A Proposal for Greens & the NDP: A “300” Strategy

The hue and cry that has risen up in NDP quarters over the Liberal leader Stéphane Dion’s plan not to run a candidate in Central Nova would have been humorous if it weren’t so shrouded in feigned moral superiority on the part of the New Democrats.

NDP bloggers are accusing Dion of side-stepping democracy (as if somehow our electoral system was actually democratic) and of abandoning Liberal Party ‘values’ (as if there was such a thing) by co-operating with the Greens and Elizabeth May.

For those of you who’ve never visited the Blogging Dippers site (I actually do recommend it, even for true progressives and Marxists because there actually are some insightful blogs carried on their feed), you know that they have html code that they encourage you, as faithful New Democrats, to put on your blog.  The html code generates random images of previous leaders and a random fact/quote about the party that looks like this:

Leadership You Can Trust

Made In Canada Socialism

What I find funny is how the NDP is slamming the Liberals for abandoning democracy/liberal values (again, isn’t “Liberal Party Values” an oxymoron?) when the party on the federal scene that’s been the most vicious at actually waging a grassroots war against progressive factions in their own party is the New Demcrats!  Was it not the NDP who expelled all their truly progressive comrades in the famed explusion of The Waffle in the early 1970s?  Was it not The Waffle who was the one faction of the NDP which was the most faithful to the Regina Manifesto (click here for the full text), the original founding document of the CCF?

You probably won’t read that on their “random fact generator”.

So, let’s be honest here and call a spade a spade:

To my New Democrat friends:  you gallivant around with “socialism” on your sidebar when you’re really just capitalists and your party’s actions historically are exemplars of a vicious hatred of socialism. 

Now that said, you’re certainly a hell of a lot better than the vulgar capitalists to your right (the Liberals and Conservatives).  And, if I must have capitalists in my Parliament, I’d certainly rather that they be you guys than them.  But let’s just not kid ourselves and think that somehow you’re so fundamentally different from the other capitalists parties.

Better?  Yes

Fundamentally different?  Most definitely not.  You just want the capitalist system managed a little bit differently.

So, here’s my ‘radical’ proposal:  If we must have capitalists in our Parliament, let’s all — Marxists, Socialists, “Socialists”, Greens etc. — work to ensure that as many of them as possible are not Conservatives.

I’m calling my proposal the “300 Strategy”.  The NDP and the Greens sit down like grown-ups and work out 8 ridings each where they won’t run 300soundtrack.jpgcandidates.  Layton can still attack May and vice versa.  Each party could submit 8 ridings to the other until they both agreed on which 8 ridings the NDP would take on without Green candidates and which 8 ridings the Greens would take on without an NDP candidate.

This way, we may still have capitalists in our Parliament but at least we’d have more New Democrats and, by extension, fewer vulgar capitalists.

Of course the one weakness of my plan is that it depends on Layton and May getting together and behaving like grown-ups.

17 Responses to “A Proposal for Greens & the NDP: A “300” Strategy”


  1. 1 leftdog 13 April, 2007 at 9:17 am

    The Green Party leadership is currently too right wing for this to occur. May is NOT a social democrat. Former Leader Jim Harris WAS a bloody Conservative.

    There is not much progressive in the current Green leadership. The solution for the Greens is for the rank and file to ensure that their leadership ARE NOT carrying a right of centre world view.

    As a New Democrat, I find the whole Dion / May thing to be sort of funny and kind of desperate.

    I am laughing … not worried at all!

  2. 2 paulitics 13 April, 2007 at 9:30 am

    I never said May was a social democrat. In fact I don’t know what that has to do with anything. The NDP and the Greens are both captialists who want the system managed slightly differently. That should be more than enough similarity for this to occur.

    Truth is that neither party is in the socialist camp. The NDP and the other capitalist parties really aren’t as diametrically opposed to each other as New Democrats portray it. Trust me, I wish that the NDP hadn’t purged all its progressive elements, but wishing don’t make it so.

  3. 3 Herbinator 13 April, 2007 at 9:55 am

    It seems I am the only one who thinks it is wrong to sell votes. Nobody has a problem with thinking the buying of votes is incorrect.

    People vote, THEN politicians live down to their reputation.
    Politicians usurping an individuals right to vote for a party of choice is unconscientious.

