NDP Caucus meeting in Regina

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Wilf Day
NDP Caucus meeting in Regina

Opening post.

N.Beltov N.Beltov's picture

Canadian Press wrote:
MPs want to see the political dialogue in Ottawa shift toward a debate on the environment, pensions and job creation, issues they say are more top-of-mind at the ballot box.

While he's credited as the leader who resuscitated the fortunes of the NDP, Layton now helms a caucus in a bit of a rut. The party can't seem to break through the 20 per cent support barrier.

Comartin said he doesn't think that means the party is in need of radical change.

Like the goddam Liberals, NDP MPs don't seem to be able to distinguish their own well being from the well-being of the population. Radical change from neo-liberal atrocities and radical alternatives is exactly what CANADIANS need to overcome the right wing orthodoxy that infects Canadian political life ... right down to the "alternative" party of the NDP.

Maybe the NDP caucus could consider how it is that millions of French citizens have been mobilized against the right wing agenda of the Sarcozy regime and ?? have been mobilized against the right wing regime in this country (or the one to the south of us) .

Have fun.  Bye.

 

Gun registry divide won't break us

 

Wilf Day

Kady O'Malley: "The NDP is off to Regina for a caucus retreat. Two whole days holed up in the heart of Saskatchewan? Whatever will they find to talk about? Oh, right. That."

And hopefully other things. Not that the national press is interested in anything else.

NDP MPs will be attending events across the province over the weekend.

Quote:
Federal New Democratic Party Leader Jack Layton, along with some NDP MPs, will be in Moose Jaw on Sunday for a barbecue. Party members are converging on Saskatchewan for their caucus strategy session beginning Monday in Regina.

Sunday's event, to be held at the speed skating oval pavilion in Wakamow Valley, is one of a number of events NDP MPs will be attending across the province over the weekend. Everyone is welcome to attend the event, said Palliser NDP candidate Noah Evanchuk.

"It is an opportunity for people to meet and share a good time with members of Parliament they normally wouldn't get the chance to.

"More than anything, this is an opportunity to have a good time and have a burger or two and a beverage and have the chance to meet Jack Layton and potentially their next member of Parliament. The NDP is open to new individuals and ideas. We're an inclusive party," said Evanchuk.

New Democrats for Fair Voting.

 

David Young

Will any of the caucus be stopping on the way back to give Kevin Chief a little hand in Winnipeg North?

Wilf Day

The New Democrats are convinced that because the party is second choice in many western ridings - including Saskatchewan - only they can stop Harper from forming a majority in the next election, expected in the spring.

Given the roots of socialism are deep in Saskatchewan, it is especially troubling for the federal NDP that it doesn't hold one seat.

"We are going on the offence against Harper in his stronghold . . . with guns a blazing," Levigne said.

Stockholm

N.Beltov wrote:

Maybe the NDP caucus could consider how it is that millions of French citizens have been mobilized against the right wing agenda of the Sarcozy regime and ?? have been mobilized against the right wing regime in this country (or the one to the south of us) .

Have fun.  Bye

Big deal. We've seen this a zillion times in France - a bunch of people march in the streets in some little historic re-enactment of the storming of the Bastille - and then just as sure as night follows day, the French go to the polls and elect rightwing people like Sarkozy and all these radical leftwing parties that are unabashedly anti-capitalist - get 3 percent of the vote.

N.Beltov N.Beltov's picture

lol, Stockholm. This is "parliamentary cretinism" at its best.

I have to say that you do an excellent job, as only the "best" NDPers do, of attacking and trivializing the left. You know your job better than these other dummies who think that the NDP has anything to do with socialism.

Rick Wolff wrote:
The failure to develop, support, and widely disseminate anti-capitalist criticism and proposals for non-capitalist alternatives undermines the capacity for mass mobilizations to protect and advance working people's interests, especially in times of crisis. Even to make a political difference on so limited an issue as changing the age of retirement, effective mobilization of workers requires that they understand that issue in a much broader framework. Workers who see themselves in a broad social struggle for justice and for basic social change toward a better society can also then grasp and act on a particular issue with a sense of its historic meaning and implications.

