Monday, September 26, 2011

On Lawlessness. . . .

So the NDP wants the RCMP to investigate Tony Clement for his obvious influence peddling on the G20 file.

And while they are wishing for that why don't they wish for us all to live in a land where everyone is fairies and elves and it rains candy all the time?

Here is the reality, and anyone who dosen't see it is blindly partisan - we live in a country in which the government is lawless - in the sense that it only obeys those laws it sees fit to obey and it has taken complete control of our national police force the same way that third-world dictatorships control their national police. We would NEVER see a RCMP indictment of a Conservative Government official unless the government, for some reason, wanted it to happen. We could have irrefutable proof of John Baird murdering someone with thousands of witnesses and if Harper didn't want him prosecuted he would walk.
The only entertainment is the rich narrative irony of an entirely lawless government instituting a "tough on crime agenda." Wow, that's rich.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Future or no?

The fact that Harper, Obama, and Netanyahu have made it clear that they will not recognize a Palestinian State finally makes it clear that the real barrier to peace in the Middle East is Israel and its allies. Despite telling the world for so many years how important it is for everyone in the world to recognize the people and state of Israel, they have now made it clear to the world that they do not recognize the Palestinians as a people with an inherent right to exist. What they dread most is the idea of putting the people of Palestine on a rightful legal footing that would make them equal with other people around the world, and equal with Israelis in particular. As long as the Palestinians are stateless people, the Israeli governments can continue to chip away at them, stealing their land until there is not enough left of Palestine to make it a viable state. It is transparent now that this is, and has always been, the goal. The Government of Israel does not want peace, they want the land, pure and simple.

Peace can only ever be achieved when the people of Palestine have a viable state of their own that is large enough to give them a possibility of a prosperous future. Without this, there will never be peace; it is not complicated. There are other things that would need to happen but without this, nothing else matters. It is always easy to see if a state wants peace - just ask yourself if that state is willing to recognize that others should enjoy the same basic rights as they do, and whether they are willing to make those with whom they are struggling real stake-holders in a better, brighter, and most of all equitable future. The fact that Canada, the US, and Israel are not willing to recognize a free and independent Palestine answers these questions loud and clear!

Friday, September 16, 2011

The Brewing Revolution. . . . .

If history is any indication of future events I suspect that Europe is headed toward revolution.

In the years leading up to the French Revolution, as France inched toward bankruptcy, one of the few growth industries was found in the luxury carriage market. It seems that while much of the country was slowly starving to death and the government of Louis IX was nearing financial ruin, the rich in France were buying ever larger and more luxurious carriages and each aristocrat tried to out do their peers with more elaborate and expensive models. The rich of France were largely oblivious to the growing storm and would universally claim that the peasantry and the working-class were enjoying the most that the system could afford and that they were lucky to have what they did. Meanwhile the rich were richer than ever and being transported in the most elaborate carriages you could imagine. Sound familiar?

Today the international car show in Frankfort opened. In spite of the looming crisis in Europe, and the ever more difficult position in which the working people of Europe (and elsewhere) find themselves, the luxury car market has never been better. Porsche, Ferrari,  Maserati, Lamborghini, Jaguar, and other luxury makers are all introducing more expensive and elaborate models and all are enjoying growth in sales and expecting sales to increase by up to 20% this year.

How'about this 1.7 Million Dollar Bugatti

Remember chapter seven of Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities in which the carriage of the aristocrat Monseigneur runs over a peasant boy and then he throws a couple of coins in the street at the lad's father as compensation for having taken the boy's life?

The rich are getting richer, the poor are getting poorer, and the rightwing is telling us that the workers are lucky to have what they have and the system can't afford decent wages and pensions for most people. Meanwhile the new horseless carriages are getting more and more expensive.

Trouble is coming, and when workers start chopping off the heads of the rich, they shouldn't say they haven't been warned. History has been warning them all along.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Whither the NDP?

Is it just me or do Liberals keep giving recommendations to the NDP that amount to little more than telling the NDP to become Liberals?

Having seen what happened to the Labour Party after Tony Blair and what they did to the UK, my recommendation is to continue to be the NDP and not abandon its principles. After all, there are already two national parties that have no principles we don't really need another.

Do You Want Freedom-Fries with that???

So new statistics demonstrate what we on the left have been saying for years now - while countries like the United States have more wealth than they have ever had before, poverty is getting worse every year. Nearly fifty million Americans are now living below the poverty line and nearly half of Americans are struggling just to survive.

