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Author Topic: CAW sellout Stanford backs Toyota Liberal
TCD
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posted 05 January 2006 11:48 PM      Profile for TCD     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I thought about posting this under the Canadian Dimension article but I'll post it here.

CAW economist (and sellout) Jim Stanford is backing a Toyota Manager running for the Liberals:

quote:
I have worked closely with Greig Mordue through the Canadian Automotive Partnership Council and other auto industry associations to develop innovative proposals to strengthen Canada’s most important export industry. He understands the industry well – much better than Conservative MPs, who have taken the auto sector for granted. Greig has had a major personal contribution to this industry, and he could do even more as a Member of Parliament.

– Jim Stanford,
Ph.D., Chief Economist, Canadian Auto Workers


Now, in addition to being, um, a LIBERAL, Mr. Stanford's candidate is an executive at Toyota who says:
quote:
Our team members will decide whether or not a union best reflects their interest... At this point in time, we don't think they have anything to gain from a union
Or how about this gem after losing a union certification?
quote:
Our team members have recognized that a third party represents a complication they don't need.

To summarize, not only is Stanford opposing the NDP Candidate, he is backing anti-CAW, anti-worker management Liberal.

So, where is the CAW going? To hell.

Where the fuck are the so-called CAW militants to stand up to the business union direction their party is clearly slinking down? Or is it okay to join the ruling class as long as you have a social justice fund?

Jim Stanford ( stanford@caw.ca ) should hear from folks about his decision to sellout his fellow workers and climb into bed with management.

[ 06 January 2006: Message edited by: TCD ]


From: Toronto | Registered: Apr 2005  |  IP: Logged
John K
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posted 06 January 2006 01:07 AM      Profile for John K        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Just sent the following email to Stanford:

To: stanford@caw.ca
Sent: Thursday, January 05, 2006 10:20 PM
Subject: Can't be true - can it?


That you're backing an anti-union Liberal candidate who brags about keeping Toyota plants union-free?

Please tell me it aint so?

John K
NDPer and proud of it, but ashamed of the CAW


From: Edmonton | Registered: Nov 2002  |  IP: Logged
radiorahim
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posted 06 January 2006 01:18 AM      Profile for radiorahim     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
This is really getting f*cking bizarre.
From: a Micro$oft-free computer | Registered: Jun 2002  |  IP: Logged
Fidel
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posted 06 January 2006 01:25 AM      Profile for Fidel     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Liberals often shapeshift with respect to what they preach and practice. I don't understand this guy at all. He did such a good job of ripping McCallum's department down for their ill-planned $100 million dollar tax cut for big business previous to 9/11 and Air Canada crisis. He's a sellout. His industry's falling apart, and he's going to help it along that path by backing the Liberals.
From: Viva La Revolución | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged
Krago
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posted 06 January 2006 10:12 AM      Profile for Krago     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Wasn't Grieg Mordue a Bajoran character on "Deep Space Nine"?
From: The Royal City | Registered: Sep 2002  |  IP: Logged
Booker2
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posted 06 January 2006 03:42 PM      Profile for Booker2     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
First, Buzz hugs Paul. Now, Stanford sells out. What's next - CAW elites sporting smocks and endorsing Wal-Mart for appreciative TV cameras?

Has rot set in at CAW's upper echelons? Is it time for a change?


From: Ontario | Registered: Apr 2005  |  IP: Logged
Aristotleded24
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posted 06 January 2006 08:50 PM      Profile for Aristotleded24   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Is this the same Stanford who also recently chastised the NDP over the issue of not raising taxes?

quote:
The bottom line: Tories will spend over 100% of available surpluses on tax cuts, Liberals will spend two-thirds, and the NDP could spend a third (with the rest going to new programs). There are clear choices between the parties. But they've all accepted, to varying degrees, the notion that Canadian taxes are somehow "too high."