This is why the resistance in France, and Greece, is so much more advanced than in the US (and Canada). It's why post-secondary education is free in 11 countries - including France - but costing ever more in countries like ... Canada. And so on.

Pogo Pogo's picture

I remember a thread about the different way labour is organized in Europe compared to North America and that explains the differences in mobilization.

laine lowe laine lowe's picture

I can't remember the last time I heard the NDP talk about workers, working people or the working class. It's like they have engaged in a policy over the last decade to distance themselves from labour. Kind of silly to be mining votes from a shrinking middle class with such policies as reducing ATM fees, strengthening law and order, etc.

N.Beltov N.Beltov's picture

Bargaining units are defined differently in a number of European countries and that undoubtedly contributes to organizing workers. However, one could just as easily attribute the differences in the structure here as the RESULT of elaborating and promoting non-capitalist alternatives. And, clearly, in a country like France that had both a large Socialist Party AND a large Communist Party, this was undoubtedly true.

In Canadian history, it's clear that the best periods of trade union organizing were when the ideological awareness, clear working class partisanship, and elaboration and promotion of non-capitalism alternatives (socialism, anarchism, communism, etc.) were at their highest.

Wilf Day

laine lowe wrote:
I can't remember the last time I heard the NDP talk about workers, working people or the working class.

Here you are:

Quote:
OTTAWA - Finance Minister Jim Flaherty's decision to end the freeze on employment insurance premiums is unacceptable. Time and time again the Conservative government chooses tax giveaways for large, profitable companies rather than taking measures to help employers and workers.

Quote:
OTTAWA - New Democrat MP John Rafferty (Thunder Bay-Rainy River) is reaching out and seeking the support of Canadians from across the country and from all parties to improve federal pension protection. Bill C-501, his Private Members' Bill to amend pension security will go to Industry Committee this fall.

Quote:
OTTAWA – Struggling middle-class Canadians will be forced to carry the burden for rich tax evaders when the Conservative government relaxes the rules for revealing secret offshore bank accounts, says New Democrat MP Malcolm Allen (Welland). Struggling middle-class Canadians are expected to play by the rules and pay all their taxes,” said Allen. “Why is the government asking them to carry the load for rich tax evaders who don’t want to pay their fair share?”

Quote:
Ottawa - NDP Industry Critic Brian Masse (Windsor-West) joined many other social, political and economic stakeholders in calling for an emergency meeting of the Standing Committee on Industry to study the issue of the closure of Shell Canada's Montreal East refinery.

Quote:
OTTAWA - A Private Members' Bill sponsored by New Democrat MP Carol Hughes that would improve access to Employment Insurance and increasing the amount a claimant can receive moved closer to becoming law last night when it passed a key vote in the House of Commons. "We continue to strive to improve Employment Insurance while people are still hurting from the recession," said Hughes. "There are a lot of hard-working people who have lost their jobs who are excluded from this critical safety net because of unfair and unrealistic criteria."

Quote:
OTTAWA -New Democrat Mining Critic Claude Gravelle (Nickel Belt) tabled legislation today that would amend the Investment Canada Act to prevent job-killing foreign takeovers of Canadian companies. "Liberal and Conservative governments have consistently rubber-stamped foreign takeovers of Canadian companies without any transparency or accountability to the Canadian people," said Gravelle. "And when Parliamentarians seek details on these takeovers, they are denied by the Industry Minister. This bill will change that."

Quote:
OTTAWA- Today, New Democrats introduced legislation that sets out a comprehensive, national poverty elimination strategy in partnership with provinces and other key stakeholders that fulfills a 2008 NDP election commitment.

KenS

laine lowe wrote:

Kind of silly to be mining votes from a shrinking middle class with such policies as reducing ATM fees, strengthening law and order, etc.

Those were aimed equally at the working class.

Stockholm

laine lowe wrote:

I can't remember the last time I heard the NDP talk about workers, working people or the working class. It's like they have engaged in a policy over the last decade to distance themselves from labour. Kind of silly to be mining votes from a shrinking middle class with such policies as reducing ATM fees, strengthening law and order, etc.

