Why DOESN'T the NDP clearly position itself as the peace party?

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Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture
Why DOESN'T the NDP clearly position itself as the peace party?

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Excellent question.

Unionist

You're barking up the wrong tree, Ken. The NDP has never played that role, ever. Peace politics will come from the movement, and its strength will determine whether any party follows.

 

 

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

I recall Tommy Douglas speaking out against Canada cooperating at all in the war on Vietnam.  And in the Eighties the party was heavily critical of what Reagan did to Central America.

And of course the peace movement will always play the key role.

But why should it have to be conceded that the "center-left" alternative will be indistinguishable on foreign policy from Harper, which is what Jack is pushing the party towards?  Nobody who likes the Afghan war will ever vote NDP anyway, nor will anyone who's a hawk on anything else.  These days, all hawks are right-wing on all other issues.

In the next election the NDP will be fighting for power from the very start.  People who want a militaristic foreign policy aren't going to agree with anything the NDP says that's progressive on anything anyway...there's no longer such a creature as a humane hawk.

People who want a big military and more Harper-style wars will vote Conservative no matter what you do.  Why even worry about appeasing them?

And why bother trying to appease the U.S. on this(says the subject of the Yank Empire)since my country's government is always going to want the right-wing party to be in power in Canada anyway.

Why NOT just let it be a clear "THE RIGHT IS FOR WAR-WE'RE AGAINST WAR" thing?

A muddled plank on foreign policy can't make young people enthused about voting NDP, nor can it galvanize the base, and it also can't win swing voters-so why bother?

The NDP ought to support protecting Canada from external military attack, but regard all other uses of force as inherently reactionary.  Clearly, there will never be another World War Two style "people's war", so why shouldn't they?

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

Canada is not a country that has historically had a militarist outlook on the world, so there's no obvious reason for the NDP to blur the difference on this issue based on opinion poll readings.

The Afghan involvement and the Libyan war are not popular, nor is the idea of increasing Canada's war budget.

JeffWells

The NDP must have picked up Obama's game of 10-dimensional chess. If it looks like he's moving right, Jack's just thinking five moves ahead of us!

If we could define peace as "no heckling," we have a winner. Maybe that will come to the floor at convention.

 

 

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

Worst case scenario...Jack announces he's for open-ended commitments in Libya and Afghanistan...so long as the troops bike to the battlefields.

Fidel

Unionist wrote:

You're barking up the wrong tree, Ken. The NDP has never played that role, ever. Peace politics will come from the movement, and its strength will determine whether any party follows.

 

No we have to give credit where it's due, even where dirty, slimey, worst-past-the-post electoral politics is concerned lest we inadvertently de-emphasize just how much the two oldest political parties have snivelled and grovelled to U.S.(uncle Sam) on everything from selling out on Canadian natural gas in the 1950s to buying dud Bomarc missile castoffs - and today with cow-towing to the Yanks on nurturing a narco administration in Afghanistan, toadying on Iraq - overthrowing Haiti's fledgling democracy in 2004 and one of many US-backed right wing coups in Honduras - another US-backed death squad government trafficking in illicit drugs in Bogota - and now this bit of toadying to US power in Libya. 

And so since neither of the Lib-Tories nor the ReformParty retreads and Liberal wing of that party can be shamed into not being the colonial administrators that they have been for decades, the NDP has to try a different political tack in overthrowing this old regime that has monoplized federal power in this country for about twice as long as the STALINISTS ruled Russia.

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

But isn't blurring the differences on the war budget the worst possible way to do that?  You're assuming that the voters can never be won over to a different way of seeing the world.  Why should the NDP sell the electorate short like that?  Voters like being challenged a bit, to be called on to try something at least a little out of their comfort level...this is one way to do that.

Plus, there really aren't any people in Canada who are progressive on domestic issues but hawkish on foreign policy.  You've never really had a political group like that in your country...as evidenced by the fact that even Lester Pearson, who was the picture of blandness and safety as prime minister, spoke out against LBJ on Vietnam.

