Home > Uncategorized > SpongeBuzz PinkPants! Part 1 – The politics of the CAW

SpongeBuzz PinkPants! Part 1 – The politics of the CAW

August 29th, 2006

I have been going over the CAW report Eye Of The Storm: The CAW and the Remaking of Canadian politics (pdf document), and have been busy drawing conclusions. The report is divided into two principle sections, the first part a diatribe against politics, and democracy, as it presently exists in Canada. The second, the part that I have mentioned before, and of Gerry Nicholls report in the Globe and Mail last week, is called CAW Statements of Principles on Working Class Politics.

I’m going to take a couple of days and break this report down into a few different sections. Tentatively, I will look at the political diatribe that is the first section and what this means to the Liberal and NDP party; the coming revolution, if the CAW gets it’s way; and the nature of democracy in a CAW run world.

The first thing about this report is it spells out the CAW’s break up with the NDP.

…the events of the election have also propelled a historic shift in the way that our union relates to electoral politics – in particular, as a result of the NDP’s offensive and anti-democratic decision expel CAW President Buzz Hargrove from the party…

Morever, the continuing rightward drift of the NDP’s own policies, and the party’s demonstrated willingness to sacrifice progressive priorities in the interests of short-run electoral positioning, makes it clear we must build a more independent and authentic ideological perspective…

…we have generated plenty of ink for the newspapers, and plenty of hot air at labour and NDP congresses.

The best dig, however, is about the last election:

Some NDP leaders and supporters (including Jack Layton in his election-night “victory speech”) dared to describe the 2006 election as a victory.

Actually, I remember hearing Buzz Hargrove on the CBC the day following the election declaring the results a victory.

However, the document, while offering lots of jabs at the NDP, who the CAW are clearly not fans of anymore, is more than anything meant to rally the troops for the upcoming election, and specifically against Stephen Harper. The document is littered with what the CAW sees as anti-Harper sentiment:

The Conservatives seemed ineffective, with an unpopular, extremist leader…

Today, in contrast, we have a Prime Minister who clearly ranks among the most right-wing national leaders in the world…

Canada’s hard-won reputation as an independent, more progressive force in the world is crumbling with each decision…

If Harper wins a majority mandate, we can expect that the “kinder, gentler” image he has tried to construct in recent months will quickly evaporate.

They are clearly scared of Harper:

Ominously, the Harper government is carefully assembling the elements for a broader right-wing” coalition”…

We will see a full application at the federal level, of the same offensive policies that marked the eight-year reign of Mike Harris….

…the dread which most progressive Canadians feel as they watch the Harper government…

And that takes us to the end of page 2 in a 24 page document. It’s not hard to see that these guys are determined to be an anti-Harper force in the next election. In fact the CAW sees itself as the leader in the movement to oust Harper.

But the real political surprise in this document is the tacit embracing of the Liberals throughout. If not direct praise of the Liberals, certainly indirect praise through faint damnation compared to the other two parties. The CAW seems to have decided their best interest lies in closer ties to the Liberals, although throughout the document they make a point of stating they are not going to hitch their wagons to any one party again. But the scorn they heap on the NDP and Conservatives leads us to believe the Liberals are the horse they are planning to bet on.

Considering they want to tear down our democracy and economic system, and build a new one in their own image, what a pity that they put no value in honesty and ethics, which they gloss over with a few dismissive remarks about the NDP complaining about Liberal ethics.

Tomorrow I’m going to look at this document from a Liberal standpoint, with fair warning to the Liberals: there is a battle raging for your party, with the NDP and CAW fighting for what they see as your carcass.


  1. Ron
    August 30th, 2006 at 10:07 | #1

    Though I have not been a member of a union since my earliest working days, I have always thought two things.
    1) A union was there to negotiate a contract for the workers.
    2) The union was there to represent the worker regarding grievances or discipline with the company.
    At no time have I felt that the union was there to tell me who to vote for to run the country or to spend my dues trying to elect anyone.
    At my age I can decide for myself who I want to vote for. And frankly, I would be highly offended at some union troll getting in my face and telling me who to vote for, and spending my dues doing it.

  2. Brian
    August 30th, 2006 at 11:04 | #2

    The union guys will argue that in order to do 1 & 2 effectively, they need legal protections for workers, unions and so forth. Thus, they involve themselves in the political process to promote laws that help them with their primary job.

    I can buy that argument. When they start calling for a complete change of our political economic system, it can well be argued that they are overstepping their bounds. When they promote one party, or just as bad, oppose one party, then they lose their voice in the process when things don’t go their way.

    But hey, at least they have a cool theme song now.

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