NDP, based largely on the premise that it is "the least worse" alternative, as opposed to what the NDP is, could or should be doing.

I think the latter would be a much more positive framework for discussion.

First of all, I would make the important addition that we are also exposed to equally useless rounds of discussion on how the NDP sucks hopelessly, so whats the point?

Right, what the NDP could or should be doing would be a far better discussion.

But given the existing participants and histories, that isnt remotely possible without some airing of hoary agendas.

 

Sean in Ottawa

What it comes down to often is that there are so many people each with their own priorities ideas and vision. You can take all those away and criticize what you leave behind but what you left behind is not just what it will become but also the potential of what it could be had you stayed and made that difference.

Are we better off being alone or facing our challenges in groups? If we are better in groups then are we better forming new ones cosntantly that for a time might reflect whichever level of purity and light we feel or are we better getting invovled in the groups whose aspirations best reflect our aspirations, even if their current reality does not. The idea being that if we cannot collectively have enough power among those who have the same basic common purpose to direct our organization to where we want to go, can we really, realistically create an alternative from the ground up to do that?

If you agree with the purpose of the NDP then get in there and support that purpsoe and fight to push the party towards it. If you agree but stand on the sidelines, carping your own wonderful purity, then how on earth can you explain the purpose of your criticism?

Yes good organizations can rot, can be lead away from their purpose. their only defence is the members who can bring them back. That is if you believe in democracy and collective will. If you don't then stop pretending that the NDP has let you down because then it would never have had enough in common with you for you to be concerned with it.

It is not that bad a motive to join and modify the least worst alternative-- even as that vision is being demonized here. That is about choosing the closest to our ideal, as imperfect as that may be, and then pushing it with others who feel the same way towards where we want to go. That is a vision of democracy.

Cueball Cueball's picture

Sean in Ottawa wrote:

If you agree with the purpose of the NDP then get in there and support that purpsoe and fight to push the party towards it. If you agree but stand on the sidelines, carping your own wonderful purity, then how on earth can you explain the purpose of your criticism?

If you actually tracked my posting history, and my particular vision of political activism, and its relationship to the "electoral" political scene, you would see that I think that the strategy of "winning" political power by trying to achieve government is flawed for a number of reason. As an alternate, I posed the view that the NDP should use its organizational strength to directly intervene in the political process through supporting grass roots activism, as opposed to begging grass roots activists to support it.

My view is that the "power" you seek is not longer enshrined in the institutions you seek to control.

The change that is necessary is one that aims to undermine the democratic deficit in total, and as such is much more fundamental.

KenS

Not to argue with the larger points [and my emphasis added]

Sean in Ottawa wrote:

Are we better off being alone or facing our challenges in groups? If we are better in groups then are we better forming new ones cosntantly that for a time might reflect whichever level of purity and light we feel or are we better getting invovled in the groups whose aspirations best reflect our aspirations, even if their current reality does not. The idea being that if we cannot collectively have enough power among those who have the same basic common purpose to direct our organization to where we want to go, can we really, realistically create an alternative from the ground up to do that?

This is sort of a straw person, or a cardboard cutout, or something like that.

Anybody who invests a lot in these kind of discussions is into collective action. Thats why people are in the discussions, the NDP occupies a lot of the space they want to be.

And people generally aren't group hopping, or looking for purity... despite appearances to the contrary. Where the ceaseless criticism comes from, the NDP does not meet minimum expectations.

Unionist

Sean in Ottawa wrote:

If you agree with the purpose of the NDP then get in there and support that purpsoe and fight to push the party towards it. If you agree but stand on the sidelines, carping your own wonderful purity, then how on earth can you explain the purpose of your criticism?

Sean, let me just note that many people are extremely active in extremely political organizations of all kinds - organizations which actually do things other than talk and fight elections and try to form the government. And, through those organizations, besides all the myriad other things we do, we also influence the political decision-makers - not just the NDP, but all of them.

I daresay we have more influence on the policy of various parties - including the NDP - than some member standing at a mike (if the agenda and the the controlling elite allows) at some convention, speaking from the heart, seeing a good resolution actually adopted after years of effort, only to see it ignored - instantly - by the true powers that be in the party. I'm not talking about the NDP. I'm talking about almost all of them.

So, the profound flaw in your argument (as in that of some others who have engaged in this discussion) can be stated simply: The NDP is not the only show in town. More so, political parties are not the only show in town. They're just the most hidebound and predictable shows in town. Real life flourishes elsewhere.

 

Lard Tunderin Jeezus Lard Tunderin Jeezus's picture

As I've said before, I don't really consider today's NDP to be particularly 'left'. But I do see it as the best of our given alternatives, and I am a member and supporter.

BTW, these meta-threads drive me crazy, and seem to accomplish nothing. 'Some babblers' need to spend way less time whining at their keyboards, and more time on real-world activism (party-affiliated or not).

Caissa

I think this post of mine from the o more lengthy thread fits better here:

 

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. 

 

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Have to agree with LTJ, the NDP federally is the best of the alternatives for progressives, and I've yet to see a convincing argument indicating  otherwise. Although, occasionally the BQ gets a sympathetic ear from me, but not always.

 

ETA: I also see no harm in edging the NDP to improve itself, or in criticizing the party when it makes a regressive move.

KenS

Caissa is right about what would likely evolve under the conditions of PR- at the very least more likely than now. Before recently I would have thought that was broadly understood. Not so sure now. Without any other rules or formal dynamics changing, everything about electoral politics would start changing under PR. No panacea, and I think people would be once again dissapointed by how glacial the change.

But keep in mind that people aren't necessarily looking for the NDP to have a competitor. The beef is that it doesnt have to be what it is... even with all the limitations we labour under now.

