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I may have phrased this wrongly but I'm honestly curious.

I think the answer is to defeat the right because they just don't get it and don't really care.

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I think left-leaning Liberals and the NDP need to get over themselves and their parties and join the Greens.

Maybe then they could defeat the right.

The Greens are not really on the left. I fully support the Green Party and hope to get some seats the next time around. Many people lump them in with Greenpeace but they have nothing to do with them at all. They have some eco policies that makes everyone think that they are lefties but they really aren't. They have a progressive social policy and are financially responsible. They are very far away from sharing the tax and spend mantra of the Liberals or to a more severe degree the NDP. I am happy that they are catching on because I'd like to see them take over the role of the current Liberals. The greens would, imo add much more of a balance and conscience to government, if there is such a thing at all.

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'The Left' ? who is 'the Left'

The issue I have with most activists is they become idealogues defending positions with an almost religious zeal . This is on both the right and the left. They start to see conspiracies where there aren't any, great struggles against or for good and evil when most issues are shades of gray, etc. Problems are exaggerted and solutions simplistic.

I'm quite proud to say I've voted NDP, Liberal, PC, Reform, Green in my adulthood. That there have been good leaders of the right and good leaders on the left ...and also turkeys across the political spectrum. Idiotic policies across the spectrum and good policies across the spectrum.

My reason for not identifying with the NDP in the last 15 years of so is that the Party has removed itself from its roots. It 'preaches' to the working class and farmers rather than representing those groups. It's a 'we know best' approach to issues (capital punishment, drugs, gun control, etc.) whereas it's been a while (since Ed Broadbent) that the working guy or gal had 'one of us' setting policy. Layton is the latest manifestation of a party off on a tangent and the nail in the coffin was the party's endorsement of Sven Robinson as a candidate ...it hilited how removed from the lunch-bucket worker or dirty-hand farmer the NDP has strayed.

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They are very far away from sharing the tax and spend mantra of the Liberals or to a more severe degree the NDP. I am happy that they are catching on because I'd like to see them take over the role of the current Liberals. The greens would, imo add much more of a balance and conscience to government, if there is such a thing at all.

Which tax and spend federal Liberals are you talking about? The ones in the 1990s who reduced spending across the board? The ones that reduced taxes prior to 2006? The Liberals who had surpluses in both trade and the current account budgets?

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The Greens are not really on the left.

The right-wing certainly thinks they are or at least say they are. Perhaps right-wingers just naturally lable everything they're either scared of or dislike as being leftist. I guess I vote for the Greens mostly because they're from Earth. That's probably what really gets under a right-wingers skin the most, Greens seem to have little use for the patriotic nationalism that other political parties usually put on for the benefit of...patriotic nationalism. Greens also don't seem to be too preoccupied with nationalism's co-joined twin, religion.

Besides being more realistic about reality Greens are far more clued into the real nature of the economy and more to the point, how the economy is wrecking the planet's biosphere by liquidating its natural capital. I also think the Greens would be stauncher defenders of human rights, government accountability and transparency. I think Greens have a far greater capacity for putting human libertarian values far above corporate authoritarian values. Of all the things I refuse to ever entrust to the right-wing its human liberty and corporate ethics.

The more you try to compare the Greens to anything else out there they almost seem like they're from another dimension.

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The right-wing certainly thinks they are or at least say they are. Perhaps right-wingers just naturally lable everything they're either scared of or dislike as being leftist. I guess I vote for the Greens mostly because they're from Earth. That's probably what really gets under a right-wingers skin the most, Greens seem to have little use for the patriotic nationalism that other political parties usually put on for the benefit of...patriotic nationalism. Greens also don't seem to be too preoccupied with nationalism's co-joined twin, religion.

Besides being more realistic about reality Greens are far more clued into the real nature of the economy and more to the point, how the economy is wrecking the planet's biosphere by liquidating its natural capital. I also think the Greens would be stauncher defenders of human rights, government accountability and transparency. I think Greens have a far greater capacity for putting human libertarian values far above corporate authoritarian values. Of all the things I refuse to ever entrust to the right-wing its human liberty and corporate ethics.