I can't remember the last time I heard anyone in Canada describe themselves as a "working class". That sort of yterminology is best left in textbooks that were published 50 years ago. Its dated.

laine lowe laine lowe's picture

Wilf Day, I appreciate the examples you put forward and I'm glad the NDP is taking issue with the gutting of EI, foreign corporate take-overs, pension protection, factory closures and tax evasion by the wealthy. But the language in those examples could easily mirror statements issued by the Liberals or Obama's Democrats.

Stockholm, I recognize that it's considered passé to even address any class differences in this day and age. Heaven forbid we try to unite people who are being equally screwed by our corporate culture. Today's political arena is focused on balancing appeal along varioius divides: urban/rural, environmental/economical, cultural/religious, regional, etc. Politics by polling rather than principles.

N.Beltov N.Beltov's picture

My point was expressed in terms of ridiculing Stockholm's "Matrix" world but, really, it's worth expressing the same idea more bluntly and radically.

Denying social class obviously means antagonism to class struggle or struggle based on this "unpleasant" and "passe" idea whose time has passed. And that means planned failure in terms of the social movements that Cueball, eg, has raised in the other thread like this one. Planned failure. I have raised this in yet another thread in terms of the absolute necessity of raising anti-capitalist and non-capitalist ways of doing things/looking at the world as a prerequisite to real success in those very social movements that this "Matrix" view so determinedly distances itself from.

This is a goddam echo chamber and I'm really feeling this is a waste of my time. I'd rather spend time on genuinely socialist threads; however, it's hard to resist challenging those who so consistently misrepresent and sabotage socialist views on this site.

N.Beltov N.Beltov's picture

You must really hate it when "workers" go on strike and screw up your rose-coloured view of the world, eh?

 

[Edited to add: how do you put scare quotes around scare quotes? Or do you just dump them altogether?]

KenS

N.Beltov wrote:

Denying social class obviously means antagonism to class struggle or struggle based on this "unpleasant" and "passe" idea whose time has passed. And that means planned failure in terms of the social movements that Cueball, eg, has raised in the other thread like this one. Planned failure.

Thats an interesting take on what Cueball said in that thread.

Stockholm

I tend to hear a lot of people who are in academia and whose income is wayyyy to high to fit in anyone's definition of working class - lecturing people who are poorer than they are about how they OUGHT to see themselves as "working class" - I don't see a lot of people with modest incomes obeying their condescending instructions.

Sean in Ottawa

Isn't dividing people in this way classist and counter-productive?

Why would we want to separate people of common belief just because they have arrive at that point from different experiences.

Stockholm

Why CAN'T we all just get along???

N.Beltov N.Beltov's picture

KenS wrote:

N.Beltov wrote:

Denying social class obviously means antagonism to class struggle or struggle based on this "unpleasant" and "passe" idea whose time has passed. And that means planned failure in terms of the social movements that Cueball, eg, has raised in the other thread like this one. Planned failure.

Thats an interesting take on what Cueball said in that thread.

Cue made reference to SOCIAL MOVEMENTS and the importance of their INDEPENDENT development. This is what I'm drawing attention to. Independent social movements and their development and class struggle and ITS development are linked - in my view. Perhaps Cue and I disagree on this. Anyway, Ken, you seem to have missed this in your enthusiasm to urinate on my remark.

Lord Palmerston

Stockholm wrote:

Why CAN'T we all just get along???

That worked wonders for Bob Rae, didn't it?

Cueball Cueball's picture

Maybe because it is delusional to think that people arrive at the same point through different experiences. That is a pretty big conceit. In fact a conceit that often pervades discussion of race, which ends up in the "why can't we all just get along" analysis, which says nothing and amounts to nothing.

Maybe you are saying many people might by default align themselves with a party without a class analysis because there isn't anything better out there, but that doesn't really amount to much.

Cueball Cueball's picture

Yeah. That meant getting along with business (no public auto-insurance plan because some brokers would be hurt, or so they said) and getting along with the unions by ripping up their contracts, and then imposing austerity measures.

No Yards No Yards's picture

Stockholm wrote:

Why CAN'T we all just get along???

Because some people can't accept that there are progressives out there that aren't going to just shut up and accept the commands as handed down from the NDP "leadership" without question.

