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Author Topic: The Greens get the blues
Michelle
Moderator
Babbler # 560

posted 02 August 2004 09:04 AM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
... or did the Blues get the Greens? Flushed with electoral success, the federal Green party seems to be on a roll. But leader Jim Harris's right-wing, market-based election platform and his ruthless internal manoeuvring have raised the hackles of the party's “deep” Greens. Are the Greens headed for a major split at their Calgary convention in August?

Stuart Hertzog


From: I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Gir Draxon
leftist-rightie and rightist-leftie
Babbler # 3804

posted 02 August 2004 09:19 AM      Profile for Gir Draxon     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
The Harris Greens' non-leftist environmentalism is what made the Green party at all different from the NDP. I would certainly hope that there is no fracture within the party- the Green party has a very useful role to play by showing people that it's okay to be an environmentalist without being a socialist.

But if the Green Party does end up fracturing, it would be nice to have some more pro-enviroment voices within the CPC


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josh
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 2938

posted 02 August 2004 09:27 AM      Profile for josh     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Who says you have to be a socialist to be an environmentalist? The Greens have no useful role to play, other than to offer a feel good stopping place for the politically unsophisticated.
From: the twilight zone between the U.S. and Canada | Registered: Aug 2002  |  IP: Logged
Michelle
Moderator
Babbler # 560

posted 02 August 2004 09:29 AM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Unfortunately, that describes the majority of people. Most people aren't political wonks like the average babbler.
From: I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
josh
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posted 02 August 2004 09:36 AM      Profile for josh     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
But I think a lot of people know where they stand even if they aren't particularly sophisticated. The Greens appeal, generally, to a younger, non-poor, non-ideological, "fiscally conservative, socially moderate" crowd. Those type of voters take more of a live and let live attitude and are all for social progress, as long as they don't have to pay for it.
From: the twilight zone between the U.S. and Canada | Registered: Aug 2002  |  IP: Logged
Gir Draxon
leftist-rightie and rightist-leftie
Babbler # 3804

posted 02 August 2004 09:49 AM      Profile for Gir Draxon     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by josh:
Who says you have to be a socialist to be an environmentalist?

Stuart Hertzog, for one. Why else would he be lamenting about those evil "Blue Greens"? (Note: I use the term "socialist" where social-democrat is actually more accurate. But when talking strictly perceptions, the NDP is socialist)

I've heard many people complain that the Greens are just stealing votes from the NDP... it just doesn't occur to them that not all enviromentalists necisarily subscribe to the economic and social policies of the NDP. Social conservatives and beleivers in the free market are not welcome in the NDP, so it makes sense to have a right of centre "green" party.


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thwap
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posted 02 August 2004 10:10 AM      Profile for thwap        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
"Social conservatives and beleivers in the free market are not welcome in the NDP, so it makes sense to have a right of centre 'green' party."

Ugh! i don't like the sound of that. Sounds like a bunch of blond anti-communists who like tramping through the woods holding torches and singing volk songs ....


From: Hamilton | Registered: Feb 2004  |  IP: Logged
Michelle
Moderator
Babbler # 560

posted 02 August 2004 10:13 AM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
You have a point, Gir. The Green voters I know didn't vote NDP before they went Green. One was a Liberal, and another was a waffler between Liberal and PC (before the merger).
From: I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
meades
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posted 02 August 2004 04:35 PM      Profile for meades     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
All the greens I know are former NDPers. They were actually expelled from the party for founding the first Green riding association here.
I know it's a mix, but I think there are at the very least a lot, if not the bulk of green voters and activists who actually think the Green party is left (or to use the bogey word- socialist!) so to a certain extent I do believe the Greens are taking votes that logically should go to the NDP.

From: Sault Ste. Marie | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
rasmus
malcontent
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posted 02 August 2004 05:26 PM      Profile for rasmus   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
How hard would it be to take over the Green party?
From: Fortune favours the bold | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Sammy D
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posted 02 August 2004 05:58 PM      Profile for Sammy D     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Gir, how many "social conservatives" are really in the Green Party? All the greens I know are just as culturally liberal as New Democrats like myself. In some cases, maybe more so.

Also, you claim that people who believe in the free market are not welcome in the NDP. Well, that isn't true either. In fact, most of the mainstream of the party is all for a tamed free market (Ed Broadbent, Lorne Nystrom and even Jack Layton really).


From: Stratford ON | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Gir Draxon
leftist-rightie and rightist-leftie
Babbler # 3804

posted 04 August 2004 10:30 AM      Profile for Gir Draxon     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Sammy D:
Gir, how many "social conservatives" are really in the Green Party? All the greens I know are just as culturally liberal as New Democrats like myself. In some cases, maybe more so.

Also, you claim that people who believe in the free market are not welcome in the NDP. Well, that isn't true either. In fact, most of the mainstream of the party is all for a tamed free market (Ed Broadbent, Lorne Nystrom and even Jack Layton really).


To be honest, I really have no idea how many so-cons are actually in the Green Party. The official policy is pretty socially liberal, but as far as I know there is not the same stigma that there is in the NDP if you don't agree with the party's social stance, or at least stay absolutely silent about any social issue you may disagree with the party line on (ala Monia Mazigh and SSM). If I were so-con but adamantly pro-environmentalist, the Green party would look not that bad.

And yes there are also many libertarians in the Green Party. The point is that there are a wide variety of views within the party on many issues, but the common thread is that a cleaner environment benefits everyone. This is why I almost voted for them last election, and may still in the future if the CPC doesn't go in a good direction.

And when I was talking about beleivers in free markets, I meant free markets, not heavily regulated but not 100% centralized markets.


From: Arkham Asylum | Registered: Feb 2003  |  IP: Logged
WingNut
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posted 04 August 2004 11:10 AM      Profile for WingNut   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
it just doesn't occur to them that not all enviromentalists necisarily subscribe to the economic and social policies of the NDP

That is because "free market capitalism" (as espoused by the alliance/conservtives, their brethren in the fraser institute, and their republican role models) and environmental activism, or care for the environment at all, are diametrically opposed. You can pretend to be both, but you would just be kidding yourself.

From: Out There | Registered: Aug 2001  |  IP: Logged
Mr. Magoo
guilty-pleasure
Babbler # 3469

posted 04 August 2004 11:18 AM      Profile for Mr. Magoo   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
But leader Jim Harris's right-wing, market-based election platform and his ruthless internal manoeuvring have raised the hackles of the party's “deep” Greens. Are the Greens headed for a major split at their Calgary convention in August?

Well, they got themselves on the map, they got a bit of funding, they're starting to build a base of support, so I guess I'd have to say hell ya they're heading for a split!

The only question remaining is: how will splitting the fringe vote affect the Canadian political landscape?


From: ø¤°`°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°`°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°°¤ø, | Registered: Dec 2002  |  IP: Logged
WingNut
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posted 04 August 2004 12:39 PM      Profile for WingNut   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I would like to think a core group will return to green values. There is a lot to be said for much of the basic green platform. I've been a past member of the greens. I would consider going back.
From: Out There | Registered: Aug 2001  |  IP: Logged
scooter
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posted 04 August 2004 04:37 PM      Profile for scooter     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
twap: Sounds like a bunch of blond anti-communists who like tramping through the woods holding torches and singing volk songs ....

That is a disgusting analogy. You are as bad as bikewench in this thread.

From: High River | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged
Doug the Red
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posted 04 August 2004 11:39 PM      Profile for Doug the Red   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I was already working on an analysis of the divisions in the Green Party when I read Hertzog's article. I've incorporated his work into my piece, available here. Comments would be greatly appreciated!

Doug the Red


From: Ottawa | Registered: Feb 2004  |  IP: Logged
BlueGreen
rabble-rouser
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posted 05 August 2004 01:17 AM      Profile for BlueGreen   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I joined the Greens recently (just look at my name), and yes, I don't buy into the supremacy of class politics. To the extent that class does affect our society, I don't think class struggle is a useful model to base change on.

I do, however, buy into the concept of doing what is doable now. I'm convinced that market forces can be used to reach needed short to medium-term goals. After that, we'll see where we have to go from there.

Canada is not prepared to accept any party it perceives as radical-left - even if that what she needs.

Baby steps...


From: Near the Very Centre of the Universe | Registered: Aug 2004  |  IP: Logged
gabrieldraven
recent-rabble-rouser
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posted 05 August 2004 03:15 PM      Profile for gabrieldraven   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
As an executive for the Green Party in Ontario, I feel compelled to respond to another factually incorrect and dishonest article on Rabble about the Green Party.

First, Mr. Hertzog says that Mr. Harris is being supported by the conservative Ontario council led by Frank de Jong. Anyone who knows Frank knows that this description of him is patently ludicrous. Moreover, Frank has publicly endorsed both Jim Harris and Tom Manley, Jim's primary opponent.

Second, Mr. Hertzog says our recent platform was written by a consultant hired by Jim Harris and printed on 'glossy paper'. Our platform Chair, Michael Pilling, was hired and paid for by the Green Party of Canada. Michael has worked for Jim in the past and he is a current councilor of the Green Party of Ontario. What's more Michael led a broadly inclusive process which enabled any Green Party member in Canada to contribute to the writing of the platform. I suspect our process was more open, inclusive and transparent than that used by the NDP. What's more, anyone who knows anything about our platform knows it was printed at considerable expense at a printer considered by many to be the leading environmental printer in the country. A platform dismissed as 'pabulum' by one of Mr. Hertzog's sources was described as very worthy of consideration by the Globe and Mail's editorial board.

Third, Mr. Hertzog would paint the Green Party as an economically elitist party that would give a voice only to those members who pay $175 to attend our AGM. In fact, a phone call to our office would confirm that the cost to attend the conference is indeed $90 and that any member can vote on any ballot initiative by mail. These constitute material, factual inaccuracies in Mr. Hertzog's article.

The repeated attacks of factual inaccuracy and ad hominem innuendo on the Green Party by the left, led by the NDP, are the true indicators of the integrity, honesty, strength and health of the left in Canada. Rather than attacking our party, we suggest it would be more productive to build and strengthen your own.


From: toronto | Registered: Jun 2004  |  IP: Logged
WingNut
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 1292

posted 05 August 2004 03:48 PM      Profile for WingNut   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
The repeated attacks of factual inaccuracy and ad hominem innuendo on the Green Party by the left

So you acknowledge the Green Party has become a party of the right?

From: Out There | Registered: Aug 2001  |  IP: Logged
WingNut
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 1292

posted 05 August 2004 03:56 PM      Profile for WingNut   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
I do, however, buy into the concept of doing what is doable now. I'm convinced that market forces can be used to reach needed short to medium-term goals. After that, we'll see where we have to go from there.

What does that mean?
Market forces are based upon a model of ever increasing consumption and such consumption is not sustainable. So you are saying you are buying into a program you know will fail because you haven't the stomach to fight for what will really work. Is that it?

From: Out There | Registered: Aug 2001  |  IP: Logged
Scott Piatkowski
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 1299

posted 05 August 2004 04:09 PM      Profile for Scott Piatkowski   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by gabrieldraven:
Frank has publicly endorsed both Jim Harris and Tom Manley, Jim's primary opponent.

Umm... how exactly can someone endorse two candidates for the position of party leader? This is a serious question.

[Sidebar: How amusing that I should be asking this question about someone with the last name "de Jong" ]

quote:
A platform dismissed as 'pabulum' by one of Mr. Hertzog's sources was described as very worthy of consideration by the Globe and Mail's editorial board.

As I said during the campaign, the Green Party certainly deserved voters consideration, but the NDP deserved their votes. In response to my column on the subject and to some work my riding's NDP campaign, I heard a lot of complaining from Green circles. I find that the Green Party tends to complain about not being part of the debate (which is a legitimate complaint), but as soon as the NDP (or Greenpeace, or the Sierra Club) tries to engage them in a debate (i.e. examining the merits of the Green platform and contrasting it with other party platforms), that is seen as "dirty" or "an attack".

quote:
The repeated attacks of factual inaccuracy and ad hominem innuendo on the Green Party by the left, led by the NDP, are the true indicators of the integrity, honesty, strength and health of the left in Canada. Rather than attacking our party, we suggest it would be more productive to build and strengthen your own.

Thanks for your response to the article, particularly for clarifying your platform development process, your convention fees and who printed your leaflets. If you read the bio at the bottom of the article, you'll see that it was written by someone who (unlike me) is not a member of the NDP. For that matter, neither is Murray Dobbin, who wrote another piece on the Green Party during the campaign.

I have to wonder whether the Green Party itself is going to take Gabriel's own advice to "rather than attacking [the NDP], we suggest it would be more productive to build and strengthen your own." I've heard some pretty outrageous things said about the NDP by Harris and de Jong. Are they now going to retract those statements?


From: Kitchener-Waterloo | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged
Erik Redburn
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Babbler # 5052

posted 05 August 2004 06:14 PM      Profile for Erik Redburn     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by BlueGreen:
I joined the Greens recently (just look at my name), and yes, I don't buy into the supremacy of class politics. To the extent that class does affect our society, I don't think class struggle is a useful model to base change on.

I do, however, buy into the concept of doing what is doable now. I'm convinced that market forces can be used to reach needed short to medium-term goals. After that, we'll see where we have to go from there.

Canada is not prepared to accept any party it perceives as radical-left - even if that what she needs.

Baby steps...



Two points:
THe NDP has never advocated "revolution", hasn't talked in terms of "class warfare" since before I could vote, and in government has "nationalized" fewer private companies than the old Socreds did. To put this in perspective, the "neo-Socreds" advocate that ALL public services can be run "better" by the private sector or at least by private sector models. The NDP OTOH only advocates that natural monopolies like public infrastructure and essential services like welfare remain in public hands. So who are the real radicals and ideologues now?

Second, the Green Party's idea of "baby steps" are actually steps *backwards* -bad enough advocating the removal of ALL progressive taxation, what's worse is the idea that private industry can "police themselves". That goes beyond naivity into cynicism. The record already shows what happens when we let the "private sector" regulate itself.

[ 05 August 2004: Message edited by: Erik the Red ]


From: Broke but not bent. | Registered: Feb 2004  |  IP: Logged
BlueGreen
rabble-rouser
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posted 05 August 2004 09:04 PM      Profile for BlueGreen   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by WingNut:

What does that mean?
Market forces are based upon a model of ever increasing consumption and such consumption is not sustainable. So you are saying you are buying into a program you know will fail because you haven't the stomach to fight for what will really work. Is that it?

Well, let's look at what I said:

I do, however, buy into the concept of doing what is doable now.

So I'm a pragmatic individual who is interested in what can work now. Today. And it must be readily acceptable to many Canadians.

I'm convinced that market forces can be used to reach needed short to medium-term goals.

As for long-term goals, I have no idea. I'm prepared to figure that out as we move along. If you have any idea on how to create a truly safe, fair and sustainable society, let me know. But please include a workable plan to get there which takes into account fiscal and social realities.


From: Near the Very Centre of the Universe | Registered: Aug 2004  |  IP: Logged
N.R.KISSED
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posted 05 August 2004 09:59 PM      Profile for N.R.KISSED     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
As for long-term goals, I have no idea. I'm prepared to figure that out as we move along. If you have any idea on how to create a truly safe, fair and sustainable society, let me know. But please include a workable plan to get there which takes into account fiscal and social realities.

My god from your timeless prose you would never figure you were a consultant. Fiscal and social realitites indeed.

The realities are that capitalism and sound environmental policy are mutually exclusive. Of course you don't know what would result in a equitable and just society,anyone who uses the term "market forces" or proposes they are a solution to anything would not understand just or equitable. The only thing "market forces" do is concenttrate wealth and power into the hands of a few at the expense of the planet.


From: Republic of Parkdale | Registered: Aug 2001  |  IP: Logged
Gir Draxon
leftist-rightie and rightist-leftie
Babbler # 3804

posted 05 August 2004 10:04 PM      Profile for Gir Draxon     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by WingNut:

So you acknowledge the Green Party has become a party of the right?

In the words of Jim Harris,

quote:
"If 25 years ago I had said that the majority of Canadians would be drinking bottled water today, you would have laughed. If I were to say now that we may have to breathe bottled air in 25 years if we don’t fundamentally change the way our society works, would you laugh? And if we can’t breathe the air, does it really matter whether the government of the day is right or left?

The message that I am getting from Harris is that the Green party transcends the traditional "left-right" spectrum, as a healthy environment benefits both the wealthy business owner and the union activist. Wingnut, perhaps you should be thinking forward, not right or left.


From: Arkham Asylum | Registered: Feb 2003  |  IP: Logged
Gir Draxon
leftist-rightie and rightist-leftie
Babbler # 3804

posted 05 August 2004 10:11 PM      Profile for Gir Draxon     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by N.R.KISSED:

The realities are that capitalism and sound environmental policy are mutually exclusive.

No, they're not. Just ask anyone in the tourism industry how many people from overseas come to Canada on their vacations to see Wal-Mart parking lots as compared to the number of people who come here to enjoy the natural beauty of the Rockies. There is also a huge potential for profits in a green economy; things like wind and solar power plants aren't just going to appear on their own.

Short-term profits may suffer in some industries, but in the long term, a healthy environment is far more fiscally responsible. All the manufactured goods in the world won't do us any good if we can't eat, drink, or breathe. And we can't go about building a green economy without a sustainable economic plan.


From: Arkham Asylum | Registered: Feb 2003  |  IP: Logged
Merowe
rabble-rouser
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posted 06 August 2004 08:23 AM      Profile for Merowe     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I used to be quite sympathetic to the Green party platform; it addresses a lot of increasingly pressing issues that the left until recently had not integrated into its own.

That said, I think it's professed transcendence over 'left/right' political analysis is fundamentally flawed. An honest structural analysis of the characteristics of the modern capitalist state leads inevitably to the question of social heirarchies, the economic systems that sustain them and their burden on the material foundation upon which we all depend. The Earth.

The grave environmental stresses that increasingly threaten our existence are directly attributable to a market-oriented society based upon the utilization of dwindling natural resources for the competitive production of consumer goods, etc.

If, as I suspect, an ideal Green society would offer a remodelled competitive market based economic structure that somehow manages to reduce our ecological footprint to some 'sustainable' level, then they're pissing in the wind.

In attempting to clear the slate of the old right/left divide they simply deny the political history of our society, it's gains, insights and utility, and will be doomed to repeat the mistakes of a political form they seem fundamentally incapable of analysing with the necessary rigour.

With the ascent of a market consultant to the top position it is clear the once radical possibilities of a Canadian green party have been superceded by a feel good, middle class non-ideology masquerading as an ideology, fundamentally incapable of addressing the drift of the modern state into corporatist oligarchy - with the attendant, willy-nilly environmental plundering this entails.


From: Dresden, Germany | Registered: Apr 2003  |  IP: Logged
Gir Draxon
leftist-rightie and rightist-leftie
Babbler # 3804

posted 06 August 2004 09:59 AM      Profile for Gir Draxon     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Merowe:
I used to be quite sympathetic to the Green party platform; it addresses a lot of increasingly pressing issues that the left until recently had not integrated into its own.

That said, I think it's professed transcendence over 'left/right' political analysis is fundamentally flawed. An honest structural analysis of the characteristics of the modern capitalist state leads inevitably to the question of social heirarchies, the economic systems that sustain them and their burden on the material foundation upon which we all depend. The Earth.

The grave environmental stresses that increasingly threaten our existence are directly attributable to a market-oriented society based upon the utilization of dwindling natural resources for the competitive production of consumer goods, etc.

If, as I suspect, an ideal Green society would offer a remodelled competitive market based economic structure that somehow manages to reduce our ecological footprint to some 'sustainable' level, then they're pissing in the wind.

In attempting to clear the slate of the old right/left divide they simply deny the political history of our society, it's gains, insights and utility, and will be doomed to repeat the mistakes of a political form they seem fundamentally incapable of analysing with the necessary rigour.

With the ascent of a market consultant to the top position it is clear the once radical possibilities of a Canadian green party have been superceded by a feel good, middle class non-ideology masquerading as an ideology, fundamentally incapable of addressing the drift of the modern state into corporatist oligarchy - with the attendant, willy-nilly environmental plundering this entails.


Put down your polisci textbooks and try thinking in terms of real-world benefits and practical ways to accomplish the goals of a sustainable economy. You say that the "remodelled free market" can't accomplish anything, but I fail to see how mental masturbation about class warfare is any better.


From: Arkham Asylum | Registered: Feb 2003  |  IP: Logged
skdadl
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 478

posted 06 August 2004 10:40 AM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Merowe, that was a thoughtful and well-written summary. You'll get used to Gir; the rest of us have ... sort of.

I notice that you're in Dresden. We hear a certain amount of gossip about the difference between North American Greens and the originals there; can you enlighten us further on the subject?


From: gone | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Scott Piatkowski
rabble-rouser
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posted 06 August 2004 11:21 AM      Profile for Scott Piatkowski   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Gir Draxon:
Just ask anyone in the tourism industry how many people from overseas come to Canada on their vacations to see Wal-Mart parking lots as compared to the number of people who come here to enjoy the natural beauty of the Rockies...

[thread drift]

Among Wal~Mart's other sins, they've actually hurt a lot of small campground operators because they let people "camp" in their parking lots. Instead of checking into a campground for a week when visiting the area, RVers spend the week at Wal~Mart, then one night at the campground, so that they can empty their sewage.

[/thread drift]


From: Kitchener-Waterloo | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged
Merowe
rabble-rouser
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posted 06 August 2004 01:58 PM      Profile for Merowe     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
That last post was a lunch-break special, so my apologies to Rig Noxard if it came off a little programmatic. I'll sit down with a nice cup of tea and see if I can flesh it out.

Skdadl, thanks for the compliment. I don't know what I can offer in terms of insight into the German Greens beyond what you'll have already gleaned from the world press; I'm not politically active here. What I have picked up, from a swathe of generally young, professional/alternative types, is a sense of disappointment with the Greens following compromises they made with the governing parties upon gaining a measure of political success.

Joschka Fischer is a Green, eloquent and outspoken and currently Germany's foreign minister and I think typifies the dilemma facing that movement here. It has developed a 'realist' faction and a fundamentalist faction and he has weighed in on the realist side, promoting German involvement in Kosovo, for example. This was a watershed for a lot of my acquaintainces: that a Green could come down on the side of war.

I'd suggest the Green party is not alone in this regard - too many once radical or progressive elements, on attaining office, by degrees shed their ambitious past and slowly come to resemble the monster they once sought to replace. Lula, Nelson Mandela, etc. - it's a common enough observation but no less true. Can't come up with other examples, but they're out there.

On the other hand, the landscape here is dotted with windmills, recycling is far more developed, the cities far more bike friendly; SUVs a rarity, the average automobile much smaller...how much this is the Greens, and how much the inevitable refinement of a relatively prosperous old culture with a much higher population density than we have in Canada I cannot say.

Er, Mr.Draxon, I've never opened a polysci textbook in my life, you'll have to find some other angle. Respectfully, though, I understand your perspective, the appeal of it's apparent 'pragmatism' and realism, etc. One is inclined to throw up one's hands at some of the more wooly headed or idealistic among us. But this is a fatal mindset. I suggest it reflects a perspective rooted in a set of unexamined or insufficiently challenged western middle class assumptions, and the raw inability to picture a life that might be dramatically different. Life is like this, and it will ever be thus. Your vision of a better future is simply an ecologically sustainable variation of the existing system. You probably didn't grow up in a small hut with a beaten earth floor and a well in the yard (nor did I, for all my mother's puritanical yearnings) and simply can't imagine that just because that is what we have grown accustomed to, it will ever be thus. Look at modern Russia - after the collapse and the plummeting living standards of hundreds of millions; or Argentina; both societies have endured shocks far greater than anything seen in North America at least since the Great Depression, shocks that no doubt went far beyond the wildest imaginings of the average citizen there, to whom a comfortable existence seemed a natural birthright. But there is no guarantee that this will remain the case, and our cozy little bubble may burst overnight.

I've often thought it would be a great project to catalogue the various societies historically that have reached their endpoint environmentally and then, simply, collapsed. Probably a lot of Central American cultures for a start. It seems clear that they went from relative prosperity to nonexistence in very short order and I am far from confident that our energy intensive lifestyle will not assure us the same fate, within a century or two if not before. We're hitting endpoints all over the place - the price of oil climbing, fishstocks plunging, watertables being tapped out, etc etc ad nauseum. But I digress.

My basic problem with the Greens is their refusal to address the issues of class, capital and the cancerous spread of it's agenda throughout the body politic. They think by just not talking about it maybe it will go away, that they can make it not exist. I think that is ostrich behavior. They fail to appreciate the connection between our competitive, increasingly class-distinguished system and our myopic abuse of the environment. You cannot argue against the terminal exploitation of global resources while countenancing the exploitation of labour in Haiti, China, Vietnam, etc., it's all of a piece. And the Greens, as long as they confine themselves to the one without addressing the other, fall short as a progressive political philosophy.

Man, I gotta go, I just get carried away here. But I'll take up your challenge to imagine a sustainable economy in due course, though I would make the point that I find your very use of the term 'economy' rather than 'society' significant.


From: Dresden, Germany | Registered: Apr 2003  |  IP: Logged
skdadl
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posted 06 August 2004 02:16 PM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Merowe, I wanted to post a couple of your best lines to comment on them, but I can't: that whole thing is just bloody superb.
From: gone | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
faith
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posted 06 August 2004 02:40 PM      Profile for faith     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
ditto what skdadl said.
From: vancouver | Registered: Aug 2003  |  IP: Logged
Panama Jack
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posted 06 August 2004 03:44 PM      Profile for Panama Jack     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Merowe:
My basic problem with the Greens is their refusal to address the issues of class, capital and the cancerous spread of it's agenda throughout the body politic.