These statistic blow the prevailing rightwing ideology out of the water. They keep telling us that we can't afford decent pensions, we can't afford to keep the elderly out of poverty, we can't afford for working people to have a decent life. But it is all a lie. The Western countries have never had so much wealth and corporations have never made so many billions, but fifty million people in the world's largest economy live in poverty. This makes it very clear that it is not the shiftless, lazy, indulgent working-class who are the problem - the problem is a system in which there is unprecedented wealth in the hands of a small percentage of the people.

For more than twenty years we on the left have been saying that the so-called neo-liberal policies would lead to more poverty and a greater inequality of wealth, many people have bought the rightwing line that we just can't afford to have working people have a good life. Let's make it clear, and shout it from the rooftops, Western governments are going bankrupt at a time of unprecedented wealth not because the working people are shiftless and lazy and have an unrealistic sense of entitlement - but because the greed of the rich has reached unprecedented levels. The rightwing claims are now clearly false.

When countries with hundreds of billionaires and thousands upon thousands of millionaires watches while half their population can barely get by - something is wrong with the system! Four Hundred families in the US own nearly half the wealth.

More hard times are coming for Canada and the rightwing policies of our government will make it much worse. If you want to live like so-called third-world nations have done for so long, keep supporting rightwing policies and the career of you children will consist of little more than delivering pizzas and serving french-fries.

Friday, September 9, 2011

A Couple of Thoughts on the Ontario Election. . . . .

I am always closer to the NDP in every election in this country. In fact, my criticism of the NDP more often than not, and when I do have them, stem from the Party not being leftwing enough. Given that fact, I must say that there seems to be a fair amount to be critical about concerning the leadership of Horwath's leadership of the Ontario NDP. The Provincial Party's record on the Environment and their failure to address pressing education issues in their platform should be a serious concern for any traditional NDP supporter. And I am certainly not the only one to bring this up; a number of long-time NDP supporters and activists are beginning to has voice their concern.

When she became the Provincial NDP leaders we were all aware that Horwath was not on the most progressive side of the Party. However, given the rather sad record of the Ontario Liberals on many issues there are still good reasons to vote NDP, particularly in riding where they have a real chance. However, I would love to see some genuine discussion among NDP supporters concerning the issues at hand here. The rather disastrous record of Bob Rae's government is perhaps too fresh in people's minds to give todays NDP a real chance at government. But Rae is now in the Liberal Party where he belongs and we have to ask ourselves, at a time when the Provincial Liberals have done so poorly and the Conservative Party is coming off the rails due to genuine crazies in its leadership, why are the NDP not a more credible alternative?

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Why Are There Union-Bashing Bloggers on the NDP Blogging Site????

So the question that comes to mind this morning is why do we still see, even in the ranks of the New Democrats on line, claims such as the problems in our economy are "the stinking unions" ???!!!!

Now beside the fact that the person who posted this, and you all surely know who that is, constantly bombards the New Democrats Online site with racist tinged attacks on Islam, we now have blinkered, ignorant union-bashing on a site that is supposed express NDP sympathies.

Of course if you think, like our dear blogger seems to believe (along with Tory ideology) that a 'good' economy is a low-wage system of underemployment where workers have no rights or pensions for that matter, then yes, unions are a bad thing. But let's put paid to one blatant piece of misinformation once and for all. It is totally counterfactual that unions had anything to do with the decline in the North American auto manufacturing. First of all, this decline is in large part a result of a complex, multi-faceted process of globalization, the motivation for which has been to increase corporate wealth regardless of the impact on workers and the environment. But it should be obvious to any vaguely conscious observer that the decline of the so-called 'big-three' has had nothing to do with unionization. Simply look at this simple fact - while many non-unionized car makers (such as Honda and Toyota) were systematically gaining market share, their cars were demonstrably more expensive than the North American cars of the same class. This means that North American car dealers were producing a less expensive product even with a unionized workforce. We must, therefore rationally conclude that their decline has been a result not of unionization but of other factors. This is a fact that rightwingers and the media have simply ignored in their all out effort to undermine unions in North America.

