An Ecology of the Endless NDP Discussions

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KenS

I haven't forgotten the thing about critics making baseless assertions about what the NDP could have done, never bothering to reply or contest when the assertions are questioned, and continuing to repeat them.

Which Unionist in turn essentially questioned as an empty assertion of mine.

I think that plays an importnat role in stoking fires. But that might be because its my peeve. I mean, critics don't get called on in any sustained way those toss-off assertions about what the NDP could have done in situation X. So if it doesnt come up that often, how could it be a big driver of sdieways discussions?

Anyway, I think its relevant. But I recognize it may be a distraction from the larger attempt here at identifying differences... in hopes that people can approach them more productively.

Caissa

If nominated I shall not run; if elected i shall not serve.

Maybe that should have been your credo, Lou. Wink

Now can we get back to the topic at hand?

Unionist

[Caissa: PM me if you want an explanation of how to use Fidel's "ignore" script. It works brilliantly.]

Unionist

Ken, sorry to be brief - but I think your point comes down to:

"Are you constantly criticizing the NDP because you like it, or because you hate it?"

And your conclusion, expressed in coy fashion, is that "maybe there is something more...".

Your analysis betrays an underlying assumption: that people decide which party they like or hate, and frame their discourse accordingly.

It's hard for people who are profoundly committed to one political party to understand that others don't view the world in those terms.

It's hard for committed partisans to understand when someone says: "I'm not voting for Mulcair this time, because his public attempt to suppress progressive views in the party crossed the line."

It's hard for committed partisans to understand why others would spend so much time criticizing the party's stands - unless they're secretly partisans of another party, or have some other nefarious agenda.

It's hard for committed partisans to understand that for huge numbers of very ordinary activists, their activism is far more important to their lives than which smiling gang of promise-making-and-breaking-pollworshipping politicians get elected to office.

Understanding of others takes work. But it's worth it.

Cueball Cueball's picture

Nice! Lets all set up certain Babblers up against certain moderators and make it all a very personal issue. Very good. That should really heat up the war.

Fidel

The problem I have with 1001 reasons to criticize the NDP from obscure angles is this: Does anyone really care that the NDP is not perfect? How many things found in nature are perfect? 

When we have a less than perfect electoral system that is basically a phony majority machine on the blink the way it has been for the last five or six years and churning out half-baked minorities, why should we fret so about a few minor imperfections in the NDP?

What we need to do is forget about trying to appeal to those who have voted old line party all their lives. The NDP just isn't a Bay Street type party led by colonial administrative wannabes and sellouts to corporate America and US Military. And I think we should emphasize that fact. Many Canadians aren't even sure if we are living in a real country any more the way our toadies in Ottawa have pandered to the US agenda.

We need to reach out and appeal to all those millions of non-voting Canadians jaded over the years by two-party-in-one dictatorial rule in Ottawa. The differences between the NDP and the two parties propped up with Bay Street money and right wing think tanks already puts the NDP in a category by itself. We need to stress that that the NDP does not represent more of the same old same-old that Canadians have only ever known and dictating things from Ottawa(and from corporate board rooms in America). The NDP represents change. Maybe we should start a Canadian version of change.org?

Caissa

Change to what is the question.

Fidel

Transparent and accountable government for starters. I think many Canadians who do not vote may even be unaware as to why they are uninterested in and disinterested by Canadian politics. Ask people what they want. Start a dialogue with them. The NDP has been adamant about consulting the public before our two old line parties ram bills through parliament and to no avail most of the time. We should try to create an ongoing dialogue with Canadians in general and concerning everything under the Tory-Liberal sun. What are their likes and dislikes? We can point out what's glaringly obvious to be wrong with the way things are run in Canada. And we can ask Canadians what changes they'd like to see while introducing them to modern democratic concepts. Heck, we could even have a page for signatures of people demanding a new 9/11 trial. Sky's the limit.

Unionist

Fidel wrote:

The problem I have with 1001 reasons to criticize the NDP from obscure angles is this: Does anyone really care that the NDP is not perfect? How many things found in nature are perfect?