I guess what alot of Green supporters would ask is how are most social democratic platforms honestly disconnected from the cancerous spread of our perpetual growth machine? Analysis of class/capital dynamics on the environment is one thing, taking action is another.

North America's left has historically been tied to incredibly destructive union dominated industries like forestry and automobile manufacturing, with BC's Premiers, for example, fond of labelling Europeans concerned with our clearcut logging practices "enemies" of the province. And these were self-professed social democrats!

Growth is growth -- "smart" or "sustainable" growth is a bit of a myth (at least in the head of many Greens) when our single species already dominates over 40% of the earths power of photosynthesis. Perhaps "sustainable development" would be possible if global population were at 3 billion... we're pushing 7.

If you REALLY want to fight against this
"cancer", you're going to have to take a long hard look at what that really entails doing... the real solutions, in my view, simply aren't that politically palatable, putting Greens with strong convictions in a real hard place.

On the other hand, the landscape here is dotted with windmills, recycling is far more developed, the cities far more bike friendly; SUVs a rarity, the average automobile much smaller...how much this is the Greens, and how much the inevitable refinement of a relatively prosperous old culture with a much higher population density than we have in Canada I cannot say.

That all said (and I'm proudly 1/2 Dutch), take a look at the Netherlands ecological footprint... at nearly 30X its own landmass, Hollands quaint "sustainable" landscape depends on the ecological suffering of the developing world.

The Dutch's famous dyke building, amazingly created land mass out of "nothing" -- tell that to the marine life that it neccesarily expropriated. We're amazing creatures, us humans, but are woefully bad at co-operating with the eco-systems and lifeforms that we share this planet with.

[ 06 August 2004: Message edited by: tomlovestrees ]


From: Vancouver | Registered: Jul 2004  |  IP: Logged
Doug the Red
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posted 06 August 2004 04:11 PM      Profile for Doug the Red   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
[QUOTE]Originally posted by tomlovestrees:
I guess what alot of Green supporters would ask is how are most social democratic platforms honestly disconnected from the cancerous spread of our perpetual growth machine? Analysis of class/capital dynamics on the environment is one thing, taking action is another.

North America's left has historically been tied to incredibly destructive union dominated industries like forestry and automobile manufacturing, with BC's Premiers, for example, fond of labelling Europeans concerned with our clearcut logging practices "enemies" of the province. And these were self-professed social democrats!

This is the anti-working class stance by some greens that I - and others - completely oppose. The growth of humanity's productive forces through capitalism is what gives us the potential of liberating us from market-caused scarcity and establishing the material base for socialism. At the same time capitalism threatens the environment, it has developed technology to the point where we can solve these problems.

However, environmental destruction continues due to the profit-driven nature of capitalism, a system kept in place by the capitalist class through all sorts of coercion. If we get rid of capitalism, we get rid of the profit motive. Then we have liberated technical innovation from the profit-motive, and then can impelement wide-ranging environmentally-friendly technologies that are otherwised detrimental to accumulating capital. The only way socialism can be established is through the mass revolutionary action of the working class.

Of course social democracy has ties to this system. Traditional social democracy, as argued by Marxists like Tony Cliff and others, is the political representation of the trade union bureaucracy which owes its existence to the capitalist system - it is an intermediary between workers and capitalists. Trade union leaderships and social democracy have not only sold out the working class on numerous occassions but also prevented capitalism from being overthrown - the best example being in Germany from 1918-1919. But we needn't reject the working class because its leadership is connected to capitalism - it is still the only force capable of overthrowing capitalism.

Because the emancipation of the working class must be the self-emancipation of the working class, we must not abandon it. We must build a rank-and-file movement from within its traditional organizations so we are capable of overthrowing not only capitalism, but capable of preventing our former social democratic and trade union leaders from comprimising with the capitalists.

And save us from your Malthusian paranoia. The growing population can be sustained easily by our current food production. We also have the technology to rapidly reduce air, water and ground pollution, while maintaining current production levels. The fetters on sustainable growth are directly attributable to how capitalism operates.

[ 06 August 2004: Message edited by: Doug the Red ]


From: Ottawa | Registered: Feb 2004  |  IP: Logged
'lance
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posted 06 August 2004 04:15 PM      Profile for 'lance     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
My god from your timeless prose you would never figure you were a consultant.

Hey, N.R.KISSED! I resent that!

Now, I'm not saying I deny it...

quote:
With the ascent of a market consultant to the top position it is clear the once radical possibilities of a Canadian green party have been superceded by a feel good, middle class non-ideology masquerading as an ideology...

I like this -- and much else of what you have to say, Merowe -- though I'd be tempted to reverse the polarity and talk of an "ideology masquerading as a non-ideology." But that's just quibbling on my part, really.

[ 06 August 2004: Message edited by: 'lance ]


From: that enchanted place on the top of the Forest | Registered: Jul 2001  |  IP: Logged
Critical Mass
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posted 06 August 2004 04:22 PM      Profile for Critical Mass        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Perhaps there are 2 separate levels of debate here:

1) the specific policies of the Canadian and/or Ontarian Greens which may be centrist or consrvative or whatever;

2) why a individual may feel disappointed with the NDP and be attracted by the Greens (without necessarily being familiar with every single detail of the party platforms or of how backroom politics takes place inside the Green Party or the NDP)

I know few people who actually read 300 page manifestoes. I don't. Federally I voted for Layton's party. Since the elections, I have read the NDP platform and find there are many policies I didn't know about and fully support and others I didn't know about and would have to oppose (or at least not support and remain neutral about).

Likewise, I have since read the Ontario NDP election platform of 2003 for the first time and realize I can't support many provincial-level NDP policies (like many people I know, I don't feel any obligation at all to vote the same way locally, provincially and federally). The Ontario NDP is for cheaper auto insurance (i.e. make it cheaper to drive planet-destroying tecnology), are opposed to tolls on highways (many transit experts will argue tolls can be a good tool for opposing sprawl and discouraging auto dependence) and the NDP may be for publically-controlled power (hurray!) but they want to sell it at cost (ie boo! means cheap energy, which will be a disincentive to conservation).

I can easily see given the above examples why an indiviual may be attracted to vote Green if the environment is a major personal concern. Layton maybe gets it, but the Ontario NDP apears to advocate a number of policies that are detrimental. Perhaps tomlovestree is correct by pointing to the links between social democratic movements and industrial unions that depend on polluting activities

As far as my reading of Greens internationally, Green movements, contrary to what a few posters have contended, are very aware of the class dimension of politics. They just don't think it is the only form of social fracture. Others include international, inter-species and inter-generational fracture. One could argue that the Ontario NDP advocacy of policies that favour cars reinforces intergenerational injustice for example because it is our kids and grandchildren who will choke on the smog and on the polluted water from gasoline runoff being created over the next 20 years. Counteracting smog and sprawl and car dependency requires radical measures, and the Ontario NDP is too much on the conservative side of the fence on this issue in its pro-car positions.

And Joshka Fischer is perhaps Germany's most professional foreign minister in a generation. Many people would look at NATO intervention in Kosovo not as support for war but on the contrary as opposition to the ongoing slaughter by Milosevic's forces and the forces of Tudjman had been taking place since 1991. intervening was to halt war - one can argue that those opposed to NATO intervention (which had the effect of ending the decade-long Balkans wars) would have had the effect of prolonging the war and ethnic cleansing by doing nothing, and the fear in 1998-99 was that the ethnic cleansing and acts of genocide by the Serbs in Kosovo would spread and provoke war in Macedonia, which may have triggered an entry into the conflict of Greece, Albania, and then Turkey and perhaps Russia. Fischer's and the Germany Greens' position was therefore on the correct side of the issue or the correct side of history if you will.

And Doug the Red, please be kind enough to spare us the orthodox Marxist-Leninist cut-and-paste. I have visited a few countries governed under Marxism-Leninism and they had the highest industrial pollution rates, highest cancer rates, and most polluted rivers in Europe. I always get a little nervous whenever a socialist or Marxist starts talking about "unfettering" growth or production or technology - we've seen the results.

[ 06 August 2004: Message edited by: Critical Mass ]


From: King & Bay (downtown Toronto) - I am King of the World!!! | Registered: Jun 2004  |  IP: Logged
Panama Jack
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posted 06 August 2004 05:04 PM      Profile for Panama Jack     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Doug the Red:
[QB][QUOTE]Originally posted by tomlovestrees:
[qb]
And save us from your Malthusian paranoia. The growing population can be sustained easily by our current food production. We also have the technology to rapidly reduce air, water and ground pollution, while maintaining current production levels. The fetters on sustainable growth are directly attributable to how capitalism operates.
QB]

Yikes! And save us from your Cornucopian dreamland! Got some Julian Simon at your bedside eh? "Sustainable growth" is an oxymoran, regardless of the idealogy supporting it. Granted, we've been shielded from that reality for nearly 200 years thanks to the discovery of fossil fuels... but that ain't going to last forever.

I really hate when people attribute Green's dislike for particular forestry practices with an 'anti-union' sentiment. Good paying union jobs come at a eco-nomical/logical price... and it ain't covered by the consumer, it's covered by ravaged ecosystems!

You just can't take and take and take away from your natural capital without eventually paying a price for that greed, regardless if that economy is based by un-fettered free enterprise OR "carefully planning sustainable practices", in the end it just amounts to the same thing: a perpetual growth machine, aka, a cancer.

I just have to laugh when people say that environmental destruction will disappear when capitalism does. Just look at the ecological devestation caused by central planning in the Soviet Union and China ... Judith Shapiro's "Mao's War Against Nature" is an enlightening read.

[ 06 August 2004: Message edited by: tomlovestrees ]


From: Vancouver | Registered: Jul 2004  |  IP: Logged
Merowe
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posted 06 August 2004 05:08 PM      Profile for Merowe     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
to tomlovestrees, I'd second Doug the Reds general remarks. The distinction between analysis and action is spurious, since without a proper analysis whatever action you take is futile.

A sweeping condemnation of the trade union bureacracy also misses the point I think. Certainly at times they have narrowly focussed on keeping jobs in industries that should properly be left to decline rather than looking for more imaginative alternatives, but that is the structural knife edge of that bureacracy, as Doug identifies. We mustn't forget the terrific gains historically accomplished by them, while aspiring to a broader perspective.

I agree re: growth. It's time we dropped that quaint concept and developed some steady state models. And I agree, the real solutions are going to be a hard sell and I don't have any answers there; it does seem clear that they will entail a drop in our consumption.

I'm not sure where you're going with the comment on the Netherlands. I certainly wouldn't advance it as an example of a sustainable society, nor any other European nation at this point. About all we might do is gauge their relative progress towards...

Hear hear to Doug the Red's comments re: the profit motive, and critique of social democracy. But I cannot share your identification of 'Malthusian paranoia'. I am reminded of discussions with political friends who had this boundless optimism that as yet unspecified technologies would deliver us from our various global 'oopsies'. End of discussion, a failing of the traditional left.

No, most of the world fisheries are being overexploited. There is no workaround to the obvious solution: consume less fish. Fishfarming has it's own problems.

No, given the impact of western energy consumption patterns on the ecosystem, I don't think 'raising' India, China and Brazil to our lifestyle makes much sense. The planet cannot support it. So, sorry, if we're going to share resources equably, we will have to use less.

I mean, there are some frightful challenges ahead. What will replace oil which has fueled the last centuries' unparalleled growth? Biofuels aren't sufficient. I think the analyses have already been done re: wind and water power, in terms of their shortfalls re: meeting current energy consumption. Ontario is bringing nuclear back and hauling coal burning plants out of retirement. Postponing the inevitable.

Should everyone be entitled to an automobile?

Population: while I'm sure the planet might support a few billion more, is this desirable? We're into quality of life questions here. Canada could hold some hundreds of millions more no doubt but the same cannot be said for Mauretania or Chad or China or India...so I think it's a legitimate subject. And I don't think it needs to be perverted into race issues around throttling the numbers of 'third world' populations to protect the privileged lifestyles of the west.


From: Dresden, Germany | Registered: Apr 2003  |  IP: Logged
Panama Jack
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posted 06 August 2004 05:36 PM      Profile for Panama Jack     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
[QUOTE]Originally posted by Merowe:
to tomlovestrees, I'd second Doug the Reds general remarks. The distinction between analysis and action is spurious, since without a proper analysis whatever action you take is futile.

Hear hear to Merowe's balanced persepctive!!


A sweeping condemnation of the trade union bureacracy also misses the point I think.

I'm sorry, that's not what I intended to protray (and I should have known better that not to be more clear here on babble). Forestry trade unions have been coming around environmentally -- ironically due to the global restructuring that has been destroying so many coastal communities.

I guess when you've had friends beat up at protests/camps by forestry workers (NOT the union itself though, to be clear!!) it tends to colour your world view a bit. I spent a ton of time defending organized labour to my friends ... but when something like that happens it makes it real tough.


I'm not sure where you're going with the comment on the Netherlands. I certainly wouldn't advance it as an example of a sustainable society, nor any other European nation at this point. About all we might do is gauge their relative progress towards...

The Netherlands is reknowned for having an extremely comprehensive approach to environmental management ... indeed they have to, being located at the crowed delta of the Rhine. Nonetheless, the consumptive patterns of Dutch consumers externalize the effects to the rest of the world, giving the illusion of real environmental progress.

[ 06 August 2004: Message edited by: tomlovestrees ]


From: Vancouver | Registered: Jul 2004  |  IP: Logged
Doug the Red
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posted 06 August 2004 06:12 PM      Profile for Doug the Red   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Critical Mass:
And Doug the Red, please be kind enough to spare us the orthodox Marxist-Leninist cut-and-paste. I have visited a few countries governed under Marxism-Leninism and they had the highest industrial pollution rates, highest cancer rates, and most polluted rivers in Europe. I always get a little nervous whenever a socialist or Marxist starts talking about "unfettering" growth or production or technology - we've seen the results.

Which countries? I don't consider any countries today to be "Marxist-Leninist" or socialist, nor do I consider now defunct "Marxist-Leninist" states as such. China, Cuba, the Soviet Union, etc are state capialist, operating under the same general dynamics as free market capitalism - competitive (on an international scale), class-based and destructive to the environment, people and inherently unstable. If you'd like to understand the analysis of state capitalism further, try reading the following:One, Two, Three. If not, please spare us the tired, assuming remarks about those of us who still see socialism as the solution to capitalism.

quote:
originally posted by tomlovestrees,I really hate when people attribute Green's dislike for particular forestry practices with an 'anti-union' sentiment. Good paying union jobs come at a eco-nomical/logical price... and it ain't covered by the consumer, it's covered by ravaged ecosystems!

You just can't take and take and take away from your natural capital without eventually paying a price for that greed, regardless if that economy is based by un-fettered free enterprise OR "carefully planning sustainable practices", in the end it just amounts to the same thing: a perpetual growth machine, aka, a cancer.



I'd love for you to explain how the dynamics of a democratically-planned socialist economy would lead to "a perpetual growth machine". In contrast, you've suggested we simply reform capitalism to be more friendly to the environment, while assuming a) we can do so, and b) the reforms will remain and not be rolled back. You haven't attempted to reconcile these reforms with the profit-motive.

quote:
I just have to laugh when people say that environmental destruction will disappear when capitalism does. Just look at the ecological devestation caused by central planning in the Soviet Union and China ... Judith Shapiro's "Mao's War Against Nature" is an enlightening read
Tied into my earlier comments to Critical Mass, the Soviet Union and China (and other similar states) may have been centrally controlled but it was done so within the logic of capitalism, and nor was that control democratic - it was class-based. I'd remind you that all corporations are centrally-planned but are without any democratic input and operate according to the needs of increasing accumulation which requires continued expansion and exploitation of labour and the environment. Socialism - mass democracy and an economy subordinated to needs, not profit and accumulation - is, I would argue, the solution.

Also, if we are to maintain a decent quality of life (and raise it for those hundreds of millions living in squalor), we must continue extraction of natural resources, industrial production and other practices that are currently detrimental to the environment - cutting down trees, mining, maybe even the use of fossil fuels and other things. But the point is, we can change how we do these things if the drive for profit is eliminated and replaced with the drive for basic human needs. The most common example is replacing all our paper needs with the harvesting of hemp, not lumber. The hemp process of creating paper - which is cheaper and less environmentally harmful - was stopped in its tracks by the American Government influenced by the American timber industry - using hemp for paper would have cut into their profits.

Merowe has identified the limitations of my prior posts - in fact, I agree with him fully that consumption patterns must also be changed for their to be an environmentally-friendly system. I simply didn't have the time, or patience to lay out my entire views on the matter in one single polemic. For example, the current use of automobiles has to be changed, so does fish consumption and so on. There is undoubtedly a "boundless optimism" about socialism which blinds those on the traditional left of the real problems which face us - undoubtedly, we have already ruined some ecosystems beyond repair, even the repair of a yet unknown technology. I'm not under any illusions here of socialism being the magic bullet to our environmental problems, I assure you. But it would be a massive step in that direction.

What must also be kept in consideration is the level of unnecessary production in capitalism. There are many resources that are simply wasted on overproduction inherent in capitalism (eg: more cars are built each year than purchased), and products which are simply inefficient piles of crap that we hardly if at all need (cell phones, massive houses, weapons, weapons, weapons). If we could eliminate all the unnecessary production, we can free millions of hours of labour and huge quantities of materials for food, shelter and other necessary products that could go into meeting the needs of millions of people.


From: Ottawa | Registered: Feb 2004  |  IP: Logged
hopebird
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posted 06 August 2004 06:20 PM      Profile for hopebird     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Gir Draxon:

Wingnut, perhaps you should be thinking forward, not right or left.



This kind of statement is always good for a chuckle.

Jim Harris maybe wants everyone looking forward so they don't see what he is doing behind their backs, like using a socially responsible issues like environmentalism to promote ideas and policy that are not only inconsistent with the issue, but in my opinion, contradictory to it.

Also environmentalism is not in and of itself an ideology- to me this is problematic. Do we in Canada want parties to be based on issues as opposed to ideology?

~L


From: Regina, Sask | Registered: Jul 2004  |  IP: Logged
BlueGreen
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posted 06 August 2004 10:19 PM      Profile for BlueGreen   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I think that if the average Joe or Mary Canada came and read this thread... well, they wouldn't. They'd give up. 'It's all just pie in the sky!', they'd say. 'What a bunch of wingnuts!' (With apologies to Wingnut.)

They are the ones who will affect change - not us.

So I think we should be concentrating on policies which, though progressive, are seen by the public as being reasonable and doable.

As I said higher up the page, I am thinking short to medium term here - say over the next ten years.


From: Near the Very Centre of the Universe | Registered: Aug 2004  |  IP: Logged
Chris Borst
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posted 06 August 2004 10:56 PM      Profile for Chris Borst     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I commend Merowe, Critical Mass, and tomlovestrees for their excellent arguments that elicited Doug the Red's much superior second posting. We socialists need to learn new ways of talking about "socialism" that get away from the easy modernism - all out for the liberal-capitalist program of production, planning and technology! - we have used for too long, and with which "socialism" (be it "social democrat" or "Communist/state capitalist") has so long been identified.

That said, and back on the thread topic, I think the naivete of shallow, light Greens like BlueGreen and Gir Draxon demonstrate that the Greens are in for a serious struggle at their forthcoming conference. There's no way to hold the ecoentrepreneurs and the activists together in the long run. One side or the other will win control of the party, and the other will either split from or simply abandon the party. And it looks like the "long run" is coming to a head this month!

Given the current state of things, it looks like the ecoentrepreneurs will win, and the activists will defect to the NDP. Which, all in all, would not be such a bad outcome for the Canadian left ...

[ 06 August 2004: Message edited by: Chris Borst ]


From: Taken off to the Great White North | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
Doug the Red
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posted 07 August 2004 12:42 AM      Profile for Doug the Red   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
BlueGreen,
If "Joe and Mary Canada" took a gander at this thread, of course they'd have that response. However, rabble's population is not "Joe and Mary Canada", but a politically-engaged bunch. That's why the discussion is at a higher political level, one that might throw people off. But that doesn't mean that the meat of the arguments can't be comprehended by Joe and Mary Canada.

And don't sell yourself short - you do affect change. Engaging people, debating with them, discussing ideas is how you win Joe Canada to your side. Sometimes you win over people, sometimes you get sympathy, and sometimes you get rejected. Its the real political work on the ground that builds for change - there is no short cut to real organizing. I partly disagree with Chris - we don't really need new ways to discuss socialism - we just need to use clarity while we "patiently explain", as Lenin said.


From: Ottawa | Registered: Feb 2004  |  IP: Logged
WingNut
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posted 07 August 2004 11:24 AM      Profile for WingNut   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
The message that I am getting from Harris is that the Green party transcends the traditional "left-right" spectrum, as a healthy environment benefits both the wealthy business owner and the union activist. Wingnut, perhaps you should be thinking forward, not right or left.

Looking left is looking forward, Gir. Continuing along in the direction which is leading to environmental catastrophe, or breathing bottled air, is the consumption driven market economy.

quote:
If you have any idea on how to create a truly safe, fair and sustainable society, let me know. But please include a workable plan to get there which takes into account fiscal and social realities.

I do know what you are advocating will do nothing to improve the environment in the short, medium or long term. If you believe otherwise, please share as so far you have offered nothing concrete. Here are some concrete observances for you:

1) Green Party policies that promote volunteer compliance with environmental goals will fail. Right now, industry has signalled its opposition to Kyoto with the expenditure of vast sums to undermine the primary goal and mission of Kyoto in Canada. And you will notice the process is stalled. Canadian corporations can at any time volunteer to exceed environmental standards as they currently exist. Very few do and more, in fact, continue to violate environmetal regulations.

2) The Green Party attitude toward the poor and income supports and health care, in particular, is disturbing. Poverty is a major contributor to environmetal destruction. Poor people, or people who spend all that they have on helath care, do not lead to good environmetal policy. First, they will eat lower cost processed foods. They will burn or use whatever fuel is most cheaply available (wood) for heating and warmth. In Toronto, for example, during the recent increase in gas prices, there was an incorrect assumption that removing catalytic converters from vehicles would improve gas mileage. That is what some people had been doing.

quote:
Short-term profits may suffer in some industries, but in the long term, a healthy environment is far more fiscally responsible. All the manufactured goods in the world won't do us any good if we can't eat, drink, or breathe. And we can't go about building a green economy without a sustainable economic plan.

Gee, you sound like a leftist Gir. Now convince industry to forego short term profits for the common good. Common? Isn't that like communist?

Let's go back to your bottled water analogy from Harris, shall we? Fresh clean water is a dwindling resource. It is expected that 50% of the planet's population will not have access to fresh clean water within the next 20 years. That could include Albertans, by the way. Now, in recent years, corporations have been busy getting into the water bottling business, forcing their way into local water distribution, lobbying governments to have water treated as a tradable good under the WTO. Why? Because they see water as Maude Barlow described it: Blue Gold. And they want a peice.

The rarer fresh, clean water becomes, the more it is worth to the few corporations that control it. Why would they want to promote or participate in policies that will, ahem, water down the value of their resource? Explain to me why? And don't give me a moral argument as corporations don't have morals. Give me a business case for a corporation devaluing, by increasing supply, its own product?

This is the paradigm that you and the Green Party are failing to grasp: We live on a dying world. Our economy is based on the infinite consumption of finite resources. It is not sustainable. Okay, maybe it is sustainable for the next ten years, the medium term. But not in the long term. And you can try and argue the nature of the beast can be adjusted. But again, the nature of the beast is the infinite consumption of finite resources.

And we are not just talking about water and air. we are talking about arable land lost to bulldozers and subdivisions. Forests, huge freakin' teak forests, lost to big box stores all selling the same cheaply made furniture and gifts. The loss of ocean life now at upwards of 90%. The chemical pollution of our topsoil which no longer sustains life such as earth worms, can't hold water, and is blown away as dust. The loss of of control and diversity of our crops to monoculture and GMO. The loss of vital insect life like bees and other species like frogs. In fact, as we debate this, species are becoming extinct at a rate unknown since the dinosaurs last walked.

I can go an and on. We are killing our planet and the worst destruction has occured in the last 50 years and is mostly due to corporate activity.

Corporations will never put the welfare of the planet or the common good ahead of profits. That is not their mandate. get used to it. It is why the Green Party platform is a failure.

The Green Party should return to its earlier platform of promoting local economies and production and tough, hard, environmental legislation.

[ 07 August 2004: Message edited by: WingNut ]


From: Out There | Registered: Aug 2001  |  IP: Logged
BlueGreen
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posted 07 August 2004 01:03 PM      Profile for BlueGreen   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by WingNut:

...
I can go an and on. We are killing our planet and the worst destruction has occured in the last 50 years and is mostly due to corporate activity.
...
Corporations will never put the welfare of the planet or the common good ahead of profits. That is not their mandate. get used to it. It is why the Green Party platform is a failure.

The Green Party should return to its earlier platform of promoting local economies and production and tough, hard, environmental legislation.
[ 07 August 2004: Message edited by: WingNut ]


No argument here regarding your description of the problems we face, or the nature of corporations. I could argue over how much time we have to implement change, but won't bother - I'd go off thread too much.

The key difference in positions here isn't in a failure to recognize the problems, it's in the 'howtos' of implementing change.

If the Green Party was to return to its earlier platform, no one would pay it any attention - I think history proves me right here. What good is a 'perfect' platform if it never gets implemented?

And I think that the required remodeling of our society is so complex that you'd have to baby step there anyway. So we might as well have a platform which reflects this.

