Why isn't the NDP doing better. part 2

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cruisin_turtle

Fide - what you are saying about money buying means to propagandize the public in US elections is true, but candidates also need to be on the good side of the media bosses. Several billionairs failed to get elected despite spending record sums of their personal fortunes on their campaigns. And many puppet candidates easily get elected even when they don't have the means to fund big campaigns. They get the favourable media coverage for free because they are bought and paid for. 

So, without fair media or alternatively biased but diversified media, there can be no real democracy. And right now the media in North America is monopolized by one side and it's not the left.

On a different topic, I liked Star's point above.  In this shift of the entire spectrum to the right, the NDP are the real heirs of King, Pearson and Trudeau. So they might as well promote themselves as such and shoot for all that centre and left vote that has been left without representation in this country.  That's the majority of Canadians. 

Fidel

Yep, the same people buying governments own the news media, too. RFK Jr told a crowd in Canada recently that in America, the rich own somewhere more than 95% of all newspapers, radio and TV broadcast rights. And the worst part is, that's not the worst of it compared to countries like Canada.

In Canada the situation with news media ownership by rich people is even worse than in the US. Here we have even more concentration of news media in the hands of fewer billionaires. Someone in Ottawa told Mel Hurtig that only in Italy is concentration of news media in the hands of a few even worse than the situation in Canada.

Joseph Goebbels and the Nazis never dreamed of the technical capabilities or the financial means concentrated in the hands of a few for propagandizing the public that exists today.

George Victor

Evening Star wrote:

George, what you're saying seems interesting but I'm not sure I follow all of it.

George Victor wrote:

The NDP isn't "doing better" than it is for reasons tied to expectations and the historic role of social democracy, according to the late Tony Judt, in his Ill Fares the Land: "However perverted the Muscovite variation, its sudden and complete disappearance could not but have a disruptive impact on any party or movement calling itself 'social democratic'.

I think this is essentially what I was getting at upthread, that somehow, since the fall of the USSR, 'socialism' in any form has been seen as a failure?

Quote:

 

Could you (or Judt) explain this a little?  Why would/should it be easier for a conservative or conservatism to survive these things?  It does seem that that is the case, esp looking at the US.  While it should be obvious to everyone that Bush and his policies were a failure in every way and that Obama has only improved things a little, even if only very modestly, and has been more moderate than even his campaign platform, still there has been a triumphant resurgence of uber-conservatism that is perhaps more extreme than Bush's.  Even when all statistics seem to indicate that Nordic social democracies and even Canada are more prosperous and stable, we see the mad ideological reaction.  When it is obvious that David Miller balanced Toronto's budget and made Toronto politics cleaner, compared to his conservative predecessor, his agenda was attacked for its wasteful spending!  When the economic crisis should have exposed the failings of capitalism, it was progressives and the welfare state who were attacked.

Quote:

This purely political perspective, of course, is only a partial explanation. The  "idealism" was in fact lost when it became clear that the welfare state conceived in the early 1940s, would have to be paid for. Pulling back the curtain on what was left of the USSRs economy, underlined that, for people of the left AND right. And with the corporation given the plane ticket of Globalization, beginning in the 1970s, that became rather difficult. That, combined with the Conservative discovery of the lower taxes mantra from the time of Reagan and Thatcher - which Bush was able to maintain even while U.S.debt mounted - and is still popular today among the electorate, for some reason Undecided has made the task of New Democrats everywhere, one of treadmill progress.

These points all make sense.  So... can we pay for the welfare state?  Is there room for higher income taxes in our economy?  Luxury taxes?  Inheritance taxes? Would these be enough?  Might we need to embrace consumption taxes?  Or should we renationalize old Crown corporations and hope that they run profitably?  Is there anything we can cut?

Quote:

I'm betting that the environmental chickens will come home to roost, and that that is where NDP money should be placed.  It's time to forget labour's antipathy to the environmental message.  That sector is a self-absorbed, broken reed.

This would lead to a fundamental change in what the party stands for, though.

Lastly, why have NDP governments governed so much like Liberals?  Are the neoliberals right about something?  Is the NDP just playing to a conservative mood amongst the electorate?  Is there just less of a sense of what the party stands for anymore?

 

You are a taskmaster. Lemme take a shot at it:

 

First, this one:

"This was a peculiarity of left-wing politics. Even if every conservative and reactionary regime around the globe were to implode tomorrow, its public image hopelessly tarnished by corruption and invompetence, the politics of conservatism would survive intact...But for the Left, the absence of a historically-buttressed narrative leaves an empty space. All that remains is politics: the politics of interest, the politics of envy, the politics of reo-election. Without idealism, politics is reduced to a form of social accounting, the day-to-day administration of men and things. This too is something that a conservative can survive well enough. But for the Left it is a catastrophe."

 

In saying this, Judt demonstrates the weakness of a purely political approach, unsupported by anything happening in economic practise in the last thirty years...the time span which even Judt says in his into, is the critical period of change. He should have pointed explicitly to the rise of the Chicago School which laid out the economic framework within which the "economic imperative" came to dictate. In other words, the corporate located wherever it could achieve the greatest returns...there was no longer loyalty to any region or state, let alone to the workforce, because the investment community no longer felt compelled to invest in anything but those equities that would bring the greatest returns.

 

Of course, this meant that political jurisdictions has to reduce taxes (you will recall the extent of this in the early/middle 90s as the Liberals competed with the Conservative forces rising in the West for the loyalty of big business...and those in the workforce who were being taught by mainstreet chatter that the huge debt left by Lyin' Brian was "not good economics." And Martin's balancing of the books was universally applauded by the investment community.

And this meant that education and health care were suddenly harder to pay for...etc.

 

The Conservatives laid us open to the current deficits we're running up by cutting two points off the GST (in 96) and continuing to cut taxes in the corporate sector. NOBODY can propose higher taxes in this political atmosphere. And this has been the political situation everywhere, for decades.

 

You suggest that a social democratic party cannot focus on environmental questions because: "This would lead to a fundamental change in what the party stands for..."

To which I reply: as our species becomes more focused on SURVIVAL, a change in political party focus will be the very least we can expect to have to undergo. Many of us suggest that eventually it will mean a social and economic reformation that makes our wartime economy of the 1940s look like childrens' party time. (But of course if you don't believe the stats on climate change expectations, you will not appreciate such a shift in party focus).

