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Author Topic: The NDP's "tenuous" links to labour???
Wilf Day
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posted 27 March 2006 08:16 AM      Profile for Wilf Day     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
First we had Buzz ("le syndicat, c'est moi") Hargrove. Now we have Jim Stanford, whom I used to admire, elevating the CAW Executive Board to the status of the core of the Canadian labour movement.

In today's Globe (and I assume his column will soon be posted in Rabble) he says why he thinks CAW locals will vote to disaffiliate from the NDP, based on a 2002 task force survey -- not explaining why they are still affiliated four years later, then -- and then goes further.

After a passing acknowledgment that Steel still goes all out for the NDP -- he could have mentioned CEP, CUPE, and many others, not to mention the CLC itself -- he says it would be best for the NDP if all the other unions also stopped supporting it. "The NDP's efforts may be enhanced if the now-tenuous strings that bind it to labour are broken."

"Now-tenuous strings?" With the CAW Executive Board gone, all the rest of labour are now tenuous? Excuse me, Jim, but the entire labour movement does not jump when Buzz Hargrove farts. This is getting ridiculous.

Jim, you never publicly hugged Paul Martin, and I'm sure you didn't privately either. No one has suspended your NDP membership. The CAW, despite Buzz Hargrove, is one of the very best unions in Canada. I'm certain many of its members will keep playing an important role in the NDP. Far from a tenuous role, in fact.

You know as well as I do that Hargrove's actions went way beyond last December's CAW Council resolution on strategic voting, which I thought was a reasonable CAW strategy (although poorly executed -- who left Wayne Marston off the list? where were the half-page ads publicly hugging those listed NDP candidates?)

Jack's open letter to the CLC last April make it clear that the NDP's links to labour are far from tenuous. It's been a two-way street since 1961, and will still be after Buzz has passed from the scene.

(Edited to correct the spelling of "tenuous." You expect me to spell first thing in the morning? )

[ 27 March 2006: Message edited by: Wilf Day ]


From: Port Hope, Ontario | Registered: Oct 2002  |  IP: Logged
unionist
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posted 27 March 2006 08:26 AM      Profile for unionist     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Stanford's article is the top link on this page.
From: Vote QS! | Registered: Dec 2005  |  IP: Logged
island empire
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posted 27 March 2006 10:16 AM      Profile for island empire     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
great post, but i think you mean "tenuous"...
From: montréal, canada | Registered: Jan 2005  |  IP: Logged
PoliticalDiscord
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posted 27 March 2006 10:32 AM      Profile for PoliticalDiscord   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
CUPE, by far the largest union in Canada, has never had particularly strong ties to the NDP, especially in terms of affiliation. I have been on the executive of a CUPE local for some time and we have never been encouraged or even asked to affiliate to the NDP. Just becuse the leadership of the union endorses the party, doesn't mean the members follow.

When Gary Doer spoke at the CUPE National convention in Winnipeg last year, a delegate challenged the fact that his government had not introduced anti-scab laws and the crowd cheered. Trade unionists are not naive about what they are getting with the NDP.


From: Niagara | Registered: Mar 2003  |  IP: Logged
rasmus
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posted 27 March 2006 11:21 AM      Profile for rasmus   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I would agree with PoliticalDiscord and others who are expressing scepticism. The relation between the NDP and the labour movement has always been complicated at best. The majority of members of any union have nothing to do with it, but you could argue they don't have much to do with the union either, beyond paying dues. In several unions there has been a strong activist base working for the NDP, especially, historically, in the CAW and Steel (in Canada, not Quebec). At the leadership level, Steel and the NDP remain joined at the hip. I don't know about CEP. At the level of the executive, Andre Foucault was extremely partisan but he appears to have moved on.

It hasn't been a particularly authentic relationship for quite some time now -- mostly a relationship of elite brokerage. It's no bad thing to end affiliation in my view.


From: Fortune favours the bold | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
farnival
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posted 27 March 2006 11:30 AM      Profile for farnival     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
while I enjoy Jim's insight and can't say i disagree with his analysis in this particular one, the actions of the CAW executive does seem to contradict his own evidence of what members want...

quote:
In response to these growing cracks in labour's traditional political model, the CAW undertook a task force among its members in 2002. Randomly selected focus groups of rank-and-file members confirmed that they supported union involvement in broader political debates, but on two strict conditions: The issues the union took on must reflect members' concrete concerns.And members did not want their union to tell them how to vote. .


how does that jive with the executive telling their members how NOT to vote? and to reiterate a point above, is why was this policy not followed four years ago if this survey was done in 2002? does this imply the executive has been acting against members wishes for the last four years? confusing Jim, very confusing.

[ 27 March 2006: Message edited by: farnival ]

[ 27 March 2006: Message edited by: farnival ]


From: where private gain trumps public interest, and apparently that's just dandy. | Registered: Jul 2004  |  IP: Logged
stupendousgirlie
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posted 27 March 2006 11:46 AM      Profile for stupendousgirlie     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Move on folks - nothing to see here. I support the NDP. I am glad that the CAW is withdrawing support from the NDP. Maybe this will shake the NDP out of it's stupor and force the party to look for ways that it might possibly form a government in this country.
From: Wondering how the left can ever form a national government | Registered: Nov 2005  |  IP: Logged
farnival
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posted 27 March 2006 12:14 PM      Profile for farnival     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
this doesn't seem very tenuous...

http://www.ndp.ca/page/3496


labour is obviously linked with the NDP in a close and honourable relationship, and I'm proud to support both. If they weren't, the close and dishonorable relationship with business and the Cons and Libs would be far more detrimental to the working person ( which is virtually EVERYONE!!!) than it has been so far.