[ 07 August 2004: Message edited by: BlueGreen ]


From: Near the Very Centre of the Universe | Registered: Aug 2004  |  IP: Logged
swallow
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posted 07 August 2004 04:29 PM      Profile for swallow     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by BlueGreen:
I think that if the average Joe or Mary Canada came and read this thread... well, they wouldn't. They'd give up. 'It's all just pie in the sky!', they'd say. 'What a bunch of wingnuts!' (With apologies to Wingnut.)

They are the ones who will affect change - not us.

So I think we should be concentrating on policies which, though progressive, are seen by the public as being reasonable and doable.

As I said higher up the page, I am thinking short to medium term here - say over the next ten years.


Honestly, nothing in this thread is beyond the comprehension of Joe or Mary Canada.

It also seems to me that the strength and original contribution of Green parties throughout the world has been in advancing new thinking, dreaming aloud, offering innovative solutions that were once rejected by old-line rightists and leftists alike. "Politics is the art of the impossible," and the Green movement internationally has already achieved impossible things --the greening of the federal NDP and European socialist parties, for one. If the Green Party is going to dwindle into yet another grey "realist" party, then it's lost all that made it valuable. That really would be a shame.


From: fast-tracked for excommunication | Registered: May 2002  |  IP: Logged
faith
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posted 07 August 2004 05:25 PM      Profile for faith     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Speaking of "Joe and Mary Canada" (is that a sort of northern biblical reference? ) I really don't think it's accurate to say they would be turned off by discussions on this board.
I was thinking of this just the other day when I saw that the most recent babbler had hit above 6600. When I joined almost exactly 1 year ago I was #4348, that is a 2,272 person increase in 1 year. If the number of babblers grows by over 50% per year , well just like compound interest the effects on the political climate of Canada could be amazing. So I think we should definitely keep talking from all different perspectives and see what develops in our democracy.

[ 07 August 2004: Message edited by: faith ]


From: vancouver | Registered: Aug 2003  |  IP: Logged
Rufus Polson
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posted 07 August 2004 06:40 PM      Profile for Rufus Polson     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Gir Draxon:

No, they're not. Just ask anyone in the tourism industry how many people from overseas come to Canada on their vacations to see Wal-Mart parking lots as compared to the number of people who come here to enjoy the natural beauty of the Rockies. There is also a huge potential for profits in a green economy; things like wind and solar power plants aren't just going to appear on their own.

True, things like wind and solar power plants aren't just going to appear on their own (as if put there by some "invisible hand"); government action will be needed
But more generally--it's all about externalities, Gir. The free market is built around them; the only thing that can reduce them is regulation. So, Wal-Mart doesn't care about the tourist industry. It can't. Increasing expenses to go green so that tourism will prosper contradicts the basic mandate to make profits. Same goes for all other polluting or otherwise environment-damaging industries. Free market principles do not allow them to go green, or take into account the needs of other economic actors.

quote:
Short-term profits may suffer in some industries, but in the long term, a healthy environment is far more fiscally responsible. All the manufactured goods in the world won't do us any good if we can't eat, drink, or breathe. And we can't go about building a green economy without a sustainable economic plan.

All absolutely agreed. But Gir, capitalism rejects economic plans, and profits are rarely measured on anything but a short-term basis. It's generally very hard to assess what factors affected profits on a longer term basis, and easy to spin it. So it's rarely tried, and it's even rarer for it to dictate corporate policy. Corporations determine how they're doing, whether they're abiding by their fiduciary duty to maximize shareholder returns, on a quarter-by-quarter basis.

The market view is that with everyone competing catch-as-catch-can, making individual efforts to maximize short-term profits, everything will happen to work out. Any attempt to plan is by definition an interference in the market (whether that plan is centralized or not). So in concept any serious attempt to provide for the longer term welfare of everyone is a noncapitalist, probably leftist project whether the people coming up with the ideas think of them as leftist or not. I suppose you could have a green non-market despotism or monarchy, which would be noncapitalist but not leftist, but that's not either desirable or on the menu, so I'd say we can ignore it.

Current Canadian Green party policy, taxing "bads", reducing corporate taxes and asking nicely for corporations to police themselves is not a serious attempt. It is not a serious attempt precisely because it is capitalist in its thinking and refuses to deal seriously with externalities or engage in any kind of planning.

Incidentally, I'd say it's possible in the short-to-medium term to make significant green gains in a mixed economy, just as it's possible to make significant gains for the working class and/or the poor in a mixed economy. But the capitalist part will be pushing hard to roll those gains back, and pretending that capitalism has been tamed or is neutral on the issue is the quickest route to seeing them succeed. This is a story we've seen consistently for many decades now as the right, with political parties, think tanks, PR, political donations, careful placing of ex-corporate people in regulatory bodies, and out-and-out corruption have pushed hard to roll back both labour and environmental gains, often using the very same PR companies and "think tanks" to push both issues.

So both in theory and in practise, the idea of free markets is fundamentally at odds with environmentalism.


From: Caithnard College | Registered: Nov 2002  |  IP: Logged
Rikardo
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posted 08 August 2004 05:53 PM      Profile for Rikardo     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Quote from 'Critical Mass'


And Joshka Fischer is perhaps Germany's most professional foreign

minister in a generation. Many people would look at NATO intervention in

Kosovo not as support for war but on the contrary as opposition to the

ongoing slaughter by Milosevic's forces and the forces of Tudjman had

been taking place since 1991. intervening was to halt war - one can

argue that those opposed to NATO intervention (which had the effect of

ending the decade-long Balkans wars) would have had the effect of

prolonging the war and ethnic cleansing by doing nothing, and the fear

in 1998-99 was that the ethnic cleansing and acts of genocide by the

Serbs in Kosovo would spread and provoke war in Macedonia, which may

have triggered an entry into the conflict of Greece, Albania, and then

Turkey and perhaps Russia. Fischer's and the Germany Greens' position

was therefore on the correct side of the issue or the correct side of

history if you will.


Green Fischer and NATO's (including Canada) 11-week bombing of Serbia and Kosovo did incredable damage to the environment, provoked the massive displacement of peoples that started after the bombing began and actually encouraged the massive ethnic cleansing and cultural genocide occurring in Kosovo since five years against non-Albanians

Not to say that this was what Green Fischer intended.

And Joshka Fischer is perhaps Germany's most professional foreign

minister in a generation. Many people would look at NATO intervention in

Kosovo not as support for war but on the contrary as opposition to the

ongoing slaughter by Milosevic's forces an


From: Levis, Quebec | Registered: Feb 2004  |  IP: Logged
WingNut
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posted 08 August 2004 06:56 PM      Profile for WingNut   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
If the Green Party was to return to its earlier platform, no one would pay it any attention
Is it not better to be correct even if you are a voice in the wildenrness than to be popular and wrong? Sorry, you have lost me.

From: Out There | Registered: Aug 2001  |  IP: Logged
saskganesh
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posted 09 August 2004 06:01 PM      Profile for saskganesh     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by josh:
... The Greens have no useful role to play, other than to offer a feel good stopping place for the politically unsophisticated.

trying to compensate for some self-inadequacy there?


From: regina | Registered: Jun 2003  |  IP: Logged
daniel_john
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posted 10 August 2004 12:51 AM      Profile for daniel_john     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Whether or not the Greens split one thing is certain- such tensions will cause this type of debate to happen and increase people's ideological sophistication.

For the record, most of the people I know that were considered voting green were Liberals or Tories. This seems consistent with US exit polls in the last presidential election, where Nader's support came mainly from people that would not have otherwise voted, or voted for Bush. Has anyone actually done such polls here?

While the German Greens betrayed many of its members by supporting NATO's illegal war in Kosovo, so did the NDP. For 3 weeks those of us that had studied the issue and knew how much of a massive lie this was also felt betrayed by our party. A year later Svend was still justifying his early support for NATO's intervention. No party has an ultimate hold on truth here, everyone has bloody hands on this issue.

I don't see capitalism itself as a threat to the environment. Industrial, corporate and state capitalism definitely constitute threats. The information/post-industrial economy carries with it a new class of risks that can't be ignored, however it is facile to merely assert that one couldn't be both right-wing and an environmentalist.

I wish the NDP could dig deep into the ideas in Natural Capitalism (http://www.natcap.org/). We might realize that the NDP policy of creating yet another crown corporation for promoting renewable energy is absolutely insane and counter-productive. The market is addressing that need very efficiently, held back by red-tape and subsidies to the fossil fuel companies. In fact, talk of subsidies maintains the illusion that renewable energy is somehow more expensive- not a very useful thing.

There is room for creative compromise, and for the NDP to look pragmatic while helping the environment and reducing corporate power. Natural Capitalism has many, many ideas that could be adopted (many already have; the green tax shift is NDP policy). There will soon be many ex-GPC members and newly-aware members of the public looking to get involved in the NDP. A little bit less name-calling and a bit more policy creativity might be the best recipe for the NDP.


From: Halifax | Registered: Dec 2003  |  IP: Logged
N.R.KISSED
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posted 10 August 2004 02:25 PM      Profile for N.R.KISSED     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
The only thing natural about capitalism is

a)it's tendency to concentrate wealth and power in the hands of a tiny minority

and

b) it's tendency to increase short-term profit at the expence of workers and the physical environment.

It has been doing both of these with increasing effectiveness for the past 400 years and shows absolutely no sign of changing. Since it is more profitable to despoil the environment why would there be any change.

Just because there are a few marketable alternative technologies out there this hardly constitutes some revolutionary change nor will it reverse the continuing degradation wreaked by capitalism.


From: Republic of Parkdale | Registered: Aug 2001  |  IP: Logged
WingNut
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posted 10 August 2004 02:54 PM      Profile for WingNut   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
There is a tendency, too often, to confuse market with capitalism. There are many out there who think that capitalism and the market our indivisible. They are wrong.

The market is us: people. If capitalusm as an ideology never existed, there would still be a market. And this is the beauty of capitlaism's propaganda campaign: that people must serve the market.

The market will exist without capitalists without any one or all corporations. The market is us. And it is that simple truth that puts teh lie to the argument that socialsist are anti-market. Socialists can't be anti-market any more than they can be anti-people.

The market is.

The market, as people, is not hostile to the environment. Nor, for that matter, are pure capitalists if such a creature actually exists. What is hostile to the environment, and by extension truly anti-market, is corporatists and their earlier incarnation, industrialists.

These are the people who put profit ahead of life. These are the people who will build a subdivision over the last acre of arable land, and will pump the last ounce of clean water into a bottle for resale.


From: Out There | Registered: Aug 2001  |  IP: Logged
daniel_john
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posted 10 August 2004 03:06 PM      Profile for daniel_john     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Natural Capitalism is about more than just a few marketable technologies. It includes government intervention at all levels and analytical tools and strategies to reduce negative externalities. It includes real-life examples of communities doing stunning development work... stuff "Joe and Mary Canada" might be able to relate to.

We can continue to reify capitalism, and let it paralyze our actions, stop us from exploring cogent attempts to tame capital. If you are going to make such sweeping statements about it, you should at least define it and explain why it naturally concentrates power and destroys nature. As it is, your discourse certainly does not hold much sway with average voters- and one wonders if you are even in the right party.


From: Halifax | Registered: Dec 2003  |  IP: Logged
Rufus Polson
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posted 10 August 2004 03:47 PM      Profile for Rufus Polson     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by daniel_john:
We can continue to reify capitalism, and let it paralyze our actions, stop us from exploring cogent attempts to tame capital. If you are going to make such sweeping statements about it, you should at least define it and explain why it naturally concentrates power and destroys nature.

Such definitions and explanations certainly exist on the left, and indeed are considered part of baseline knowledge by many leftists. Even in my longish post above, I point sketchily to some of the issues, although by no means all. Seems a bit much to ask for an exhaustive analysis of Capital in an internet post.

My personal take doesn't relate too closely to any of the core definitions as far as I know. The basic problem with "taming" capitalism, for me, is that it's generally a short-term fix. It can be done, for a while, but the incentive structures of capitalism are a problem. Capitalism is based on the idea of individuals amassing more, so that they can then invest it productively. This works not too badly as long as it doesn't get too far out of balance. But once it's taken for granted that some individuals are going to have a lot of money, that they should be able to apply that money effectively, and that it is right and proper for their primary quest to be gaining more, it inevitably does get out of balance. You can hedge it about with rules and qualifiers which will help things work well in the short term; track records suggest this can work for a few decades at a time. Ultimately, the capitalists always realize that you make more money by cheating. They start trying to dodge, weaken or redefine the rules, to find ways to make money by doing unproductive things because it's usually easier than doing productive things, to evade competition in one way or another, to buy politicians, to get themselves government subsidies whether direct or in the form of fat no-bid cost-plus contracts. Somewhere mixed in there with rule-killing etc. is creating externalities with impunity, which is what makes the whole thing environmentally very bad. Much of it is bad for people and the economy as a whole, but capitalism does not directly address people or the economy as a whole; it is based on the enabling of individual selfishness on the assumption that rules intended to make that selfishness productive will stand up. This assumption is a lot like the assumption that nanny programs on browsers will stop people from getting to porn on the internet. Eventually, they get the rules repealed and the official ideology becomes the untrammeled free market and speculation mixed with massive subsidies. Then it's 1929 and things crash, because that version of capitalism doesn't work. Incidentally, it's my opinion that the US economy is crashing verrry slowly even as we speak, like the Titanic going under real gradual like. But the damage so far is mainly to ordinary people's paychecks and to balance of payments, not to stock values or GDP (thanks to things like massive military and prison outlays, which are useless but show up as part of the productive economy in GDP measures). There's no water on the upper decks, so the elites living there think everything's fine.


From: Caithnard College | Registered: Nov 2002  |  IP: Logged
Merowe
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posted 10 August 2004 05:08 PM      Profile for Merowe     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
This Natural Capitalism is an interesting read; I struggle to curb my overweening criticality and am grateful to DanielunderscoreJohn for the link.

I've had a cursory perusal of the material thus far...I think the concepts outlined in the book/website, as far as they go, follow from a comprehensive analysis and have merit.

I note the conspicuous lack of an overtly political program and this may be deliberate, and interesting. Fascinating perspective, anyway.

Incorporating the term Capitalism in the title I find problematic, even if it radically redefines the concept to include the whole biosphere. I suppose my thought here is that, the various ecological stresses imposed upon the planet by industrial civilization notwithstanding, enough food and materials exist on the planet TODAY to free every human from hunger or want, and the fact that this has nonetheless not transpired, a problem of 'distribution', is an indictment of the various global political regimes and not so much the technical means... and I'm not sure how Natural Capitalism's admirable instruments address that.

I think it would be splendid if we could all get on with it's sunny conceptual program/approach; I just wonder if currently constituted corporate power would permit it.

The question then becomes, can we expect/anticipate the sort of paradigm shifts indicated in Natural Capital's perspective to manifest themselves, perhaps at first in piecemeal or partial fashion, and then of their own innate logic, to displace the current obvious failings of global corporate capitalism?

I wouldn't presume to answer; but I would like to see a 'transitional program' (with apologies to Trotsky) fleshed out a little. But I've only glossed the material, perhaps it's dealt with and I haven't got to it yet.

I like Wing-Nut's distinction between the market and capitalism, I think this is an important point.

And Daniel_John, I would make the small point that I think you're into some semantic sleight of hand with the following:

"I don't see capitalism itself as a threat to the environment. Industrial, corporate and state capitalism definitely constitute threats."

I mean, I think, with the exception of this rather branded concept 'Natural Capitalism', which arguably isn't a capitalism at all, yer Industrial/Corporate/State pretty much covers the concept!

Right, back to reading.


From: Dresden, Germany | Registered: Apr 2003  |  IP: Logged
Merowe
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posted 10 August 2004 05:24 PM      Profile for Merowe     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Following up after reading Pufus Rolson (I can't help myself, I can't leave people's handles alone, it's a very low form of humour and I apologize): my last post seems to have overlapped his a bit; I'd just like to chime in and concur with his observations about the intrinsic problems with capitalism itself.

I mean, hasn't it long been the case that we have the technical means to overcome global cultures' various environmental challenges, that this alone is not sufficient? I'm tempted perhaps facetiously to raise that old example of San Francisco's electric tram system being bought up and dismantled in the early part of the last century, by either big oil or big auto...anyway.


From: Dresden, Germany | Registered: Apr 2003  |  IP: Logged
Panama Jack
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posted 10 August 2004 06:31 PM      Profile for Panama Jack     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by daniel_john:

While the German Greens betrayed many of its members by supporting NATO's illegal war in Kosovo, so did the NDP. For 3 weeks those of us that had studied the issue and knew how much of a massive lie this was also felt betrayed by our party. A year later Svend was still justifying his early support for NATO's intervention. No party has an ultimate hold on truth here, everyone has bloody hands on this issue.


Yup, blood everywhere! But this isn't something new. During the drum roll to WWII, J.S. Woodsworth was the only member of the CCF to vote with his Pacifist Conscience, and was berated by his peers for doing so.


From: Vancouver | Registered: Jul 2004  |  IP: Logged
WingNut
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posted 10 August 2004 06:49 PM      Profile for WingNut   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
by either big oil or big auto...anyway.

Big Auto.

And it is a fascinating lesson in the workings of corporate capitalism. And with the collusion of government and the courts, GM was found guilty of anti-competitive practices and fined $5000.00.

[ 10 August 2004: Message edited by: WingNut ]


From: Out There | Registered: Aug 2001  |  IP: Logged
daniel_john
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posted 10 August 2004 07:01 PM      Profile for daniel_john     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Merowe- I'm glad you're enjoying the book.

For those of you who haven't checked it out, the whole book is available for free online, and the chapters can also be downloaded as PDFs (also free).

Chapter 13 examines some of the myths of capitalism- keeping in mind that the audience of the book is decision makers, the book actually advances a number of strong positions. This is not exactly cheerleading like you'll get from the Fraser Institute, even if it won't pass muster for the far-left.

As for a definition of capitalism, wikipedia has a decent entry (Capitalism). My comments on the topic were not intended as a semantic sleight of hand. I genuinely believe that a market with many small actors can achieve decent outcomes (Adam Smith would have been horrified to hear his arguments applied to today's monopolies). I also hold that institutions take on a life of their own, be they for-profit or not (Church, Government, NGO)- and we therefore have a very peculiar beast on our hands.

Finally, I am too much of a cynic to believe anything but a short-term patch is going to do any good on a system of any size or complexity. Mind you, I still help out co-ops and other alternative experiments- however those do not rest on coercion to convert recruits, something that appears inevitable in any grand, long-term plans.


From: Halifax | Registered: Dec 2003  |  IP: Logged
N.R.KISSED
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posted 11 August 2004 05:26 PM      Profile for N.R.KISSED     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Colour me sceptical about any form of "new improved capitalims washes whites whiter than white"

Those who make claims for their "new improved capitalisms"
usually argue that their capitalism doen't have any of the problems or difficulties of capitalism as it is it's non-exploitive, environmentally sound and doesn't cause any embarrassing or unsightly stains.

Problem is all of these "new improved capitalims" contend that Capitalism is just an economic system. In reality of course this is not true capitalism is an ideology, a social system, and entrenched power relationships and conflicts amongst different societal members and groups. It has a history that arose out of enforced privillege , theft plunder and violence,pretending otherwise is just dishonest. Pretending capitalist economics can magically be separated from all the other social and political forces is equally dishonest and misinformed.


From: Republic of Parkdale | Registered: Aug 2001  |  IP: Logged
Klingon
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posted 12 August 2004 12:28 PM      Profile for Klingon        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
K’pla! Gowron's Brother is back from Kronos (much to they dismay of many Babblers for sure) re-energized and ready to take down the silly P'Tachk who have again assaulted this list in the name of the pseudo-environmentalist Groin Party!

Here we go again. This time, the GP and class politics:

>"I joined the Greens recently (just look at my name), and yes, I don't buy into the supremacy of class politics." The BlueGreen

That's too bad for you BlueBoy, since the GP, according to the admission of its own leaders, accepts class politics in its own way, just like every other party. The only difference between the GP and the NDP on this is the GP takes the side of the ruling class and the halls of undemocratic wealth and power (i.e.; corporate Canada).

For example, instead of admitting the fact of the tremendous entrepreneurial potential among the working class, especially among the labour movement, the GP worships "the importance of the entrepreneurial class..." --Emphasize the word "class." So they buy into the old corporate capitalist crap line that entrepreneurs are a select class superior in some way to the rest of us who in fact work and pay for them.

And who is this "entrepreneurial class?" Obviously, they mean Corporate Canada and all of its parasitic power cliques, bureaucrats, bosses and hacks, titled lay-abouts, etc., since it is the elite that believes itself to be that class.

The GP then goes on to perpetuate the old lie that this class is the "generator of wealth in Canada," completely ignoring the fundamental economic fact (even admitted to by most right-wing economists) that wealth is created by the labour of people producing the useful goods and services that everyone trades in. it also ignores the fact that the very markets that create economic activity and jobs are also created by working people investing their consumer dollars and trading their skills.

So for a guy that insists on denying the fundamental reality of class society, and therefore class politics, you sure picked a fine organization to join: one that tries to deny class politics yet strictly adheres to them in order to protect the power and privileged of Corporate Canada while hiding behind a green paint job.


From: Kronos, but in BC Observing Political Tretchery | Registered: Nov 2003  |  IP: Logged
Klingon
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posted 12 August 2004 12:49 PM      Profile for Klingon        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Q’uQ Again! Back for another swing of the Bat'leth against the pseudo-ecos!!!

Now, the environmentalists and the socialists:

>"the Green party has a very useful role to play by showing people that it's okay to be an environmentalist without being a socialist." Gir Draxon.

It's true, Brother Draxon, that this is what the GP is trying to do: sow division between those who focus their concerns on matters that are consider primarily environmental and those who are active the labour movement and democracy and social justice causes and turn them against one another.

But as far as I can tell, as someone who's been active in both these areas all my adult life, its pretty much impossible to be a serious environmentalist to any real degree without being socialistic in some practical way. History seems to show this as true, and the GP is fighting a long-term losing battle in its efforts to defy this.

The underlying cause of most ecological destruction is that the environment, like labour and human needs, is treated like a commodity to be used and thrown away by our capitalist dominated economy. It’s an economic fact.

Socialistic economic policies (no--I don't mean the state capitalism of the Stalinists) have repeatedly shown themselves to be more conducive to ecological well being, largely because they de-commodify the economy by basing product and service values on the labour and resources extracted by labour into creating them.

Also, the fundamentals of democratic control of the economic means, the emphasis on cooperation mutual benefit and the long-term sustainability of the community being the primary economic motivators, instead of maximum capital accumulation by elite agencies, monopolization of markets and control of labour and resources.

Now obviously, we can't de-commodify our economy with just a snap of our fingers. That, unfortunately, is going to take at least two generations or more. But most cooperative, CED, labour-sponsored enterprises, credit unions, etc, tend, at one level or another, to reflect much of this thinking, at least philosophically. These are the general philosophical historic orientations of the NDP and similar groups in Europe and Asia.

The GP, with its anti-union/pro-corporate policies, adopts the same old worn out gilded cage attitude much like the Liberals: we should all still remain subordinate to a privileged elite (they call the "entrepreneurial class") that controls most of our economy.

It's pretty hard to advance an ecological agenda while holding on to these fundamentally anti-ecological, as well as anti-democratic, capitalistic economic principles


From: Kronos, but in BC Observing Political Tretchery | Registered: Nov 2003  |  IP: Logged
Panama Jack
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 6478

posted 12 August 2004 01:53 PM      Profile for Panama Jack     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Klingon:
The GP, with its anti-union/pro-corporate policies, adopts the same old worn out gilded cage attitude much like the Liberals: we should all still remain subordinate to a privileged elite (they call the "entrepreneurial class") that controls most of our economy.

In BC at least (I'll plead ignorance from the National Green scene), these worn out accusations just don't ring true... in 2001 the NDP got far more corporate donations than the GP! [Granted, nothing in comparision to what the Lib's got], yet I'm not going to sproat nonsense about the BC-NDP being implicitically in the pocket of big business (although I've been tempted to say so in the past!).

Many Greens are small business owners or otherwise self-employed folks that work from contract to contract and don't made a ton of bread. And what's to say that you can't be a small business owner -- yes, a capitalist -- and still have good values? Why on earth would a corporate bigshot want to have anything to do with the GP, except in American style move to indirectly support the CPC (which I don't think is happening here)?

Trumpeting class as the be all that end's all root causes of ecological damage is just too simplistic -- consumerism is a two-way street, with consumers just as responsible for their consumption has are corporate advertizing campaigns that create the material fetishism.

"Sustainable development", a cause heralded from the start from good social democrats like Gro Harlem Brundtland (although I don't now much about Norway's Labour party... and she also happens to be married to a prominent Norse-Conservative... any insights Crazy Miranda?), is an oxymoron.

The so-called "triple bottom line" of sustainability (ecological, economic, social) is a fallacy -- you can't have economic and social justice without first a sound environment, yet all sorts of folks, left/right/muddled, seem to believe otherwise, including here, where many believe that removing class inequities will magically and drastically improve how we monkeys consume resources on this bio-sphere. Therefore, while I agree that severe poverty is one of the root causes of environmental degradation, it only accounts for part of the problem.


From: Vancouver | Registered: Jul 2004  |  IP: Logged
Amy
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posted 12 August 2004 05:47 PM      Profile for Amy   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I don't see how you can have a sound environment prior to social and economic justice, actually. I think that hits on exactly the issue that most separates the greens from the NDP. I think that the NDP's approah is that you can't try to implement policies that make the environment a priority and actually expect them to make a difference unless, prior to or at the same time, you actually deal with the roots of environmental destruction, including poverty.
From: the whole town erupts and/ bursts into flame | Registered: Feb 2002  |  IP: Logged
Klingon
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 4625

posted 12 August 2004 06:01 PM      Profile for Klingon        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
K'pla! So Tomlovestrees. But does he love tomato plants, for which I am so fond?