 

 

Lastly, your question: " why have NDP governments governed so much like Liberals?  Are the neoliberals right about something?  Is the NDP just playing to a conservative mood amongst the electorate?  Is there just less of a sense of what the party stands for anymore?"

 

I hope I've explained how economic forces have reduced us to playing ball with them...and the neoliberals just happen to be playing the winning hand as a result. Everyone has to compete, or lose the corp. And the electorate is interested in holding a job and paying the mortgage,etc. And so the party is seen to be a bit of an economic risk. We can't just call for social justice and see social needs met as in the good old days of economic growth and a captive corporate sector, steady jobs, company pensions, and you'll not remember the MAJOR concern of the 1960s WHAT WE WOULD DO WITH ALL OUR LEISURE TIME. HONEST TO GAIA!

 

 

Reich makes a beautiful explanation of what's happened to create what he calls Supercapitalism. He also notes in passing that in those three decades, we've all been caught up in depending on the health of corporations because that's where our pension funds are invested. Around the world.

 

 

Yes, I think that the NDP has to demonstrate that it recognizes these new limits. But it cannot just be another Liberal party, which is wholly captive to big business while flying a small l flag of social concern. We just have to be better at developing a "business plan" for all in the approaching crunch of climate change. Tall order eh? I just wish more New Democrats were onside with understanding those economic forces...which are never, ever mentioned hereabouts. Not "socialist" enough, somehow.Wink

 

Hell, even Naomi Klein was suspect because of her dependency in Shock Doctrine on an economic explanation.

 

 

cruisin_turtle

Evening Star wrote:
.. someone explain Quebec?  Social democracy seems to have its strongest bastion there..

I will continue to harp on the same issue; the media.  Quebecers have access to a more diverse media.  The english media has been monopolized by one side but if you speak French you have the benefit of exposure to non-monopolized media and hearing perspectives not covered in English Canadian media.

Free media is a beautiful thing and I can't overstate its importance to a functioning democracy.  Without a press or a TV station presenting the centre and the left perspectives fairly, there is no chance of anything improving.  The first step on the right track has to be an independent newspaper easily available to the public that does not only toe the mainstream line. 

Malcolm Malcolm's picture

cruisin_turtle wrote:

Buzz Hargrove is a good guy.  I don't vote NDP for any special attachment or blind loyalty that I have to the party. I do because usually their candidate most closely represents my ideas and values.  If Hargrove had a disagreement with the NDP on an issue I'll more likely side with Hargrove, knowing what I know about him.

Basil Hargrove is an odious quisling who doesn't have the integrity God gave a stoat.  He is now and has always been nothing but a flack and apologist for the right wing Liberals.  Let him take his taskless thanks in the Senate should his precious Liberals ever stumble back to power.

Malcolm Malcolm's picture

In every jurisdiction in Canada, we see a recurring pattern where, once a generation or so, the window opens to a possible political realignment in which one of the two normative parties of government is replaced by a new party - usually but not always a party that has existed for some time as a third party.

For example, the late 90s saw the NS NDP establish itself as the alternate party of government, until eventually consolidating a win a decade later.  In Saskatchewan, the CCF displaced the Conservatives in the 1930s, Social Credit showed some potential to displace the Liberals in the late 50s before imploding, the Conservatives displaced the Liberals in the 1970s and the Liberals were on their way to displacing the Conservatives in turn in the late 90s - until they imploded and the old Cons and dissident Libs created the saskatchewan Party.

The thing is that, while the window opens, the displacing party does not always succeed.  The NSNDP in the late 90s did.  The federal NDP in the late 80s did not.  The ONDP in 1990 actually made it through the window - but them slammed the window down on their own fingers.

Sometimes success or failure is directly the result of the putative displacing party's strengths or weaknesses (NSNDP in the late 90s v ONDP in the mid 90s), and sometimes the result of smart (if desperate) maneuvering by the party they stand to replace (the effective Liberal comeback in 1988, the reinvention of the Cons as the SaskParty in 1996).

I think we are seeing the window open in federal politics.  The question is (in two parts): Does the federal NDP have the political schmuck to capitalize on the opportunity and is there residual schmuck in the federal Liberals to defend their position?

adma

Malcolm wrote:
The thing is that, while the window opens, the displacing party does not always succeed.  The NSNDP in the late 90s did.  The federal NDP in the late 80s did not.  The ONDP in 1990 actually made it through the window - but them slammed the window down on their own fingers.

Another example of one that succeeded vs one that didn't: the Manitoba NDP in 1969 vs the Manitoba Liberals 20 years later.  (And a more recent "one that didn't": the ADQ in Quebec.)

KenS

Another open window that turned to nothing: the Alberta NDP that was Official Opposition under Grant Notley.

But I think there should be more criteria of success than whether or not the NDP was able to parlay a window of opportunity into becoming the government.

The Nova Scotia NDP saw its opportunity about 8 years ago, and chose to fly under the radar to get to the end point. It worked to get the NDP into government- a majority no less, where there are still 3 real parties. But the lack of developing even the kind of modest mandate the Doer government came in with shows and will continue to show.

When you have a de facto two party system [BC,SK,MB] then waiting for the reigning government to self destruct or just get too old, is going to work even if you dont seem to do much of anything right [BCNDP now]. It can even work in a 3 party system as long as one way or another one of those parties is kept firmly in also ran status [NSNDP].

This will never work for the federal NDP with the balkanized regional politics at the national level- never work to turn the NDP into a decisive force, let alone bring it to government except as junior partner in an arrangement of limited duration.

But more to the point flying under the radar to grow in strngth as your opponents fade is neither desirable or necessary, even for the strong provincial parties that can get away with it, let alone for the federal party and the provincial sections that are not contending for power.

Under Jack Layton the issue basis of NDP growth has been communications around the small and 'motherhood' issues- almost exclusively pocketbook ones. Doing something well is not to be sneered at. It beats the pillar and post issue wandering before Jack was leader.

While that has definitely taken a page from the NSDP, at least the federal NDP is not working to stay under the radar. But then, it doesnt have the luxury of being able to coast in.

