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The calamitous B.C. May election is over. A full-scale, grass-roots eruption should have taken place – with the whole province watching as the NDP Top Twenty were publicly disgraced, disowned, discarded, dismissed ... booted out. That should have been followed by new policies based on face to face confrontation: anti-neoliberal militancy, planetary environmentalism, fundamental tax revision, dogged pursuit of Campbellclark lawlessness, major policies of re-regulation and provincial ownership through Crown Corporations.
But the purring, NDP corporate collaborationists remain. The NDP faithful sigh wearily, helplessly. The completely useless NDP MLA’s preen themselves, and The Party goes on as it will go on … into the oblivion of a Party that becomes indistinguishable from the government it pretends to oppose but in fact collaborates with in the service of neo-liberal larceny and the destruction of democratic freedoms.
Environmental catastrophe is on the doorstep. [The NDP refused offered cooperation by the B.C. Greens, guaranteeing a Liberal victory. Of course.] Corporate criminality grows before our eyes. Fake accounting becomes the rule of the B.C. Liberals as unnecessary deficits balloon. Attacks on working people by federal and provincial powers increase insidiously. And no public force that must be heard confronts the lying propaganda of neo-liberalism – until it is becoming the full-blown ‘false consciousness’ of ordinary British Columbians.
British Columbia is cursed in its New Democratic Party. But ‘left’ ? (Social Democratic) parties have been collapsing into their apparent neoliberal rivals all over the Western World. The examples are everywhere. In Britain, Tony Blair’s “third option” plummeted British Labour and the country into what many believe was fraudulent, expensive, criminal participation in the war against Iraq and collaboration with the insane U.S. “War on Terror”. The present Labour Party of Ed Miliband is playing with ideas of “Blue Labour”, another name for collaboration. The list goes on … and on.
Why is it happening? And what is the solution? At a time of genuine crisis in the environment, of unchecked military excess, of corporate pressure to erase democratic freedoms (with government collusion), of an almost volcanic misuse of financial instruments at home and worldwide so that the planet trembles on the edge of climate disaster and fiscal meltdown – why have the so-called ‘conscience parties’ either disappeared or joined (in whatever clandestine manner) the Party of Thugs, Thieves, and Deceivers?
The answer may be in history. And the solution may be there, too.
Some people forget the role of the Soviet Union and the Russian Revolution from 1917 to 1989. (Consideration of injustice, brutality, and terror in the Soviet Union is irrelevant to the point being made here – a simple point.)
In fact and in action the Soviet Union offered an alternative to Western, dominantly U.S. capitalism. The gigantic propaganda program to erase that fact has been mostly successful. But in the simplest historical terms, developing and emerging countries – as well as established ones - were offered support from the “Socialist” Soviet Union.
The U.S. spent trillions of dollars in those decades to out-woo, to out-manoeuvre, to out-militarize the Soviet Union. And, finally, it did. But all through more than seventy years the other option, the Socialist option, was present in the world.
It was a real card governments could play in negotiations with capitalist forces and, especially, with the U.S.A. If the capitalist forces wouldn’t grant reasonable lives to the population, there were always … the socialist forces … waiting.
Communist parties, Socialist parties, Social Democratic parties – even Liberal and Conservative parties (in Canada, as elsewhere) pushed for – and attained – significant advances in standard of living and lifetime security for others than those we now name the ‘corporate fascists’, ‘the one per cent’, ‘the neoliberals’.
Of course John Diefenbaker believed passionately in the right of First Nations people to vote – and gave them that right. Of course, Lester B. Pearson really believed in universal medicare for the Canadian people – and made it happen. The first was a Progressive Conservative, the second a Liberal. (Stephen Harper, neoliberal, we may say with confidence, believes in neither of those things.) The changes happened without an NDP government in power in Ottawa. But they happened with a CCF/NDP present – and behind it in the distance a major world power which called itself the child of Karl Marx and his scalpel-sharp exposure of the evils of Capitalism.
The atmosphere after the Russian Revolution was of a potential for change and a potential for a better world for all humankind. The sordid brutalities embarked upon by the Soviet Union, the sordid banalities and brutalities of the competition between Capitalism [‘the free world’] and Communism [‘Soviet totalitarianism’] scarred the earth. But they did not prevent the fact of alternatives being alive and present. Indeed, when the Berlin Wall came down and the Soviet Empire collapsed the world became a dangerous Capitalist monolith.
So much so, that – of all people – Prince Charles remarked that perhaps the change was not for the best. He suggested that the balance of forces that had existed was probably, overall, a good thing. No one, I think, believes Prince Charles is a closet radical.
The Capitalist Monolith has grown unchecked. “Communist” China decided to out-compete the Capitalist West on its own terms and has very early become a “mature” Capitalist power, as “Western” Capitalism is now a “mature” Capitalist power. The “mature” condition of Capitalism is simply Capitalism which has manoeuvred to the point that it dominates governments, is more powerful than law, and considers human beings dispensable (throw-away) objects. [See Dahka, Bangladesh.]
