2015 follows an established scenario. We will vote for different brands of liberalism (neither in much of a hurry) and hope the big bad wolf is defeated. Some will directly argue for this course of action, given the institutional relationship between labour and the NDP. Others will manage expectations. Same difference. Mobilization aiming to give the boot to Harper will die down as soon as Peter Mansbridge delivers the score.
By betting everything on 2015, we might win a battle, but we’ll lose the war. How can we succeed at both? Sam Gindin reminds us that we are still afraid to think strategically about capitalism, the new layer of politics connecting our movements. Yet everywhere, the disenfranchised are articulating audacious, radical answers to the current crisis while demanding immediate reforms to improve their material reality. Since the last time Canadians went to the polls, Quebec students challenged neoliberal reforms at home and inspired international student movements to action. Idle No More brought First Nations issues to the forefront of the national political agenda. Behind Theresa Spence’s hunger strike, communities resorted to direct action and economic blockades, tactics defenders of the land have honed for years.
Rhetorically, our movements eschewed personal attacks and a systemic analysis, attacking consensus politics: neoliberal economics or oppressive systems of governance, for instance. We built leverage in the streets of our communities before going through the traditional channels of Parliament. In doing so, we laid the foundations of something much bigger: the prospect of a mass movement that can challenge the ideas that will survive Stephen Harper’s government. Should we toss it out the window ahead of the election? Or should we jump on the opportunity to take the road less traveled?