Why the NDP Must Move (a ways) to the Left, again...part two.

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Erik Redburn
Why the NDP Must Move (a ways) to the Left, again...part two.

And since my last thread was derailed again, before I got to the final arguments I promised.  Here they are. 

Repeated many a time on rabble, especially recently by true-blue partisans:  "There are more votes to be gained by trying to attract Liberal voters" (than there is by trying to encourage more progressive voters out)  (What I meant by 'within reason' Boom Boom, a position most Canadians could at least accept if not actively support)

But is that really true either? 

Results in BC last election (and not so different from earlier ones, somewhat lower than some, somewhat higher than others...many votes going Reform not Liberal in the West during the nineties low-point):

http://www.cbc.ca/canada/bcvotes2009/map/2009/#

Results federally (Look for how many go Liberal federally as compared to those wjho stay left of Liberals...fairly consistently.  Not just the One percent...or point .oooo percent as certain NDPers like say):

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canadavotes/ridings/british_columbia.html

 

One more, then final summary.

Jacob Richter

How far left? [Not that I think the NDP will do so, or that this dents the need to form a left party outside the NDP]

With the fragmentation in Canadian politics, I see the possibility of a multi-party parliamentary system along these lines:

1) Tories - more and more like the GOP

2) Liberals - moving further to the right, becoming like the US Dems (Clintonistas and not "Blue Dogs")

3) Democrats - occupying the former Pearson-Trudeau Liberalism (for this reason I think that the two parties should switch names by this point to clear things up with Canadian voters tuned to American politics)

4) Greens - between the Liberals and Democrats

With the Democrats having the above ideology, "moving left" would be redundant unless class-strugglist politics is at the core of the new left party (Socialist Left Party or Left Party).  This is because the yellow unions will be Democratic.

Erik Redburn

http://www.elections.bc.ca/docs/stats/Final-Voting-Turnout-2009.pdf

 

This is an interesting one, it shows how low the turnout was in last BC election.  As to be expected the seats showing the lowest and highest numbers are both NDP and "Liberal" leaners, and lowest tend to be ones not hotly contested.   But.  Detectably lower in stronger left-of ridings on average and remarkably low numbers total for a corrupt government in a recession.  Who is most likely to stay home again? 

So.  Contrary to some other claims made here recently, voters not showing up Can make a difference politically.  It probably won't break along exactly the same partisan lines (even assuming these partisan lines are as firm as most 'centrists' like to insist) as the official count.  High voter turnout in fact was what got Bush relected despite a very motivated liberal-Democrat turnout. It can work the other way too. 

I can add several others using the only halfway objective sources available but I'll just restate my case.

Erik Redburn

And yes Jacob, I'm amenable now to the idea of a left-of NDP party too, but still lots of practical and ideoliogical hurdles to that too.  Something that would have to grow organically for sometime first.  Might also require more open unhappiness among left-Greens, left-Bloc and left-liberals with Their life-blind leadership.

 

And Boom Boom, if more centre-left voters were like you, I wouldn't feel the need to stay up so often arguing with what should be my natural allies.  :)

Erik Redburn

As far left as a sizeable minority of Canadians are willing to go, and common sense and experience on the left dictates.  That too can grow over time, given our present depression and our (somewhat) increased ability to get other political views out, regasrdless of the increasingly rightwing media. (just means more polarization)

The problem with the "yellow" unions supporting the most conservative candidates in the party is IMV mostly just a matter of leadership (or lack thereof) and the lack of democracy within their own ranks.  (and understandable fear and confusion, given the previous thirty years) Others would understand the nuances and day to day realities in that onetime movement better than I would, but thats where i keep ending up.  (I left the only unionized job I had over twenty five years ago, not knowing any better back then)

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Laughing

Erik Redburn

Truly.  People who can retain open minds without their brains falling out are what give me hope.  =:)

 

Oh and onemore thing, JR, I'd put the present NDP to the right of the Trudeau-Pearson Liberals economically now, although somewhat left of them on social issues.  (mostly reflecting societal evolution)  Ask any working women, who probably make up the majority of the working class now, which theyre more concerned about --more PC politicians or enough money to buy their own homes.

Jacob Richter

Quote:
And yes Jacob, I'm amenable now to the idea of a left-of NDP party too, but still lots of practical and ideoliogical hurdles to that too.  Something that would have to grow organically for sometime first.  Might also require more open unhappiness among left-Greens, left-Bloc and left-liberals with Their life-blind leadership.

 

Hehe, that's true. Also, thanks for clarifying on the NDP's position and capitulation to identity politics.