From: Winnipeg | Registered: May 2005  |  IP: Logged
Merryblue
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posted 07 January 2006 06:11 AM      Profile for Merryblue     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
You know, Jim Stanford, it is bad enough that you often incorporate corporate euphemisms in your writing, but to side AGAINST us working stiffs and the NDP to support a corporate icon for election is despicable! By backing the Liberals and this particularly offensive candidate, you evince a sad lack faith in your own union and in the brotherhood. I only hope your Rank and File see through you two and vote NDP. You must have swallowed that Economic 100 crap and marketplace myths in their entirety--"capitalism creates wealth", "tax cuts to the rich trickle down to the poor" and other such fairy tales. I am so disappointed in you and CAW's president. No wonder we're all going backwards in workers' rights! Our leaders have bedded down with the bosses. You guys got paid too much--too much more than disposable income, so you probably had money to invest, which makes you capitalists--the oppressors and part of the problem. "I have seen the enemy and it is us!"---Pogo 1950s
From: Northern Vancouver Island B.C. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Tommy_Paine
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posted 07 January 2006 08:21 AM      Profile for Tommy_Paine     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I read a book a long time ago about the Ku Klux Klan. Long story short, the author blamed the last resurgence of this odious organization not on the right wing Republicans, but on the Democrats.

The Democrats abandoned even lip service to the impoverished whites of the south and appalachia, and the Klan slithered into this leadership vacuum.

In fairness, the NDP abandoned representation of the working class long before the CAW. And the CAW was the last union that still spoke for working people. But now this last voice has abdicated the battle field.

Where are workers to turn? What will slither into the vacuum?

--Tommy Paine, member, CAW Local 27, where the spirit of Jim Ashton surely weeps.


From: The Alley, Behind Montgomery's Tavern | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
Jesse Hoffman
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posted 07 January 2006 11:43 AM      Profile for Jesse Hoffman     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Wow, this is madness.

Stanford fears the Conservatives I suppose, but his support for a Liberal who opposes the CAW and worker management, and who is steadfastly against unionizing his workers is entirely unjustifiable, and a contradiction of all that he claims to stand for.

In fact, it is an abdication of all principles I would have only thought possible from the Liberal Party of Canada.


From: Peterborough, Ontario | Registered: Jan 2004  |  IP: Logged
TCD
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posted 07 January 2006 12:37 PM      Profile for TCD     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Tommy Paine, I admire your loyalty to your union – and I think CAW members have a history to be proud of – but I think you go too far in your slam on every other union.

The labour movement has been drifting for a while, and some unions are terrible, but the CAW’s drift towards business unionism, chummy relations with the ruling party, and a “screw you” attitude to the rest of the labour movement puts them in a unique position right now.

The CEP, for example, has been speaking up for working people in forestry – and not, um, raiding and urging people to vote for union bashers.


From: Toronto | Registered: Apr 2005  |  IP: Logged
thwap
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posted 07 January 2006 01:05 PM      Profile for thwap        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I am really, really, disappointed with Jim Stanford. I guess i can read him now and again, get the odd factoid or something, but this is absolutely disgusting. Inexcusable.

Canadian premiers wouldn't have had the excuses they did about finances, when they made all those cuts to social programs, without the savagery of the federal Liberals.

Cuts to public housing? Destroying medicare? Lying about surpluses? Austerity and misery? Paul Martin's Liberals. And Jim Stanford somehow sees fit to praise one of these slithering abominations?

If we're going to get Canada back on track, we have to push things left. Strong support for the only viable pseudo-leftist party is what's needed. Not some short-sighted backing of an auto executive candidate because you think it's going to benefit your autoworkers' union in some undetermined fashion.

Disgraceful.


From: Hamilton | Registered: Feb 2004  |  IP: Logged
al-Qa'bong
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posted 07 January 2006 02:05 PM      Profile for al-Qa'bong   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Tommy_Paine:

The Democrats abandoned even lip service to the impoverished whites of the south and appalachia, and the Klan slithered into this leadership vacuum.

In fairness, the NDP abandoned representation of the working class long before the CAW. And the CAW was the last union that still spoke for working people. But now this last voice has abdicated the battle field.

Where are workers to turn? What will slither into the vacuum?

--Tommy Paine, member, CAW Local 27, where the spirit of Jim Ashton surely weeps.


You nailed it, Tommy. The NDP isn't seen by enough workers as the party representing their interests.