JeffWells

Ken Burch wrote:

Worst case scenario...Jack announces he's for open-ended commitments in Libya and Afghanistan...so long as the troops bike to the battlefields.

Yup. Ya gotta laugh.

Everything else aside, I don't understand the political calculus of re-upping on Libya, after crowing for a month that Canadians voted for change. The Conservative press pat him on the head for putting the "loony left" in its place, while the electorate receive the message "we're just like the other guys."

 

laine lowe laine lowe's picture

Ken Burch wrote:

Worst case scenario...Jack announces he's for open-ended commitments in Libya and Afghanistan...so long as the troops bike to the battlefields.

Dark but very funny. It seems like peaceful, diplomatic accord is only for the House of Commons with this new session.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

CBC reported tonight that Canada is re-deploying soldiers diagnosed with PTSD. This should be an obvious place for the NDP to say "enough!".

Northern Shoveler Northern Shoveler's picture

I think the US has shown that soldiers with PTSD can make very effective killing machines.  In WWI our shell shocked boys were the most effective fighting force in the war.

I believe that a pro peace policy would be popular.  However the right wing media would attack them and I think Jack likes the pats on the head better.  

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

If the NDP pulls ahead of the Harperites in the polls, they'll get attacked anyway, no matter how far to the right they get(in the comments sections on the CBC website the last week of the election Jack was being called a Maoist!).  A smart leader would USE the attacks as a badge of honor.

Fidel

Ken Burch wrote:

If the NDP pulls ahead of the Harperites in the polls, they'll get attacked anyway, no matter how far to the right they get(in the comments sections on the CBC website the last week of the election Jack was being called a Maoist!).  A smart leader would USE the attacks as a badge of honor.

 

 Maoists would use force and chase these 24.3% stooges from power all the way to Formosa and Burma. The NDP are no Maoists nor any other kind of militant political group.

The NDP is the pro democracy party  - the right loathes pro democracy parties. And the Harpers are just a bunch of stooges with dictatorial power and who 76% of the country didn't vote for. The NDP smells blood, and they will be going for the Reform Party retread jugular over the next 4 point something years, or when er our corrupt stooges decide to call a snap election for short term political gain.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Ha - I just had a vision of some of the new MPs from Quebec quitting the NDP in disgust and gone over to sit with Elizabeth May. Laughing

Fidel

Never happen. They want to be in federal government by 2015 and heckling a much smaller Harper Party in second or even fourth place by then.

Policywonk

Fidel wrote:

Ken Burch wrote:

If the NDP pulls ahead of the Harperites in the polls, they'll get attacked anyway, no matter how far to the right they get(in the comments sections on the CBC website the last week of the election Jack was being called a Maoist!).  A smart leader would USE the attacks as a badge of honor.

 

 Maoists would use force and chase these 24.3% stooges from power all the way to Formosa and Burma. The NDP are no Maoists nor any other kind of militant political group.

The NDP is the pro democracy party  - the right loathes pro democracy parties. And the Harpers are just a bunch of stooges with dictatorial power and who 76% of the country didn't vote for. The NDP smells blood, and they will be going for the Reform Party retread jugular over the next 4 point something years, or when er our corrupt stooges decide to call a snap election for short term political gain.

Now if we could just have a little more internal democracy.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Fidel wrote:

Never happen. They want to be in federal government by 2015.

Never happen. They know the Orange Wave was a fluke.

Todrick of Chat...

Fidel, you will be working a lot of over time for the next 4 years at this rate. I hope the NDP pays you well.

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

Boom Boom wrote:

Fidel wrote:

Never happen. They want to be in federal government by 2015.

Never happen. They know the Orange Wave was a fluke.

No it wasn't.  And nothing would be better now if the Liberals had finished ahead of the NDP.  That result could never have led to a progressive coalition-and no arrangement that wasn't a formal coalition could have produced anything progressive.

There's no good reason to pine for the Liberals.  They were never going to be worth anything again.