I don't expect perfection from the NDP. I don't expect it to share my views or analysis (most of which I'm not that sure of anyway and are subject to change). But you have to distinguish "imperfection" from outrageous attacks against the interests of the people and the movement. That's why, in recent months, here are the "imperfections" I've focused on:

1. Cheri DiNovo's shameless collaboration with Cons and Libs to suppress pro-Palestinian dissent. She has never retracted or apologized, so I consider her worthy of ongoing scorn and condemnation.

2. Brutal attack on Libby Davies by Mulcair, who isn't worth a fraction of what she is, and Layton's cowardly call to the Israeli ambassador. This cannot be ignored. Behind it is the same political issue as in #1 above: attempting to suppress any talk about BDS, Israeli apartheid, or thoroughgoing condemnation of Israeli crimes (as in the flotilla).

3. Getting sucked in by Harper on the detainee document issue, and (as usual) figuring out too late that they'd been had.

4. On an ongoing basis: abandonment of the 2006 convention position on Afghanistan; abandonment (for all practical purposes) of the environmental file, exactly as the Liberals have done.

Meanwhile, the party continues to do very important work (IMO) on some vital issues:

- CPP/QPP enhancement.

- EI reform (other than getting sucked in last September - but I respect differing opinions on that episode).

- pushing for trans rights.

- more consistent stand than either Libs or BQ in favour of coalition-building.

... and lots more.

The view that "nothing is perfect" means we mustn't criticize "imperfection" is seriously hard for me to follow.

KenS

Here is a compendium of excerpts from the discussion so far, with new summarizing comments interjected.

KenS wrote:

[The critics] 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. post # 9

 

Unionist wrote:

@Sean:

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. #10

 

KenS wrote:

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? #14

 

Unionist wrote:

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. #18 

I seriously doubt that you mount such sustained criticism in your union and solidarity groups. You could dispute that and in principle I'd like to take up whether its really true that the quantity and overall direction of criticism is the same. Since I cant be there, we couldn't resolve that empirical question. But more to the point, it isn't just you, and there just isnt that kind of flow of ceaseless and overarching criticism of your union or other groups that you are part of. It isnt just that outsiders are not going to see it- it doesnt exist.

The ceaseless flow of criticsim of the NDP here, the overall narrative, is categorically different than what you are talking about. Saying that you subject your union and other groups you are part of to the same kind of criticism, is meaningless in terms of practical effects and outcomes,

 

KenS wrote:

... the problem 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. #17

 

KenS wrote:

@ Unionist:

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." #29

 

Unionist wrote:

@ Sean:

Ok - you've got names of babblers who call for the destruction of the NDP? #34 

There are a few who think the destruction of the NDP is a necessary precondition to move on. But they are a minority. Yours is a rhetorical challenge to Sean since he didnt say you and others called for the destruction of the NDP. What he did say, probably deserved your rhetorical response. 

But thats the only answers we ever get about quizing the relentless criticism.

"I [we] are just address the issues / positions as they come up and as need be."

"I don't just criticse the NDP." [Leaving aside if anyone else faces anything like the flow of criticism of the NDP.]

"Who said they are calling for the destruction of the NDP."

"Understandably, NDP partsans just don't like to hear criticism."

All of these are true or at least not untrue.

But they are also not answers to the questions that maybe there is something more to the ceaseless flow of criticism of the NDP in virtually every thread where its positions come up.

If it looks like a duck, and it walks like a duck...

... all of which doesn't make you a quacking duck.

But neither is there solid intellectual / political grounds for just waving off the questions as the product of overheated partisan egos.

KenS

Unionist, I hope that your post #53 is cross-posted with my #52.

Because I address those concerns of yours, fess to the "you like [or need] this NDP sucks stuff," say that on reflection that it doesnt have a basis.

Likely cross-posting aside....

But yet there is a narrative. That it is unintentional does not mean there isnt one.