Unionist

KenS wrote:

And once informed otherwise my first question, if they aren't the only show in town, and if everyone knows they are hidebound and that doesn't seem to be seriously disputed even by the supporters, then what is the purpose of that ceasless stream of criticism?

Correction? Improvement? Rehabilitation?

I'll let you in on a difference between a political party and my union (or the solidarity groups I participate in or community groups or others).

My union does not appeal to the population at large for support - and my union cannot win political power at any level and determine the fate of the population, of its taxes, its laws, etc.

The debate, discussion, "ceaseless streams of criticism" against my union are all there, all the time. You just don't see them. Why? Because they're of no particular interest to most people. What my union decides and does is of incredibly limited impact on the overwhelming majority of the population the overwhelming majority of the time.

Not so for political parties. That's why we support, criticize, condemn, ridicule, all the time. Because if we shut up, we may be done for. That doesn't mean we have to join them and "work from within". Some of us have tried that and been burned. These are not democratic organizations in any sense of the word. But they can certainly be influenced.

KenS

So we have in this ecology Ambivalents and Implacables.

And then of course we have the Partisans. Partisans come in varying degrees that they defend the NDP in these endless rhetorical exchanges. A few will defend almost anything the NDP says or does. Some like myself pick what they want to defend, and/or will say what they dont agree with or don't feel is to be defended. But we're all Partisans. To some degree we deserve to be treated as such regardless of how intellectualy sound are arguments are independent of what drives it. But I have to say that for the trouble I put into that I don't see a whole lot of difference in how what I say is treated versus someone saying the simple predictable partisan schtick. I see only small shades of difference, if any, of dealing with the actual content of my words.

Moving beyond the ecology, I'm going to say what drives what I choose to argue about here. One thing is an issue that is close to my heart. But the frequency of that being around one of the debates about the NDP has declined. Maybe thats in part because the NDP and climate change isn't a topic that comes up any more, and thats what I spend a lot of time on. The other issue likely to motivate me is cultural diversity and racism. And there Babble is so toxic/wild/dissapointing for me on a visceral level that I just have to stay away from it most of the time.

Anyway, heres my elephant in the room. I talked about the unspoken drive behind what drives the Ambivalents and Implacables to carry on a stream of criticism that is ceaseless, and ceasless beyond the fact that the issues behind it are ceaseless themselves.

My elephant in the room, my 'meta drive' to the bones I choose to pick.. is being the mirror reflection of your meta drive: that vacant politics of the left, that needs criticism of the NDP to define and "sustain" itself.

At its most unglamorous: "pox on my house, eh? Well, a pox on yours too."

Because a great deal of the criticism of the NDP has as its unspoken comparison/reference point an almost concrete alternative. And by alternative I don't mean an idealized party of the left. The alternative is many things and nothing, and what it is shifts vastly depending on the issue, even depending on the critic. But its something near enough at hand to be the metric against which the NDP fails. [And if it is something 'actual', that I can concretely discuss what the speaker has suggested as this alternative, I'm the more likely to take the point up.]

And I even have a delusion to mirror the meta delusion I see in the ceaselss flow of criticism.

Its not like I think you all intentionally are using ceaseless criticism to sustain you 'across' the empty place of the politics of the left. Its something that operates at a cognitive level.

My parallel delusion is that if I can poke enough holes in the mythology of the alternative, that the NDP will get the greater legitimacy I think it should get and could use from people of the left. Again, its not like I rationally think that. In fact, I would [will] argue its a non-starter. But I would say it is 'cognitively opearative'... that you don't have to scratch deep at all to see the drive at work in my narratives. [Of course, just like in pointing out the delusions of others and what is 'cognitively opeartive' for them, not that it is always there ,and not that there isn't plenty of substantive value in the face value content of what is actually being said at the moment.

The reason why that attempt is a non-starter is because it really doesn't matter whether people carry around myths about alternatives. If the NDP isnt good enough for people, its kind of simple: its just not good enough for them.

KenS

Sheesh. I REALLY have to do some work.

But have at my comments. And I can't be the only one who can pursue aomething like this line.

Unionist

KenS wrote:
What is being said is that the NDP could easily have done X, if you werent wedded to troglydytes or to pandering to the CJC or whatever. You are always arguing implicitly, but only implicitly, that the NDP could have done X without cost.

Ken, I'm trying to follow your argument, but I guess my capacity for abstract thought is being stretched.

Can you help me by commenting on one example?

[url=http://www.ctv.ca/servlet/ArticleNews/story/CTVNews/20060908/NDP_Afghani... 2006 convention[/url] voted massively in favour of the "safe and immediate" withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan.

While initially speaking very courageously (I thought) in line with that policy, Layton starting retreating almost immediately - talking instead about withdrawal "from the combat mission", and only "in the south of Afghanistan".

The BQ has never to this day made a call anywhere near as clear and unequivocal as this - probably because Duceppe's personal inclination, as opposed to the vast majority of Quebeckers, was to support the "mission".

Anyway, my question:

What the hell is going on here? How could it have endangered the very existence of the NDP to simply, sincerely, consistently, push for the view held by the massive majority of its own convention delegates - and a clear majority of polled Canadians - and opt instead for a stand closer to that of Dawn Black, Peter Stoffer, Gary Doer?

What would have been the "cost" to the NDP to uphold its own convention decision!?

I don't want to re-start a debate on Afghanistan here. I just want to understand how the above situation unfolded.

More importantly, I want you to tell me how unremitting, unrelenting criticism of the federal NDP on this very one point endangers its existence.

Sean in Ottawa

 

Rather than start a new thread to answer cueball, we may as well do it here in this existing thread. Here is his last statement at the end of the closed thread.

"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"."