From: Saskatchistan | Registered: Feb 2003  |  IP: Logged
Merryblue
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posted 07 January 2006 02:55 PM      Profile for Merryblue     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I agree--too many workers don't see the New Democrats as a party to vote for! Why is this? Because most workers watch and read the corporate media and become brainwashed to accept the Corporate Agenda. Or they go to university like Jim Stanford to unlearn common sense and wind up believing the Marketplace Dogmas--"capitalism creates wealth", "We must be competitive" and other stupidity. So since workers and their leaders have lost faith in themselves, the Labour Movement stalls. Workers/employees have no aspirations and can't fathom how to make the world better. If they do get involved, even joining the New Democrats, they foolishly vote for candidates who are so unremarkable--so mushy middle, all style with no substance, people with no guts, imagination or resourcefulness. It's hard to get excited for people who obviously don't really know the basics of social justice, for they've never been poor. So the New Democrats are seen as a wasted vote. Timidity and narrow-mindedness is all too prevalent among Canadians these days--especially in Ontario. Alabertans as a whole have long ago abondoned critical thought. Quebeckers seem to be the only ones with some mental spheres. In BC, we have too many immigrants from Asia and the Middle East who can't even pronouce "social justice", never mind know what it means. I vote NDP, anyhow, and try to convince others to do so, too, but the mainstream media hype is too powerful. Goebbels would be impressed.
From: Northern Vancouver Island B.C. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
TCD
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posted 07 January 2006 03:00 PM      Profile for TCD     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by al-Qa'bong:

You nailed it, Tommy. The NDP isn't seen by enough workers as the party representing their interests.


Unfortunately, the labour movement isn't seen by many workers as represnting their interests.

68% of Working Canadians are not unionized and 81% do not wish to ever be unionized.


From: Toronto | Registered: Apr 2005  |  IP: Logged
robbie_dee
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posted 07 January 2006 03:01 PM      Profile for robbie_dee     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
In BC, we have too many immigrants from Asia and the Middle East who can't even pronouce "social justice", never mind know what it means.

Um, in my experience many immigrants have both an understanding and firsthand experience with the struggle for social justice that would likely far exceed yours.

[ 07 January 2006: Message edited by: robbie_dee ]


From: Iron City | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
al-Qa'bong
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posted 07 January 2006 03:14 PM      Profile for al-Qa'bong   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Or they go to university like Jim Stanford to unlearn common sense and wind up believing the Marketplace Dogmas--"capitalism creates wealth", "We must be competitive" and other stupidity.

I doubt that such Liberal Capitalist dogma is taught much in disciplines other than Commerce (why are schools of commerce allowed on university campuses anyway?).

I had far more exposure to Marx than to Adam Smith or Jeremy Bentham when I went to University.
[ed. I must admit, though, that Hobbes and Locke were considered fundamental to an understanding of modern political thought when I took PoliSci 330 - "Modern Political Philosophy".

[ 08 January 2006: Message edited by: al-Qa'bong ]


From: Saskatchistan | Registered: Feb 2003  |  IP: Logged
aka Mycroft
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posted 07 January 2006 03:18 PM      Profile for aka Mycroft     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by TCD:
Unfortunately, the labour movement isn't seen by many workers as represnting their interests.

68% of Working Canadians are not unionized and 81% do not wish to ever be unionized.


Wow, a poll commissioned by a right-wing anti union group for the National Post. You know that's going to be bang on accurate.


From: Toronto | Registered: Aug 2004  |  IP: Logged
TCD
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posted 07 January 2006 06:44 PM      Profile for TCD     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I take it with a grain of salt - but Leger is a respected pollster.

I’ll just note that I often hear people on the Left say that the NDP is out of touch with working people – but few people note that the LABOUR MOVEMENT is even more out of touch with working people.

Particularly the current CAW leadership.


From: Toronto | Registered: Apr 2005  |  IP: Logged
Ken Burch
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posted 07 January 2006 08:18 PM      Profile for Ken Burch     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Merryblue:
In BC, we have too many immigrants from Asia and the Middle East who can't even pronouce "social justice", never mind know what it means. .

And the reason that statement ISN'T racist is...?

(also, The Filipino women who work on the ferry boat with me would probably kick your ass big time for that kind of talk.)


From: A seedy truckstop on the Information Superhighway | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
Makwa
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posted 07 January 2006 09:42 PM      Profile for Makwa   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Merryblue:
Because most workers watch and read the corporate media and become brainwashed to accept the Corporate Agenda. Or they go to university like Jim Stanford to unlearn common sense and wind up believing the Marketplace Dogmas...It's hard to get excited for people who obviously don't really know the basics of social justice, for they've never been poor....Alabertans as a whole have long ago abondoned critical thought. ...In BC, we have too many immigrants from Asia and the Middle East who can't even pronouce "social justice", never mind know what it means..
Gee, with supporters like you who have contempt for 'most workers', despise the university educated, Albertans and hate Asian and Middle Eastern Immigrants, it's a wonder why you can't convince more people to join the NDP vote. Tell you what, why don't you just stop trying to help, ok?