At ant rate, playing the little issues well has served the federal NDP well as the substantive base of its steady growth. [Being stalled in the polls now does not bely that steady growth.] But its not enough.

Brian Topps most recent column is a good sign that at least some pretty close in are more than just [passively] aware of that.

DaveW

Malcolm wrote:

In every jurisdiction in Canada, we see a recurring pattern where, once a generation or so, the window opens to a possible political realignment in which one of the two normative parties of government is replaced by a new party - usually but not always a party that has existed for some time as a third party.

[...]

I think we are seeing the window open in federal politics.  The question is (in two parts): Does the federal NDP have the political schmuck to capitalize on the opportunity and is there residual schmuck in the federal Liberals to defend their position?

yes and no; in the immediate post-war when UK Labour finally came to power after marginalizing the Liberals decades before, the rest of the Commonwealth countries generally followed, and split into a 2-sided Labour-Conservative dyad of some sort...

 Canada did not, to the great frustration of T.Douglas and Stephen Lewis, and the ultimate reason was Quebec;

Quebec just did not (and does not) respond to the call that "everyone needs a job and economic reform, and that is what unites us, " etc.;  for Quebec francophones, there has always been another, more important us/them divide

 also, as the CCF then NDP was never able to overcome that, and having missed the breakthrough in the late 1940s when unionized workers made up over 30 per cent of the workforce, they are pedalling very hard against a headwind to make that breakthrough today when the unionized share in Canada is down to the teens, headed lower, and heavily weighted to the public sector...

 

 

KenS

This is more of arguing what the NDP's opportunity is dependent on- which explicitly or tacitly is a passive argument about where or not there is or can be an opportunity.

Bollocks. You make your opportuninities starting with what you have.

The ascendency of social democracy was never so dependent on the working class. And if the 'old' or the 'new' working class has radically dnanged, or changed and got smaller, thats just another factor in the mix to which you adapt.

Ditto with the hostility of the media and the central role it plays.

KenS

Brian Topp's column last week: Why progressives need guns in populist knife fight

Brian Topp wrote:

They say government is too big. We should say poverty, unemployment, and injustice are too big.

They say taxes are too high. We should say there are more important things to tackle right now than reducing taxes for rich people.

They say they'll give everyone some of their money back. We should say paying for tax cuts by running deficits is theft from our children.

They say it's time to sell off and privatize schools, hospitals and public services. We should say there are some important things best done together - like good public education for our kids and good health care no matter how big your wallet is.

These are not themselves 'big ideas' but they are bigger ideas and talking bigger.

Currently you'll only hear this kind of narrative when Jack knows he is singing primarily to the choir. It is the kind of talk we need to be working in at those moments when Jack has the eyes and ears of the nation.

Evening Star

Actually, that's the part I do get.  What I don't totally get is why social democracy always seems to come along with separatism in Quebec.  Why doesn't there seem to be a strong federalist left?  And it's more complicated than that since QC doesn't even seem very committed to separatism in any way, judging by their last couple of provincial elections.  So why are they so eager to send social democratic separatist MPs to Ottawa and so loath to send social democratic federalist MPs?

 

cruisin_turtle wrote:

Evening Star wrote:
.. someone explain Quebec?  Social democracy seems to have its strongest bastion there..

I will continue to harp on the same issue; the media.  Quebecers have access to a more diverse media.  The english media has been monopolized by one side but if you speak French you have the benefit of exposure to non-monopolized media and hearing perspectives not covered in English Canadian media.

Free media is a beautiful thing and I can't overstate its importance to a functioning democracy.  Without a press or a TV station presenting the centre and the left perspectives fairly, there is no chance of anything improving.  The first step on the right track has to be an independent newspaper easily available to the public that does not only toe the mainstream line. 

Evening Star

George Victor wrote:

You suggest that a social democratic party cannot focus on environmental questions because: "This would lead to a fundamental change in what the party stands for..."

To which I reply: as our species becomes more focused on SURVIVAL, a change in political party focus will be the very least we can expect to have to undergo. Many of us suggest that eventually it will mean a social and economic reformation that makes our wartime economy of the 1940s look like childrens' party time. (But of course if you don't believe the stats on climate change expectations, you will not appreciate such a shift in party focus).

I didn't mean that they (we) can't, just that that would mean a pretty fundamental shift in the party's focus and its bases of support.  In any case, I think the environment has been a major focus for Layton.

But you may well be right that that is essential for the party to remain relevant.  I do believe the stats btw.

 

Aristotleded24

Evening Star wrote:
Actually, that's the part I do get.  What I don't totally get is why social democracy always seems to come along with separatism in Quebec.  Why doesn't there seem to be a strong federalist left?  And it's more complicated than that since QC doesn't even seem very committed to separatism in any way, judging by their last couple of provincial elections.  So why are they so eager to send social democratic separatist MPs to Ottawa and so loath to send social democratic federalist MPs?

Good point. Quebec Solidaire is basically the closest to the provincial NDP equivalent in Quebec. They are independantistes, but their main priority is economics and building a different kind of economy. Unfortunately for them, their independantieste stance proves a barrier to gaining support among the non-francophone population in Quebec, particularly the anglophone communities.

Sean in Ottawa

By changing your political values like a weathervane in order to attract votes in the end you do the opposite.

Even though I do not support the idea even if it were viable, I remain also unconvinced that a strategy of moving to the centre as soem call it would actually work.

It is ironic that the Cons and Liebrals struggle to difrintiate themselves and people recognize this as a necessity yet they think the NDP could gain by being less different.

Now we cannot gain by being less different. Why would the "new Liberal party" which is what we would be, be any better than the old one?

George Victor

We're talking about staying relevant by adjusting position to meet changes in the REAL WORLD, Sean.  This is not backroom talk among political hacks about what might catch attention.

I mean, even Mother Theresa came down to Earth, eventually.

Sean in Ottawa

It is a challenge to be polite to you after the last post which suggests I am needing "real world" to be capitalized as if I would otherwise miss it.

I have already spoken positively about an evolution of ideas and platform based on what party members believe and what is best for the country. I am pointing to a critical distinction between that and shopping for a more popular ideology than the one that motivates us-- just in order to get more votes.