The basic difference between the Soviet Empire and the new Chinese Empire is that the first was based on a philosophy antagonistic to Capitalism and to the capitalist ownership of the means of production. The second is founded on the fullest development and celebration of Capitalist methods – so much so that the most powerful people in the Chinese government are recorded to have acquired fantastic personal wealth. (Their close collaboration with Zimbabwe’s brutal Robert Mugabe in diamond extraction, for instance, helps to guarantee life expectancy there at 37 years for men and 34 years for women.)
So China didn’t replace Soviet Russia as the power that balances the Capitalist West. There is no country in the world that serves that purpose.
In a nutshell, that explains the B.C. NDP. Pummelled by vicious global neoliberalism, pummelled by the sold-out Mainstream Press and Media, pummelled by the Harper neoliberals, pummelled by B.C. corporate fascism, pummelled by U.S. corporate interests and the U.S. government’s drive for planetary dominance, pummelled by the successful buy-offs of the B.C. neoLiberal government, and pummelled by the propaganda to the effect that any government action that even suggests “socialism” is evil – the B.C. NDP has joined the B.C. Liberal Party in fact – though not in name.
That leaves the task of building a real political alternative in B.C. to the people of British Columbia. The task involves a kind of simple, people’s heroism.
The people of British Columbia have no option but to build a new political force that wins government in British Columbia.
How might that come about? Failing the appearance of one or some galvanizing, magnetic, honest, people who inspire confidence and manage the rare historic magic of rapid organization and solidarity, a program less speedy must take place.
And it perhaps arises out of the movement in the last months for Independent Candidates. The idea fixed in my mind after a conversation with Susan Heyes. She pointed out that the slogan for the idea is in its initials. IC : I see! I see what has been going on, and I demand change.
There are already social/political/activist/workplace/ community groups of all sorts alive and well and operating in the province. They might decide to be centres for creation of Independent Candidates – without, at the beginning, special extra meetings and organization. A starting point …. Or any small group in a constituency might decide to launch - from a kitchen, a library room, a church basement, a community hall, a workplace lunchroom - an Independent Candidacy with a fundamental platform. We know what some of the planks would be. But each constituency group would lay out its platform priorities – which would (I suspect) turn out to be amazingly similar across the province.
Each constituency organization (or organizations) would name their Independent Candidate who would be the voice of the IC movement in that constituency. When a number of Independent Candidates were named, a provincial round table could be held to fashion some ground rules for alliance... and for further meetings. [Candidates would likely announce willingness to ally with any other group wanting genuine change. And they might announce on-going activist events to challenge present evils … and to grow support.]
The Independent Candidacy movement would make its rules and patterns. Would all Independent Candidates agree on an across-the-board fundamental platform? Or would they decide to get into the legislature and negotiate on some issues there? Would they allow a central organizing committee, or would they jealously guard the breakdown of Insider Group, non-representative dominators who exist now in the B.C. Liberal and New Democratic parties?
The field is wide open and the possibilities are exciting and liberating. First Nations candidates might flourish. I suspect that – as the Independent Candidacy movement grew, both NDP and present Liberal “voters” and members would find themselves drawn to its honesty, its grass roots reality, its offer of genuine alternatives to present corruption, its participatory life, its presentation of hope.
Such a peoples’ political creation could well grow and grow far outside the borders of British Columbia. B.C. would become known in the world as the place where democracy was renewed and where corporate fascism met its first real challenge ... and the beginning of its defeat. If that could be the result, then British Columbians could celebrate the almost incredible ossification, paralysis, impotence, political sell-out and intellectual poverty of a B.C. NDP that went into the May 14, 2013 provincial election ... and came out of it virtually unchanged.
Written by Robin Mathews
("The Obvious Solution Party".....The ideas are there, perhaps a party name should represent actions of atonement that need to be taken, titles like Conservative, Liberal, or of a colour like Green, these names to me are exclusionary, Conservative implying saving or preserving, moderate in tone, those traits are opposite to North America`s and Britain`s Conservative powers, Liberal implying openness, acceptance, non-secular yet Liberal policies are nothing more than a softer shade of gray, and Green, images of community gardens and hand-knitted wool clothing, as a party the Greens have never presented a program based in reality, they never had to, their expectations have never been powering Governments, merely platitudes, as noble as they may be, control, power or permission to lead comes with having to present a realistic option, an option that answers all, or at least most of the questions, here in BC the Green party presented no budget, no three year forecast, and, a corporate media allowed them free passage, that free passage was allowed as it helped elect the corporate BC Liberals.
The NDP, The New Democratic Party, maybe they need a change of name, the party isn`t new, Democracy isn`t new, Democracy was here in BC in the distant past, it existed at one-time in America and Europe, now only a very small group of countries actually practice Democracy, those few Nordic countries don`t even call it Democracy, for the name of correct doesn`t have to be labeled, Conservative or Liberal and even Green are names of exclusion..."The Obvious Solution Party"........Grant G)
The Straight Goods
Cheers Eyes Wide Open