Erik Redburn

Well, I wouldn't put it all down as mere "identity politics" but I get your point too. Some of these nuances are probably just easier for natural centre-left "progressives" (I'm getting to hate that word too) like me to spot...sorta like you might find it easier to follow some of raging debates between socialists of two or three degrees difference.  Night.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

I'd be pleased as punch if the NDP remains pro-feminist, pro-environment, anti-war, and pro-labour. Those are my basic requirements for the NDP - oh, and being anti-NAFTA. All that other stuff - economic policy, foreign policy - I'd probably go with whatever consensus the party came up with.

Aaron.Broad

Lies, damned lies, and statistics.  You will not find appropriate strategy is vote turnouts and such from last year or this year, or even this fall.

 

We're entering a unique period where the wierd have a chance to go pro.  This is the ultimate reason why it would benefit the NDP to go and stay left.

 

When the economic reality really shakes down it will not benefit them to be a centrist party.  They need to provide a distinct alternative. 

 

Also all these people saying the average Canadian knows nothing, and people need 5 second soundbites, and appearances that can get into the 5 minutes of political news a week the average Candian gets, are wrong about this period too.  If an election comes very soon this may be the case for one more election.  But, come late fall or fall next year... people are going to become very informed about politics, and the politics of each party are likely to look very different from what they have been in these spoon fed happy times by comparison.

Frmrsldr

Erik Redburn wrote:

And since my last thread was derailed again, before I got to the final arguments I promised.  Here they are. 

Repeated many a time on rabble, especially recently by true-blue partisans:  "There are more votes to be gained by trying to attract Liberal voters" (than there is by trying to encourage more progressive voters out)  (What I meant by 'within reason' Boom Boom, a position most Canadians could at least accept if not actively support)

But is that really true either? 

Results in BC last election (and not so different from earlier ones, somewhat lower than some, somewhat higher than others...many votes going Reform not Liberal in the West during the nineties low-point):

http://www.cbc.ca/canada/bcvotes2009/map/2009/#

Results federally (Look for how many go Liberal federally as compared to those wjho stay left of Liberals...fairly consistently.  Not just the One percent...or point .oooo percent as certain NDPers like say):

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canadavotes/ridings/british_columbia.html

Here's another web page that lends credibility to your argument:

http://thetyee.ca/News/2009/09/16/HarpersMajority/

The only part of the article I disagree with is the contention (all things considered equal) is, come next election, the Conservatives might hold their 10 seats in Quebec and gain seats in Ontario.

George Victor

Boomer:

"I'd be pleased as punch if the NDP remains pro-feminist, pro-environment, anti-war, and pro-labour. Those are my basic requirements for the NDP - oh, and being anti-NAFTA. All that other stuff - economic policy, foreign policy - I'd probably go with whatever consensus the party came up with."

 

Right on. (Well, some understanding of the average Canuck's concern for a pension in old age and the economics of how to get there would be a plus.  As someone said the other day, perhaps we are not experiencing the failure of finance capitalism so much now as a failure of the economy.  A party in position to heal that failure - which means jobs as well as a happier old age - would meet with approval. )

Polunatic2

Without electoral reform, I don't see much point in the formation of a new electoral party to the left of the NDP. The NDP, like the other major parties, is a big tent party where policy is supposed to be hashed out internally at conventions. There is undoubtedly lots of good policy that could be dusted off and promoted which would distinguish the NDP from the other parties. 

The contradiction seems to be that the party doesn't think that much of this "lefter" policy will fly so it remains buried. But without trying, there's no voter education on those issues and the "acceptable" continues to be defined by the big business parties and media. The NDP has to define itself and not worry about its opponents incessant red (pink?) baiting efforts.

One would think that with the recent economic meltdown and its impact on so many people in Canada, that the time would be ripe for qualititative alternatives (nationalization anyone?) to be considered. With both Harper and Iggy now throwing around the "socialist" label, why not embrace it, defend it and give it some content rather than simply dismiss it by labelling it "name calling"?  

George Victor

Pol 2:

"One would think that with the recent economic meltdown and its impact on so many people in Canada, that the time would be ripe for qualititative alternatives (nationalization anyone?) to be considered. With both Harper and Iggy now throwing around the "socialist" label, why not embrace it, defend it and give it some content rather than simply dismiss it by labelling it "name calling"?  "

 

Good thought. Right now, the provinces are arguing with the insurance companies about who can provide the best pensions. Seems a natural for the NDP to step into, but who is going to sketch (let alone detail) the public means, beyond expansion of CPP or creation of provincial plans (a rather unwise thought beinging even more inequality to the country).

Erik Redburn

Polunatic, the NDP and Green parties themselves need a shakeup, look at the denial on display here.  The first step is to try to push the leadership back to the left.  If that fails look for better leaders.  If that fails...there are other viable options.  I'll post my last appeal tomorrow. 