 

So Cueball, to answer your last statement. None of it was personal. It was in response to the argument that we should tear down what we have. The only thing directly associated with you was that last comment you made which I took to be anti-union because it suggested that unions did not speak for all working people, a point I took exception to.

Your argument seems to be that the NDP is at fault for being allied to organized labour because that means the NDP is not associated with unorganized labour, while at the same time you acknowledge that organized labour in fact does speak for unorganized labour. One of the best examples of a suck and blow argument in a while.

Then you misrepresent my view of organized labour representing unorganized labour as charity work. In fact I have never said that. Indeed, it is a collective duty and I believe virtually every major union leader in the country considers it as such- even when inconvenient, they cannot let go of this duty. They are not doing charity work in this regard and do not consider that work optional.

Then you take the most arrogant position that you know better than me what I meant. In fact I often speak of organized labour and of labour. When I mean organized labour I say so, when I mean all labour I say labour. No, I did not in this context remind people that organized labour works for all working people. It is also true that I never said that cloudless skies are blue, or that I like good health or any other manner of the obvious. I might have considered such statements on a right-wing forum where these things may not be obvious but felt no need to here. As a point of fact, I don't write on right wing fora. You should not presume to be able to speak to what I have not said or interpret what I mean beyond my words. In any case when I say labour I mean labour when I say organized labour I mean organized labour and when I say unorganized labour I mean unorganized labour. Simply put, you made assumptions that I meant something different than what I said and you were wrong.

Your last paragraph implying that I am not being sincere based on your re-evaluation of what I in fact did not say is both arrogant and against the rules of this place. I have tried to respond to you substantively and somewhat respectfully. You have become very personal in calling me a dickwad and then saying I am lying. I trust the only reason you are getting away with this is your long tenure here.

ETA-- or perhaps in part because opposition to the NDP is fashionable here-- but this behaviour goes beyond positions and points of view. This kind of attack drives people away from this place and diminishes this place accordingly.

Sean in Ottawa

I will also add that I am not an apologist for everything the NDP does. I have criticized the NDP here many times and been attacked for it. But at the same time, I choose to work as a supporter of something rather than calling for the destruction of things that are bigger than what I can replace it with. Things that have a value, even if imperfect.

If you cannot convince the NDP of your view such that you need it destroyed, what makes you think you can create something better? The NDP is not the only game in town you say-- well as an agent for change-- absolutely not. As a viable political party representing that change it is. I got in to this argument over the calling for NDP candidates to be defeated -- by Liberals and Conservatives because what other party can defeat an NDP sitting member. So in that sense, the NDP is not the only game in town: there are Liberals and Conservatives. I don't see their gains to be my gains and I have seen it before.

The most regressive budgets socially in a generation was 1994-5. Paul Martin. Presented to a house where the NDP had lost official party status for the first time in a generation. I don't consider that a coincidence.

So no, I do not argue the NDP is the only agent of change, but I do argue they are the best one we have that can get elected to the House. I also argue things can get worse when they are not there. Because they did.

Sean in Ottawa

Unionist, I do not consider criticism to be a threat and have never attacked anyone for that.

My objections were for calling for the destruction of the NDP. That is, after all meant to be threatening-- isn't it? Otherwise what's the point?

So I am okay even with saying the membership has to take back the party, reform it-- and I am ok with any policy or leadership direction we can debate, as a debate.

I objected to the argument that we would be better off for the NDP to fail electorally, as this is in the absence of any better party that could succeed in its place.

Then I objected to how the debate slipped in to personal insult.

Now, if we want we can have a discussion of how the NDP could better represent its members:

Should we be looking at recall in cases where the party does not follow resolutions? Should the party require a resolution to overturn a previous resolution. Should someone propose specific means to make the party more democratic. Should we have this discussion. By all means yes.

I'd rather discuss making the NDP more democratic than trying that after we destroyed it with the Liberal party or the Conservative party.

KenS

Unionist wrote:

Anyway, my question:

What the hell is going on here? How could it have endangered the very existence of the NDP to simply, sincerely, consistently, push for the view held by the massive majority of its own convention delegates - and a clear majority of polled Canadians - and opt instead for a stand closer to that of Dawn Black, Peter Stoffer, Gary Doer?

What would have been the "cost" to the NDP to uphold its own convention decision!?

I don't want to re-start a debate on Afghanistan here. I just want to understand how the above situation unfolded.

More importantly, I want you to tell me how unremitting, unrelenting criticism of the federal NDP on this very one point endangers its existence.

I should be gone from here already. I'll get back. But I'd like to see someone else take some 'big picture' cracks at questions like this.

The crucial point in this, there is absolutely no single issue that would cost the NDP so dearly. But thats a moot point.

How many issues about the NDP do you push in a given month? And you get a great deal of assistance. In any given month there are not really that many issues going on.

So if the NDP folllowed the sum total of your expectations- "just" those where it falls seriously short of minimum expectations- we'd be dead. A husk not worth pressuring.

And no doubt about it. So to that question, the example or any other is irrelevant.

Sean in Ottawa

"This discussion is ongoing here.

The sniping going on in that thread is not worthy of intervention, in my opinion, and if it was, we don't open threads just so those offended can get some satsfaction from punitive and retaliatory sanctions.

Closing."

I just saw this from catchfire in another thread opened by Lou Arab.

I take this as official Mod approval for me being called a "dickwad" in that thread-- perhaps even as a Mod not being able to tell the difference between my comments about what a poster said and what followed from Cueball. It was one thing to think and accept the Mod did not see it -- another to see the mod conclude it was ok.

I am so outta here today. I'll have to consider, as much as I have liked this place why I should come back. This comment from a Mod is as bad as the original except it is officially from Babble.Ironic that Cueball says I was shutting him up. Now that a Mod thinks this kind of attack and namecalling is fine by Babble then I have to question if I want to be subjected to that, Mod approved, as a condition of being here.

