Friday, January 26, 2007


Contientalism here we come. This has always been the main dispute between the Nationalist Left of the ruling class against the Contientalist Right of the ruling class.

It goes back to the sixties split in the Liberal Party over this issue, which resulted in the Anti-Contientalist Liberal Nationalist left including Walter Gordon, Mel Hurtig and his protege Maude Barlow, and Paul Hellyer and his Canadian Action Party,

In the early seventies the Nationalist Left movement in the NDP was made up of Mel Watkins, Canadian Dimension's Cy Gonick and the Waffle.

Contientalism, or deep integration with the United States, as it is now called, is the current Canadian business agenda of some sections of the Canadian ruling class.

It includes the North American Security Agreement, the TILMA (
Trade, Investment and Labour Mobility Agreement ) which B.C. and Alberta hobbled together, and the Canadian Council of Chief Executives promotion of economic integration with the U.S. The three amigos; Bush, Calderon and Harper, will be meeting to discuss all these issues in Kananaskis this June.

Which is why China becomes an important trade and economic challenge to this ideology, and which is why the Canadian ruling class is divided over the issue of liberalizing trade with China. One could call it a clash between the Internationalists and the Contientalists in the ruling class.

China is to diversify the use of its swelling foreign exchange reserves, a policy change that is likely to mean a rise in investment in overseas securities and more purchasing of foreign technology and raw materials.

Mr Bloomberg and Mr Schumer commissioned the study amid increasing concern over New York's declining share of global capital markets activity. Concern has focused on the rise in the number of foreign companies choosing to list their shares in London and Hong Kong rather than in New York.

When dealing with hegemons it is best to keep them off balance by balancing out your relations with them. One way would be for NDP in its foreign policy to seriously consider aligning Canada with the Non-Aligined Movement.

If the Left in Canada is going to move beyond mere knee jerk nationalism, in the era of globalization, then it too needs to embrace internationalism. Sovereignty is a myth. Canadian capitalism is now global, it invests abroad, and in turn foreign investors have bought up Canadian companies, as the internecine competition between Falconbridge and Inco showed.

The Left,the labour movement and environmentalists have used NAFTA for the past decade to get better labour and environmental protections in the side deals that NAFTA allows. The fact is that NAFTA and all other trade agreements are in permanently in place and the labour movement and the Left needs to accept this fact and in turn mobilize a counter globalization strategy around outreach to workers and social movements in those countries which continue to be outsourced to as cheap labour.

Typical knee jerk nationalism meant that the Labour movement protested the Chinese proposed purchase of Noranda. Instead we had Mittal from India and Brazilian miner CVRD purchase Falconbridge and Inco instead. The labour movement complained that China had poor labour policies, which is true, however so does Wal-Mart.

And while knee jerk American nationalism confronted Mittal when they moved into the U.S. the company itself was leader in creating jobs, being more green than its competitors and offering profit sharing.

There is also a divide between the two nationalisms in Canada, that of Quebec and the ROC. Quebec labour and its social democratic parties accept NAFTA and Free Trade, in fact they promote it, of course demading state funding for its less than competitive industries like Bombardier in order to compete in the international marketplace.

And like Quebec, the Ontario government is funding the Auto sector, but not doing it based on a Made In Canada Autoplan, including a green plan, instead it is funding the Big 3, to keep jobs here. The reality is that the industry itself is self sufficient in Canada and growing. But the sector that is growing is the Asian carmakers from Korea and Japan. Like China, these countries offer an alternative alliance against the deep integration with the disintigrating American economy.

What we need is not just further tax breaks, credits, or loans, but guaranteed worker ownership with environmentalists and consumer representatives on the corporate boards.

A whole new way of thinking is needed to address the fact that Canada is player in the era of globalization. And we ourselves as an Imperialist nation, a national capital competing with other national capitals, does not have a stellar record when it comes to workers, citizens and environmental rights when we dominate another country like Haiti.

The Canadian Ruling Class including the ruling class in Quebec is fractured and divided over its alliances with American capitalism and other competing capitalist nations. If the Left is to address this it needs to be truly internationalist, and needs to offer a worker community based socialist alternative that can work within existing capitalism, to reform and amerliorate its excesses while offering a hope and a vision for the future. Which is what Left Nationalism has not and can never do.


Trilateral Commission

Deep Integration

Origins of the Captialist State In Canada

Time For A Canadian Steel Workers Union

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