Fidel

Erik, you haven't said anything about which of the NDP's policies aren't far enough to the left. Care to elaborate?

George Victor

Must be all the talk about putting forward the subject of pensions, denying the need for revolution, so to speak.

Doug

Erik Redburn wrote:
Ask any working women, who probably make up the majority of the working class now, which theyre more concerned about --more PC politicians or enough money to buy their own homes.

Which nicely encapsulates why a substantial jump to the left isn't on. Someone whose aspiration is to own a home isn't going to be thrilled to bits with a party that only offers social housing and so it would go on a number of other issues. We start with the voters where they are, not where we'd like them to be.

Fidel

Doug wrote:

Erik Redburn wrote:
Ask any working women, who probably make up the majority of the working class now, which theyre more concerned about --more PC politicians or enough money to buy their own homes.

Which nicely encapsulates why a substantial jump to the left isn't on. Someone whose aspiration is to own a home isn't going to be thrilled to bits with a party that only offers social housing and so it would go on a number of other issues. We start with the voters where they are, not where we'd like them to be.

Next door in the US, the most capitalist nation where markets for housing have failed millions,  there are still more social housing units for 7 million people in NYC(600,000 social housing units) than we have for 33 million in Canada.  I really don't think Canadians would protest if the feds decided to refund the national housing program fought-for by the CCF and scrapped by the Paul Martin Liberals.

Cueball Cueball's picture

Die Linke party wins German votes by standing out from crowd

Quote:
With little to tell its rivals apart, the far left party is thriving and may transform the political landscape with its populist agenda

[SNIP]

While Die Linke's rivals have mercilessly attacked it for its radical wealth redistribution plans and its links to the defunct communist regime, its message is clearly getting through.

"The promises [of the mainstream parties] to us about the blossoming landscapes which would follow after unification are mere speech bubbles," said 68-year old Erika Seebach, the MRSA sufferer, in Erfurt. "While some might accuse Die Linke of populism, they get things on to the agenda that really matter."

Polls gives the party about 14%, but after huge gains recently made in key regional elections at the end of August, where it won 21% in the western state of Saarland, Die Linke is being seen as the party that could shake up the political landscape in the 27 September vote.

Jacob Richter

I really should post that Die Linke article on RevLeft at some point this weekend. Tongue out

Erik Redburn

George Victor wrote:

Must be all the talk about putting forward the subject of pensions, denying the need for revolution, so to speak.

 

You saying I'm a revolutionary now George Victor?  Have you even read the heading?   Never mind.

Erik Redburn

Doug wrote:

Erik Redburn wrote:
Ask any working women, who probably make up the majority of the working class now, which theyre more concerned about --more PC politicians or enough money to buy their own homes.

Which nicely encapsulates why a substantial jump to the left isn't on. Someone whose aspiration is to own a home isn't going to be thrilled to bits with a party that only offers social housing and so it would go on a number of other issues. We start with the voters where they are, not where we'd like them to be.

 

Ah, but you're assuming that most working women are where you are, Doug.  Common enough mistake politically though, one I make myself at times if I'm not careful.  One of the most consistent numbers that leap out in polls, though, is how much more politically progressive most women are than most men.  And that includes economically as working women are also the least likely to benefit from the kind of economics that all the parties are now treating as unquestionable truth.  (underneath the superficial discourse about the pendulum swinging back politically)

Or it could also be a sign of the inate superiority of women in general, knowing that making sure their children are well fed and clothed does more for their future than ensuring their bank retains high profit margins.  If they ever forget that on the way up they'll probably remember it a lot quicker on the way down again.

Erik Redburn

Cueball wrote:

Die Linke party wins German votes by standing out from crowd

Quote:
With little to tell its rivals apart, the far left party is thriving and may transform the political landscape with its populist agenda

 

That's an interesting development.  Europeans are probably abit more sophisticated politically than we are now, most ways (not having a whole "new" continent to exploit like we did and suffering recent wars on their own soil) but maybe all the talk about the left not benefitting from the failure of the right is a bit too premature too.

Cueball Cueball's picture

People are not going to get sophisticated if you keep talking down to them by feeding them pablum you think they want to hear. You didn't learn to read and write by someone telling you what you already knew.

Erik Redburn

Cueball wrote:

People are not going to get sophisticated if you keep talking down to them by feeding them pablum you think they want to hear. You didn't learn to read and write by someone telling you what you already knew.

