The lesson of the concurrent global crises is that the techno-utopian dreams of San Francisco bros are not going to save us. We cannot individually buy our way out of the crisis. As the saying goes, we are not safe until everyone is safe. The new realization that we are -- literally -- in this together is like everyone becoming a socialist overnight without fully understanding the implications. Yes, we are in this together and there are solutions.
The cheerleaders of neoliberal policy are rising like zombies after the current collection of economic, health, climate, and political crises seemed to bury them for a while. It is not going to be enough for the left to defend the current economic wreck, we must advocate to build something better just to keep what we have. Socialists have the social and economic policy programs to deal directly with these challenges we face. It is time to dust them off and fight for them with abandon.
Services and products for people in need are going to be a problem in the coming weeks. Supply chains are complex and some businesses along those chains will not be able to support production during this crisis -- or support the necessary ramp-up in production needed. To sustain production, the state is going to have to step-in and direct procurement and investment. As such, nationalized production should be on the table if it looks too complicated to coordinate the private sector to get the goods we need to the people that need them. Here is a list of recommendations outlining how socialists should be framing their demands during this time.
When we are debating how best to build worker power through their unions it is usually in the context of winning demands at the bargaining table. But, under advanced capitalism, union power is mostly measured in terms of how badly we are losing. This is not useful as a metric for discussion of labour law reforms attempting to impose balance in labour relations between unions and capital. If we think of unions as structures of democracy, then we can shift the narrative around power simply to refer to winning or losing the battle for our own democracy. And, democracy, unlike worker power at the bargaining table, is entirely in the hands of workers. Socialists should focus on building democracy in discussion on labour reform. Then, no matter what we are able to win in terms of power at the union's bargaining table or reforms that raise standards for workers outside unions, we are helping to build the socialism we want.
In the US, the Green New Deal has gained deserved momentum because it is being promoted by charismatic elected officials, propelled to power on the basis of their broad left-wing credentials – and not only because of their focus on climate. We cannot bypass this step in Canada. This means that unapologetic socialist elements in our labour party must also be propelled into a position to promote such an agenda.
The criticism of the Leap Manifesto as being too radical or too far to the left falls flat when examined in the context of current policy of progressive energy labour unions. The fact is, the Leap document is not 'radical' in essence, it is centre-left/liberal. This is a problem for those who want to discredit it with baseless name calling. Unfortunately, calling it far-left or extremely radical causes confusion and undermines the broader left program demanding the necessary radical solutions to climate change.
There is a big difference between the reasons that socialists/leftists bring up inequality and the reasons liberals are concerned with it. However, many on the left seem unable to articulate the difference well enough to distinguish ourselves from liberals when it comes to how we should deal with inequality. There is a cost to this confusion as people are unable to distinguish between the politics of the solutions presented.