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Sunday, May 15, 2011

The corporate media's class-based agenda

I thought about a stronger title for this post, but that might have required a nasty loaded word like, oh ... "bias."

Anyhow, this isn't intended to be a factual statement, but off the top of your heads, can anyone recall a story about the NDP over the past week that wasn't all about Ruth Ellen Brosseau? This is the Official Opposition, with more than 100 Members of Parliament, mind.

Now contrast that with the time and space devoted to the inner mechanics, machinations, skullduggery and drama associated with the Liberal Party's attempts to select a new leader – as if a new face is all that's needed. This is a third party, just in case anyone's forgotten.

Canadian progressive types need to take a strategic approach and pick their battles. If you're genuinely committed to civil liberties, to an egalitarian society, to equal rights for women, for minorities, for our LGBT brothers and sisters, then you need to figure out where your time and energy are best used. Here's a small taste of what we're facing:

No one sums it up quite like Montreal Simon, so I'll leave off the details for now. But back to that time and energy thing: do you really want to devote yours to the Liberal Party of Canada, especially in its current state? If the past is any indication, even the best-intentioned activism is going to be consumed, absorbed and at the end of the day, there won't be any payoff. With a hybrid beast that tries to be all things to all people – posing as the friend of the average Canadian while trying to keep Bay Street and the Ottawa Villagers happy – the best we can hope for is a slow, indirect process of compromise and incrementalism.

Fuck that. We're going to be under a sustained assault on multiple fronts. Everything progressives have worked for since the New Deal is in the crosshairs of people who want to roll us back to the Great Depression, or the Gilded Age of the robber barons, or the Industrial Revolution, or even the feudal system. If there's been anything about that in the corporate media, I must have blinked and missed it.

Maybe it's just me, but in light of that, perhaps those of you expending your time and energy worrying about whether the Liberal Party of Canada is following its own internal constitution might want to look at the bigger picture. As Shiny ObjectsTM  go, it's pretty lame.

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  1. The only one that immediately springs to mind is one I read (yesterday, I think, but it may have been this morning) about the overturning of another riding's election result in Quebec. A hundred seats mistakenly counted for Green and not NDP, fixed and lo and behold the Conservatives lose a seat.

    But they really are fixating on Ms. Brosseau, aren't they? It almost makes me hope that Jack will raise her up and hand her some position in the opposition's cabinet. Anti-Ministrix for Culture, perhaps?

    (Ministress? Minister? For some reason I'm just not sure which is right... Sunday afternoons my brain takes off)

  2. As a note, I used to be a Liberal when Dion was leader of the party. At the time I actually quite liked how the party was seemingly moving towards the adoption of 'green capitalism' as its economic formula to rectifying the problem of the externalization of costs on the part of business. Dion's Green Liberalism actually meant something concrete. Both for alleviating social inequality, even if marginally, as well as attempting to begin doing something about the seemingly inevitable environmental disasters to be caused by global climate change.

    Liberals don't seem to want to admit it, but all the talk of 'centrism' was merely a form of triangulation aimed at bringing support in from the capitalist class during the 1990s. What it really did was focus political power in the party around 'business Liberals' such as Paul Martin; or the aforementioned John Manley, who predictably is now suggesting that 'reforms' need to be made to Medicare in the country. The Liberals made their bedfellows with capital and now seem intent on learning nothing from the results of that relationship, particularly on the public image of the party.

    I gave up on the Liberals here in Manitoba pretty much because while there's a lot of good-minded progressive people in the grassroots, you can be sure that the 'diadochi' in Toronto fighting over the scraps are more interested in who'll be the figurative successor to the party's Alexanders. The NDP/CCF on the other hand has been a progressive force keeping the Liberals from falling into their elite habits since the 1940s. So why not just go with the genuine article, rather then having to face the ideological contradictions of the Liberal Party of Canada?