Thursday, June 21, 2012

Look for Solutions to the Real crisis or continue in Irrelevance. . ..

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.


Anonymous said...

Start the discussion with the following line...

"the ####### Party of Canada - totally and unequivocally condemns torture and will not be a party to it." Full stop - no weasel clauses.

"The ####### Party of Canada believes in the rule of law and will ammend/update/replace such statutes that prevent equal treatment. Appointees that prevent such equal treatment will be replaced as identified. Political affiliation is not a stay out of jail free card."

Come up with those two planks in the platform and you have my $5.00 and my support. Begin by going after the corruption, and separate from the Cons on a truly moral and ethical line.

Bemused Lurker

thwap said...

Yeah, the people at Monthly Review have some good articles about how "financialization" is the inevitable capitalist response to the declining rate of profit and that attacking it just means going back to failed industrial capitalism to repeat the process.

An economic system based on ecology and human rights is what's needed.

kirbycairo said...

Yes thwap, it is a grand effort to take us back to the 19th century so that capitalists can increase rates of profit. The difference is that large enterprises are now significantly more dependent upon the vagaries of the stock market. At least in the past many enterprises could be satisfied with lower 'rates' of profits as long as there was a profit to maintain the owners and maybe a small number of investors. Now the stock market demands ever higher rates of profit and no one knows how to respond to the structural imperative.

Either political parties will begin to respond to this problem with creative solutions or capitalist is headed for a crisis which will lead to extremism of either the fascist or the Stalinist type.

Steve said...

Well said. Lets be a combo of Sweden and Australia. Stop giving away our resouces at one end and letting them overcharge us at the other.

Steve said...

Well said. Lets be a combo of Sweden and Australia. Stop giving away our resouces at one end and letting them overcharge us at the other.

Owen Gray said...

An accurate clear eyed assessment of what is happening in Canada and what the Liberal Party has done to contribute to the situation.

More of the same will lead to disaster -- for Canada and the Liberals.

Anonymous said...

Time to march on Ottawa I live 3500km away if I start now I'll be there in about 100 days care anyone care to join............

The Mound of Sound said...

The Libs, KC, have consigned themselves to irrelevance. They avoid speaking to Canadians about the immediate and looming issues that confront us. First and foremost is inequality - of wealth, income and opportunity. The Libs want their old job back. Too bad. It's already filled. Nobody wants the old Libs back except, perhaps, old Libs. They either have to get off their centre-right perch, re-invent themselves, present meaningful, realistic and effective policy alternatives or just stay in the gutter where they belong.

Anonymous said...

"while sewing a large shiny heart on my daughter's shirt (a father's work is never done)"

kirby, are a you guy?


kirbycairo said...

Dear Fruity

Does it make a difference?

Anonymous said...

no, not at all!
I just always assumed you were a chick
I guess the name 'kirby' sounds a bit feminine!

kirbycairo said...

Well, I certainly not a small, flightless bird - I am mammalian in nature.

As for the name, yes it is just as often a girl's name as it is a boy's. I have met two girls with the name and two boys.

There was a female character on the soap-opera Dynasty named Kirby and this gave the name a resurgence among girls. But there was also a Hall of Fame center-fielder named Kirby Puckett who played for the Minnesota Twins in the 80s and 90s which made it a popular name for boys for a while, particularly among African Americans.

Anyway, the epithet "feminine" doesn't bother me.

Anonymous said...

wasn't meant as an epithet, kirby
more of a description

please dont feel offended, if you do

for the record, I am a girl!


p.s. I also think I was influenced, subconsciously, by the picture of the little girl on the front page. I just thought 'female' without really thinking about it!

kirbycairo said...

No offence taken Fruity -

In fact I take it as a compliment. Given the men in suits who rule our political culture I have no wish to be associated with them and if my opinions can be taken as those of a woman in the face of the systemic sexism in our society, then I must be doing something right and not simply expressing the standard 'male-dominated' options of our culture.

Thus, no offence is taken and thank you for reading.

P.S. The picture is my daughter Cairo, a cute and cuddly, crazy girl who is another reason I hope to always oppose the sexism of our culture.

Anonymous said...

well kirby, your blog was the first and will probably be the last blog I read. I discovered it when searching 'Harper narcissism' and you had a wonderful and insightful essay on the subject!

lately I have been perusing other blogs, but find myself disenchanted. too often bloggers are more interested in promoting *themselves* (as internet superstars) than the actual message. you however seem to actually put the message first, and ego second, if at all. I really really love that about you!


kirbycairo said...

Thank you for the compliments Fruity, (though I am sure that I don't deserve them).

I understand getting disheartened with some blogs, but there are some good ones out there and I depend on a number of great bloggers to bring me alternative news.

I blog in part just so that I have an outlet for opinions that are very marginalized in today's atmosphere. Sometimes when I listen to Harper and his ilk I feel like I might explode if I didn't have an outlet.