The more you try to compare the Greens to anything else out there they almost seem like they're from another dimension.

The Green are a hodgepodge of ideas and all sounds great but the devil is in the details. I voted Green the last two elections and so have a half dozen friends. Not one of them has a clue what the Green Party policy is on anythng other than it's central plank is environmental awareness. Most folks vote Green so that the main parties sit up and pay attention. With the Libs and Cobs within a couple of % of eachother, there's votes to win over on the environmental side.

No one, or lets say few, care about 'libertarian' whatevers or the negatives of capitalism. There's no desire to be a remake of a failed NDP Party that has never even made it to the Federal opposition bench in 18 elections and is fading. Here in Alberta most Green supporters I know are economic conservatives and social liberals...our Green Party has finished ahead of the NDP in my very conservative federal riding and provincially the Greens get some traction among 'Reform' rural folks.

Next federal election I'll stick a Green Party sign on our lawn and like a lot of Green Party support in Calgary, then spend the day in the energy business making money via the 'evil' capitalism.... and. like most Albertans, telling the Federal governmnet to take a flying f###k if it interferes in my industry.

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I think the answer is to defeat the right because they just don't get it and don't really care.

I genuinely hope this kind of thinking isn't the norm on the left, because it's so shallow and empty. The left needs to realize its' current state of affairs is due to being totally corrupted by power under Chretien, with a desperate need to have new life breathed into the movement. Instead we get backbiting and claims that the minority government is just as corrupt as the Liberals were. That doesn't inspire anything in people.

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Guest American Woman
I may have phrased this wrongly but I'm honestly curious.

Your question seems really broad to me, and as such, I can't help but wonder: Are you implying that only the left should "protect ordinary people against exploitation" and/or "protect people who are different from others?" Seems to me those should be priorities of both the left and the right.

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Your question seems really broad to me, and as such, I can't help but wonder: Are you implying that only the left should "protect ordinary people against exploitation" and/or "protect people who are different from others?" Seems to me those should be priorities of both the left and the right.
Well, AW, I was seeking a way to differentiate rightwingers from leftwingers and then to distinguish between leftwingers.

Most rightwingers don't think words like "exploitation" mean anything unless it involves the State. Similarly, most rightwingers only think about defending an individual in the context of the State. In general, these are not ideas that rightwingers consider important - except if they mean limiting the power of the State. OTOH, the traditional Left is all about exploitation and victimhood.

In the past, Leftists saw the State as a way to protect people against exploitation. Many Leftists still view a (Democratic) State this way. In their view, a democratic government is the only way a citizen can be protected against the exploitation of powerful private corporations.

More recently, Leftists see the State as a way to protect weak individuals against a powerful majority. The Left now defends gays and lesbians or even pot smokers. The NDP defends Muslims in Canada since they are a small minority.

My poll was an attempt to find out who sided which way.

I think the answer is to defeat the right because they just don't get it and don't really care.
I inserted the adverb "primarily", Dobbin.
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Which tax and spend federal Liberals are you talking about? The ones in the 1990s who reduced spending across the board? The ones that reduced taxes prior to 2006? The Liberals who had surpluses in both trade and the current account budgets?

Notice no one has touched this one....

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Notice no one has touched this one....

The tax and theft liberals were Chretien's. The tax and spend Liberals would have been Paul Martin's should he have been re-elected, assuming he wasn't lying when he promised universal daycare for all Canadians. The tax and give away Liberals would be Dion's, based on the love for his dog.

Edited by noahbody
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The tax and theft liberals were Chretien's.

Reduced spending dramatically, ended the deficit, produced surpluses in both current account and trade accounts.

The tax and spend Liberals would have been Paul Martin's should he have been re-elected assuming he wasn't lying when he promised universal daycare for all Canadians

Reduced taxes dramatically, continued to post surpluses in current and trade accounts and put a daycare program in that Harper continued through 2006 and took credit for the daycare spaces created during that time. Harper's program according to his own minister responsible for the Tory policy has not created daycare spaces.

