I was watching The Agenda with Steve Pakin on TVO this evening (always an interesting program) while sewing a large shiny heart on my daughter's shirt (a father's work is never done), when I was struck by a conversation that Mr. Pakin was having with a number of Liberal Party strategists. It was mostly the same old nonsense about "how does the Liberal Party bring itself back to relevance," and once again it was remarkable the degree to which many Liberals really aren't facing what is happening.
Now, this much I understand - anyone, regardless of his or her political stripes, would have to be largely brain-dead not to understand that the Harpercon approach to our economic future is custom-made disaster for the majority of people in this country. As I, and many more acute commentators, have demonstrated, the Harpercon economic plan is intended to turn Canada into a third-world nation dependent largely on resource exports and the profit of large, foreign multi-nationals. This is where they are taking us - it is just a simple fact.
There are, I believe, many Liberals who don't want to go down that path. However, the real fact is that the Liberal Party set the groundwork for the Harpercon approach to our economic future.
As I listened to the Liberal strategists I realized that the real problem is that most Liberals (and even many NDP members for that matter) simply fail to realize that capitalism as an economic and social system is deep in crisis. And I am not talking here simply about the so-called 'credit' crisis, or the banking difficulties in Europe. The real crisis is that corporations and financial institutions have simply become too powerful and as a result of their mindless ideological impulses they are destroying the very thing that made capitalism work in the West during the long post-war boom. It was the gradual redistribution of wealth, greater levels of social and economic equality, more social responsibility overall, and checks on the power of large corporations that allowed the long post-war boom to translate into real economic success. (It should be said that there was an element of global exploitation at stake too, but I believe that the model could still work without such exploitation.) Unjust tax policies and large corporate give-aways are simply creating a situation in which large corporations are killing the principles that created the middle-class and more generalized prosperity.
These are the facts that most Liberals seem to overlook. Unless a political party begins to face up to these problems and look for solutions to the growing social and economic inequalities and the growing power of corporatism that is leading to the decline, that party might as well give up now because it will simply be a vague carbon copy of the Conservative Party. I have still to hear a single Liberal Party member talk about this basic problem. Instead they are essentially burying their heads in the sands and imagining that they can simply tweak their policies a bit and then get elected again. But even if the Harper Conservatives were to go down in a big way and the Liberals were to come up the middle and gain power again - that power would mean very little just as the victory of "New Labour" or of Obama meant almost nothing in the long run. Income inequality in Britain got significantly worse under Blair and it is not improving under Obama.
Liberals (and NDP supporters) have to face up to the fact that the option is to seriously challenge global corporatism or to continue down the hole of economic disaster.