If an individual has come to the conclusion that the NDP no longer reflects their "real world" views then they can change parties to one that does. It is another matter to suggest that it should become their job to say it is the pragmatic and right thing for a political party defined as a left of centre party to move to the right to get more votes -- even if its membership does not subscribe to that new ideology. There is a value and purpose of having a left vision option. Nobody has to choose it if they do not want to but to replace it with one that is just like the others for more votes diminishes democracy.

A party should reflect the views of its membership and change with them through a natural evolution but that is an entirely different thing than taking up views that the membership does not agree with and telling them to support it as a way to get to power. I don't want to be a part of a party that will become something else to get elected. Enough others feel the same way that the party would not move -- it would split.

A party of principle looks to find ways to present itself to get more support not how to change in to something of fashion. It looks for the best policies in keeping with its guiding principles, not simply policies that people would support regardless of what they are. This has nothing to do with backroom.

contrarianna

Sean in Ottawa wrote:

By changing your political values like a weathervane in order to attract votes in the end you do the opposite.

Even though I do not support the idea even if it were viable, I remain also unconvinced that a strategy of moving to the centre as soem call it would actually work.

Heck, if "moving to the centre" means foreign Affairs "critic" Paul Dewar would renounce his much touted offer to lobby for the Harper government to get a seat on the Security Council, why not give it a try?

Sean in Ottawa

Then why not just have one party and a presidential election for leader?

We could do away with the mixed party system and instead just choose who is the most popular.

And no I do not support anyone lobbying on behalf of the Harper government getting any seat, anywhere.

Zem Zem's picture

George Victor wrote:

We're talking about staying relevant by adjusting position to meet changes in the REAL WORLD, Sean.  This is not backroom talk among political hacks about what might catch attention.

I mean, even Mother Theresa came down to Earth, eventually.

Sure -- but where does one draw the line -- and don't be confused here that it is, indeed, a fine line between acting as the leftist conscience of the nation on the one hand, and whoring oneself to the populous for ten bucks a vote ...

George Victor

Many among the populace are facing bread banks and bugger all help. If a party cannot "whore itself" to these folks, it should not call itself social democratic. It seems to me the party still speaks to them, and hopes that someday they will turn out to vote. But while waiting for the turnout, it also has to speak to those who DO vote...something about the propertied (even mortgaged to the hilt) more likely to see it as a meanigful exercise.

Sean in Ottawa

And in the meantime sell out those who worked for it and supported its principles so that it can be exactly like the others?

And when it is exactly like the others do we care if it gets elected?

Why don't we take a short cut and ask Stephen to change his name to Jack and save us all the trouble.

I want to get the principles I believe in elected-- I am not trying to get any name elected.

Aristotleded24

Sean in Ottawa wrote:
By changing your political values like a weathervane in order to attract votes in the end you do the opposite.

Even though I do not support the idea even if it were viable, I remain also unconvinced that a strategy of moving to the centre as soem call it would actually work.

It is ironic that the Cons and Liebrals struggle to difrintiate themselves and people recognize this as a necessity yet they think the NDP could gain by being less different.

Now we cannot gain by being less different. Why would the "new Liberal party" which is what we would be, be any better than the old one?

Exactly. One of the common complaints you hear about politicians from the average people is that "they're all the same," that they tell people what they want to hear. You also make a good point about differentiating yourself from others. In Winnipeg, despite the general unease with incumbents that was showing in elections across the country, and despite the many horrible decisions that Sam Katz has made, his challenger was not able to defeat him because her campaign team could not make her stand out.

George Victor

Sean in Ottawa wrote:

And in the meantime sell out those who worked for it and supported its principles so that it can be exactly like the others?

And when it is exactly like the others do we care if it gets elected?

Why don't we take a short cut and ask Stephen to change his name to Jack and save us all the trouble.

I want to get the principles I believe in elected-- I am not trying to get any name elected.

 

 

"Why don't we take a short cut and ask Stephen to change his name to Jack and save us all the trouble ? "

 

Because some folks who get to talkin' about the situation facing the common people out there, realize that saintliness is not going to pay their mortgage, put food on the table, or win some an adequate share of a shrinking pie.

 

The part of the economic pie available for re-distributiion is shrinking, you know. Moralizing without real-world substance should be reserved for the holy orders.

 

 

cruisin_turtle

Sean in Ottawa wrote:

By changing your political values like a weathervane in order to attract votes in the end you do the opposite.

It's good to see you Sean.

 

I agree the NDP should not change its values to appease anybody. For example, I didn't like when Layton commended Toronto Chief Blair on a job well done when it clearly wasn't.

But I think the Federal NDP should point out that the good values and policies that Pearson and Trudeau worked on, and helped make Canada what it is today, are no longer represented by Ignatief Liberals.  This is not pandering to anybody, it's a fact.

Michael Moriarity Michael Moriarity's picture

George Victor wrote:

Because some folks who get to talkin' about the situation facing the common people out there, realize that saintliness is not going to pay their mortgage, put food on the table, or win some an adequate share of a shrinking pie.

The part of the economic pie available for re-distributiion is shrinking, you know. Moralizing without real-world substance should be reserved for the holy orders.

Well, George, I have read many complaints by you about the alleged fact that other posters are not addressing the real issues of economics which you think are crucial to survival for the "common people". However, I do not recall you putting forward specific policies which you think that the NDP should be following on the economy. I would be very interested to hear your prescription for policies which would both get the NDP elected and help those most in need.

 

NorthReport

The contrast between Harper and Ignatieff is absolutely staggering. The only hope whatsoever to stop a CPC majority is Jack Layton, Thomas Mulcair, Don Davies and the rest of the NDP team. And this is written by a bigtime liberal supporter. The NDP has to get its act together bigtime and start kicking some serious butt now, right through till the next election.

 

 

Harper's switcheroos leave Grits empty-handed

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/opinions/opinion/harpers-switcheroos...

George Victor

Michael Moriarity wrote:

George Victor wrote:

Because some folks who get to talkin' about the situation facing the common people out there, realize that saintliness is not going to pay their mortgage, put food on the table, or win some an adequate share of a shrinking pie.

The part of the economic pie available for re-distributiion is shrinking, you know. Moralizing without real-world substance should be reserved for the holy orders.