As long as the Mod thinks this is okay I hope I can restrain my inclination to want to get involved and come back. I really need to draw the line here and say if that really is ok for the Mod then this place is not ok for me.

Actually come to think of it. Babble is not the only game in town either.

Lord Palmerston

Sean in Ottawa wrote:
The most regressive budgets socially in a generation was 1994-5. Paul Martin. Presented to a house where the NDP had lost official party status for the first time in a generation. I don't consider that a coincidence.

That's a good point, Sean, and something to keep in mind for those who tout the line that there's a huuuuuge difference between the Liberals and Tories but practically none between the Liberals and NDP - so why not merge?

KenS

If an outsider stepped in here I think that probably  you and a number of others who I know to have some qualified support for the NDP, the outsider would look at what you say, including those occassional statements in support of something in particular, and say "these are people that want to tear down and replace the NDP. Meanwhile, they give it a few pats on the back for some things it does."

Do I think such an assesment of you purpose would be compelling? No. But I think it does indicate something.

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

I'm getting sick of this. If someone calls you a dickwad, report it. That's obviously not acceptable. I don't have time to read 124 posts in some bullshit thread, which is a continuation of some other bullshit thread, where a bunch of adults who presumably function normally in day-to-day life can't string two words together without getting in a snarky jab. I didn't see the "dickwad" comment, and it wasn't flagged until after I closed Lou Arab's thread. Anyone in the mood for some retribution festival is going to be disappointed. So get over yourselves and try to stick to discussing actual political topics instead of how shitty the moderating is. KenS has actually started a productive conversation about this topic, but if you'd prefer, feel free to get back to your usual tricks.

Unionist

KenS wrote:

How many issues about the NDP do you push in a given month? And you get a great deal of assistance. In any given month there are not really that many issues going on.

You really have no idea how many issues I push in a month about the NDP, do you? And you seem to have a hard time distinguishing between the issues I concentrate on vs. some others here who are less supportive of the NDP than I am. You should practise taking a less monolithic view of the "opposition".

Quote:
So if the NDP folllowed the sum total of your expectations- "just" those where it falls seriously short of minimum expectations- we'd be dead. [...] And no doubt about it.

I guess I'll ask you one more time to consider descending from the ethereal heights and be specific for a moment. I'd love to know if you can even list a half-dozen issues of significance where I differ strongly from the NDP - and how it would kill the NDP to change its approach. But if it's easier to make your point by speaking in nonverifiable general terms, carry on.

Unionist

Sean in Ottawa wrote:

Unionist, I do not consider criticism to be a threat and have never attacked anyone for that.

My objections were for calling for the destruction of the NDP. That is, after all meant to be threatening-- isn't it? Otherwise what's the point?

Ok - you've got names of babblers who call for the destruction of the NDP? I've just been reading the lines - should I be reading between the lines, you know, those blank spaces? I can't even begin to fathom what or whom you're talking about. Give me a hint. PM me if you don't want to name people publicly.

Quote:
I objected to the argument that we would be better off for the NDP to fail electorally, as this is in the absence of any better party that could succeed in its place.

Hang on a sec. When I say I will never vote for Mulcair again because of his vicious attack on Libby Davies - and his dictatorial effort to ban discussion of BDS - you take that as wishing for the defeat of the NDP!? You think we have to vote for an NDP candidate no matter what kind of shithead that person may show themselves to be? If the party can't correct creeps like this in time for an election, then I'm not holding my nose. I voted for the man twice in a row, knowing his views on Israel, because people are entitled to their views. But when they act like little cops, dictating their views to another NDPer who is worth 10,000 Mulcairs, then the NDP had better find another candidate, or I and everyone I know in Outremont is going to hear about it.

So, is that would you meant about wishing for the destruction of the party? If so, then count me in. But if admonish him, correct him, or remove him and run someone else, I will likely vote NDP again. If not, then probably BQ as I used to, depending (as always) on who their candidate is.

 

Caissa

I'm sure many Babblers thought Lou Arab's moderating was so much better than Catchfire's. In case some people are too obtuse to realize it, the previous sentence is an example of the literary device known as sarcasm.

Unionist

KenS wrote:

[Re Michelle on Libby Davies:]

 

That wasnt even the first time I devoted some detail to the problem. And this time in direct reply to Michelle, but it applied equally to what you has said as well. Zero response to that. Never is any discussion of 'what is necessary'. Not even disagreement. Unless you count the repition of pronouncements as if I said nothing.

I definitely do have no interest in going back over the issue. But there's an example of what happens repeatedly.

No kidding. Well, when JKR asked me how Jack should have handled the Libby situation, [url=http://rabble.ca/babble/canadian-politics/stand-libby-davies-part-5#comm... provided a detailed reply.[/url] I can't blame you for not responding to my proposal - your name doesn't even appear in that thread. So sometimes we neglect to respond to each other's brilliantly thought out posts. That happens. But what are you trying to prove? That these anti-NDP types launch an attack - read your well-formulated replies - then realizing they're licked, move on to the next attack without breaking stride? Or maybe you're interpreting what's going on in an overly personal fashion?

You and I disagreed about how Jack should have handled the Clean Air Act. But instead of just dealing with each others arguments as to tactics and strategy, you claimed inside expert knowledge and were (and continue to be) utterly dismissive of the viewpoint of someone who is I suppose far less close to the situation than you are. Do you think it brings honour to the NDP to make arguments from authority? If you explain to me, slowly, how my take was wrong and they made the best of a tough situation, I may even change my mind. When Layton said "out of Afghanistan", I certainly stopped calling him an ally of the warmongering Liberals and Conservatives and praised him to the skies. So something has to happen in real life if you want people's attitudes to change.