 

That directed towards my own simple observations or the NDPs usual communications stategy?   Cuz those kind of historical factoids (hypothesis really) I mentioned are exactly the kind of things most Don't get to see. But yes, the NDP has to start talking to what people might already feel, but haven't perhaps learned to articulate or connect with others, on that I'd agree.  I don't know how much the average voter really is able to acept yet but no point in just repeating what the opposition is saying, no.  And members can start being more critical of head office too and start speaking from their own hearts, rather than trying to reign others in, as its not like most "rank and file" members are well rewarded for their efforts either or that the few remaining dissidents are saying what others don't already detect.

 

*F*ked up my first, came out almost opposite what I meant.

Fidel

Erik Redburn wrote:
 

That's an interesting development.  Europeans are probably abit more sophisticated politically than we are now, most ways (not having a whole "new" continent to exploit like we did and suffering recent wars on their own soil) but maybe all the talk about the left not benefitting from the failure of the right is a bit too premature too.

Europe and Japan are still a kind of political buffer zones between the capitalist far west and left leaning Europeans. West Germany and Japan received massive aid, investment, and most favoured nations trading status after the war in propping those countries up as frontline states in order to dissuade millions from choosing communism. In some countries they even resorted to false flag terrorism in attempts to demonize the left. I think Europeans participate in elections in greater percentages than here in North America because they have a way of life to protect,. Having advanced democracy helps keep big business interests and far right parties in check.

 

Fidel

Does this mean the Liberals won't be campaigning on the left and governing on the right anymore?

Erik Redburn

No, apparently it means the NDP is planning to run to the right and govern to the left.   Somethings the Liberals just do better.  I'll post my last bits of evidence later tonight, maybe when it can remain undiverted for awhile. 

Erik Redburn

Ok, to pick up where I left off.  I made these points to establish some doubt if not counter arguments to some of the received wisdom I see driving the NDP to the centre-right.  To recap:

One, the move to the right, A:

http://www.progressive-economics.ca/2009/08/21/ndp-small-business-tax/

"Strangely, neither of the two most hyped issues at last weekend’s federal NDP convention reached the floor for debate. I have nothing to add to the discussion about changing the party’s name.
However, the proposal to not tax small-business profits compels me to elaborate the case I made when Nova Scotia Liberals promised to slash the provincial small-business tax to 1%. Eliminating the federal small-business tax would immediately reduce corporate tax revenues and probably also reduce personal tax revenues by facilitating avoidance."

B: http://newdemocratsonline.ca/fr/node/22248

And C: 

This was posted here earlier.  Interestingly, the two views posted seem to revolve around one saying the last convention wentquite well and the other saying the NDp didn't move far enough...to the centre:

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/the-ndp-talks-about-winning...

B.Topp: "Our party is now at least as coherent, reasonable and thoughtful about the way forward as the reds and blues.

The “name debate” was a helpful symbol to frame this discussion around. Rebranding is not a task to be lightly undertaken and it won't be in the NDP. But this opening discussion did get our party to think about the more fundamental issues."

L.Campbell:  "I think there are two ways forward but both start with genuinely changing the federal NDP to make it resemble its Manitoba and Nova Scotia counterparts. A renewed, pragmatic NDP with realistic economic and foreign policies can make a genuine play for Liberals on the left of the spectrum in Ontario while simultaneously competing for former NDP seats in Saskatchewan and British Columbia. A second, but related strategy is to pursue serious negotiations for a pre or post election progressive alliance.

 

Two, that average Canadians are as conservative as most pundits now insist, especially regarding supposed sacred cows like "taxing and spending"...

Examples:

"Poll shows governments lag behind citizens in readiness to tackle global warming"

http://www.desmogblog.com/poll-shows-governments-lag-behind-citizens-in-readiness-to-tackle-global-warming

"Ninety-one per cent of Canadians believe they should do their part to help fight global warming, even if they have to pay more to do it, two newly released polls suggest.

But they are less likely to expect their governments to shoulder responsibility for fixing environmental problems at 72 per cent, according to the two polls conducted by Ipsos-Reid for Sympatico/MSN."

http://www.cbc.ca/consumer/story/2007/07/04/enviro-survey.html

 

Three, that the simple reality is that the NDP is now a "middle-class" party anyhow:

But is it?   Look at election map:  http://www.cbc.ca/news/canadavotes/

Others show pretty much the same pattern.

 

Four, that the mass media will be appreciative of this move to "the centre" and reward the party for it by more fair and extensive coverage:

http://www2.macleans.ca/2009/08/13/what-happened-to-you-ndp-you-used-to-...

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/ndp-trumpets-new-policy-in-...