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

Fidel wrote:

Ken Burch wrote:

If the NDP pulls ahead of the Harperites in the polls, they'll get attacked anyway, no matter how far to the right they get(in the comments sections on the CBC website the last week of the election Jack was being called a Maoist!).  A smart leader would USE the attacks as a badge of honor.

 

 Maoists would use force and chase these 24.3% stooges from power all the way to Formosa and Burma. The NDP are no Maoists nor any other kind of militant political group.

The NDP is the pro democracy party  - the right loathes pro democracy parties. And the Harpers are just a bunch of stooges with dictatorial power and who 76% of the country didn't vote for. The NDP smells blood, and they will be going for the Reform Party retread jugular over the next 4 point something years, or when er our corrupt stooges decide to call a snap election for short term political gain.

I realize the NDP aren't Maoists.  That was simply an illustration of the sort of invective that even a "safe center-left" party will always receive, which means it's pointless to try to protect the party from right-wing attacks at all.

Fidel

Boom Boom wrote:

Fidel wrote:

Never happen. They want to be in federal government by 2015.

Never happen. They know the Orange Wave was a fluke.

 

A fluke is when the most well funded party of them all manages just 24% of the eligible vote. They're scared. They used to be 220 yes-men and lap poodles for uncle Sam and Bay Street. 

Now they're just 201 aye-aye uncle Sams may we have another and facing a real opposition party for the first time in 140 years. Those sub-morons are going to have a difficult time of things keeping their big mouths shut for four years. The masks will fall away from time to time, and Canadians will be horrified by the penchant for foot-in-mouth sandwiches among the Harpers. We've got one of those sub-morons in my hometown, and he looks ripe already.

Fidel

Todrick of Chatsworth wrote:

Fidel, you will be working a lot of over time for the next 4 years at this rate. I hope the NDP pays you well.

That's another thing that makes them shit their pants on the right - they know the NDP has very many foot soldiers who work for free. 

Todrick of Chat...

Fidel wrote:

That's another thing that makes them shit their pants on the right - they know the NDP has very many foot soldiers who work for free. 

 

I see you used the term "foot soldier", I guess the NDP sees itself as some type of military force now.

 

Its okay, since Herr Layton has taken over the party, the NDP has been using a lot of militaristic terminology.  I can not find fault with you.

Fidel

Todrick of Chatsworth wrote:

Fidel wrote:

That's another thing that makes them shit their pants on the right - they know the NDP has very many foot soldiers who work for free. 

 

I see you used the term "foot soldier", I guess the NDP sees itself as some type of military force now.

Nope, nobody here but us pro democratizers looking to overthrow a corrupt stoogeaucracy by democratic means. 

Every successful revolution is the kicking in of a rotten door. Galbraith

Todrick of Chatsworth wrote:
Its okay, since Herr Layton has taken over the party, the NDP has been using a lot of militaristic terminology.  I can not find fault with you.

Apparently you don't mind the goosestepping fascistas in power or the other wing of the same party now reduced to some embarrassing number. Good for you. 

Todrick of Chat...

Hey, I am on your side. I want to see change, I just understand that the NMP (New Military Party) will not bring around the changes I seek.

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

No party will bring change all by itself.  But it will be much easier to work for change with a party like them in power than it would be to have Harper have a majority for twenty years or something, or, God help you, to have the right-wing Liberals come back from the dead.

Frmrsldr

Ken Burch wrote:

But why should it have to be conceded that the "center-left" alternative will be indistinguishable on foreign policy from Harper, which is what Jack is pushing the party towards?  Nobody who likes the Afghan war will ever vote NDP anyway, nor will anyone who's a hawk on anything else.  These days, all hawks are right-wing on all other issues.

In the next election the NDP will be fighting for power from the very start.  People who want a militaristic foreign policy aren't going to agree with anything the NDP says that's progressive on anything anyway...there's no longer such a creature as a humane hawk.

There are such creatures as the liberal, 'humanitarian war' cruise missile interventionist left chickenhawks.

Ken Burch wrote:

Why NOT just let it be a clear "THE RIGHT IS FOR WAR-WE'RE AGAINST WAR" thing?...

