Monday, February 06, 2006

Unite the Left

Lots of talk about uniting the Left, as if it was severed, by media pundits and joyful Conservatives. Actually all that talk is about merging the centrist NDP with the left wing of the Liberals. Well the solution would be for the Liberals to join the NDP and leave their right wing to go Tory.

Slow down, turn left: Axworthy on Liberal leadership

Beginning of the end for Liberals, hopes NDP

But the real movement to Unite the Left is outside of the NDP. And the creation of a provincial Socialist Party in Quebec is step in that direction. New party's name is a call for solidarity

It even got the support of Judy Rebick who criticized the NDP for going right wing in this election.

New left-wing party hopes to change the face of Quebec politics ...

In fact, the party received the unlikely support of social activist Judy Rebick, former president of the National Action Committee on the Status of Women and an avowed federalist. "I agree with the people in this room on everything else," she said when asked about the separatist leanings of Quebec Solidaire.

If we are to reconstruct Canada as a real confederation then Quebec independenace has to be recognized. And yet it this is the same Rebick who said that the real indication of the NDP going right, not centrist but right, was Jack Laytons failure to disavow the Clarity act.

When Jack Layton announced out of the blue at the beginning of the campaign that he actually supported the Clarity Act, any chance of unity with the left in Quebec flew out the window. Most progressives in Quebec that I've talked to voted NDP in the last federal election because they believed that Jack was the first leader who really supported Quebec's right to self-determination. This time they voted Bloc Québécois.

So which is it Judy? Do you only support Self Determination in principle or in practice as well. And in fact I agree that Jack sold out over the Clarity Act. He also screwed up early on in the campaign saying that the NDP could do nothing about private clinics under Medicare. NDP's Duh'Oh

Yet the NDP as a federalist party made real gains in Quebec running in fact in second place in many Montreal ridings. Which will only bouy their Ontario Leadership to see themselves as born again Federalists.

So now there is a new left party in Quebec one focusing NOT on seperatism, that Quebecs right to self determination is a given, but on social issues of the left. This is good, despite the press coverage claiming them as a new independiste party.

New party in Quebec to focus on PQ's left

"We are giving birth to a party whose first objective is not sovereignty but rather a Quebec that is green, ecological and that promotes social justice. For us, sovereignty is one of the tools to achieve this. There are thousands of Quebeckers who are hungry for a party that reflects these values," Ms. David said yesterday.

It will face a challenge, that the PQ wants State Power, and will move to the right to get it. This has already occured. All parties that want State power by their inherent nature in a parlimentary system move to the centre. They can never be Left wing. Equally now this New Left can also challenge the Bouchard and ADQ agenda's.

But while this party is still provincial only it needs to look at also building opposition to the BQ which has declared itself an electoral only party and one that runs from the Centre as well while appealing to the Left.

Now in the ROC it is time to build a new broad based Socialist Organization seperate from parlimentaty politics, one that is broad based and part of the social movements that Judy is concerned have no place to go. One that could then unite on a basis of principles with the Quebec Left to give a common vision for a New Canadian/Quebec/Aboriginal Federation and a New Canadian Politics.

The Left in Canada needs to build a movement based mass political organization that is not focused soley on elections or parlimentarianism. But it needs to be done from the bottom up and not by self appointed spokespersons.

Rebick and Jim Stanford like to claim they started the New Politics Inititative NPI which looked building such a movement organization as an alternative to the NDP. But it ended up just being a pink rump in the party, less effective than the old Waffle.

They closed up that little campaign after Layton got elected, they in fact endorsed Laytons campaign unlike the Socialist Caucus in the NDP which ran their own leadership candidate. So anything Rebick or Stanford have to say about the NDP has to be seen in this light.

As for Stanford he was in effect Buzz's Brain as his article in Rabble shows. That's cause Buzz's original brain Sam Gidden retired and is teaching at York Universtiy. Well Buzz's brain sure screwed up with his campaign of strategic voting.

And while he tries to justify it by claiming the labour movement also screwed up by doing the same thing, it's disingenuous. While labour ran their own Third Party campaigns, which are always useless, they did endorse the NDP in the end. Unlike Buzz and his brain. Stanford can't admit his strategy divided the parlimentary left, and FAILED. it wasn't his fault it was the NDP's for calling the election too soon.

It's not the NDP or Liberals that are the Left in Canada. The Left in Canada is outside of electoral politics and parlimentarianism. Its time to build a unified Socialist organization broad based enough to include the Libertarian Left as well as the 57 varieties of Leninists and other Marxists, Left Social Democrats, Red/Greens, etc.

The Green Party this election has shown that it too has moved to the Centre if not to the right and as an electoral option has now failed in two elections to get anyone elected.

If we are to challenge the Poltical Parties in Canada which solely focus on Parliment then we need a Pan Canadian organziation that can do so. And part of its policy will have to be a debate on how we approach elections. Because the strategy of the Third Parties, the single isseue and social issue NGO's in this election also failed.

And issues get lost in elections like Haiti did.
Or the issue of Nationalizing Big Oil. These are issues that a Socialist Organization brings to the fore during elections and campaigns around.





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