If the CAW wants to take thier ball and go home, fine. I would like to see how much success they have working with the overtly anti-union, anti-labour, anti-social program Liberals and the anti-tax, anti-government Conservatives. if they think that is beneficial to their members, experience will show quite quickly that they are wrong, and they will find themselves looking for work fairly soon. Unless by this move, they are looking for work with those two parties, senate appointments, fellowships with the C.D. Howe institute, the Fraser Institue, the Council of Chief Executives etc. etc.

As I have pointed out in other threads (nod to unionist), CAW members who have supported the NDP in the past will continue to, as will members of other unions, just as the NDP will continue to work to enhance legislation protecting and enhancing workers rights and conditions. I predict the CAW exec. will be quite embarrassed by this fairly immature knee-jerk reaction to the situation, and find itself in the wilderness pretty quick.

in a larger context, look at the debate it has provoked on babble here and the wide variety of oppinions expressed! this is positive and can only result in a clearer vision for labour and the NDP.;

(apologies for the edits, i dropped my keyboard last night and it exploded everywhere, so now i have wonky keys)

[ 27 March 2006: Message edited by: farnival ]


From: where private gain trumps public interest, and apparently that's just dandy. | Registered: Jul 2004  |  IP: Logged
ravijo
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posted 27 March 2006 12:33 PM      Profile for ravijo   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I think that the prospects of a lesser affiliation between the NDP and labour has excited many people. For many, key unions such as the CAW have deradicalized, liberalized, and moderated their politics for too long. This I think has had unfortunately liberalizing affects on the NDP.

I think labour inlcusion is essential, but we need to have a party which can hold itself close to the progressive/radical issues. I think its a crying shame that the NDP have not taken a strong stance against the invasion of Afghanistan, free trade, imperialism, etc. Similarly we haven't seen the substantial reform policies such as nationalized resources, tax shift/new taxes, state sponsored co-operatives, and fair trade blocs that we would expect from Canada's socialist/social democrat party.

Myself and many people on the edge of the NDP (who aren't sworn members because they are unsure of the NDPs commitment to issues), are very interested to see the outcome of the changes over the next few months and years.


From: Guelph, ON | Registered: Dec 2005  |  IP: Logged
unionist
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posted 27 March 2006 01:03 PM      Profile for unionist     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by ravijo:
I think that the prospects of a lesser affiliation between the NDP and labour has excited many people. For many, key unions such as the CAW have deradicalized, liberalized, and moderated their politics for too long. This I think has had unfortunately liberalizing affects on the NDP.

I think, ravijo, that your comments about the CAW are not historically accurate. The opposite is the case - the CAW, certainly since the early 1990s, has consistently attempted to push the NDP toward more leftist and progressive policies.

This has already been discussed in earlier threads, and I invite you to have a look:

here

also this:

here

I'd be very interested in hearing your comments about the articles and views which are cited at those two links.


From: Vote QS! | Registered: Dec 2005  |  IP: Logged
tommie
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posted 27 March 2006 01:08 PM      Profile for tommie     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
For many, key unions such as the CAW have deradicalized, liberalized, and moderated their politics for too long. This I think has had unfortunately liberalizing affects on the NDP.

Ah, yes. Because Buzz Hargrove was always complaining the NDP was too far to the left. Right.


From: Canada? | Registered: Mar 2005  |  IP: Logged
unionist
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posted 27 March 2006 01:28 PM      Profile for unionist     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by ravijo:

I think labour inlcusion is essential, but we need to have a party which can hold itself close to the progressive/radical issues. I think its a crying shame that the NDP have not taken a strong stance against the invasion of Afghanistan, free trade, imperialism, etc. Similarly we haven't seen the substantial reform policies such as nationalized resources, tax shift/new taxes, state sponsored co-operatives, and fair trade blocs that we would expect from Canada's socialist/social democrat party.

Myself and many people on the edge of the NDP (who aren't sworn members because they are unsure of the NDPs commitment to issues), are very interested to see the outcome of the changes over the next few months and years.


Now my comment on the rest of your post. This time, I agree 100%. But having worked for many years in a variety of movements, and both in and around the NDP, I have no confidence whatsoever that a single one of the specific issues you mention will be addressed (except in a negative direction) by the NDP as presently constituted.

And that does not mean that it's the unions which are holding it back! The NDP, when it achieves power, has frequently attacked union rights and achievements, with torn-up collective agreements, strike-breaking legislation, wage controls, failure to implement long-needed reforms (such as anti-scab laws) - examples available on request. Yet, unions have held their nose and supported the NDP, given the alternatives. But that is changing now.

Many unions were vocally supporting strong progressive stands on international affairs (Palestine, Kosovo, NATO and NORAD, etc.) when the NDP was either waffling or on the wrong side of the fence altogether. The same is true for LGBT rights - the NDP in power was never in the vanguard, while in opposition a different tune could be heard. It is difficult, in fact, to find a progressive movement in society today with which the NDP maintains a living link -- the kind of link which could help keep it politically honest and conscious.