 

Five, that there are more votes to be won federally than lost, by shifting (further) to the centre (right):

http://www.cbc.ca/canada/bcvotes2009/map/2009/#

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canadavotes/ridings/british_columbia.html

 

Six, that lower voter turnout make no difference electorally, or is party neutral:

http://www.elections.bc.ca/docs/stats/Final-Voting-Turnout-2009.pdf

 

Seven, that leftist parties can't win anymore -offered by others:

Die Linke party wins German votes by standing out from crowd

 

All of this points to different conclusions from what the current party brass is still assuming as self-evident fact.  (because they have so little tangeable evidence to support their own preference, perchance?)   Onto my next presently.      

 

Erik Redburn

Ok, back to this.  Interesting sideline, the babble poll:

What do you think of the NDP's decision to back the Harper government in this week's confidence vote?

Your vote was registered.

It was a bad move
34% (85 votes)
It will depend on whether and how much those EI benefits actually materialize
29% (73 votes)
The party didn't have any other choice
21% (52 votes)
It was a good move
19% (48 votes)
Total voters: 248


The poll is skewed by three questions favouring or minimizing Layton's position, as I have no doubt at all that the NDP will not get any of the benefits stated but will continue to lose ground on it politically and electorally.  More important, most of those they say they're bargaining for will lose coverage entirely at a time when it's needed most.

Erik Redburn

More polls showing that the "vast" political "centre", the NDp leadership appears bent on pandering to now, isn't actually what they're assuming now.

The environment, even during a recession/depression --and goverrnments role in it --standard distinction between centre-left and centre-right:

http://ca.news.yahoo.com/s/capress/090823/national/environment_poll

http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/article/609830

http://www.actoncopenhagen.decc.gov.uk/en/global-action1/americas/canada/20759216/

http://www.newswire.ca/en/releases/archive/September2009/22/c7389.html

On poverty, during a recession/depression --standard distinction between tthe progressive left and modern liberals:

http://action.web.ca/home/housing/alerts.shtml?x=27265&AA_EX_Session=188cdd3b2737a38c4be4c5879beb9b65

http://www.thestar.com/comment/article/674968

http://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=76399245824&ref=mf

http://www.growinggap.ca/campaigns/92_of_canadians_believe_in_poverty_reduction

 

Willingness to sacrifice our own covenience:

http://www.ipsos-na.com/news/pressrelease.cfm?id=4531

 

Re Barrack Obama, the inspiration theyre always pointing to, who has compromised so much to the right yet still finds himself under vicious assault by the insurance industry and the usual reactionaries:

http://www.ipsos-na.com/news/pressrelease.cfm?id=4527

 

Future voters:

http://www.ipsos-na.com/news/pressrelease.cfm?id=4532

http://www.intercordiacanada.org/index.php/news/canadian-youth-spend-more-of-their-money-on-foreign-aid-than-the-government/

 

So, the numbers just keep pointing to the fact that the Layton NDP is actually tacking to the right of where most voters actually are.   And his own support looks like it's gone down since the convention --funny that....

Erik Redburn

Here's another interesting one, worth adding to my collection even if posted here before.

 

James Laxer:

"The move this week to vote confidence in the government was wrong-headed. The NDP has abandoned the high ground to the Liberals on the central question of who is leading the fight against the Harper government. From now on, the Liberals will vote against the government at every turn in parliament, and the NDP will have to prop up the Conservatives until the changes to EI it favours are passed into law. (Gilles Duceppe has announced that the Conservatives won't be able to count on him for future votes.)

By the time the next opportunity to defeat the government comes along in the winter or spring, the Ignatieff Liberals will be rhetorically entrenched on the high ground -- substantively they offer nothing -- while the NDP is reduced to a minor player whose job is to sustain the Harperites who loath social democrats."

http://www.rabble.ca/blogs/bloggers/james-laxer/2009/09/why-did-ndp-conc...

 

Erik Redburn

And on Afghanistan:

2007:

Angus Reid:

"More adults in Canada regard the participation of their armed forces in Afghanistan as a conflict operation, according to a poll by Angus Reid Strategies. 57 per cent of respondents see the Canadian mission in Afghanistan as war, up four points since February."

"In May 2006, the House of Commons extended Canada's mission in Afghanistan until February 2009. 52 per cent of respondents think Canada should withdraw its troops from the country before the current mandate ends, while 34 per cent disagree."

http://www.angus-reid.com/polls/view/15529

Decima:

"Two-thirds of respondents, or 67%, said Canadian troops should leave Afghanistan at that time. Only 26% of respoondents thought the military mission should be extended "if that is necessary to complete our goals there."

According to Decima Research, which conducted the poll, the majority sentiment held true across Canada - among men and women, all age and income groups and in both rural and urban areas."

http://www.macleans.ca/article.jsp?content=20070611_165552_9828

2009:

Ipsos Reid:

"In 2008, 37 per cent of those surveyed by Ipsos Reid said all of the troops should be pulled out, while 45 per cent said they should stay for non-combat-related efforts, such as training Afghan security forces.