The fact is, if you are familiar with the long waves of capitalist development (and one needn't be an expert in the work of Nikolai Kontratiev to understand these things), one understands that not only are unions good for people, they are actually good for capitalism in the long run. This is because without unions capitalism will revert to its maximum level of exploitation, eventually resulting in revolution and collapse. Men like FDR understood this very well and knew that labor and welfare reforms were actually a life-line to declining capitalism. Of course since FDR's time, things have changed because globalization has allowed capitalists to pit one country against another and workers against workers. But in the long run (as the global economic crisis suggests) globalization will suffer the same kinds of pressures and difficulties that national capitalism once did. Workers will realize that only by protecting themselves against the worst exploits of capital will they enhance their lives and when real threat of revolution comes along, capitalists will realize that the economic system that they advocate is a dangerous cancer which eats itself alive and they will attempt to control it to avoid disaster.

Meanwhile, fools like the blogger about whom we began our discourse, will blithely blame unions for every ill of society all the while enjoying all the rights, privileges, and luxuries that unions and union activists actually brought to him.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

One Person One Vote, Unions, the NDP, Democracy, And Capitalism. . . .

Unions suffer from the same drawbacks from which all institutions suffer. The two most notable of these in my mind are a) they too often stray from their ideals and b) the people who should not have power are more often than not the very same people who seek it. But these problems are, as I said, not unique to unions but are common to all institutions. What I find amazing is that despite the fact most of the rights and privileges which we enjoy from universal suffrage to universal health-care to public pensions are a direct results of unions or union activists, people still spend an inordinate amount of energy attacking unions. Huge, multi-national corporations rape and pillage the environment, undermine democracy and destroy many of our basic rights but people reserve more vitriol and anger for unions than for almost any institution. This just demonstrates that the rightwing has been remarkably successful at doing their job of making it a better world for corporations and a worse one for average people.

In recent days people have begun to discuss the issue of the union role in the NDP. It is inevitably that this subject would rise to the top in a country so dominated by rightwing media. Any method available to discredit the left will be at the top of the media agenda. What is particularly interesting about this issue as presented in the media and by many bloggers is the way they attempt to indignantly chastise anyone who is not actively pursuing the so-called principle of "one person, one vote." What makes this so ironic is that so many rightwingers, as well as Liberals who have so actively pursued a corporate agenda, don't believe in democracy at all. Oh, they will of course pay active lip service to the principles of democracy, but their support will always fall short when it comes to democracy in the economy or democracy in the workplace. Their basic model of society is the corporation - a fundamentally undemocratic institution which has, for generations made every attempt to undermine rights, privileges and protections for the majority of workers. The rightwing in fact prides itself in many instances on its relations with corporate history, and it does everything it can to discredit democracy and alienate people from the process, but when it comes to a left-wing political party suddenly the rightwing is all for the principles of democracy. Another funny thing is that people often condemn leftwing parties by admitting that the rich and corporations have a great deal of de facto power in rightwing parties but suggest that this is equivalent to union power on the left. The irony of this that no one talks about is the fact that unions are non-profit, democratic organizations the primary purpose of which is to protect people's rights.

There is a direct relationship between the gradual decline in union membership in Western countries and the stagnation of wages and the incredible increases in wealth of society's richest members. In other words, it is empirically demonstrable that as unions die out so does equality, people's wealth, social justice, and . . . yes, democracy. Attacking union influence in a party like the NDP is an easy target. This is because Liberals and the rightwing have convinced people that somehow if we all abide by the principle of 'one person, one vote,' we will actually have democracy. But this is, of course, complete hogwash. We live in a society in which the institutions of the rich have de facto controlled what people think, what they believe is possible, and what they believe is right. The rightwing and the corporations have remarkable institutional power in this society in the legal institutions, the media, and the political system. One person one vote is entirely meaningless in a system in which is already weighted in favor of the rich. The proof of this is that one would have to be hopelessly blind to not see that our democracy is slowly being robbed of meaning and shriveling on the vine of principle. The fact is that you can take away the influence of unions in the NDP or not, as you please; it makes little difference really. You have already been robbed of your democracy and you are slowly being robbed of your wealth and your rights anyway. Every year fewer people vote for the simple reason that the agenda is preset anyway. While the World Bank, for example, promoted so-called "good governance" in the 'third-world" they simultaneously told those countries what policies that "had" to follow. Meanwhile, in the West real wages have stagnated for a generation while the wealth of the richest has exponentially increased. As good, fulltime jobs disappear, and this country begins to look more and more like a banana republic, any rational, principled person must surely conclude that democracy is a failure. Those with the money are calling the tune regardless of what people think they can do with their civic activism.

One person one vote? Sure, why not. It makes no difference in a society in which democracy means so little anyway.