In short, while I agree with your hopes, I am pessimistic that they can be realized by this party, given its present single-minded preoccupation with gaining votes and seats at any price (which usually means moving to the right - cf. Layton's positions on crime, private clinics, the Clarity Act, tax cuts, etc.).


From: Vote QS! | Registered: Dec 2005  |  IP: Logged
Stockholm
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posted 27 March 2006 01:42 PM      Profile for Stockholm     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Its quite amusing how Stanford writes that CAW members don't want their union telling people how to vote. I wonder if this also includes them not wanting to see Hargrove hugging Paul Martin and telling them to vote Liberal???
From: Toronto | Registered: Sep 2002  |  IP: Logged
Cueball
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posted 27 March 2006 01:44 PM      Profile for Cueball   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post

From: Out from under the bridge and out for a stroll | Registered: Dec 2003  |  IP: Logged
ravijo
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posted 27 March 2006 04:39 PM      Profile for ravijo   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
unionist: thanks for visiting my site, I've posted there in response.

I might have come down too hard on the Unions, but I was more or less referring to the CAW (perhaps I have still some buzz issues to get out of my blood), and not the labour/union movement in entirety. I know and was impressed that the CLC for example has some pretty progressive environmental issues.

The biggest disillusionment I have with the NDP, is that no matter how unanimously I hear from supporters that we need to be more resolute and firm in progressive/radical issues... nothing seems to change "up there". I'm trying to get in as a delegate in September, but I'm not sure I will, because hope is not lost it seems, at least now there has been some shaking up of the upper decks.


From: Guelph, ON | Registered: Dec 2005  |  IP: Logged
ravenj
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posted 27 March 2006 04:42 PM      Profile for ravenj     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Check out this voicemail I got for the Toronto-Danforth provincial by-election (for the Liberals) - best to skip the lies and read who paid for the mass voice mails:

"On March 30, we have an opportunity to elect a fresh voice in Toronto-Danforth. The NDP is guaranteed an official party status in Queen's Park regardless of outcome, that means we are free to elect the strongest candidate in this election, and that is Ben Chin. Ben Chin is the one candidate who can deliver real result for our community, for our school, for our health facilities, for our environment. On March 30, vote for a strong Toronto and a strong Toronto-Danforth. Vote for Ben Chin. Authorized by the Carpenters District Council of Ontario".


From: Toronto | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged
Briguy
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posted 27 March 2006 05:22 PM      Profile for Briguy     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
We deserve a Dickensian future.
From: No one is arguing that we should run the space program based on Physics 101. | Registered: Nov 2001  |  IP: Logged
unionist
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posted 27 March 2006 05:29 PM      Profile for unionist     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by ravijo:
The biggest disillusionment I have with the NDP, is that no matter how unanimously I hear from supporters that we need to be more resolute and firm in progressive/radical issues... nothing seems to change "up there". I'm trying to get in as a delegate in September, but I'm not sure I will, because hope is not lost it seems, at least now there has been some shaking up of the upper decks.

Good luck, my friend. I've been there and done that, but you should never listen to old folks who tell you not to try. They are all wrong. Go there, rattle cages, and make big changes, and take my blessing with you.


From: Vote QS! | Registered: Dec 2005  |  IP: Logged
unionist
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posted 27 March 2006 05:30 PM      Profile for unionist     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Briguy:
We deserve a Dickensian future.

What - more Hard Times? or a Bleak House of Labour? surely you don't still have Great Expectations?


From: Vote QS! | Registered: Dec 2005  |  IP: Logged
obscurantist
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posted 30 March 2006 08:55 PM      Profile for obscurantist     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Here's a link to the rabble version of Stanford's article.
From: an unweeded garden | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
John K
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posted 30 March 2006 09:18 PM      Profile for John K        Edit/Delete Post
Non-NDP union members attending conventions - b/c their party affiliation was bundled with their union card - was always more of a theoretical than a real problem. Don't know of too many non-NDPers who are prepared to sacrifice a weekend attending something they don't believe in or support.

We had several incredible trade union volunteers in the recent Edmonton East federal campaign. They were there to support the party and the candidate, not because of a union release. In fact, the level of true volunteerism by trade unionists in the federal campaign exceeded what I've observed in recent provincial campaigns.

The NDP will maintain the loyalty of rank and file trade unionists if its policies are pro-labour moreso than because of affiliations or financing rules.

[ 30 March 2006: Message edited by: John K ]


From: Edmonton | Registered: Nov 2002  |  IP: Logged
Tommy_Paine
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posted 30 March 2006 09:24 PM      Profile for Tommy_Paine     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Randomly selected focus groups of rank-and-file members confirmed that they supported union involvement in broader political debates, but on two strict conditions: The issues the union took on must reflect members' concrete concerns. And members did not want their union to tell them how to vote.

But if the union now says don't support the NDP, and don't vote for Harper........

Isn't that telling them to vote Liberal?

And, funny thing, is that the CAW can and has involved itself in political action while affiliated with the NDP.

The only thing disaffiliating with the NDP allows the CAW to do is endorse another political party.

Officially, this time.

No, I thing Stanford is a snake oil salesman.

If the original complaint of the CAW is that the NDP wasn't a voice for labour, (rather than not being in power and able to throw juicy government appointments at labour leaders) and they could not infuence the NDP to be a voice for labour, it's rather fantastic, don't you think, that they could accomplish this in the Liberal party where anti worker attitudes have been entrenched since forever?