Well, George, I have read many complaints by you about the alleged fact that other posters are not addressing the real issues of economics which you think are crucial to survival for the "common people". However, I do not recall you putting forward specific policies which you think that the NDP should be following on the economy. I would be very interested to hear your prescription for policies which would both get the NDP elected and help those most in need.

 

Right, Michael.  I don't know whether you disagree with the sentiment about strengthening the NDPs reputation among those frightened folks in the middle who DO turn out to vote, but here's a starter. As you know, Jack announced earlier this year that the Canada Pension Plan not only needs more contributions to enlarge pensions down the road (20, 30 and 40 years, down the road) but there should be an addition to the Supplement, which now only adds a pittance to those getting by on Old Age Security alone. And as you also know, Conservative Central at the University of Calgary has opined as to how adding more to the CPP would not meet with objections from employers, bankers, etc...given that payout in any meaningful amount would be decades down the road, and it would only go to those folks who worked.

Back at the end of September, the Globe carrid a little piece that said: "The stability and type of pensions are key as baby boomers  exit the work force, says Richard Yerema, managin editor of Canada's Top 100 Employers. Many private sector employers have moved to define-contributiion plans, which put a much heavier onyus on employees to provide for their own retirements. Traditional defined-benefit plans are still found in the public sector and among larger private-sector employers, though many are limiting enrolment to older employees."

And by golly, that's exactly the way it's playing out for the 900 employees of the old Dofasco plant in Hamilton, who are locked out on that issue right now.

One would think that, from time to time, one wold hear more about the centrality of this issue for New Democrats, how it has been brought forward in timely fashion by Jack's office.  But one only hears about the meaning of the NDP for revolutionary change, thoughts about what might turn on the voter, how to re-phrase the obvious.

And that brings us to where pension plan board are making those investments.  Again, a dead zone for discussion.

Like, OMERS investment arm, which manages pension plans for Ontario's municipal employees, and the Ontario Teachers Pension Plan arepaying $3.4 billiion to the British Department of Transport...the new Conservative government there is off-loading a lot of public responsibility, for cash...for a 30-year franchise right to the 109 kilometres of former public rail line between London and the Channel Tunnel.

Like, instead of dead theory, could discussion take place on the role of public unions in the privatization of utilities around the world, in this age of Globalization (the new Supercapitalism, that nobody, but nobody, wants to touch, hereabouts.)

But perhaps you do, Michael, on this one, just for starters?

al-Qa'bong

Quote:

But I think the Federal NDP should point out that the good values and policies that Pearson and Trudeau worked on...

Do you mean the good policy ideas such as those the Liberals stole from the Nude Ems, or strictly liberal ideas like the War Measures Act and wage and price controls?

 

Why should the NDP praise the Liberals?

George Victor

Hello Michael Moriarity.   You still there?

Sean in Ottawa

George it is like we are on to rails that never meet-- your rebuttals are fine in themselves but have nothing to do with what I am saying.

I drew a distinction you are ignoring but I can't let you because it is central to my argument--

It is the difference between evolution of ideas to fit what is best and to address real needs on the one hand and moving to a political space just because it is more popular not because it will help anyone and not out of a realization that what we are doing is wrong.

I am fine with presenting something that will show hope to the middle class (the straw man argument you present ignores this). I am against pandering to the opinion of people who have it wrong about what is best for them -- just because we think we will get more votes being like the other parties who get more votes. If we did in fact adopt the middle of the road Liberal policies we would likely lose votes rather than gain them because when you have two parties saying the same thing it makes logical sense to vote for the more powerful one. The Liberals are still bigger.

The people who do believe in what we believe-- those one in five people-- they too deserve our respect. Why would we, knowing they are right, sell them out for the hope of getting perhaps 2 in five who do not agree with us to vote for a new program we don't agree with either-- just because there are more of them. That's a fast track from being a smaller party with a purpose to being an even smaller party with no purpose just aping a bigger more popular party hoping something rubs off.

It is one thing to keep to our principles, updating our programs to be beneficial to the people we want to have support us-- it is another thing to change our policies into those that won't help anyone just because it is a more popular vision even if it is dead wrong. And if you think it is not dead wrong -- well there is a Liberal party of Canada to join. I still believe in the basic principles of social justice and won't abandon it for the politics of greed even if 99.9% of Canadians give up and support the politics of greed. If we have a vision-- victory is getting that vision elected not just getting more orange seats that act just like red ones.

It is starting to sound like you don't believe in the core NDP principles anymore and you think they need updating-- I ask again why not find a party that matches the vision you believe in rather than take down a party that has a significant minority of people who still believe in it taking away their political voice? At nearly 20% of the population, I think a social democratic vision of this country is still worthwhile even if we can't get 40% support. Perhaps one day we can, perhaps we can influence some policies-- all this is better than being Liberals wearing orange abandoning what we believe in for something perhaps a little more popular.

Ironically, I'll also point out that the Liberals are not that much more popular and are less popular in much of the country.

I also think standing up for what you believe in honestly, actually cold be popular. It is hard to hear the voices calling for this over the squeals of the sellouts at times. It is a fair question as to which is more damaging standing up for something some do not agree with or refusing to take a risk and fight consistently for something of value. -- even if it is repugnant, I think people will respect politicians of vision who stand for something (ask a guy called Ford). I'm for presenting the courage of convictions to Canadians along with creativity in individual programs. I think there is a market for that...

cruisin_turtle

Sean, you talk about The NDP Principles as if they were the Holy Scriptures.  NDP is not a religion.  It's just a political party.

Maybe it's late and I'm not fully digesting your post so let me cut ahead and just ask you this.  Would you support the NDP not running candidates in the next election in select ridings to give the Liberals a chance to beat the Tories there, and in exchange the Libs do the same in a few other ridings?

Fidel

I would support strategic voting if it meant ousting the Harpers. We would need to do this as long as we are stuck with obsolete electoral system invented before electricity. Alas, Iggy doesn't seem to want to cooperate with any of the NDP, Bloc or anyone else. Liberals seem to be content with propping-up the Harpers only.