While issues like global climate change, militarism,  and corporatism are getting more serious every year, the NDP seems to be less and less outspoken and concerned about these issues ... yet, for issues such as crime they seem to be playing to the knuckle draggers ... if the NDP wants to attract people who care more about making sure we have a counter-productive policy of stronger punishment for the  falling number of criminals, than they do about saving the planet, preventing unnecessary and illegal wars, and reversing the new "feudalism", then they shouldn't be surprised that they are going no where in the polls ... people like me are leaving them, and people who actually like their new policies are probably going to go with the parties that are much more experienced and established at playing to the "lowest common denominator".

 

George Victor

Of course, no political party would attempt to reflect the worldview of those who watch MSM for their understanding of capitalism/the world. Bold - not instructive or preaching, mind you - statements circulated through word of mouth within the organization would somehow soon correct their misunderstanding. 

Wilf Day

"Along with the gun registry, New Democrats meeting in Regina will also be talking about how to push health care, the environment and jobs to the top of the agenda when the House resumes later this month."

Fidel

No Yards wrote:

Stockholm wrote:

Why CAN'T we all just get along???

Because some people can't accept that there are progressives out there that aren't going to just shut up and accept the commands as handed down from the NDP "leadership" without question.

I just hope they spend nearly as much time opposing the ones in power and phony opposition in Ottawa, that capital city where the nation's purse strings are held.

takeitslowly

can someone please tell me why it is so horrible to raise the retirement age from 60 to 62 in France?

Malcolm Malcolm's picture

laine lowe wrote:

I recognize that it's considered passé to even address any class differences in this day and age. Heaven forbid we try to unite people who are being equally screwed by our corporate culture. Today's political arena is focused on balancing appeal along varioius divides: urban/rural, environmental/economical, cultural/religious, regional, etc. Politics by polling rather than principles.

 

We aren't going to unite people very effectively if we impose labels on them.  "The working class" do not see themselves as working class.  (For that matter, significant swathes of "the poor" do not see themselves as poor.)

You seem like a reasonable person.  I suspect you don't refer to African-Americans / African-Canadians as "negroes."  You probably avoid referring to First Nations people as "Indians."  Two generations ago, it was perfectly acceptable to refer to a person of mixed First Nations and European ancestry as "Half-Breed" - provided the European ancestors were Scottish, and in such a case, calling the person "Métis" would have been profoundly offensive.  But very few of us would refer to such a person as "Half-Breed" now because such a person would find that term offensive and would likely prefer "Métis."

I fail to see why the phrase "working class" should be a shibboleth, when virtually no one in the country identifies themselves in that way.  I'm sure they'll all respond so well to some university educated suburbanite like Stockholm explaining to them that, really, they should describe themselves as "working class" and that their own self-understanding is a load of shite.

Hey Stock, come visit me.  We can go out canvassing in North Regina and you can try it out and we can report back to Laine on how many NDP voting doorsteps we got chased off. 

Doug

N.Beltov wrote:

Maybe the NDP caucus could consider how it is that millions of French citizens have been mobilized against the right wing agenda of the Sarcozy regime and ?? have been mobilized against the right wing regime in this country (or the one to the south of us) .

 

Impressive-looking but the effect is likely to be marginal. Sure, the NDP and labour could perhaps get thousands of Canadians into the streets to scream about something or other - it's been done before - but unless it shifts public opinion in a big way it's unlikely to make a difference.

No Yards No Yards's picture

Fidel wrote:

No Yards wrote:

Stockholm wrote:

Why CAN'T we all just get along???

Because some people can't accept that there are progressives out there that aren't going to just shut up and accept the commands as handed down from the NDP "leadership" without question.

I just hope they spend nearly as much time opposing the ones in power and phony opposition in Ottawa, that capital city where the nation's purse strings are held.

I know which party you mean when you say "the ones in power", but which "phony opposition" do you mean? The one that had ~100 chances to vote down the government and failed to do so in 100% of the opportunities, or the one that had far less chances to vote down the government but none the less has the same 100% failure record for voting down the government?

Do you mean the phony opposition that at this point is going to vote for the Con government bill disguised as a PMB, or the phony opposition parties that are going to vote against the "ones in power"?

I think the first fight should be to have one of the opposition parties start acting as a real opposition, then when there is a non-phony opposition party one could then oppose the "ones in power" and the "phony opposition" by voting for the non-phony party.