JKR

Cueball wrote:

....we are exposed to these endless rounds of discussion about on what basis one should support the NDP, based largely on the premise that it is "the least worse" alternative, as opposed to what the NDP is, could or should be doing.

I think the latter would be a much more positive framework for discussion.

Another elephant in the room is FPTP. It creates "big tent" parties that people vote for because they're the least worst alternative.

Fair voting would create parties that don't have to cater to mainstream thought.

KenS

I didnt read the last couple Libby threads, I'll go back and look at what you said the NDP could have done. And dig up what I said to Michelle [I think I said it applied to you, but I said a lot of things to you about that issue before bowing out, so not addressing that one in particular is understandable, if not consistent].

But whether it directly involved you or not, its not just a matter of 'people not taking up your brilliant words'. I'm used to lots of that. What is notable is addressing a comment about what the NDP could have done, in some detail and acknowledging that people have a point. Then, not only no repsonse- fair enough itself. But without bothering to address my comments and disagree with them, very soon after just repeating the original assertion about what the NDP could have done, as if I said nothing. I know that Michelle did that.

The Clear Air Act schtick is an interesting one. We ragged that one together from the time I got to Babble, the climate change [non] action process being why I came here. The "expert knowledge" you claim I was tossing around was in reference to the committee processes. And you weren't that engaged in those specifics. You would harken back to "Jack let Harper off the hook when he could have brought Harper down over that Clean Air Act."

That one puzzled me since I hadnt heard it anywhere else, but I can't attend to all the grandiose claims about what the NDP could have done. Not to mention that was water under the bridge before I got here, and more people were bambozzled by the Liberal duplicity around the committee process.

Long after its finally over you said basically, forget the Liberal treachery, thats a given... Jack could have taken Harper down with a confidence vote. Instead he let Harper off the hook."

Since that was clearly your one beef, I asked where you got the idea. And you posted an article where sure enough, Jack threatens a confidence vote on the Clean Air Act. The article looked vaguely familiar. But I said right off no one took that seriously given the context. The Liberals were in the middle of a leadership race. It was patently an empty gesture of the moment by Jack. You couldn't find anything to back up that anyone took that seriously. And I pointed out that if Jack had gone through with that there would be no embarrasement of the Liberals, it would be the NDP that was a laughing stock.

Until very recently, every time there was ANY chance that the news media could talk up something as "maybe this will trigger an election", we heard it ad nauseum. But nothing on this.

My argument with you over that contention about what the NDP could have done had NOTHING to do with any kind of inside knoweldge. The potentially disputable facts were equally open to both of us, and hence to you factually or analtically undermining my point.

But you didnt. Not that it stopped you from using again and again, even at least a year later, what you thought was a good stick.

I don't even have an in general beef with sticks to beat the NDP with. What I find disengenuous and bad faith dishonest is the cavalier way that people repeadetdly hold out what the NDP could have done.... and simply dont bother specific disputing of those contentions.

And just repeat the contention over again. Minutes or hours later even. And store it for later, to boot.

 

Frustrated Mess Frustrated Mess's picture

Sean in Ottawa wrote:

So no, I do not argue the NDP is the only agent of change, but I do argue they are the best one we have that can get elected to the House. I also argue things can get worse when they are not there. Because they did.

I guess, Sean, the concern of many of us is that the NDP can't be a party of change by moving ever closer to the established consensus. Once there, for voter appeal, for political expediency, or to avoid controversy, whatever, it is then a party of the status quo.  A personal concern, also, is that as the NDP abandons traditional ground on the left, the consensus is allowed to move further to the right. As it has.

KenS

By the way...

If anyone has thoughts that the thread had a better start than it is looking now, and can cconcretly point to instances that were more promising, or are not now.... go for it.

Cueball Cueball's picture

Lou Arab wrote:

I'm sorry you are sick of it Catchfire, but I'm sick of reading that kind of junk.

You tell us to report things and then ignore me, then yell at me when I do just that.  Will action be taken on 'dickwad' or not?

Is it ok to refer to babblers as 'him/her/it' or not?

Babble is my community too. I read it everyday.  Sean is a thoughtful, courteous poster whom I would hate to lose. But some babblers don't care to be called names.

If you are sick of it - then do something about it, give the offenders a warning, instead of just complaining about the babblers who report it - like we are told to do.

If not, then let's drop the pretense that personal attacks are not allowed.  They are allowed, I've identified a handful of still fresh comments that have not gotten so much as a warning as far as I can tell.

Does it offend you. Well while you are vetting the site for things that offend you, why not search words like "anti-union", "anti-worker", a couple very nasty digs that Sean in Ottawa posted at the end of a somewhat reasonable discussion of the relationship between the CLC and the NDP. The idea that accusing me of basically changing tack, just so that I could come up with a spurious new angle to attack the NDP, and saying that my I am anti-union and anti-worker, are all personal attacks.

So, in this instance my calling Sean a "dickwad" come in the context of his personal attack against me for pointing out that organized labour is not the sum total of "labour" in this country. How does saying:

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

Warrant:

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.

This was "thoughtful and courteous"? No it was mean-spirited and antagonistic. I said absolutely nothing untoward or insulting to Sean prior to that point. Check the thread.

So, if the point is going to be that "some babblers" should not indulge in pejorative insults against people whose position you support, please don't try and decontexualize our quotes so that it appears that we initiated personal attacks. In this case, clearly I did not.

I agree calling Sean a dickwad was over-the-top, and I apologize for that, but the escalation into the realm of the "personal" did not begin with me.

 

melovesproles

It was a good try.

