Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Ivison on Mulcair: echoes of a deep and unforgiving class war

There is a clear and growing contempt for the labour movement, epitomized in columns like the one John Ivison wrote as his review of Thomas Mulcair's speech to the  Ottawa Canadian Club, in which Mulcair rhetorically promised that the only interest members of his (hoped-for) cabinet would have to promise to support would be the "public interest"....
Ivison envisages the CUPW "bolsheviks" taking off their boots before becoming comfortable while visiting at 24 Sussex should Mulcair become Prime Minister.
And while there is an element of radicalism among some union leaders, there is also a frontal campaign of political assassination of the labour movement based on the extremes of some of is members.
Demonizing the edges is not substitute for looking straight on to the needed support for workers who cannot and must not be considered a "special interest"....as the right wishes to do.
There is enough hypocrisy in Ottawa to fill the banks of the Ottawa River, all the way to the Atlantic Ocean. And all parties, including journalists like Mr. Ivison, have their own kep-pads covered with it, so his contempt for a "truth and honesty" politician in Britain who was later charged and convicted and imprisoned as a serial liar is nothing more than his ad hominum contempt for that specific man, and does not work as his paint brush on Mulcair.
It is time that workers were no longer considered by the right as a special interest, but rather as an essential component in a healthy society, and Ivison's pointing to the slower growth of unionized companies compared with non-unionized, demonstrates his willingness to capitulate to the domination and terms of the employers who could give a fig for their workers...including paying minimum wages, operating with little regard for safety and the need for worker benefits, and the almost complete sell-out of the middle class to feed the greed of the corporate execs...and their uber-bonuses.
Talk about a class war!
And it will not end if and when Tom Mulcair and the NDP form the next government. However, given the evidence from both of the old parties, Mulcair's attempt to lump them together in 'having lost sight of the purpose for which they took power' is not so far off the mark,
Workers everywhere, including Canada, who have no protection, whether from the labour movement or from worker associations, co-operatives or the like, are vulnerable to the vagaries of both their employers and the marketplace. It was originally to temper both of those forces that the labour movement was created, and it has provided many examples of currently embedded support and benefits for workers that they, and their non-union peers, would never have enjoyed, had there been no labour movement.
We are not, and have no intention of worshipping at the corporate altar; in face, it is the corporate "special interest" that has been pandered to in Ottawa since Harper came to power....and that has to stop...and if the best way to stop that parade of folly is to elect Mulcair's NDP, then the voters of Canada will be surprised by the kind of government a Mulcair NDP will provide...and the world will see Canada once again as a champion of the ordinary worker, not as a special interest but as an integral component of a healthy economy.
Editor's Note:
The writer is and has been a member of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers since 2005. For many years, from 1966 through 1984 he was also a member of the Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation.

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