Speaking out against what I believe to be poor policy, no matter which party is pushing it,  is what I though WAS opposing phony parties of all stripes.

There's a vote coming up on the 22nd,  since some here support the policy that 100% of the Cons are supporting on this vote, are they to be considered "pro-phony party" as well, or is it just the people who don't support the 25% of the NDP who will alos support the Cons on this vote that are to be considered the "pro-phony party" supporters?

Far as I'm concerned I am fighting against the "ones in power" by supporting a position against the position 100% of Cons hold ... how exactly does supporting the same position as 100% of the Cons make someone more worthy of claiming to be against "the ones in power"?

Cueball Cueball's picture

Malcolm wrote:

laine lowe wrote:

I recognize that it's considered passé to even address any class differences in this day and age. Heaven forbid we try to unite people who are being equally screwed by our corporate culture. Today's political arena is focused on balancing appeal along varioius divides: urban/rural, environmental/economical, cultural/religious, regional, etc. Politics by polling rather than principles.

 

We aren't going to unite people very effectively if we impose labels on them.  "The working class" do not see themselves as working class.  (For that matter, significant swathes of "the poor" do not see themselves as poor.)

You seem like a reasonable person.  I suspect you don't refer to African-Americans / African-Canadians as "negroes."  You probably avoid referring to First Nations people as "Indians."  Two generations ago, it was perfectly acceptable to refer to a person of mixed First Nations and European ancestry as "Half-Breed" - provided the European ancestors were Scottish, and in such a case, calling the person "Métis" would have been profoundly offensive.  But very few of us would refer to such a person as "Half-Breed" now because such a person would find that term offensive and would likely prefer "Métis."

I fail to see why the phrase "working class" should be a shibboleth, when virtually no one in the country identifies themselves in that way.  I'm sure they'll all respond so well to some university educated suburbanite like Stockholm explaining to them that, really, they should describe themselves as "working class" and that their own self-understanding is a load of shite.

Hey Stock, come visit me.  We can go out canvassing in North Regina and you can try it out and we can report back to Laine on how many NDP voting doorsteps we got chased off. 

This is an absurd reiteration of the idea that poor people and working class people should be ashamed to be poor or working class. The difference between organizations which offer a world view where being poor, or working class is something to be proud of and one that believes it is something to be ashamed of sends this message by talking as if they are dirty words, or even somehow comparble to racist slang, in this case, is that the latter feed into the mythology of consumer capitalism, whereby all people have a shot at the "brass ring" by teaching them we are all fundamentally the same, and "beyond" class, and everyone has a shot at the "apple pie" dream.

Ultimately the attempt to remove terms like "working class" from the common lexicon has to do with eliminating the class analysis that lies behind that phrase. Indeed, the semantics of the word used are hardly relevant at all to me. I don't care if people use the term working class or not, but the fact is that the reason that so many apologists for capitalism have worked so hard to eliminate them, and cast them in the same light as dirty words that people should find insulting, is because they want to eliminate the class analysis that lies behind them. They do not want people to have the basic toold in language that can be used to understand the economic relations in society that form the basis of their economic relationship to the rest of society.

Not that Stockholm would disagree with you. Indeed you missed the boat there, too. Stockholm is in complete agreement with eliminating class, and class analysis from political discourse.

Not to mention, I think your construction of racist slang, as being comparable to economic terminology like "working class" and "poor" shows gross ignorance of racism. Maybe you don't even know what it is. Other than someone taught you to not use certain words because other people find them offensive.

And yeah, sure, let me know. I will come canvas North Regina anytime, if you give me a place to stay. But I am warning you I wont be canvassing in support of the NDP particularly very much.

al-Qa'bong

Stockholm wrote:

Why CAN'T we all just get along???

 

That's what I heard Mike Ignatieff say on The House this weekend.

 

It's a good thing to say if you want to disarm those you're snowing, and liberals like you and Iggy tend to use this sort of language quite a bit.

We in the working class are naturally suspicious of such tactics.

George Victor

Are you feeling sort of  "liberal" these days, Stock, a tag applied by an admitted member of the "working class"?   You must remember never, ever to say things that have already put forward by "liberals" or "Liberals."  This identifies you immediately as liberal, or Liberal.