>"In BC at least (I'll plead ignorance from the National Green scene), these worn out accusations just don't ring true..."

Yep, they do. Actually, the anti-union stuff isn't an accusation. Rather, it's an observation made from listening to GP leaders and officials here making stupid fallacious statements attacking union workers and cynically trying to deny the central role played by labour unions in winning all sorts of freedoms and living and working conditions and affecting social change, including on the environment, especially in Europe.

>"Many Greens are small business owners or otherwise self-employed folks that work from contract to contract and don't made a ton of bread."

Guess what. So are legions of NDPers (like me). In fact, the party has booming small business and self-employed workers committees. In addition, an estimated 22 per cent of union members in BC are either fully or in part self-employed (like me).

>"in 2001 the NDP got far more corporate donations than the GP!"

Yep, and if you look deeper than that you will find most of those corporate donations came from self-employed workers who are incorporated, progressive minded small businesses, cooperatives and labour-sponsored ventures and credit unions. Major capitalist corporate support for the NDP is almost non-existent. Add to this, over 80 per cent of the party's funds come from individual donations.

>"[Granted, nothing in comparision to what the Lib's got]"

I'll say. Elections BC reports that a whopping 78 per cent of their funds came from 67 corporations. If this itself ain't an argument for democratizing our economy, I don't know what is.

>"And what's to say that you can't be a small business owner -- yes, a capitalist -- and still have good values?"

Nothing. See it all the t9ime. But first, let's not assume that small business owner automatically means "capitalist." As said, most small business is in fact working class, since the proprietor is most often the person serving you behind the counter--and Statistics Canada says the large majority of what it considers small business (again a subjective term) are actually owner-operator proprietors who are entirely self-employed, or may hire occasional part-time help. As also said, many are in fact unionized.

>"Why on earth would a corporate bigshot want to have anything to do with the GP"

I'm not sure at this point. But what I do see is that the GP has been largely dominated by pro-corporate wannabies who want to be loved by corporate big shots or at least well-off well-connected business types. Some of Federal GP leader Jim Harris' and BC GP leader Adrienne Carr's moves show this is the direction they interested in. That certainly may change at some point. But so far, that's where it seems their sentiments are.

>"Trumpeting class as the be all that end's all root causes of ecological damage is just too simplistic"

There are always plenty of "root" causes of just about anything. But clearly a main cause--and one that can be and needs to be changed--is the economics related to class society. If you have an economic order that makes rapid wealth accumulation and monopoly control of markets by a select group at the expense of everyone else its fundamental goal, don't expect a great deal of priority placed on ecological integrity.

>"with consumers just as responsible for their consumption has are corporate advertizing campaigns that create the material fetishism. "

Not really. Of course, we all should share responsibility for our actions and behaviour, like consumer habits. But blaming the working class consumer for creating the current situation is kind of similar to blaming the victim of a crime for being at the wrong place at the wrong time.

The problem again boils down largely to the lack of democracy in our economy. Capitalist economics give people so little control over their economic destiny. Especially in the era of large corporate rule over our markets, consumers consistently are deprived of the knowledge and information needed to help make wise consumer choices.

The Wal-mart mentality is clearly what is dominant. People aren't supposed to be allowed to know or care how or where a product is made and what's involved, or what the real quality is compared to how its marketed or advertised.

Consumer awareness is becoming more of an activist cause in the labour and ecological movements, because many activists see that consumer education is grossly lacking, and that's no coincidence.

Industry studies I have read show that the more people of how the economy works, and the politics behind mass production and marketing, the more conditions they will place on buying something, and the more demands they will make of retailers and manufacturers. That, in their view, drives up costs and cuts into profit margins. So they try to discourage it.

It's no coincidence that big Box retail chains, major textile firms and agri-business fight tooth and nail against more detailed product labeling--the less people know, the easier it is for them to be convinced to buy something.

>"The so-called "triple bottom line" of sustainability (ecological, economic, social) is a fallacy -- you can't have economic and social justice without first a sound environment,"

Then if you really believe your last sentence is true, then you can't just dismiss "triple bottom line" as a fallacy. While I agree the term is inadequate, people I work with have tried to use it to say exactly what you are referring to.

Keep in mind, a sound environment can't be assured in an economy where desperation, poverty, insecurity, economic illiteracy and lack of democracy abound either.


From: Kronos, but in BC Observing Political Tretchery | Registered: Nov 2003  |  IP: Logged
Panama Jack
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 6478

posted 12 August 2004 07:06 PM      Profile for Panama Jack     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Klingon:
K'pla! So Tomlovestrees. But does he love tomato plants, for which I am so fond?

Oh boy oh boy do I ever! Especially this time of year when you can sink yer teeth into a REAL tomatoe... yum.


Yep, and if you look deeper than that you will find most of those corporate donations came from self-employed workers who are incorporated, progressive minded small businesses, cooperatives and labour-sponsored ventures and credit unions. Major capitalist corporate support for the NDP is almost non-existent. Add to this, over 80 per cent of the party's funds come from individual donations.

I wasn't discounting that... it's just I've heard alot of garbage saying that BC-Greens are in bed with big time corporate interests, when in fact the NDP got more BIG corporate money (from the likes of Telus for example), than the Greens, who got 92% of their measley donations from individuals.

>"And what's to say that you can't be a small business owner -- yes, a capitalist -- and still have good values?"

Nothing. See it all the t9ime. But first, let's not assume that small business owner automatically means "capitalist."

>"Why on earth would a corporate bigshot want to have anything to do with the GP"

Ok then, we're in agreement! Unfortunately, I see NDP supporters translate Green small-business owners into ficticous corporate boogeyman.


Some of Federal GP leader Jim Harris' and BC GP leader Adrienne Carr's moves show this is the direction they interested in. That certainly may change at some point. But so far, that's where it seems their sentiments are.

Please tell me more about Adrianne Carr's pro-corporate moves! I've heard people discuss corporate tax cuts and the like, but there's not a word of it menetioned in their (BC-GP) platform.



The Wal-mart mentality is clearly what is dominant. People aren't supposed to be allowed to know or care how or where a product is made and what's involved, or what the real quality is compared to how its marketed or advertised.

What? People make the choice, at least in a major centre, whether or not to shop at a Wal-mart or a smaller family owned business (granted in smaller communities it might be the only game in town). People I know who shop there LIKE shopping there, or, they do it in a pinch because it's the only place open.


Consumer awareness is becoming more of an activist cause in the labour and ecological movements, because many activists see that consumer education is grossly lacking, and that's no coincidence.

Here here! However, implicit in consumer education is understanding that the corporate interest selling the consumer what they want is only 1/2 of the problem... endless bashing of corporations for acting like they're supposed to under law is counter productive.


It's no coincidence that big Box retail chains, major textile firms and agri-business fight tooth and nail against more detailed product labeling--the less people know, the easier it is for them to be convinced to buy something.

Again, we're in agreement here -- but how do you reform this, when a corporate retailer like CostCo's first priority is to it's stockholder?


Keep in mind, a sound environment can't be assured in an economy where desperation, poverty, insecurity, economic illiteracy and lack of democracy abound either.


Again, this chicken-egg dicotomy is false! We (society), and that which sustains us (our economy), simply wouldn't exist without the environment! Of course poverty will excasberate environmental conditions that already exist, but that's a product the society - economy relationship.

When you live on a sphere with limited resources, the superstructure to all other economic/societical problems HAS to be the environment.

"They cannot see that growth for the sake of growth is a cancerous madness, that Phoenix and Albuquerque will not be better cities to live in when their populations are doubled again and again. They would never understand that an economic system which can only expand or expire must be false to all that is human."
--Edward Abbey


From: Vancouver | Registered: Jul 2004  |  IP: Logged
WingNut
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Babbler # 1292

posted 12 August 2004 08:48 PM      Profile for WingNut   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Many Greens are small business owners or otherwise self-employed folks that work from contract to contract and don't made a ton of bread. And what's to say that you can't be a small business owner -- yes, a capitalist -- and still have good values? Why on earth would a corporate bigshot want to have anything to do with the GP

But they do. And you do it yourself. Why is a small business owner a capitalist -- adhering to an ideology of class and wealth?

The truth of the matter is small business people, for the most part, are natural allies of working people. They live in the communities, they sell to people who work in the communites, they have an equal stake in the success and future of the community.

Yet, small business people, and youself included it would seem, buy into the big business line that they are business and therefore profit comes before all else including community and environment. Maybe the small business person doens't believe that, but they pay for it when they join lobbying groups such as the very right wing CFIB and they vote for it overwhelmingly every election.

There is an excellent Vietnamese restaurant where I live. It is family owned and operated. I would go there about once a week. It is a very working class neighbourhood. The food is great. I stopped going there when the owner put up a sign supporting the tory candidate in the last provincial election. I thought, "holy shit. This guy is promoting the very government that will most hurt the people who come to hsi restaurant because he thinks he will pay fewer taxes." He was right of course. When you are out of business because your customers can't afford you, you don't pay any taxes.


From: Out There | Registered: Aug 2001  |  IP: Logged
Panama Jack
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 6478

posted 12 August 2004 10:33 PM      Profile for Panama Jack     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by WingNut:

The truth of the matter is small business people, for the most part, are natural allies of working people. They live in the communities, they sell to people who work in the communites, they have an equal stake in the success and future of the community.

Yet, small business people, and youself included it would seem, buy into the big business line that they are business and therefore profit comes before all else including community and environment. Maybe the small business person doens't believe that, but they pay for it when they join lobbying groups such as the very right wing CFIB and they vote for it overwhelmingly every election.


Geez Wingnut-- where ARE you making all of these wrong headed assumptions about me?

First of all, I'm not a small business owner, I'm just a mere student/co-op civil servant, who happens to try and be a loyal customer to small businesses that I like, regardless of their party affliation (although I'll admitt I'd be less than happy if they put up campaign literature of any stripe... although it's their right.)

The reason I brought up the whole small-business owner thing is that people here have been accusing Green supporters (and I don't even consider myself to be one!) of mostly constituting big business interests.. which is patently wrong, at least here in BC.

Secondly, where did you get the idea that I support the typical Conservative party line? WHERE have I said anything approaching that?

I haven't been here at Babble for very long, but it absolutely amazes me how people (perhaps I'm guilty of the same thing!) consistently put words, phrases -- whole ideological worldviews even -- into other Babblers mouths. It's awfully annoying and really puts a hamper into intelligent discourse.

But then again, we hu-mans rationalize what we WANT to hear/believe ... so I guess I shouldn't complain and just roll with the punches.


From: Vancouver | Registered: Jul 2004  |  IP: Logged
Critical Mass
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 6350

posted 13 August 2004 02:44 PM      Profile for Critical Mass        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
...it absolutely amazes me how people (perhaps I'm guilty of the same thing!) consistently put words, phrases -- whole ideological worldviews even -- into other Babblers mouths. It's awfully annoying and really puts a hamper into intelligent discourse.

Because there is a certain segment of activist society, I would call it the dogmatic segment, that requires an us-vs-them worldview. They need enemies. If they can't find them, they will artificially create them. You just happen to be the flavour of the month. Not your fault. Has nothing to do with what you did or what you said.

Many activists, most I would venture to guess, do not have this rigid, confrontational, ideological mentality, but those who do talk more often and more loudly, and maybe even more belligerently, than the rest of us.

I would have to say that most NDP type individuals I have known get along just fine and work together just fine with you folks from the Green movement. Continue doing what you're doing, it's fine. No one alone has the solution, we each can find maybe a small part of that solution and what you stand for is part of the solution. Some of that solution may have to do with class, some with our habits of consumption, some with capitalism, some with the very existence of industrial society.

[ 13 August 2004: Message edited by: Critical Mass ]

[ 13 August 2004: Message edited by: Critical Mass ]


From: King & Bay (downtown Toronto) - I am King of the World!!! | Registered: Jun 2004  |  IP: Logged
N.R.KISSED
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 1258

posted 13 August 2004 03:04 PM      Profile for N.R.KISSED     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Because there is a certain segment of activist society, I would call it the dogmatic segment, that requires an us-vs-them worldview. They need enemies. If they can't find them, they will artificially create them. You just happen to be the flavour of the month. Not your fault. Has nothing to do with what you did or what you said.

This reminds me of people who criticize others for being judgemental.

You making a statement which places you in opposition to this alleged group without taking responsibility for the nature of your opposition.

I oppose capitalims, I oppose capitalists, I oppose corporate rule. I take resposibility for and can express the reasons for my opposition. There is nothing wrong with being aware of and identifying opponents or being aware of existing conflicts.

I might also add I am in opposition to patronizing passive aggressives.


From: Republic of Parkdale | Registered: Aug 2001  |  IP: Logged
Critical Mass
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 6350

posted 13 August 2004 03:16 PM      Profile for Critical Mass        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Ooooo.... Insults.

Kind of proves my point about dogmatic confrontational people.

I think most of us have been in coalitions with people from widely different backgrounds. The coalitions that fall apart are those where people with rigid positions intimidate or bully those with difering views.

N.R. KISSED. I take full responsibility for my opinions too. In my experience, the kind of treatment tomlovestrees feels he received on Babble is not representative of reality as I argued, it is representative of a small segment of political reality. It is possible that your experience is different but this has been my experience: bullying through attempts to impose rigid beliefs destroys political initiatives. I have no hesitation stating that I am opposed to extremists of all sorts, from whichever side of the spectrum they hail from. I even know Green extremists who end up being incapable of working with others.


From: King & Bay (downtown Toronto) - I am King of the World!!! | Registered: Jun 2004  |  IP: Logged
Critical Mass
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 6350

posted 13 August 2004 03:21 PM      Profile for Critical Mass        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
By the way, my comments were addressed to tomlovestrees so N.R. KISSED, who the hell are you to feel you have any right to insult other Babblers by accusing them of being "patronizing passive aggressives"?

Maybe your attitude is part of the problem tomlovestrees was raising...


From: King & Bay (downtown Toronto) - I am King of the World!!! | Registered: Jun 2004  |  IP: Logged
Mr. Magoo
guilty-pleasure
Babbler # 3469

posted 13 August 2004 03:33 PM      Profile for Mr. Magoo   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
This reminds me of people who criticize others for being judgemental.

Or people who won't tolerate intolerance!


From: ø¤°`°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°`°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°°¤ø, | Registered: Dec 2002  |  IP: Logged
N.R.KISSED
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 1258

posted 13 August 2004 03:41 PM      Profile for N.R.KISSED     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
By the way, my comments were addressed to tomlovestrees so N.R. KISSED, who the hell are you to feel you have any right to insult other Babblers by accusing them of being "patronizing passive aggressives"?
Maybe your attitude is part of the problem tomlovestrees was raising...

If you were interested in contacting one person you could send a private message, otherwise your comments are open to response from anyone here.

I don't know why you're getting so high and mighty since you're casting aspersions towards any number of people on this thread without having the courage to address them directly.
So if you engage in veiled insults expect to be challenged.

quote:
who the hell are you to feel you have any right to insult other Babblers

Get to know me...


From: Republic of Parkdale | Registered: Aug 2001  |  IP: Logged
N.R.KISSED
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 1258

posted 13 August 2004 03:47 PM      Profile for N.R.KISSED     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Or people who won't tolerate intolerance

Sorry I don't see anyone being intolerant or dogmatic, vigorous disagreement or opposition does not imply either.


From: Republic of Parkdale | Registered: Aug 2001  |  IP: Logged
Panama Jack
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 6478

posted 13 August 2004 03:49 PM      Profile for Panama Jack     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Critical Mass:
In my experience, the kind of treatment tomlovestrees feels he received on Babble is not representative of reality as I argued, it is representative of a small segment of political reality.

Oh I agree! And honestly, I really appreciate the comments from the vast majority of Babblers, even those who diss my point of view (that's what this is all about)... however, a line is crossed when non-sequitor comments about being a "small-business CFIB supporter" arise, you just got to shake yer head.


From: Vancouver | Registered: Jul 2004  |  IP: Logged
Critical Mass
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Babbler # 6350

posted 13 August 2004 03:53 PM      Profile for Critical Mass        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I would add that the very fact that Babble is based on anonymity allows certain individuals to not take responsibility for occasionally insulting and extremist attacks. My experience is that there is less room for the kind of bad behaviour that many have complained about on Babble and that moderators have had to police when people have to identify themselvos and stand behind their postings using their real names.
From: King & Bay (downtown Toronto) - I am King of the World!!! | Registered: Jun 2004  |  IP: Logged
Mr. Magoo
guilty-pleasure
Babbler # 3469

posted 13 August 2004 04:33 PM      Profile for Mr. Magoo   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:

Or people who won't tolerate intolerance

Sorry I don't see anyone being intolerant or dogmatic, vigorous disagreement or opposition does not imply either.


I only mentioned it because sometimes you fight fire with fire. We all understand that there's no practical inconsistency in being intolerant of bigots (intolerant of the intolerant), that sometimes we are annoyed by, and therefore complain about, complainers, that sometimes only violence can save us from violence, etc.

I don't think that pointing out the militant "us-vs.-them, wit' us or agin' us" mentality prevalent among extremists indicates that Critical Mass is, in fact, that which he criticizes.

And let's be honest. What he's talking about exists. OCAP is a great example of a group that needs to constantly create enemies for itself, to rally the troops. They go out of their way to make sure that no matter who sits in what office, they're "the enemy". It's just what they do.


From: ø¤°`°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°`°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°°¤ø, | Registered: Dec 2002  |  IP: Logged
WingNut
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Babbler # 1292

posted 13 August 2004 04:34 PM      Profile for WingNut   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
where did you get the idea that I support the typical Conservative party line? WHERE have I said anything approaching that?

Fair question.

First, I don't think I suggested you follow the conservative party line but rather the corporate party line and you gave me that idea, which I quoted prior to my response, here:

quote:
a small business owner -- yes, a capitalist

You said, and please look back at your own words, that small business owners are "capitalists" which infers an ideological belief system and the inherent political realities.

Sorry if my reading your words caused offense. You should try it, however, you might get an idea of what you are talking about.

quote:
Because there is a certain segment of activist society, I would call it the dogmatic segment, that requires an us-vs-them worldview. They need enemies. If they can't find them, they will artificially create them. You just happen to be the flavour of the month. Not your fault. Has nothing to do with what you did or what you said.

You mean like yourself? Jumping into a fray of which you yourself are either too ignorant or lazy to actually read the thread?

Would you argue, or is Tom arguing, that "capitalist" does not infer a certain ideological and political viewpoint? A dogmatic viewpoint for many?

Or are you just full of shit?

You know, I quoted Tom from his own words. I gave what I thought was a reasoned, respectful response, and I am attacked and flamed for having dared quote and respond to his own words and then jumped on by an asshole who obviously himself can't read.

I do apologize but do not people get tired of people so devoid of real argument they have to rush off and attack the margins whenever a loose thread reveals itself?

Freaking sad.

And then:

quote:
By the way, my comments were addressed to tomlovestrees so N.R. KISSED, who the hell are you to feel you have any right to insult other Babblers by accusing them of being "patronizing passive aggressives"?

The fucking nerve attacking another for jumping in when the asshole has jumped in. And then he attacks others for hiding behind an alias as he hides behind an alias.

This loser is clearly a snot nosed hypocrite. Maybe he'll just fuck off.

[ 13 August 2004: Message edited by: WingNut ]


From: Out There | Registered: Aug 2001  |  IP: Logged
N.R.KISSED
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 1258

posted 13 August 2004 05:24 PM      Profile for N.R.KISSED     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
I don't think that pointing out the militant "us-vs.-them, wit' us or agin' us" mentality prevalent among extremists indicates that Critical Mass is, in fact, that which he criticizes.

I'm not arguing in favour of all or nothing thinking, I was responding to the implication that others on this thread were somehow being,dogmatic,intolerant,aggressive or insulting. I found that ironic because that is insulting to the people who have posted on this thread.

Your man then accuses me of being insulting.

What do you call it when someone sets themselves up as a self-appointed monitor or arbiter of this board and then dismisses other people who have posted?

I would call this patronizing.

What do you call it when someone indirectly insults or attacks someone.

I would call this passive aggressive.


I do not believe I insulted Critical Mass,I do think I accurately described his behaviour.

If I wanted to insult him I would have called him a gobshite.


From: Republic of Parkdale | Registered: Aug 2001  |  IP: Logged
Mr. Magoo
guilty-pleasure
Babbler # 3469

posted 13 August 2004 05:38 PM      Profile for Mr. Magoo   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Fair enough. babble does seem to be getting plenty of new babblers intent on "holding up a mirror" for us all.
From: ø¤°`°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°`°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°°¤ø, | Registered: Dec 2002  |  IP: Logged
N.R.KISSED
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 1258

posted 13 August 2004 06:25 PM      Profile for N.R.KISSED     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
After all Magoo you and I have shared enough barbs in the past but i hardly consider you an enemy.

Maybe it's one of those in-group out-group things.

[ 13 August 2004: Message edited by: N.R.KISSED ]


From: Republic of Parkdale | Registered: Aug 2001  |  IP: Logged
exiled armadillo
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 6389

posted 13 August 2004 07:10 PM      Profile for exiled armadillo   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
What do you call it when someone sets themselves up as a self-appointed monitor or arbiter of this board and then dismisses other people who have posted?

I would call it free dominion


From: Politicians and diapers should be changed frequently and for the same reason | Registered: Jul 2004  |  IP: Logged
WingNut
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posted 13 August 2004 07:30 PM      Profile for WingNut   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
No, for that you should have made a right turn here: http://www.freedominion.ca
From: Out There | Registered: Aug 2001  |  IP: Logged
mayakovsky
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posted 14 August 2004 02:31 AM      Profile for mayakovsky     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I personally wonder why western lefties continue to oppose NATO intervention in Kosovo. Maybe it would be a bit more credible if they had been supporting the opposition within Serbia, which was strong but getting very little outside attention. At the time (1999) I signed a petition against the bombing. In retrospect I would reverse that decision. And I have wrestled with my change of heart. Granted it might not have been the easiest course of action but the world had already witnessed the incursions into the other republics and the devastation wrought especially in Bosnia. The UN had been unable to repel the aggressors because of the restrictions of their mandate. This mandate had led to a sense of futility on the part of many of the UN soldiers as they were unable to do anything in the face of the atrocities. The NATO attacks were labelled 'military humanitarianism' and have been critiqued by many including Chomsky but I wonder what else one could have posited as a realpolitik solution.

I believe that as a Green Joschka Fischer laboured over his decision to support the action. Likewise, he knew that the positioning of German soldiers on foreign soil for the first time since WWII carried heavy symbolism. But he felt that something had to be done. The west was dealing with a megalomaniac dictator who had not responded to calls to step down or pull back. Milosevic was also violently silencing opposition within Serbia. Granted some of the decisions that accompanied the NATO attacks may have been ill advised such as the arming of the KLA.

Also, I was not aware until I read this thread that Svend Robinson supported the NATO action. From what I know about him I cannot imagine that he came to this position lightly.


From: New Bedford | Registered: Mar 2004  |  IP: Logged
WingNut
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posted 14 August 2004 09:14 AM      Profile for WingNut   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
I personally wonder why western lefties continue to oppose NATO intervention in Kosovo.
Do you even know what you are talking about. By Westren do you mean European and Noth American or do you mean Wsetern Canada? Either way, your acknowledgemet that Svend Robinson supported intervention pust the lie to your case.

As just one lefty, I can assure you I supported the concept of intervention. It was the bombing of Serbia I had a problem with. It targetted civilain infrastructure and cities and was designed primarily to punish Serb civilians than toward any humanitarian mission in Kosovo.

Why don't right wingers actually read the news and other opinions as opposed to just the National Post columnists (or their clones elsewhere)?


From: Out There | Registered: Aug 2001  |  IP: Logged
Bill Hulet
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posted 19 August 2004 12:22 PM      Profile for Bill Hulet   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Howdy:

As the "Ontario party policy wonk" mentioned by Stuart Hertzog in the original "article" that started this thread, I thought you might want someone to give you a considerably more objective viewpoint of where the Federal Green Party is at.

First of all, the omnibus resolution that I am in the process of creating (along with scores of other GPC members who are contacting me daily with friendly ammendments) is designed to make the GPC a much more democratic institution than it is now. Stuart neglects to mention that some of the lovely elements of the existing constitution include the following elements:
-quorem at a national convention is only 20 members
-there is no mechanism at all for delegates to come and represent the grassroots membership
-there is no Executive Director or mechanism at all to delegate responsibilities to individual officers, which means that any decision at all must involve decision-making by the entire Federal Council; a group of over 20 people spread across the entire country
-that decision-making at plenary sessions of a party convention is based on a radical consensus model that gives each person attending the right to "block" the passage of a resolution that all the others are in favour of (there is a provision for voting at a later stage, but that gives 10% of the people attending an absolute veto over the other 90%)

Take a look yourself at the Omnibus Resolution and see if it justifies the "chicken little" statements by Stuart: http://www.uoguelph.ca/~whulet/Constgpc.htm


As to the other issue, namely of the "rightward tilt" of the Green Party, Stuart doesn't seem to understand (hardly surprising, he doesn't seem to be a very good listener) that the Green Parties of the world were created partly in response to a fundamental critique of Social Democracy and Marxism in general. This critique has existed from the very begining of the Party, but some folks (ie: the New Green Canada folks) have been wandering under the twin illusions that the Greens are "social democrats on steroids" and that they personally represent any more than a tiny portion of the Green Party membership. This is NOT to say that Greens are "rightwing" in any meaningful meaning of the phrase. But traditional Leftists routinely attempt to force us into that procrustian bed.

