Saturday, March 8, 2008

Surrender Monkeys; or, Why I Haven't Burned My Liberal Card Yet

There are a lot of seriously pissed off bloggers out there today. Progressive bloggers. People I respect. Even little Jason Cherniak is starting to wonder:
Think about the future

I just had a thought.

As Liberals, we should not ask whether people care that our MPs are abstaining. Most people don't follow politics and have no idea what's going on.

Instead, we should ask whether they will care when they find out during an election. Will they shrug it off as political strategy, or will they think "I can't believe the Liberals were doing that".

I'm not sure what the answer is.

Other bloggers have been a little more forthright. Like Dave at The Galloping Beaver:
You can't understand the outrage? Here. Let me explain it.

Some of the Liberal (capital L) bloggers can't seem to grasp the outrage felt by those of us of in the left side of the swamp over the failure of the opposition to meet Bill C-484 with the appropriate action.

...The outrage is not just at the Liberals' obvious failure to properly interpret this bill and then meet it head-on. The outrage goes deeper - much deeper.

And Rational Reasons:
Blogging Angry

...There is only one thing worse than the CPC right now and that is the Liberal Party of Canada and their spineless milquetoast leader, Stephane Dion. He has allowed the CPC to rule for as thought they have a majority, while desperately trying to tell us how bad they are.

And Apply Liberally:
The Liberals have lost me

I’m not exactly a powerful blogger. I’m not exactly a powerful member of the Liberal Party. I’m also not exactly a big financial donor. I have, however, considered myself a staunch supporter of the Liberals for almost the past two decades.

I attended the last convention in Montreal, paid my dues and have used new media like this blog to defend and promote the party. My frustrations run deep now and I’ve decided I will no longer consider myself a Liberal supporter.

And Canadian Cynic:
Dear Liberals: Do you have any idea?

In all seriousness and addressed to any diehard Liberals out there, do you have even the remotest idea of the teeth-grinding fury you've provoked amongst Canada's progressives? Really, is the uproar over this latest exquisite fuckery of yours coming up in conversation in your little get-togethers? Because it should be. Because we. Are. Fucking. Pissed.

Believe me, I totally get the outrage. I SHARE IT. I am sick to death of the abstentions, the capitulations and the endless lame excuses for why the Liberals aren't quite ready for an election just yet ("but just you wait!"). It's not just embarrassing - it's causing irrevocable damage to the party and it's chances of keeping the Harper Conservatives from doing to Canada what George W. Bush has done to America for the past seven long years.

What I cannot understand is why some of these fine, principled people are just throwing up their hands and deciding to stay home the next time there's an election because none of these asshats are worth voting for. Because that sounds a lot like... what's the word... ABSTAINING.

If the past few weeks have taught us anything, it is that not voting is the one sure way to guarantee that nobody will ever give a rat's ass what you think or want ever again.

Believe me, I am not suggesting that anyone should just vote for the 'lesser of two evils'. I'm saying that if you don't like any of the options in front of you, then change the options.

If you honestly think that throwing your support behind the NDP or the Greens will succeed in kicking the asses of the Cons and Libs, then by all means do so. I'll tell them to expect you at the next meeting. If you think they are all beyond help and we need a completely new Progressive party in this country, then great. Start organizing. I'll be there.

If you believe (as I do) that the Liberals can still be saved from themselves by dragging them kicking and screaming back to the left side of the centre line and purging them of the complacent, centrist assholes who are largely responsible for the party's current cowering paralysis, then get off your sorry blogging ass and DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT.

Communicate with your MP and/or opposition candidate. If they don't respond, mock them on your blog and send them the link. They'll get the picture. Write letters. Real letters, to actual newspapers. If you really want to make a difference, join a party. Any party. Go to riding meetings. If you join the Liberals and you think the problem is Dion, then work towards getting somebody better in charge. If you think the problem is with the entrenched, corporatist old guard, then work on empowering a new guard. Or (Gods forbid) consider running yourself.

Subvert. From. Within.

A lot of people think its hopeless. A lot of people don't know history, and the enormous transformations that have occurred on both the liberal and conservative sides of the Canadian political spectrum over the past hundred years or so. I'd recommend reading 'Lament for a Nation' and John English's biography of Trudeau for some insight into how radically our major political parties have changed just over the course of my lifetime. Often rather suddenly. Often due to one person being at the right place at the right time in history.

If you need a more recent case study, take a look at what's happening south of the border. The U.S. Democrats have spent the past seven years playing surrender monkey, shucking and jiving and using their House and Senate majorities to support every bullshit Republican measure that has passed their desks. Why? Because the party establishment were so busy trying to position themselves for re-election as inoffensive centrists that they somehow forgot that they were supposed to be DEMOCRATS.

Now all of a sudden they are energized and idealistic and ready to kick some Republican ass. They're going to get the fuck out of Iraq. They've got specific plans for universal (if not entirely public) health care. Depending on who you believe, they may even be questioning NAFTA. Most importantly, they actually stand for something again.

And it isn't all because of Obama. It's because what passes for the left wing of the Democratic Party finally reached critical mass and started actually GETTING INVOLVED instead of just bitching about how lame their party had become. They got organized, and they informed the party bosses and the Blue Dogs that hey, it might actually be in your best interest to start listening to us. And if you don't, well, we're just going to throw our support behind some nobody Senator from Illinois with a funny name and a way with words who actually represents what WE want.