The problem is that both the CAW and the NDP have long abandoned being a voice for working people.

quote:
On the other hand, it will be harder than it already is to organize new members, if party membership gets “bundled” along with a union card.

Yea, that's why we can't organize Japanese plants, that damn NDP affiliation. What a crock. In all the time I helped out organizing, listening to the fears and problems of workers trying to organize, politics never came up. They had bigger fish to fry at the time.

quote:
At any rate, the labour movement will certainly become more influential if its political work can now be done directly in the name of its members.

NDP affiliation never stopped the CAW from doing this before. Again, the only crimp affiliation with the NDP inflicted on the CAW's style would be official endorsement of the Liberal party.

Funny how it all works out, eh?


From: The Alley, Behind Montgomery's Tavern | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
Boinker
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posted 30 March 2006 10:26 PM      Profile for Boinker   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Labour has severed its relationship with the NDP, (well the CAW has) but for what reason? It is not over any philosophical difference ostensibly but rather strategic differences. At least this is what we are led to believe generally. It is the CAW acting because Buzz Hargrove is miffed over his suspension.

But what underlies this superficial rationale is the greater and deeper problems in the NDP and in the Labour movement. They are really different beasts in many respects now.

The NDP particularly in Ontario provincially is struggling to maintain official party status against Liberals who are operating with great success on the economic base created by Tories - chronic underfunding.

It is the reality that taxes need to be raised to meet provincial revenue needs but they won't do it for purely political reasons.

Most union members, indeed most citizens are in principle against raising taxes. So labour politicians part company with NDP economists who want to be honest with the citizen and tell them to get better social programs taxes will need to be raised.

The NDP on the other hand has a tendancy more and more to diverge from the concrete proposals that would make sense to the average citizen. For some the NDP is seen as wanting a "blank cheque" simply because they are the self appointed trustees of the public interest. This is merely a version of liberalism and no doubt there is some truth to this critique.

But if labour moves out on its own into the political arena it could I believe absorb the Liberal Party completely. It has that potential. The problem is that it doesn't see that it could do this directly. Labour and particularly leaders like Georgetti and Hargrove want to rub elbows with the political class, gain influence behind the scenes. This is fundamenatlly undemocratic in spirit. If Labour thinks the NDP does not have the program to do the job then they should develop their own, field candidates and run against Liberals.

The NDP should return to some of its basic ideas that are rooted in state control and command economy. The NDP should write a new tract for this that fits with the modern world, a tract that resonates with the actions of students in France and pensioners in Britain.

Jack Layton needs to move out of the we-need-more-NDPers phase and into the Canadians need propotional representation phase.

People should vote for those who best represent their beliefs and not necessarily to simply win some bogus victory at the polls.


From: The Junction | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Tommy_Paine
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posted 31 March 2006 07:58 AM      Profile for Tommy_Paine     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
But if labour moves out on its own into the political arena it could I believe absorb the Liberal Party completely.

That's rather fantastic. If the CAW could not influence the NDP, how would it hope to influence a party that has deeply entrenched anti labour and anti worker attitudes?


From: The Alley, Behind Montgomery's Tavern | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
thwap
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posted 31 March 2006 10:25 AM      Profile for thwap        Edit/Delete Post
Hargrove and Stanford are right to be unhappy with the NDP. The NDP has been a very unsatisfying ally for the labour movement.

But they have also been completely fucking stupid in cozying up to Liberals who are even worse, in order to attempt to gain some vague form of influence later on.

The NDP and the labour movement have to get it straight: We need a more left-wing NDP, and we need more concerted labour support. We have the analysis. There is a population of activists across the country looking for a vehicle to forward their goals.

But it looks as if the NDP wants to throw its brains in the same toilet bowl that Rae and Romanow did, and become intelligent managers of economic decline, instead of progressives.

And it looks like the CAW (for one) wants to aspire to the position of US unions. Being the 4th rate lobbyists, stuck on hold, or cooling their heels in waiting rooms, waiting for Democratic Party politicians to finish talking with the corporations.


From: Hamilton | Registered: Feb 2004  |  IP: Logged
Tommy_Paine
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posted 31 March 2006 01:12 PM      Profile for Tommy_Paine     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Hargrove and Stanford are right to be unhappy with the NDP. The NDP has been a very unsatisfying ally for the labour movement.

None of this withstands critical examination. The CAW, or indeed all of labour, could not put together a national political party from scratch. At least not one that would have any influence for a generation. And I really doubt Buzz or anyone in the CAW is up for putting up that kind of work.

And as we've seen, they are telling us not to vote for Harper, or the NDP.

So, waiting for the official endorsement of the Liberal party is the other shoe we are waiting to drop.

Why, though? Maybe because the Liberals get in power more often, it would be more likely that we'd get something from government by throwing our lot in with them.

But that's not the track record of the Liberal party. We won't get anything from the Liberals except lip service. At best.

The only way is to stick with the NDP and find a way to make it work. That would be hard work, but easier and more likely to be fruitfull than any other approach, except through protest and civil disobedience.

Which NDP affiliation does not prevent the CAW from partaking in.

I would suggest that the only advantage that this current strategic approach has for the CAW is increased likelyhood of Liberal gratuities for the leadership.