KenS wrote:

If it looks like a duck, and it walks like a duck...

... all of which doesn't make you a quacking duck.

But neither is there solid intellectual / political grounds for just waving off the questions as the product of overheated partisan egos.

...nor to be simply chalked up to a "lack of understanding"...

Unionist wrote:

It's hard for people who are profoundly committed to one political party to understand that others don't the world in those terms.

It's hard for committed partisans to understand when someone says: "I'm not voting for Mulcair this time, because his public attempt to suppress progressive views in the party crossed the line."

It's hard for committed partisans to understand why others would spend so much time criticizing the party's stands - unless they're secretly partisans of another party, or have some other nefarious agenda.

It's hard for committed partisans to understand that for huge numbers of very ordinary activists, their activism is far more important to their lives than which smiling gang of promise-making-and-breaking-pollworshipping politicians get elected to office.

Understanding of others takes work. But it's worth it.

That very much applies to a lot of NDP partisans around here. I wouldn't put a lot into arguing that it is a fair stereotype.

But you are addressing me.

And me, not understand those things? I'd hope it would be self-evident to the contrary.

And think to completely different discussions. Like the ones about the CAW and FFA agreement, all of us trying to figure out what the players are up to. I may get very speculative at times, but I couldnt even try to fathom what is driving peoples choices if I wasn't at least pretty decent at understanding what other people want, in their terms.

Not to mention that when it comes to activism outside the NDP- I've spent FAR more time in that than being a committed Dipper. And it continues to be like that most of the time even though I made a decision years ago to put the bulk of my time into the NDP.

In fact, I'm well qualified to turn the tables on you about understanding the "other".

"It's hard for committed partisans to understand that for huge numbers of very ordinary activists, their activism is far more important to their lives than which smiling gang of promise-making-and-breaking-pollworshipping politicians get elected to office."

Even leaving aside the condecension, lets just look at understanding the people you are having a conversation with.

If you think about it, it is not likely to surprise you that the vast majority of NDP activists are motivated in exactly the same way. We may be deluded dupes, but we also have "important lives" and our activism is important to us for what our poor little deluded souls think we can achieve in the world, not because we are devoted to putting some people into office. And as a rule that goes just as much for the ones who have never been soical activists [only NDP and community groups], as it is true for the ones like me who came from social activism first [and because of where I live, are a minority of people who I work with in the NDP].

 

Unionist

KenS wrote:

Unionist, I hope that your post #53 is cross-posted with my #52.

Yes, of course we cross-posted, and I appreciate the reflection you expressed there.

Quote:

That very much applies to a lot of NDP partisans around here. I wouldn't put a lot into arguing that it is a fair stereotype.

But you are addressing me.

And me, not understand those things? I'd hope it would be self-evident to the contrary.

Ken, I definitely did not intend to characterize your opinions by that list. I was addressing you, but not talking about you. I was talking about a frame which has grown and become crystallized on babble, and is reflected to a greater or lesser extent in the posts of various babblers.

And let me be blunt: I find it tiresome when someone criticizes an NDP statement or action, and someone else responds, "how dare you criticize the NDP?" There can be no greater discussion-killing manoeuvre than that. I have never known you to do that, Ken. But tell me, sincerely, that it doesn't appear in 3/4 of the threads here.

Quote:

In fact, I'm well qualified to turn the tables on you about understanding the "other".

I'm prepared to concede that point. I claim no expertise here. I'm just trying to grasp the rage that accompanies political partisanship for some babblers, or in some contexts. So maybe I exaggerate or oversimplify.

Anyway, I sincerely apologize for any implication that my list of "partisan" attitudes was meant to characterize you. It was not.

Fidel

Unionist wrote:
3. Getting sucked in by Harper on the detainee document issue, and (as usual) figuring out too late that they'd been had.