If anyone is interested in working through this debate in a somewhat intelligent fashion (instead of using Stuart's system of name-calling and guilt by association), I would suggest they look at the following two articles:
http://greenpartyreview.ca/GPR/2-1/article5.php
http://greenpartyreview.ca/GPR/1-2/article4.php

The first is an internal theoretical overview of the federal Green Party. It was written for "Canadian Dimensions" and was refused (which is their perogative, of course) but with the infuriating reason being given that "Canadian Dimension does not publish articles that support the Green Party". (I would have thought they would have tossed a fig leaf over their bias by saying something like "it doesn't conform to their high standards of journalistic excellence") ;-(


The second is a review of a book by a wildlife ecologist who had developed a devastating critique of the constantly growing economy based on ecology and physics. The critique of the constantly growing economy is the fundamental "raison d'etre" of the Green Party and it is what separates us completely from every other party in Canada.


As to Jim Harris---. I have known Jim for many years and he has been a Green all during that time. He does "get it" about the environment in a way that the overwhelming majority of Social Democrats simply do not. He works with big businesses. So what? We all have to make a living, and unless anyone wants to recreate the Stalinist nightmare (even if we could), no one I know is suggesting that we eliminate all business in some sort of Brave new world. If you look at the implication of our resource tax policy, you will see that it would have an absolutely cataclysmic impact on our economy. The only way we can possibly get it into the public agenda is by tying it to tax income and corporate tax cuts. This is a TACTIC aimed at minimizing the effects of a capital strike.

I might contrast Jim Harris' tax shift with Jack Layton's sleazy attempt to molify consumers by saying that the increase in gasoline prices was the result of price fixing by an oil cartel. He should know very well that we are facing the end of cheap oil. By playing to the "cheap seats" in the last election he was delaying our retooling to a sustainable economy and should hang his head in shame.


From: guelph | Registered: Aug 2004  |  IP: Logged
Scott Piatkowski
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posted 19 August 2004 01:16 PM      Profile for Scott Piatkowski   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Hi Bill. Welcome to babble... and this thread.

A few points in response to your posting:

quote:
As the "Ontario party policy wonk" mentioned by Stuart Hertzog in the original "article" that started this thread, I thought you might want someone to give you a considerably more objective viewpoint of where the Federal Green Party is at.

Er, wouldn't that be a subjective viewpoint (albeit, one from a different point of view)? Or, do you have a different definition of objective than I do?

quote:
If anyone is interested in working through this debate in a somewhat intelligent fashion (instead of using Stuart's system of name-calling and guilt by association)...

If you read this thread, and others on the subject, you'll see that Stuart and other Green Party skeptics (Murray Dobbin, et al) are the subject of considerable namecalling and guilt by association.

quote:
He works with big businesses. So what?

Well, it's just that the Green Party, including Jim Harris, stated during the campaign that the NDP couldn't be true environmentalists because they were supported by the CAW and Steelworkers. Given that, it doesn't seem to be all that unfair to ask whether Harris' views are influenced by getting a consulting cheque from General Motors.

quote:
I might contrast Jim Harris' tax shift with Jack Layton's sleazy attempt to molify consumers by saying that the increase in gasoline prices was the result of price fixing by an oil cartel. He should know very well that we are facing the end of cheap oil. By playing to the "cheap seats" in the last election he was delaying our retooling to a sustainable economy and should hang his head in shame.

Well, no, he shouldn't. I wish rising gas prices had something to do with diminishing supply (if they did, I certainly wouldn't complain), but the reality is that they have more to do with "price fixing" and the geo-politics of the Middle East.

Thanks again for your contribution to the debate.


From: Kitchener-Waterloo | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged
Rufus Polson
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posted 19 August 2004 03:15 PM      Profile for Rufus Polson     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by WingNut:
Do you even know what you are talking about. By Westren do you mean European and Noth American or do you mean Wsetern Canada? Either way, your acknowledgemet that Svend Robinson supported intervention puts the lie to your case.

Whoa! No it doesn't. Svend Robinson is *one* western lefty. I think he's quite right. "Many" Western lefties did indeed oppose it. I was one. I still am. I also supported the Serbian opposition. I also was in favour of more effective UN intervention in Bosnia, actually, which as far as I'm concerned was a very different situation. It took place in the same neighbourhood, and *some* of the players with an impact were the same, but many others were not and the dynamic was very different. Plus, the intervention was by the *UN*, not by *NATO*, which for me makes a significant difference.

The fact is that there was no ethnic cleansing going on in Kosovo. Plenty happened in and around Bosnia, and Slobodan Milosevic had a hand in that. But Kosovo was not Bosnia replayed. Kosovo was a case of a crackdown on a group which had resorted to assassination, terrorism and forming militias because they couldn't get the votes to get their way democratically (and they couldn't get the votes because the Kosovar Muslims really didn't have it bad). It was a brutal crackdown, but no more so than Trudeau might have run in the same circumstances. Look what he did when all he had to deal with was the tiny FLQ. The KLF were much bigger, had carried out a large number of assassinations (more often than not of moderate Kosovar leaders), had weapons, and were training militias. So, imagine you're the president of Serbia. Even if you're not an SOB like Slobodan Milosevic, what you going to do? You're gonna send in the troops. What else would anyone do?

The US used the situation as an excuse. They went in with NATO, which at the time was their lapdog, and they negotiated in bad faith from the start, doing their usual trick of insisting on conditions that they knew would be dealbreakers for anyone sane on the other side of the table. And then when inevitably their "deal" was rejected, they bombed the shit out of everything, including the Kosovars. After which there *was* a refugee crisis. And after they pushed hard enough and killed enough people and destroyed enough infrastructure and industry to ruin Serbia, the Serbs gave in, let NATO take over one of their provinces, and there was a regime change.
And now everything's hunky dory in Kosovo--not! In fact, there was a pogrom of ethnic Serbs just a little while ago. Meanwhile, the ethnic Albanian Kosovars aren't running the place either--NATO is.

Yeah, I opposed the Kosovo bombing campaign. And I still do. And I make no bones or apologies about it. The only reason the left doubts itself on this one is that our attention has wandered but establishment/right wing propaganda whitewashing their actions never sleeps--it keeps drip dripping away in quiet revisionism until thirty years later you hear people saying how great Richard M. Nixon was.


From: Caithnard College | Registered: Nov 2002  |  IP: Logged
Lord Palmerston
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posted 19 August 2004 04:17 PM      Profile for Lord Palmerston     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by gabrieldraven:
Rather than attacking our party, we suggest it would be more productive to build and strengthen your own.

This coming from the same Gabriel Draven who took cheap shots at the NDP during the all candidates' debate - "the NDP is like a dinosaur and the Greens are like an amobea"

BTW, do the Green officials think their southern counterparts have been caught by the "class warfare" bug?


From: Toronto | Registered: Jan 2004  |  IP: Logged
swallow
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posted 20 August 2004 12:09 AM      Profile for swallow     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
It was written for "Canadian Dimensions" and was refused (which is their perogative, of course) but with the infuriating reason being given that "Canadian Dimension does not publish articles that support the Green Party". (I would have thought they would have tossed a fig leaf over their bias by saying something like "it doesn't conform to their high standards of journalistic excellence") ;-(

Rejected by Canadian Dimension? Why, that's a mark of distinction!


From: fast-tracked for excommunication | Registered: May 2002  |  IP: Logged
skeenagreens
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posted 24 August 2004 03:24 AM      Profile for skeenagreens   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Well I am a declared member of the New Greens. I support all that Stuart orignally wrote on this thread and refute everything that Bill Hulet wrote. However it is my belief that the days of the big 4 parties (liberals, conservatives, Bloc and NDP) are all numbered. Within perhaps as little as 6 years, maybe as long as 11, the voting public will realise that voting for the traditional parties has been an absolute disaster. I was a Green Party candidate and it frankly amazed me the other candidates would not talk about the two subjects which I felt had more relevence than any of the stuff they were telling their usual lies about viv a vis: global warming and oil depletion yet these two subjects are going to have an absolutely stupendous effect upon our lives; oil within likely the next 4 to 6 years and global warming possibly as early as 2012 (see Pentagon report published in part by Harper's magazine last February). The big 4 parties will all be thrown out when the public realises that these parties had every reason to know that something could have been done but chose instead to continue accepting corporate money and advice and to continue to follow the lie of constant economic expansion above all else. We live in a world where profit rules everything and it is the capitalist system of profit that is gradually destroying this planet and possibly within 100 years may have rendered the planet lifeless. And profit is demanded by all of us as we all want bigger pensions (forgetting that the more money we have so the higher things cost) and bigger returns on our investments. So profit dictates the policies of CEO's and company directors. Minimising environmental concerns maximises short term profits. Minimising concerns about the poorest and least advantaged members of our society feeds into people's selfishness and maximises wasteful spending.
Deep Green thinking cares about everything. It is not just environmentalism, it is caring about the poorest, the other species, the other life-forms and about our children in 7 generations time, the world that they will inherit and in leaving this world a better place than we received and not a diminished one. Caring for things and people/species other than ourselves.
That is why I became a candidate and why I will continue to fight for these truths. It is the duty of everyone of us to fight for these truths. Anyone who has any faith whatsoever in an afterlife should be fighting for these truths.

From: Skeena, B.C. | Registered: Aug 2004  |  IP: Logged
WingNut
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posted 24 August 2004 10:54 AM      Profile for WingNut   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
owever it is my belief that the days of the big 4 parties (liberals, conservatives, Bloc and NDP) are all numbered. Within perhaps as little as 6 years, maybe as long as 11, the voting public will realise that voting for the traditional parties has been an absolute disaster.

Not so long as people continue to get their news from televison.

Seriously, I wish you were right. But as a long time politics watcher I know you are not. Consider, that in the last election protection of public health care was a top concern and yet most people supported either the party that has done the most to undermine health care or the party that promised to go further faster.

I talk to people all the time. They will complain about same-sex marriage, question Layon's characterizing Martin as having killed homeless people, rant about adscam, and demand more tax breaks. But, for the most part, they are unaware of the issues, the positions, and will vote by name recognition, or worse, out of anger or fear.

We do not debate ideas or policies in this country. We mine sound bites for the misspeak or the hint of the hidden agenda.

And in a country where SUV's remain the top selling vehicle and people care more about tax breaks and low, low prices than each other, well, the Greens have a long, long way to go.


From: Out There | Registered: Aug 2001  |  IP: Logged
Panama Jack
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posted 24 August 2004 11:27 AM      Profile for Panama Jack     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Interesting post Skenna, especially the bit on peak oil, an issue I've been following for a several years now.

IF the pessimistic projections of Colin Campbell and other "Hubbertians" are correct, you very well may be right, and the next 10-15 years will be very interesting indeed politically ... however, "Hubbertians" have been putting egg on their face for years now and this *could* be another round of that. (I honestly hope it is... peak oil is terrifying if you consider all the consequences, especially ecologically).


From: Vancouver | Registered: Jul 2004  |  IP: Logged
Bill (work) Hulet
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posted 24 August 2004 01:04 PM      Profile for Bill (work) Hulet   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by skeenagreens:
Well I am a declared member of the New Greens. I support all that Stuart orignally wrote on this thread and refute everything that Bill Hulet wrote.

Well, you may disagree with what I wrote. But I see absolutely no attempt to REFUTE what I wrote. Why not even attempt to answer the issues I've raised?


From: guelph | Registered: Aug 2004  |  IP: Logged
Erik Redburn
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posted 24 August 2004 06:46 PM      Profile for Erik Redburn     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:

But I see absolutely no attempt to REFUTE what I wrote. Why not even attempt to answer the issues I've raised?

What issues have you raised, aside from the usual bland assurances and feeble attempts to associate leftwingers with state Sovietism? If you really DO want to talk issues then I'll repeat a couple simple questions that have yet to be answered sufficiently. One, how does the federal Green Party see their proposed "green taxes" benefitting environmentally progressive businesses over transnational dinosaurs. Secondly, how can you justify letting businesses enforce and/or write their own environmental regulation?? If I don't get a straight answer on this that's all the answer I'll need.

[ 24 August 2004: Message edited by: Erik the Red ]


From: Broke but not bent. | Registered: Feb 2004  |  IP: Logged
Bill (work) Hulet
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posted 24 August 2004 08:15 PM      Profile for Bill (work) Hulet   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
"One, how does the federal Green Party see their proposed "green taxes" benefitting environmentally progressive businesses over transnational dinosaurs."

Well, for one thing, if you raise the cost of gasoline high enough people will purchase more fuel efficient cars, use public transit, etc. The experience during the Arab oil embargo was pretty conclusive. As well, as the cost of heating went up, so did the number of people insulating their homes. I am assuming that you mean by "transnational dinosaurs" things like automobile manufacturers. Since large corporations have the largest impact on the environment, it seems to me that any policy that is able to change their behaviour is bound to be more effective than one that only targets small one.

"Secondly, how can you justify letting businesses enforce and/or write their own environmental regulation??"

Well, this is pretty loaded language and doesn't actually refer to anything in my post. But I suspect that you are referring to the tax incentives for ISO certification. Any attempt to standardize practices with even a vaguely environmental element is bound to be an improvement over the present situation. Is it sufficient to solve all the problems of the world? Hardly, but as part of a basket of ideas, then they can have a modest impact. One thing I might point out to you, though, is that large corporations already have such a big influence on government that any attempt to deal with environmental issues without taking into account their influence is bound to be doomed to failure. So the question is, do we simply try to "wish them away"? Or do we accept that they are part of reality and try to incorporate this fact into the way we deal with the problem?

The point I was trying to raise, however, was about the changes to the constitution of the GPC and whether or not Jim Harris has "taken over" the Party, which is the core of what Stuart Hertzog was saying. I still have yet to see any of you address the blatantly undemocratic nature of the existing Constitution (which Stuart is defending), find the dastardly elements of the changes I am suggesting (and Stuart is crying "Chicken Little" over), or, the radical change in direction that Stuart says has been "imposed" on the Party from without (and which I would argue has always been a significant, if not dominant, strain of Green Politics from its inception.)


From: guelph | Registered: Aug 2004  |  IP: Logged
Klingon
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posted 24 August 2004 09:36 PM      Profile for Klingon        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
P’Tachk! I thought this string ended long ago. But nope, the pseudo-ecologists/eco-capitalists are still at their con job politics here.

I found it amusing that the declared GP candidate what's-his-face here was accusing other candidates, namely NDPers, of lying about global warming.

Lies appear to be the hallmark of the GP everywhere. The fact is, the NDP has adopted as policy or promoted in campaigns the most credible and practical measures to address this issue. The GP has not. All I have GP candidates talk about is what they have clearly carbon-copied from NDP policy or gone off on stupid tangents and hollow rhetoric about they are supposedly the only party that stands for sustainability, even though they clearly don't even know what that means.

On the Rabble list, the fun continues. On the one hand, we have GP cultists making absurd factless statements about how democratic socialist economics great an unsustainable "unlimited growth" situation (which is outright crap. Production for practical use and long-term community sustainability are the basis of socialist economics--not "unlimited growth"), yet turn around and apologize and support corporate capitalism, which has already created such a situation. The sincerity of these types is obviously non-existent

Equally ridiculous are the claims the NDP can't be sustainable because it is supported by the CAW and the Steelworkers. The fact that these two organizations have adopted as policy some of the most innovative ecological and sustainable economy policies in the country--most of which put most environmental groups and "eco-friendly" businesses to shame--shows just what crackpots these anti-union GP eco-cultists are.

That fact is there is one major political organization that has adopted sustainable and ecologically sound, as well as democratic, economic development policies in this country; and that organization is the NDP, not the GP. Just look at the policies, the current discussions and the history of policy development and compare these two organizations. You'll see it for yourself.

I hate to pick labels for myself, but as a legitimate democratic socialist, I have also by necessity been an urban ecologist since well before it was trendy to be one. I have always found that the NDP is the only political organization that has seriously been receptive and interested in these matters and developing practical, reasonable policy around them.

It really annoys me when I see fake power-hungry pseudo-ecologists like in the GP sucking up to the bankrupt economics of capitalism and trying to woo support from big business by selling the same old corporate capitalist crap just with a thin green paint job on it.


From: Kronos, but in BC Observing Political Tretchery | Registered: Nov 2003  |  IP: Logged
WingNut
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posted 24 August 2004 11:23 PM      Profile for WingNut   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Well, for one thing, if you raise the cost of gasoline high enough people will purchase more fuel efficient cars, use public transit, etc.

Not true. Rising costs of fuel will hurt those least able to absorb the costs. Those who now choose to drive SUV's and heat or air condition 30 room homes will continue to do so. They will simply demand lower taxes and fewer subsidies for those left jobless and homeless by rising fuel prices.

This is the problem with right wingers who think they can be green. Environmental policy requires a holistic approach. No one and nothing exists in a vaccuum and every choice impacts something else.

The big issue for right wingers who hope to be green is they want to believe, for the sake of their own consciences, that they can continue to live as though their environmental foot print is invisible, without lifestyle changes or sacrifice, and believe that by calling themselves Green and promoting health care for themselves (because they can afford wholesome food and a membership at a gym) and suffering for everyone else (who can't and so don't take care of themselves) they are advancing solutions for the world.

It is little different than the industrialists pouring smoke into the air and saying "no sweat. When it gets too bad we will colonize Mars."

Capitalism is part of the problem. Accept it. And begin examining real solutions.

On a side note, two Austrian soldiers, who died during the first World War, 90 years ago, where discovered when the melting snow caps of the Alps uncovered them.

At the same time, scientists are investigating the impact of a disappearing ice cover over the Artic Ocean on marine life.

It isn't enough to recycle anymore and while it is being argued we can maintain our consumerist culture, consuming close to 80% of the planet's resources, we are racing to the point of no return.

But, yeah, yeah, Wal-Mart and Exxon can be reformed, and voluntarily even ...

[ 24 August 2004: Message edited by: WingNut ]


From: Out There | Registered: Aug 2001  |  IP: Logged
Panama Jack
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posted 25 August 2004 12:56 PM      Profile for Panama Jack     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by WingNut:

Not true. Rising costs of fuel will hurt those least able to absorb the costs. Those who now choose to drive SUV's and heat or air condition 30 room homes will continue to do so. They will simply demand lower taxes and fewer subsidies for those left jobless and homeless by rising fuel prices.

This hasn't been the case in Europe, where fuel costs have been 3X has high as compared to North America for year and years now -- high costs have spurred on increased efficiency in several sectors (concrete for example, whose costs are 50% related to energy), and has also spurred on the development of renewables and superior
transit systems.

We just have it too good! Our fuel costs are ridiculously low, because of our rich endowment of natural resources -- and we've grown to a huge sense of entitlment regarding that price ticket.

[ 25 August 2004: Message edited by: Panama Jack ]


From: Vancouver | Registered: Jul 2004  |  IP: Logged
Panama Jack
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posted 25 August 2004 01:39 PM      Profile for Panama Jack     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Klingon:
"P’Tachk! I thought this string ended long ago. But nope, the pseudo-ecologists/eco-capitalists are still at their con job politics here."
"Lies appear to be the hallmark of the GP everywhere."
On the one hand, we have GP cultists making absurd factless statements about how democratic socialist economics great an unsustainable "unlimited growth" situation (which is outright crap."
"It really annoys me when I see fake power-hungry pseudo-ecologists like in the GP sucking up ..."


Where are we? I thought this was Babble, not Free Dominion! And honestly, as the "gatekeepers" of Canada's progressive movement, I would hope that NDP'ers could rise above tit for tat spats that this Klingon. POWER HUNGRY cultists you say? The Green party has NO power compared with that of the NDP... seems kind of ridiculous to point fingers that way if you ask me... just adding fuel to the fire to the equally absurb claim that the NDP only cares for "organized working people".

Democratic Socialists come in many stripes -- some who expouse ecological values that question needless growth, with others advocating total greenwash "we can have our cake and eat it" like ideology... the BC NDP party clearly represents this range of diversity -- Harcourt, IMO, did the best job of balancing the two camps, I've got zero sense about Carole on this, although supposedly she's a skillful mediatator. Green's are even more diverse, which I guess makes them fail the left's continued love of "purity tests" that leaves whole swaths of people guilty by association. [I'm not saying you can't keep people accountable, just keep a semi-open mind]

The Green Party of BC at least is substantially made of up representatives of BC's ENGO community... do you really have the gall to claim that all of these people who have dedicated much of their life and energy to conservation/ecological work are just a bunch of "pseudo-ecologists"? That's just lame-ass rhetorical slander, and again, I thought you at least were above that, as you're shown to be usually full of insightful ideas, unlike other anti-Green posters here.

I come from a traditional NDP family, yet in recent years have gotten to know a GP of BC member on their Provincial Council, and through discussions haven't been won over as a "Green supporter", but relish the potential of the GP influencing progressive politics throughout Canada and BC. The NDP needs this challenge, it will only make their case for social democracy stronger!

I can't wait for MMP! It will be the best thing the Green AND social democratic movements have seen in a generation...at least that's what I hope. Social democrats aren't inherently ecologically minded,as demonstrated by former Deputy Premier Dan Miller:
COMRADE MILLER ADMITS FAILURE OF NDP’S “SOVIET-STYLE” POLICIES . Whether you like it or not -- many Green's think of Miller's environmental policies when they think of the NDP era government, a shame I admit, considering all the other good things that did get accomplished... but it's a record that NDP'ers just don't seem to what to deal with head on, giving glib responses in other threads like "Dan Miller doesn't represent the NDP, I don't even know if he's a member anymore....".[The most recent thing I can dig up about Dan right now is an endorsement for Nilsen's leadership campaign].


From: Vancouver | Registered: Jul 2004  |  IP: Logged
Panama Jack
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posted 25 August 2004 01:50 PM      Profile for Panama Jack     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally quoted by Bill (work) Hulet:
""Secondly, how can you justify letting businesses enforce and/or write their own environmental regulation??"

The BC NDP were responsible for setting up the Provinces Oil & Gas Commission, whose mandate has always revolved around voluntary compliance mechanism by industry .. unlike the Alaska O&G industry, which is much more tighty monitored.

This, the same party who while implementing the Forest Practices Code (orginally a very tough and commendable piece of Forestry legislation -- at least for environmentalists) recklessly cut conservation officer positions throughout the province needed to enforce the legislation, paving the way for the BC Liar's justification to further cut "red tape" and export MORE unprocessed raw logs out of the province, and institute self-regulation for industry, with the mostly idle threat of million dollar fines.

Are these baseless lies?

[ 25 August 2004: Message edited by: Panama Jack ]


From: Vancouver | Registered: Jul 2004  |  IP: Logged
WingNut
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posted 25 August 2004 03:25 PM      Profile for WingNut   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
This hasn't been the case in Europe, where fuel costs have been 3X has high as compared to North America for year and years now -- high costs have spurred on increased efficiency in several sectors (concrete for example, whose costs are 50% related to energy), and has also spurred on the development of renewables and superior
transit systems.

Apples and Oranges.

North American cities have been built around the automobile and they continue to be. Not having a car in many if not most North American cities can result in serious hardship and criticaly reduce job opportunities as, even today, most industrial areas in most cities are not well served by transit as industry, spurred on by civic planners. tend to locate in "industrial parks" on the urban periphery.

As well, in the North East and mid-west, winters can be severe which results in higher fuel consumption and people who can't afford to heat their homes die.

And people unable to cool their homes, on both sides of the Atlantic have also died.

Fuel costs ought to reflect supply and consumption due to the simple law of supply and demand.

In other words, if you heat a small home, why should you pay the same cost for fuel as someone who heats a mansion and a swimming pool.

The person with the mansion and swimming pool, due to the higher demand, pushes up the cost for everyone. So, the rest of us, through the market economy, defacto subsidize the energy hog.

Prices for fule energy ought to be subject to higher costs for higher consumption and conservation ought to be rewarded.


From: Out There | Registered: Aug 2001  |  IP: Logged
Panama Jack
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posted 25 August 2004 03:55 PM      Profile for Panama Jack     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by WingNut:

Apples and Oranges.

North American cities have been built around the automobile and they continue to be.


No offence but that seems like an awfully weak arguement! North America used to have a fanastic rail network, both in urban areas and connecting them, only to be systematically destroyed by the effective lobbying of the Big 3 automobile manufacturers. Apples and Oranges? What other developed area can we North Americans compare ourselves to?

North Americans are the foremost energy gluttons of the world, even when you compare us to similar climates, due to our rich endowment of fossil fuels and hydroelectricity. This sense of entitlement by both rich and poor is making us some of the worst per/capita contributers to GHG's in the world --> and it IS preventable, if we weren't so selfish. That said, I do agree with you that those well off should be leading the way to increased efficiency/conservation... but that doesn't excuse the rest of us to do our part. We ALL should be paying the true cost on our energy-intensive lifestyles, we'll all be better off for it in the end.

[ 25 August 2004: Message edited by: Panama Jack ]


From: Vancouver | Registered: Jul 2004  |  IP: Logged
WingNut
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posted 25 August 2004 04:25 PM      Profile for WingNut   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
No offence but that seems like an awfully weak arguement! North America used to have a fanastic rail network, both in urban areas and connecting them, only to be systematically destroyed by the effective lobbying of the Big 3 automobile manufacturers.

How is it a weak argument when you just made it for me: "used to have", "systematically destroyed".

That is my point. Europe still has excellent rail and transit systems in many places. European contries are also leading in new energy technologies. In North America there is no decent comparison because we both lead in consumption and lag in conservation and technological development.

quote:
That said, I do agree with you that those well off should be leading the way to increased efficiency/conservation... but that doesn't excuse the rest of us to do our part. We ALL should be paying the true cost on our energy-intensive lifestyles, we'll all be better off for it in the end.

I don't disagree. But with that said, the purpose must be threefold: to reduce consumption, to recover costs (all costs) from hogs, and not to harm those who are poor and unable to absorb increased costs.