From: Here at the glass - all the usual problems, the habitual farce | Registered: Oct 2005  |  IP: Logged
unionist
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posted 07 January 2006 10:20 PM      Profile for unionist     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by TCD:
[F]ew people note that the LABOUR MOVEMENT is even more out of touch with working people.

Particularly the current CAW leadership.


I spent my whole life in a "labour movement" where criticism of the NDP was banned. That, I'll grant you, was out of touch with working people.


From: Vote QS! | Registered: Dec 2005  |  IP: Logged
Stephen Gordon
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posted 07 January 2006 10:45 PM      Profile for Stephen Gordon        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Merryblue:
... Or they go to university like Jim Stanford to unlearn common sense ...

Durn tootin'. Dang-blasted book learnin is the wurst thing that ever hapened to us decent folk. Grade 6 is more than enuff for enyone.

quote:

Goebbels would be impressed.

HAHAHAHAHAHA!

Oh. You weren't joking?


From: . | Registered: Oct 2003  |  IP: Logged
pogge
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posted 07 January 2006 11:04 PM      Profile for pogge   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Stephen Gordon:
Durn tootin'. Dang-blasted book learnin is the wurst thing that ever hapened to us decent folk. Grade 6 is more than enuff for enyone.

That's book larnin, Stephen. Yer spellin is atroshus.


From: Why is this a required field? | Registered: Mar 2002  |  IP: Logged
Stephen Gordon
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posted 07 January 2006 11:12 PM      Profile for Stephen Gordon        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 

Sea wut hapens wen u pas grade 7?


From: . | Registered: Oct 2003  |  IP: Logged
Fidel
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posted 08 January 2006 03:09 AM      Profile for Fidel     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by TCD:
I’ll just note that I often hear people on the Left say that the NDP is out of touch with working people – but few people note that the LABOUR MOVEMENT is even more out of touch with working people.

The NDP still represents a clear difference to the two old line parties who've come to take Canadian voters for granted.

That said, I think labour unions in Canada need to focus off of higher wages so much and onto negotiating for skills training and cooperative experiences for young workers. Skills and experience are money as far as todays workers should be concerned. The reason I say higher wages is a dead end for unions is that lower wage, flexible labour markets are a given in N. America now with what workers and unions have lost to developing nations. Higher wages are their[China, India, Russia, SE Asia, Latin America] fight now in creating a level playing field world-wide. United we stand, divided we fall.


From: Viva La Revolución | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged
Tommy_Paine
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posted 08 January 2006 11:39 AM      Profile for Tommy_Paine     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
The CAW's "raiding" more often than not was in fact rescuing workers from "yellow dog" unions. The idea was sound: Canada has too many unions, and workers would be better off if there was only four or five, at most. The CLC would never move in that direction, and I was always proud that the CAW was grabbing the bull by the horns.

But now the CAW is a yellow dog union.

It's clear the leadership has been co-opted by the Liberals. As the natural ruling party, they are the gate keepers to lucrative appointments, and I sight the very busy Bob Rae as evidence.

We are so fearfull of a Tory government, either majority or minority, and this fear is being exploited by both the Liberals, and those they have made promises to.

Lost in all this though is the fact that the Liberal Party is not only deeply in debt, but they have not transitioned to grass roots fundraising like the NDP and the Tories.

Now that they can't as easily launder tax dollars from the government, to business and then back to the party, they don't look so professional.

Out of power, they will not be able to co-opt the union movement, or members of the NDP with government appointments.

It seems to me we have a golden opportunity to rid ourselves of the Liberal Party, if only we master our fear of the tories.

True, there is lots to be afraid of. But with a genuinely interested leadership, and a tory policy motivated membership, left wing organizations could resort to civil disobedience and other forms of activism to fend of the worst of the tory hidden agenda.

It's not the easy way, but it's the best way.