I actually really liked the ecology when I first started reading babble years ago.  I still like the forum a lot but I've become less hopeful there's much room for growth and understanding on this topic.

It's too bad this one got personal(as they often do), Sean and Cueball are two of the most interesting posters to read and I'd say it's pretty ridiculous to say either of them is 'anti-union' or a 'dickhead'. 

Over the years I've probably moved from an 'ambivalent' to an 'implacable' position although I still have mixed feelings about the Federal wing of the party.  I agree with epaulo's comments that the NDP membership tend to be strong progressive allies and occasionally this forces the leadership into this column.  However, in general I think the 'partisans' on this board give the party far more leeway when it comes to adapting core principles to 'electoral realities' than I'm comfortable with.

E.Tamaran

Catchfire wrote:

I'm getting sick of this. If someone calls you a dickwad, report it. That's obviously not acceptable. I don't have time to read 124 posts in some bullshit thread, which is a continuation of some other bullshit thread, where a bunch of adults who presumably function normally in day-to-day life can't string two words together without getting in a snarky jab.

Sounds like being a moderator isn't always enjoyable. Why do you do it if you're sick of it? Just curious is all.

Unionist

KenS wrote:

Unionist wrote:

[vis-avis the running over along time Clean Air Act  process:] If you explain to me, slowly, how my take was wrong and they made the best of a tough situation, I may even change my mind.

Just to be clear, "the NDP making the best of a tough situation" applies to the process once it got into the Committee and we ended up with the Climate Change and Clean Air Act that the government of course ignored. Thats the case I made, extensively. I know you weren't convinced, and thats in the "so be it" category.

Ken, you missed a rather large part of my criticism - which I was making as the events were unfolding. Layton was sucked in by Harper during a crucial six months, when the environment was, amazingly, like #1 on Canadians' minds. But the worst is what came after: Not one word about Kyoto - ever again. Ever. Gone. Harper won. The Liberals were never even in the running. They relegated the whole thing to a backbencher (Pablo Rodriguez) and were probably amazed and embarrassed when his bill passed (C-248 if memory serves). Then - NOTHING. Game over.

This is really shameful, and I get upset all over again when I think about it.

 

Unionist

E.Tamaran wrote:

Catchfire wrote:

I'm getting sick of this. If someone calls you a dickwad, report it. That's obviously not acceptable. I don't have time to read 124 posts in some bullshit thread, which is a continuation of some other bullshit thread, where a bunch of adults who presumably function normally in day-to-day life can't string two words together without getting in a snarky jab.

Sounds like being a moderator isn't always enjoyable. Why do you do it if you're sick of it? Just curious is all.

ET, we all do lots of necessary things long after we get sick of them - most of the work most of us do in real life, for example - but there's a small matter of duty, responsibility. Catchfire has that in spades, and if he can carry on moderating under these circumstances, we owe him (and Maysie) a huge debt. We spend lots of time on this board, whether we like it or not, and they make it possible.

Policywonk

Frustrated Mess wrote:

Sean in Ottawa wrote:

So no, I do not argue the NDP is the only agent of change, but I do argue they are the best one we have that can get elected to the House. I also argue things can get worse when they are not there. Because they did.

I guess, Sean, the concern of many of us is that the NDP can't be a party of change by moving ever closer to the established consensus. Once there, for voter appeal, for political expediency, or to avoid controversy, whatever, it is then a party of the status quo.  A personal concern, also, is that as the NDP abandons traditional ground on the left, the consensus is allowed to move further to the right. As it has.

When people refer to the status quo, I assume they are referring to the role of government. In terms of environmental deterioration and social change (including increased inequality), the notion of status quo is ludicrous. Even with the role of government, the "established consensus" is a moving target.

AntiSpin

Cueball wrote:

 

If you actually tracked my posting history, and my particular vision of political activism, and its relationship to the "electoral" political scene, you would see that I think that the strategy of "winning" political power by trying to achieve government is flawed for a number of reason. As an alternate, I posed the view that the NDP should use its organizational strength to directly intervene in the political process through supporting grass roots activism, as opposed to begging grass roots activists to support it.

My view is that the "power" you seek is not longer enshrined in the institutions you seek to control.

The change that is necessary is one that aims to undermine the democratic deficit in total, and as such is much more fundamental.

 

Not to be picky but, if your particular vision of political activism is to encourage the NDP to "directly intervene in the political process through supporting grass roots activism" then there are some interesting conceptual juxtapositions involved.

First, it's not clear at all what's meant by "political process". It's possible that it means "electoral process" but then encouraging the NDP to "directly intervene" in the electoral process sounds a lot like  fixing elections? Second, "direct intervention" and "grass roots activism" (populism, to be technical) are competing concepts unless of course the idea is to encourage the populace to rise up and take Parliament by force from the liars, cheats and ruffians that now run the place (or did, before they left for Summer break) then I'm all for THAT! But could the Revolution wait until after Labour Day. It's, well, June 21, the start of Summer, and I need a tan and some family face time down by the Lake. Yes, very bourgeois I know, but that's that.