... The NDP ought to support protecting Canada from external military attack, but regard all other uses of force as inherently reactionary....

That is also the libertarian, traditional conservative, paleoconservative position.

[Concerning the added bold portion] in contrast, that is the neocon position.

Aristotleded24

Ken Burch wrote:
If the NDP pulls ahead of the Harperites in the polls, they'll get attacked anyway, no matter how far to the right they get(in the comments sections on the CBC website the last week of the election Jack was being called a Maoist!).  A smart leader would USE the attacks as a badge of honor.

When the right started attacking Obama as a socialist in 2008, Obama responded by saying, "this is what I believe, if it makes me a socialist, so be it," and it worked. In fact, his campaign plank about the people versus the rich was much sharper than the NDP ran on in the last campaign. If American voters can be convinced to elect a "socialist" for President, imagine what we could do here in Canada?

Fidel

Obama's a Liberal and lies like one, too. He's had big money behind him every step of the way just like our Liberals and their Liberal Democrats have for a long time. He must have laughed like hell when they called him a socialist. It's all a show and three ring circus down there anyway. The people and democracy were effectively separated long ago. You just have to follow the money to Wall Street and Bay St. to know their Liberals and our's have been bought and paid-for long time.

Todrick of Chat...

Well, Obama and his team has helped the NMP in the last few elections. I wonder if Herr Layton is receiving his marching orders from him still?

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

I don't think that's actually true.  The leadership of the Democratic Party in the U.S. has helped the Liberals, not the NDP(at one point, Howard Dean actually spoke at a Liberal convention during the Ignatieff era). 

Policywonk

Ken Burch wrote:

I don't think that's actually true.  The leadership of the Democratic Party in the U.S. has helped the Liberals, not the NDP(at one point, Howard Dean actually spoke at a Liberal convention during the Ignatieff era). 

Actually it is. I think Obama's campaign leadership team were on a panel at the 2009 Halifax Convention.

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

Well, if that's true, it's changed very recently.

Policywonk
Todrick of Chat...

I would not be surprised if the Obama team helped with the election last month in some secret way or form.

Stockholm

Ken Burch wrote:

 Nobody who likes the Afghan war will ever vote NDP anyway, nor will anyone who's a hawk on anything else.  These days, all hawks are right-wing on all other issues.

 

That's simply not true. I would agree that NDP voters are more likely to oppose the war in Afghanistan than do supporters of other parties. But there are more NDP voters than you think that have "hawkish" views on Afghanistan (similarly there are plenty of people who vote Conservative who are totally against the war in Afghanistan and the involvement in Libya as well). Often times we make the mistake of stereotyping NDP voters as all being people who live in downtowns who are either artists or work for NGOs. That probably describes about 1% of the NDP electorate. The rest of just people struggling to make a living - many of whom are in the Canadian Forces. I'm sure if you went door to door in Sackville, Nova Scotia you could easily find people who vote for Peter Stoffer and who support the war in Afghanistan. I'm not saying this is something good or bad - it just IS.

Stockholm

Todrick of Chatsworth wrote:

I would not be surprised if the Obama team helped with the election last month in some secret way or form.

If so, we should be grateful and offer to return the favour if any NDP organizers want to help out on the campigns of some Democrats in the 2012 elections.

Todrick of Chat...

You are correct, one aggressive pro-military party should help out another aggressive pro-military party.

Polunatic2

Quote:
 But there are more NDP voters than you think that have "hawkish" views on Afghanistan 

In other words, the NDP can take their "dovish" supporters for granted? Who else are they going to vote for anyway? 

Exactly who are the rebel "allies" that Parliament is supporting in Libya? 

Caissa

If we ever get a proportional representation system the NDP will find out who they can take for granted.

Stockholm

BTW: I notice even after being reduced to four seats and struggling for a raison d'etre - the 4 BQ MPs also voted in favour of extending the mission.

Northern Shoveler Northern Shoveler's picture

Stockholm wrote:

Todrick of Chatsworth wrote:

I would not be surprised if the Obama team helped with the election last month in some secret way or form.