KenS

Cruisin turtle- thats been discussed to death around here. Let alone the questions of what people value in politics, the numbers of that kind of 'strategic arrangement' just dont add up like people think they would. At best, it is questionable whether it could work. And it would certainly do damage to all the parties except the Cons if it didnt.

siamdave

KenS wrote:

Cruisin turtle- thats been discussed to death around here. Let alone the questions of what people value in politics, the numbers of that kind of 'strategic arrangement' just dont add up like people think they would. At best, it is questionable whether it could work. And it would certainly do damage to all the parties except the Cons if it didnt.

Your telling people things have already been talked to death, presumably hinting rather strongly that we don't need to talk about something anymore, is getting a bit old too. Things change, new perspectives get added to mixes, new people with new ideas come along - if people want to talk about something that no longer interests you, maybe you could partake of threads you find more interesting.

Just a thought.

KenS

Its legitimate to not want to go over and over things.

If he wants to pursue it, no doubt someone will take up the well worn argumnets. But people should at lest know the preceding discussion has been there. Especially where the desure for something is rooted in what is intuititive, but the answer to it is anything but simple.

And on this subject, I'll bet you awful long odds that there isnt anything "new" that will come up.

As to your comment directed at me in a general fashion- referring to other threads- its a drive by. In those other cases you take my criticing what you put forward- extensively even- as 'not wanting to talk about the subject'.

"Just a thought."

[Not to mention that stratgic alliances with the Liberals has absolutely nothing to do with the policy / substance driven emphasis of these threads about why the NDP doesnt do better. Which come to think seems to have shown a lot of Dippers wanting to dig into just that. Which doesnt make for meat of another drive-by dig at the NDP.]

George Victor

Hello Michael Moriarity.  The pension bit was just a start.  When we've discussed that we can go further into your challenge.

Hello? 

siamdave

KenS wrote:

Its legitimate to not want to go over and over things.

- to a point. On the other hand, you have things like, oh, 'free trade' which as far as the neocons now running the country go is a fait accompli that they sure don't want to talk about any more - but a lot of us out here think the discussion is not over yet.

Quote:

If he wants to pursue it, no doubt someone will take up the well worn argumnets. But people should at lest know the preceding discussion has been there.

- I don't see many new names on these discussions - I expect most others know well this is an old topic. Your intervention seems to be attempting to head off any more talk. You certainly have a right to express your opinion on this - as do others.

Quote:

Especially where the desure for something is rooted in what is intuititive, but the answer to it is anything but simple.

And on this subject, I'll bet you awful long odds that there isnt anything "new" that will come up.

- where the topic and/or answer is anything but simple, turning things over again after a rest is usually a good process, if you are really looking for answers - new things come up all the time .... anyone in particular, of course, is quite free to close the door to new ideas - but jumping into places where others are looking for new ideas, and telling them there's nothing new to be learned, is a bit presumptuous. One wonders about motives at such times.

Quote:

As to your comment directed at me in a general fashion- referring to other threads- its a drive by. In those other cases you take my criticing what you put forward- extensively even- as 'not wanting to talk about the subject'.

Now you're just making things up for some reason. I cannot be bothered to hunt through the threads we have exchanged thoughts on before, but I very clearly recall that exact phrase coming from your pen before - 'been talked to death' or something similar (I think maybe one of the PR threads). I understand disagreements, and criticisms, and I don't interpret them as 'not wanting to talk about something' - I interepret them as disagreements, etc. I didn't do a drive-by, which you don't seem to understand, but your comment is certainly what we call a 'straw dog'.

Quote:

"Just a thought."

[Not to mention that stratgic alliances with the Liberals has absolutely nothing to do with the policy / substance driven emphasis of these threads about why the NDP doesnt do better. Which come to think seems to have shown a lot of Dippers wanting to dig into just that. Which doesnt make for meat of another drive-by dig at the NDP.]

- one could dispute that idea too. There are times a strategic alliance with the Libs might have been good for a lot of things, and the NDP not pursuing such ideas a bit more might have something to do with them not doing better. You might recall the alliances of the 60s and early 70s, in which much good was done for our country. A bit more acumen on the part of Broadbent et al in 1988 in terms of working together somehow, given the problems with the FPTP voting system, might have resulted in our country NOT getting sucked into the FTA with the US, a treaty approved of by a minority of Cdns, as I am sure you are aware, but imposed due to this voting system - the leadership of both Libs and NDP had to be aware of this eventuality, and *could* have done something about it, if they were all really that serious about stopping it. I well understand that the current Libs are not likely to be very agreeable to anything the NDP might propose for the good of all Cdns, but that does not mean the idea should not be explored - it's only by talking that you find new ideas, and new ways, where you might have thought there was nothing.

If you have great ideas that you think people should be following, fine, let us know. If not - your attempts to discourage certain lines of discussion make one wonder why exactly you don't want people going there, if you have nothing better to offer.

KenS

"Strategic alliances" is a very specific reference to things like the proposal that parties trade not running candidates in ridings. It has nothing to do with policy.

KenS

And the proposal about trading off not running candidates is the discussion that never changes and never dies. It always returns with new advocates because it looks so easy.

siamdave wrote:

If you have great ideas that you think people should be following, fine, let us know. If not - your attempts to discourage certain lines of discussion make one wonder why exactly you don't want people going there, if you have nothing better to offer.

 

I certainly dont lack for having put out ideas in these two threads.

My political understanding of the 'needs to do' leads me much more to 'process questions'... how we do politics, more than exactly what we talk about. I hope you arent thinking that doesnt count as discussing ideas. At a minimum, you should leave off looking for motive. Attributions that someone [allegedly] does not want things discussed are a dead end as well as being a red herring.

Michael Moriarity Michael Moriarity's picture

George Victor wrote:

Right, Michael.  I don't know whether you disagree with the sentiment about strengthening the NDPs reputation among those frightened folks in the middle who DO turn out to vote, but here's a starter. As you know, Jack announced earlier this year that the Canada Pension Plan not only needs more contributions to enlarge pensions down the road (20, 30 and 40 years, down the road) but there should be an addition to the Supplement, which now only adds a pittance to those getting by on Old Age Security alone. And as you also know, Conservative Central at the University of Calgary has opined as to how adding more to the CPP would not meet with objections from employers, bankers, etc...given that payout in any meaningful amount would be decades down the road, and it would only go to those folks who worked.