Just a small example: Most of us can agree with toll roads, paying your way. However, the tolls on Hwy. 407 are so high, it becomes a route of comfort, low traffic, high speeds, for those who can afford it. And they know it. It is a two-tier highway system. And, it is also populated by energy inefficient luxury cars and SUV's.

That was not the intent but it is the result.

While I agree we should pay the cost of energy, we must be careful that we do not create a system where energy consumption, and all that it provides, becomes another privilege of the rich, a burden for the middle-class and out of reach of the poor.

[ 25 August 2004: Message edited by: WingNut ]


From: Out There | Registered: Aug 2001  |  IP: Logged
Rufus Polson
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posted 25 August 2004 04:42 PM      Profile for Rufus Polson     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Well, Panama Jack, ethics-based policies where everyone accepts being worse off for the sake of something or other strike me as generally unlikely to succeed except when the something or other seems really, really urgent. War, with risk of enemy invasion is an example. And the thing is while you may feel the environment is urgent enough, and I may even feel the environment is urgent enough, the reality is that ecodeath is a gradual and generalized process which is hard for people to feel as a specific threat. People will mobilize around preserving their local salmon stream, but they will not mobilize around reduced air pollution until people are dying in significant numbers.

The rest of the time, successful politics, whether right, left, green or what have you, is predicated on giving people good things. Right wing politics that manage to ignore this do so by (a) bamboozling people so they *think* what they're getting is good for them, or (b) doing stuff without asking the people.

So you can potentially get people out of their cars. But if you want people to vote for it, you have to do it by carrot--offer livable neighbourhoods where they can walk to the bakery, good transit, less concrete, yadda yadda. Saying people ought to take the hit of not having a car for the good of all won't get the job done. Giving them a better alternative will. Well, it will if you can simultaneously block the pressure by the auto/oil lobby to keep the status quo.


From: Caithnard College | Registered: Nov 2002  |  IP: Logged
WingNut
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posted 25 August 2004 04:53 PM      Profile for WingNut   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
An excellent example of this is one of my favorite peeves: West Nile Disease.

Since coming north, West Nile has killed a handful of people. If you are healthy when you contract the virus, you wil develop immunity. However, much money and media resources are poured into covering the story, whipping up hysteria, and spurring governments to action.

However, air pollution, which kills thousands every year, goes mostly unreported and without any real action on the major causes of air pollution.

Why is the killer of tens more important than the killer of thousands?

Because people can pour chemicals on mosquities and kill them without any personal cost.

Actually tackling air pollution would require a personal cost of almost everyone. So, let's focus on West Nile instead ...


From: Out There | Registered: Aug 2001  |  IP: Logged
Panama Jack
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posted 25 August 2004 06:16 PM      Profile for Panama Jack     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I guess it's a bit of the chicken and the egg thing... gas has almost always been significantly more expensive in Europe compared to NA, therefore effective transit and fuel efficiency/conservation and eventually RE have had always had a edge compared with us.

Public transit of course has this conundrum, with lower ridership usually resulting in worse service and more expensive fares, resulting in lower ridership... on and on down the slope.

There are many ways to progressively make energy products appropriately expensive (that is, reflecting it's true costs) while not coming at a huge social cost to the less fortunate: charging the BIG users exponentially from a certain high rate (in BC they could call it the "hot tub" surcharge), while keeping a certain base amount of fixed low rate BELOW market price as been shown to be effective.

That all said, we're STILL gluttons when it comes to the juice... it's never going to be all that politically platable to slam potential voters for their bad habitats... but it is the truth.


From: Vancouver | Registered: Jul 2004  |  IP: Logged
Scott Piatkowski
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posted 26 August 2004 10:40 AM      Profile for Scott Piatkowski   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Bill (work) Hulet (in response to another babbler):
Well, you may disagree with what I wrote. But I see absolutely no attempt to REFUTE what I wrote. Why not even attempt to answer the issues I've raised?

I did. Feel free to respond.


From: Kitchener-Waterloo | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged
Erik Redburn
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posted 27 August 2004 09:52 PM      Profile for Erik Redburn     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Panama Jack:
I can't wait for MMP! It will be the best thing the Green AND social democratic movements have seen in a generation...at least that's what I hope. Social democrats aren't inherently ecologically minded,as demonstrated by former Deputy Premier Dan Miller:
COMRADE MILLER ADMITS FAILURE OF NDP’S “SOVIET-STYLE” POLICIES . Whether you like it or not -- many Green's think of Miller's environmental policies when they think of the NDP era government, a shame I admit, considering all the other good things that did get accomplished... but it's a record that NDP'ers just don't seem to what to deal with head on, giving glib responses in other threads like "Dan Miller doesn't represent the NDP, I don't even know if he's a member anymore....".[The most recent thing I can dig up about Dan right now is an endorsement for Nilsen's leadership campaign].


I just noticed this and can't let it pass without comment. I was the one who wrote that "Dan Miller doesn't represent the NDP..." but I'm hardly a party "gatekeeper" or resistant to new ideas. I've been quite critical about many of the moves the BC NDP has made over the years, and am open as possible to prospective new members, but I took exception when Miller's particular views was said to represent that of "the NDP".

In case it hasn't sunk in yet, Miller is NOT the leader of the BC NDP anymore -which is what both these threads were about, current party policies-- he was never more than a temporary caretaker Premier, is no longer even a lowly MLA, and as far as I know is no longer on the party executive. The leadership candidate he supported, Jensen, finished third. In the last federal election he supported the local Liberal candidate which made me question whether he's even a member anymore, as has a number of his criticisms of "the left" of late, that's all.

I also note that the "source" listed is stale dated from 1999, and from a partisan rightwing site where our good comrade supposedly "admits" that the party ran a "Soviet" style regulatory regime. Not only a clue on just how reliable the "source" is, but kinda contradicting the following claim that it's the NDP's policy to let businesses regulate themself.

I have no doubt that the BC NDP let forest companies get away with much too much but they did try to regulate in the traditional fashion in most areas -why there was so much bitching about "redtape" in the first place-- the NDP's cutbacks were NOTHING compared to what the BC Liberals have done since, and IMO were very likely just another tactical (if short sighted) retreat before the constant BS-TV media barrage, sources very much like this one, which too many took to heart with predictable results.

If Green party members want to criticise the NDP that's fair enough, but if THIS is best they can come up with then they shouldn't whine and moan when its tossed back in their faces. It's this two faced "Green" shuffle that always gets to me. Right is not left no matter how mushy the middle wants to get, and I'm afraid in polarized old BC these twains shall never meet. Maybe the "Greens" should start putting some of the blame for that too back where it belongs, on the unreasoning and uncompromising right. Thank you and goodnight.


From: Broke but not bent. | Registered: Feb 2004  |  IP: Logged
Klingon
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posted 28 August 2004 03:07 PM      Profile for Klingon        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
P'Tachk! This stupid "Green" Party obsession just takes the cake. So the Panama Jack (one person, not the whole club obviously) takes exception, as others here do, to what I say about the GP.

Well, what I say is based on observation, facts, and practical experience. Rather than go into big polemics about politics and environment, I can just refer a few quotes from this string that clearly exemplify what I say about the GP. But for now, I’ll just respond to Jack’s request.

>"The Green Party of BC at least is substantially made of up representatives of BC's ENGO community... do you really have the gall to claim that all of these people who have dedicated much of their life and energy to conservation/ecological work are just a bunch of "pseudo-ecologists"?"

Garbage. If you look at many of the leaders and key activists in many of BC's ecology groups, you will they are members and supporters of the NDP, not the GP: SPEC, Sierra Legal, West Coast Enviro Law, Spaces for Nature, Outdoor Rec, BC Sierra Club, David Suzuki Foundation, T Buck Suzuki Foundation--UFAWU, Labour Environmental Alliance, Sustainable Forestry Solutions Coalition, CPAWS, Farm Folk City Folk, Georgia Strait Alliance, SmartGrowth BC, etc. Even Greenpeace was founded by NDPers.

If the GP is claiming these people and groups' laudable efforts as its legacy, then it is even more morally bankrupt and dishonest than I thought.

BTW, yep, I do have gall. Sometimes that's what it takes to stand up to dishonesty and oppression.

>"I thought you at least were above that, as you're shown to be usually full of insightful ideas, unlike other anti-Green posters here."

First, while I appreciate the vote of confidence, I don't see myself as above anyone here. I have my views, principles and information, and my way of expressing things, just like anyone else.

Second, I'm not "anti-Green," having been an urban ecologist since I was a teen. I am definitely not a supporter of the "Green Party," which, as I have said repeatedly here, I do not see as "Green" in the ecological sense of the term.

>"I guess when you've had friends beat up at protests/camps by forestry workers (NOT the union itself though, to be clear!!) it tends to colour your world view a bit."

Fine. I almost came to blows with the so-called “save Our jobs” club once. Just like when I was harassed, insulted and shouted down in public, after working my ass off as an NDP member fighting the corporate dictatorship to get some serious environmental reforms in place, being called a "lap dog of the forest industry" by a bunch of transplanted California "Greens" who are too stupid and gutless to take on the land-raping in their own back yard, but come here to dismiss everything we do.

>” Green's are even more diverse, which I guess makes them fail the left's continued love of "purity tests" that leaves whole swaths of people guilty by association. [I'm not saying you can't keep people accountable, just keep a semi-open mind]”

Show me where this is true, Brother Jack. One reason I like the NDP is because it fails all purity tests because of its wide range of people from almost every walk of life who are involved. There is a wide range of views on a wide range of issues—some that I find downright offensive, other which agree wholeheartedly. Other than a few climber, power-seekers and grabbers, that you find in any group, they are brought together by a general commitment or appreciation for certain well-established, tried and true, values and principles. The GP doesn’t come anywhere near this level of diversity.


From: Kronos, but in BC Observing Political Tretchery | Registered: Nov 2003  |  IP: Logged
Panama Jack
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posted 28 August 2004 07:52 PM      Profile for Panama Jack     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
First of all Eric and Klingon, I'll say AGAIN, hopefully for the last time, that I'm NOT a GP supporter, and in my 8 years of voting have always voted NDP. That doesn't mean I haven't voted for them without reservation, however. Secondly, feel free to call me "Panama"... Jack is already used enough.

Eric, re: Dan Miller, it doesn't matter what Miller is or isn't today... he does represent many NDP'ers views, and this isn't lost upon many environmental activists and "Green" voters. Go to the Walbran valley and see "Miller's monstrosity" (large clearcut done RIGHT up to the border of the park)... these are scars that many ecologically minded NDP'ers have a hard time dealing with, even if they're social democrats who might be wary of the GP concept of eco-capitalism.

Klingon, re: BC's ENGO community and political affliation:

It's clearly a mixed bag, I never disputed that the NDP members are front and center in the BC's ENGO community, but that doesn't mean they have a monopoly on that community!!! Again, I'm only defending the many Greens I know (and don't get me wrong, I've met several I don't like either.... ditto with NDP activists) who are also heavily involved in many of the same ecological/social justice issues that NDP activists are engaged in.

By that token, the NDP is a much larger organization than the GPofBC (and probably will always be so), therefore it's only logically for them to have a bigger presence in organizations that would stand to benefit politically and otherwise through an NDP government.

Heck, David Susuki is a keynote speaker (not outright supporter mind you...) for the Federal Green convention being held right now! Are you saying that this NDP members are NDP'ers FIRST than then members of organization "X"? Second, never to realign themselves politically??? Even if David fell philosophically more at home with the GP he probably wouldn't admit it... just not good diplomatically.

Perhaps to their fault in being a party (rhetorically or otherwise) neither of "the left or right", the GP have a wide range of people involved... at least from what I've seen. That said, however, let's face facts, even the BC Liars have a a "diverse" range of people in their party, combining anti-social democratic activists from the Federal Liberals and Conservatives. Hopefully, electoral reform will change this and make political "branding" more meaningful and less catering to wishy-washy "umbrella" organizations that are fundalmentally are at odds with one another.

Anyways, this is SO exhausting to argue with people I more or less agree with... I suppose my dream scenario is a NDP near-majority government with a 2-3 Green's holding the balance of power... I really think it will do both parties a world of good, and if the Green's are really the bogey wo/men that people make out to be, I'll gladly reflect that in my political support. That said, I've already seen NDP governments do plently of things (slashing Conservation officer positions while enacting comprehensive forest management policy is a biggie for me personally) that I found ecologically troubling... hence my support for a minority NDP/GP government (I realize this is wishful thinking on my part).

I've seen such personal vitriol (not just here...) against people Green Party activists I've talked to that it really makes me reluctant to become more politically involved... really frustating. I realize this goes both ways... sigh... I guess hu-mans are just stupid.


From: Vancouver | Registered: Jul 2004  |  IP: Logged
Erik Redburn
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posted 29 August 2004 09:17 PM      Profile for Erik Redburn     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Don't take it personally Panama, I agree with much of what you write yourself and even when I don't I can understand your views. I can't speak for anyone else but I suspect most react negatively to the Greens for similar reasons that I do, they keep playing both ends against the middle and in my experience are every bit as negative to NDPers on average, much of their criticism being rather disingenuous. Bottom line for the competition is the Green party has little chance of doing much next election but getting the most reactionary and incompetent government in BC history re-elected.

The corporate media obviously seems to be quite eager to keep the "left" vote split as they give the Greens far more attention now than the Unity/Reform remnants, when their corporate philosophy is obviously more in line with the Unity types. If the Greens want to run against Miller and Dosanjh again, though, that's their problem. I am coming around to thinking that they may not be such a problem to the NDP after all, as both their strategy and polling numbers indicate they're more likely to attract votes from the centre right than centre left. Some NDPers like Miller might prefer the centre all to themselves but I'd rather look to the more progressive elements.

I still plan on letting other lefties know how conservative the Greens are becoming in the next election campaign, as ignoring their barbs is obviously no longer an option. That's just politics.


From: Broke but not bent. | Registered: Feb 2004  |  IP: Logged
WingNut
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posted 29 August 2004 10:03 PM      Profile for WingNut   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I concur. My biggest fear is that the Greens have been co-opted to hype the "capitlaism can be clean" line while we continue on unabated down the course of disaster.

That is not to say I think Greens themesleves, outside of the leadership, have been co-opted. I just think many of them are young and idealistic and believe if working within the system will bring about environmental change for the better, then good, go that way.

I don't think they have fully evaluated the program and have yet to conclude that by dealing with the devil they must trade their souls and any gains is onlv ever temporary.

For example, capitalists will tell Green Party activists, and everyone else, that agriculture depends upon chemicals and food producers cannot afford to switch to organic farming. However:

quote:
A recent report by the American agency for sustainable farming, Food First, said annual (Cuban) production of fruit and vegetables is growing at 250% a year.

And the produce is grown without any help from chemical fertilizers, pesticides or herbicides.



BBC News

With the Green Party just having decided to continue along the same path, it is unfortunate, but the NDP becomes the viable "green" party in Canada.


From: Out There | Registered: Aug 2001  |  IP: Logged
Panama Jack
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posted 29 August 2004 11:32 PM      Profile for Panama Jack     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
[QUOTE]Originally posted by WingNut:
I concur. My biggest fear is that the Greens have been co-opted to hype the "capitlaism can be clean" line while we continue on unabated down the course of disaster.

Hey-- I think having the debate framed between TWO ecologically focused parties, one decidedly social democratic and one "eco-capitalist" is FAR better than having the current Corporate Right/"Loonie" Left dicotomy (what the Corporate media portray).

For the next election, however, I'm with you -- I don't particularly want the GP do to well, because of the need to rally the troops for the Attack ON the Clones (mmm.... there's a t-shirt idea in there...). In a MMP world, however, I think there's some good potential for NDP/Green dialogue.


As for Cuba, I've followed their incredible program of rooftop urban (and organic ) agriculture... I believe they DO use a true (!) market system:
Caption: A farmer's market in Havana. Once farmers have sold their quota to the state, they may sell their excess fruit and vegetables here.


Positive things like this are things that Green's and social democrats both can agree with... for the BC election, I urge social democrats who have geniune problems about the Green Party, it's Provincial/Federal leadership, etc., to PLEASE, be all smiles and offer them Red, Red Roses (literally or figuratively!) ... and otherwise ignore them... be relentless on your attack of the Clones and the people will reward you accordingly.... stray from that Path you will only benefit the Greens and the Liars IMO. Save the "elevated" discourse on the inherant flaws in "eco-capitalism" for a different (MMP) time.

All "Green's" will have the blues if Gordo gets re-elected.

[ 29 August 2004: Message edited by: Panama Jack ]


From: Vancouver | Registered: Jul 2004  |  IP: Logged
Klingon
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posted 30 August 2004 12:29 PM      Profile for Klingon        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Ghobe! Panama Jack, your peace-making efforts are laudable. But you’ll soon likely find, like I did many years ago, that trying to reach consensus with flake groups (GP, CP, Trots, “radical” feminists, etc.) that have made you and the values you hold dear their enemy.

Just looking at the GP quotes on this string shows me the “debate” you’re hoping for between social democrats and “eco-capitalists” (an oxymoron for sure) won’t be any more substantive than it is between social democrats and the old worn out corporate capitalists (since these types have one main approach to justify their existence: they lie and vilify).

>"I just have to laugh when people say that environmental destruction will disappear when capitalism does. Just look at the ecological devestation caused by central planning in the Soviet Union and China"

Tom Loves Trees

I just have to laugh at the incredible ignorance and denial of quotes like this. After all the debate and discussion, presentation of fact and history here, this guy still insists on equating state capitalist schemes (which Mao, Lenin, etc. admitted was developing under their watch), with democratic socialist economics--even though he knows the difference.

The fact is that the biggest economic cause of environmental destruction is the commodification of our eco-systems for the benefit of undemocratic, profit-maximizing institutions, which is the basis of all forms of capitalism. Ending this may or may not entirely eliminate bad ecological practices, but for certain it will eliminate by far the biggest cause of it, and therefore most of it. Clinging to capitalistic economics, and insisting that we all remain subordinate to its institutions, which is what the “Green” Party is now advocating, will certainly guarantee the continuation of ecological destruction. That’s why I refer to these types as pseudo-ecologists.

>”North America's left has historically been tied to incredibly destructive union dominated industries like forestry and automobile manufacturing, with BC's Premiers, for example, fond of labelling Europeans concerned with our clear-cut logging practices "enemies" of the province. And these were self-professed social democrats!”

Tom Loves Trees

It’s this type of complete stupidity and dishonesty that fuels my disgust with the “green” Party. The only “union-dominated” businesses or industries are ones where union members have some sort of democratic ownership/control in the form of co-ops, labour-sponsored ventures, or full employee-pension-run businesses, etc. The industries this he mentions aren’t “union-dominated.” Rather, they are run by exclusive capitalist corporate dictatorships, with the union playing very much an outside defensive disenfranchised role.

But then again, if you are a supporter of a pro-capitalist apologist party like the GP, and are trying to woo support from high-income yuppies and corporations, well you certainly don’t want to enrage these elites by telling the truth. Nope. It’s easier to blame those who are largely disenfranchised and easy to target: trade unions. After all, that’s who the corporate class and its media love to vilify. So, the GP is in good company.

The crap about equating the “enemies of BC” statement to “Europeans” is a case in point. First, it wasn’t “Europeans” who were concerned about BC logging practices, since the stewardship council there had recognized the efforts of the NDP government to improve these practices via a series of reforms put in by the Harcourt government. Rather, it was the Amsterdam-based Greenpeace International, and its corrupt underling Greenpeace USA, which decided the NDP was an easy target to lean on to make more reforms and a good way to raise funds. SO it hypocritically came up with this goofy “Great Bear Rainforest” campaign, while the butchering going on in other parts of the country and in the US.

>”The repeated attacks of factual inaccuracy and ad hominem innuendo on the Green Party by the left, led by the NDP, are the true indicators of the integrity, honesty, strength and health of the left in Canada. Rather than attacking our party, we suggest it would be more productive to build and strengthen your own.

Gabledriven

Perhaps this idiot could practice what s/he preaches, since in the last ten years, especially during elections, the GP routinely comes out with stupid comments and bald faced lies about the NDP (I get their press releases regularly), while NDPers remain relatively silent—some even trying to be friendly toward the GP. One of the reasons I am so put off with them is because of this practice.

“We might realize that the NDP policy of creating yet another crown corporation for promoting renewable energy is absolutely insane and counter-productive. The market is addressing that need very efficiently, held back by red-tape and subsidies to the fossil fuel companies.”

Daniel John

This is the type of whitewash comment I would expect from the Fraser Institute or the BC Liberals. Anyone who can see the overall development in our capitalist economy today and make this claim is out to lunch. If the market was addressing that need “very efficiently,” we would not see huge increase in oil demands, sharply rising coal prices and constant pressure, especially in BC, to go back to building gas-fired power plants.

There already is, in BC, a crown corp. that can develop renewable energy sources (and encourage other to do so), if it was sufficiently democratized (instead of being privatized) and given the freedom to do it. It’s called BC Hydro.

“We can continue to reify capitalism, and let it paralyze our actions, stop us from exploring cogent attempts to tame capital. If you are going to make such sweeping statements about it, you should at least define it and explain why it naturally concentrates power and destroys nature.

Daniel John

If history has taught us anything, it’s that capitalism isn’t about “taming capital.” Rather, it is about the dictatorial, coercive rule of capital, and the privileged tyrannies and elite clubs that control it, over every aspect of life.

The whole achievement of democracy, human rights and civil liberties, that social safety net, labour and environmental standards, etc. has been an historic struggle by social movements and the public in general against that type of totalitarian power—and that struggle is the motivation for socialism.

Taming capital via democratization of its governance, requiring accountability to the workers that create it, the consumers who give it vitality, the communities that support it and the sharing of it and its spoils equitably for the common good of all individuals are socialistic traits. Whether you want to call it “socialism,” “people’s capitalism,” “social democracy,” “economic democracy,” “populism,” “communism,” etc. is irrelevant. It’s the practice and the results that count.

“I might contrast Jim Harris' tax shift with Jack Layton's sleazy attempt to molify consumers by saying that the increase in gasoline prices was the result of price fixing by an oil cartel.

Bill hulet

This is what I mean about the GP. Tax shift policies of various kinds have long been a part of NDP policy and were a central part of the federal election platform. Although these initiatives weren’t specifically referred to as “tax shift,” they were definitely there for all to see, and were far more comprehensive and sincere than the thinly disguised corporate tax breaks being pushed by Harris. And, in fact, the oil cartel has been the one to jack oil prices, even though there is no current shortage anywhere. The GP is once again twisting ecological lingo to protect corporate interests by blaming everyone else for the problem—just like the Liberals, Conservatives, corporate media, etc.

For alleged progressive minded freethinkers to hold these backward ass oppressive views and spout this sort of baloney doesn’t instill confidence or earn respect. You keep trying to woo them. I’ll stick to organizing and working with people in my local community, industry and trade. That historically has been the basis of the success of the NDP.


From: Kronos, but in BC Observing Political Tretchery | Registered: Nov 2003  |  IP: Logged
Panama Jack
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posted 30 August 2004 02:28 PM      Profile for Panama Jack     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
[QUOTE]Originally posted by Klingon:
Ghobe! Panama Jack, your peace-making efforts are laudable. But you’ll soon likely find, like I did many years ago, that trying to reach consensus with flake groups (GP, CP, Trots, “radical” feminists, etc.) that have made you and the values you hold dear their enemy.

Perhaps... but excuse me if I won't just take your word for it and assume that groups are inherantly a bunch of rightwing flakes/loonie leftist crackpots or otherwise! Again -- I use my personal experience chatting with a BC GP council member, who actually ARE ecologists by training.

I wonder what the feelings between the different farmer and labour parties were prior to the CCF forming? I realize the idea might seem repugant to you... but the very real possibility exists that Green's (meaning your "pseudo-ecologists") and Dippers will have to stand together against the growth-at-any-cost Corporate Oligarchy that runs this country fairly securely.

When David Suzuki states: "the Greens are the only party to squarely deal with the issue of growth", people will take them (more) seriously.


Just looking at the GP quotes on this string shows me the “debate” you’re hoping for between social democrats and “eco-capitalists” (an oxymoron for sure) won’t be any more substantive than it is between social democrats and the old worn out corporate capitalists (since these types have one main approach to justify their existence: they lie and vilify).

Call me cynical, but I've seen plently of lying and vilifying by ALL parties, on all sides of the political spectrum...and this is the majority view of the general public IMO. My hope/dream is that BOTH the "pro-capitalist" and "pro social-democratic" debate can reorient itself as to what is in the best interest of the environment, and by that mark society. Currently, the frame of debate is just set by glib rhetoric and corporate media soundbytes, and that doesn't help anybody except those in the status quo.


I just have to laugh at the incredible ignorance and denial of quotes like this. After all the debate and discussion, presentation of fact and history here, this guy still insists on equating state capitalist schemes (which Mao, Lenin, etc. admitted was developing under their watch), with democratic socialist economics--even though he knows the difference.

Yikes... that was ages ago. I've talked to plently of "democratic socialists" who have had plently of great things about Mao's programs, and they tell me I'm some sort of right-wing reactionary when I tell them otherwise! Of course, you'll respond and say "they aren't real democratic socialists"... back and forth.

Perspection is everything... however, and on that mark, social democrats have done a poor job at selling the good work they've done historically...[you just can't blame the corporate media on everything


The fact is that the biggest economic cause of environmental destruction is the commodification of our eco-systems for the benefit of undemocratic, profit-maximizing institutions, which is the basis of all forms of capitalism.

I'd personally stick to "growth centered economics", rather than just sticking it to capitalism (semantics only possibly), but otherwise I'm in agreement. Social democracy doesn't preclude ecological sanity... it just stands a better chance at acheiving that goal compared with unrestrained free markets.