From: The Alley, Behind Montgomery's Tavern | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
Tommy_Paine
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posted 31 March 2006 01:15 PM      Profile for Tommy_Paine     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Oh, but then you'd have to assume that the Liberals where the type of party that would buy off people with government appointments.

There goes my theory, I guess.


From: The Alley, Behind Montgomery's Tavern | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
Boinker
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posted 31 March 2006 06:07 PM      Profile for Boinker   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
That's rather fantastic. If the CAW could not influence the NDP, how would it hope to influence a party that has deeply entrenched anti labour and anti worker attitudes?

Yes, but I think you are missing the point entirely. I am not advocating that the CAW join the Liberals. I am advocating the CAW start its won party and field its own candidates.

The Labour philosophy is inherently small c conservative. Unionsist do not want to control capitalist production. They simply want to ensure that whatever it decides to do it meets some basic standards for the community, the environment and the workers.

The NDP however is rooted in a far more radical philosophy. Its heritage is the overthrow of the capitalist system and the control of all productive forces for the benefit of the citizens of the world. In the NDP Utopia innovation and enterprise would be directed towrd public ends rather the private accumulation.

All those unionists in Oshawa driving SUVs and putting in swimming pools are against this notion.

This is a fundamental political difference that is in reality not reconcialable.


From: The Junction | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Tommy_Paine
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posted 31 March 2006 06:40 PM      Profile for Tommy_Paine     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Originally, I think unions and the NDP had the same utopian goals of shaking off capitalism, but both have strayed a long way from that in practice. Again, there's not much to choose between the two, certainly not enough to justify a schism.


quote:
All those unionists in Oshawa driving SUVs and putting in swimming pools are against this notion.

This is a fundamental political difference that is in reality not reconcialable.


Not really. Workers are aware of environmental issues. Workers want a clean environment. They'd rather be installing Ballard engines, if it was up to most of them.

But they don't have any power to change anything, so they just go along with the flow.

This touches on both the CAW's and the NDP's blind spot when it comes to political power. They've both operated as if winning a majority of seats in a legislature or in parliament is the key to power, when it's only the very start of the process to power.

The other thing that infects us on the left is tribalism. There's no one in a leadership position on the left in Canada that can philisophically tie all the tribes together to fight for common goals.

That leaves the tribes alone to engage in petty squables with each other, instead of with our true opponents.


From: The Alley, Behind Montgomery's Tavern | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
farnival
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posted 31 March 2006 07:15 PM      Profile for farnival     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Tommy_Paine:

That leaves the tribes alone to engage in petty squables with each other, instead of with our true opponents.

sounds alot like the PC/Reform/CA/CPC saga! i don't honestly think that in the current context of the central control/gag order style of the current PMO, and today's retraction regarding jailing the media, that unity will hold for long.

labour and the NDP need to find a focus and decide just what it is that we collectively stand for or this sort of internecine fighting will expand as it did on the right.


From: where private gain trumps public interest, and apparently that's just dandy. | Registered: Jul 2004  |  IP: Logged
Matt_Risser
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posted 31 March 2006 07:53 PM      Profile for Matt_Risser     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I agree with the tribalism comment but what we need isnt to reunite the NDP with Labour,but unite all the leftists in Canada together which includes those minority of Liberals who are really leftwing, the NDP, the REAL Greens not the PC's who eat granola that have drifted to the Green Party and the Social Democrats in Quebec who are soft on seperatism. Then when we have a real Progressive Party we can actually start affecting Government.
From: Lunenburg, NS | Registered: Jan 2006  |  IP: Logged
Boinker
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posted 31 March 2006 08:06 PM      Profile for Boinker   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
labour and the NDP need to find a focus and decide just what it is that we collectively stand for or this sort of internecine fighting will expand as it did on the right.

Why?

The essential right wing agenda is that there must be a majority government with dictatorial powers to correct the perceived problems with the system of governance. Do we really agree with this?

Think about it for a minute. Labour and the NDP respect one another and we consider ourselves both on the right side of history and the needs of the people. Both groups are inherently more democratic than the old guard parties.

What is the consequence when we are put together under the same roof? Constant rangling and infighting. Are we to conclude that it is just some sort of internal problem?

I say no way. It is a philosphical problem. We are different groups. We have different values. These values reasonate with many more Canadians than actually vote for the banner precisely because the political party does not encompass all those beliefs. We are not Liberals. We cannot "honestly pretend" to be all things to all people. NDPers are socialists. We believe in democratic state control of the economy not free market control with a strong labour - social contact policing it.

The conflict is not the consequence of disunity. It is the notion that the left needs to be "united" that creates the conflict and that cause the problem.If organized labour ran its own political party it would have enormous popularity. Why do you think the powers that be have passed legilslation banning union contributions to political parties?

Come on people let us get over this so called "bust-up". Organized labour never delivered votes to the NDP in numbers comensurate with their membership to begin with. Labour is a different philosophy entirely and it doesn't fit with the NDP's core agenda.