Back at the end of September, the Globe carrid a little piece that said: "The stability and type of pensions are key as baby boomers  exit the work force, says Richard Yerema, managin editor of Canada's Top 100 Employers. Many private sector employers have moved to define-contributiion plans, which put a much heavier onyus on employees to provide for their own retirements. Traditional defined-benefit plans are still found in the public sector and among larger private-sector employers, though many are limiting enrolment to older employees."

And by golly, that's exactly the way it's playing out for the 900 employees of the old Dofasco plant in Hamilton, who are locked out on that issue right now.

One would think that, from time to time, one wold hear more about the centrality of this issue for New Democrats, how it has been brought forward in timely fashion by Jack's office.  But one only hears about the meaning of the NDP for revolutionary change, thoughts about what might turn on the voter, how to re-phrase the obvious.

Well then George, I take it that your number one issue is pensions. An important one, but hardly the only one. By the way, it is Steelworkers Local 1005 from the former Stelco that is locked out. Dofasco was always a non-union shop, despite many efforts to organize them. So what, exactly are you saying that the NDP should do about this, and why does that preclude all discussion of general issues of fairness?

George Victor wrote:
And that brings us to where pension plan board are making those investments.  Again, a dead zone for discussion.

Like, OMERS investment arm, which manages pension plans for Ontario's municipal employees, and the Ontario Teachers Pension Plan arepaying $3.4 billiion to the British Department of Transport...the new Conservative government there is off-loading a lot of public responsibility, for cash...for a 30-year franchise right to the 109 kilometres of former public rail line between London and the Channel Tunnel.

Like, instead of dead theory, could discussion take place on the role of public unions in the privatization of utilities around the world, in this age of Globalization (the new Supercapitalism, that nobody, but nobody, wants to touch, hereabouts.)

But perhaps you do, Michael, on this one, just for starters?

Another important issue. A large proportion of the working and middle classes have been sucked into establishing a dependence on the stock market by the investements of their pension funds. But of course, these investements are not nearly large enough to allow them to make major changes to the functioning of the system. That's still the domain of the oligarchs. But once again, what policies do you propose to deal with this? Or is it just that you insist everyone should spend all their time and efforts discussing your favourite subjects? Sometimes you sound like a grumpy old man yelling at the kids to get off your lawn.

 

KenS

What you take Dave as 'my not wanting to talk about' one issue or another is actaully a sustained political argument that spreads across issues and threads.

You seem to see at the root some 'project' of steering discussion away from things as the NDP do it. If that isnt exactly what you see, I think its close enough for the purposes.

My critique is focused on how we DO politics, engaged in a political environment where the overwhelming focus is on the policy/ideas/'principle' content of politics.

To my mind, Lefties are chronically handicapped by notions that its all about 'good ideas' and 'bad ideas'. The bad ideas that peoples heads are filled with, and the good ideas that we need to get to them. And the crippled notion of 'doing politics' is that the probelms are in the compromising of the good ideas that we need to impart.... hence the incessant battling here ov said compromising of the good ideas.

To me, this whole narrative is a serious political mistake and hobbling distraction. Not that it happens, because of course it needs to. It  is central. But it is not everything, and the in practice application that it is everything hobbles us.

In that critique I'm very much against the stream. I dont know how good I am at it. I know it wouldnt be easy for the most adept. I tend to see how good I am as a moot point.

The fact that you [and I'm sure there are others] are always thinking that I'm trying to limit  discussion I take as a manifestation that I'm trying for a critique that is not easy, and I'm not managing it.

Evening Star

al-Qa'bong wrote:

Quote:

But I think the Federal NDP should point out that the good values and policies that Pearson and Trudeau worked on...

Do you mean the good policy ideas such as those the Liberals stole from the Nude Ems, or strictly liberal ideas like the War Measures Act and wage and price controls?

 

Why should the NDP praise the Liberals?

Both?  Liberal-NDP ideas such as universal health care and pensions as well as more Liberal ideas such as the CBC/NFB/CRTC, bilingualism, multiculturalism, public control over our resources, open immigration policies?  I wasn't really expressing an opinion on whether the NDP should move to the centre or not.  I was just observing that any time the NDP has gained power, it has.  And with the Liberals moving to where the PCs used to be, I just thought that if the NDP is going in this direction, they could embrace it and try to clobber the Liberals with their own history, like the Liberals now try to use Mulroney and Davis against the current Cons.  Might also help make the NDP appear more fiscally trustworthy.  Maybe it wouldn't even work though.  I'm not sure how historically-minded the general population is.  It's possible that it could even work against the NDP in the West.

thorin_bane

CBC was actually a tory thing, Deif did that. In fact some canadian "institutions" are red tory or nationalistic ideas, something the liberals have never been and certainly aren't now. Manly, Iggy, Martin, McKenna. Sadly even Axeworthy lately has been seen to be not as honourable as I had wished after they awarded Toews an honourary degree at Axworthys university.

Evening Star

Well, the CBC's predecessor, the CRBC, was created under Bennett, but it became a Crown Corporation and national public broadcaster with its current name in 1936 under King.  One of Howe's most celebrated achievements iirc:

http://www.cbc.radio-canada.ca/history/1920-1939.shtml

Evening Star

But it may even work even better for the NDP to claim the Red Tory legacy as theirs too!  Maybe if they sell themselves as the heirs of Diefenbaker in the West and Pearson/Trudeau in the centre... Is there a way they can promote themselves as the real PQ in Quebec?...

(I'm being a little silly now.)

Evening Star

In fact, even CBC television began broadcasting in 1952, under St Laurent:  http://www.cbc.radio-canada.ca/history/1950s.shtml

George Victor

Michael Moriarity wrote:

George Victor wrote:

Right, Michael.  I don't know whether you disagree with the sentiment about strengthening the NDPs reputation among those frightened folks in the middle who DO turn out to vote, but here's a starter. As you know, Jack announced earlier this year that the Canada Pension Plan not only needs more contributions to enlarge pensions down the road (20, 30 and 40 years, down the road) but there should be an addition to the Supplement, which now only adds a pittance to those getting by on Old Age Security alone. And as you also know, Conservative Central at the University of Calgary has opined as to how adding more to the CPP would not meet with objections from employers, bankers, etc...given that payout in any meaningful amount would be decades down the road, and it would only go to those folks who worked.