But then again, if you are a supporter of a pro-capitalist apologist party like the GP, and are trying to woo support from high-income yuppies and corporations, well you certainly don’t want to enrage these elites by telling the truth. Nope. It’s easier to blame those who are largely disenfranchised and easy to target: trade unions. After all, that’s who the corporate class and its media love to vilify. So, the GP is in good company.

Sigh... and YOU talk about vilifiying? You paint all GP folk with the same broad brush that the corporate media paints the NDP! Again, I urge you to tone down the rhetoric for the benefit of the Province -- we need an NDP government in 2005, but it won't happen unless Carole can be a "uniter", and that won't happen by vilifying the GP.[Again, I'm *not* a GP supporter...]

Rather, it was the Amsterdam-based Greenpeace International, and its corrupt underling Greenpeace USA, which decided the NDP was an easy target to lean on to make more reforms and a good way to raise funds. SO it hypocritically came up with this goofy “Great Bear Rainforest” campaign, while the butchering going on in other parts of the country and in the US.

Well, we're in complete agreement over the tactics of Greenpeace, an organization who "endorsed" the NDP as the most Federally "Green" party, BTW. [Didnt' you previously menetion that Greenpeace was started by NDP'ers????]

As for the "Great Bear Rainforest", I don't quite understand your ill-will towards it... Greenpeace ain't the only organization working on that by a long shot, and it's a worthy effort in "thinking big", which is vital towards protecting animals like the grizzly, IMO.

“We might realize that the NDP policy of creating yet another crown corporation for promoting renewable energy is absolutely insane and counter-productive. The market is addressing that need very efficiently, held back by red-tape and subsidies to the fossil fuel companies.”

There already is, in BC, a crown corp. that can develop renewable energy sources (and encourage other to do so), if it was sufficiently democratized (instead of being privatized) and given the freedom to do it. It’s called BC Hydro.

BC Hydro's mandate as always been to provide low electricity rates to the public... and while that's laudable social policy, history has shown that where's there's low electricity rates, you'll also tend to see low rates of "low-impact"/"green" renewable development. High fossil fuel dependancy jurisdictions (Dennmark, Alberta, etc.) show this... with Dennmarks publically owned co-operative "wind guild" system perhaps an ideal model (compared with Alberta's *mixed* experience with de-reg).

That said, I'm in agreement with you Klingon... but I'd also add that the current mix of IPP's, combined with a reinvigorated intergrated public ultility and new legislation supporting regional green energy-cooperatives might just be the recipe for success in developing RE in BC. Don't automatically discount the private sector; allow them to manage the risk, offer them opportunities to make money down South in the de-regulated wasteland, allowing to keep rates reasonably low in BC without restorting to ecologically questionable projects like Hydro's Site C scheme in the Peace.

In order to make BC Hydro friendly to RE development, the public is going to have to direct them to it... they had plently of opportunity to explore renewables during the last 10 NDP years, and unfortunately were just starting to develop some programming when the shift in government came. There's probably a whole thread here so I'll stop.

[ 30 August 2004: Message edited by: Panama Jack ]


From: Vancouver | Registered: Jul 2004  |  IP: Logged
Klingon
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posted 30 August 2004 05:10 PM      Profile for Klingon        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
K’pla! Talk. It’s a human thing. Here we go, for more fun…

>”Perhaps... but excuse me if I won't just take your word for it and assume that groups are inherantly a bunch of rightwing flakes/loonie leftist crackpots or otherwise! Again -- I use my personal experience chatting with a BC GP council member, who actually ARE ecologists by training. “

I never said any person who joins any of these organizations automatically this. You know I was basing my comments on what apparently are the dominant sentiments of the GP on a variety of issues discussed here, as well as my experience with them in general. Are there good people in these organizations? Yes, there are. I have met many. Are there screw-ups in the NDP? No shortage of them at all. Unfortunately, when comparing organizations, you need to look at the general direction, leadership and overall sentiments of the group, as well as its policies. That’s what forms its identity, and that’s what I was referring to. You know that though.

>”I wonder what the feelings between the different farmer and labour parties were prior to the CCF forming?”

Probably there was some. Although direct communication/information between organizations wasn’t as developed then, so who knows?

>”I realize the idea might seem repugant to you... but the very real possibility exists that Green's (meaning your "pseudo-ecologists") and Dippers will have to stand together against the growth-at-any-cost Corporate Oligarchy that runs this country fairly securely.”

Not repugnant at all. Just not seemingly likely. In four years of BC Liar butchering here, it ain’t happened yet. If you’re looking for some sort of coalition (not that I am), give it up. Former BC Teachers Fed President and long-time New Dipper David Chuvnovsky led a three-year effort to make one. GP leader Adrianne Carr shot the idea down outright with barely a first glance. Why should she, other than to help defeat the most vicious, corrupt and economically incompetent regime this province has seen? She doesn’t stand for what we stand for on many things. Why should she be interested?

>”When David Suzuki states: "the Greens are the only party to squarely deal with the issue of growth", people will take them (more) seriously.”

That only shows me he is as out of touch with the everyday political realities as ever. He’s a good scientist and ecological health advocate. Not much of a political leader, though. The NDP has far more comprehensive sustainable economics policies, and a very lively and informed debate on such matters. Maybe you, as a New Dipper, might consider getting more involved in this activity, like the SCOE or the PRC on the Economy, or just via your local constituency association, instead of wasting time throwing accolades at organizations you don’t in fact support.

FYI, I have been told Suzuki is a friend of Mike Harcourt and was a strong supporter. SO, if this means anything, he might not be as trilled with the GP as you might think.

>”[Didnt' you previously menetion that Greenpeace was started by NDP'ers????]”

Yep, I did, and it’s true. I was a Greenpeace member long before I joined the NDP. I quit in 1997 after years of watching the group get more and more corporatized and more dependent of corporate funding, away from its initial mandate, busting its staff unions, the corruption of Greenpeace USA. The GBR hype was just the last straw.

>”I've talked to plently of "democratic socialists" who have had plently of great things about Mao's programs, and they tell me I'm some sort of right-wing reactionary when I tell them otherwise! Of course, you'll respond and say "they aren't real democratic socialists"

Presumptuous, eh. How do you know I would necessarily say that? I don’t deny that some of the reforms and programs initiated by Leninist governments great quite very good and helped people. To do so would be dishonest. My point, and the Leninists’ themselves historically, is the state capitalism was the basis of the “post-revolutionary” economies there—with state owned, top-down, profit-seeking corporations often run by the same capitalists deposed by the revolution. That’s where their problems began.

I was getting at the worn out dishonest stale references to the shallow rhetoric of these regimes as some sort of “proof” of what socialist economics are like in practice in vain efforts to discredit them, like the GPers here do. The CCF, and other cooperative and labour-sponsored movements around the globe show socialistic economics in practice work just fine—even within a capitalist dominated economy.

>”Perspection is everything... however, and on that mark, social democrats have done a poor job at selling the good work they've done historically...[you just can't blame the corporate media on everything”

True, although having a democratic public-interest media surely wouldn’t hurt.

>”Social democracy doesn't preclude ecological sanity... it just stands a better chance at acheiving that goal compared with unrestrained free markets.”

True enough I guess. Keep in mind that “ecological sanity” is very subjective, especially the “sanity” part. Socialistic economics tend to assure greater democratic control over our economy, which obviously, as history shows, greater community values in decision-making, while relying less on turning everything into a commodity. That’s where long-term sustainability and innovation come into play, which are the practical key to ecological well-being. Greater democracy also means great opportunity to educate and engage people in debate and information exchange about ecological well-being—something we don’t have much of today.

>”we need an NDP government in 2005, but it won't happen unless Carole can be a "uniter", and that won't happen by vilifying the GP.[Again, I'm *not* a GP supporter...]”

I think she not doing too badly of a job at bringing diverse groups together. Whether she can carry that through to winning the next election is the challenge. But, as said, that won’t include the GP, since it is poised as a competing and often hostile force. The majority of eco-activists already support the NDP in one manner or another. Keeping this simply involves us sticking to our policies. Getting more of the general non-activist public on side is the sure winner.

>”BC Hydro's mandate as always been to provide low electricity rates to the public... and while that's laudable social policy, history has shown that where's there's low electricity rates, you'll also tend to see low rates of "low-impact"/"green" renewable development.”

The two main reasons why BC Hydro can provide such low rates are 1) it is a public crown utility; 2) it DOES NOT rely mainly on fossil fuels.

Hydroelectric dams are a huge capital cost to build, and an ecological nightmare while they are being built and afterward. However, they are really cheap to run, have low maintenance costs, and environmental clean-up is minimal.

It’s true this makes budding alternative energy sources inefficient price wise. But that can be changed via the economies of scale that BC hydro offers. Through investing or co-investing with other firms in specific new technology at sufficient level, Hydro could make this more affordable, and, by owning the patents, could make a bit of money at it too. What Hydro needs is to become a real public utility by democratizing its structure, since it too operates at least in part on a state capitalistic basis. For years, the entrenched, profiteering, pocket-lining senior management there resisted the NDP government’s efforts to develop new energy sources. That has to change.

Raising electricity rates to supposedly make new energy sources more competitive is an unnecessary wholesale rip-off, just like supporting higher gas prices to supposedly encourage people to drive less.

I agree this crossfire is probably boring other readers by now. Let’s drop it for now.


From: Kronos, but in BC Observing Political Tretchery | Registered: Nov 2003  |  IP: Logged
Erik Redburn
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posted 01 September 2004 06:50 PM      Profile for Erik Redburn     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
You both have a point, but in the end I think Wingnut has it right, it's not the average Green Party supporter that's the problem it's the leadership. Carr has made it clear she has no intention of getting together with the NDP, but I think members could still work together on a one on one, issue by issue basis, depending.

As I've said before though, I won't be handing out any "roses" till the next election is over, I'm not all convinced that being "nice" wins campaigns and I think it's practically a public service to let uninformed "Green" supporters know what their leadership's really about.


From: Broke but not bent. | Registered: Feb 2004  |  IP: Logged
ice age coming
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posted 01 September 2004 07:57 PM      Profile for ice age coming     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by WingNut:
That is because "free market capitalism" (as espoused by the alliance/conservtives, their brethren in the fraser institute, and their republican role models) and environmental activism, or care for the environment at all, are diametrically opposed. You can pretend to be both, but you would just be kidding yourself.

But free market capitalism in the Adam Smith sense, which I believe is a much more universal concept than Canadian partisan politics, is not diametrically opposed to environmentalism.

If you cared to read the Green party platform, you'd find a neo-liberal fiscal policy that taxes based on consumption, not income. Therefore it does not intervene in the free market the way tarrifs and fines do, all the while promoting environmental activism using a power scheme based on reward not coercion.

This also means small business, which cannot afford to subsidize environmental fines (or are too ethical not to) by diverting income, can survive an environmental crackdown.

So we reward the companies that leave the smallest ecological footprint, rather than the companies that have the best lawyers to fine loopholes in our tax system.


From: Dubai, UAE | Registered: Aug 2004  |  IP: Logged
Erik Redburn
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posted 01 September 2004 08:26 PM      Profile for Erik Redburn     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
If you cared to read the Green party platform, you'd find a neo-liberal fiscal policy that taxes based on consumption, not income. Therefore it does not intervene in the free market the way tarrifs and fines do, all the while promoting environmental activism using a power scheme based on reward not coercion.

Have you been reading this thread? "Neo-liberalism" is seen by most NDPers and leftwingers as part of the problem, not part of the solution. And on that I completely agree, but then I don't see "markets" as necessarily the same as "free" markets, as there is no such thing; only markets that include large interests (like multinational corporations) which dominate and manipulate supposed "supply and demand" and therefore need regulating. More than a blind flat tax on consumption can hope to do. Flat taxes do nothing about the power of multinationals over whole economies nor the dynamics that drive them.

Encouraging more enviro friendly businesses, particularly small local ones is fine to most Social Democrats like myself (the majority in the NDP now) but markets do need regulation, at least if we believe that other concerns like growing poverty have something to do with environmental degradation. More practically speaking, most people are never going to *support* measures that might also might make their day to day lives too too difficult, but they just *might* support something that takes mostly from those that can, after all, better afford it. Why trade one serious problem for another if we don't have to?

The trick as has been said in other posts is to get regulations in place that can be enforced internationally, even just a significant portion of international markets. Transnationals aren't unbeatable and they shouldn't be treated as such. That would take enough maturity on the parts of all parties, however, to see that it's in everyones interest to do something about it, rather than fighting each other over dimishing returns in the proverbial "race to bottom".

You may not agree but I hope you can at least see others objections.

[ 01 September 2004: Message edited by: Erik the Red ]


From: Broke but not bent. | Registered: Feb 2004  |  IP: Logged
ice age coming
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posted 01 September 2004 08:47 PM      Profile for ice age coming     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Erik the Red:
Have you been reading this thread? "Neo-liberalism" is seen by most NDPers and leftwingers as part of the problem, not part of the solution...

I am guilty of not reading the entire thread. I will look into discussion to see why neo-liberal policy is problematic (although I can imagine the reasons given) but my point was simply that free markets are not anthetical to environmental policy, as suggested by the poster I quoted.

I assume you are being smarmy when you speak of a "blind flat tax" on consumption because obviously the solution is more baroque (nor is it a complete shift). In any event, I certainly agree with curbing individual consumption a tough sell. God knows what happen to Joe Clark and gasoline taxes--and that was the left shooting him down! I agree an international approach would be ideal but unfortunitely I can't see it being pragmatic in the short term.


From: Dubai, UAE | Registered: Aug 2004  |  IP: Logged
Erik Redburn
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posted 01 September 2004 09:04 PM      Profile for Erik Redburn     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I'm afraid that "flat" taxes aren't pragmatic in any term. I'm not against Green sales taxes per se, but not as a replacement for others like capital gains, which I believe is also an engine for our unnatural and unhealthy growth, even if the consumption end of the cycle is rejigged somewhat. One solution among many perhaps, but only if progressive taxes are also retained if not raised. I'll let you catch up with the rest.
From: Broke but not bent. | Registered: Feb 2004  |  IP: Logged
ice age coming
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posted 02 September 2004 04:32 PM      Profile for ice age coming     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Well I certainly wouldn't consider it any more than one solution amoung many. I suppose where I disagree most with some views within this thread is the foundationalistic approach to poltics. Unless if I'm missing the grande catagorical imparative of policy, I'm not sure why are so quick with our A causes B (and therefore A needs to be fixed first) mentality. Perhaps I'm the lone coherentist here but critiquing Green policies in isolation doesn't pass any muster under me. Green policy is a cocktail.

Foundationalism has given us lots of chicken-egg paradoxes and the god-awful right-left politcal model but has yet to produce one solid induction.

Let me explain myself a bit on international policy (and I was commenting your suggestion of international regulation, not proposing international flat tax). The problem is escaping the "one-size-fits-all" mentality of unitary movements. This problem solves itself over time if policy is given the liberty of evolution.


From: Dubai, UAE | Registered: Aug 2004  |  IP: Logged
WingNut
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posted 02 September 2004 04:42 PM      Profile for WingNut   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
If you cared to read the Green party platform, you'd find a neo-liberal fiscal policy that taxes based on consumption, not income. Therefore it does not intervene in the free market the way tarrifs and fines do, all the while promoting environmental activism using a power scheme based on reward not coercion.

This also means small business, which cannot afford to subsidize environmental fines (or are too ethical not to) by diverting income, can survive an environmental crackdown.

So we reward the companies that leave the smallest ecological footprint, rather than the companies that have the best lawyers to fine loopholes in our tax system.



This is nonsense.

A consumption tax is already in place and we call it the PST and GST and it hurts small business and he poor.

Neo-cons and big business love consumption taxes as they are regressive and hate progressive (ability to pay) income taxes. (Have you not noticed that this is the same policy of the anti-environment conservative parties everywhere? You must have as the leader of the Green Party is a conservative, isn't he?)

The reason being, people with money and the rich can afford consumption taxes. No biggie to them. The cost of purchasing an energy efficient washer can become prohibitive to the middle class and poor with consumption taxes added on. Not to the rich.

The same goes for small business. The consumption task can be the difference between buying competitive new technologies or continuing to fall behind global corporations.

By taxing consumption, not income, the Green Party buys into the worst of capitalsim that will continue to reward waste and the rich while harming the poor, the middle class and innovators and the environment. How many people looked at teh more expensive, energy efficient water heater and instead went with the lower cost, less efficient choice because the sales tax put the first choice over the top?

Why not just support crony capitalism and be done with it?

[ 02 September 2004: Message edited by: WingNut ]


From: Out There | Registered: Aug 2001  |  IP: Logged
Stephen Gordon
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posted 02 September 2004 05:53 PM      Profile for Stephen Gordon        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
There are lots of good economic reasons for switching the emphasis from taxes on income to taxes on consumption. The system can still be progressive if it also includes targeted transfers to the less well-off.
From: . | Registered: Oct 2003  |  IP: Logged
ice age coming
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posted 02 September 2004 06:17 PM      Profile for ice age coming     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by WingNut:
By taxing consumption, not income, the Green Party buys into the worst of capitalsim that will continue to reward waste and the rich while harming the poor, the middle class and innovators and the environment.

That is genuis. Taxing consumption rewards waste.

As you likely know, sales tax is not what we mean by consumption tax. Consumption is based on non-renewable resources only. A feebate system pools fees from less sustainable products to subsidize more sustainable products. This a form of market regulation (why we are different than corny capitialists) designed to reward innovators and protect the environment. IOW the price disparancy between two items will no longer be one of ecological efficiency but of non-essential features. Guess who consumes the most non-essential features?

It is not regressive. But even if it were, taxes can shifted from progressive to regressive around an income-neutral axis of rotation. If this axis is below the poverty line, the poor aren't harmed.

Now your example of the water heater is interesting. Allow me to propose a counter-example. Its tax season. How many people/small businesses looked at getting a lawyer to find loopholes and divert funds, and instead went with the lower cost of doing it themselves? Does this system reward those who can or cannot afford to set up subsidiaries? Pardon my lack of enthusiasm at seeing small business' taxes going to pay profitable transnational corperations like GM millions of dollars back in income tax. "Progressive" taxing in theory, maybe...


From: Dubai, UAE | Registered: Aug 2004  |  IP: Logged
WingNut
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posted 02 September 2004 06:22 PM      Profile for WingNut   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:

There are lots of good economic reasons for switching the emphasis from taxes on income to taxes on consumption. The system can still be progressive if it also includes targeted transfers to the less well-off.

I haven't heard any and I disagree.

First, those who are well off well then begin agitating for less transfers if they exist already or no tranfers if they do not exist just as they currenlty lobby, quite successfully, for less social assistance and lower taxes.

Now assume you are looking for a new vehicle. If you are rich, the consumption tax on a $25,000 gas guzzling SUV is easily absorbed with the savings from the income taxes you no longer pay. But a middle class person, the consumption tax could be the differnece between a fule efficient $10,000 newer car or a older, less efficient, $7,000 used car.

Put another way, an extra $150 doallrs on a thousand to a rich person is nothing. But to many others it could be all the difference.

Green Party members have to leave their upper middle class condos and join us in the real world for a while.

[ 02 September 2004: Message edited by: WingNut ]


From: Out There | Registered: Aug 2001  |  IP: Logged
WingNut
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posted 02 September 2004 06:36 PM      Profile for WingNut   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
That is genuis. Taxing consumption rewards waste.

With what you are proposing, yes it does.

quote:

As you likely know, sales tax is not what we mean by consumption tax. Consumption is based on non-renewable resources only.


Why would I likely know that? That is quite interesting. How would you define a non-renewable resource?
quote:

A feebate system pools fees from less sustainable products to subsidize more sustainable products.


Oh. I see. And so what will be less sustainable and what will be more sustainable? Would Alberta's oil industry, the engine that drives that economy be more or less sustainable? How about the fisheries? What about high technology manufacturing with the use of heavy metals and the cost of disposal? B.C. Forestry? Fast food? Who will arbitrate what is and what isn't more or less sustainable?
quote:

This a form of market regulation (why we are different than corny capitialists) designed to reward innovators and protect the environment.


Yeah. We have been there before.

quote:

It is not regressive. But even if it were, taxes can shifted from progressive to regressive around an income-neutral axis of rotation. If this axis is below the poverty line, the poor aren't harmed.


Huh?

quote:

Now your example of the water heater is interesting. Allow me to propose a counter-example. Its tax season. How many people/small businesses looked at getting a lawyer to find loopholes and divert funds, and instead went with the lower cost of doing it themselves? Does this system reward those who can or cannot afford to set up subsidiaries? Pardon my lack of enthusiasm at seeing small business' taxes going to pay profitable transnational corperations like GM millions of dollars back in income tax. "Progressive" taxing in theory, maybe...


What does your tax loop holes have to do with anything?

If you are arguing that a small business by paying taxes subsidizes international corporations that don't, then your logic escapes me. Maybe the solution is to ensure international corproations pay their fair share. But that is part of the problem with capitalsim isn't it? That corproations avoid their tax burden by threatening to shift production to less burdensome locales. They do the same to avoid environmetal regulations.


From: Out There | Registered: Aug 2001  |  IP: Logged
ice age coming
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posted 02 September 2004 09:00 PM      Profile for ice age coming     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I thought you'd likely know about the targets of consumption tax because I had assumed you read the Green party's policy before deciding to derail it.

Defining both renewability and sustainability is about as controversial as defining poverty. Its an NP-complete problem. The arbitrator in this case would be the party instigating the changes.

You said: "If you are rich, the consumption tax on a $25,000 gas guzzling SUV is easily absorbed with the savings from the income taxes you no longer pay." What this means is that the shift is income-neutral for the rich person. Therefore, in this hypothetical situation, the axis of rotation is in the upper tax brackets. But as the position of the axis is lowered, the impact on the poor approaches zero.

Tax loop holes are a perk of being rich. The relevant point is that any system which gives million dollar perks to the rich is not very progressive.


From: Dubai, UAE | Registered: Aug 2004  |  IP: Logged
Stephen Gordon
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posted 02 September 2004 09:07 PM      Profile for Stephen Gordon        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
There are lots of good economic reasons for switching the emphasis from taxes on income to taxes on consumption. The system can still be progressive if it also includes targeted transfers to the less well-off.

Wingnut's response:

quote:
Originally posted by WingNut:

I haven't heard any and I disagree.

This is what happens when you don't hang on my every word .

I've made this point in this thread,

this one,

this one,

...and this one.


From: . | Registered: Oct 2003  |  IP: Logged
BlueGreen
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posted 02 September 2004 09:16 PM      Profile for BlueGreen   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by WingNut:

Green Party members have to leave their upper middle class condos and join us in the real world for a while.

I have an upper middle class condo?!

No one told me! Where is it? Can someone direct me?

Right now, there's just the four of us in a one bedroom basement apt.

Sweeping generalisms:


From: Near the Very Centre of the Universe | Registered: Aug 2004  |  IP: Logged
WingNut
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posted 02 September 2004 11:06 PM      Profile for WingNut   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
I thought you'd likely know about the targets of consumption tax because I had assumed you read the Green party's policy before deciding to derail it.

I need not know everything about the Green Party policy to critique anymore than you need to know everything about Canadian tax policy to critique it. Or do you know everything about Canadian tax policy?
quote:

Defining both renewability and sustainability is about as controversial as defining poverty. Its an NP-complete problem. The arbitrator in this case would be the party instigating the changes.


I don't think so. Defining policy is only controversial if you are a conservative, as is the Green Party leadership, apparently. For the rest of us, poverty is when you have to choose e between paying the rent or feeding the kids.

quote:

You said: "If you are rich, the consumption tax on a $25,000 gas guzzling SUV is easily absorbed with the savings from the income taxes you no longer pay." What this means is that the shift is income-neutral for the rich person. Therefore, in this hypothetical situation, the axis of rotation is in the upper tax brackets. But as the position of the axis is lowered, the impact on the poor approaches zero.


Yeah, right. What is that old saying? If you can't beat them with facts, dazzle 'em with bullshit? Please. When all you have is a dollar, you can't afford the .15 cents tax. That is a significant impact.
quote:

Tax loop holes are a perk of being rich. The relevant point is that any system which gives million dollar perks to the rich is not very progressive.

Agreed. But the Green Party platform doesn't seem to do that at all from what you are telling me. Rather, it institutes undefined rules that are controversial, would divide the nation, potentially wreck regional economies and the ultimate arbiter of what will be in this unholy mess will be cabinet. If Canadians are to be expected to vote Green, they certainly have a right to know what the impact will be on their lives. So I repeat the question: what will be less sustainable, and thus subject to higher rates of taxation, and what will be more sustainable, and thus subject to subsidy from the more highly taxed industry? Would Alberta's oil industry, the engine that drives that economy be more or less sustainable? How about the fisheries? What about high technology manufacturing with the use of heavy metals and the cost of disposal? B.C. Forestry? Fast food?

What does your instinct tell you?
And just how punishing will these "consumption taxes" be? So, if Alberta's oil industry is considered "less sustainable," just how hard will it be taxed to support, say, Ontario's manufacture of solar collectors? And will Ontario's solar industry face higher taxes if they use fossil fuels as inputs for the output of solar collectors? What about acid in batteries? That is a dirty business. Canadians have a right to know these things.

And food, will farmers who use pesticides and artificial fertilizers be taxed heavier? What will the impact be at the grocery store?

You can't tell me this is your policy and then run away saying it is controversial and government will decide. We don't trust government. So, spell it out.

quote:
Sweeping generalisms:

I didn't specifically refer to you. But in any event, "sarcasm," get a dictionary and look it up.