As for Stanford's hopes for Liberal generosity, I offer the wisdom of the Ramones:

"53rd and 3rd, I'm standing on the street.
53rd and 3rd, I'm tryin' to turn a trick.
53rd and 3rd, You're the one they never pick.
53rd and 3rd, Don't it make you feel sick?"

It never surprises me that people sell themselves. What surprises me is how cheep they set the price.


From: The Alley, Behind Montgomery's Tavern | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
TCD
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posted 08 January 2006 04:22 PM      Profile for TCD     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by unionist:
I spent my whole life in a "labour movement" where criticism of the NDP was banned. That, I'll grant you, was out of touch with working people.
Yeah, and criticism of Hargrove and the CAW leadership is SO welcome.

From: Toronto | Registered: Apr 2005  |  IP: Logged
TCD
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posted 16 January 2006 10:28 AM      Profile for TCD     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
A new addition to the "endorsing anti-union management" category:

"Belinda has the experience and leadership qualities Canada needs. " says Buzz Hargrove.

Would that be the same Belinda Stronach who used to head up the famously anti-union Magna Corp?

Yes. Yes it would be.


From: Toronto | Registered: Apr 2005  |  IP: Logged
radiorahim
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posted 19 January 2006 12:40 AM      Profile for radiorahim     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I think this is about the third time I've mentioned it but it reminds me of what Karl Marx said about history repeating itself first time as tragedy and second time as farce.

I find alot of parallels between what Buzz & Co are doing in 2006 with what Tim Buck and the Labour Progressive Party did during the federal election of 1945.

The LPP folks collaborated with Mackenzie King's Liberals and screwed the CCF in the process.

Seeing Buzz on the stage with Belinda Stronach is a complete farce.


From: a Micro$oft-free computer | Registered: Jun 2002  |  IP: Logged
up
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posted 19 January 2006 01:43 AM      Profile for up     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Anyone get a reply from Stanford yet?
From: other | Registered: May 2005  |  IP: Logged
up
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posted 19 January 2006 01:43 PM      Profile for up     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Hehe Stanford's new column notes he was been cited by Conservatives.

I guess being a Liberal stooge is ok, but Cons no.


From: other | Registered: May 2005  |  IP: Logged
eko
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posted 22 January 2006 06:22 PM      Profile for eko   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
yup, apparently Stanford responded.
_____________________________________________________
http://canadiandimension.com/articles/2006/01/17/301/

Jim Stanford Answers His Critics

Special to Canadian Dimension

Dear Friends;

I came back last week from a lovely holiday in sunny, socialist Venezuela to two unpleasant surprises. Number 1: The Tories are 10 points ahead in the polls. Number 2: About 15 messages in my in-box complaining about my statement of support for Greig Mordue. Mordue is a senior executive at Toyota Motor Manufacturing of Canada who is running for the Liberals in the Oxford riding (which encompasses Ingersoll and Woodstock ˆ communities with a heavy auto industry presence, and significant concentrations of CAW members).

Number 1 is obviously more worrisome than Number 2. But let me provide some background and context for those concerned about Number 2. I welcome your further comments and feedback, at stanford@caw.ca. If I can overcome my techno-phobic tendencies, I will also post this message at Rabble‚s „babble‰ site (where this matter has also been discussed and debated). You are also welcome to circulate my response.

The Conservative candidate took Oxford in the 2004 election, with a relatively slim margin over the Liberal. The NDP candidate was 14,000 votes behind, and has no chance whatsoever of winning this election.

Greig Mordue‚s profile as a senior executive at Toyota (which just announced a new assembly plant in the riding), combined with a general concern in the region about the challenges facing Canada‚s auto industry, give him a realistic chance of taking the riding from the Tories (depending, of course, on how the national political tides flow ˆ they looked a lot better 3 weeks ago, when I gave him my statement, than they do right now).

Just as important from my perspective, Oxford riding is a perfect location to highlight the stark differences between the parties on the need for a pro-active strategy to support and develop Canada‚s auto industry. Here the cleavage is clearly between the Tories on one hand (who oppose active industrial policy) and the Liberals and the NDP on the other (who, in varying ways, support it). Indeed, there are 4 „auto‰ ridings in Ontario (Oxford, Essex County, Kitchener, and Oshawa) currently held by the Tories, which should be fertile ground for mobilizing an anti-Tory vote among autoworkers, given the Tories‚ refusal to support an active auto strategy for Canada. (Harper‚s Tories, like the Harris Tories before them, argue that government should just cut corporate taxes and get out of the way, leaving the private sector to make all the important decisions about investment and economic development. Jim Flaherty, the former Industry Minister in the Harris government who passively presided over the decline of the auto industry, is even rumoured as a likely Industry Minister in a Harper cabinet.)