Now, 52 per cent say all the troops should leave Afghanistan when Canada's commitment there ends in July 2011. Only 27 per cent now say troops should stay to perform non-security-related duties."

http://www.canada.com/news/Most+Canadians+want+troops+home+from+Afghanis...

 

Jack Layton:

"We've come a long way since the first voices in our country called for a new role for Canada in Afghanistan. Internationally and in Canada, we are seeing a new will emerging to turn the page and begin a more balanced policy toward Afghanistan.

Gone are the name-calling and overheated rhetoric. Gone is the questioning of support for our troops. In their place is recognition of the limits of force in dealing with a situation that has its roots in politics and the economy. World leaders are now looking for ways to stabilize Afghanistan and the region.

President Obama has made significant shifts in America's Afghanistan policy. A surge in troop levels will be accompanied by greater emphasis on security and political outcomes. Envoy Richard Holbrooke will be a formidable advocate for diplomatic resolution. A high-level UN conference, called for by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, will begin mapping out a strategy for regional stability at The Hague on March 31. In a significant move by the U. S. administration, Iran will be invited.

.........

Our skills and reputation as a peacemaker give Canada the basis for an active role after our troops withdraw in 2011. We must begin laying the foundations for that diplomatic role now. I believe that a special envoy, who may be more concerned with our national interest, will not have a significant impact.

For any peace initiative to work, informal discussions have to prepare the ground, identify regional partners and discover and test new political ideas and solutions.

....

This group would have many advantages. It would broaden the scope of diplomacy to actively include more external actors. It would ensure that the scope of engagement includes the people of Afghanistan -- in particular, women -- and their civil society representatives, not just the warring factions and regional power players.

It would maximize engagement with moderate elements of the insurgency, including those who are fighting with the Taliban not for ideological reasons, but for food and money to support their families. Targeted engagement is critical to isolating the small percentage of extreme ideologues among the insurgents.

United Nations leadership is essential, and therefore this group would function independently of Canada and as a part of broader UN effort for peace-building in the region. However, establishing such a group could be a major Canadian contribution. It would be our "political surge" as called for by the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Kai Eide. It would also align well with our efforts to obtain a seat on the Security Council in 2010, by demonstrating our maturity and skill in resolving conflicts."

http://www.ndp.ca/press/canadas-next-steps-in-afghanistan

 

The subtle shifts here from earlier calls for getting out asap are worth noting, and the vaguarity of what "our" future involvement in "stabilizing the region" will involve is disconcerting.  It does not bode well in context of US escalation in Afghanistan, with no firm exit strategy, despite what a growing majority in the US also want.

 

 

 

 

 

Frmrsldr

That's the difference between then and now. Back then, there was talk of negotiations with key insurgent leaders. Now, there is only talk of further military escalation - the U.S. troop surge in Afghanistan. However, that should not alter the NDP's policy. The NDP should stick to immediate Canadian military disengagement from Afghanistan and peace talks with key insurgent leaders and countries like the U.S., Pakistan, Iran, India, China and Russia with (possibly) the U.N. involved.

http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/editorial_opinion/oped/articles/2009/0...

Cueball Cueball's picture

Keep it up Erik.

Erik Redburn

I'm thinking of giving up on this actually as it just doesn't seem to be getting much response from the supposedly concerned parties...   Maybe you've been right about this all along.  Is admitting such things even Allowed online?   :) 

Erik Redburn

Frmrsldr wrote:

That's the difference between then and now. Back then, there was talk of negotiations with key insurgent leaders. Now, there is only talk of further military escalation - the U.S. troop surge in Afghanistan. However, that should not alter the NDP's policy. The NDP should stick to immediate Canadian military disengagement from Afghanistan and peace talks with key insurgent leaders and countries like the U.S., Pakistan, Iran, India, China and Russia with (possibly) the U.N. involved.

http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/editorial_opinion/oped/articles/2009/0...

 

Reasonable looking statement and sentiments but...there were already clear signs that the "new" adminstration wasn't really serious about such offers of "peace" with the "enemy" even then.  And this new more "mature" policy position is a clear step back from previous ones.  For one it no longer calls for immediate withdrawl, and judging by the already misleading rhetoric about "humanitarian assistence" to "all parties" afflicted I can't help but wonder what hes really supporting now. 

I've also been doing a little research on the backgrounds of the diplomats he recommended and although theyre a clear step above most Bush appointments, being critical of his failed tactics and seemingly sympathetic to the Iraqi peoples etc, they don't seem entirely forthright about their official roles in the ME either or entirely free from the forces that caused this whole mess.  Even after they've officially retired into more comfortable academic positions.   Honest brokers in this tragedy or not, or victims themselves, I couldn't say.