The tax and give away Liberals would be Dion's, based on the love for his dog.

As opposed to Harper who has taken Canada into trade deficit, one monthly current account deficit, increased spending even when compared to the Liberals and reversed the Liberal income tax decrease only to flip flop and bring it back again. We won't even go into the GST which pretty much every economist says was a poor choice compared to other types of tax cuts.

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Guest American Woman
Well, AW, I was seeking a way to differentiate rightwingers from leftwingers and then to distinguish between leftwingers.

Most rightwingers don't think words like "exploitation" mean anything unless it involves the State. Similarly, most rightwingers only think about defending an individual in the context of the State. In general, these are not ideas that rightwingers consider important - except if they mean limiting the power of the State. OTOH, the traditional Left is all about exploitation and victimhood.

Thank you for expanding on your original post. I'm still a bit unsure what you're saying, though. Are you saying the Right doesn't care about, or concern itself with, equality? It sounds that way to me. OTOH, the Left certainly is about a lot more than exploitation and victims (which may or may not be different from "victimhood").

In the past, Leftists saw the State as a way to protect people against exploitation. Many Leftists still view a (Democratic) State this way. In their view, a democratic government is the only way a citizen can be protected against the exploitation of powerful private corporations.

By "democratic" do you mean Democrats? I'm assuming not, since Canada doesn't have Democrats per se, so I'll assume you mean democracies, in which case, I have to agree; offhand I can't think of any other type of government that looks out for everyone.

More recently, Leftists see the State as a way to protect weak individuals against a powerful majority. The Left now defends gays and lesbians or even pot smokers. The NDP defends Muslims in Canada since they are a small minority.

Don't you think protecting weak individuals against a powerful majority is a good thing?- something all governments should strive for? Although I'm not sure "weak" is the appropriate description. I don't seen gays and lesbians as weak, nor do I see pot smokers or Muslims as weak. Or do you mean weak politically?

My poll was an attempt to find out who sided which way.

I guess I don't understand why it would be one or the other. Seems to me both are equally important. What are your feelings about it?

Edited by American Woman
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I think the poll options betray precisely what is wrong with 'the left'.

It is the very assumption of presuming that 'the left' actually knows how to help "ordinary people" or those who are "different from others".

That makes 'the left' sound just like just any other charity group deciding what is best to help 'the needy' (this is the elitist way, not the democratic way).

I should think that 'the left' ought to focus on how to appeal to voters and win elections. That is to say, the left needs to find some real democratic roots. Being intellectually correct doesn't win elections or put food on the table.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Oh, pick me, pick me! I love vague questions which make heaping generalisations about any group of people....

Okay, so I think "the left" should get together for a conference and congratulate themselves (ourselves?) for achieving human-rights for all, and their (our?) continued efforts to make sure those "less equal than others" aren't forgotten within the equality formula.

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Oh, pick me, pick me! I love vague questions which make heaping generalisations about any group of people....

Okay, so I think "the left" should get together for a conference and congratulate themselves (ourselves?) for achieving human-rights for all, and their (our?) continued efforts to make sure those "less equal than others" aren't forgotten within the equality formula.

Loved the sarcasm BC Chick!

It was a nice break from the remainder of the thread...

As to the question of what the left should do...

Stop thinking in such confined boxes like 'left', 'right' or 'whatever'.

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Stop thinking in such confined boxes like 'left', 'right' or 'whatever'.

I agree. The whole "left vs right" is largely an emotional argument. It has little to do with current reality. To me, government doesn't have to be left or right, they need to be problem solvers. This is where the Liberals get an F in my books - trying to solve gun crime with a long gun registry, signing on to a carbon credit scheme to help the environment and "defending healthcare." Raiding the UI fund was a good idea to their credit.

Harper's been pretty good in my books. He doesn't often let popularity be a barrier to probem solving (i.e. income trusts, kyoto). That's rare for a politician.

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Loved the sarcasm BC Chick!

It was a nice break from the remainder of the thread...