Below is the full text of the statement which I provided to Mr. Mordue:

„I have worked closely with Greig Mordue through the Canadian Automotive Partnership Council and other auto industry associations, to develop innovative proposals to strengthen Canada’s most important export industry. He understands the industry well — much better than Conservative MPs, who have taken the auto sector for granted. Greig has made a major personal contribution to this industry, and he could do even more as a Member of Parliament.‰

I think this statement makes it clear that my support is motivated by a shared interest in an active auto strategy, and by a desire to defeat the sitting Tory. Mordue also sought (and received) statements of support from several other auto industry personalities (including a senior executive at General Motors ˆ a bedfellow at least as unlikely as I am). My statement says nothing about Mr. Mordue‚s, or the Liberal Party‚s, views on other subjects.

The outgoing minority government (thanks to pressure from the NDP, the labour movement, and other progressive forces) did more good things than any federal government in Canada in the last quarter-century. In a context in which every single seat can make a real difference, if my support for Mr. Mordue in some small way contributed to shifting one seat from the Tory side of the House of Commons to the side of a potential Liberal-NDP minority government, which could then go on to do more of those „good‰ things, then I would consider it a huge and worthy achievement. My own little „Belinda Stronach‰ moment, if you like.

Some have asked what my support for Mr. Mordue means, given the CAW‚s ongoing efforts to organize Toyota workers. Let me stress that my statement of support for Mordue reflected a collective decision within our union, and followed close consultation with local CAW leaders and activists in the Oxford area (including the organizing committee at Toyota). We decided together to do this, and I believe it could strengthen our union‚s efforts to unionize Toyota. Why?

The CAW is using its collective strength in Oxford to intervene in politics in a way that concretely improves the lives of CAW members (and potential CAW members) and their families and communities. Auto industry investment and employment are crucial to the standard of living of working people in Oxford (and throughout Ontario). An active auto policy is essential to winning new investment (not just at Toyota, but at other assembly and parts plants ˆ like the CAW-represented CAMI plant at Ingersoll in the Oxford riding, which has also benefited substantially from the new federal-provincial auto strategy). The other issues at stake if the Tories win this election (everything from a national child care program to equal rights for gays and lesbians) are also essential to the quality of life of CAW members, their families, and their communities.

If we can exert positive, collective influence in this election, then we show our members (and potential members at Toyota) that the union can indeed make a positive difference in their lives ˆ in the political arena, as well as at the bargaining table. On the other hand, an endorsement by rote of an NDP candidate who has no chance of winning, and whose votes could inadvertently re-elect a Tory with economic policies directly at odds with the auto industry which so many of our members and their families depend on, would reinforce the claims of union opponents that the labour movement is ineffective and irrelevant. The fact that a senior Toyota executive so evidently values the opinion of the CAW will also make an interesting ingredient in the brew of our continuing organizing campaign at Toyota.

My support for Mr. Mordue is also fully consistent with the CAW‚s election strategy, which was thoroughly debated and overwhelmingly approved by several hundred rank-and-file delegates at our Council meeting in December. That strategy involves supporting NDP incumbents and NDP candidates in potentially winnable ridings. Elsewhere, it is left to local activists and individuals to decide what action stands the best chance of defeating or stopping the Tory. CAW members pay my salary, and my work as an economist is always motivated, first and foremost, by what will strengthen our union and benefit its members. In Oxford riding, it is 100 percent obvious that the best chance of defeating the Tory is to support Mr. Mordue.

Let me add a few personal comments about the controversy and debate which has been sparked by the CAW‚s decision to work explicitly toward the re-election of another Liberal minority government, supported by as many NDP MPs as possible. (In Quebec, the TCA ˆ which sets its own political direction ˆ is working to support the Bloc.) I have been surprised and disappointed at the anger which this approach has sparked among many great progressive people ˆ not just from NDP stalwarts (from whom the view that nothing is ever more important than electing more NDPers is standard fare), but from better, more progressive allies in the broader struggle.

