What's Left 2015-10-25 Volume 31

| October 26, 2015


As campaign offices are vacated across the country, Canadians of all stripes are left reflecting on the new reality of a Liberal majority government. There is a lot to be said about the federal election. However, most of what has been published so far is predictable and fairly shallow in its analysis. Since What’s Left is not keen on being uninteresting, the coming weeks and months will be spent digging deeper to present a constructive analysis to point out the things that went wrong for the left and, more importantly, map a rational path forward for organizers.


“FEATURE”

Federal election will require deep reflection for left

As campaign offices are vacated across the country, Canadians of all stripes are left reflecting on the new reality of a Liberal majority government. There is a lot to be said about the federal election. However, most of what has been published so far is predictable and fairly shallow in its analysis. Since What’s Left is not keen on being uninteresting, the coming weeks and months will be spent digging deeper to present a constructive analysis to point out the things that went wrong for the left and, more importantly, map a rational path forward for organizers.

The NDP’s platform in the most recent round of provincial and federal elections has focused on similar offers of safe, centrist-left governance. In most cases, the results of these elections have been disappointing for the Party and the left. Given these repeated failures, there are important debates to be had about how the NDP should position itself moving forward. For activisits and organizers involved in these discussions, it will be important to understand the different options and approaches. To that end, Citizens’ Press and What’s Left contributors will be attempting to provide some comprehensive and in-depth analysis of where the Party’s platform and strategy resonated, and where it fell flat. This analysis will include a reflection on right-wing analysis, including exit comments captured by Ensight’s* ”Back to the Future“ exit poll and what might be re-titled “The (nonstrategic) election of the Liberal Party”.

The road to #elxn43 will be a long one. To those who dedicated the last months to coordinating campaigns, volunteering and pounding the pavement to get lefty candidates elected – we tip our hats in thanks and wish you some much needed rest and recovery.

“CANADA”

Alberta NDP set to deliver long awaited budget

This week will see the Alberta NDP present its first budget as government.

A new report on the province’s finances, released by the Parkland Institute, says the NDP government faces a bleak fiscal reality. The report states that the budget shortfall could be as much as \$10 billion – twice as large as previously understood.

Recommendations to deal with the current economic reality in Alberta rest on public supports funded through increased taxes. Previous reports from the Parkland Institute have explained that Alberta does not have a high taxation issue, but instead spends too little compared with other provinces. It’s important to remember that the people of Alberta were clear in the provincial direction they want the province to go: increase fair levels of taxation and public spending on services and supports.

In related news, a now famous Globe & Mail headline from a few weeks ago is still getting mileage. The headline “NDP duped voters by implementing its promises, Wildrose says” was put on the map by political blogger David Climenhaga, and it seems the Wildrose is still back-peddling on it.

More: Alberta government faces hard math in Tuesday’s budget

More: [[https://citizenspress.us10.list-manage.com/track/click?u=27d7d00e19a37005743125d7e&id=ddf4ae688a&e=8484a6ba75][You tell me, Dear Readers: Did I unfairly beat the Wildrose finance critic like a piñata?]]

Electoral reform’s impact should be fully understood

With the Liberals announcing that there will be some sort of electoral reform before the next federal election, it is important for socialists to understand its limitations. Too often, many on the left succumb to the euphoria of the promises of democratic reform and forget that it does not necessarily guarantee a more even left-right distribution of power. Inserting some real analysis into this discussion is essential to understand how some proportional representative programs can actually undermine chances of reform through electoralism.

More: Electoral Reform… some logic please!

“ELSEWHERE”

Wage parity gained in Fiat Contract

UAW members voted to adopt a re-negotiated contract with auto manufacturer Fiat this week after the previous tentative agreement was rejected. The new agreement establishes wage parity for entry-level workers, however, members rejected the heavily debated cooperative health care model. While likely an effective way to reduce costs for the employer (and employees), the model was rejected due to the fear it would substantially increase costs for the local union.

More: UAW Approves New Contract With Fiat Chrysler

Walmart’s “Made in America” deception called out

In a move that will surprise almost no one, Walmart has had to remove “Made in USA” labelling from many of their products that were not at all made in the USA. The Federal Trade Commission, which oversees marketing labels such as “Made in USA”, investigated Walmart after Truth in Advertizing exposed deceptive labelling practices.

It has become broadly understood that there is greater customer interest in items made locally. Enforcing marketing regulations is important, especially if more expensive locally made goods are to compete.

More: Walmart Website Riddled with Deceptive Made in USA Claims

Most economic studies that dictate how the economy works can’t be replicated

When examining any published study, if the process that was followed cannot be repeated with the same conclusions that means that significant factors affecting the outcome were not been taken into consideration. Many would argue that in cases like this, any results and conclusions should be completely discredited.

While economics is not a science or a generally reliable process, studies abound as to how governments should regulate finance and the economy. It should not be surprising to anyone who has studied political economy or economics, that many of the studies depended on by governments are deeply flawed, and this latest report is a bombshell.

More: [[https://citizenspress.us10.list-manage.com/track/click?u=27d7d00e19a37005743125d7e&id=22406f22ab&e=8484a6ba75][Most economics research can’t be replicated, a study of 60 papers from 13 journals shows]]

Medium: spreading corporate propaganda more effectively than the media they themselves own

Corporate media have always been owned by moguls who understand the importance of explaining away issues resulting from capitalism. Current media moguls include Murdoch of course, but also Jeff Bezos of Amazon-fame who bought the Washington Post, and Pierre Omidyar of EBay who started First Look media and The Intercept.

News outlets such as Medium are now expanding this pro-corporate hegemony. Individual corporate communications departments have started using Medium to respond to even the slightest critique. This has given an expanded voice to the likes of GE, Amazon and ExxonMobile who now speak directly to consumers in response to real journalists who out their nasty business practices.

While corporations have long been in the position to issue press releases, and publish opinion pieces in news publications, the faux-grassroots appearance of Medium articles allows for a more insideously authentic-seeming avenue for response for corporations. It also is much more optimized for online sharing.

More: Medium is the message for the modern mogul

South African students beat back tuition fee increase

Students in South Africa have successfully resisted a 11.5% tuition fee increase in the country’s post-secondary education institutions. The student movement mobilized a week-long series of peaceful protests attended by thousands, as a result of which president Jacob Zuma was forced to announce a tuition fee freeze for 2016.

More: South Africa’s huge student protests, explained

More: South African students score tuition fee protest victory

Video: South African Students Protest Planned Tuition Fee Hikes

Proxy wars have always been complex, but the Syrian conflict has moved into a world of its own

In a Citizen’ Press original, Faiz Ahmed explains the current dynamics of the proxy war raging on the ground in Syria.

More: [[http://citizenspress.us10.list-manage1.com/track/click?u=27d7d00e19a37005743125d7e&id=dd8a02c641&e=8484a6ba75][Proxy wars have always been complex, but the Syrian conflict has moved into a world of its own]]

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