The NDP is the only party not to agree to Harper's Dubya, NeoCon-like conditions on detainee document release. It's the people who've been had. How many Canadians realize just how secretive this Bay Street coalition has been while dictating their pro-USA agenda? There have been a few newspaper articles about it, but Canadians seem to be resigned to the fact that this government has flip-flopped on its election campaign promises for more transparent and accountable government. What else can the NDP do besides not vote with Harper the way the phony opposition has so many times?

http://Change.gc.ca? It's not that it's a great idea. It's been done before. Canadians need to feel like their opinions matter. They need to feel somewhat empowered. They need to feel like there is a democratic process in this country and not a democracy gap that has become a canyon.

KenS

Unionist wrote:

And let me be blunt: I find it tiresome when someone criticizes an NDP statement or action, and someone else responds, "how dare you criticize the NDP?" There can be no greater discussion-killing manoeuvre than that. I have never known you to do that, Ken. But tell me, sincerely, that it doesn't appear in 3/4 of the threads here.

At least close to being true. If not simply true.

I have to go scale my steeple. [I get to procrastinate on the grounds it isnt dry enough yet.] While I'm up there I'll reflect on how true... unlikely I'd differ there.  Also, if there some sort of tools for 'work around' come to mind.

But one thing I know for sure: I doubt very much of it is how dare you criticise, though that could be just a bit of exageration that doesn't bely the validity of the point.

But to the degree it does get like that, how much is to be chalked up as an inevitabe consequence of the ceasless flow of the criticism and that it is just as predicatble as the responses. Maybe thats just the other side of where you stand?

 

Fidel

Unionist wrote:
And let me be blunt: I find it tiresome when someone criticizes an NDP statement or action, and someone else responds, "how dare you criticize the NDP?"

I don't remember anyone responding with those words. I think you just don't appreciate that your criticisms of the NDP are scrutinized here. A lot. As in two fingers - my eyes - on you. And don't take any wooden nickels.

Unionist

KenS wrote:

But one thing I know for sure: I doubt very much of it is how dare you criticise, though that could be just a bit of exageration that doesn't bely the validity of the point.

Of course it was an exaggeration. And of course the point is valid.

Quote:
But to the degree it does get like that, how much is to be chalked up as an inevitabe consequence of the ceasless flow of the criticism and that it is just as predicatble as the responses. Maybe thats just the other side of where you stand?

Absolutely wrong. A few trolls come here and say, "the NDP is useless, it should disband, let the Liberals/Greens/whoever do their job". They don't last.

You can't compare: (1) criticizing words or actions of the NDP; with (2) criticizing babblers for criticizing those actions, often without bothering to respond to the criticism itself.

There are some here who definitely wish ill to the NDP. There are some who support the NDP, "right or wrong". I suggest that the majority of babblers belong to neither camp. And by overemphasizing the two extreme wings, we do a serious disservice to this board.

KenS

I think you must not understand what could be a mirror reflection of where you stand. Mirror reflection of the 'how dare you criticise'.

I've been saying that it is not just, not mostly, the people who have no use for the NDP at all [who are Babblers with credibility, trolls of that kind are few].

The thing about the ceasless and relentless flow of criticism is that its beyond the specific intentions of people like you contributing to it. It makes up a narrative that doesnt require direction or even intention. And that 'how dare you criticse' may primarily have its roots as an over the top reaction to the endless flow, rather than to the [nominal] target of what was said at the moment.

I'm not saying it is, let alone excusing that kind of reaction. But it bears thinking about.

Not to mention that such a hostile reaction is not generally without reference to the criticism itself. That it doesn't really respond to the criticism just goes with the territory. A hostile reaction is highly unlikely to substantively respond as well.

I agree where most Babblers would fall. But they aren't the ones who are most of the 'mass' in these predictable tit for tats.

My steeple is REALLY calling me now.

Later.

Caissa

I think Kens is correct. There is a narrative at Babble that the NDP is less than adequate. The thing about narratives is that they often provide the structure without the assumptions being explicitly stated. 