Back at the end of September, the Globe carrid a little piece that said: "The stability and type of pensions are key as baby boomers  exit the work force, says Richard Yerema, managin editor of Canada's Top 100 Employers. Many private sector employers have moved to define-contributiion plans, which put a much heavier onyus on employees to provide for their own retirements. Traditional defined-benefit plans are still found in the public sector and among larger private-sector employers, though many are limiting enrolment to older employees."

And by golly, that's exactly the way it's playing out for the 900 employees of the old Dofasco plant in Hamilton, who are locked out on that issue right now.

One would think that, from time to time, one wold hear more about the centrality of this issue for New Democrats, how it has been brought forward in timely fashion by Jack's office.  But one only hears about the meaning of the NDP for revolutionary change, thoughts about what might turn on the voter, how to re-phrase the obvious.

Well then George, I take it that your number one issue is pensions. An important one, but hardly the only one. By the way, it is Steelworkers Local 1005 from the former Stelco that is locked out. Dofasco was always a non-union shop, despite many efforts to organize them. So what, exactly are you saying that the NDP should do about this, and why does that preclude all discussion of general issues of fairness?

George Victor wrote:
And that brings us to where pension plan board are making those investments.  Again, a dead zone for discussion.

Like, OMERS investment arm, which manages pension plans for Ontario's municipal employees, and the Ontario Teachers Pension Plan arepaying $3.4 billiion to the British Department of Transport...the new Conservative government there is off-loading a lot of public responsibility, for cash...for a 30-year franchise right to the 109 kilometres of former public rail line between London and the Channel Tunnel.

Like, instead of dead theory, could discussion take place on the role of public unions in the privatization of utilities around the world, in this age of Globalization (the new Supercapitalism, that nobody, but nobody, wants to touch, hereabouts.)

But perhaps you do, Michael, on this one, just for starters?

Another important issue. A large proportion of the working and middle classes have been sucked into establishing a dependence on the stock market by the investements of their pension funds. But of course, these investements are not nearly large enough to allow them to make major changes to the functioning of the system. That's still the domain of the oligarchs. But once again, what policies do you propose to deal with this? Or is it just that you insist everyone should spend all their time and efforts discussing your favourite subjects? Sometimes you sound like a grumpy old man yelling at the kids to get off your lawn.

 

 

"Steelworkers Local 1005 from the former Stelco that is locked out." Yes, (blush) not Dofasco.. Always confusing the two.

 

On pensions:"An important one, but hardly the only one" Yep, that's just for starters, Michael, but you seem to be writing it off ..."And that brings us to where pension plan board are making those investments.  Again, a dead zone for discussion."

 

"Another important issue. A large proportion of the working and middle classes have been sucked into establishing a dependence on the stock market by the investements of their pension funds. But of course, these investements are not nearly large enough to allow them to make major changes to the functioning of the system. That's still the domain of the oligarchs"

 

On this one, Michael, you have overlooked the extent to which we ALL will depend on market investments for our golden years with the CPP and Old Age Security both partially funded by investments. Oligarchs, indeed. This is the dead zone in your thinking. THE point is that our near total dependency on the market makes it impossible to just use the old "tax the corporation " formula to pay for social measures...like keeping medicare afloat.

 

My concern, Michael, is for wiping out the blind spots in "progressive" thinking that you so innocently demonstrate, and make it clear to the electorate that the NDP is OF THIS WORLD.

 

In these theads we should be talking about the degree to which investment in public utilities should be avoided by public employees because someday soon, they will see their own work be taken up by pension-funded private firms. Out there are a number of ethics-based investment opportunities that perhaps should be considered/required. And please don't tell me about how the union is not responsible because its investment arm is at arms length, or some such bloody nonsense.

 

 

We could then go on to talk about the degree to which social democrats could lead the way in taking a nationalist stance. Again, as in the pension issues, Jack has led the way in positioning himself on the potash issue. But AGAIN, as in his progressive stance on pension enlargement NOW for those on Supplementary benefits, there is bugger all discussed here.

 

But first, is that really all you have to say about the pension contradictions? Denial and prattle about "oligarchs" ?

 

 

 

 

 

 

George Victor

Here are some more recent examples of our growing dependency on a healthy (capitalist) economy, posted in another thread, taken from newspapers which you must personally shun: 

 

And fortunately the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board is riding to the rescue of all workers toiling in the small businesses of the  private sector who don't have the opportunity to build pensions on which they can actually live. Public sector investments are (almost) good as gold,( now at $1400 an oz.)

The board plans to pay $894 million for 10 per cent of the 407 Express Toll Route from Cintra Infraestructuras of Spain (where cash is badly needed these days), and it hopes to acquire another 30 per cent stake ($3.2 billion) from a proposed takeover of an Australian toll group (formerly Macquarie Infrastructure.)

If successful,the CPP would hold 40 per cent of the 407 shares, seond largest after Cintra.

We'll know in December if other shareholders do not take up their right of first refusal...Intoll and Quebec's SNC-Lavalin Inc.

Won't feel quite so bad paying those toll charges now.   :)

 

Earlier this fall the CPPPB picked up stakes in two Washington D.C. office buildings, just a few months after acquiring 45 per cent share of two Manhattan skyscrapers.

Omers about that time was putting forward up to $475 million in equity for a redevelopment project on Manhattan's west side.

Lets hope the folks picking up gold do not know something that we don't.

George Victor

A postscript, in light of your summary, in-depth statement, Michael:

"Or is it just that you insist everyone should spend all their time and efforts discussing your favourite subjects? Sometimes you sound like a grumpy old man yelling at the kids to get off your lawn."

 

What actual reading have you done, Michael, that leaves you thinking that investment in the market is still just an occupation of the "oligarchs" in this country? How have you been able to dismiss the fact that we are now , in old Marx's famous phrase, "coupon clippers"...at least to the degree, that we see our near-total dependence on successful market invetment for our final incomes.

 

And writing off my ideas as an old man's rant, while playing the ignorant , closed minded ideologue, yourself, makes you a model progressive, with the "good of humanity" in mind. 

 

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