Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Time for Real Resistance to Neoliberalism: Education, Coordination, Cooperation Leadership

Isn't it time to begin real resistance - actions and strategies beyond rallies and marches, beyond petitions for this or that worthy cause and letters to MPs and the editor, beyond conferences and discussion groups, beyond Facebook and Twitter? Isn't it time for all progressives to come together in a coordinated effort to start a real (non-violent) revolution against Neoliberalism? Every single issue with which progressives are concerned from climate change to income inequality can be traced directly to neoliberal policy, which of course is no simple set of practices but a tenaciously pernicious ideology that has penetrated the very fabric of our daily lives and that has been so thoroughly naturalized as a result that most people living inside the bubble fail to see the walls of the bubble. And many who do happen to recognize it, though well-intentioned, seek only reform within the neoliberal systems themselves, not real transformative change. There is a difference between reform and revolution, although reform can certainly serve revolution. While this may seem initially to be primarily an amoral economic issue, it is in reality a fundamentally moral issue that affects peoples everyday lives. More than an economic solution is thus required.

The only outstanding question in my mind is how to bring about a meaningful transformation on such a large and sprawling issue and thus what strategies to choose that yield real practical outcomes -  something beyond feel good satisfaction. How do we begin?  Coordination and cooperation with other progressive groups to generate real political power is the only viable strategy in my opinion - no easy task - though lots of solidarity generating things along the way to that strategic goal can still be implemented.  For that unprecedented communication to happen we need leadership from each progressive group - certainly not an easy achievement since each group has its vested interests. But if enough people in the rank and file of those groups call for such coordination and cooperation,  it just might happen. Identifying groups and constructing an all-embracing communications network is an obvious first step.

The other key factor is educating one's own people on the importance of understanding what neoliberalism is, how it works, and why it's necessary to concentrate efforts on it. One of the main failures of the progressive movement besides its insularity is a lack of focus - too many fires burning in different locales. We need one giant bonfire. You can't get help from your own organization if its members, staff and rank and file,  don't know what you're talking about.

In bringing together several youth progressive groups from across the country, PowerShift has led the way providing, that is, whatever excitement and momentum that has been generated can be sustained meaningfully and turned into real pragmatic strategies. My fear, however, is that PowerShift 2012 will be just like the Take Back Democracy Conference, a similar worthy event - that is, nothing more than another self-satisfying, insular feel good progressive bubble event. Prove me and all the other discouraged progressives out there wrong.


Apparently the Council of Canadians convene a summit of 50 progressive organizations in September - which at first blush looks like a powerful gesture in the right direction. It would be useful to know what actually happened at that summit.

1 comment:

  1. And speaking of education, more than one lesson is required for our four main political parties, all of whom have been drinking neoliberal koolaid for decades, some such as the Conservatives and Liberals more than others.