Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Corbyn, Sanders and the Electorate's Move to the NDP

The stunning landslide victory of leftist Labourite Jeremy Corbyn over his Blairist rivals is part of a larger global phenomenon. It is the same thing propelling US pseudo-socialist Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders' surprisingly robust campaign for the Democratic nomination against the militarist-corporate Hillary Clinton. It is the same thing that saw a left-wing coalition elected in Greece (only to be betrayed, it seems, by what appears to be excessive pragmatism). It is the same thing that saw millions of Canadian voters turn to the NDP in the last federal election.

It's testimony to the failures of neo-liberalism. Centrist politicians are buckling everywhere. Even the US "Tea Party" in their own blinkered way, are rebelling against their Repugnican Party's traditional leadership. The grassroots of the party appears taken by billionaire buffoon Donald Trump who has called for abandoning free trade and returning manufacturing to (white) American workers. It appears that the right-wing base, in the USA, in Canada, in the UK, while perfectly happy to blame racialized minorities and homosexuals and the poorest of the poor for their problems, are also deeply angry and in revolt against the banks, the corporations and the neo-liberal managers in general.

Right-wing populism, left-wing analysis, both are opposed to the neo-liberal consensus. Because it failed. It's like I said over six years ago; We did everything they asked and we only got continued and deepening poverty and economic chaos:
Remember that people. And grasp the significance of it. They created gigantic debts and caused enormous suffering with their monetarist, anti-inflation recessions. And inflation was under control (on their terms). We signed free trade deal after free trade deal, making it easier for manufacturing to relocate to where labour was cheaper (due to democracy being necessarily weaker), regulations were lighter, taxes were lower. The labour movement (both in Canada and the USA) is a tamed beast. We've surrendered job security, pay increases, all to be more efficient and competitive and flexible. The wealthy, the "wealth creators" according to the fiction, and the corporations (other sources of dynamic job creation) have received enormous tax-cuts over the years. We've privatized many public services, reduced many others, and social programs have been re-tooled to encourage scrambling after any shitty job that comes along.
Look, we did all these things and we were promised economic prosperity. These promises were later downgraded to "relative economic stability."
And what did we get? Come on, really, what did we get? We find ourself in the greatest economic crisis since the 1930s. Not "NOT relative economic stability." Not a bump in the road. But total massive failure.
It remains to be seen how many deluded saps will continue to vote for the harpers, the Trumps, the Fords, the racist, xenophobic, cynical, hypocrites of the right-wing.

It remains to be seen how many silent centrists are out there. People who will cling Liberal or Democrat no matter how many times their progressive promises get tossed into the memory-hole after election.

But the NDP itself is showing signs of embracing the cynical centrism of the Liberal Party. I've long believed that the NDP has been staffed by an ossified, contaminated bunch of time-serving mediocrities. They routinely paid only lip-service to the leftist values of the party's base. This brain-trust was so busy reading corporate news opinions and analysis, so busy consulting with pollsters, so obsessed with the votes of the mainstream, that they "formed a picture" in their heads as to what was necessary to win elections and this (in their minds) consisted of aping the Liberals as much as possible.

The horrible reality we have now is that these people have interpreted the massive voter shift to the NDP (as a result of the failure of the same Liberal mindset that they wish to emulate) as a vindication of the right-ward slant of the NDP ever since Jack Layton took it over. They're going to piss it all away by stupidly trying to give Canadian voters what they already rejected from the Liberals.

No matter how much neo-liberal economists want to ignore it; manufacturing jobs have been lost. Public sector jobs are shrinking. Tuitions and debt levels have exploded. Housing prices have skyrocketed. Wages are stagnant. Employment is increasingly precarious for more and more people. And everything is committed to satisfying the gargantuan appetites of a financial sector that that is based on massive public subsidies and corruption.

More and more people are hurting. ("Losers" in the sensitive parlance of neo-liberal propagandists.) And people are going to fight back. No matter how often they're smacked down. They have no choice. Just like our First Nations activists and the Palestinians. Regardless of the odds, people will have no choice but to resist. Anyway they know how.


Purple library guy said...

I agree with almost all of this . . . except the bit about Layton being the one who pulled the party to the right. Near as I can figure it was already there at the time; if anything he stopped the rightward slide. Seems to me it happened kind of while nobody was looking, which is to say while Audrey McLaughlin and/or Alexa McDonough were in charge.
Come to that, even Ed Broadbent's tenure wasn't so rosy as we sometimes remember it. Honest Ed was great in many ways, but I seem to recall that under him the NDP failed to solidly oppose the original Canada-US Free Trade deal, and I believe he helped kick out the Waffle. NDP's been drifting a long time . . .

thwap said...


I guess it's kinda like "Murder on the Orient Express" in that they all did it.

zoombats said...

I think that booting Abbot to the curb side seems to fit into the shift.

thwap said...

Yeah. Apparently the guy they replaced him with proposes a carbon tax and approves of gay marriages.

He's not a cromagnon anyway. (Apologies to Cromagnons.)