[ 31 March 2006: Message edited by: Boinker ]


From: The Junction | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
farnival
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posted 31 March 2006 08:46 PM      Profile for farnival     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
boinker, i agree with you on that. as i have posted before, i think the time has come to acknowleged what you have pointed out, that labour and the NDP are different beasts now, as i experience every day being a shop steward and ndp member/volunteer.

what i meant by focus was not "uniting the left" which makes me more than mildly queasy given that concept's theoretical origins on the right, but as you say the ndp is socialist, and at this point i don't believe labour in general is anymore, but we do have common ground, and instead of this internal bickering, lets move on, acknowleged that our goals are different, but continue to work agressively on the things that matter to both. i think to continue pretending that labour votes exclusively ndp is detrimental to both groups and the affiliation concept exacerbates this diversion of philosophies

[ 31 March 2006: Message edited by: farnival ]


From: where private gain trumps public interest, and apparently that's just dandy. | Registered: Jul 2004  |  IP: Logged
Matt_Risser
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posted 31 March 2006 08:56 PM      Profile for Matt_Risser     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
ok boinker i dont get your point about an organized labour run political party being wildly popular and then saying that organized labour never delivered votes to the NDP. The fact is that organized labour has hurt the NDP by making it unappealing to other progressive groups and stifled the potential of the NDP to grow.
From: Lunenburg, NS | Registered: Jan 2006  |  IP: Logged
Tommy_Paine
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posted 31 March 2006 09:04 PM      Profile for Tommy_Paine     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
If organized labour ran its own political party it would have enormous popularity.

In chess, they usually make a notation of (!?) after something like that.


The CAW's split isn't over any of this stuff. It's about supporting the Liberal Party. For reasons yet to be officially determined but that we can only guess at.

There has to be a lot of thinking on our part, going right back to basics on what we want for working people, what roll we expect from government in attaining those things and what we expect ourselves to do in attaining those things.

At the end of all that though, there must be solidarity of purpose.

And again, I think you guys have a fundamental missunderstanding regarding the nature of political power.


From: The Alley, Behind Montgomery's Tavern | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
farnival
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posted 01 April 2006 03:50 AM      Profile for farnival     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Tommy_Paine:

There has to be a lot of thinking on our part, going right back to basics on what we want for working people, what roll we expect from government in attaining those things and what we expect ourselves to do in attaining those things.

thats what i'm talking about. nicely put.


From: where private gain trumps public interest, and apparently that's just dandy. | Registered: Jul 2004  |  IP: Logged
brookmere
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posted 01 April 2006 09:01 AM      Profile for brookmere     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
If organized labour ran its own political party it would have enormous popularity.

As has already been pointed out, organized labour has never been able to deliver a majority of its members' votes (Canada wide) to the NDP, which has been its (if not "its own") party since 1961, so what on earth makes you think this?

"Its own party" presumably means a party with membership restricted to trade union members. What a great way to win over the 90% or so of the voting public who aren't union members.

Another poster pointed out that a CAW survey indicated that most union members don't like being told how to vote by their union. My God, what a shock! Face it, no voters like being told how to vote by anyone!

Trade unions are the legitimate representatives of their members' interests in their relations with their employer, but that doesn't automatically make them the representatives of their political interests, which are much more complex. The union leadership may think so, but the members' voting patterns speak otherwise.

[ 01 April 2006: Message edited by: brookmere ]


From: BC (sort of) | Registered: Jun 2005  |  IP: Logged
Boinker
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posted 01 April 2006 12:25 PM      Profile for Boinker   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
In Britain, Israel, Germany, Australia and elsehwere labour parties are successful.

From a purely marketing angle as well as a social democratic one the NDP suffers more from being vilanized as a demon socialist party than it does because of its affiliation with labour.

In my opinion Labour suffers because it is tagged with the "left wing" label when in fact it is about as centrist as you can get. The NDP should take the high road of being a left wing party with all the bells and whistles of say, the communists in France or elsewhere. We should encourage Labour to grow up and take their own destiny. Unionist philosophy is essentially the Liberal spin. Liberals however, practice something entirely different in government - they are anti-labour and pro-business once they are elected by the willing dupes (who are encouraged by Buzz & Friends!)

How on earth does Labour rationalize this? Jim Stanford spends years pointing out how Liberal governance and Conservative governance are at least economically virtually identical. Then he turns around and supports strategic voting.Go figure.

In Ontario, the Liberals have promoted themselves as the nice guys. Things are somewhat better in education - that is in terms of attitude. Teachers don't feel hated by their government - which is an improvement. But the crisis is far from being solved. And now as the budget deficiencies pressure McGuinty to raise taxes we hear some of the same old negativities resurfacing from the Harris years...

I think the Ontario NDP would benefit if Labour ran candidates in Liberal ridings. It would certainly clarify many things. It would weaken the Liberal vote and make people realize that they could vote NDP without "splitting the vote". We would start to think, in permanent minority governments, about policy and the compromises that a parliamentary democracy obtains on issues rather tnan winning or losing.

[ 01 April 2006: Message edited by: Boinker ]


From: The Junction | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
farnival
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posted 01 April 2006 01:03 PM      Profile for farnival     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by brookmere:

Trade unions are the legitimate representatives of their members' interests in their relations with their employer, but that doesn't automatically make them the representatives of their political interests, which are much more complex. The union leadership may think so, but the members' voting patterns speak otherwise.

this is a good point brookmere and one that is at the heart of this debate. i would add that in addition to being reps of members' interests, they also further the interests of workers that aren't represented, by pushing the bar higher in regards to the treatement of workers, an important part of the social justice equation, but you are correct about the voting part.