 

Fidel

I think we've all comments reminding of us that heroic Afghan freedom fighters threw out imperialist armies from time to time. But in the Soviets' case 1980's, they actually sat down with UN officials and negotiated peace and troop withdrawal as did the Americans with peace talks wrt the war in VietNam. This is strange because we have babblers who know better suggesting that there should be no UN mediated peace talks, and Jack Layton and the NDP are just trying to end a perfectly good dustup in the Stan and steal someone's political thunder in the process. Never mind the Taliban and their imminent victory, which will never happen unless enough political pressure is applied to warmongering plutocrats right here at home as it was in the US in the 1970's.

The hawks would have gone on warfiteering and sending 19 and 20 year-old Americans to the jungles of VietNam if it wasnt for so many people at home turning against the war and actually protesting against that war. And it wasnt just hippies and peacenik students in the end - it was Joe the plumber and nurses and lunchpail Americans daring to protest outside the Pentagon and other symbols of the establishment in the end. The madman was advised that he and the doctor were risking either impeachment or civil war in the US unless they pulled out of VietNam. And the NVA took the opportunity to publish US demands during Paris peace talks. The whole thing was transparent to the world, unlike the backchannel negotiations happening today between the US-Brits-Saudis and the Taliban. Afghans as well as the rest of the world are in the dark concerning the phony war on terror.

Canada's two stoogeocratic old line parties would never dream of taking the initiative toward initiating or arranging peace talks with the countries involved. And there are more countries involved in this proxy war than just the US-led NATO forces(soldiers from ~30-35 countries) and the Taliban. And it's just one of the ways in which our two same-same old line parties and the NDP differ.

Frmrsldr

Fidel wrote:

Canada's two stoogeocratic old line parties would never dream of taking the initiative toward initiating or arranging peace talks with the countries involved. And there are more countries involved in this proxy war than just the US-led NATO forces(soldiers from ~30-35 countries) and the Taliban. And it's just one of the ways in which our two same-same old line parties and the NDP differ.

Although the Afghan, U.S. and U.K. governments negotiate with key Afghan insurgent leaders, Harpo (and due to his silence on the subject, Iggy) still officially maintains the "We do not negotiate with terrorists" stance.

Frmrsldr

Erik Redburn wrote:

Reasonable looking statement and sentiments but...there were already clear signs that the "new" adminstration wasn't really serious about such offers of "peace" with the "enemy" even then.  And this new more "mature" policy position is a clear step back from previous ones.  For one it no longer calls for immediate withdrawl, and judging by the already misleading rhetoric about "humanitarian assistence" to "all parties" afflicted I can't help but wonder what hes really supporting now. 

 

Dude, check out the latest postings in the Afghan People Will Win - Part 11 thread.

Fidel

Good one, FrmrSldr. We're good enough to donate troops to the US-led military occupation, but beyond that our fearless leaders just do as they're instructed to by Washington.  And sometimes they puff up their chests and publicly condemn Qadaffi, or an Ahmadinejad, or someone who we're supposed to automatically recognize as being one of the axes of evol and represents little risk to their political capital at home. Our stooges play a great game of D at home while actually doing nothing in the way of utilizing diplomatic channels available to them. Where Ottawa's concerned, it's whatever they say in Warshington is our way, too. Trust and obey, it's what our colonial administrators do in Ottawa. 

Erik Redburn

Avoiding the substance of my posts again?  S'ok, I'm going to kick up some dust onemore day then retreat, knowing that I at least did what I could.

Heres some old ones regarding Obama's statements, giving Jack Layton and his advisor's plenty of time to see where the incoming US admnistration's ME policies would actually be:

http://www.boston.com/news/politics/politicalintelligence/2008/07/obama_...

"As President, I will pursue a tough, smart and principled national security strategy -- one that recognizes that we have interests not just in Baghdad, but in Kandahar and Karachi, in Tokyo and London, in Beijing and Berlin," he continued. "I will focus this strategy on five goals essential to making America safer: ending the war in Iraq responsibly; finishing the fight against al Qaeda and the Taliban; securing all nuclear weapons and materials from terrorists and rogue states; achieving true energy security; and rebuilding our alliances to meet the challenges of the 21st century."

 

http://www.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/07/20/obama.afghanistan/

"The Afghan government needs to do more. But we have to understand that the situation is precarious and urgent here in Afghanistan. And I believe this has to be our central focus, the central front, on our battle against terrorism," Obama said Sunday on CBS' "Face the Nation."

"I think one of the biggest mistakes we've made strategically after 9/11 was to fail to finish the job here, focus our attention here. We got distracted by Iraq," he said.

