Friday, October 23, 2015

Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Martin Lukacs writes that while a change in government offers some possibility of change, the Trudeau campaign wasn't anything more than a ruse. And Seth Klein and Shannon Daub remind us that we'll need to be the ones to advance progressive policies in the face of a government which tends to do as little as it can get away with, while Dru Oja Jay writes that we can't settle for letting Justin Trudeau decide what's worth doing:
The second response sees Trudeau’s charm offensive as a window of opportunity for an agenda that has objective measures. Measures like “are we addressing climate change adequately to stop ecological collapse?” or “is our society become more equal and democratic or less?” The underlying assumption is that achieving those things is a matter of a battle between competing social forces — roughly oil companies and banks vs. people who want a just and sustainable future. Or the ruling class vs. the working class. We can call this response “eyes on the prize”.

Three objective measures provide clear yardsticks for evaluating progressive changes in Canada. One is “are the tar sands (and other extreme extraction like fracking) expanding, staying the same, or reducing their rate of extraction?” A second: “is corporate wealth and power –and the resulting level of inequality–expanding, staying the same, or reducing relative to the power of the people?” And perhaps most importantly: “do Indigenous nations have more or less ability to determine what happens on their territories?”

To justify itself, “give him a chance” needs to argue the unlikely: that Trudeau is different and through sheer force of personality, will defy every recent historical precedent of governments elected using progressive rhetoric.
To people who have their eyes on the prize, every movement win short of complete victory is going to feel like cooptation. The key is to maintain momentum and set new goals, rather than criticizing the people who celebrate the current win or complaining that it falls short.

What’s even better is setting long term goals while pursuing short-term demands. The Quebec student movement, for example, did an excellent job in 2012 of demanding the reversal of an immediate set of cuts while making it clear that the long-term goal was free post-secondary education for all.
If we accept that there are absolute measures to what we need to accomplish overall (starting with not rendering the earth uninhabitable), then we also accept that there are absolute measures to what we need to accomplish right now.

Trudeau’s charm offensive should never be allowed to accomplish its goal: to lull most of us into complacency before the real policies are implemented. Actively making demands and agitating for them is a great way to make sure that the Liberal advisors and corporate lobbyists have to wait a little longer to take the reins.

But no matter who steps in front of the parade, we can’t forget where we truly need it to go.
- Meanwhile, David Macdonald, PressProgress and Damien Gillis offer worthwhile to-do lists for a new government. And Tavia Grant points out that it's not too late to restore a long-form census for 2016 as long as the Libs act quickly.

- Michal Rozworski points out that inequality didn't receive anywhere near the attention it deserved in Canada's federal election campaign.

- Finally, Roderick Benns talks to Jonathan Brun and Luc Gosselin about the importance of a basic income. And Florence Jaumotte and Carolina Osorio Buitron look at the connection between unions, lessened inequality and economic development.

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