if i may be so bold, i thinki there is a growing generational gap in labour and left politics and the older generation is either missing this point, or willfully ignoring it. most workers under 40 (of which i am, just!) are not, nor have they been, in unionised jobs in their lives. they only have the stories in the media to inform thier opinion, and that information is negative towards labour. there has been little effort by labour or the NDP, in my opinion, to educate this group and inform them of the importance of both labour and the left to social justice and indivdual dignity in the workplace.l thus, you have a generation of workers that don't think of unions as effective or worthwhile, and those that are represented, forget that the reason they can afford a house and a car and the nice things in life, is because of union wages that were fought for on thier behalf, perhaps even outside of thier own industry.

this affects voting for sure, and if the left is linked with labour in thier minds, they obviously don't support it, as reflected in voting patterns. i think the survey posted somewhere here on babble that showed that hargrove's support for the libs actually caused people to vote against the liberals, while having been criticised as biased, it does raise an interesting issue: does the general public's view of organised labour now taint any support of a political party, regardless of the stripe?


From: where private gain trumps public interest, and apparently that's just dandy. | Registered: Jul 2004  |  IP: Logged
the bard
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posted 01 April 2006 01:13 PM      Profile for the bard     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Boinker:
In Britain, Israel, Germany, Australia and elsehwere labour parties are successful.

Yes, but these parties also serve as the de facto liberal party in these countries as well (the Lib Dems in the UK are further to the left than the Blairites)

This also explains their electoral success in BC, SK and MB.

In the federal scene and in Ontario, the Liberal Party is the authentic third way party. A third way NDP is just a pale imitation.


From: Toronto | Registered: Mar 2005  |  IP: Logged
the bard
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posted 01 April 2006 01:15 PM      Profile for the bard     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Boinker:
[QB]
We are not Liberals. We cannot "honestly pretend" to be all things to all people. NDPers are socialists. We believe in democratic state control of the economy not free market control with a strong labour - social contact policing it.

Try telling the NDP leadership that.


From: Toronto | Registered: Mar 2005  |  IP: Logged
HiBias
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posted 01 April 2006 01:34 PM      Profile for HiBias        Edit/Delete Post
The whole thing is moot. Any reasonable analysis of Canadian voting trends and attitudes shows that the views and policies of the NDP and its leadership really represent only a very small segment of the Canadian public. There is nothing to indicate any growth potential in support for the NDP core ideology in this country. After the sponsorship scandal they pulled in a few extra protest votes but still couldn't make a breakthrough. They never will. They desperately need organized labour (and the CAW) precisely because they have always benefited from a large number of votes from unionized workers whose core ideologies are probably more closely aligned with the Liberals or Conservatives. Huges percentages of organized workers (including CAW members) voted for Mike Harris who was the antithesis of NDP values. The NDP misunderstands its own base and believes it's own rhethoric (and that of the left wing press - also unionized). Canadians are more in line with the thinking of Stephen Harper than Jack Layton (by a huge margin). With the CAW and other big unions helping with money and organizational strength the NDP has an inflated sense of how many people actually agree with their granola eating nonsense. Hargrove understands that the party who benefits most from the presence of the NDP is the Conservatives. Hargrove may have taken the first big step in an eventual consolidation of the NDP and Liberals. While they battle it out Harper will consolidate, encircling Torono from the outside in (starting with Quebec, then 905). If Harper can address environmental issues properly (which I think he will..by legislating measures that are immediately impactful and much more effective than Kyoto) Hargrove may yet witness the Liberals and NDP reduced to a joint rump Upper Canada party fighting over nothing more than the GTA and a few seats in urban Manitoba. Those of you who seem to scoff at Hargrove/CAW abandonment of the NDP don't seem to realize who truly fragile NDP support is and how little it would take to wipe it out and end the sorry spectacle of having a socialist'left wing' party wasting valuable podium time in Canadian elections. No one needs the extreme right or left and by any reasonable international standard (which is the only honest yardstick) Harper is smack in the political centre. Hargrove has taken the first step to killing he NDP and forcing it into a union with the Liberals.
From: Whitby | Registered: Mar 2006  |  IP: Logged
farnival
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posted 01 April 2006 01:47 PM      Profile for farnival     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by HiBias:
(and that of the left wing press...

you mean the "left wing" press that gave nearly unanimous fawning coverage of the CPC in both 2004 and 2006 elections, going so far as to endorse harper and his limited vision of this country?

...NDP has an inflated sense of how many people actually agree with their granola eating nonsense

just as the cons think that 36% of the popular vote gives them an inflated sense that they actually speak for the majority of the citizens of this country, who overwhelmingly voted in favour of more progressive policies, but were denied true representation because of our skewed voting model?


dude, you are in the wrong place to spew that absolute nonsense. we are tryng to have an intelligent discussion here and you clearly are not interested in that.

edited to add: hahahahahaha! you got me! i forgot it was april 1st! and i thought you were serioius!

[ 01 April 2006: Message edited by: farnival ]


From: where private gain trumps public interest, and apparently that's just dandy. | Registered: Jul 2004  |  IP: Logged
HiBias
recent-rabble-rouser
Babbler # 12359

posted 01 April 2006 05:48 PM      Profile for HiBias        Edit/Delete Post
RE: Fawning Press: Hardly...if the press wasn't left leaning Harper would have won a majority...(consider he's facing a party that essentially laundered millions in stollen tax dollars..it was quite skillful for the media to actually suck people into thinking this was a 'clash' of values between the Libs and Cons. ...as for 2006 Harper got good coverage because his campaign was substantially better than the Liberals...the media thought it could manage the public into electing a minority converative government which it would quickly dispatch thereafter...but ooops the plan isn't working out..despite near universal criticism Harper's popularity has gone up not down during the Emerson nonsense...It seems people sense Harper is a leader.