Most of the Canadian left (and most NDP members, I suspect) agree that minority government offers the best possibilities for progressive social change. No-one on the left „trusts‰ Liberals, least of all me. All the hot air about Liberal broken promises in past (majority) administrations is utterly beside the point. The reason we got good things done under minority government is not because Liberals are progressive or trustworthy; it is because the left (both in Parliament, and just as important outside Parliament) finally had a bit of power. We should use our engagement in electoral politics, thoughtfully and explicitly, to maximize our power to get progressive things done. Not to make statements of principle. Not to „feel good‰ about ourselves and the things we believe in. But to get things done.

I‚ve had several colleagues completely agree with the claim that a Liberal minority government is good for progressive goals, but then denounce the CAW for „supporting Liberals.‰ This is very confusing. How can you support a Liberal minority government, without hoping that a good number of Liberals get elected? And if you are hoping that a good number of Liberals get elected, shouldn‚t you actually try to make sure (where you have some influence) that this actually happens? These views are 2 sides of the coin. It may be distasteful for some to think of casting their vote for a party with such inconsistent and unreliable positions, and within which the influence of big business will always be dominant. But if it helps to concretely advance the goals of the left, then why all the angst? Get over it, folks. The important thing is whether we are winning or losing in the battle for progressive social change ˆ not whether your little individual vote is symbolically „pure‰. (Indeed, if that was the criteria for a principled vote, then I have yet to cast one in my entire adult life.) Many, many progressive Canadians have explicitly agreed that voting for Liberals, where the NDP has no chance of winning, is the most principled, progressive thing to do ˆ from social action groups to members of the Socialist Project. I am proud to count myself among that group.

I began my involvement in left-wing politics through social movements, not through a political party: the anti-cruise movement, the Latin American solidarity movement, the student movement, and eventually the labour movement. I have almost always voted NDP. (Once I voted Green as a protest against an especially lacklustre provincial NDP platform in Ontario ˆ that was a mistake, however, as I learned it only encouraged those folks and their bizarre politics.) Not once have I ever been inspired by an NDP platform. Indeed, more often than not I am infuriated by the NDP platform (and this election has provided more than its share of infuriating offences: from support for across-the-board income tax cuts, to support for the Clarity Act, to the nauseating piling-on about the sponsorship scandal ˆ which, according to the prominence accorded in NDP literature, must be the most important issue facing the left). Even when the platform is good, I have a well-deserved scepticism that it would actually be enacted, in the unlikely event the NDP actually came to power. Yet I continue to vote NDP not because the party is a beacon of progress, or because the party reflects my „true values,‰ but because this mostly trivial personal act in a small way strengthens the balance of forces in favour of progressive causes. If I was ever in a situation where this was not the case (eg. where a vote for a Liberal would strengthen the balance of forces in our favour more effectively, by helping to stop a Conservative), then I would do so happily and without a moment of lost sleep.

Those who view their vote as some kind of personal statement or witness, and hence are thrown into fits of self-doubt at the prospect of voting Liberal (no matter how hopeless are the NDP candidate‚s chances, or how dangerous the prospects of a Conservative victory) are taking what I would view as a rather naïve and liberal (in the small-l sense) view of how democracy works under capitalism. The orthodox view of liberal democracy pretends we have a neutral, fair choice to make between different options. If you want to change society, then change the party you pick from the smorgasbord ˆ and the democratic process will then ensure that the view of the majority becomes reality. Winning a pluralistic election, and winning power, are synonymous.

A radical analysis of democracy, on the other hand, accepts that true power is vested in the economic and social structures of society, not „granted by the people‰ through pluralistic elections. There‚s a struggle over the distribution of power and wealth that goes on every day of the year; voting is one form of that struggle, but not even the most important form. Progressive forces should never put all their eggs in the electoral basket, but nor can they ignore it. They should use electoral politics, intelligently and deliberately, to advance their position in that bigger, ongoing battle.