Do NOT expect reasonable - or even intelligent - responses to such appeals.  As you can see, a "natural" suspicion - in this circumstance, one might even say paranoid reaction -  is all one can expect. Statements from the gut, mean diddly squat to such folks.

Stockholm

al-Qa'bong wrote:

We in the working class are naturally suspicious of such tactics.

What makes you think you're "working class". I suppose i am since I "work" for a pay cheque. is that all it takes??

Cueball Cueball's picture

Stockholm wrote:

al-Qa'bong wrote:

We in the working class are naturally suspicious of such tactics.

What makes you think you're "working class". I suppose i am since I "work" for a pay cheque. is that all it takes??

Out of order. Fishing for personal details in order to make personal attacks. I call bullshit.

Cueball Cueball's picture

George Victor wrote:

Are you feeling sort of  "liberal" these days, Stock, a tag applied by an admitted member of the "working class"?   You must remember never, ever to say things that have already put forward by "liberals" or "Liberals."  This identifies you immediately as liberal, or Liberal.

Do NOT expect reasonable - or even intelligent - responses to such appeals.  As you can see, a "natural" suspicion - in this circumstance, one might even say paranoid reaction -  is all one can expect. Statements from the gut, mean diddly squat to such folks.

I hardly see what value such passive aggressive belligerence has to meaningful dialogue. You think that calling Babblers "paranoid" amounts to an intelligent response, because you are standoffish enough to make it in an oblique and generalized way?

Some fools seem to think that by making their commentary sound indirect and generalized it might be mistaken for taking an "objective" view, since it is in the third party. They even think that by appearing "objective" their statements acquire the attribute of reason because they are not expressed as subjective prejudice, simply because they are dimly aware that objectivity is somehow associated with "reasoned" discussion.

Others just see it as insincere passive aggressive abuse.

I have news for you, making generalized statements is not to be mistaken for objectivity. Seriously, you are old enough now to know better. Someone surely must have taught you enough basic social skills so that you don't always come off like a smarmy and manipulative prig?

al-Qa'bong

Stockholm wrote:

al-Qa'bong wrote:

We in the working class are naturally suspicious of such tactics.

What makes you think you're "working class".

 

All those years as a goon spoon operator, I guess.

laine lowe laine lowe's picture

Don't think I didn't notice Malcolm equating my use of the term working class with racist slurs. I was so taken aback that I almost flagged that post as offensive but thought why bother.

As for knocking on doors, I have no desire to knock on anymore doors for the NDP. Certainly sounds like the rank and file campaigners have changed dramatically from the days I used to canvass for votes. Kind of saw the writing on the wall on the last campaign I worked on in the late 90s. I won't name names but I was amazed at how far up the ranks our team leader rose.

NDPP

The fact that our particpation in the horrendous war of terror, imperialism, DU genocide and ecocide, NATO etc is not uppermost in these discussions is highly significant and tells us everything we need to know about this supposed 'democratic alternative' No Difference Party option. Ditto with the ongoing malevolent colonialist oppression of Indigeous peoples and lands.

al-Qa'bong

Quote:

This is an absurd reiteration of the idea that poor people and working class people should be ashamed to be poor or working class. The difference between organizations which offer a world view where being poor, or working class is something to be proud of and one that believes it is something to be ashamed of sends this message by talking as if they are dirty words, or even somehow comparble to racist slang, in this case, is that the latter feed into the mythology of consumer capitalism, whereby all people have a shot at the "brass ring" by teaching them we are all fundamentally the same, and "beyond" class, and everyone has a shot at the "apple pie" dream.

 

I'd like to add that the term "working classes" had its origin in the Chartist era, and proudly signified a distinction between us and the "idle classes."

 

Never mind Stockholm's dream of erasing us from the political discourse. As with Golda Meir' infamous statement, his, "There is no such thing as the working class" is a facile, yet innacurate dismissal.

Stockholm

"I'd like to add that the term "working classes" had its origin in the Chartist era, and proudly signified a distinction between us and the "idle classes.""

Oh I get it now - the "working class" are people who for a living and the "idle class" is everyone else - like people on welfare and EI, pensioners and homemakers.