As for the 36% that voted Conservative...aren't you forgetting the massive numbers of conservative Ontarians who voted Liberal because they have had a long affinity for the debt cutting conservative Paul Martin? 905 is full of people who are essentially conservatives, but as Upper Canada family compact types they can't bring themselves to displace the Liberals (who lets face it are the vehicle by which Ontario seeks to control the rest of Canada). But make no mistake, with their only conservative leadership contender gone, and a host of left wingers and big spenders (all with no cost cutting conservative credentials) poised to take over I suspect that as Harper becomes less scary he will soak up a lot of former Martin supporters..

As for the topic under discussion...the younger generation recognizes that the greed of those in protected jobs (or should I say their insatiable and unreasonable appetite for ever increasing wages and benefits that are far beyond the norm for most working people) has resulted in a situation where the 'older' generation enjoys superlative benefits and pensions while corporation desperately take steps to ensure that as many jobs as possible are shipped to India or China... Bruntland could figure out sustainability but apparantly labour unions can not. The CAW and present day unionists are now an 'elite' class of people whose self centredness is destroying the future prospects of any growth in the industries which provide the largesse... And make no mistake you are not helping provide social justice...Canada has long had legislation in place which creates a safe and excellent workplace for most workers in every province. ...You are cartels designed to siphon off as much financial largesse as you can into the pockets of your members...period.. Now you turn to the daycare argument..yes that's what unionized workers need...having the next generation of workers' children raised in a warehouse environment by non-parents ...all in the name of social justice (please...who are you kidding...it's all because you want a new bargaining unit of organized day care workers...don't insult us with this 'social justice' rhetoric...). Maybe if you helped people put in policies that they really need (things that let mom's raise their own kids at home...kept crime of the streets etc...basic stuff...like lower taxes) workers wouldn't feel so disconnected from you...


From: Whitby | Registered: Mar 2006  |  IP: Logged
farnival
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posted 01 April 2006 06:12 PM      Profile for farnival     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
like i said, haha april fools, i get it.
From: where private gain trumps public interest, and apparently that's just dandy. | Registered: Jul 2004  |  IP: Logged
Boinker
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posted 01 April 2006 11:15 PM      Profile for Boinker   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I think there are many more socialists in Canada than we realize. For example, Canadians support the state run institutions like Healthcare, Education and Public Transportation. Organized Labour could not deliver these national institutions very easily. On the other hand regulating the workplace would be virtually impossible without unions. Similarly, without union pension benefits our social security system would resukt in a total collapse of the viability of the state as well as the economy.

There are two spheres on the left. They have different approaches and different strengths and weaknesses. Basic economics says that these two spheres should advocate what they do best not compete with one another which is what is happening within the left and has been for a number of years now.

I say socialists can be unionists and vice versa but political organizations have to recognize limits. The Bloc for example, has got this principle figured out very well. Does the Bloc say, "We have to win power in Canada, a majority, so that we can do what we want" ( i.e. sovereigty - association)?

No (and aside from the absurdity) it says we can deal with our own issues and still make a meaningful contribution to Parliament. And it has been doing so.

Labour has more potential for popularity because it does not have transformation of the Capitalist system as the root of its philosophy. A Labour victory in Canada would improve the lot of workers in Canada but carry none of the ideological baggage, provided the left was brave enough.


From: The Junction | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
brookmere
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posted 02 April 2006 06:32 AM      Profile for brookmere     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Boinker:
I think there are many more socialists in Canada than we realize. For example, Canadians support the state run institutions like Healthcare, Education and Public Transportation.

State provision of social services is not socialism. Socialism is state, or workers', control of economic production.

Someone a few posts back knocked the NDP leadership for not supporting socialism. Well the NDP never really was a socialist party in the first place (the CCF in the 1930's was).

I think the percantage of voters who really want socialism is a lot smaller than the 17.5% who voted NDP last time around.


From: BC (sort of) | Registered: Jun 2005  |  IP: Logged
Boinker
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Babbler # 664

posted 02 April 2006 08:36 AM      Profile for Boinker   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
State provision of social services is not socialism. Socialism is state, or workers', control of economic production.

OK this is a pretty broad definition.And the question, of course, would be difficult tio prove one way or another.

But are not healthcare, education, and public transit economic production? Are they not controlled by the democratic state for the benefit of all? And more importantly don't most Canadians support them? Ergo, Canadians support socialism.

I think that more people would vote for the NDP if they clarified this. Now, affiliated with big unions, the essential altruism is lost to the perception that we are beholding to these unions in some way that would subordinate the public interest.

The politics of language is interesting. When we say labour we mean all working people. When we say union we mean a finite group of self interested workers.The former has political clout the latter is a political liability in many cases.

(On the other hand, if we say the word "shareholder" it has a pleaseant ring to it. But "corporation" has a sinister, and, in my opinion justified, ambience, linguistically speaking.)

In reality labour and unions are identical. A Labour party movement would resolve this dichotomy in the public mind by setting better standards for all workers and increasing unionization across the country.

[ 03 April 2006: Message edited by: Boinker ]


From: The Junction | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged

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