Fidel

And the overriding narrative is that the two old line parties have been far, far less than perfect when governing by phony majorities and now in coalition together. So obviously no party needs to achieve heavenly perfection in order to be elected by a phony majority, sorry, by an exaggerated minority as is the case for these ReformaTories. So in an old democracy where one person does not really equal one vote as is the case in the handful of English speaking countries still using this mathematically absurd electoral system, the party with the most Bay Street dollars behind them generally wins elections. It's an imperfect electoral system that rewards two imperfect political parties time and time again.

I really don't think the NDP needs more perfection or to be more democratic than they are now in order to win an election or to replace the phony opposition Liberals as the number two party. What the NDP will be forced to continue doing is to fight like hell as usual next election campaign to ensure that neither old line party wins a phony majority, and that the NDP receives a few more the seats we are robbed of as a rule by the mathematically absurd electoral system. This way we may be able to pressure the Liberals into accepting some kind of alliance after they realize that Canadians still don't trust them to govern with dictatorial power. The markets are said to prefer stability in Ottawa, and so the NDP should push for a role in government after the next taxpayer funded election to choose some corporate stooges to run the country.

Caissa

Now there is a narrative....

Maysie Maysie's picture

Caissa wrote:
 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.

Not funny Caissa. Sarcasm be damned, don't say crap like this about Lou.

KenS

Here are some excerpts from my challenge to Michelle in one of those Libby threads:

KenS wrote:

There are two very differnt things:

One is to say on principle that you cannot go along with [in this case] Libby having her knuckles wrapped. That statement is cut and dry- arguable solely as a question of principle.

Then there is what Michelle said above: that as a consequence of the NDPs treatement of her.......

When you step on a hot button, the way you get away from it, is that you apologize. In this case, that required more involvement than just Libby saying it. And after you've said what you needed to say, you say no more. You do not "explain." You do not talk about the context, the parts of what you said that were right, etc. Because all of those will just add fuel to the fire.

Now you can say I don't want to be part of politics where that sort of thing is part of the game. Fine. Perfectly understandable.

But don't go around pontificating about how it works. Not principles- how it works. And then use your pontification as a fact, a fact which "proves" that people in the NDP just didn't give a fuck.

I could have better taken issue with similar earlier claims by Unionist about what the NDP could have done. In those cases I just made reference to them as part of other rants, without taking such detailed exception to the claims.

Michelle did not respond. And repeated pretty much the same thing later on.

After I bowed out of those threads Unionist provided a detailed summary of what the NDP should have done [also linked upthread in post #36] to deal with the situation

Suffice to say, as in the case of Michelles suggestion, but Unionist providing a lot more detail, its the polar opposite of what I suggested was necessary.

Since my comments werent directed at him, Unionist cant be expected to have taken them specifically into account. But it was only 24 hours later, we'd sparred around that some, its certain he read and understood my challenge to Michelle, and I'm confident he would be aware of the intersection with direct exchanges between he and I- in that partcular discussion, let alone the numerous times before.

And I can't remember a single time being taken up on those challenges to contentions of what the NDP in practical terms could have done. If I have been responded to once, certainly it is the norm to be ignored. And as previously noted: ignored in itself is no big deal. But its a different matter to have a contention challenged, ignore that, and simply repreat the contention not much later.

So the issue here is not that I'm being ignored. The issue is the complete lack of engagement.

KenS

I've already said upthread that this lack of engagement may just be something that gets my goat.

And I already said that it doesn't explicitly come up that often. There are a zillion such claims on an ongoing basis about what the NDP could have done. And taking issue with one of them is time consuming.

So if it doesnt come up that often, it does not seem real likely that the lack of engagement with my challenges would be doing much to contribute to the entrenching of camp positions that makes the endless discussions so utterly futile.

But the cavalier disregard of engagement around challenges, when you are dishing out such a stream of them, is I beleive an indicment of bad faith. And bad faith will certainly poison discussions.

[And I'm sure there is plenty of bad faith blame to spread around. The knee jerk reaction of NDP partisans to criticism without any real regard for the substance is another example of bad faith. And no less so even if its understandable in light of the constant stream of criticism that really does blurr over the specific issues and make all the criticism indistinguishable.]