:)

ps: I get your point  - traditional competitive elections only produce the status quo; the players change but the stage, the lines, the acts never really change at all because our polity and our politics, are prisonors of the collective rules of the game - the constitution, conventions, common and satutory laws that make up our political institutions. Real fundamental change would come from strong community activism which the NDP excels at.

peterjcassidy peterjcassidy's picture

Let me try this variant of an ecological approach. The NDP belongs to the Order Political Parties, Family Left Political Parties.  SubFamily Socialist Political Parties  Tribe Social Democratic Political Parties  Genus Reformist Social Democratic Political Parties.  It evolved from Tribes in the west of Canada,  the CCF and is still abundant in Saskatchewan. Manitoba and B.C. under its current evolved form, NDP.  There has been some growth in Ontario over the decades and some decline.  Atlantic Canada has seen a recent outburst and there has been some NDP spotted in Quebec but much of the environment of Canada over the decades has not been conducive to the growth and even the survival of the NDP  (though it did manage to survive the Ice age/Cold War period  which saw the virtual extinction of the Tribe Communist Political Party)

The NDP has been  involved in various somewhat competitive,  sometimes  co-operative sets of interaction with other members of the Order Political Pariues  as they often drink from the same pools of voters and seats and have some common predators and prey  Many environmentalists see the NDP as a flawed evolutionary development -with  some saying it should return to its Sub Family Socialist Party/CCf form, others saying the NDP should mate and merge with its cousins from the Family Left Political Parties. particularly the Sub Family of the Liberal Political Party or even  mate/merger with  the Sub Family Green Political Parties or sub family Quebec Nationalist Party. or mat with all of the above.   Other environmentalists see the NDP and these other sub families as incapable of successful interbreeding -and see the Liberl Tribe as akin to Neathanderals  an  evolutionary dead end.  Then there are those who a new species/sub family/genus emerging-  who see , just as the CCF evolved into the NDP, the NDP shold evolve into something new and better/ Lastly and not leastly there are those who think  the NDP needs is the discipline of power, if the the genus can only secure a dominant position of government , even just for a brief period- , it can adapt to the new environment and help adapt the new environment to something better for all homo sapiens and all things.

So we  are  left with few wo give unconditional support for the NDP, who see the NDP as the perfect evolved form. even with Jack as the leader of a 37 person caucus  and Thomas and Libby as deputies.  Eveybody wants to speed up the evolutionary process see something new and better emerge real soon,  so there is lots of fertilizer and lots of pesticide from our friendly farmers trying to help  the cause.Innocent

Does that help  the discussion?

 

 

 

 

AntiSpin

The first half of the thread has been interesting reading. It is, in many respects, a lament for the unrealized potential of the NDP (the elephant in the room), that people criticise the NDP not just for what it hasn't done but for what it hasn't (yet) become. 

On Liberal blog sites it's usually a lament for what the party was and on Conservative sites it's a lament for what-the-hell-have-we-become (well that and the NDP are socialists, which is strange given Tory profligate and useless stimulus spending, not to mention Hippo's telling the Americans we're a socialist nightmare, to paraphrase).

Like I said, interesting.

KenS

Cueball wrote:

If you actually tracked my posting history, and my particular vision of political activism, and its relationship to the "electoral" political scene, you would see that I think that the strategy of "winning" political power by trying to achieve government is flawed for a number of reason. As an alternate, I posed the view that the NDP should use its organizational strength to directly intervene in the political process through supporting grass roots activism, as opposed to begging grass roots activists to support it.

A pretty good illustration point of the difference between what I called Ambivalents and Implacables.

Cueball is ssignificantly understating here. There isn't really a place for an NDP or anything like it in this scheme of what needs to happen. This would amount to the NDP dissolving and dissapearing itself.

Now a lot of people I would call Ambivalents would cheer what they think that means: dissolving the NDP into the social movements. But it means something different to them. While they can see the systemic problems and the limitations in the NDP [me too for that matter], if the NDP had different positions and did things a bit differently, that would fill the bill.

Unlike  the Implacables, the Ambivalents act accoding to a 'strategy' that the NDP can and should be the best of both. [That hoary old "is / should be the NDP a movement or a party?"]

KenS

I think a truly meta discussion like this- even if it goes nowhere and/or degenerates- is a different animal than the proliferation of hopeless, endless, futile discussion threads that have what gets called meta discussions in them.

The rest of them are all on the surface about the supposed issue of the moment- which is not to say people are not giving sincere thought out positions. But pounding around the room and driving things always are these huge elephants that only get obliquely referred to as "those meta discussions".

And I think the probelm isnt at all that there isn't activism to do, nor that people arent doing it.

Whats missing is the overarching politics of the left.

Some of us solve that enough to get by, or better, by taking the NDP as it is and doing what we can with it [often pushing in the same directions as "ceaseless critics" push].

And some of us do a lot of our solving of the overaching politics part by ceaselessly criticising the NDP.

KenS

Unionist wrote:

My union does not appeal to the population at large for support - and my union cannot win political power at any level and determine the fate of the population, of its taxes, its laws, etc.

The debate, discussion, "ceaseless streams of criticism" against my union are all there, all the time. You just don't see them. Why? Because they're of no particular interest to most people. What my union decides and does is of incredibly limited impact on the overwhelming majority of the population the overwhelming majority of the time.

Exactly.

This is getting closer to the 'futility vector'- the black hole- of discussions around here.

The flip side of what you just said here is what I have said above. Ceaselessly, the positions the NDP takes are compared to the positions taken by unions and other groups. Not that the latter are ideal, but vastly better than the NDP.

The flip side difference being that to even EXIST the NDP has to hue to an overall package which people will listen to and not completely reject. The NDP has a lot that it could lose in the positions it takes, while the groups and their positions the NDP is compared to [explicitly or not] have nothing to lose. 

[The limited number of venues where unions have something to lose, thay are just as cautious, if not opposed to progressive changes. Shoe on same foot for unions, same behaviour as political parties.]

Still, thats all fine. Taken this far, thats the different roles of political parties and other civil society groups. And I personally am active in both roles- though much more frequently wearing the hat of pressuring parties/governments(now) from the outside.

Its the role of pressure groups to push, and to not worry about the party/government problems. [Although only in principle. In practice, you meet with more success in you are pushing if you are sensitive to and help them find that sweet spot of what they need at the same time.]

But what happens here at Babble is that the pushing is mostly utterly oblivious to the realities of a political party EXISTING, let alone doing anything.