As to the question of what the left should do...

Stop thinking in such confined boxes like 'left', 'right' or 'whatever'.

Actually, I was being sarcastic in the sense that human-rights is not a right vs. left issue, but I wasn't being sarcastic in my response to the question. I do think it took both "the right" and "the left" to achieve human-rights for all (the first choice in August's poll), but I also believe that in today's world, the left is more concerned than the right about making sure that equality is a real and meaningful goal for which we aim rather than some feel-good word we use without really meaning it (the second choice in the poll's question).

And if we're not there yet, you know what, I don't really blame anyone but the middle. ;)

(yes, that was sarcasm... I should bring my old signature back)

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The left needs to connect people to government again.

They need to start talking from the brain and not just the heart.

They need to drop their old alliances and realize that it's not the 1930s any more.

They need to promote the efficient delivery of services, and improvements to services even if that means the private option.

They need to work with corporations to get a better deal for Canadians, rather than demonize them.

They need to recognize that the social battles fought in the past have largely been won, and that there are new battles to be won.

They need to base foreign policy on something better than doing the opposite of what the Americans want to do.

They need to measure baselines for those on the margins, to publicize where those baselines are and to never let them degenerate further.

They need to keep their academics, wonks, and crackpots on the sidelines.

They need to recognize and believe that their core values are actually mainstream.

They need to elevate level-headedness, practicality, experience in importance.

A few of the things the "left" needs to do...

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Reduced spending dramatically, ended the deficit, produced surpluses in both current account and trade accounts.

Reduced taxes dramatically, continued to post surpluses in current and trade accounts and put a daycare program in that Harper continued through 2006 and took credit for the daycare spaces created during that time. Harper's program according to his own minister responsible for the Tory policy has not created daycare spaces.

As opposed to Harper who has taken Canada into trade deficit, one monthly current account deficit, increased spending even when compared to the Liberals and reversed the Liberal income tax decrease only to flip flop and bring it back again. We won't even go into the GST which pretty much every economist says was a poor choice compared to other types of tax cuts.

There are no such things as surpluses in this context.

The correct term is "overtaxation".

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Oh, pick me, pick me! I love vague questions which make heaping generalisations about any group of people....

Okay, so I think "the left" should get together for a conference and congratulate themselves (ourselves?) for achieving human-rights for all, and their (our?) continued efforts to make sure those "less equal than others" aren't forgotten within the equality formula.

Come on down, BC Chick. You get picked.

I guess I bungled this thread and poll because it has taken a direction that I didn't foresee. Then again, maybe I didn't bungle it at all.

In my mind, in the past, the Left was like Robin Hood - it took from the rich and gave to the poor. Then, the (North American) Left realized that taking from the rich would never solve the problem. This Left embarked on protecting victims, the oppressed and changing the way these people view themselves.

For whatever reason, perhaps a lack of electoral success using these two approaches, the North American Left has recently come to defend minority rights: women, gays, lesbians, Muslims, pot smokers and so on. Gays (DINKs) are not poor and don't need tax breaks yet the NDP defends them. Why? Marijuana? Tommy Douglas or David Lewis would have said the world's poor and the NDP have more important questions than defending pot smokers.

So, I'm intrigued about this split in the North American Left between old-line socialists vs. libertarians. Whenever I see or hear Jack Layton (or Amir Khadir), I sense they're trying to be (boomer) hip, metrosexual supporting the right/freedom of individuals and women to choose. While at the same time, they're trying to support ordinary working families. I sense that they feel awkward in trying to combine both goals.

That was the idea behind my OP.

They need to recognize that the social battles fought in the past have largely been won, and that there are new battles to be won.
New battles? Gay marriage?

How is that comparable to falling unionization rates or falling median income statistics?

Michael, I don't think you reall appreciate the awkward confusion of Layton's schedule. He must go from a meeting of urban university students to a union hall and then a rural co-op. The modern North American Left is in an awkward position. Does it defend an individual's fundamental right to be different or does it defend victims against oppressors?

Edited by August1991
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