  4. 4 Green Assassin Brigade 13 April, 2007 at 9:58 am

    Why don’t we as a grass roots movement creat our one list and submit the details of such a deal to the Parties?

    If they are going to do this in one riding why not 8, why not take out Baird, Stockwell and a couple of others?

    I would suggest The London riding Ziz ran in for the NDP to drop, They were crippled anyways and their support could beat the Cons and Libss. Any other good possibilities?

  5. 5 Sean. S. 13 April, 2007 at 10:39 am

    Why does the NDP need to legitimize the Green Party? Who pulled in 17% and who pulled in

  6. 7 Sean. S. 13 April, 2007 at 10:41 am

    alright, I had a longer post, but it has seemed to be mangled here…maybe it is just my browser…

  7. 8 Idealistic Pragmatist 13 April, 2007 at 11:51 am

    Herbinator,

    You’re not the only one–that was exactly my problem with this.

  8. 9 janfromthebruce 13 April, 2007 at 12:11 pm

    Last poll I read, Greens were at 6% in the polls. Last things I heard was May bashing the NDP, so why would we get into bed with May? Last thing I heard, was May lamenting the demise of the progressive con party, so don’t think we have too much in common with the NDP. And the last thing I remember about Marxism, and how it worked in the real world, was that it was as unfriendly to women as capitalism. Reading Mies will give you insight into feminist thought here.
    Anyway, I don’t have a problem with what the Greens-libs do together, I was don’t like the spin that this is about progressive politics. It is about being the great pretenders that they are part of the left progressives, that’s my beef.

  9. 10 paulitics 13 April, 2007 at 12:26 pm

    Janfromthebruce – As a person who’s spent a fair amount of time studying both Marxism and history, I cannot think of a single instance in which Marxism has actually existed in the ‘real world’.

    I’ve actually discussed this fact in length here:

    https://paulitics.wordpress.com/2007/01/30/is-capitalism-justified/

    and here:

    https://paulitics.wordpress.com/2007/01/07/to-those-who-say-socialism-doesnt-work/

    If you know of some example of Marxism actually having existed in the ‘real world’ then please bring it to my attention.

  10. 11 Kuri 13 April, 2007 at 12:35 pm

    I just think it’s up to the Greens to give everyone the opportunity to vote Green. It’s up to the Liberals to give everyone the opportunity to vote Liberal. And to the NDP to give everyone the opportunity to vote for them.

    The parties also, if they are at all democratic internally, have a responsibility to their grassroots and activists. If I were a Liberal activist in Central Nova, I’d see this as a slap in the face. Those activists have worked hard, maintaining records, building presence, raising funds, recruiting volunteers – for what? For Dion to throw all that work away?

    And, yes, absolutely, if Jack were to do the same thing to my riding, I’d drop out entirely from political work including not voting in that election.

    This isn’t an “oh the ndp are so superior” response; for me anyway it stems from the same values that lead me to support OMOV in party leaderships and electoral reform. It’s about genuine respect for the voters rather than Schumpeterian contempt for them. If Conservatives are winning anywhere we should be asking why people are voting against there own interests instead of trying to engineer their choices.

  11. 12 paulitics 13 April, 2007 at 12:38 pm

    Idealistic Pragmatist & Herbinator,

    So you’re both concerned about the fact that the poor people of Central Nova won’t have a Liberal candidate to vote for and the people of Saint-Laurent—Cartierville won’t have a Green candidate to vote for?

    That’s not exactly an unfounded criticism, but excuse me if I don’t cry to loudly.

    The electoral system is so broken that the the vast majority of ridings in this country don’t offer voters a full range of choices for parties. So the Liberal voters in one riding and the Green voters in another will be forced to chose between the lesser of their favoured parties.

    Boo F*&^ing hoo.

    I’ve NEVER lived in a riding where I’ve gotten to vote for my favoured candidate. Not that I’m a card-carrying member of either the Communist Party of Canada or the Marxist-Leninist Party, but in the last election only 21 ridings had even the OPTION of voting for the Communist Party and only 61 ridings had an M-L candidate.

    So basically, if Canadians even WANTED to vote for an anti-capitalist party because, you know, wage slavery isn’t exactly working out for them, the vast majority wouldn’t be able to because they don’t even have that option. And I’m supposed to get all bent out of shape because the one riding isn’t going to carry a Liberal and the other isn’t going to carry a Green?