Cueball Cueball's picture

Ewwwww... the working class.... grotty to the max.

al-Qa'bong

Stockholm wrote:

"I'd like to add that the term "working classes" had its origin in the Chartist era, and proudly signified a distinction between us and the "idle classes.""

Oh I get it now - the "working class" are people who for a living and the "idle class" is everyone else - like people on welfare and EI, pensioners and homemakers.

Wrong.

Try again. 

Wilf Day

al-Qa'bong wrote:
I'd like to add that the term "working classes" had its origin in the Chartist era, and proudly signified a distinction between us and the "idle classes."

Dawn Purvis, MLA for East Belfast, regularly says her mission is "to articulate the needs of the working and workless classes in East Belfast." An expression that should be more widely used.

Lord Palmerston

[url=http://www.monthlyreview.org/0706zweig.htm]Six points on class[/url]:

Quote:
“Class” must be understood in terms of power rather than income, wealth, or life style, although these do vary by class. Using power as the starting point allows us to see class as a dynamic relationship rather than as a static set of characteristics. Investigating class as a question of power also makes it possible to find the organic links among class, race, and gender. Looking at class in terms of income, wealth, life style, or education separates it from race and gender, which are best understood as power relationships rather than inherent characteristics individuals possess.

The working class are those people with relatively little power at work—white-collar bank tellers, call-center workers, and cashiers; blue-collar machinists, construction workers, and assembly-line workers; pink-collar secretaries, nurses, and home-health-care workers—skilled and unskilled, men and women of all races, nationalities, and sexual preferences. The working class are those with little personal control over the pace or content of their work and without supervisory control over the work lives of others. There are nearly 90 million working-class people in the U.S. labor force today. The United States has a substantial working-class majority.

The capitalist class are the corporate elite, senior executives, and directors of large corporations, whose job it is to give strategic direction to the company, who interact with government agencies and other corporate executives while leaving the day-to-day operation of their company to intermediate levels of management and the workforce. In this they are different from small business owners, who tend to work beside their relatively few employees and manage them directly. These small business owners, while literally capitalists in that they employ wage labor, are better understood to be in the middle class, as will be discussed below.

The ruling class is considerably smaller than the full capitalist class and includes non-capitalists as well. If we think of the ruling class as those who give strategic direction to the country as a whole, extending beyond their own business or institution, we can identify those corporate directors who sit on multiple boards, thus having an opportunity to coordinate capitalist activity across enterprises, and add to them the political elites of the three branches of national government and cultural and educational leaders who contribute to the furtherance of corporate interests. The entire U.S. ruling class could fit into the seats at Yankee Stadium (capacity: 54,000).

The middle class are professionals, small-business owners, and managerial and supervisory employees. They are best understood not as the middle of an income distribution but as living in the middle of the two polar classes in capitalist society. Their experiences have some aspects shared with the working class and some associated with the corporate elite.

Small business owners, for example, share with capitalists an interest in private property in business assets, defeated unions, and weak labor regulations. But they share with workers the work itself, great vulnerability to the capitalist market and government power, and difficulty securing adequate health insurance and retirement security.

Professionals are also caught in the middle of the cross fire in the principal class conflict between labor and capital. If we look at the experience over the last thirty years of professionals whose lives are closely intertwined with the working class—community college teachers, lawyers in public defender offices or with small general practices, doctors practicing in working-class neighborhoods, and public school teachers—their economic and social standing have deteriorated, along with the class they serve. But if we look at those whose lives are more fully involved in serving the capitalist class—corporate lawyers, financial service professionals, Big-Four CPAs, and doctors who practice beyond the reach of HMOs and insurance company oversight—these professionals have risen in fortune with the class they serve, albeit to a lesser extent, absolutely and proportionately.

Professionals in most parts of the academic community (especially in colleges closely linked to working-class constituencies) are experiencing the pain of corporate pressure as working-class people do. In the process many academic jobs have been degraded. They are no longer relatively secure tenure-track middle-class positions, but adjunct and visitor positions staffed by a growing second tier of people working at will with virtually no professional standing, a new academic working class.