If so, we should be grateful and offer to return the favour if any NDP organizers want to help out on the campigns of some Democrats in the 2012 elections.

I knew numerous NDP activists/organizers who helped on Obama's 2008 campaign.  It is likely where some of the contacts were made that led to the invite in 2009.

I kept telling those people that Obama was an imperialist war monger and they thought I was a fool.  I guess they were right since he won the peace prize.

Laughing

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

Stockholm wrote:

Ken Burch wrote:

 Nobody who likes the Afghan war will ever vote NDP anyway, nor will anyone who's a hawk on anything else.  These days, all hawks are right-wing on all other issues.

 

That's simply not true. I would agree that NDP voters are more likely to oppose the war in Afghanistan than do supporters of other parties. But there are more NDP voters than you think that have "hawkish" views on Afghanistan (similarly there are plenty of people who vote Conservative who are totally against the war in Afghanistan and the involvement in Libya as well). Often times we make the mistake of stereotyping NDP voters as all being people who live in downtowns who are either artists or work for NGOs. That probably describes about 1% of the NDP electorate. The rest of just people struggling to make a living - many of whom are in the Canadian Forces. I'm sure if you went door to door in Sackville, Nova Scotia you could easily find people who vote for Peter Stoffer and who support the war in Afghanistan. I'm not saying this is something good or bad - it just IS.

It's equally a stereotype to imply that everybody OUTSIDE "downtown" are down with every war Harper wants to get into.  Or that only "artists" are antiwar.   And why assume that people who are struggling to make a living are militarist?  You're assuming that only a small(and actually mythical) "urban elite" questions the idea of war at all.  It's quite likely, for example, that a lot of people in small-towns who are struggling to get by had sons or daughters come home from Kabul in a box.  It's not bloody likely that THOSE people are still cheering for war.

And you can't assume that people in the Canadian Forces are big on actually staying in long-term wars, either.  A lot of those people joined because that was the only job they could get, and the best way for the NDP to help them is to restructure the economy so those folks can get decent jobs at decent wages that don't involve killing people for no reason.  A lot of those folks in the Forces would be deeply grateful for that.

People who are with Harper on the idea that Canada needs to "throw its weight around" with troop strength in various countries, or people who buy into the "clash of civilizations" bullshit, are not going to be interested in full employment, or preserving the healthcare system.  If you want killing abroad, you're not going to want compassion at home.  This isn't World War II, Stock.

NDPP

"Should Canada extend its mission in Libya

Yes: 24%

No: 64%

Unsure: 12%

todays Globe: Jeffrey Simpson On Why Canada Is In Over ITs Head in Libya

Northern Shoveler Northern Shoveler's picture

Obviously the Neo-Democrats are trying for the soft Harper vote to wn the next election.

Frown

JeffWells

Macleans online poll (June 13):

Do you support the extension of Canada’s military mission in Libya?

 

Yes. It's the kind of mission we should be involved with. 13.36%

Yes, but we need to re-assess our objectives. 16.31%

No. We should get out now. 70.33%

http://www2.macleans.ca/2011/06/13/do-you-support-the-extension-of-canad...

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

That poll destroys the case for NDP hawkishness right there.   Thanks, Jeff.

JeffWells

Ken Burch wrote:

That poll destroys the case for NDP hawkishness right there.   Thanks, Jeff.

 

According to this poll, re Libya, the Conservatives represent 13%, the NDP, Liberals and Bloc share another 16%, and the Greens 70%.

Leaving aside the NDP did the wrong thing, they also did the stupidest thing. It's a surreal misstep.

Polunatic2

Didn't polling also consistently show that Cdns have opposed having troops in Afghanistan? That didn't stop the NDP from supporting the role of the military in Afghanistan (even if they did finally call for the troops to be brought home)? 

Quote:
It's not bloody likely that THOSE people are still cheering for war.

Isn't avenging the deaths of Cdn soldiers who were avenging the deaths of Canadians on 9/11, one of the principle reasons the government gives for maintaining a military role in Afghanistan? Otherwise, they will have "died for nothing"? 

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