Someone on babble called me a „sell-out‰ for supporting Mordue. That‚s an interesting claim. My economic research and commentary continues to express views that I suggest are considerably more principled (on issues like tax cuts, income trusts, or free trade) than the NDP platform we are supposed to be living and dying by. I work my butt off to help make the CAW a powerful, effective, and progressive union. I have played a significant personal role in three different initiatives to inject debate over fundamental social and economic issues into this campaign (the Alternative Federal Budget‚s election report card, which endorsed the idea of a minority government, at www.policyalternatives.ca; the Centre for Social Justice‚s Call to Action campaign against tax cuts, at www.voteforachange.ca; and the more recent Think Twice social movement coalition aimed at undermining Tory support in the dying days of the campaign, at www.thinktwicecanada.ca). And, yes, I have even found time to hand out a few leaflets for my local NDP candidate (the Tory in my riding poses no threat, so we can all be „pure‰ in our voting intentions ˆ at least as „pure‰ as you can hope to feel by voting for the NDP). I don‚t think that‚s a sell-out.

There‚s something else out there that smells like a sell-out to me. In the interests of maintaining at least moderately constructive relationships with my friends in the party, I will bite my tongue until January 24. For now I‚ll say this: NDP strategists precipitated this election motivated by a fear of being squeezed out in a resurgent Liberal majority (a fear that‚s dominated their thinking since the day after the 2004 election). The fear was far-fetched to say the least when they brought the government down in November; today it is painfully surreal. The NDP campaign continues, even today, to emphasize attacking the Liberals ˆ far more than attacking the Tories, even more than emphasizing positive issues. If, as a partial result of these decisions, we manage to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory on crucial issues that progressives have fought for decades to attain (national child care, Kyoto, worker protection in cases of bankruptcy, and more), then I predict a post-election day of reckoning for the Canadian left that will reshape, painfully, relationships between the party, the labour movement, and the social movements for a generation to come. For now, however, I am still hoping passionately that it won‚t come to that.

I welcome your further feedback and comments at stanford@caw.ca.

In solidarity,

Jim Stanford


From: t-dot | Registered: Jan 2006  |  IP: Logged
Crippled_Newsie
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Babbler # 7024

posted 22 January 2006 06:38 PM      Profile for Crippled_Newsie     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Trying to fix side scroll
From: It's all about the thumpa thumpa. | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged
TCD
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 9061

posted 25 January 2006 03:26 PM      Profile for TCD     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I welcome Stanford's "reckoning". If it's anything like the "support" that Hargrove offered the Liberals it should be good news for the NDP.

I, for one, would be glad if the CAW bureaucrats like Stanford parted with the NDP forever and took their working class "vision" (forged through all of their "work" at Venezuelan resorts, Rosedale condos, and soirees with Toyota management) with them.

While Jim is "working his butt off" on the beaches of Venezuela his members are losing their jobs despite Hargrove's claims that it wasn't going to happen ("I'm pretty confident that we should escape this latest action by the Ford Motor Co.,'' Hargrove said.)

I can't wait for the next burst of tactical brilliance from the vanguard of the working class. Please please please bring it on.

[ 25 January 2006: Message edited by: TCD ]


From: Toronto | Registered: Apr 2005  |  IP: Logged
libertarian
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posted 25 January 2006 03:41 PM      Profile for libertarian        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
It sounds as though that while Mr. Stanford often votes NDP he really does not support it and sees it as ineffectual. He is thus a pragmatist, and I can sympathise.
From: Chicago | Registered: Jun 2004  |  IP: Logged
Fidel
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posted 25 January 2006 03:52 PM      Profile for Fidel     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Libertarian ? Chicago ?. Hey, wtf happened with libertarian economics in Chile ?.
From: Viva La Revolución | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged
libertarian
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 6136

posted 25 January 2006 04:09 PM      Profile for libertarian        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Hi Fidel: I moved here recently from La belle province. I am still a libertarian.
From: Chicago | Registered: Jun 2004  |  IP: Logged
Aristotleded24
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posted 25 January 2006 06:26 PM      Profile for Aristotleded24   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by libertarian:
It sounds as though that while Mr. Stanford often votes NDP he really does not support it and sees it as ineffectual. He is thus a pragmatist, and I can sympathise.

If people like Stanford talk about going on vacation in places that many of us will never be able to afford to do, if people like Stanford don't fight hard for the NDP princples and work to change the terms of the debate, and if people like Stanford crack and cave in when things look really bad, of course the NDP will never be effectual. We'll never build up an effective movement as long as our "supporters" (many of whom are to the left of the NDP, I might add) tell people to vote for other parties.


From: Winnipeg | Registered: May 2005  |  IP: Logged

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