Fidel

And not only that, I just don't like criticisms of the NDP. And I think that whoever does dare to do the deed, should be forced to answer questions three.

Caissa

Maysie wrote: Not funny Caissa. Sarcasm be damned, don't say crap like this about Lou.

 

Caissa simply expressing my opinion. Sort of like whether Crosby or Ovechkin is the better hockey player.

 

You might note my comment was in the context of Lou shitting all over Catchfire's moderating.

Unionist

KenS wrote:
Since my comments werent directed at him, Unionist cant be expected to have taken them specifically into account.

Interesting. I did very much take them into account. Your analysis was one of the bases of my proposal. And [url=http://rabble.ca/comment/1154133/JKR-wroteIn-hindsight-how]my proposal[/url] - which you never commented on or responded to (including now) - consisted of two things:

1. Mulcair and Dewar should have been ordered to shut up about Libby - completely. Do you agree, Ken? I think you do, based on your own analysis about not aggravating hot buttons.

2. Jack should have given one single media appearance - a statement about 5 min. long - with Libby by his side - re-focusing the attack back at Harper and Rae. End of story.

At this point, I can't even figure out where we differ on that particular tactical issue.

But when we return to the meta-discussion, I'm seeing you continue to make these expansive generalizations about a "constant stream" of criticism of the NDP, followed by what you call "understandable" knee-jerk reactions by partisans.

I'm going to suggest to you that we should look for points of unity on important political issues. But when all issues are framed as pro- or con-NDP - whether by the "NDP is always right" or the "NDP is always wrong" crowd, both of which are fringe here - then discussion becomes utterly impossible.

 

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Fidel wrote:
And not only that, I just don't like criticisms of the NDP. And I think that whoever does dare to do the deed, should be forced to answer questions three.

 

 

Keep in mind there are times when the NDP does deserve criticsm. We've seen examples here over the years.

Lard Tunderin Jeezus Lard Tunderin Jeezus's picture

KenS wrote:

But the cavalier disregard of engagement around challenges, when you are dishing out such a stream of them, is I beleive an indicment of bad faith. And bad faith will certainly poison discussions.

I must comment upon this, as it has certainly been my experience with certain posters here - to have them make oblique commentary, but not engage in honest debate. And when complaints were made when I engaged them (generally by these posters) the moderator's option-of-choice has always been to tell me to ignore them in return. Rather an unsatisfactory solution. Does one ignore the neighbour throwing garbage over the back fence? (....without developing an ulcer and nervous tic?)

...in the end, learning to make my point without having to have the last word has been more satisfying. It's easy to recognise that most babblers are intelligent enough to sort things out for themselves, and basing one's conduct on that knowledge makes one far less 'competitive'. 

Uncle John

I don't think there is any question of the destruction of the NDP. If we are to go with Andrew Coyne, it looks like the Liberals are more likely to fall apart before anything happens to the NDP. If that happens, Canadian politics will polarize between Conservative and Progressive forces.

The NDP and Jack Layton would have the best credibility to lead the Progressive forces, and by the recent polls, this seems to be the most popular combination. The best strategy for the NDP, regarding realignment of the Canadian Centre Left, is to do nothing with the following caveat, which is hopefully on topic as a metapolitical solution.

Don't be insistent on a person being a "life-long NDPer". For your party to expand, you have to welcome new people. If long-time party partisans are grumbling about the new people, they are going to scare those new people away. It is a problem in the Liberals, and  among garden party suburban Conservatives. Possibly a fatal one. To them, a new person is automatically a traitor as they had voted for someone else in the past. Plus the fact that they just don't like strangers, anyway. How will your party move forward with an attitude like that? A new person will often have a peculiar zeal that has become jaded out of the long-time partisans. Channel and challenge that zeal and be inspired by it! Humour the energy vampire who arrives at the doorstep with frantic fears their village will be razed by evil marauders from the Opposition. Put them to work or tell them to come back in a few days for an event.