Its countless the number of times I have taken issue with what the NDP supposedly have done in spefic cases. I don't get dissagreement. I get ignored. Completely.

And I know why. What is being said is that the NDP could easily have done X, if you werent wedded to troglydytes or to pandering to the CJC or whatever. You are always arguing implicitly, but only implicitly, that the NDP could have done X without cost.

What you really mean, and I could accept this if it was said, was that even if the cost was as great as I suggest [which no one ever bothers to dispute], then you would want to do the "right thing" anyway.

And like I said, if it was said like that, I could just accept it as a difference. But it isn't said, and its worse than that even.

Because the NDP is suppossed to take on all these positions expected of it, irregardless of what it does to continuity let alone its ability to function.... its suppossed to take all this on, but its also suppossed to be there as a functioning entity so that it can espouse all these positions.

And since you are not squaring that circle, we will keep up not just criticism of the specific positions that is expected, but a ceaseless overarching stream of criticism of your very raison d'etre.

KenS

Unionist wrote:

[vis-avis the running over along time Clean Air Act  process:] If you explain to me, slowly, how my take was wrong and they made the best of a tough situation, I may even change my mind.

Just to be clear, "the NDP making the best of a tough situation" applies to the process once it got into the Committee and we ended up with the Climate Change and Clean Air Act that the government of course ignored. Thats the case I made, extensively. I know you weren't convinced, and thats in the "so be it" category.

But contentions that the NDP could have brought down Harper over the Clean Air Act- or even advanced the debate by trying- is a different matter. Which like I said has nothing to do with any kind of inside knowledge.

 

===========================================================

 

Fair point that I'm not backing up my contention about how many issues you flog the NDP over [for which we'd be nailed if we went your way on all of them]. Since this isnt just about you, I probably havent got a reason to go back and do such a tally.

And no, people are not a monolith of criticism. But I think its fair for me to say that the overall thrust of that stream of criticism that you are part of does have that pronounced cumulative effect: the NDP would be a husk if it did all that was demanded of it.

KenS

What I would say about the Afghanistan position is that it has evolved. The NDP has not been direct about that in the least. But neither is the change in positioning anything like what you think it is, viz who did it and who is opposed and why. We'd go around about that endlessly, and it wouldnt get back to that point you asked.

Here's a recent one I think is bang on what I've been talking about.

Michelle made a comment in one of the Libby threads that clearly minimizes what the NDP would have sustained had Libby not just apologized without explanation of what she did mean, and the NDP not said something much stronger than just "not our position. Next topic please?" I did not say what was done needed to happen, but I took issue with Michelles minimization of the problem what Libby said posed for the NDP, and said some strong medicine was required, more or less as I already summarised here [including eveything Layton did say].

That wasnt even the first time I devoted some detail to the problem. And this time in direct reply to Michelle, but it applied equally to what you has said as well. Zero response to that. Never is any discussion of 'what is necessary'. Not even disagreement. Unless you count the repition of pronouncements as if I said nothing.

I have no interest in going back over the Libby issue itself. But there's an example of what happens repeatedly.

KenS

Unionist wrote:

The NDP is not the only show in town. More so, political parties are not the only show in town. They're just the most hidebound and predictable shows in town. Real life flourishes elsewhere.

They definitely aren't the only shows in town. But drop me into these discussions from somewhere else and I'd never know that.

And once informed otherwise, my first question as the outsider would be: if they aren't the only show in town, and if everyone knows they are hidebound and that doesn't seem to be seriously disputed even by the supporters, then what IS the purpose of that ceasless stream of criticism?

KenS

I have to admitt, that before writing stuff for this thread, I pretty much thought that the people I have called Ambivalents [Unionist being represantitive of that] had an unrecognized stake in the "NDP sucks" narrative.

The people that explicitly want the NDP gone, that they have a stake in the narrative is a given and I hope is in principle an uncontroversial assertion. But the Ambivalents don't reject the NDP per se. Nonetheless, I had the strong sense that they had nearly as much stake in "the NDP sucks" narrative that continues whatever the issue of the moment.

One thing that made me question that sense was taking to heart Unionsts point questioning my idea about how many issues over a relevant time frame he pillories the NDP. And others I could think of, even less.

I think "the NDP sucks" 'drive' may be more broadly operative than the critics think... but when I think about it, in each instance of what each person is criticising then, and where that fits with what they [and only they] say... I don't see any evidence that there is a deliberate or semi-deliberate feeding of the larger NDP sucks narrative.

That said, I don't think there is any question that there is such a narrative... and that it is not just a 'by-product' of specific and focused criticsms of the NDP on a particular issue.

And I would also suggest- albeit with less certainty- that the narrative is related to the big empty space that is the 'politics of the left' in Canada. Anemic as that it is, that it leans on whipping the NDP as a substitute for defining a politics and general action plan.

Caissa

One part of the ecology is the question if ther is room to the Left of the NDP to build another party and how one go about building it if it was possible? One of the roles of political parties is interest aggregation. Given the proliferation of interests on the Left, how would one go about aggregateing them? Aggregating also requires some sort of mediation between ideas/interests that apper to be or are really in conflict. This leads to the "big Tent" variety of political party with some tenst being bigger than others. How does one develop the solidarity necessary to have an effective Left wing party? All of the issues that I mention above have been faced by the NDP over its 50 year history. Does the act of interest aggregation natually lead towards political parties moving to the Centre most especially in the FPTP system? Extra-parliamentary movements are faced with all of the same issues as parlimanetary parties when attempting to build a mass movement. Is the Left in Canada doomed to being a plethora of different groups fighting their own battles or is there a way to come together in solidarity and build a political programme for the 21st century. 

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