How all that will end is anybody's guess. But it's exciting, isn't it? Want some of that up here? Then start thinking about ways to make it better instead of just complaining.



Oh. I see. It's the SDA tour bus from Harperville.

I'd like to welcome our Conservative friends to Runesmith's Canadian Content. Feel free to look around. Try not to break anything. Enjoy your stay!


  1. If you believe (as I do) that the Liberals can still be saved from themselves by dragging them kicking and screaming back to the left side of the centre line and purging them of the complacent, centrist assholes who are largely responsible for the party's current cowering paralysis, then get off your sorry blogging ass and DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT.


  2. Bravo, I've told people for years if you don't like it don't just bitch,
    Join a party, any party and change it into something you do like.

    In my opinion that's exatly what happend to the Greens much to the disapointment of the deep Greens who were willing to sit in coffee shops, talk and claim moral superiority. People joined the Greens, moderated the singlemindedness and broadened the platform, a simple bottom up revolution.

    I believe to some extent all three of the other parties need such a revolution, while the Greens are still in theirs in some respects.

  3. Has anyone phoned the RCMP to report Harper's crime caught on audio tape? Because I'm seriously thinking of trying that.

  4. You sound relatively pissed off which I understand.
    Back in 1993, I was a card carrying lib and campaigned and worked an election office for them.

    I drank the koolade big time and knew the lib redbook inside and out.
    Big majority after campaigning on the left, and then after, well they enacted neoliberal policies, and all the rest went to the wayside. Martin made the most historical cuts to social programs, cut huge transfers to provs, quickly signed NAFTA, and no public childcare.
    This was not the party of Pierre Trudeau, and I left in disgust, joined the NDP, the 'real left.' Mulroney could only dream of the cuts that Martin as Mr. Lib made!

    Sorry but libs are not left unless one believes the rhetoric of campaigns and when they are in minority.

    So "dragging them kicking and screaming back to the left side of the centre line and purging them of the complacent, centrist (wrong, centre right, and right wing)assholes who are largely responsible for the party's current cowering paralysis, then get off your sorry blogging ass and DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT."

    One is caught in a time warp, as you are going to have reach back to the Trudeau days!

    "Communicate with your MP...." you mean Paul Steckle, the most ring wing liberal who can always be counted on to support the neoliberal budget for corp welfare and taxcuts, but is completely against pro-choice, gay marriage, or anything remotely progessive.

    The liberal party is a mirage of progressive, hence Libs extended the mission in Afghanistan 4 times since 2003 (when we were suppose to get out), increase in green house emissions, no public childcare promised for 13 years. I can go on and on, but what's the point. This dog can't hunt!

  5. Well, if the Liberals force an election the electorate will punish them by giving a majority to the evil meanie Cons.

    That means that the Cons will control immigration for four to five years. At three percent per year that is a gift of 12 to 15 percent of the electorate for the next, subsequent election.

    And do not forget all that money the Cons are building up in their warchest. They can buy alot of votes with social spending.

    The Liberals are doing the right thing by holding their fire until they can win the election. Winning is the most important thing, not values.

    Think of all the Liberal voters whose jobs are dependent on social spending. All those social workers, street nurses, community health workers, feed bankers, medical administrators, gangbanger counsellors, illiteracy teachers, and university rape crisis hot line staffers, will lose their jobs and will have to look for jobs in private industry. Their votes will be lost to The Party.

    Cuts to social spending will trigger a wave of youth violence which will, unless smoothed by social spending, trigger an anti-crime backlash.

    No, the Liberals are doing the right thing. Che Guevara would agree. You should too. Think big picture, and long term. Leningrad was not built in a day.

  6. Burn that card and Steffi will brand you as a Climate Criminal for releasing unnecessary CO2.

    Hope your most recent dose of Global Warming isn't too bad.

  7. If it is any consolation I feel exactly the same way about the CPC but without your sense that things can be changed.

  8. I wish that Dion would just resign... argh this is so frustrating. I love the Liberal party, but right now they are like a flabby penis, it doesn't matter what potential it has or how big it can be it is just useless and lame at the moment. I wish they would get their act together. I wish someone like Ignatieff, Gerard Kennedy or Garth Turner had the control of the party, we would be so formidable in that situation. I mean even with a leader like Dion and the mess that is the Liberal Party right now we are still basically statistically tied with the conservatives. Imagine if we had a good leader who had a spine. Look at this poll for example which states that if Obama was the leader of either the tories or the liberals he would double the support of either of the two parties he led and win by a landslide. This just goes to show how pathetic the political situation is in Canada. I think Justin Trudeau has the potential to be Canada's Obama.

  9. "it doesn't matter what potential it has or how big it can be it is just useless and lame at the moment"

    That explains why they are just pissing around, instead of snapping to attention.

  10. I can actually sympathize with you on this one.

    But if so many people who would otherwise support Liberals would rather not vote than support the Liberals, perhaps some of them should consider running for office on precisely that platform, and see what happens.

    Better yet, they could follow Romeo Dallaire's advice (sorry for the shameless plug) and start their own party -- one that actually cares what they want.

    I guess my point is that there are so many better options than not voting.