Obama said troop levels must increase in Afghanistan.

"For at least a year now, I have called for two additional brigades, perhaps three," he told CBS. "I think it's very important that we unify command more effectively to coordinate our military activities. But military alone is not going to be enough."

Obama met Sunday with Afghan President Hamid Karzai, a leader the Democratic senator has criticized for not doing enough to rebuild the war-torn nation.

The presumptive Democratic presidential nominee met with Karzai in Kabul, the capital city, during Obama's first visit to the Asian nation.

Karzai's spokesman characterized the senator's message as pleasant.

"They're happy to be in Afghanistan. They reassured the support of U.S. people to Afghanistan," Humayoon Hamidzada said.

 

http://www.salon.com/opinion/feature/2008/07/23/obama/

July 23, 2008 | Barack Obama's Afghanistan and Iraq policies are mirror images of each other. Obama wants to send 10,000 extra U.S. troops to Afghanistan, but wants to withdraw all American soldiers and Marines from Iraq on a short timetable. In contrast to the kid gloves with which he treated the Iraqi government, Obama repeated his threat to hit at al-Qaida in neighboring Pakistan unilaterally, drawing howls of outrage from Islamabad.

But Obama's pledge to defeat the Taliban in Afghanistan will not be easy to fulfill. While coalition troop deaths have declined significantly in Iraq, NATO casualties in Afghanistan are way up. By shifting emphasis from Iraq to Afghanistan, would a President Obama be jumping from the frying pan into the fire?

 

http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200812u/kaplan-afghanistan-obama

But Obama’s election electrified India with hope. Not only is Obama’s transformative power abroad not to be exaggerated, but he will probably add to his political capital initially with symbolic gestures like – as has been reported likely – closing Guantanomo Bay and giving a major speech to the Islamic world in a Moslem capital. Obama needs to start spending this capital. And he should start by pressuring allies to help out more in Afghanistan, with more troops and more money.

 

(note: I do not agree with all the comments posted, thats not the point)

 

 

 

Erik Redburn

It is interesting though, just like my previous thread on attempting to democratise the party (as some members themselves admit needing) this was done not to attack the party or encourage others top abandon it but merely to encourage partisans to rethink their present stategies and do something well within their power to do.  Something that might actually be quite popular among those who might actually consider voting NDP. 

And yet the overwhelming reaction has been....to ignore or dismiss.  Too bad it only highlights my point about the deep gulf that has grown within the party itself.   Could still be remedied but apparently the will to reform is gone.

One ray of hope, left-running candidates still get alot of support at conventions, much more than admitted by some here, and leftist resolutions continue to gain popular support.

Fidel

The two dirty old line parties are sucking wind in hopes of bagging another phony-baloney majority. And that's what really counts, isnt't it? I prefer it and now it appears most Canadians are enjoying this lull in paternalistic rule from Ottawa. Billionaires and big time banksters can't buy a phony majority dictatorship after five years of minority governments. This is one of the few high points for our obsolete electoral system invented before electricity, I must admit.

Erik Redburn

Maybe we can make that three old line parties with another one already waiting in the wings.  Funny how every major party in Canada is now designed to appeal to one rather small segment of voters.  Even when the standard justifications for running where "voters are" turns out to not be not quite true either.  

Fidel

We do know how the two dirty old line parties have and will continue to rule the country from Ottawa based on their 140 year-old track record of giving the country away to foreign interests for a bit of cutter, their gross incompetence in general and throwing the country down a debt hole for a little kick-back and graft. We know who funds the two private property parties. And most of those people wouldnt spit on the average Canadian if we were on fire.

But the only way to know for certain how the NDP would govern federally is to elect them for the first time. It would be a lesson in democracy for our Northern Puerto Rico.

Erik Redburn

Glad to see I'm winning you over Fidel, first you then the world... 

Last one in my collection I think. The James-Layton "centrist" strategy is working.  Well, not necessarily.   Membership support is reported to be down drastically.  And interestingly enough, most of the votes lost by the Liberals seem to be moving to other parties.  Will the NDP hold the lead into the next election?  Not necessarily.  Jack Layton remains thirteen points behind Ignatieff and nineteen behind Harper, in the latest poll.  Bout where he's been stalled for years. His personal popularity may be up again slightly.  But then so was Ujjal Dosanjh's.

Now.  To end on another constructive note.  If the BC NDP is going to have to agree to the still unrepresented Green party in another election debate then they should demand that the newly resurgent Conservative party of BC be allowed back in too.  If the rightist Liberals are generous enough to invite another leftist voice in then the leftish NDP should be good enough to reciprocate.  Only fair.