 

KenS

I agree thats a nifty trick to make your point without getting the last word.

Mind you, its not as easy as it sounds. I think one thing it requires is knowing where the discussion is likley to go.

Sometimes saying "people will decide for themselves" is a bit hollow. As when after your self imposed last word somebody tosses something in you really wish you had addressed. Truth is you had just had it with the discussion, and if your last word turns out to be unlikely to stand as is... oh well.

KenS

Unionist wrote:

KenS wrote:

Since my comments werent directed at him, Unionist cant be expected to have taken them specifically into account.

Interesting. I did very much take them into account. Your analysis was one of the bases of my proposal. And [url=http://rabble.ca/comment/1154133/JKR-wroteIn-hindsight-how]my proposal[/url] - which you never commented on or responded to (including now) - consisted of two things:

1. Mulcair and Dewar should have been ordered to shut up about Libby - completely. Do you agree, Ken? I think you do, based on your own analysis about not aggravating hot buttons.

2. Jack should have given one single media appearance - a statement about 5 min. long - with Libby by his side - re-focusing the attack back at Harper and Rae. End of story.

The reason I didnt respond to what you originally suggested that the NDP should have done, which is a bit diffrent than this here, is because I thought it was self-evident that it did not fit with what I had said was required for the Libby affair:

KenS wrote:

When you step on a hot button, the way you get away from it, is that you apologize. In this case, that required more involvement than just Libby saying it. And after you've said what you needed to say, you say no more. You do not "explain." You do not talk about the context, the parts of what you said that were right, etc. Because all of those will just add fuel to the fire.

I still think it should be self evident, just using common sense and logic in comparing what the two of us said, that your proposal as it was originally expressed just doesn't fit at all into what I said the situation required. What you said here now, I would not call self-evident that it doesn't fit in.

I see no point in picking over what happened- chalk it up in this case to not understanding rather than the bad faith of non-engagement that I have suggested happens a great deal with practical challenges of what the NDP could have done in situation X.

And I really should get around to that Communications 101 for Politics about inadvertent pressing of hot buttons and how you deal with it. In a lot of ways the Libby affair would be a good case study. But it would be big time thread drift now. Thread takeover, not 'drift'.

As to the general point, it cant always be lack of understanding rather than lack of engagement. Presumably in this case, you thought you understood what I was talking about it and addressed it. In most cases its people simply repeating what they said before, as if they were never challenged. [And that did happen with Michelle, who this was directly addressed to.]

Unionist wrote:

But when we return to the meta-discussion, I'm seeing you continue to make these expansive generalizations about a "constant stream" of criticism of the NDP, followed by what you call "understandable" knee-jerk reactions by partisans.

I'm going to suggest to you that we should look for points of unity on important political issues. But when all issues are framed as pro- or con-NDP - whether by the "NDP is always right" or the "NDP is always wrong" crowd, both of which are fringe here - then discussion becomes utterly impossible.

Got to leave here, but for now [and possibly all I'd have anyway], I think its misleading to say that I called the knee-jerk reactions "understandable". I did use that or a similar word, but it was after what is clearly the main point: that it is a bad faith move even if it is understandable in light of....

And I did make it equivalent to the bad faith of not engaging challenges and repeating as if one was not challenged.

I get the sense you don't think there is an endless stream of criticism that makes up a narrative seperate and differentiated from the specific substantive criticisms. Which isn't to say that you put out such a stream of criticism yourself. Or really that anyone in particular does it. Its just saying that it happens.

If you don't think it does, you should say so.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

KenS wrote:

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?"]

 

The original NDP in 1961 included the principle of autonomous community groups affiliating not just the union movement.  It is interesting that you would equate the NDP organization being used by community groups as akin to dissolving the institution. Does any one know whether any affiliations, other than union affiliations, are still allowed?  