[ 02 September 2004: Message edited by: WingNut ]


From: Out There | Registered: Aug 2001  |  IP: Logged
ice age coming
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posted 03 September 2004 12:36 AM      Profile for ice age coming     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I don't know everything about Canadian tax policy but I know the basics. You have sucessfully demonstrated you don't even know the basics of Green policy.

If income-neutral tax shifting is bullshit then I'm curious why you would propose it in your scenerio.

I'm not avoiding your question of sustainability, I just figured you can read the party's policy for yourself. Would the oil industry be more or less sustainable? Well more or less than what? I'm honestly not being smarmy but that is like asking, 'Is the number 10 more or less?'

So I hope this answers your question! The following* are considered by the Green party to be non-renewable and they would be subject to consumption tax: use of fossil fuels; mineral and forestry extractions; fishing and hunting (in terms of licensing fees); effluents and emissions. Fast food, in and of itself, would not be but it could be subject to relevant tarrifs depending on how the company is run.

As far as pesticides, they will not be taxed, but they will be subject to full cost accounting and no longer subsidized. However, that goes in-hand with more farming regulations in terms of managing supply and distribution to even the playing field. What will the grocery store look like? Target for 2010 is 10% organic food production.

As far as feebats go: an example would be fees on SUVs to subsidize hybrids. Or more rigurously--increase tax on personal vehicles that are in the bottom half with respect to fuel efficiency, eliminate this tax for personal vehicles in the top half. Therefore if you were buying used, you'd could still take advantage of the subsidy.

_____
* I'm going from memory so if something sounds suspect, I'd suggest you look it up for yourself. www.greenparty.ca


From: Dubai, UAE | Registered: Aug 2004  |  IP: Logged
Dief
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posted 03 September 2004 03:23 AM      Profile for Dief     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I'm a Green member. They have a role to play, and they are doing rather well.
From: Ottawa | Registered: Jul 2004  |  IP: Logged
WingNut
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posted 03 September 2004 09:29 AM      Profile for WingNut   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
I don't know everything about Canadian tax policy but I know the basics. You have sucessfully demonstrated you don't even know the basics of Green policy.

If you knew the basics you would know in Canadian Tax policy, and to most Canadians, a consumption tax is a sales tax. So you are either deliberately confusing language or you lack even the basics. I admit, freely, I know only the basics, too. But I know enough tqulaify terminology.

As for the Green Party policy, not being a wonk, it is not my job to know your policy. It is your job to explain it. But apparently you don't really understand it either.

quote:

If income-neutral tax shifting is bullshit then I'm curious why you would propose it in your scenerio.


I only made a small reference to it and it was throw away. The Rich and corporate capitalists prefer consumption taxes to income taxes. They, corporate capitalists, the ones you hope to regulate, would be your natural allies on teh tax question. What does that tell you?

quote:

I'm not avoiding your question of sustainability, I just figured you can read the party's policy for yourself.


Yes, you are.
quote:

Would the oil industry be more or less sustainable? Well more or less than what? I'm honestly not being smarmy but that is like asking, 'Is the number 10 more or less?'


Yeah, yeah ...

quote:

So I hope this answers your question! The following* are considered by the Green party to be non-renewable and they would be subject to consumption tax: use of fossil fuels; mineral and forestry extractions; fishing and hunting (in terms of licensing fees); effluents and emissions. Fast food, in and of itself, would not be but it could be subject to relevant tarrifs depending on how the company is run.

Oh good, some meat. Fast food meat. With idling cars, paper and styrofoam, all exempt, depending on how the comapny is run. And what criteria is used to determine all this?

Oil and gas usage would be subject to a consumption tax but not extraction? How will this impact my granny living on a fixed income in her two room bungalow? How will it impact the guy making the solar panels?

Oh, sorry more questions, but you know, these do need answers.

quote:

As far as pesticides, they will not be taxed, but they will be subject to full cost accounting and no longer subsidized. However, that goes in-hand with more farming regulations in terms of managing supply and distribution to even the playing field. What will the grocery store look like? Target for 2010 is 10% organic food production.

Ah, the Green Industrial Party. Pesticides are okay and low targets for green alternatives. Paul Martin could be running this party.

quote:

As far as feebats go: an example would be fees on SUVs to subsidize hybrids. Or more rigurously--increase tax on personal vehicles that are in the bottom half with respect to fuel efficiency, eliminate this tax for personal vehicles in the top half. Therefore if you were buying used, you'd could still take advantage of the subsidy.

Do you think your rich industrialist friends would agree to that?

From: Out There | Registered: Aug 2001  |  IP: Logged
ice age coming
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posted 03 September 2004 11:40 AM      Profile for ice age coming     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
The critera for determining what consumption to curb is the opinion of the members and leaders of the Green party, which is then accumulated into a party policy.

You are correct about extraction however the extraction process itself could be subject to any number of taxes. As far as your granny, the money she saves on income tax will subsidize the consumption costs of living. If she's living in ineffecient housing, she'll be offered tax incentatives and subsidies to replace them. If she is renting, then the landlord is responisble for providing efficient housing.

The solar power company would be taxed for its use of fossil fuels. However it would also recieve governmental support for being alternative energy. The latter will outweigh the former if they produce significantly more energy than they consume.

quote:
The Rich and corporate capitalists prefer consumption taxes to income taxes. They, corporate capitalists, the ones you hope to regulate, would be your natural allies on teh tax question. What does that tell you?

It tells me that my original point is correct: the free market and environmental protection is not antitheical. The point of the Green policy is to use their greed against them by offering incentative, instead of punishment, for the benefit of the environment. And I doubt they prefer our brand of consumption taxes to the current income tax system which they play like a harp (no pun intended).

Would my rich, industrialist friends agree to feebats? Not that I have any, nor can speak for the group, but the answer is likely to the negative. No they would not agree to it. And that is the point.


From: Dubai, UAE | Registered: Aug 2004  |  IP: Logged
Rufus Polson
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posted 03 September 2004 01:45 PM      Profile for Rufus Polson     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Oliver Cromwell:
There are lots of good economic reasons for switching the emphasis from taxes on income to taxes on consumption. The system can still be progressive if it also includes targeted transfers to the less well-off.

Economically speaking, you are no doubt correct.

Politically speaking, what you are saying is that doing something powerful elites constantly push for can be progressive if you successfully also do something powerful elites will fight tooth and nail, and find politically easy to eliminate.
From a progressive point of view, if you've got that much political power together, might as well just make the tax system more progressive to start with. Harder to dismantle than if they can leave the regressive revenue system intact and just rip up a few after-taxation transfers.


From: Caithnard College | Registered: Nov 2002  |  IP: Logged
Stephen Gordon
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posted 03 September 2004 01:57 PM      Profile for Stephen Gordon        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Yeah, that makes a lot of sense, unfortunately.

In any case, I checked the GP website, and I didn't see anything about measures to offset the effect of increased consumption taxes on lower-income households.


From: . | Registered: Oct 2003  |  IP: Logged
WingNut
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posted 03 September 2004 02:09 PM      Profile for WingNut   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
As far as your granny, the money she saves on income tax will subsidize the consumption costs of living.

Then you know neither my granny nor the Canadian tax system. Being a senior and on a fixed income her income tax is negligible. An increase in her heating costs , however, would, for a senior on a fixed income, be punitive.

quote:

The solar power company would be taxed for its use of fossil fuels. However it would also recieve governmental support for being alternative energy. The latter will outweigh the former if they produce significantly more energy than they consume.

So for ballard fuel cells, using vasts amount of energy in development, the addiotional costs could remove the ability to continue development. Is that the plan?

quote:

It tells me that my original point is correct: the free market and environmental protection is not antitheical. The point of the Green policy is to use their greed against them by offering incentative, instead of punishment, for the benefit of the environment. And I doubt they prefer our brand of consumption taxes to the current income tax system which they play like a harp (no pun intended).

Would my rich, industrialist friends agree to feebats? Not that I have any, nor can speak for the group, but the answer is likely to the negative. No they would not agree to it. And that is the point.



It should tell you the premise is flawed and the current income tax system requires tweaking to eliminate loop-holes not scrapped in favour of those who exploit the loop-holes. Would you punish a theif by giving him the keys to your home?

Your rich indrustialist friends will agree to whatever will give them an advantage. So, as we see, while oil comapnies are opposing Kyoto, they are also buying emission credits.

quote:
The critera for determining what consumption to curb is the opinion of the members and leaders of the Green party, which is then accumulated into a party policy.

Now, no offence intended, but I wouldn't trust an answer like that from any party. Not only is it a non-answer, it also suggests that "big brother" knows best. I don't think it will fly.

From: Out There | Registered: Aug 2001  |  IP: Logged
ice age coming
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posted 03 September 2004 02:46 PM      Profile for ice age coming     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
You are right I don't know your granny so I made some assumptions seeing as you brought up someone I didn't know.

I like how you took what I said about solar cells and applied it to fuel cells. I'm sorry, but FC's are not an alternative form of energy. Hydrogen is not a primary source and must be manufactured. Manufactured hydrogen either requires vast amounts of fuel to perform electrolysis from water, or it emits greenhouse gases from methane.

Ballard's PEFCs take fuel and repackage it as hydrogen at under 50% effeciency. And so we will punish Ballard just like we'll punish any corperation that is harming the environment.

Tightening the income tax system will hurt small business. There are legitimate reasons that companies can divert funds. Its a trade-off between deffectiveness and ease of abuse.

Lastly, the policy preceeds the government so your big-brother analogy falls through. You look at the policy which sets up guidelines and values, you judge it it, and then you make a decision. The Green party is no different than any party in that respect.


From: Dubai, UAE | Registered: Aug 2004  |  IP: Logged
Panama Jack
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posted 03 September 2004 02:56 PM      Profile for Panama Jack     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by WingNut:

Now, no offence intended, but I wouldn't trust an answer like that from any party. Not only is it a non-answer, it also suggests that "big brother" knows best. I don't think it will fly.

Huh? We already do many things that that constitute this already. All sin taxes assume that "big brother knows best"...

Gas taxes already make up the majority of fuel costs... so I really don't understand how tax shifting, if done prudently and with concern for the less fortunate, would be a completly bad thing. As has been said, it's easy to put restrictions on neccessities (food, shelter, heating costs up to a certain threshold), taxing at an exponentially higher rate once you've gone over that threshold.

They're are creative ways to ultilize tax shifting without having an undue social cost... you're probably right in saying it will never get rid of income taxes completly, but that doesn't mean we have to rely on it as our prinicpal source of government income... as industries mature (like the tar sands), government will be a better position to demand higher fossil fuel related royalites, implement programs that protect those on limited incomes AND reduce consumption with those who and obviously afford it by progressively higher taxes on that consumption.


From: Vancouver | Registered: Jul 2004  |  IP: Logged
ice age coming
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posted 03 September 2004 03:07 PM      Profile for ice age coming     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Panama Jack:
so I really don't understand how tax shifting, if done prudently and with concern for the less fortunate, would be a completly bad thing.

Right and I want to emphasis that Green policy is not a complete shift. Its meant as a compliment to income tax, not a substitute.


From: Dubai, UAE | Registered: Aug 2004  |  IP: Logged
Panama Jack
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posted 03 September 2004 03:39 PM      Profile for Panama Jack     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by ice age coming:
Right and I want to emphasis that Green policy is not a complete shift. Its meant as a compliment to income tax, not a substitute.

Fine... but as Cromwell has menetioned, details like this are hard to come by via the GP website... allowing for people to paint Green Party policy as "pseudo-ecologists/rich landowners who find working people and unions 'icky', as demonstrated by their support of increased consumption taxes". [Does that sum it up? ]

If Green's really want to tout themselves as people hearlding some sort of "paradigm shift" away from left/right politics, they HAVE to spell out the details of their policies, so others (social democrats in particular it would seem) don't 'fill in the blanks' with what they honestly see the Greens fundelmental poltiical blind spot: an ignorance of class-politics.


From: Vancouver | Registered: Jul 2004  |  IP: Logged
WingNut
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posted 03 September 2004 04:30 PM      Profile for WingNut   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Lastly, the policy preceeds the government so your big-brother analogy falls through. You look at the policy which sets up guidelines and values, you judge it it, and then you make a decision. The Green party is no different than any party in that respect.

I disagree. Most other parties, even if they are lying, will say they will consult with the public and all stakeholders before implementing any policy. You, on the other hand, are saying the Green Party, itself, will decide who pays and who doesn't. We don't all have to join the party, do we?

The Ballard fuel cell was jsut one example. The same argument applies to the development of any new technology. Being a party of the right you would certainly acknowledge that there must be an investment, in this case, of energy to find alternatives.

quote:
Tightening the income tax system will hurt small business.

But consumption tax won't? Sure it will. When conservatives want to benefit their rich friends, they cut income taxes. If you want to benefit local economies you cut consumption (sales) taxes.

quote:

There are legitimate reasons that companies can divert funds. Its a trade-off between deffectiveness and ease of abuse.


Agreed. And so my point is you do not throw the baby out with the bath water. Rather you make the present system work for the benefit of Canadians and the environment rather than for exclusive financial interests.

quote:
Huh? We already do many things that that constitute this already. All sin taxes assume that "big brother knows best"...

There is a substantial difference between Canadians lobbying their government to ban smoking and pit bulls and your government saying, "shh! We know what's best and we will make the decisons for you."

quote:
Gas taxes already make up the majority of fuel costs... so I really don't understand how tax shifting, if done prudently and with concern for the less fortunate, would be a completly bad thing.

I haven't argued against shifting taxes and would agree wholeheartedly with shifting tax burdens back to the corporations and the rich. Would the Green Party agree?

What I question is the shift to consumption taxes. We as humans cannot avoid consumption and consumption taxes (sales and/or energy) places a much greater burden on the poor and middle-classes, the majority, than the rich.

Why not just legislate clean economies? Why not just ban chemicals? Why not just legislate cleaner vehicle standards? Why not just legislate tighter emission standards? Why not just legislate clean water standards for industry, municipalities and agriculture?

Why get all twisted making mile and miles more unenforceable red tape when basic laws will do?

No overturning the corrupt capitalist system. Just simple regulation. How hard is that?

[ 03 September 2004: Message edited by: WingNut ]

[ 03 September 2004: Message edited by: WingNut ]


From: Out There | Registered: Aug 2001  |  IP: Logged
Panama Jack
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posted 03 September 2004 05:02 PM      Profile for Panama Jack     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by WingNut:
[QB]There is a substantial difference between Canadians lobbying their government to ban smoking and pit bulls and your government saying, "shh! We know what's best and we will make the decisons for you."
[QB]

Just like how Canadians lobbied for alcohol prohibition, making thousands of Canadian's instant criminals for a lifestyle choice?

We (aka, big brother, society, whatever... remember the Green Party won't get to start shifting taxes until they get elected by the Canadian public) decided that it was prudent social policy to control booze consumption, same with cigarettes. The logic goes, if you believe in social policy measures like that, that you could translate environmental-social policy to encourage consumers to make better choices without dictating those choices heavy handily (people still have the right to smoke, although it's offically discouraged by government advertizing, taxes, etc., resulting in one of the lowest smoking rates in the world). We already do somewhat with energy efficiency standards.... industry and even consumer groups gave the same rational (bad for business, bad for the poor etc.) when they implemented EE regulations... yet today people, including lower income folks, are directly benefitting from the energy savings.


From: Vancouver | Registered: Jul 2004  |  IP: Logged
ice age coming
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posted 03 September 2004 05:57 PM      Profile for ice age coming     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Panama,

I agree the current policy is quite ambigious in certain respects. I've sort of flushed it out for myself using what I know of the Green movement in other countries but I may be guilty of being over optimistic.

Wing,

Right now the Green party is not in power. So their process of forming policy is the same as any other party. You are jumping ships when you talk about implementing policy because no party drafts detailed versions of the exact bills they are going to pass before getting in power. A policy is a statement of values--a guide.

Once in power, of course they will involve the public through consultation and referendum, and they will publish public quarterly financial statements from all departments, as well as setting up more watchdogs and giving more power to the Auditor General.

Your Ballard example doesn't apply to any new technology. It applies only to technologies which repackage energy from non-renewable resources. And any company like this will have to pay for their consumption.

Hydrogenics in Mississauga generates hydrogen for fuel cells using Toronto Hydro's Windshare Wind Turbine. This is the type of new technology our party advocates. There is an investment of energy, yes, but wind energy is renewable and sustainable. We'd like to see more Hydrogenics and our system fights for them.

When Conservatives want their rich friends to benefit, they cut (not shift) income tax in high tax brackets and let it "trickle down" the class hierarchy. That is supply-side economics. Its also dependant on exapanding free trade and removing government regulations.

Conservative fiscal policy is just about the exact opposite of consumption taxes--just think about what the word consumption means for a second. It is demand-side. Its dependant on creating government regulations. And its dependant of fair trade--not free trade. If you insist on painting the Green party as right-wing, that is your loss. I'm sorry it doesn't fit nicely on the dumbed-down political spectrum that our televisions preach. Keep trying to sniff out our "exclusive financial interests."

But, any smarmines aside, I hear your values and I hear your ideals, and I'm not trying to say mine are better. I'm simply here to defend them against what unfair associations and being spun into a straw-man sporting a CPC button.

Anyways I'll give you the last word, and then you have yourself a great fucking weekend, ok? Cheerio.


From: Dubai, UAE | Registered: Aug 2004  |  IP: Logged
Erik Redburn
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posted 03 September 2004 06:23 PM      Profile for Erik Redburn     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Before you go Ice Age, do you know if this tax "shifting" policy is shared by the BC or Ontario Greens or just a feature of the national party? Just kinda curious.
From: Broke but not bent. | Registered: Feb 2004  |  IP: Logged
Erik Redburn
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posted 03 September 2004 06:31 PM      Profile for Erik Redburn     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Oliver Cromwell:
There are lots of good economic reasons for switching the emphasis from taxes on income to taxes on consumption. The system can still be progressive if it also includes targeted transfers to the less well-off.

And Cromwell, I'm glad you mentioned this again. I think I know why consumption taxes might be seen as more economically effective in certain ways, but I assume as an economist you're also aware of the potential downside, and I'm still wondering if you can offer some real statistical or empirical evidence that this has in fact been the case where tried.


From: Broke but not bent. | Registered: Feb 2004  |  IP: Logged
WingNut
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posted 03 September 2004 06:54 PM      Profile for WingNut   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Conservative fiscal policy is just about the exact opposite of consumption taxes--just think about what the word consumption means for a second. It is demand-side. Its dependant on creating government regulations. And its dependant of fair trade--not free trade. If you insist on painting the Green party as right-wing, that is your loss. I'm sorry it doesn't fit nicely on the dumbed-down political spectrum that our televisions preach. Keep trying to sniff out our "exclusive financial interests."

Really? Hmm. Well, first, it is your party that advocates conservative tax policy in the sheeps clothing of environmental improvement. It is your party that advocates the as-seen-on-TV, dumbed down approach to politics of "don't tell them the truth; tell what sells," hence, eco-capitalism while preaching legislation and regulation.

But, and more important maybe, if you lay down with dogs, you are likely to have fleas, or birds of a feather, etc ...:

quote:
ENVIRONMENTAL CONSERVATION AND ECONOMIC CONSERVATISM: CAN THEY BE RECONCILED?

Thursday, September 9th, 2004, 7-9pm
Science Theatre 143
University of Calgary

Sponsored By Students of the University of Calgary

PANELISTS

PRESTON MANNING: Former Leader of the Opposition in Parliament and Distinguished Visitor at the University of Calgary. Will address why this question is relevant to Alberta, future provincial elections, and the future of conservatism.

GEORGE READ: Leader, Green Party of Alberta. Will provide the perspective of an environmental activist and the Green Party on this question.

SYLVIA LEROY: Senior Policy Analyst, The Fraser Institute. Will provide the perspective of a fiscal conservative and free-market environmentalism on this question.

BARRY WORBETS: Senior Fellow, Canada West Foundation, and director of CWF'S Natural Capital Project. Will provide the perspective of an environmental scientist, with oil patch experience, on this question.

FORMAT
Each speaker will be allotted 7 minutes to address the question, followed by 30 minutes of dialogue and debate among the speakers. Another hour will then be given to questions from and dialogue with the audience. Media will also be in attendance.
http://www.greenparty.ca/index.php?module=calendar&calendar[view]=event&id=144

Look ta that: The Fraser Institute, Preston Manning, an oil worker, and the Green Party.
Go figure.

You know, I was a member of the Green Party and donated money. And I think the core of the Green Party values are still there. But they are being sold out rather quickly.

quote:
Anyways I'll give you the last word, and then you have yourself a great fucking weekend, ok? Cheerio.

Thanks. Have a great fucking weekend yourself.

From: Out There | Registered: Aug 2001  |  IP: Logged
Stephen Gordon
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posted 03 September 2004 06:55 PM      Profile for Stephen Gordon        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
There's a recent book called "Growing Public" by Peter Lindert that talks about this. It's on my to-read list, but I haven't gotten around to it yet.

Many European countries that have large public sectors have already gone down this road; it's been remarked that Sweden has often treated income from capital more generously than the US, so even though it has a large public sector, they don't have any problems with generating the savings needed for investment.


From: . | Registered: Oct 2003  |  IP: Logged
Erik Redburn
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 5052

posted 03 September 2004 07:06 PM      Profile for Erik Redburn     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I've heard that traditionally Social democratic nations in Scandinavia have been privatizing many of their public services but I didn't know they'd shifted their high income tax levels to consumption taxes. I'll have to read more about it, thanks. Do you have an explanation however why the income tax cuts and consumption tax increases in North America haven't produced the desired results -at least from a Social Democratic viewpoint? I'm really not looking for another argument here, just wondering if I've missed something on the hows and whys.
From: Broke but not bent. | Registered: Feb 2004  |  IP: Logged
WingNut
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posted 03 September 2004 07:16 PM      Profile for WingNut   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Not looking for another argument either, we live in a different culture here. We try to the divide the poor into deserving and undeserving and then neglect one and punish the other. We try to avoid acknowledgement that economic disruption and poor social policy can result in economically disadvantaged people. So we blame them for their circumstances.

As well, and to borrow from the Green Party who borrowed from me , in our society we generate money for the sake of generating money. We worship wealth and promote indifference to both each other and our environment.

It is why when I see the Green Party attracting the very people who perpetuate the status quo, I become concerned.


From: Out There | Registered: Aug 2001  |  IP: Logged
Stephen Gordon
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 4600

posted 03 September 2004 07:31 PM      Profile for Stephen Gordon        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
That's linked with Rufus Polson's earlier post; a certain amount of political will is required to make it work. It is presumably the case that in the Scandinavian countries, there's a strong consensus in favour of maintaining those sorts of transfers.
From: . | Registered: Oct 2003  |  IP: Logged
Erik Redburn
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 5052

posted 03 September 2004 07:32 PM      Profile for Erik Redburn     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Actually, if the Green party becomes the preserve of red tories and garden variety yuppies, I'm fine with that, I just hope more serious environmentalists take another look at the real "green" party again... I'd also like to see if there's anything more from "deep ecologists" after the latest Harris coup, that's a group I'd like to talk to somemore.
From: Broke but not bent. | Registered: Feb 2004  |  IP: Logged
Crimson
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 6788

posted 04 September 2004 01:09 AM      Profile for Crimson     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I'm sure many of you already know this, but just in case...I wanted to post that NPR is having a weeklong focus on the Bush admin and environmental policies next week. There was a 'teaser' on this evening at about 7pm MT, and it was rather illuminating.

One of the topics up for discussion/debate is the Bush administration's defensive attitude toward the environment and implementing new (or enforcing existing) policies. Defensive as opposed to pro-active.

Looks to be interesting, if anyone is curious.


From: The bug sky | Registered: Sep 2004  |  IP: Logged
gina
recent-rabble-rouser
Babbler # 6804

posted 04 September 2004 08:03 PM      Profile for gina     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
The right wing Gods must surely be smiling at the feeble Left Wing attempts to form a cohesive and united political stance that could actually threaten them. They must be gloating to see how effectively their propoganda has worked to divide us. How will any order ever be created out of such chaos. How many more parties/movements will be created before we see the need to work under the umbrella of a party that at least has a framework of social democracy that can be built on. Like it or not that party is the NDP. What is a Party but the sum of its members. Compare the number of members in the NDP with the Liberals and Conservatives and you can see why the Liberals keep getting elected. In the last election the Federal NDP Platform was awarded the highest marks for its environment policies, a tax structure that was fair and well thought out and strategies for creating several new industries that would have created wonderful jobs in an environmentally sustainable way but unfortunately Jack Layton's mustache was a real turnoff and he smiled too much. Of course few took the time to read his biography which is the most impressive of all the Party leaders preferring instead to believe the Right Wing view of the man. When the Provincial NDP was in power in BC many lies were told that are now believed to be facts. "The NDP had fudge it budgets and the books are in a mess". However an independent Auditor General's report released in Feb 2002 (after the Liberals came into power) states quite clearly the NDP had two balanced budgets in a row. There was a brief mention of this fact on CBC. "The Fast Ferry Fiasco". Gordon Campbell sold those Ferries to a Washington outfit for peanuts who in turn sold them at a profit and those ferries are now running between Malta and Italy and are being heralded as "Tommorrows technology today". Great Ferries - built in BC by BC unionized workers - but not for BC Waters where the waves were disturbing wealthy beachfront properties. "Glen Clark was a crook". He has since been absolved of the trumped up charges and while he may have been guilty of exercising bad judgement there was nothing criminal and of course no one remembers any good things he ever did like Nanoose Bay. So as long as we are willing to believe the worst of ourselves and we refuse to stand up and defend ourselves against these propoganda tools and as long as we can't put our money and our time into a party that offers at least some hope for us all we will deserve the Gordon Campbells of the world and isn't that just really too bad.
From: Rossland BC | Registered: Sep 2004  |  IP: Logged

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