“Working class” is best understood differently from the Department of Labor (DOL) category “production and non-supervisory” employee. This DOL category includes every employee who is not a supervisor, like most professors and other middle-class professionals working for a salary. However, lumping all employees who have no supervisory power over others into the working class masks the real differences in social position that professional people enjoy, beleaguered as they may be. Appreciating the contradictory location of professional and other middle-class employees helps to understand the political vicissitudes characteristic of this section of the population and suggests ways of approaching them as allies to working-class politics.

al-Qa'bong

Quote:
Dawn Purvis, MLA for East Belfast, regularly says her mission is "to articulate the needs of the working and workless classes in East Belfast." An expression that should be more widely used.

 

There are echoes of Thomas Carlyle there.  He sympathised with the dumb, inarticulate masses, and railed against others who claimed to be speaking for them.

 

Quote:

They as yet clamour for no more; the rest, still
inarticulate, cannot yet shape itself into a demand at all, and
only lies in them as a dumb wish; perhaps only, still more
inarticulate, as a dumb, altogether unconscious want. _This_ is
the supportable approximation they would rest patient with, That
by their work they might be kept alive to work more!

 

Past and Present

 

[ed.]

Thanks for posting that, M'Lud.  There are some useful distinctions made in that article.

Stockholm

Meanwhile getting back to the topic of the NDP caucus meeting in Regina - it looks like Jack is getting some very positive commentary from the local press

http://www.leaderpost.com/business/Layton+shows+Sask+what+leadership+loo...

"

But there's no question that federal New Democrats are enjoying a bit of a renaissance in national popularity at a time when they perhaps shouldn't be. If history tells us anything about minority governments, it is that the bountiful days for the third parties seldom last long. Either the minority government gets its majority or the frustration with the minority governing party coalesces around the alternative official opposition.

That federal New Democrats don't seem to be losing much ground to Stephen Harper's Conservatives or Michael Ignatieff's Liberals, as one might expect under the circumstances of three consecutive minority governments, tells us something. And maybe more credit should go to Layton who, during a speech to a joint gathering of the federal and provincial New Democrat caucuses at the legislature Monday afternoon, reminded us that he is perhaps the best thing the federal NDP has going for it right now.

The first thing that struck you about Layton during his address is how much more genuinely likable he seems than either Harper or Ignatieff -- especially when it comes to relating to common folk.

Maybe a little of it might have to do with some bad turned good. Certainly, Layton's recent cancer scare allowed Canadians to see him in a very different, more appealing light. But a lot of it has to do with the fact that he seems to have managed to shed a bit of his Toronto-centric image and has accentuated his common touch."

George Victor

al-Qa'bong wrote:

Stockholm wrote:

Why CAN'T we all just get along???

 

That's what I heard Mike Ignatieff say on The House this weekend.

 

It's a good thing to say if you want to disarm those you're snowing, and liberals like you and Iggy tend to use this sort of language quite a bit.

We in the working class are naturally suspicious of such tactics.

 

George Victor: 

"Are you feeling sort of  "liberal" these days, Stock, a tag applied by an admitted member of the "working class"?   You must remember never, ever to say things that have already put forward by "liberals" or "Liberals."  This identifies you immediately as liberal, or Liberal.

Do NOT expect reasonable - or even intelligent - responses to such appeals.  As you can see, a "natural" suspicion - in this circumstance, one might even say paranoid reaction -  is all one can expect. Statements from the gut, mean diddly squat to such folks."

 

Cue, on the "gross ignorance" of Malcolm and Stock:

"Not that Stockholm would disagree with you. Indeed you missed the boat there, too. Stockholm is in complete agreement with eliminating class, and class analysis from political discourse.

Not to mention, I think your construction of racist slang, as being comparable to economic terminology like "working class" and "poor" shows gross ignorance of racism. Maybe you don't even know what it is. Other than someone taught you to not use certain words because other people find them offensive."

 

Cue, on the virtues of George Victor:

"I have news for you, making generalized statements is not to be mistaken for objectivity. Seriously, you are old enough now to know better. Someone surely must have taught you enough basic social skills so that you don't always come off like a smarmy and manipulative prig?"

 

 

Ah, "objectivity" rules...one must never respond in kind.

 

remind remind's picture

Al'Q wrote:
with the dumb inarticulate masses

 ...and yet some people had a fit about George using  the phrase "the great unread".

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