Wrong Bull, Wrong Arena

With great respect to Ed Broadbent I‛d like to suggest he waved the red cape in front of the wrong bull when he ventured into the NDP leadership arena on CBC‛s Power and Politics last Thursday.  The real problem was that he was in an old arena, which is not surprising because several of the contestants have been making the same mistake.

Ed is not alone in excoriating those who are attempting to bring the NDP “to the centre”, the mantra being that the country doesn‛t need two Liberal parties and that the NDP must cling to the principles of democratic socialism.  All of which might be true if it had anything to do with what is afoot in the modern realm of government.

I‛m not intending to write a long treatise about this but I do want to get it off my chest.

Away back in 1972 leader David Lewis coined the colourful phrase  “Corporate welfare bums” to describe parasitic corporations that simultaneously were having their taxes cut and receiving grants from the taxpayers.

How things have changed.  Those Corporate bums – bodyless, borderless, faceless – are now the Imperial Elite.  They no longer receive welfare; they extract tribute from us through our governments.  Our governments no longer govern for us, they govern us for this new corporate aristocracy.

In a 1978 book, Pulitzer Prize winning author  Barbara Tuchman drew a picture of 14th century Europe ravaged by competing nobles and princes who cared not at all about the people they ruled other than as a resource to be taxed, sent to war and, if lucrative in terms of both gold and power, sold out.  It was no accident that she called her book A Distant Mirror, foreshadowing what she saw coming over the horizon in the late 20th century and which now, in the 21st, has arrived and consolidated..

In the last two decades the Liberals and Conservative parties  have been transformed into true colonials and whether they root themselves in the centre or in their base matters not a whit to them as long as they achieve power and wield it on behalf of the new imperialist overlords. 

As a consequence, for the NDP, the “centre”, the mysterious entity that so worries Ed, is as irrelevant as are “left”and “right”.  The NDP’s move must be to the people –  to all the people.  As I see it, only a minuscule few of the current leadership candidates are indeed thinking that way — are indeed facing the real bull in the real arena. The two most obvious, to my mind, are Nathan Cullen and Thomas Mulcair — the latter also very worrisome to Ed.

There is no longer a left or a right.  There are imperial corporate powers controlling puppet governments that we are permitted to “elect” using an out of date and possibly corrupted electoral system.

The NDP must no longer simply be the champion of the poor, the elderly, the sick, the blue collar worker, the farmer, the homeless and the disinherited.  The NDP must be the champion of all people who, by equitably pooling talent and resources, want to have equal access to the tools of civilization – which range from food, to roads, to utilities, to hospitals, to education, to cultural activities, and to the security and dignity of jobs and pensions; all of which require protection from the new predatory overlords.  The NDP is needed as much by the lawyer, the banker, the doctor, the executive as by any others who wish to preserve their own and their family‛s humanity, their persons, their country, and the environment.  Leadership hopefuls who don‛t understand this should be discreetly left at the bottom of the ballot.

The operative phrase is “equitable pooling of talent and resources”.  If this means  the new aristocracy must be relieved of the burden of excessive incomes, and the corporate masters they serve must contribute equitably to the peoples‛ good, so be it.  But the old shibboleths of “socialism”, ” right”, “left”, “centre”, even “democracy” itself have been perverted into meaningless slogans and must go.

When our politicians offer solutions I no longer question whether they‛re from the right, left or centre, but look at whom will be benefited..  The people, or corporate masters?  When the Prime Minister says that Canada needs the F35, or the XL pipeline, I know it‛s not Canada that needs them but the war industries and Big Oil.  When elected government spokespeople address us, too often it is not the voice of the people’s representatives that I hear but the lackeys of invisible overlords mindlessly spouting by rote the ideology of those masters.

Barbara Tuchman‛s vision of the 14th Century has returned.  In the middle of that dismal period Wat Tyler led thousands of peasants in revolt and while trying to negotiate in good faith under a flag of truce was betrayed and slain.  The new leader of the NDP, if he/she fully understands the role, will be stepping into the shoes of Wat Tyler – but let‛s hope that, by putting humanity before corporations and by earning the vast support and protection of social media, he/she will lead us all to a happier outcome than did the heroic Wat.  The struggle ahead, however, is much the same.