    I’ll send them a sympathy card.

  12. 13 paulitics 13 April, 2007 at 12:49 pm

    Kuri – well argued. I think your formulation is by far stronger than both Idealistic Pragmatist & Herbinator’s formulations and you raise the issue in an interesting light that I hadn’t considered.

    I agree with you that it’s definitely anti-democratic and would definitely upset grassroots activists in those ridings. But I think the one flaw in your arugment is the assumption that it’s the decision not to run a candidate in every riding that’s anti-democratic rather than our entire electoral system as a whole.

    As I mentioned above, it is demonstrably wrong that every Canadian has a true choice to cast a vote for their favoured party (even if it has no chance of winning). So partisan supporters in two ridings will have to chose between some other capitalists to vote for. I don’t think that’s even 1/100th as bad as the structural anti-democratic tendencies of our electoral system which this move would help to counteract by electing more MPs supporting electoral reform.

  13. 14 Doug 13 April, 2007 at 7:45 pm

    The NDP is a reformist, capitalist party – but it’s based on the working class. The Green Party is a right-wing protest party promoting market solutions to the environmental crisis and thereby counterposing environmental solutions to the union movement and the working class in general. Fuck the Green Party. The NDP ought not to cut any deal with them.

  14. 15 paulitics 13 April, 2007 at 8:35 pm

    Doug – I agree with you that the Green’s are right wing and are merely another reformist capitalist party.

    But are the greens any more vulgar capitalists than the Conservatives or the Liberals?

    And, even if they were just as bad as the vulgar capitalists, if this strategy elected more capitalists of the New Democratic ilk, then who the hell cares whether the NDP co-operates with the Greens or some other reformist political party? It’s not like that co-operation is going to somehow sully their socialist credentials. They’ve done that well enough themselves that they don’t need any help on that front.

  15. 16 Kuri 13 April, 2007 at 10:37 pm

    But I think the one flaw in your arugment is the assumption that it’s the decision not to run a candidate in every riding that’s anti-democratic rather than our entire electoral system as a whole.

    Oh, but Paul, where did I say that? I agree our system as a whole is anti-democratic – that’s why I joined Fair Vote Alberta. I just think that this decision is anti-democratic, too. Why should those beliefs be mutually exclusive?

    I wouldn’t hold it against the Marxist-Leninists for not running in every riding, btw, they’re trying as hard as they can and the very fact that they’re keeping a strong anti-capitalist message alive at all when socialism (even of the mere reformist variety) is under such attack is an extraordinary feat in itself (my partner’s father was in the Communist Party for years (before they split, I think), so I know they work their butts off). But the Greens and especially the Liberals, I’m sure you’ll agree, are a lot more privileged than the Marxist-Leninists – running in every riding is possible. And if they really believe in their cause, if they believe they are each a movement* then what does it say about their respect for that movement to purposely deny their supporters the ability to support them?

    *Whether you or I would consider either of these parties a bona fide movement is irrelevant.

  16. 17 paulitics 14 April, 2007 at 11:30 am

    Kuri,

    Fair enough.

    I also agree with you that I’m biased due to my view of these parties not as bona fide movements, however I believe my argument still stands.

    I still disagree that the putative anti-democratic nature of this ‘300 strategy’ is enough to disqualify it. The fact of the matter is that the vast majority of Canadians don’t get to vote for their preferred party nor are the vast majority of Canadians even given a full range of choices of parties.

    Now the privileged disciples of two élite parties (and just in a couple ridings mind you) get a taste of what the rest of us have experienced for years and now all of a sudden we’re supposed to be upset about the anti-democratic experience of the people in Central Nova and Saint-Laurent—Cartierville? Give me a break.

    The NDP and the Greens support proportional representation and if this 300 strategy would help elect more pro-PR MPs, then I believe any putative anti-democratic tendencies in this plan would be more than counteracted.

    Paul

    P.S. In my discussions with M-Lers and Communists (I know quite well one of the frequent Communist Party candidates for Ottawa Centre) I can definitely say that they both DO want to run candidates in every riding, but that the entire system is structured against them and against giving Canadians even a non-capitalist choice let alone a viable non-capitalist choice. It isn’t a matter of choice.


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