KenS

I am pretty sure that affiliation to the NDP has always been pretty open ended- that it has never changed. I cant remember if anyone has ever done it. I'm guessing that no one, or virtually no one, except trade union groups has ever applied to affiliate.

And my comment was directed at Cueball and what I know his politics to be. I was not disagreeing with what Cueball said. Just saying that he was understating what in practice is entailed with what he proposes. 

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Quote:
 And my comment was directed at Cueball and what I know his politics to be. I was not disagreeing with what Cueball said.  

 

 KenS, there is the problem in a nut shell. If you and other NDP "defenders" would start responding to what people actually write instead of what you know they mean the threads might not be so flipping endless and they might prove more productive.  Your view of his politics might be different than my view or certainly his own view so your comments become pointless and/or rudderless and clearly subjective so they add nothing to a debate about issues.  If you ignore what you believe you know of his believes and respond to his words you might get a clearer picture and so might the rest of us reading the threads.

 

KenS

Little harsh methinks. I also wondered why I responded that way. Didnt want to go back and look at the context, since it doesn't relate to the topic in my mind. This thread isnt about substantive issues or how to organize or how to do politics. If people want to put that in fine, but dont slag me for not doing it. 

Compared to all the cherry picking and attribution of positions that goes on around here, I think I can say I've consistently done more than my share of responding to what people actually say. I dont always. Sorry.

Unionist

Well, on that point Ken, I must acknowledge that you don't ignore people's views when seriously expressed, you do take them on, and you do change your mind or approach when faced with new facts - and that's why you'll never make my "ignore" list. I've learned things from you, and you're not a bad sounding board on many issues. I just wish we could always deal with needs and issues facing the Canadian people without feeling some overriding need to attack or defend the NDP.

 

KenS

If nothing else its a huge time waster.

Too bad we couldnt just call it a draw and say we just wont bother going there.

Unfortunately, in practice that would mean no criticism, no picking thins apart, nothing learned.

Be great if someone would take a crack at punting this another direction.

KenS

Another direction, but ultimately looking for a workaround, or an opening to a workaround, to this particular endless snarling.

KenS

Another direction, but ultimately looking for a workaround, or an opening to a workaround, to this particular endless snarling.

leftypopulist

Let's invert the unproductive negativity via simple, constructive creativity. It's both fun and serious. I'll start things off.

1) Print 1000's of t-shirts, pins, bumperstickers, signs and posters which say : "The Liberals and Conservatives SUCK. Vote NDP.".

Put it in your sig, email it around, and spread it aggressively everywhere.

KenS

Did you read the thread?

leftypopulist

Did you not yet notice that infinite internal nitpicking, pessimistic attitudes towards every NDP move/stance and hyper-sensitive defensiveness seems to be an epidemic on Babble ?

When was the last time the NDP formed federal gov't ?

To help counter such a self-defeating bunch of negative energy...

1) Print 1000's of t-shirts, pins, bumperstickers, signs and posters which say : "The Liberals and Conservatives SUCK. Vote NDP.".

Put it in your sig, email it around, and spread it aggressively everywhere.

KenS

The solution to all the "nitpicking"- bad as that may be- isnt for everybody to put on a happy smile face and pretend they want the NDP elected no matter what it espouses.

And for that matter, that wouldnt even work if everyone here was an NDP member.

leftypopulist

Your unproductive alternative approach in this thread was to divide people into 3 categories : the A's, the I's and the P's.

That simply exacerbates the endless, futile, pessimistic 0 federal wins in 100 years status-quo and bitter, idealistic infighting. The solution is to stop the circular defeatism.

Naturally, there will be internal policy debate, but debating the categorical divisions you want to label people with while they debate internal policy is asinine.

Productive Invitation : "Another direction, but ultimately looking for a workaround, or an opening to a workaround, to this particular endless snarling."

...

2) Print 1000's of t-shirts, pins, bumperstickers, signs and posters which say : "Are You Fed Up With Kevin O'Leary ? Vote NDP !".

Put it in your sig, email it around, and spread it aggressively everywhere.

KenS
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