My hope is pinned on Nathan but I will respectfully doff my hat to whomever the baton is handed. May he or she fare well.

  I expanded on this Liberal/Conservative aberration in a little booklet, The Speech I‛ll Never Give.  The full text now lurks within the bowels of this blog and can be accessed by going to the top of this page, clicking on Books, then scrolling down to the picture of the booklet and clicking on it.  Ditto for the accompanying “fable” – How the NDP Got it‛s Name.

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About Munroe Scott

Munroe Scott is a veteran of the freelance writing world.
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9 Responses to Wrong Bull, Wrong Arena

  1. Munroe,
    I like your point about the feudalization (if that’s not a word, it should be) of society. However, I’m not sure the answer is to move the NDP to the centre so they can play musical chairs with the Cons and Libs who, as you point out in the The Speech You’ll Never Give, are less Bobsey Twins than Tweedledee and Tweedledum. I think there is a closer parallel to today than the 14th C — the early 20th C when government joined big business to bust the unions and created an indentured underclass that served as cannon fodder in WW1, and dissenters were jailed as unpatriotic traitors, and the New York Times helped to drown out the left. What we need now is a Eugene Debs and an Emma Goldman and a New Deal.
    David

    • Munroe Scott says:

      Point well made about the early 20th but you miss my point about the “centre”. I’m trying to say that the NDP has to recognize that its voice is needed by the whole spectrum of people — as in P-E-O-P-L-E — who need to take dominance over corporations. Much broader than “centre”.

  2. Herb Wiseman says:

    Very well said. Profits trump people. Money trumps life. Corporations trump communities!

  3. I agree Munroe. The Left vs Right way of describing politics is not only outdated but does not do justice to the way power plays itself out in Canadian society. It is easy enough to tell the white hats from the black hats now. Just ask the question as you so rightly suggest, “who benefits?” The corporate agenda is well and truly defended by the Harperites, to the diminishment of the citizens of Canada. We are indeed the other 99%.

  4. Bill Piket says:

    I attended a meeting with Mulcair where he was asked a lot of questions. He proposed a range of taxes that would make the corporations start paying a reasonable share, and i think that is precisely what we need right now in Canada, as well as North America and probably elsewhere. It did not seem to me that ‘more centrist’ is a good description of his ideas. Certainly not how he described it. Abandoning some of the old cliches and thinking things out afresh was more like what I heard from him. I have been a party member for fifty years and I am ready for a new look at our program.

    • Herb Wiseman says:

      The problem with this is that the NDP continues to be a tax and spend party with these approaches. Our debt and deficit were not caused by overspending. They were caused by borrowing from the private sector when the people of Canada through the government owns its own bank. It is like owning your own gas station or bookstore and then buying your gas or books from the guy down the street.

  5. Munroe Scott says:

    Hey, Herb, I’m a little confused. I agree with you whole heartedly about our non-use of the Bank of Canada. But are you suggesting the gov’t could simply borrow without taxing? And calling the NDP a “tax and spend” party sounds rather pejorative when, if I may rephrase, the NDP is really for “fair taxation and people-need spending” — a far cry from contemporary gov’t practices.

    • Herb Wiseman says:

      Not sure who wrote back to me. I am saying that we would not need to collect more tax revenues to pay the interest on the debt if we borrowed more from the Bank of Canada rather than from the private sector. The BoC rebates the interest it collects on money it lends to the government minus a small admin fee. When we borrow from the private sector the government still pays interest but it is taxed lightly or not at all. I personally dodge as many taxes as possible because I do not want my tax dollars going to the private investment sector. I want them to go to programmes to protect people and the environment. I was a candidate for the NDP and at the door got the “tax and spend” message all the time. By the early 1990s Canada had borrowed a total of 38 billion dollars since confederation. At that time our debt had grown to approx. 600 billion because of compund interest. Borrowing from the BoC eliminates or at least drastically reduces compound interest.

      • Munroe Scott says:

        Herb, I replied. Did it not come through that way? (I’m still trying to master my own blog.) Thanks for clarifying. As you know, I’ve always sympathized with your concerns about Canada having given so much of the Bank of Canada’s function over to corporate banks.

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